Someone’s Blog Made Me Come Out of the Closet – For Real

Gentle Readers,

I had the pleasure of meeting Tanja and Mark from www.ournextlife.com this weekend and it was a blast. If you ever get the chance to share space in a bar with them, I would definitely recommend it. Double-points for a bar with good cider options to go along with the dark beer I love.

There were a ton of local PF/FIRE bloggers and folks who enjoy reading said blogs. I confessed repeatedly that my blog is extremely personal. It is the height of navel-gazing. Its sole purpose is to help me navigate out of debt on the way to FIRE. I sometimes write about more broad personal finance topics, or homophobia, but most weeks, I only have the capacity to post my net worth numbers. It is basically a public diary with myself. I love that people read what I write and encourage me, but I honestly do this for myself and am not entirely sure what others get out of this. Even if you did not read this, I would probably keep writing this. It is a space for me to learn and grow.

I was reminded this weekend that blogs have had an immense impact on my life. Even navel-gazing ones that are “too personal.” I came out of the closet very late in life, and I did it because of a blog. There were good reasons for staying in the closet having to do with my own safety. But, eventually, that changed. I did not anticipate it changing. I actively worked against it changing. But change it did.

In my mid-twenties, I was in grad school in a new city for me; this was a miserable and expensive time in my life. Part of the misery was how sexist my particular school was. I sought refuge with other feminists, and found many of them online. I was looking for like-minded folks to reassure me that there was good in the world, and that this situation would pass. That I was not wrong for wanting women to be treated as equals.

I found someone. She lived in my city and went to a nearby school in a similar program. She was older than me and fierce and feminist and very queer. We began communicating through her blog about our hatred of the kyriarchy (it’s like the patriarchy, but includes all the ways that people are marginalized) and our love of full-fat food. We were soon sending each other long, personal emails about everything in our histories and lives. It was intense and beautiful.

At the time, I was a Christian. My response to some very dangerous homophobia I experienced earlier in life was to try to conform to the religion of my parents. For many years, it worked. As a good Christian woman of a particular type, I could not be expected to date wily-nily. I was able to avoid the question of why I did not desire men by being a good religious observer. There could be no sexual intimacy without marriage. I was safe.

Except that the religion I was part of was not good for me as a woman or a lesbian or someone who cared about the world. It hurt my soul. But it provided cover for my closet. I was miserable, but I felt safe-ish.

But this blogger changed that. She wrote about feminism and sexual violence and what music she loved. I fell for her before I even met her. She told me she loved me over email before we had hugged. She loved me as a friend, but my brain ignored that tiny fact.

I knew I was in dangerous territory. I knew that she could see right through me. I knew that she knew how much I wanted the freedom she had. How much I wanted to be with her. I also knew that nothing could make us be together. She had no interest in me and I couldn’t even write the words “I’m a lesbian” without panicking.

Even still. I read her blog. I saw what possibilities life could have through her posts about Mad Men.

And I jumped.

I finally said out loud that I was a lesbian.

I lied and told her that I never knew before and that my particular brand of religion hadn’t impacted my closet.

She knew I lied. I could not hide how much I wanted her life.

We were only friends for that summer. While it did not feel like it at the time, she mercifully stopped being my friend shortly thereafter. I was bereft. I had to look at myself and go for what I wanted. I had to tell people. I had to pursue people who were kinder than she could ever be. I had to figure out what life out of the closet felt like.

I cried a lot that summer. To my brother. To my erstwhile best friend. To tertiary friends from college who helped me plan to come out to our far more conservative Christian friends. To anyone who would listen.

But then, eventually, I stopped crying. I was excited to be living life truly for the first time. My classmates noticed a change in me and were actually much better to me as an out lesbian. I was happier and folks were happy for me. It was beautiful, but I had a lot to learn about HOW to date. My roommates helped me set up dating profiles and even went to crappy lesbian bars with me when I was too afraid to go alone. They listened to me kvetch. They helped me pick out outfits. They were wonderful.

All of this happened because of someone’s niche blog about feminism and music. I fully intended to remain closeted my entire life. But a glimpse into someone’s personal truth changed everything about how I live.

So I’m glad you read this navel-gazing blog about my money situation. I hope that something here is what you need to read. I hope that you can live life on your terms.

Has a blog ever impacted you like this?

 

Author: ZJ Thorne

Lesbian on the path to Financial Freedom

  • Mr. Groovy

    Hey, ZJ. Sorry it’s been such a long time. And I’m pissed. After reading this post I was reminded why I was drawn to your blog in the first place. I love your story, your battles, and your niche. And I’m jealous as all hell that you got to meet Tanja and Mark. I’m sure it was a blast. Anyway, thank you for this wonderful post. I’ll try not to be such a poor correspondent in the future. Cheers.

    • Thanks, Mr. G! Life happens and gets in the way, but you should absolutely be jealous that I met Tanja and Mark. They are delightful. Hope retirement is treating you well.

  • Wow, thanks for the reminder about how important navel-gazing posts can be for other people. It shouldn’t just be how-to advice, but the personal stuff about the journey too. I was inspired to fix our finances by reading blogs and I truly hope that others have found a new path by reading my words.

    You should write a book about your life someday. I would read it <3

    • The journey is very nice to read about. The humanity behind people’s decision-making is far more elucidating than the decision itself many times.

      I will. I have a title ready. Just need to make the time and emotional space to do it. I’m honored to think you would find it interesting.