Those of you who follow me on Twitter may have read a series of posts I wrote a few months ago on the issue of coming out to my friends from home who I met through my (pretty conservative Evangelical) church. While I haven’t stayed in touch with all of them, there is a core group that I was very close to in high school and I enjoy keeping up with them from a distance- their baby pictures and family vacations and even the occasional political debate.
But, out of fear that they would shun me or de-friend me or…. I don’t even know, to be honest… I’ve kept them in a segregated list away from posts about the Lady or our life together. Our vacation pictures and updates about fun things we’ve done and the day-to-day inanity of Facebook updates has been hidden from them. Because I was scared. Scared that somehow my happiness would be something that they couldn’t love about me. Out of my own twisted fear that the same beliefs we shared as teenagers weren’t big enough for our changing lives as adults.
But today, after relentless doubt and debate with myself and some deep breaths, I sent them a message. I sent each one individually, for privacy’s sake, but the message was clear. You are my friend. I have hidden this from you, because of my own insecurity. I want you to know that I am loved. And I hope that we can still be friends. (And as a side note, I can be your friend whichever party you vote for or whether you eat at Chick-fil-A, because I believe people are more important than all of that insanity which has overwhelmed my Facebook feed for weeks).
And….. they replied. They replied with apologies if they have ever said anything that would make me believe they couldn’t love me no matter what. They replied that while their beliefs were clear, that didn’t mean that they were not themselves imperfect. They shared stories of friends from college and asked questions or for permission to ask to questions later. One even said that she had known (from this blog) but had chosen to respect that I never mentioned it on Facebook and let me tell her personally on my own schedule. Every single one (so far) has replied with love and acceptance and words that brought tears to my eyes or made me laugh.
It’s been a roller coaster of a day, and I’m still processing it a bit. Something I stressed about and cried about and worried over for months is done. I took a chance that people who have loved me for years (without knowing) could continue to do so. I had the courage to let them love me. And they had the courage to love me back.