Today marks 10 years since I came out… to myself. I am a late bloomer. Was I all right with it because I was older?Was I all right with it because I had supportive friends, like Terry, accepting family, and Wendy? OR Was I not really all right with it, but I was able to tell myself differently. I remember when I came out to my parents, I told them I knew life was going to be difficult, I knew that my job could be at risk. I told them that I didn’t care. It was all worth it. Being with Wendy, being myself was worth the risk.
It is difficult to explain the coming out process and the emotions. Coming to the realization that you are gay causes you to question so much about everything. It took a toll on my self-confidence. It took a toll on my definition of self. It caused me to question deeply inherited traditional values. It caused me to question the definition of family, relationship, gender, sexuality, and love. I can’t imagine a young person without the maturity going through that process. I can’t imagine what it is like for a person to come out after having a spouse and children. I can’t imagine what it is like to be ostracized by one’s family.
I’m not sure what took me so long. I have a lack of self awareness. I have a desire to be perfect. I wear blinders when it comes to goals, work, and career. Hey, it’s different for everyone. Even if I could go back, I wouldn’t change anything. The only thing I would do differently is treat people better. That goes for everyone – gay friends, straight friends, family, and student-athletes. Sometimes I regret not coming out to certain people or friends, but if Wendy can forgive me for not coming out, so can they. Last May, I received an award. I gave an acceptance speech in front of 900 people. For the first time, publicly, I not only thanked her, but I got to acknowledge her role in my life, the impact she has on me, and my love for her. I wish I could have done that about 8 years earlier.
Today also marks mine and Wendy’s 10 year anniversary. I couldn’t be happier about the life we have built together. I know that doesn’t sound very romantic, but life is real, and I think what we have is real. Our life is not a fairy tale. It is not a drama (most of the time). It is not an action thriller. Our life is not a romantic comedy (unfortunately). We have unpredictable stability and adventurous routine. We have 10 years of memories, triumphs, tragedies, and trips. Now, we have a daughter, and I look forward to the next 10 years.