I never knew, when I de-planed in Los Angeles, that I'd find myself in so many ways. Not just because I'd landed in La La land, but because I'd stepped into my truth. In fact, I was finally about to shed my mask and tell my wife I was gay. Of course, I had a treacherous commute on the 405 South that would give me every opportunity to back out... I didn't have to do this. Except for one reason: I had decided to be authentic!
Now, if someone had told me that being authentic and coming out of the closet would shake up my values, beliefs and perception of self, I probably would have laughed and said "Duh!" Yet, rather than sound like an ingrate, I probably would have also asked, "How so?" In those two words lie the magic, the magic that goes well beyond "I'm out, so let me stand proud!" Oh, no, no, no! There is so much more that happens when you finally say, "I’m gay!”
Predictably, you stand in your sexual essence declaring your attraction to the same sex. And, depending on your sexual proclivities, you may call forth your twink, your bear, your diva, or even your muscle daddy to tantalize a man into your world. It's all good, and all part of getting you down the road, out of the closet and into living your authentic gay life.
Then suddenly, what you least expect starts to show up. This is a "fair warning advisory!" Emotions and realizations you never thought existed leap out, and suddenly you're having all sorts of feelings that you either want to put under a microscope and explore, or sweep under the rug and ignore. Might I suggest, for your own good and peace of mind, that you explore.
For me, I suddenly started seeing I had a strong voice about being real and standing my truth in many areas of my life. From politics to religion, managing finances, to being "me" in gay social circles, and everything in between. Suddenly I was in heat more than Blanche Devereaux on a dateless Saturday night and standing up for myself in ways I never thought possible. No longer was I the chubby guy in the locker room. Nor was I the poor farm kid who lived in the shack down the road from the school. No way, no how. I was now a gay man with something to say because I'd finally stepped out of my mask and stepped into my authentic self!
Beyond the closet doors, not only did I find an initially scary space called "authenticity" to now call home, I also found rooms filled with vulnerability, trust, audacity, curiosity, questioning and respect. Each were custom-designed by my own tapestry of independent thinking and painted in the bright hues of my own beliefs, not the beliefs of others.
Along the way I began to discover I was free to interact in gay social circles "my way." Simultaneously, I uncovered spiritual beliefs that solidified my faith in a higher power. And, when I least expected it, I started to create a life I'd always dreamed about but never thought possible — being my own boss and running my own business.
Now, 13+ years later, out and proud, with a lot of life lessons learned as a "recovering" heterosexual, I see that not only did coming out free me to live my truth and be authentic, it gave me permission to be so much more than I ever expected on the day I said, "I’m gay!"
Rick Clemons, The Gay Mans Life Coach And Coming Out Coach , Certified Professional Coach (CPC), Energy Leader Index, Master Practioner (ELI-MP), International Coach Federation, Associate Certified Coach (ACC)
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This article originally appeared on YourTango.com: "Embracing Your Homosexuality To Live Your Best Life"