Tina Kakadelis
YA Author

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Burn Before Reading: A Carly Allen Story

Happy Belated #NationalComingOutDay

img_6603So, I forgot to mention that yesterday was National Coming Out Day and I am DISAPPOINTED in myself. Like who do I think I am??? Someone who is very tired that's who.

A lot of people who aren't LGBT think that us LGBT-ers come out once and we're done. Like we've all of a sudden got a rainbow tattooed on our foreheads to let everybody know that we're gay. For me, my hair cut and the clothes I wear kinds do the coming out for me. Sometimes, it still takes people by surprise, though, and they're shocked to find out. It's rare, yes, but it does happen.

Moral of the story, coming out happens an innumerable amount of times in someone's life and sometimes it's scary, sometimes it's nerve-wracking, sometimes it's funny or sweet or angry or any emotion a human is capable of.

To belatedly celebrate the day, I'm going to talk about some of the times in my life that I've come out.

My Friend: I'm not sure if I should change people's names??? I'm not going to do any sad or angry coming out instances, so I think it'll be fine, but better to err on the side of caution. So anyway, the first friend I ever told was someone that I had known all through middle school. I remember being in the passenger seat of her atrocious, falling apart, failed the smog test four times Volvo holding a John Green book in my lap because I let her borrow it. It was Thanksgiving break of my freshman year of college. I don't think I actually said the words "I'm Gay," but I think I said something more dramatic like "So, there's this girl." Isn't that how all really great stories start, though?

My Parents: I feel like I've told this story on here before, but, if not, I told my parents through an email. My mom always says that I'm blessed to be living in a time where I just email people the things I don't want to say out loud. I'm not sure this is exactly what she meant when she told me that, but here we are.

My Gender & Women's Studies Class: For a brief while, I went to school at West Virginia University. I thought why not take a GWS class so that I could meet more liberal people. That may sound bad, but West Virginia is a solid red state with people still out there flying Confederate flags. Turns out, I was wrong and the class was filled with good 'ole country boys wearing camo in here for the easy A they were promised. Anyway, the class lesson that day was about the ideal significant other. I think it was supposed to be about societal expectations, but who knows. The teacher said, "Okay, ladies, tell me what you look for in a guy and guys, tell me what you look for in a lady." Aside from the fact that that topic of conversation seems WILDLY inappropriate, I feel like a class that's about the importance of intersectionality should have had a little more nuance. ALL THIS TO SAY, I stood up in front of a class of good 'ole West Virginian boys and girls and said I don't like dudes, I like girls and here's my dream girl. My legs were shaking and I was just so nervous, but damn did I feel proud.

My Sandwich Shop Co-Worker: While in school at WVU, I had a part-time job working at a sandwich shop. I loved it a lot, but I was very quiet to start. There was this delivery driver named Louis and we got along pretty well. One day, a very nice, very pretty girl came in and ordered a sandwich. Louis took her order and I made it. She smiled, took her sandwich, and she was gone. I remember Louis sighing as she walked out and he whispered, "Wow" and all I could do was just sigh and say, "Yeah" just as dreamily. You have to understand that this girl looked like she just walked off a magazine cover or something. Anyway, Louis looked at me and kinda tilted his head in confusion and I remember awkwardly nodding as like a nonverbal means of acknowledging the question brewing in his brain. Then he smiled the broadest grin and was like, "Great! We can talk about girls together because everyone else here has terrible taste in women." I never dreamed I'd find someone like that in a sandwich shop in West Virginia.

A Customer at a Retail Store I Worked at: I went up to her and asked if she needed help finding anything and she said she needed help finding her husband. I stared blankly at her and said, "Yeah, I'm not good with those."