Monday, January 5, 2009

The Real Me

My friend David and I had a very constructive conversation. I've mentioned him before because he's the only person that knows that I like guys. He came out to me two and half years ago, and I reciprocated that trust last year this time. Since then we've been closer than the two of us ever had.

David was over at my apartment recently [I was making him a cd] and we got to talking. Our talks are usually very constructive and honest. He used to think that I held back, but we've cleared that up. So, we were covering various topics when he decided that we should talk about me. Now, I must say that of all my friends the subject of me rarely comes up. That is intentional. I am very good at keeping people talking, which is probably why they end up telling me things that they would normally keep secret. David knows my technique and refused to let me employ it. He was clever enough to sense when I was trying to lead the conversation from myself. This ended up forcing me to tell him many of the reasons why I over-analyze everything, etc.

It was funny because a few times I answered a question before he had asked it. He was surprised that I knew where he was going next, but I was admittedly even more surprised; not at myself of course, but at the fact that he was prepared to ask what I thought seemed like a very good question, and they weren't linear in the sense that it was logical to come next.

He was very receptive and he had plenty of advice. It was both scary and refreshing to finally be the one that was able to let large amounts of me to spill out. I can't remember having ever done it for anyone. Ever. I told him about all the Me's that I play; and by that I am referring to all of the different "Masks" *AEK* that I wear. The masks don't necessarily signal a complete change in me, but they express the parts of my personality that I repress and the parts that I accentuate in a specific venue. So all of the things that I want people to see in me come out in respect to the setting I am in.

I do think that his perception of me changed. There was a palpable difference in how he viewed me as a person after our conversation. Not pity, but sadness for how much I hide behind these masks. He did encourage me to tell a few of our friends. I declined.

"Thought of the Day"
Does coming out get easier after the first person?

"Pressure" by Paramore


Aek said...

Thanks for referencing my idea. :P But it's such a true thing though! For everyone. Verily, it hides aspects of ourselves while bring other aspects out.

To answer your question, it depends. For me it didn't get easier after the first time. I suppose one could say it got easier in that it too less time to say the words (from like, 3 hours down to 2 hours down to 1.5 hours). But it certainly didn't feel any easier for me. Others' experiences may be vastly different from mine.

For the record, not all masks are for hiding. Some are for focusing. Nice song, btw. :)

Godfrey Off the Grid said...

OMG. I'm the EXACT same way. I'm very good at "listening", but really it's just me keeping my distance and letting the other person feel comfortable enough to keep going and going about themselves without turning the conversation back to ME. It's scary when it does though, because I'm always so unprepared and not used to giving away much of myself. But, like your situation, the people whom I have come out to are the only ones I actually feel comfortable to speak to about myself. It's kind of nice sometimes actually.

exalen said...

"We all wear masks, metaphorically speaking." That's a line from the Jim Carrey movie The Mask that always stuck with me.

I know that the person I need to be at work is different to the person I am at home and with my friends. Sometimes the masks get blurry because it's hard to segregate your life completely.

I don't think it's something to be ashamed of. But if the mask that you're wearing in a certain context is so different from who you are (or who you want to be) then that's probably when you start feeling uncomfortable and realising that you're cheating yourself by not being yourself.

The more valid question is whether you're comfortable with the masks that you wear?

jay.osa said...

coming out does get easer. i think it is more that your are more to be yourself and that is just how it a certen point in your life you want the people that care about you to know you, and other people it dose'nt matter if they know.

PhD Snowboarder said...

I personally think coming out doesn't get easier. I have a great support system and am out to family and certain friends but I find that it doesn't get easier.

As I get older and more mature I find it harder and weird. Maybe because I like black educated men and that's so hard to find out here in Arizona but it seems harder for me.

I wish you the best of luck and maybe it will be easier and different for you.

TNC said...

I too am good at keeping people talking and rarely talk about myself; I consider myself a great listener. It is a good social skill and a strength. People love talking about themselves. However, I hid behind this strength and wore it as a mask of sorts. And I would get uncomfortable when more than the normal attention turned to me.

Along my new journey, I am slowly talking more about myself, sharing my life with others, opening up more, and feeling so good about it! But I have to admit that it takes some adjusting to this intense focus on me.

It's like, finally, we can share ourselves and our lives with others and let them in at whatever pace is most comfortable.