Day 5: Inspiring Others Through Our Own Stories
Click here to read some of the beautiful coming out stories we received in response to this post.
I came out of the closet in 1994, almost 18 years ago. The year I told family and friends I was gay, I also gained about 75 pounds to give myself some extra protection from the cruelty of the world, and to cradle the shame of being gay. My battle with food began when I was younger; but it wasn’t until I was also struggling with depression, drug abuse, and compulsive spending that my eating became truly out of control. After college, and a lot of personal work, I dropped the weight and adopted a much healthier lifestyle. For the most part, I have maintained a stable weight ever since. But I am, and will always be, a compulsive eater.
This term has little resonance with people. Folks understand bulimia and anorexia, but compulsive eating is a foreign concept, or something they equate with going overboard during the holidays. Trust me – it’s not. Honestly, I prefer not to talk about it, or to try to explain to people what it means to be “abstinent” from compulsive eating, or what a “trigger food” is. But there are times when I discover a shared bond with someone – a friend, an acquaintance – who also lives with food addiction and struggles, as I do, to overcome compulsive eating and remain present in their own life. So, I come out of the closet to them as a compulsive eater, and I share my experiences with them to let them know they are not alone.
Today’s action is about “Coming Out” and sharing our personal struggles:
“Coming Out” about our own struggles and challenges is an act of Courageous Love. Consider the broader definition of “coming out.” By sharing our vulnerabilities and our authentic selves—whether or not what we are disclosing is identity-based—we can help others on their own path.
Sharing something personal to help others is so brave, and receiving that story is a special gift. Today, share something that might help or inspire others.
Share your inspiration with our community on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/SideofLove.
For each of the questions we pose this week, the two responses that inspire the most FB ‘likes’ will receive a free t-shirt, hat, or canvas bag.
Some of the bravest examples of “coming out” I can think of involve DREAMers – undocumented youth hoping for a brighter future and advocating for passage of the DREAM Act; or the well-publicized story of Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist Jose Antonio Vargas; or those young LGBT people who sue their school for the right to take a same-gender romantic partner to the prom.
Today, will you consider sharing a part of yourself?
Being the Change,
Standing on the Side Love
P.S. Check out some highlights of how congregations kicked off their Thirty Days of Love by commemorating Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day: http://www.standingonthesideoflove.org/blog/kicking_off_30_days_of_love_in_mlk_spirit/
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