One of the consequences of living my life in the closet is being only tenuously connected, at best, with my true self. I’ve written about this before, but usually only in “theory.” Recently, however, I’ve felt this lack of connection very keenly, as it has affected my social functionality in general and my relationships with friends in particular.
Sometimes I feel really in-tune with what is happening around me and I’m confident and happy. At other times, I feel like I’m in a centrifuge and I am out there on the edge of a whirlwind, disconnected from what is happening at my core and trying to understand and reconnect. It's a weird feeling; and I feel sorry for those around me who never know where I'm “at.” But if it's any solace at all to them, I don't know where I'm “at” most of the time.
I frankly don't like feeling disconnected from myself. I've spent most of my life encased in a false persona, and my primary goal for this next phase of my life is to be truly one with who I really am. Therefore, I get frustrated when I feel so disconnected. It's like I truly want to make my way back to the core of the centrifuge, but the circumstances of my life that are whirling around at a billion miles per hour seem to keep forcing me away. Sometimes I think all of this would all be so much easier if I raised goats on a mountaintop in northern California or something.
I guess that's why writing is so crucial and helpful to me. It, more than anything, allows me to make contact with my "core." But I also need to learn to do this in my relationships with those close to me. This is something I'm know I will have to work on. I guess I'm just now realizing that being in the closet for all of my adult life has trained me to put up barriers. With my wife, for example: in what should have been the most intimate relationship of my life, she never knew the real me, nor did I ever reveal that person to her. I learned to be guarded, not only with her, but also with myself. Or, as a friend put it, I lived in a closet within a closet.
Learning to overcome those barriers to intimacy and communication is a process that I am struggling with. Particularly in social situations, I feel sometimes like an awkward young (straight) adolescent out on a dance floor with a girl: nervous, unsure of himself, extremely self-conscious. I believe that, with the passage of time, I will become more confident, more sure of myself, more comfortable, more at peace. Right now, however, to be honest, I think I'm a long way from that point; which, I'm sure, causes frustration in those close to me. It also causes frustration in me. And, sometimes, when life gets too intense, I guess I just need to go and watch some old “I Love Lucy” shows .