Not So Old Fashioned Advice – Be Who You Are?
I had three great questions and chose one randomly for this week’s column. The others will remain in play as we add new ones, so don’t worry if your question wasn’t chosen this time. There’s always next week!
This is how it’s going to work; I’ll post the questions, give my own advice, and then call for advice from my blog readers. Sometimes it’s nice just to get something off your chest, you know? And it’s always better to have more than one piece of advice, because then you can look at them all and decide what works best for you.
And by the way, I am on the hunt for these pants. I’m POSITIVE they’re magic and would result in even BETTER advice than I’m going to give without them. And I will even take a picture of myself in them if they ever materialize.
I’m gay, and live in a very small/conservative town. If I came out, I’d probably get kicked out of the house. I’ve tried to not be the way I am, it’s just not happening.
Should I tell anyone, or just keep it quiet until I can move away? Or something else?
I get emails all the time from gay teens who are struggling with the issue of when and how to come out. And no matter how many I get, I still always think, “For serious? This is still an issue for people?” That’s because in my book, everyone is entitled to love, in whatever form that takes (as long as it’s not harmful to others). I couldn’t care less whether you’re gay, straight, transgender, or celibate. You are deserving of love.
Anyway, you don’t say how old you are, but I’m going to assume somewhere between 16 and 20. Not knowing that makes this a tough one to answer, because there’s a world of difference between being 16 and in high school and being 20 and nearly out in the world.
I wish I could use my mantra for all things, “Be who you are” here, because really, we should all be able to do that and know that we’re guaranteed love and acceptance – especially by the people closest to us. But part of the downside to being an adult or almost-adult is the accepting that our decisions and actions have consequences. Sometimes, those consequences aren’t fair, but ranting about that isn’t going to get us anywhere, is it? In this case, as with most cases, we have to deal with what IS, even though it totally sucks.
That means thinking through the consequences of coming out to your family and asking yourself if you’re willing and/or able to live with them. If you’re sixteen and coming out means being kicked out of the house, well, as hard as it is to have to deny (publicly or around certain people) who you are, it’s not as hard as being on the streets at sixteen. Remember that even if you’re unable to TELL your family that you’re gay, you are who you are. No one can take that from you unless you let them.
But no matter how old you are or whether or not you can live with the consequences NOW, you CAN start preparing for a life beyond the one you’re living at the moment. Do your best in school so you can get into college and/or get a job to help support yourself, work on the side now if you can to save money, and know that the time, whether one year or three, will fly faster than you think. In the meantime, surround yourself with people who know, love, and accept you the way you are, and know that there are many, many more of us out here. The world, and the minds of the people in it, are not as small as they may seem right now.
I wish you luck, hon, and hope you’ll stay in touch, even anonymously.
Sending you virtual hugs!
Okay, guys! Please advise away in the comments section of this post!