prologue: coming out of fear
The dial tone echoed through my clouded mind.
It took thirty minutes to press 'call,' and every bone in my body wished she wouldn’t answer.
“Hello?” My mother’s voice on the other side of the line.
“Mom,” I said shakily, pacing around my dorm room, heart pounding, “I have to tell you something.”
That phone call happened when I was 18, shortly after moving to college. I called my mom to tell her I was gay. The following years were fraught with denial, fear, pain, and doubt. Doubt that I would ever be happy. Denial that God would give me such a burden. Pain at the thought that life would never get better, and fear that I would never be accepted for who I am- even by myself. Those harrowing years burned me down to my roots, leaving the weeds to overcome once fertile land. It wasn't until last winter that I learned to grow again. Though I once felt that seemingly permanent pain, I have slowly grown to replace it with confidence in who I was created to be, joy in the life I have built, and hope that my story can make a difference.
I am releasing this four part series “coming out of fear” because I want to speak to three kinds of people:
those who find themselves in places where I once was: those devoid of hope and happiness. You are not alone, you are valid, and you are loved.
those who have a loved one in the gay community, and simply don’t know how to react. How do you navigate personal conversations? What can you do to help?
Those who do not know a gay person, or have negative biases toward the community. I hope that my story can give you something to ponder.
In addition, I will map out how I found my way through the darkest of times to the place of hope I currently find myself. Lastly, I will unpack my journey to accepting myself as both a gay man and a man of faith, unlearning my inner biases and fears.
My story has not been an easy one to live, nor to tell. This past year, a year of discovery, emotional labor, and finally acceptance has been the hardest year of my life. In a single year I experienced radical change, and I know that you can too. That’s why I’m doing this; that’s why I’m sharing my story. I want to see more people come out of fear, come out of lies, and come into truth. This is a journey, will you come with me?