An Open Letter To Everyone From Back Then


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Dear Everyone I knew “Back Then”,

Yes, I am gay. Or something like it. Somewhere on the spectrum at the far end from what the world calls straight.

I’ve always been that way.

Even “back then” when I was your classmate, co-worker, teacher, neighbor, friend.

But, see, at times, I was scared of letting that facet of who I am show. I had to hide it. Not for myself, but for you. For those of you who would, had I let you see that part of me, make a lot more out of it than I do. For those of you who, now that I’m not scared anymore, “just can’t believe it”.

In most ways I’m still exactly the same as when you knew me “back then”. The only thing that’s changed is that you now get to know all of me. If you choose to. And some of you can’t handle that. It’s too much. I’m not the person you thought you knew.

But that’s not really about me. It’s about you.

Coming out doesn’t happen just once. I have to do it over and over again.

It’s easy with new folks I’m just meeting “right now”. It’s no big deal, not even a thing. It’s just who I am, all of me, every facet shining right there in the open if they want to see it. But for folks I knew “back then”, revealing the fullness of me is a scary, anxious, pulse-racing thing.

Every.single.time.

Some of you amazing “back then” people have nodded, asked questions, maybe cried a little, hugged me, and transformed in front of my eyes, through the phone, or in my arms into a “right now” person. Thank you for that. I love you. Thank you for loving every facet of me, for having a heart big enough to appreciate all of me.

For you others, I’m sorry if you feel like I lied to you, back then, when I wasn’t strong enough, brave enough, to share all of me. Maybe that was wrong of me. I don’t know for sure. But I can’t rewind to “back then”, because I’m overwhelmed with joy, bursting with life, thrilled to finally be living with every part of me shining right here in the “right now”.

Maybe you can see how important that is to me. How much bigger my smile is, how much lighter I seem.

If not, okay, you can live in the back then. But me? Nah. I’m loving where I’m at right now.

Love and facets and more love,

Me

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