Why do we fear coming out?
It’s because we have been taught that the outcomes of that openness can be dangerous and disastrous.
Coming out stands us to lose our friends, our family, our job, our status, our desires, our expectations. All the time we spent staying in, hiding the truth inside of us was a commitment to avoiding the potential negative outcomes of being out, an attempt to hold onto what we have rather than risking it for the unknown, the terrifying, the queer.
The promises made to us about what we can have if we just stay straight and play by the normal rules are burned into our brain. Pleasing people around us, doing what they want and value is what should bring us success and happiness, not fapping about and being queer.
Coming out demands that we stop fearing the possible outcomes and instead choose to do what we believe to be honest, noble and right. Emerging means we have to choose our own pride over our own shame, degradation and compliance, risking the consequences for rewards that are internal rather than socially constructed.
As long as we are committed to what should be, trying to hold onto the outcomes that we believe we have been promised, to results based in our own expectations we are unable to be open, to be present and reap the rewards of the divine surprise.
Working the process demands letting go of imagined outcomes and instead holding onto the struggle for honesty, engagement and pride in our continuing choices.
The hard part of becoming new is almost always clearing out the old. The grief for the loss of expectations is profound and deep (1994), as they form the stick we have internalized to prop up our compliance and our connection to the constrained expectations and assumptions of family and friends.
How, though, can we open to the new when we are always mourning for the outcomes we believe that we deserve, the results we think we should be getting?
Like everything else in life a commitment to process and a commitment to outcomes are not binary, not mutually exclusive. Working the process requires evaluating the outcomes to identify better choices, achieving mastery, and striving for better outcomes demands finding better ways to achieve our goals and objectives.
If we make choices based on working the process and they don’t work out the way that we hoped, we can take heart that our intentions we proud, that we did the right thing and learned something.
If we make choices based on creating desired outcomes and they don’t work out the way that we hoped, we can easily be broken, seeing our work as leading to failure, waste, shame, frustration, anger and heartbreak.
Buddha was clear that it is expectations that lead to pain and suffering. When we know how things should be and they don’t match that assumption, we see loss in how we missed the mark, how we didn’t get what we believed we were promised.
When we are fully present, though, accepting even what we didn’t want as lessons that can open miracles of new sight, we are able to find the good, the possible and the powerful in even outcomes that we feared may happen.
No matter how comfortable we believe that holding onto compartmentalization is because we fear the possible results of being open, honest, actualized and integrated is holding onto pain and shame. Our expectations become a stick that can batter us, locking us in a box of our own programming.
The “What the fuck!” and “Fuck You!” aspects of coming out, the releasing of fears and the rejection of those who would try and shame us, both depend on trusting that if we make good, powerful and proud choices, committing to emergence, learning, growth and healing, then the good outcomes will take care of themselves, even if those results are something we cannot yet even imagine for ourselves.
“Shoulda, woulda, coulda,” gets us stuck in the past, trying to will our own wants over the possibilities and love that actually exists. Being mired in expectations denies us the power to work the process and co-create our future with mindfulness and wit.
The leap beyond fear is the leap into the moment, letting go of the illusion of certainty to embrace the beautiful flow of life.
Coming out never offers guaranteed and perfect outcomes, but clinging to our wishes only offers the certainty of denying and constraining the grace of our heart.
Making proud choices is the only way to become new beyond imagination and to find the possibilities in locked deep inside your soul.