But have you ever stopped to think about what "coming out" actually means?
Coming out is something that every woman who has loved another woman has had to consider doing. But despite all the time we spend obsessing over it, the term remains largely undefined.
1. Accepting that you are attracted to women (coming out to yourself)
2. Telling people (coming out to others)
3. Actively starting to date women (coming out into the lifestyle.)
4. All of the above?
5. None of the above?
From my work, coaching lesbian and bisexual women, I have found that most of us experience "coming out" in three major ways:
• It's an act (of telling someone)
• it's a process (of adjustment to a new way of dating/relating/living) and
• it's a period of time (during which all these things happen.)
It's epic because it requires us to have the self-awareness, the courage and the audacity to change the course of our lives (away from what's expected) and to say YES to our deepest desires (even while there are so many other forces saying NO to those same desires.)
Coming out is also a unique experience that all of us share collectively, as a community.
The community of "women who like women" is infinitely diverse and nuanced. But the challenge of coming out is one thing that unites us. (Which is why asking someone their coming out story is always a great conversation starter. Everyone has one, and it's an easy way to get personal, if that's what you want.)
The thing about challenges (all challenges) is that they force us to grow. And coming out is no different.
Any time we face an obstacle in life it's up to us to find a way to get through the obstacle. And in getting through the obstacle we learn new skills, new ways of thinking and new ways of behaving. Which is why we're always better off when we get to the other side.
All of us who have "come out" have just a little more resiliency and flare than we ever would have had if we never had feelings for other females.
In the end this challenge is a source of power, rather than a source of shame. And that's an absolute fact even though it might not feel that way while we're going through it.
Now I want to hear from you!
What do you think coming out means?
And in what ways has coming out as lesbian or bisexual helped you grow?
Share your perspective in the comment section below. I want to hear what you think.