Every year around this time, it hits me: the nagging urge to write and post something for the anniversary of my coming out. I’m not sure what to write about, exactly: something deep and meaningful where I’d explore issues politics or identity, or just how I’ve changed and grown in the time since coming out. But that essay kept on not being written, year after year. Maybe it was laziness. Maybe it’s that I always remembered at the last minute, and realized by the time I got my thoughts together and wrote it and posted it, it’d be too late. An essay like that has to be timely. Maybe it’s that queer identity and politics weren’t terribly important to me for a while, so—even though part of me wanted to—I wasn’t actually too inspired to write about the day I “officially” adopted that identity. Besides, why was this milestone any more important than all the others in my life: when I stopped going to church, or moved to Vancouver, or took up Taijiquan, or started playing volleyball again? I didn’t celebrate those anniversaries, after all. Still, this is the first milestone, the one that made all the others possible and drove a lot of my life for years to come. “Every saga has a beginning,” right? (Except my saga doesn’t star Ewan McGregor, although it’s still better written than those crappy prequels. But I digress.)
For a while, though, I did celebrate my coming-out anniversary. Between 1995 and 1997 I made up a ritual that involved going through my diary to sort of get the big picture, see at a glance how much I’d changed. (There was a bit more to it, but I won’t go into details.) Before that, nothing. The 1- and 2-year marks came and went with hardly any mention in my diary; but back then, I was just barely ex-Catholic, and still not big on rituals and spirituality. And no rituals after 1997, for a couple of reasons. One, going through years of diary entries was getting to be too much of a chore. Two, my Pagan-ish spiritual phase was over. Cynicism and skepticism became the thing, and this annual retrospective looked more and more like simple wallowing in the past, pointless navel-gazing (which, granted, is exactly what I’m doing right now. At least now I don’t pretend it’s anything more). Though it had felt important at the time, in hindsight all of this spirituality and pretty symbols and things hadn’t really made a difference in my life. Better to look at my present and future than my past. Better to live my life, and continue my coming out process, than count the days and years since it started. But… it is and always will be an important date to me. As important as my birthday, if not more so. And part of me still needs to celebrate it in some way, however small.
It’s been thirteen years and one day. Happy anniversary to me. I’ve come a long way, baby.