I have reason to be thinking of the closet recently. The closet, that covered, deceptive existence which gay humans have to adopt, to survive.
In a way, there are more closets than just the gay closets. We humans tend to live in closets of existence, with a public persona, and a very private, intensely private persona that is let through only when we are ready. And never, sometimes.
A friend’s closet has caved in.
A kuchu friend. He has been outed.
And as his world collapses round him, I am drawn into the maelstrom. And, it is painful to watch as he denies it, desperately, trying to shore up the collapsing walls with his bare hands and fingers.
A world of self knowledge, and denial.
Denying what we are. Denying it so forcefully, and so habitually that we also tend to forget that that is what we are. Senator Craig. I am not gay. Poor guy, when the closet collapses, and he is outed to the world, but he cannot, dare not, be gay.
A world of lies. Lying to those we love best, for fear that they will not be able to accept what we are.
A friend told me that he was once at table at home, and one of his brothers said he would kill a relative, do mortal harm to a relative who is homosexual. Another one challenged the talker, what if it was a child of his? The child would deserve death, he affirmed.
And a brother of his was at that dinner table, and he was gay, and he could not dare say that he was.
A world of several false existences, several false identities.
When I was discovering myself, that is how I lived. At home, I was the dutiful son, at work the dutiful worker, then there would be the times that I would don another identity and go out cruising. Looking for sex and love and connection, with people who were the same, living in closets that they exited once in a while.
A terrible existence. I could not, would not allow the different identities to mix. If I met a person who I knew in the ‘gay persona’, we would pass each other like strangers. I even had a different name, like everyone else.
Yet I had accepted that as normal, as natural. Denying myself the freedom that is a right to a human being.
It is wonderful to be out, to know that I am, and accept what I am. I have not been more thankful of that than in the last few days. Watching my friend try, with all his might, to stop the collapse of his world of lies. I sympathise, but I can only watch the struggles, and advise. When the closet collapses, voluntarily or not, just pray that you are ready for the storm. For it is a cyclone, hurricane.
Yet beyond that storm is a liberty and acceptance of one’s self that may be well worth the collapse of that closet. If the storm does not snuff out life, the walls crush our existence.
The closet for a kuchu in