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I've got a question for the local QUILTBAG community, and while posting this early may technically be jumping ahead of everyone else this year, I figure there's gotta be someone else here dealing with the same general issue right now.

I kinda figured out since the last Coming Out Day that I'm among those who are represented by the black, grey, white, and purple flag. Explaining things exactly would likely eventually out me as Legal Name Me eventually for sure (it's amazing how fine-tuned definitions can get) so I'll leave it at me being in the grey part of that spectrum, and heteroromantic so the heterosexual privilege is still pretty much in force.

The question is below the squiggle.

Is the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach and the roaring nightmares of unacceptance last night normal?

My boyfriend already knows, accepts it, and I'm absolutely 100% sure there is no way he's lying to me about that.

I told my pastor Sunday, and he's being even more awesome than he usually is. Which is saying something, for he is quite awesome.

My parents are a different story, and I know at least one of them is writing off The Obvious Signs as the leftovers of being raised in an abstinence-only church culture. Which means that since I figured out the label that fit me, I've been hearing more and more of the sex-positive me-negative talk (my pastor thinks I've just been sensitized, but either way the effect is the same).

At least it's better than having it framed as caused by a bad relationship, which is part of what I'm worried is going to happen. Said bad relationship was mostly bad because of unrecognized mismatched orientations.

I've got the 'here is what these terms mean' guide cobbled together and printed, but I still feel like being a chicken. My pastor even invited me to call and tell him how things go if I manage to not be a chicken (the chicken framing was all me).

I'll check comments in the morning, because I need to make up the sleep from the nightmares last night (and allow plenty of time for tonight's batch...).

I'm sorry for not waiting to post until I'll be conscious to talk, but I figured that maybe I wasn't the only one having a nervous day and night in anticipation of tomorrow and that other people (particularly anyone who might be sleepless from stress) could use the answer too.

Originally posted to Cassandra Waites on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 10:00 PM PDT.

Also republished by Milk Men And Women and Angry Gays.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (7+ / 0-)

    Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

    by Cassandra Waites on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 10:00:25 PM PDT

  •  I'm Not Endangered By the Puritans, but Just as a (3+ / 0-)

    human being, I'm reasonably sure you don't deserve to have nightmares about being yourself.

    You're here; I think you of all people should be allowed to used to it.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 10:10:28 PM PDT

  •  Um... (9+ / 0-)

    ok. I'm confused but I'll give it a shot.

    Personal acceptance of ones own differentness can be a higher hurdle at times than finding the acceptance of those around you. Which it seems is what you are experiencing. And yes, that can be a very "normal" feeling. Of course, we queers hate "normal," right? Since it erases our identity.

    And I hope that's a lesson you can take away. "Normal" is an artificial construct that erases the beautiful, human variations that makes each of us our gorgeous creation. So whatever it is that makes you feel or identify as different, well, hey, as long as it isn't hurting you, or anyone else, there is nothing to sweat, imo.

    "A small group of thoughtful people could change the world. Indeed, it's the only thing that ever has."--Margaret Mead 

    by Scott Wooledge on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 10:19:44 PM PDT

  •  Yes. (6+ / 0-)
    Is the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach and the roaring nightmares of unacceptance last night normal?

    Yes, it is entirely normal.  There are a few people lucky enough not to feel this, but for the vast majority of our broad and difficult-to-define community, it's something of a shared trauma.  Even when it goes really well.

    But as long as you know you have support - and your boyfriend sounds like a great guy - you know you'll have a net to fall back on.  And that makes things a little easier.

    Saint, n. A dead sinner revised and edited. - Ambrose Bierce

    by pico on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 10:43:41 PM PDT

  •  Second hand observations (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, jarbyus, jgilhousen

    I don't want to sound pretentious on this - speaking for others but a few observations.

    Our oldest 'came out' at 16.  Had shown signs of severe social anxiety and more for most of his life.  It got real bad in late elementary school - perhaps with added stress from other issues in his life  - I think coming to terms with being gay was a lot of what was going on.

    He'd been seeing a therapist for a while - which IMO was a BIG help for him - a neutral outsider to help him get through everything.

    He went through a lot after coming out - not sure I would've done so in HS - but it worked out.  He is veery much into being 'honest' and wasn't going to hide it.  He had a good group of friends - better than he realized at the time and has done great in college.  Confronted by a 'cured' gay while taking a class one summer, he managed to shut the guy down (politely) making it clear he was gay -  'that's just part of who I am - something I can't change - though it's not the one defining aspect of who I am.'

    A good friend of ours - in the entertainment industry - made a comment at the time he  came out.  'Better he's out - he'll be happier.  Everyone knows who is (in the industry) they just have to stop and think about who's out and who's not.  The ones that are out are so much happier.'   My wife and I have known enough people who are gay - some being very good friends  (kudos to Bob and Bob).  My wife worked in the Village for a while - nothing much will surprise her.   Not being 'straight' (in the wide variety of possibilities that exist) isn't something 'foreign' or unknown to us which is an issue for some.  If you're from the middle of nowhere you may think you don't know anyone who isn't straight.  Especially true in very religious and conservative circles.

    A good friend in college and a relative went through nearly identical paths.  They didn't come to terms with being gay until well in their 20's.  A few relationships that never seemed to work out, awkward and unsatisfying sex lives.  Both met someone the same gender, clicked and have settled into happy satisfying long term relationships - both eventually married their partners.   Both would say that their previous failures were because they were trying to 'fit into' the roles that were expected, denying who they were.  They'll say that the  relationships failed BECAUSE they were gay, not that they are gay because of failed relationships.

    It's better if parents are accepting but hard for some.  Was astounded at how my relative's mother took it.  Quite cool and accepting considering she was old country Catholic.    But then I doubt her (now dead) husband would have been so understanding - though he might  have surprised people.  I'm glad my son's namesake grandfathers aren't around - wouldn't want him to get anything negative from them (though I suppose its possible I might have been surprised).  The grandmother left was fine - the other would've been had she been alive.

    Our son was lucky - no issues, no drama.  Loving acceptance.  'You are who you are - we just want you to be happy.'   If anything it took him a while to get a more militant relative to 'go easy'. Wish it were that simple for everyone.  

    Good Luck.  Sometimes the nerves coming from not knowing what the reactions will be are worse than the reactions.   Hope that's the case.

  •  I'm not sure I fully understand (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cassandra Waites, jarbyus, jgilhousen
    Is the strange feeling in the pit of my stomach and the roaring nightmares of unacceptance last night normal?

    I felt this way prior to coming out.  It was pretty scary.  I don't think anyone can understand what it's like to be in the closet unless they've been there themselves.  

    Check out my new blog: http://socalliberal.wordpress.com/

    by SoCalLiberal on Mon Oct 10, 2011 at 11:32:35 PM PDT

  •  on a tangent (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    jgilhousen, Cassandra Waites

    Coming out day is supposed to be a day of empowerment, of self-acceptance pride in putting yourself out there...

    Maybe you're not there yet.  There's no judgment in that.  But if you're having nightmares over it, and your nearest and dearest already know, then come out at your own pace, not at an arbitrary calendar date.  If the date is calling stress, forget the date!

    Minority rights should never be subject to majority vote.

    by lostboyjim on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 06:59:47 AM PDT

  •  There is no "normal" way to be. (0+ / 0-)

    The important thing is to live who you are rather than someone else's conception of who you "should be".

  •  Sorry, I'm confused (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    EdSF

    I'm not really sure what you're saying here.  I understand the need for anonymity, but a few more details might help.  You say you're not L or T, but rather A.  The only thing I can think of is that you're asexual.

    The black, grey, white, and purple flag generally connotes those in the leather/fetish community.  At least that's what it means here in San Francisco, which is why that flag is prominently displayed for the Folsom Street Fair.  Coming out as part of that community can be a bit difficult, but you'd certainly find acceptance in the Bay Area.

    Any anxiety about it is perfectly normal.  In America's puritanical society, any sexuality that falls outside the narrow confines of monogamous, heterosexual marriage is frowned upon to some degree.  What I think you'll find, though, is that being honest about who you are is so liberating that it will outweigh any negative reactions you get.  That's been true for me both in coming out as gay and even in coming out as HIV+.  

    Good luck with this.

    "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

    by FogCityJohn on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 10:06:56 AM PDT

    •  Last I checked, those colors (0+ / 0-)

      were the asexual and gray-A community.

      Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

      by Cassandra Waites on Tue Oct 11, 2011 at 01:53:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Must be a different flag, then. (0+ / 0-)

        You can see the one I'm talking about at this link.

        "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

        by FogCityJohn on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 09:55:28 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yeah, that's definitely a different flag. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FogCityJohn

          Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

          by Cassandra Waites on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 06:53:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Gotcha (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Cassandra Waites

            Y'all had a contingent marching in the SF Pride parade this year, I think.  

            "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

            by FogCityJohn on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:26:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I may have read something about that on AVEN. (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              FogCityJohn

              Reports were that there was cheering.

              I think I'd feel rather weird doing something like that. Not so much the being around a Pride parade bit - although that'd be odd enough for me personally, I think, given how security-high-alert defense-mode my brain goes when around GLBT friends in public - but the being in the middle of an event based around people proclaiming sexual preferences and announcing to everybody 'I'm not getting any and I don't want to!'

              Then again, I also chickened out on coming out yesterday and today, so maybe I am not one to talk.

              Really, my parents are the only people I think I need to out myself to besides people who already know (so far, all okay, but that's a sparse group) and medical professionals (so far, that's gone badly when it happened). But dang, I never thought it would be this hard.

              Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

              by Cassandra Waites on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 08:52:23 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Being different is hard. (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                Cassandra Waites

                Basically, most people are pretty insecure, and they want you to validate their way of life by being like them.  They get unsettled if you're different.  For some reason, they can't seem to look the other way and say, "To each his own."  They have to make some kind of judgment.

                I'm sure telling medical professionals is hard.  I assume they think you have some kind of disorder.  They probably want to check all your hormone levels to see if you have enough of everything they think you should have.  If being asexual is just your orientation or your preference, well, I suspect they're not going to "get" that.

                As for the asexual folks at Pride, they seemed to be having a pretty good time.  They did get cheered.  To us gay men, the idea of not wanting any sex is kind of foreign, but most of us tend to respect other people's desires, or even lack thereof.

                You'll find your way to coming out eventually.  It just takes a while.  Be patient and compassionate with yourself.  To use a hackneyed metaphor, it's all a journey, and you get to choose not only the destination, but also how quickly you get there.

                "Ça c'est une chanson que j'aurais vraiment aimé ne pas avoir écrite." -- Barbara

                by FogCityJohn on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:14:19 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Actually, I hadn't gotten that far in (0+ / 0-)

                  the self-discovery process thing the last time I had to deal with disclosing to medical professionals - and for me as someone who falls into the grey-A catch-all it's more of the ick factor than no-drive-whatsoever anyway.

                  What I did get was the 'what do you mean, you aren't using any birth control!?' speech. Followed by 'no one abstains at your age'. Followed by finding out said medical professional believes absolutely no one ever follows those abstinence pledges.

                  Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

                  by Cassandra Waites on Wed Oct 12, 2011 at 10:55:17 PM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

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