Updated: Sep 19, 2021
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep and miles to go before I sleep. And miles to go before I sleep."
With this rhyme resounding in my mind each and every time I ruminate on the very existence of my being, I pull on. These words are terse and definitive of my journey… 33 years filled with bumps and hurdles, rainbows and pots of joy alike. My woods are where I know who I am and emerging from them is hard, to put it in one word. And so it began! The epic moment in a homosexual’s life: coming out. Only it is hardly a moment, more a lifetime. Yet exhilarating, liberating and yes, suffocating as well.
Let me take you back to 2015 when I had decided that I would execute my plan come what may, after years of toying with the idea and failing due to lack of courage, wrong timing and emotional upheavals. That day, however, was D-day with my father’s surgery being the major catalyst, leading me to believe that time has its own game to play and we are all but mere pawns. So I seized time, and the opportunity played itself out well.
Well, almost. You see, my coming out resulted in a trip to the ICU as my father suffered a panic attack. My mother and I were in utter disbelief at this state of affairs which will remain on my wall as the worst Worst Case Scenario ever. All praise to God that my fears were allayed when the doctors pronounced him stable and I was not to face trial for the fatality of my father. While I sat with my mother, my solace, my companion, my everything, she did not make me feel guilty in the slightest way and seemed to be taking the news passively, way better than my father for sure! And then came the call from daddy into the room. This is where I have to deliver a short background of my folks to be fair to you in understanding the picture I paint. I have been blessed beyond measure with these two - a hardworking and gentle man and a loving and strong woman, both self-sacrificing for me and my sister. And while the former is still old-school, the latter is a rock star - the latest Ed Sheeran on her playlist and Hunger Games on her shelf. Yet that day, their world was turned upside down and they could not imagine the facts facing them. For my mum, it was an assurance of the forbidden truth and for my dad, it was the unimaginable. But later, as he spoke to me of being there, getting through it as a family - advising I chop off my locks to ward off danger - I realised I crossed the threshold with a light on the other side. And it gave me the confidence I sought in this matter.
My decision to come out to my parents first before anyone else is one I value beyond all. Sure, at first it was met with part scorn and part surrender for lack of awareness and understanding on their part. It took time for them to adapt but today, mum and I can share our celebrity crushes (Oh, Dean from Supernatural!) and dad will not back down from standing up for his gay son. One thing that was, and always will be, was a sense of freedom and support from them while instilling the primary importance of being a good human being. And since that unforgettable day, I have come out to the people who matter at intervals like a reel playing out slow and steady and soaking in the liberation as each one takes place. You will be surprised with the reactions - most joyful, few hateful. Well, haters gonna hate, let them. You do you! You do it for yourself and no
one else. You are fabulous and free. You have not chosen this, this is your canvas presented to you. Paint with abandon. Lyle Andrew Michael Features Editor, UpperCrust India www.thepenchants.com Insta: @lyleandmichael
(This piece is an updated version of the original published in the Mumbai and Delhi edition of DNA, dated April 11, 2017.)