Recloseted

posted 16 April 2002

I had forgotten what it was like to be closeted. I had forgotten, for a while, the motivation which had overcome even my greatest fears and my worst paranoia, back then, to tell people I was gay. I'd grown accustomed to the too-easy company of my friends, the way coming out to the latest person had just become an amusing game, which I'd promised to myself it would never be.

I remember now the pain and the frustration and the constant nagging feelings of inferiority which drove me so close to tears and worse time and again before the bubble of friends had grown large enough to be constantly comfortable. I'd forgotten the way the guilt rises unbidden in your mind at every mention of the same sex and pools in your head, literally weighing you down. The genuinely painful feeling of gazing at a gorgeous man while pretending to be looking elsewhere. The way of being constantly vigilant for suspicious glances from him and others, of watching yourself for a telltale gesture or a too-long glance in the long direction. Also the insidious feelings of shame when you lie and look embarrassed at the most innocent question from another about the direction of your affections, even though intellectually you know it is their fault and not yours that keeps them from knowing the truth. The literally claustrophobic sensations when the conversation turns to areas in which your knowledge is unKnowledge, facts you shouldn't know and can't tell, experiences you can't talk about, opinions you cannot back up without giving yourself away. I'd forgotten the way frustration becomes an oil that thickens the air and impedes your movement and chokes the vitality slowly out of you, like drowning in thick fog.

I feel now, briefly recloseted by a boatload of ignorants, exactly as I felt more than a year ago when nobody knew. It's as if my months of depression had never happened, the constant affirmations had gone unnoticed, the wonder of acceptance had never been experienced. The affirmation has to KEEP happening. In order to feel truly normal, or at least stable, you need tacit acceptance every day, and no amount of internal affirmation and self-acceptance will do.

This is not true, of course, for every condition. But in the specific case of homosexuality, the influences are all negative, the assumptions ALL lie in the opposite direction, there is not just a lack of acceptance to pull you into society but a measure of intolerance pushing you out of it at every second. And now that I have been out, I cannot remember how I ever managed being "in". It is an abhorrent, degrading experience to deny yourself at any time the feelings and expressions which the majority of humanity takes for granted so often. Which is why as soon as I am able I will out myself further, I will help others out themselves, I will fight with every weapon I can find the forces which keep the closets closed. I will not have myself recloseted again until they shut my coffin's lid.


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