Coming out.

Hi.  Eren here.

So, last weekend I came out to my parents.  (Not this weekend that just passed, but the one before that. The 16th and 17th.)  This was a huge deal for me, especially given my anxiety issues and all the horror coming out stories I’ve heard or read online.  Fear of how my family would react is one of the things that drove me to make excuses, keep in denial; keep in the closet for as long as I did.  I’d already come out to my big sister and brother, but Mom and Dad were a whole different matter – I’ve historically been much more concerned with making Mom and Dad proud of me than I have my siblings, after all.

That’s on me, though, not them.  It was the fear that was messing with me – probably compounded by my general issues with anxiety, particularly social anxiety.  And keeping in the closet and willful denial definately helped feed and prolong my depressive cycles.

Anyway, I’d built coming out to my folks into this really big thing in my head.  I did my best to temper it with realism: to tell myself that the worst case reaction was unlikely; that they’d probably be shocked and need time to sort through it before we could really talk at all – that even a bad reaction was more likely to be reflexive than meaningful.

I wasn’t going into that conversation with the intention of being defensive.  I had no desire to turn a shocked reaction into a fight that would make any further conversation on the matter harder.  But I was expecting to have to be stoic; to have to shoulder some hurt without taking offense; to have to be strong enough to stand up and state the facts without being argumentative.

And, as it turns out, all that buildup was unnecessary.

I have been insanely lucky in the amount of support and understanding I’ve received from the people around me.  This unreasonable luck extended to my parents.

I’ve spent my life terrified of disappointing them – desperate to meet what I imagined where their expectations of me.  I’ve known that what I thought their expectations were and what they actually were probably weren’t the same.  And I’m aware that I should be less concerned with with what other people think of me, just in general.  I still have problems with both of these things.  Not as much as I did before, but the mindsets that lead me to worry about other people’s opinions and expectations of me are still pretty ingrained from when my anxiety was more rampant.

My parents were non-judgmental.  They were supportive. When I explained that I’d been worried about how they’d react, my mom pointed out that this was something I didn’t have control over and so it would be unreasonable of them to be upset with me over it – it wasn’t a choice, it was a fact of life.  That’s something I expected to have to explain.

Coming out went really, really well.  There was none of the blow back – unintentional or otherwise – that I’d been braced to cope with.

For the past week, though, I’ve been really directionless.  I’d been gearing up for a very, very long time to do something I’d thought would be hard, only to meet no resistance.  It’s weird, but I’m still a little adrift now.

The big thing I’d been focusing on – coming out to my folks – is done.  I was expecting to have to struggle with something coming out of that… but I don’t.

I used to use my anxiety to fuel my productivity.  That didn’t work well – I would need to de-stress so badly that I would end up spending hours in escapist pursuits so I could disassociate from the things that I knew I just had to do.  And then I would get guilty and depressed about not doing enough.  It was a pretty bad cycle.

Since getting on my anti-anxiety/depression med, that’s been both less of a problem and less of an option.  Instead, I think I started channeling my tension over coming out.  I didn’t need to escape anymore – so to keep my mind occupied with something more useful than worrying about my parents’ reactions, I was free to choose to write or draw instead of read or game.

Now that tension is gone, and I don’t have anything to replace it.  Everything I have left for my transition is pretty long term – either it takes a long time (HRT) or costs a lot of money that I haven’t been able to save up yet (surgeries, body/facial hair removal treatment, etc).

I don’t really think that’s a bad hing, except that now I find myself struggling with self motivation.  I’ve always been driven by some perceived or imagined problem.  I never really learn to motivate myself because I always had fear, anxiety or worry snapping at my heels.  I’ve also never really learned to self-impose moderation.  I’ve either had the manic need to do everything, or I’ve been sequestered away in some form of binge escapism.

So that’s where I am now: trying to figure out how to motivate myself because I want something rather than because I’m worried about something.  Trying to get energized without relying on a broken fight or flight response – or a manic episode.  And trying to figure out how to enjoy myself without getting so absorbed in a book or game that I can’t make myself put it down.

Anyway, yeah: I’ve been feeling a little adrift.  Not necessarily in a bad way, except I’m falling back on past escapist behaviors out of sheer habit.  But I’m really relieved things have gone so well with my family.  And I feel like I should have more agency to make choices and pursue my goals effectively – provided I can break free of my bad habits and find a healthy way to get myself motivated.  All in all, things are good.  Different from what I’m used to.  strange, and I’m still adjusting.  But good.

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