Coming Out (Part: Thank You)

First, I want to thank each and every person who took the time to read Coming Out (Part 1.5). I hadn’t intended for the post to be some kind of announcement, but the support I received (including people from whom I had vigorously hidden my sexuality) was overwhelming. And it has further proven to me that it is incredibly important for people to understand their identity, live it, and share it when necessary.

When I created this blog, I specifically wanted it to be more than just a place where I talk about my identity. I wanted to share the experience of being a first-year student affairs professional. I wanted to talk about my successes and struggles as I navigate an entirely new system and bureaucracy. I wanted to discuss my ever-evolving search for a PhD program.

But I also want to continue sharing my story. Because I know there are people around me who are still hiding a part of themselves. I want others to know there is nothing wrong with them, there is nothing to hide, and there is always someone they can talk to. 

So anyway, thanks for taking the time to read this. I’m so happy you all were here and I hope you’ll stick around. 

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Coming Out (Part 1.5)

I’ve detailed some of my coming out process in an earlier post, but I wanted to come back to it again. The coming out process is just that: a process. It never truly ends and only sometimes gets easier. But it’s important to do, to share, and to support.


Totally Moved

In my search for things to do, I rekindled my romance with YouTube and watched pretty much anything ever recorded by Hannah Hart. I first came to love Hannah because of her My Drunk Kitchen videos (a lifelong goal of mine is to record one of these with Hannah and also host my own inebriated cooking show).

This video is really just an aside because I think it’s important that everyone see it. Also, it’s the very first episode, so you’ve got hours of laughter and enjoyment ahead.

I had known for a while that Hannah identified as a lesbian, but it really wasn’t a big part of her videos. And then I found her secondary channel where she discusses much more personal topics, vlogs her trips, and challenges her fans (the Hartosexuals) to do good.

While perusing the channel, I found her Coming Out series. Started in November 2012, this was Hannah’s way to address her sexuality and explain some of her background. Since then, she has posted a total of six videos, the most recent last month.

That last video, taken backstage at the LGBTQA+ panel at VidCon2014, really inspired this post.

I’ve decided to share the entire playlist because it’s just that important. But skip ahead to the sixth video if you need to save time.


Why I’m Sharing My Story

On Friday, while doing everything I could to stay awake at work, I saw a post by someone, who identifies as gay, asking why it was everyone felt the need to “come out” because, as he said, “it’s not like you would do it if you were straight.”

I sat at my desk saying to myself over and over agin, “Of course it’s important for people to come out!” After several minutes of fuming and outright frustration (which I apparently didn’t hide very well, judging by my administrative assistant’s concern), I had a sort of breakthrough.

I decided to re-watch Hannah’s story. I was thinking about how important it is for all openly queer people to share their story. I remember when I was coming to terms with my sexuality thinking how I had no idea what to say or do because I didn’t know anyone who had come out.

Why do people feel the need to come out and make their sexuality known? Because simply loving themselves is completely radical. Because other people need to know that they can also be exactly who they are and still find happiness, love, and support. Because it’s important for people to know who I really am. It’s important for me to let go of this secret and to share it with the world. It’s important for me to begin living my life, not upholding this facade I’ve created.

It is important that people know I am not ashamed to be exactly who I am. It is important that people do not assume I fit their stereotypes. And perhaps most importantly, I want every young person I encounter to know they can be out, happy, and successful, too.


How I’m Sharing My Story

I’m still struggling and trying to figure out the best way to do this. My story, like most, is very long and contains both good and bad. I’m thinking I might make a YouTube video, or I might just write several smaller-ish posts.

In any case, I hope that with each post on this blog, I reach just one more person. I haven’t spoken with each of my family members about my sexuality and don’t intend to. But I do intend to make it known to each of them that they know and (I hope) love an openly gay person who, just like them, dreams of success, love, and family.

 

Week One…Down – Sort of

Or: How to drive yourself crazy and question every decision you’ve ever made.

(Author’s Note: In my exhausted haze, I apparently forgot to post this at the beginning of this week. So…whatever.)

Classes at Oklahoma State start ridiculously early. Like, not even high schools start this early. Which means this was really my first week of work.

Yeah, I’ve actually been at Oklahoma State for three months (almost exactly…terrifying), but this is the first week that I’ve (steadily) had students and had major events going on.  I have never been so tired in my whole life.

Nothing can prepare you for the first week of events when you’re in campus programming. Not thesis writing, massive projects, nor the horrifying prospect of job searching requires this much energy with this little amount of sleep.

If I were honestly tracking my hours, I would already have about a week’s worth of vacation saved up. A whole week.

(HashtagSAPro Rule #1: NEVER, under any circumstances, count your hours. If you’re working overtime, estimate, take your flex hours, and move on)

Unfortunately, I didn’t follow my own advice. Between August 8th and the night of 23rd, in which I would have normally worked 80 hours, I worked more than double.

It was at that moment I realized the importance of self-care. I also realized just how difficult it is to practice.

I am not one to just leave early because I can, but I’ve realized I should leave early because I can and because I need to. 

I have never been this tired outside of actually being a college student, so I really need to make sure I’m taking plenty of time for myself.

I also have realized just how badly I need a hobby. Thankfully, I’ve got this blog. I’m also hoping to get a full-size keyboard soon so I can once again release some stress on the keys. But I want something more. I’m not a good actor and definitely not a good singer, so theater is out of the question.

I’m considering finding a couple local non-profits like a PFLAG group or AIDS awareness and prevention center.

My goal for next week’s post is to have explored at least three different options for some outside-of-work-yet-still-with-people hobbies.

 

 

P.S. I know there’s not some big important lesson here, but that’s not really the point. I’m more concerned with chronicling my first year as a student affairs professional. But if I had to find a lesson, I guess it’d be that taking care of yourself is just as important as working for and taking care of others. And forsaking yourself is never going to be as helpful as you think. Maybe? I don’t know.

The best TEDx talk I’ve ever seen

I know I included this video in the previous post, but it’s important enough that I think it deserves its own post. 

I’m not going to say much about the video this time around because I want you to watch and come to your own conclusions. For me, this video is defining my first year as a student affairs professional. I’ve used it in a professional retreat setting, a student retreat, and with my officemates as a conversation piece. 

 

 

 

P.S. to Ash Beckham: If you or your management ever see this post, I would do basically anything to have you speak at Oklahoma State. 

Three Rs of Love

This one is going to be fairly short. These are just some thoughts I’ve had recently as I’ve worked through some things at work. After a day of abject negativity, I started thinking about the power of love. Céline Dion aside, I am continually pressed to recognize the act of loving another person as completely radical.

Accepting and loving the identities of another human, no matter what, is completely revolutionary.

Acknowledging those parts of yourself that are less than perfect and loving yourself all the more is the ultimate rebellion.

Today I saw a story about an 8-year-old boy who was physically and emotionally abused, tortured, and eventually murdered by his parents for appearing to be gay. He never came out. He simply played with dolls and didn’t act “masculine” enough. Of course, at age 8, I’m not certain how masculine one can hope to be.

On the other hand, there’s this story of a mother who describes herself as a Southern Baptist conservative who unconditionally loves her trans daughter and bravely stands up to bigotry and hatefulness.

For Debi Jackson, loving her daughter is revolutionary. It is radical. It’s blatant rebellion against the society that says you have to be one or the other and you can never change; against the society that says we should turn away in disgust; against the society that finds it more acceptable to have young people die in the streets than be loved and given the chance to flourish.

For the parents of that 8-year-old boy, love was certainly a revolutionary concept. Instead, the chose to accept the hate created by others and use it to define their and the child’s life.

What if we collectively decided that rather than focus on the negatives, that we would just love? That’s it. Unconditional love. No questions, no exceptions, and no clauses. Just love one another. Forget our biases and preconceived notions and just love.

Imagine how much happier we would all be. We would never have to fear coming out of our closets. Dropping that grenade we all hold wouldn’t be such a big deal. There would be no need to fear the coming out. We could all just live our lives how we want because we would know there was love around us.

What if we even decided to love those with whom we disagree? How radically could that change the world?