2009 was a turning point in my life. At the end of 2008 almost no one knew that I was gay, or “struggled with same sex attractions.” However, by the end of 2009 I was out to my parents, my priest, my roommate, and also discovered another same-sex attracted friend. My home was safe, my dorm room was safe, my spiritual community was safe, and I was no longer quite so alone in my struggle. The stage was set for the walls of my closet to fall away, and by the end of 2010 I was writing publicly about my experience as a celibate gay man. After 10 years, the closet now seems remote and distant, the ghost of a past life lived through the lens of near constant fear. My secret is no longer my secret, my shame is no longer my shame, and my loneliness not quite so lonely.
The closet allowed me to believe fundamental lies about myself and my relationship with others. The closet told me that I was un-loveable and that my shame and self-hate was justified. In the silence of my closet I believed the lies that I told myself, and the echo chamber of my fear was deafening. When someone told me, “I love you” I knew they couldn’t really mean it. They couldn’t mean it because they didn’t know that I was gay. I believed that nobody could love me because I was gay, so therefore their love was contingent upon my secret being secret. Most of these lies had no basis in reality, but in the closet you can easily mistake shadows for monsters. Everything becomes distorted in the dim light and you believe that outside the closet is scarier than the darkness you’ve surrounded yourself with. Read More