Be True To Yourself For National Coming Out Day 2021
“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who matter don’t mind and those who mind don’t matter.” — Dr. Seuss
On October 11, the annual observance of National Coming Out Day is celebrated by the LGBT+ community and its allies.
Since 1988, National Coming Out Day has been observed as a day of support for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people who choose to “come out” and publicly disclose their sexual and/or gender identities.
The foundation for National Coming Out Day is built on the idea that when people hide their truths, it not only causes them pain and distress, sometimes to the point of suicide—it also enables others around them to perpetuate stereotypes, prejudices, hatred, and discrimination.
Unfortunately, coming out does not always go smoothly for everyone. There can be public and private repercussions as a result of taking a public stand for one’s whole self.
- There is a chance that some people will lose friends and family.
- Others may lose their jobs or be forced out of their professional positions.
- Some teens will be kicked out of their homes.
- And in extreme cases, some people even lose their lives.
But, feeling like we have to deceive everyone about something as personal as who we are can eat away at our confidence AND our souls.
Denying our true selves around those we should feel the closest to can also bring on feelings of anxiety, depression and isolation.
“The closet does have a benefit. It provides safety. Which at times is important. But remember, as long as you are in there, two other things will be too. Fear and shame.” — Anthony Venn Brown
It’s hoped that one of the results of people setting themselves free by coming out and being their authentic selves is that others will recognize that someone they love is a part of the LGBT community. That pervasive myth of “I don’t know any gay/bisexual/transgender people,” becomes harder to perpetuate.
And when that fiction falls apart, it is more likely that any oppressive opinions and fears generated by the false dividing up of humanity into camps of us and them will also fall apart. Because the truth is, for all of the many ways we are distinct as individuals, underneath it all, we are much more similar than not.
And as a gay man, I know first hand how debilitating it was when I felt like I was living two lives … and how intensely that affected my self esteem.
They say that we are only as sick as our secrets and I’ve always interpreted that to mean that I’m only as miserable or am suffering in the way that I am BECAUSE I’m holding something in that needs to be expressed and out in the open.
Certainly for me, telling the truth about who I am, and owning my whole self, has done wonders for my mental health… even when there have been consequences as a result of those disclosures.
But those consequences, as upsetting as they may be, have always been easier to walk through than carrying around the shame of lying or hiding.
And once I stopped lying to myself, it became much easier to stop lying to other people.
Freeing Ourselves From Our Secrets
Now, of course not everyone needs to come out of the closet about something as personal as their public identity, but most of us have lived with secrets at one point in our lives.
And secrets poison our lives, slowly and methodically.
They eat away at our sense of self-worth.
Surprisingly, it doesn’t matter if we have been hiding secrets about the state of our lives or the state of our homes. Living with any secret that fosters shame can damage our hearts and minds.
And healing is healing, regardless of what you are healing from.
So, as a way to observe National Coming Out Day, whether you’re a member of the LGBT community, an ally or a passive onlooker, why not take this moment to examine what (else) you might be hiding from the world that could set you free?
As a professional organizer, every day I help my clients and students to set themselves free from the clutter that crowds their lives and homes.
Has clutter taken over your home? Has it limited your ability to connect with the people you love?
Have you stopped having people over or made arrangements to meet them out somewhere to avoid making excuses for the state of your home OR scrambling around trying to shove everything into a bag or a tub and hide it from sight?
It can be insidious the way clutter and hiding worms their way into our lives, and the first compromises they require may seem completely reasonable or not that big of a deal.
And that’s a slippery slope.
Because so often those bags and tubs never get emptied—they get buried under OTHER bags and tubs.
And the worst consequence doesn’t happen when we hide our clutter from our closest friends and family—it’s when we try to hide the clutter from ourselves or just surrender to the lie that we have to live with it … that there’s no other solution.
They also say it takes a village to raise a child … and we can take that a step further and say it takes a village to do anything significant.
Certainly in my life, the biggest and best things that have happened involved the support and care of other people.
No matter how independent I am, or think I am, my life is richer and better because of the people who love me and who I’m vulnerable enough with to let them see all of me.
So, if clutter and disorganization are challenges for you and they are challenges you struggle with alone, maybe this year, this day, you can break free from that experience.
I can’t say you won’t ever get beyond your clutter if you don’t open up to others about it—what I do know is you will move through it MUCH FASTER with others helping … or even knowing what you’re dealing with and supporting you from the sidelines.
Because you’ll never be free to truly live your perfect life with anything, including clutter, hidden away in dark, forbidden places.
Clutter, and by extension, any secret, will always win until we take back ownership of who we are and what we value.
This is just another way that we get to clearly see that clutter is not the problem—how we think about, feel about and interact with clutter are our problems.
So let’s take another step forward on our path to true and unrestricted freedom by shining a spotlight on those secrets that used to hold us hostage and keep us alienated from our friends, family and neighbors.
Whether that’s acknowledging a core part of who you are OR a pile of stuff hidden behind a different closet door, it’s an act of liberation to stand tall and tell your truth.
The Bottom Line
Most of us do not see how much control our secrets hold over us until we recognize all the ways they have been eating away at our physical, emotional and mental health along with our personal relationships.
And when any of those secrets involves clutter, it is easy to minimize its impact until that moment when you realize that your STUFF is controlling you.
But, it doesn’t have to be that way.
You can take the first step by stopping any of the [200 lies] you’ve been telling yourself and anyone else close to you about what’s really going on and what you’re prepared to do about it.
If you have made it this far into this article, hopefully you ARE ready to stop deceiving yourself and you are tired of hiding.
You don’t need to drown in clutter and you definitely don’t need to waste valuable time that you can never get back—and the good news is, you do not have to take that step ALONE.
Whether you join our free community on Facebook, sign up for one of our classes or our signature 10-week program ... or just tell a friend over coffee, any movement forward is forward.