My Progress!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

National Coming Out Day



I have been busy this weekend getting an album together for an auction that will benefit the Straight Spouse Network. It is the 10th anniversary of our annual get together in Florida. I had hoped to go myself, but you know what my finances are like at the moment and if I had any money at all I’d be taking Tanner to visit my grandfather. That doesn’t look like it is going to happen anytime soon either :(

It is kind of ironic that the album I’m working on will benefit SSN and is the first real scrapbooking project I’ve worked on since disclosure (learning that my husband was gay). When I was packing up my stuff to move out on my own with Tanner, I knew I wouldn’t be pulling out my scrapbooking supplies anytime soon. At the time, I didn’t think I was ever going to be able to work on my own albums again. The thought of looking through all of our family photos and trying to scrap happier times (when I thought the biggest problem in our marriage was my weight) just crippled me with grief.

To be honest, going through some of the boxes has brought up some of those old feelings again…the feeling of loss, the realization that while I may eventually meet someone else and maybe even get married, I will never know what it is like to grow old with the person I started my adult life with. The good thing is, even though they brought a few tears, the feelings are mere echoes of what they once were. There is still grief, but there is acceptance as well. There is also gratitude that I have been able to forge a relationship with my husband (we are still technically married) that, in many ways, is better than what it was when we were living as man and wife. I suppose it’s because he is finally able to be 100% (or as close to 100% as anyone can ever really get) honest with me.

This year will mark our 15th anniversary; our anniversary is December 31st, but of course we really don’t celebrate it anymore. I think if we were ever asked, we would probably say we were “married” for 13 years instead of whatever it will be when we finally make it legal.

Erik has commented several times that he is concerned that his living here is holding me back. I really don’t know if it is or not. There is a certain level of comfort that comes with having a companion here with me if nothing else. I thought about it the other day…If I didn’t have him here, would I be trying harder to get myself back into shape for the eventuality that I might put myself back “out there?” I mean, I’m definitely a lot more comfortable being my own company than I was when I was in my 20’s, but I wonder if I would be as satisfied if I had to spend every evening on my own. I really can’t answer that question.

At the moment, I have absolutely no desire to date; I don’t even miss sex. I am guessing that this may be partly because of the meds I’m on and partly because I don’t feel the least bit sexy. As I’ve said before, I really don’t want to get involved with anyone else until Tanner is at least 18. Both Erik and I have more than enough on our plate to be worrying about trying to cultivate and nurture a new relationship.

Anyway, back to the album I’m working on. The auction is going to be held one of the first nights of the get together and it is going to be fellow str8s bidding on the items. I decided to make an album that someone could use to hold pictures from the actual gathering and will title it “Familee.” We use the word “Familee” to describe those of us who have found our way to the SSN. Upon disclosure, many of us feel incredibly isolated and alone. Many times our spouses are still in the closet which means we have a hard time reaching out to our “real” family. We are essentially forced to walk into our spouse’s closet, and close the door behind us. When we emerge, we have to don the same mask our spouse has worn their entire life. We have to smile and act as if there is nothing wrong even as we feel what was once a stable foundation crumbling beneath our feet. When we find SSN, we are embraced by others who have walked our path, shared our journey, felt our pain and it truly is like coming home. I have met some of the most wonderful people through the Straight Spouse Network. Many of them, including Amity Buxton herself (the author of the book “The Other Side of the Closet” and founder of the SSN) called me personally to talk me through the darkest hours. Others reached out in other ways supporting me in ways my family and friends couldn’t. I honestly don’t think I would have come through it all as well as I have without them or SSN.

At the moment, SSN is struggling financially. I know many of you probably have your own charities you support and if you are anything like me, you are struggling to donate at all this year, but I wanted to note a few ways you could painlessly support the SSN and encourage the wonderful work they do every single day for people like myself. You can help support SSN by using Goodsearch and designating them as your charity. If you purchase from Amazon, visit their website, page all the way down to the bottom and click through to Amazon. Any order you place through their link will contribute money to their fundraising efforts. You can also use igive in much the same way. If you have an older vehicle that isn’t going to bring much at trade in, consider donating it (link also on the SSN website) and request that the proceeds go to SSN.

Today is National Coming Out day. If you are in the closet please consider coming out to your friends and family. You owe it to yourself and to those that love or will love you in the future to be honest; with them and with yourself. If you know someone in the closet, be the support they need as they take those first frightening steps out of the darkness.

Thanks for reading xx

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10 Comments:

karen said...

I had decided to wait to date till I was done raising my son . Well now I am caring for my mom full time. So that plan went sour. Just don't say No to anyone thinking you don't have time for that. No one ever ask me out that I really wanted to go out with . But now I am never any where for someone to ask me out. Keep your options open. And Good luck.

cmoursler said...

Live your life now...you know, just cause eric is a roommate doesn't mean you can't get divorced and still be roommates. And that might move you forward to finding a new relationship, (and encourage you to lose weight) while both of you still have companionship, equal access to your son and the ability to live in a house you already have. It may sound like a bad sitcom plot, but if you guys are friends, are amenable..what could the problem be?

Anonymous said...

Michelle,

Great blog ! Please don't shut yourself off from dating or meeting someone. I agree with everything C Moursler said and I think some man out there needs your sense of humor and your wit added to his life !! I don't have a google account so I'll sign off as anonymous.
Lori

Shhh said...

You are such a good person, you know that? I admire the hell outta you.

Anonymous said...

I saw this yesterday night, National Coming Out. How do you come out if you're not sure you're in the closet? I spent most of my weekend on eggshells around my suspected gay husband. email me please, licktwix@gmail.com

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Fat[free]Me said...

What an interesting post - I hadn't realised about your situation before and just wanted to drop you a note to commiserate with you over the old photo albums. I still can't look at mine from my near 20-year marriage. And also to say that when the time feels right to you, you will enjoy dating and sex again, it took me 5 years after we separated before I got back in the saddle, but I think I was exceptionally slow, lol!

Judy Harper said...

I know you made mention of Erik, but I wasn't for sure. I once had a friend say that she thought she could have handled her husband having an affair with her best friend rather than another man. I know you're going through some rough times. I read your posts and come away wondering how you do it. Words sometimes can't express what a person wants to say, but continue to hang in there.

danelover said...

Hey, I've wanted to leave a comment on here for a long time.

Sometimes you say that you are "whining" or apologize for writing a negative entry, you have nothing to apologize for !

You are handling more stress, more fears and more bad luck than most people ever will.

Please, please take care of yourself! You deserve love and much more respect than you are giving yourself.lo

Val said...

What an awesome post. My paternal grandfather was gay, and I wish so much my grandma would have had a support group like this. She felt so alone and isolated :(

Keep up the good work woman!! :)