In the December 2006 issue of Out Magazine, Martina Navratilova is profiled as one of the “100 Men and Women Who Rocked 2006”. In the article is a quote from Martina that so very much sums up my philosophy on coming out.
“If you don’t come out, you are living in a self-inflicted prison. That is no way to live.”
Trying to be someone you’re not and living a lie is a self-inflicted prison whether it pertains to your sexuality or any other part of your authentic self. And, I know for a fact that from a self-inflicted prison it is pretty darn hard to truly be successful. Oh, you might “fool ’em” for a while and experience some external trappings of success, but at what cost? And eventually the truth comes around full circle one way or another.
You might think… that’s easy for her to say, she’s Martina after all — tennis goddess, fit, beautiful, successful, established in her career. That is all true now, but not at the time she boldly went where no woman ever went before in professional tennis and publicly came out. Not only did she risk her entire career but she also risked her home and safety because of the conditions in her native country. And, my bet is she pissed off more than her fair share of people in the US as well. But, could you see Martina being anyone but Martina? Not really, and that is the beauty of being authentic.
It takes courage to come out but courage is a small price to pay for feeling free and confident in who you are. Are you feeling like a prisoner in one or more areas of your life? If so, what are you waiting for? If you’re scared or unsure, that is certainly understandable. If that’s the case, get the support you need — a trusted friend, therapist, online resource, or coach — and start taking steps to remove the walls that keep you stuck in a life that doesn’t quite feel right.