This is an old blog I wrote, actually on July 8th… I was just going to transfer it, putting the old timestamp on it. But, in light of the recently past ‘National Coming Out Day’ and the surprisingly large number of hits to our blog, I thought I would just post it as a ‘new blog’. So, here it is…

As most of you know, I recently moved to North Carolina for Divinity School at Duke University. I plan on soon writing an update about my trip out here and my initial experiences in the Tar Heel, um, Blue Devil State. My intention for this post is a little different…

So, I drove across the country so Sandra (my car) could be here at Duke with me. My friend Michelle came along for a little vacation and fun times, and because she is a wonderful friend… it would surely have been a lot less fun to drive across the country myself.

So, on our drive East, we stopped a lot of places—the Grand Canyon, Chicago, Colorado. We stopped in Colorado Springs to visit our friend BJ (and to have a free place to stay!) BJ had to work one day, and we decided to visit the Focus on the Family headquarters, which happens to be right down the street from his house. Mind you, this also is not my intention for this post… stay tuned into my blog for an account of our riveting (vomit-inducing?) visit to Jimmy Dobson’s stomping ground.

So we visit Focus on the Family. Part of the tour includes the children’s area, “Wits End” (this will conjure up childhood memories of Adventures in Odyssey for many of you!). The Wits End play area proved to be Michelle’s & my favorite part of the tour. One of the most exciting parts of the play area was Narnia.

Yes, Narnia. The many rooms in Wits End were filled with different exciting things. One room was a stage, where kids could dress up as Adventures in Odyssey characters and pretend to act. There were even little director’s chairs. Another room was for puppet shows, another held a large slide and play area. One of the final rooms we went in was a plain room, with a closet in the corner. We were curious, so we went in to take a peek. We opened the closet, and were very excited to find a replication of Narnia! It was really great… there were the mink coats in the closet and brightness on the other side, with a lake and a bench and a lamppost.

Not only did the visit to Wiles End and Narnia stir childhood memories, being in the wardrobe closet got me thinking about closets.

Many of you who may read this may know of my involvement in LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, & transgender) rights causes, primarily the Soulforce Equality Ride. Through this experience, I had heard a lot about peoples’ experiences in the closet and their experience of coming out of that closet.

What those closest to me know that many may not is that I have had to come out of my own closet. I have been fully out of this closet to myself for only about seven months now, to fellow Equality Riders for four months, and to close friends for about a month. But there are many people who still do not know. And I by no means want to shout it from the rooftops, though it may seem as such from this blog post. But what this blog post means to me is that I no longer want to hide it, even in the most miniscule ways. I figured that it would be better to come out and say it (no pun intended) rather than for old friends to see my ‘interested in’ status say women, or to scroll down on my myspace page and see the word lesbian in the orientation box.

One may, understandably, ask, well why do you have to include it? Can’t you just leave the box unchecked? Why do you feel the need to announce it?

Well, over the last many months, I have had to think A LOT about sexual orientation and identification, about coming out and what that means. One of the things I have come to begin to understand is the importance of being fully myself, and with that, being open, which includes being out. I don’t want to say I am single on facebook if I have a girlfriend. I don’t want to mark the straight box when I am not, nor do I want to leave that box empty. I did not leave it empty when I saw myself as straight, why would I now?

I write this blog, because I plan on no longer hiding, at all. Like I said, I am not going to shout it from the rooftops, I did not do that when I identified as heterosexual. But neither am I going to hide it. I write this blog largely as a courtesy, for those friends of mine who do not know this about me, so they do not awkwardly find out via looking at my facebook pictures or happen upon my myspace profile where it lists orientation.

I also do this for myself. There is something freeing about recognizing ones freedom.
Why would I hang out in the closet in certain circumstances, especially when I have begun to come out and smell the fresh air? Why would I want to go back inside?

Being in the closet is not like Narnia. It is far from it. It’s cold, and dark, and pretty damn lonely. It never gets comfortable, but you do get used to it. But than you realize you have developed allergies and that the moths are eating holes in your clothes. Getting used to something does not make it good or comfortable.

So, here I am. I am a 23 year old grad student who is energetic, intense, curious, and intellectual. I am a Christian. I am a daughter, a friend, and a citizen. And, I am a lesbian.

And I am so much more than all of these things combined. Boxes do no one justice. But that does not make me less of any of these things.

I have been working on this blog post for almost a month. I debated whether or not to post. I have written and edited and written more. Finally, I have started over from scratch and done little editing. This is me. I do not have to defend myself, nor do I have to hide a large part of myself from some who may read this who does not affirm my love. Do I care what people think? Absolutely. Am I worried that some may think that I was ‘converted’ by the Equality Ride, or that I am ‘struggling’ because of the type of relationship I have with my mother? A little bit. But, like I said, I am not here to defend myself, and I have finally come to a point where I am comfortable in my own skin. And to come out of the closet, you have got to be comfortable in your own skin.

Just like getting used to something does not equal comfort, being comfortable does not mean things are not hard. And it also means being able to be honest, and real. When I was on Equality Ride, my friends and myself were asked, what if you found out homosexuality is ‘a sin?’ Would you change what you thought? I do not know whether I think it is possible to change the way I feel about people, the way I am physically, sexually, and emotionally attracted to women. But if some groundbreaking research came through saying that homosexuality is a psychological disorder (which, let me assure you, at this point psychology holds strongly that it is NOT) than I would get therapy. If I was convinced through new exegesis of certain texts or new church history discovery that same-sex romantic relationships are prohibited in Scripture and contrary to God’s will, I will choose to be celibate. Closing myself off was what kept me in the closet, I will not close myself to other views. That would be hypocritical.

So that’s my story. Well, it is not really my story at all…(that’s perhaps on the list of things to blog about 1. Trip to North Carolina. 2. Focus on the Family visit. 3. Coming out story.) This blog, however, is a part of my story. For any reading, it is a start into my story. It’s a little blurb into a part of who I am that I hid and denied for so long (Check out earlier blog post ‘If I told you’ for an understanding of my feelings on much of this process, it explains a lot). And as for me, this is the place I find myself, a woman who is navigating life, who has recently been a little more comfortable being herself, and who is enjoying the fresh air.