Ash Beckham’s wonderful talk at TEDx Colorado.
All a closet is, is a hard conversation.
“My closet happens to be rainbow. Inside you cant tell what colour the walls are”
Whatever the walls inside your closet look like: inside, alone and with the door closed, it is dark and lonely and we need you on the outside.
Coming out of a closet is hard but there is no “my hard is harder than your hard”, there is only hard.
“Hard is Hard.”
Coming out of your closet
“I’m going to talk to you tonight about coming out of the closet, and not in the traditional sense, not just the gay closet. I think we all have closets.”
Your closet may be telling someone you love her for the first time, or telling someone that you’re pregnant, or telling someone you have cancer, or any of the other hard conversations we have throughout our lives.
Ash goes on to tell the story of the “easiest hard conversation” she ever had, made easy because “Pancake Girl and I, we were both real with each other.”
“My closet is no different than yours. Sure, I’ll give you 100 reasons why coming out of my closet was harder than coming out of yours, but here’s the thing: Hard is not relative. Hard is hard.
We need to stop ranking our hard against everyone else’s hard to make us feel better or worse about our closets and just commiserate on the fact that we all have hard.
At some point in our lives, we all live in closets, and they may feel safe, or at least safer than what lies on the other side of that door.
But I am here to tell you, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live.
So hard conversations are still not my strong suit. Ask anybody I have ever dated. But I’m getting better, and I follow what I like to call the three Pancake Girl principles.
Ash Beckham’s “Three Pancake Girl Principles”
-what it takes to come out of any closet is essentially the same.
1. Be authentic.
- Take the armor off. Be yourself.
- That kid in the cafe had no armor, but I was ready for battle.
- If you want someone to be real with you, they need to know that you bleed too.
2. Be direct.
- Just say it. Rip the Band-Aid off.
- If you know you are gay, just say it.
- If you tell your parents you might be gay, they will hold out hope that this will change. Do not give them that sense of false hope.
3. and most important: Be unapologetic.
- You are speaking your truth. Never apologize for that.
- And some folks may have gotten hurt along the way, so sure, apologize for what you’ve done, but never apologize for who you are.
- And yeah, some folks may be disappointed, but that is on them, not on you. Those are their expectations of who you are, not yours. That is their story, not yours.
- The only story that matters is the one that you want to write.
“So the next time you find yourself in a pitch-black closet clutching your grenade, know we have all been there before.
“And you may feel so very alone, but you are not. And we know it’s hard but we need you out here, no matter what your walls are made of, because I guarantee you there are others peering through the keyholes of their closets looking for the next brave soul to bust a door open, so be that person and show the world that we are bigger than our closets and that a closet is no place for a person to truly live.
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