Opening the Closet Door

I don’t think you ever truly know yourself. Perhaps someone older than me can say otherwise, but who knows. My life has been a constant investigation of two questions: Who am I? and What does that mean?

As an early example, it was in religion that I grew up a devout Catholic. Then at 15 I had a crisis of faith when my dog died. The loss and grief broke me and with no one offering help, I looked inward. Those questions consumed my soul and kept me awake at night. I struggled, lost my faith, and came out the other side realizing I was way different than I thought I was.

In love it was all the same. I had a short, heartbreaking track record. In middle school I had a girlfriend for three weeks but you could hardly call that anything. It was a mutual crush we both decided to label until she was no longer crushing on me. Then in high school, all in senior year, I fell in love. It was unreciprocated and I dealt with it poorly and learned a lot about heartbreak and perseverance.

Following that, months later, I started falling for a new girl. She was different and the affection wasn’t as hard but it too ended with a confession from me, a rejection from her, and a poorly handled heartbreak.

There was certainly a time in my life I felt that I was defined by heartbreak. I felt like I was the quintessential hopeless romantic, emphasis on the hopeless part. Never in any of this did it occur to me to examine my sexuality. I felt strong, powerful feelings for two women. What else was there?

Then in 2007, while performing in a play I met a guy who changed all that.

He was gorgeous. The kind of hot that Abercrombie was made for, which was a coincidence as he had actually worked there at the time. He was easy to talk to and I found myself needing to speak to him during every rehearsal. Days he was not called to a rehearsal just wasn’t the same. As the play went on I realized this was affection. Love or lust, I din’t know, but it was probably a combination of both.

I went to Hawaii at this time with my family and while I was there I tried to enjoy it but I was consumed the entire time thinking about him and about the confusion of having these strong feeling for another man. Never before had these thoughts came to me. I never thought it possible.

Now, I come from a gay friendly family, with a few members in my family actually being gay. I remember my older cousin was the first one I told. We were having lunch with our aunt and she asked how I was. For some reason I said I was doing a play and I had a thing for a ‘person’ in it. She asked questions and I answered, careful to use gender neutral pronouns. Later on in private she asked me if it was a guy and I told the truth. She made it easy for me to say.

Eventually, I got up the courage to ask him on a date and he told me he had a boyfriend.

Of course he did.

It was hard to take, but I was a year out from my high school heartbreaks and experimenting with weed at the time so it was honestly easy to get through.

I decided then and there I was bisexual. Much later on I would realized I mislabeled myself and I was actually Pansexual, defined as having sexual, romantic, or emotional attraction towards people regardless of their sex or gender identity.

I dove in and investigated what this really meant as I started living in the city to finish my theatre degree. It was not just feelings and attraction to one person, it was indeed who I was.

Who am I? Well, I thought I knew but life had a surprise for me. But again, What does this mean?

With this new found realization I toyed with the idea of coming out but I never liked the idea of making a big thing about it. I wasn’t a celebrity and me coming out didn’t seem to hold much effect in the grand scheme of things. I told friends when the occasion presented itself but not my family. It just never seemed like it was important.

The other reason I didn’t tell anyone, was because I had struck out in the relationships department three times in a row and I had no more left in me. As far as serious relationships went, I was just going to focus on graduating college, moving to New York, and building my theatre career.

Then this cute girl from one of my acting classes asked me to see a play and in my head I said “no” but my heart, or perhaps whatever higher power is out there, made me say the words “yes, I’d love to go to the play with you”.

It was December of 2009 and my life would never be the same. I just agreed to go to a play with the woman who, seven years later, would be my wife and three years after that would give birth to my wonderful daughter Molly.

Kim and I didn’t officially start dating until February of 2010 and a month after that I told her just about everything there was to know about me, including who I was in the sexuality department. It was no big deal to her or me, because I was in love with her and only wanted her – so it didn’t matter except bringing us closer together.

It was this reasoning that led me to decide to not come out. Every once in a while she would ask me if I was ever going to. To which I would say no. I was in a monogamous relationship with a wonderful woman I loved dearly. My sexuality was my business and didn’t matter to anyone but me.

But then in 2018 I found out I was going to be a father. In addition to all the normal preparations you go through as a new parent, Kim and I would talk about how we would want to raise Molly. How would we discipline? How would we deal with explaining big first time life issues? For me, I wondered what life she would live. In a post-Trump USA what rights would she have or not have? What discriminations as a woman with a multi racial background would she face?

I honestly still wonder about these things and I know I always will. But one thing both Kim and I knew, was that we wanted her to be fearless and unafraid of being herself. A good thing to impart upon a child, but when you are a man living with a secret that’s not actually a secret but you treat it like it is because it’s easier, that sends the opposite message. I am what I am, proudly, but not out and definitely not loud. So if I come out and define this as who I am to the world, I again ask the question: What does this mean?

When I was a believer I had a higher purpose and now I have one again. Everything I do and everything I want is my family, Kim and Molly (and our dog Lacy as well as any future dogs). That’s why I never moved to New York to focus on my acting career. I was in love and that was more important to me than anything else…and still is.

But as a father, I want to be an example to Molly and any other children I might have. I want them to be, before anything else, unafraid of being authentically themselves. And if I want that for them, I must practice what I preach. There is value in being fully myself, and in a post-Trump America, now more than ever there is value in being counted. To me, that is what it means to me to be out.

I am many things; actor, writer, loving husband and father. And now I add to the list: I am Pansexual and I am proud to be authentically myself both in private and in public.

πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ πŸ’–πŸ’›πŸ’™ πŸ³οΈβ€πŸŒˆ

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