Remembering the Closet – Day of Silence Reflection
April 17, 2011 § 9 Comments
Rolling down my arm, anxious sweat stumbled from body to shirt as I sat, hands folded politely on my desk, feet slightly shaking in the air. The Day of Silence had begun again and for the 4th time I was participating by choice. Surprisingly, my Day of Silence experiences have never mirrored a previous year’s. As a freshman my silence evoked a pride from me which went unmatched for many weeks. Sophomore year my silence felt defiant and strengthening, while relaxed and casual was my Junior year’s Day of Silence, feeling almost too easy – perhaps because my gradual coming out process was nearing a close. This year I sat awkwardly in silence though I am more out than ever before, leaving me wondering: have I gone backwards?
After years of coming out and normalizing my actions, I became disconnected with the 7th grade Craig. The Craig who sat there, hands folded politely, anxiously sweating whenever the word gay was mentioned. Be it in poetry or old novels, back when gay meant happy, the mere mention of it would make my pulse quicken not out of excitement but out of anxiety. Anxiety spawned by fear of what I didn’t know then, but I assume the unknown. The mystery that would be my life after I one day came out. Would I be loved, hated, or forgotten? I loved myself, I accepted myself, yet these subconscious questions still plagued my mind.
These same questions I was reminded of this past Friday though it was the best Day of Silence our school experienced thus far – thanks to our amazingly supportive faculty, staff, and the many supporters who came out for the cause. Yet even with so much support, Friday was the least enjoyable Day of Silence for me. And I am beyond grateful for it.
With recent successes spanning from my parents accepting my boyfriend to my track coach’s verbalized support for me, I have felt more at home then ever. At the same time, I have lost sight of how I used to feel and how many people still do feel. It’s those feelings which led me to counsel my peers, those same feelings led me to blogging, and those feelings are the inspiration behind Day of Silence. Without recognizing those feelings, how am I supposed to help anyone who may still be closeted? How are we as an “out” community supposed to connect with those buried deep in the closet?
Yes, the world continues to get better as an out student athlete and I, aside from the Day of Silence, rarely feel like I did back in 7th grade. But we must remember those who still tense up at the mention of gay and remember how it feels to renew our motivation to continue helping. This past Day of Silence was the least enjoyable for me yet was the most rewarding to date and I can say with confidence that no, I have not move backwards. Instead I have been moving forwards with increased speed and I needed a reminder to look back. Thank you Day of Silence for giving me that.
To you – the more than awesome reader: What was your Day of Silence like? Tell us in the comment section below!