Does anyone really know how to come out of the closet?

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Answered by: Courtney Barbara, An Expert in the Coming Out Category
How to Come Out:

It's been six years since l came out of the closet, but I can still remember the ceaseless feeling of dread that underscored the entire process. Being a teenager is rough on anyone--does anyone really "know what they're doing" in high school? I've found the answer to be no, absolutely no one looking back can remember why they wore the clothes they wore, or watched the shows they watched, or hung out with the people they hung out with, other than a desperate need to fit in at all costs. Being a teenager is glorious, blissful confusion, a time period made all the more awkward if, like me, you struggled with your sexuality. Emphasis on the word struggle, because this is not everyone's experience. Everyone knew that one, rare teenager who was so unabashedly themselves that it was intoxicating to be around them. People who manage to raise your self esteem just by demonstrating theirs are lucky people indeed; to give not one care in the world what others think of you, or your sexuality is a gift.

But this was high school. And most others, like myself, were not so lucky. I know I'm not alone in feeling that I, for some strange reason, absolutely craved the approval of my peers when I was a teenager. It wasn't so much that I was afraid to damage my relationships with them by telling them I was gay, I was afraid those relationships would cease to exist at all. It is said that coming out of the closet is a mourning process of sorts, for you as well as the people around you. A bittersweet farewell to the person you thought you were, or wanted to be, or at least wanted to convince other people you were. And even though you know in your heart that what lies outside of the closet is so much sweeter than the darkness inside it, goodbyes are always difficult, especially when you're young.So is there ever really a good time come out of the closet? Perhaps the question of whether or not there is a bad time to come out would shed more light on the issue. and the answer to that is no. There is never a bad time to be honest about who you are, no matter how flinch-worthy the consequences may seem. Consider the alternative: living your life as two different people. When your thoughts don't match your words and your words don't match your actions...well, you don't have to be gay to know how self-consciously claustrophobic that feels. Committing to relationships that have nothing to do with what you really want, and committing to a persona that has nothing to do with who you really are can cause many a sleepless night indeed.

So is there ever really a good time to come out or not? Okay, I'll tell you. Do it when you're young, before you get use to the feeling of faking it. Tell the people you love and start slow, with only the people you know you can trust. Know that whatever anyone's reaction may be, it has more to do with who they are than with who you are. So own it, and live your life as the ideal version of yourself, and that starts with living in honesty. This is how to come out of the closet. Don't look back. You'll be thanking yourself for your courage in the very near future. Trust me.

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