Stepping Out of the Shadows
This entry was originally posted as a Note on Facebook on Wednesday, February 15th, 2017. (https://www.facebook.com/notes/aldric-tinker-toyad/stepping-out-of-the-shadows/10154128904455443)
While waiting for my 7pm meeting today, I revisited the first few chapters of Fredrik Eklund’s book, The Sell. Who is Fredrik? He is among New York’s top real estate agent who closed residential real estate worth over US$5 billion. While I am not aiming as high as that [yet], closing a fraction of that in the next 5 years is good.
In his book which I read so far, he made several important points which I posted to both Facebook and Instagram. This is one of those:
…to be successful and happy in life we have to really be ourselves and showcase our true personalities.
These past weeks, I’ve been sharing of how grateful I am for my family, relatives, friends, colleagues, including counterparts, and clients. I am where I am because of them. In my 30-soon-to-be-31 years, they have helped shape my perspectives one way or another. My competitive nature, my like for nice things, my dread for imperfection, my ability to look beyond those present, my skills to network, my capabilities to listen to what is said, how it is said, how it is not said, and many more. Which is why it is hard for me to come draft this note.
Since 2010, I’m slowly moving away from the compartmentalisation-bordering-schizophrenic approach. Frankly, it’s too tiring. Keeping secrets is different; it is the part where I have to maintain a different facade for different circles which is tiring.
Taking into account what a friend said, should I proceed, I need to weigh the options. I have to be ready for the unnecessary obstacles that can appear.
Looking at my past, I have seen how destructive the status quo can be. The most glaring was when I had a major emotional breakdown in my 5th semester of Law School. A failed first relationship triggered major anxiety attacks leading to some form of depression.
What is to say that I won’t be hurt again in the future? There is no guarantee to anything really. All I know is I have to pick myself up each time I fall. The onus is on me to prove that this changes nothing, and I can do better. I also know that this can and will be used against me.
What is it that I want to say?
I’m gay. I like guys.
I know some people may have known without me writing this out. Others may have speculated or gossip about it. Here, I am both accepting and disclosing it.
My thanks to those who I came out to over the years…
There are those who I came out to outside my family over the years. I thank them for understanding and still keeping in touch with me one way or another.
- Azira A. – The first person who I came out to in 2008. Also the person who saw first hand how self-destructive staying in the closet can be for me. At the same time, whom I caused needless suffering per final year project.
- Ahmad Soffian – The second person I came out to in 2008. Yet, still treats me like a brother in spite of it.
- Jonathan Sing Erh – Which I cannot remember anymore when. lol
- Francis Lim – Some time in 2009.
- Nikk Abdillah – Who I came out to in 2009.
- Daphne Annabelle David – While we were at a sudden BBQ by the beach in 2010.
- Timothy Lanchang – In 2011.
- Edd Ardee Abdul Razak – In 2016 during lunch after a PMB event.
- Syed Nizamuddin – At Matsui Premium Outlet last year.
- Aiman Taher – En route from Pian’s wedding last year.
These are friends that I came out to in person, or have long standing friendship with. This list excludes those who I connected through apps first before approving or connecting through Facebook.
What this means…
Coming out is the process through which an LGBT person accepts their sexual orientation or gender identity as part of their overall identity. It not only refers to the process of self acceptance, but also to the act of sharing your identity with others.
- It just means that: I am attracted to guys, and not girls.
- Coming out means that I accept who I am completely. I am not ashamed of my character. More importantly, this acceptance of myself means that a more authentic side can come out.
- Unfortunately, what you see is what you get really. It won’t mean that I would go to clubs and bars each and every night: costly for now + no safety measures in place.
- With this one mental block out of the way, I liberate myself from the unnecessary weight that holds and slows me down.
- Some who know my crush can actually tease me like mad – and they have my implied permission to.
- I will express myself more freely – which I doubt there would be any changes in behaviour.
- I may date a guy eventually. 🙂
What this does not mean…
- It does not mean I need special attention: I’m not a snowflake. Just regard me as how you have all this while. It does not change how I see my duties, obligations, and responsibilities. Coming out gay to me is not a free pass to do anything which jeapordises my surroundings. If anything, you might find me more competitive than before because I have more to prove.
- It does not mean that I will sleep with any and every guy I see – just as heterosexual men won’t sleep with any and every women they see.
- It does not mean that I will share my bedroom experiences and activities in public. If heterosexuals don’t do that, why should I.
- It does not mean that I will jump onto the social justice warrior bandwagon and demand for equal marriage before the law – or civil union – here in Malaysia this instant. My political views remain the same. It may change over time.
- It does not mean I represent the LGBTQ+ community. It is as diverse as any community.
- It does not mean friends, family, and colleagues need to follow my orientation. That is practically impossible.
- It does not mean that I will move away from my monotonous coloured wardrobe. :-p I have difficulty wearing the Lillian Too scarves ‘coz it’s too flamboyant for my liking. And I am a closeted #TeamJoeyYap supporter.
Let’s not be naive. I do expect backlash from this note: Angry or disappointed messages, severance of ties, or distancing and ostracisation. In fact I won’t be surprised that the number of friends on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram would drop. I anticipate an increase in being blocked on the various messaging apps
Yes, I know they cannot accept this. I understand that. I will do my best not to hold it against them. I am still a mere mortal with emotions.
With all that has happened in the past, I usually ask myself “Am I good enough?” I will never be perfect, but it does not mean I should not strive for perfection. Because of this unnecessary obstacle, I will have to work harder to prove to my family, relatives, colleagues, and clients.
There are so much at stake, why take this plunge and make this revelation? Because the status quo has brought me this far, it cannot go further. After all, you can only go so far when you cannot accept yourself.
This is my coming out of the closet. I’ve been in it for too long. It’s suffocating.
Thank you for reading. It’s long. I know.