So this past October 11 marked 4 years since my coming out. Yes, I came out on National Coming Day. Clique, I know, but I was dared and couldn’t turn down the challenge. I’d always made a commitment to myself that when I found someone worth being with I would tell my parents. That challenge was the push out of the closet I needed. It’s been four years since my seventeen year old self came out to my parents. I’ve grown exponentially since then. I’ve ventured across the globe by myself, moved to New York, entered and exited several important relationships, and even sat in classes with people who’d admitted (anonymously) that if possible they’d exterminate all gay people.
Along with those constant changes was another; my hair. I’ve changed my hair a lot. Like a lot. From a black Mohawk to a blonde fade to a blue fro to just cutting it all and being bald. Throughout the shifting of my hair, the shifting of my relationships with my parents have coincided.
The first time I cut off all my hair I experienced some of my happiest moments. It’s no coincidence that it was also the time I looked my queerest. I was a fresh start (which was needed since I was in the midst in of an intense roller coaster relationship. It’s amazing what a new look can for your spirits.) I was taking care of myself and I felt good. I was fully owning my own body for once, completely ignoring societal ideas of beauty. I felt whole, complete in my own skin, with nothing to hide behind. My parents hated it, my father in particular despised my lack of hair.
He never vocalized it but I think what made him most uncomfortable was my direct turn against the holy feminine. Women, straight women, are supposed to have a hair full of glorious cascading hair down their entire back, it is our crown and jewel right? I did have this growing up, huge curly hair that I nearly sat on. But I didn’t feel beautiful. The moments I did feel beautiful were only a reaction to this tired narrative we have yet to release.
Along with my hair, my style and my perspective has shifted. Here’s an excerpt I wrote about coming out/ coming out day during my 2nd year at college:
“…queers from all over are encouraged to shed that stereotyped heterosexual skin of their’s & come out of the closet wearing something a little more suitable. A furry boa, nipple coverings, or maybe even a leather corset complete with whips and chains, but not shame. Not the embarrassed, shameful dress we are taught to wear throughout our sometimes no-so-queer friendly society. No matter how we decide to dress our physical body, we should come out of the closet with our souls being dressed in acceptance and love and freedom to be one’s self.
And it got me thinking. What is coming out? Why does it seem that it is a concept reserved only for the LGBT community? People are filled with secrets and fears and mistakes that they have stuffed down into themselves. So many people are too afraid ”to come out” to themselves, to admit that they aren’t happy with their situations, or that certain people shouldn’t be in their lives. Or they are afraid to “come out” of other’s people’s expectations. If you can’t leave someone else’s shadow, you can never find your own light. Disregarding all predetermined ideas of who are/should be is coming out. We all have something to come out from & they all should be celebrated. Often times, what we anticipate is much worse than what we are faced with. But most of all, when we allow ourselves to come out of fear, than everything else will just fall. All of the masked monsters will be powerless in the wake of our greatness. It starts with just a step to come of your personal closet.
And of course, I will be celebrating my Coming Out Day, probably with a rainbow cake & a room full of gays wearing party hats.”
The theme of “coming out,” is a reoccurring one in my life because I continue to come out. I do so less now, due to my current aesthetic (depending on what day you catch me), but still do when necessary.
While I read what my younger self had to say about the topic, I smile. The storyline is a bit different now, but the words remain true. Since the four years that I told my parents, I have come out a number of other “closets.” The shorter my hair became, the more I grew. Throughout this process I realized it wasn’t my hair, or lack thereof, that made me, but rather the growing acceptance and confidence of who I am. My hair was only a byproduct of this journey. I am proud of my growth within these years and am excited to see where I end pup next. Makes me think about what “closets,” I still have yet to emerge from. At least I don’t have to worry about having a bad hair day once I exit them.