My story of coming out as a lesbian has all the standard elements of many coming out later in life stories.
Tiny glimpses throughout my childhood and teen years of my true self, but me shutting those doors and windows tight. I didn’t want to acknowledge the truth of my reality.
It wasn’t until I was 44 that I was able to truly live in the present moment–and that included the fact that I was a gay woman.
“When you cling to the past or future, you are denying what is sacred about life.” –Phillip Moffitt
What I’ve come to understand about my journey and other women’s journeys I’ve witnessed is this:
You will never have any peace until you stop living in the past or the future, and embrace the present moment.
Let me break this down in terms of how this works when you are hiding your gay self underneath a cloak of straight invisibility: if you are trying to figure out whether or not to leave your marriage and you keep telling yourself, “But we’ve been together for 20 years! It used to be such a great marriage,” you are denying the present reality. You are stuck in a past that is not reflective of your present experience.
Likewise, if you are in the same situation, but spend your days worrying about the future: “Will anyone ever love me again? Will a woman want me and my kids? Can I survive a divorce?” then you are also denying the present. Who knows what will happen tomorrow? No one has any guarantees on that.
But I do know this: if you continue to deny your present reality, you will stay stuck in the same place. Maybe you are okay with that for now. Maybe staying in the past or worrying about the future is a safer place for you than your present. I truly get that because I have lived it.
And there is no one timetable that works for everyone and no perfect solution to this crisis of coming out later in life. If there was, I’d be shouting it from the rooftops!
But I will tell you from my own lived experience:
Embracing the present is a gift (see what I did there? It’s true!)
The past and the future have no answers for me. When I find myself in either of those places, I know I’m going to suffer.
It’s up to you when you decide to accept your present reality. If you’re looking for support in doing that, please send me an email about joining our amazing, secret Facebook support group! We’re in there embracing the present every single day.