Social media, interactive journals, the internet, when used properly can give you an outlet, provide help or the ability to help others. Used improperly, it can cause stress and anxiety for you and the people who read it. For example, my wife and her sister are having an argument on Facebook over the election. This has caused issues for both of them and for her parents who are reading the posts and now upset. My wife is now upset and feels ganged up on by the family. I’m not saying she should hold back on her thoughts, but if you post something on social media, others are going to read it and they have the option of reacting.
I’ve said this several times on my blog, this is a place for me to vent or to just talk it out to the world without necessarily expecting a reply back. I liken it to the virtual version of yelling over a cliff and listening for the echoes. There are those who respond, I am glad of that, giving advice or condolences or congratulations. My immediate family knows that I have a blog; they don’t know what it is called, where to find it or what I talk about in it. I don’t share this with them because I don’t want it to passively take the place of my talking to them directly about issues or problems or good things in my life. I’m not sharing my issues here, then waiting, hopeful that my family will read these posts and then suddenly understand me or my issues or come around and fix any of the problems I may have with them or others.
This isn’t the place where I am coming out to the world. I am coming out, little by little to the world on my terms and in person. I believe that writing letters can help you define your feelings and what you want to say to those you come out to. But I also believe that you should be present when they read the letter.
That said, in a way I am outing myself on Facebook. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I was looking at my facebookpage and realized I did very little to hide who I am and where I am. For one, I posted my photos on facebook, photos of me as me, and there are a couple of photos of my mask, of “him”. A photo of my face is indeed my profile photo, so even with the wig and the makeup it would not be hard for the casual observer to notice the mask that they know. I didn’t really think about my mom, who is on facebook all the time and well everyone else, friends, acquaintances, or enemies. They can all see this photo, as part of the Facebook algorithm that defines “People you may know”. I hadn’t really thought about this as an issue, considering I don’t have any ties to this facebook and my masks facebook. However, this is not the case, I can see me from my masks facebook page and I know that others will see it too. I’m not going to change the photo though, unless I find a prettier photo of myself. I call it the “casual out”, where no effort was really put into hiding something that would out me, to friends, employers or family. I don’t think it’s the right way to come out; I am actually against this type of outing. However, it wasn’t my initial intent, I’m just not going to go back and hide it now. I’m not a perfect person, I have flaws.
I’m ready to come out, but the circumstances are not. I won’t lie though, if I am asked or if I am outed, I will freely admit who I am. I can’t control the world or how it reacts to truths that come to light. I can only control how I deal with them if they do.