Monday, August 13, 2012

Coming Out…in a Literary Sense

Although the phrase "coming out" is usually reserved for topics of a more sexual nature, telling the parents who expect their cute baby to become a brain surgeon that said child loves a good word processor more than a scalpel is a demon all its own. No less slavering and vicious, just different.

For those of you who have never met this demon, congratulations on drawing the long straw. For everyone else, as a newly branded member of the fold, you have my condolences.

That shit is scary, and it stings.

As of yesterday, I officially told everyone in my life--at least the ones I felt I needed to tell--that the scientist they'd been expecting to bloom all through my six years of college was, in fact, a writer in disguise. As usual, I saved the hardest for last. Leftover mentality from my test-taking years.

The emotional upheaval and flailing preceding the confession probably won't go down as part of my best moments. But I did it. I made my confession.

Now, I can only speak for myself, but I expected a reaction to my revelation. Acceptance. Rejection. Something. Anything. And being a dramatic sort of soul, I didn't imagine a subtle version. I imagined the sort of acceptance that would make me feel like I could write anything. I also imagined a rejection that sent me to the page eager to burn off the righteous fury boiling through my circulatory system.

I got neither of those things.

For all the tears and angst, I got apathy. And not even the kind that offers up a partial acceptance, a "whatever makes you happy" kind of acceptance. No. The kind I received resonated with an unspoken "so what?" It asked why I thought anyone would care and demanded to know why I felt I had to share. The kind of apathy that leaves a person feeling ashamed for having confided in another.

And it stings, burns all the way down into the most squishy parts.

But it's down with all that painful stuff that you find the answer to that "why" question posed by the apathy. It's the same reason that drew you to follow the path of your dreams. Because you had to.

You shared because you had to share. It's part of the commitment you made to yourself to be who you are. When you share, you introduce your calling. And in doing so, you make it impossible to ignore or overshadow with the more sensible pursuit they'd rather have for you.

So share what you love. Share what drives you, what gets your engine moving. Maybe doing so will inspire someone else to do the same.