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a big day
my coming out story
Twelve years ago today1 I realized I was queer, came out, left my husband and ran to tell Danielle I did it because I thought she was hot. It was summer solstice, the longest day of the year, and good thing: I was in the work of changing my life and needed all the light I could get.
I’ve been telling this story for years and when I do I sweat, talking faster and louder the longer I go on: “and she was like, ‘so I guess you can’t be [my kids’] godparent anymore’” and “so they said I would no longer be considered for the job! because gay!” and “then he outed us after we specifically said, ‘don’t tell them’” and “she told her that I wasn’t really gay and was just doing this for attention” and “she was really nice about it, which made sense since we’d been such good friends for years, but—to this day—I haven’t heard from her since” and “then we were uninvited to Christmas” and “we left in the middle of the night to be safe” and “so I just deleted my Facebook.”
That day dealt me a full hand of stories, but one has, for years, sat on top of the deck: all that I lost. Even though I gained my self and my love, the harsh cracking open of my life injured me and I could no longer enjoy things. We rode off into the sunset where it was becoming night and stayed dark for years.
Now, all of this is in the past and it feels like it. It’s high noon on summer solstice 2023, the light is dappling the deck like a disco ball, and our little dog Miko is throwing her head back, singing about it. Already twice today Danielle and I have laughed so hard I was suspended, waiting for my breath to come back. I haven’t had a panic attack in nearly two weeks and even longer to the one before that. I make a living painting pictures about being gay.
This is not a story of before and after. This is a solstice story: about the change that has happened and the change that is coming. Tomorrow, the day will be shorter, the deck will shuffle, and all the cards will still be in there. Healing is not about cutting up the ones that break our hearts, but loosening our survival grip enough to let other cards take their turn on top.
Queer joy and queer grief aren’t abstract things, but the details of our lives, happening now, and then, now. All we have lost and all we have gained are each big enough to fill up a whole life.
So we must become bigger, to contain two entire truths.
Happy solstice friends (a day late, now!) and happy Pride. May your heart and mind and body be huge and absolutely full of your whole self.
ps. the solstice sticker above is what I made for June Patreon members. If you’d like one, join a tier that includes a sticker reward by CLICKING HERE.
I wrote this yesterday, and then had something come up so wasn’t able to send it out. Hope you enjoy a solstice letter a day late!