December 1999

My name is Brett and I am a 19 year old student at the University of Michigan. This weekend I am home for Thanksgiving, although to those around me I probably seem like I'm not really here &endash; at least not mentally. Initially I had thought that this weekend would be a time for me to relax and forget about my busy life at school. Little did I know that I would end up spending countless hours just sitting on my couch, contemplating who I am and ultimately making one of the biggest decisions of my life.

I have finally decided to go for it &endash; coming out. I have had plenty of time this weekend to consider my decision and I can honestly say that I have never thought harder and longer about anything else in my entire life. At school it seemed like I never had time to gather my thoughts (nevertheless, make sense of them). It has always been something I've wanted to do, I just haven't felt the need to do so until now. I'd like to think of myself as an honest person and I have had an increasingly difficult time accepting myself: not because I am ashamed of myself for being gay but because I have failed to acknowledge who I really am and present my true self to those around me. What good is it to be honest with everyone on most levels if a large part of the image I project is a lie?

In the past I have been able to keep my problems from tearing me up emotionally. Coming to terms with my sexuality has become an inner conflict that won't go away, one that I must face if I want to truly love myself. Right now I feel a strong sense of anticipation for what I hope will come of all this. I'm not really worried about how my friends and family will react because my family in general is quite tolerant and my "true" friends will soon be revealed. All that it is going to take is for me to gather the courage to start telling people one by one. I feel that one of the most challenging aspects of this whole process could be having some people I thought were my friends turn their back on me. In the long run I will probably re-alize that they weren't really the best friends in the first place but it will still be painful. Hopefully I will be able to educate people along the way. There aren't many openly gay people where I'm from so it might be hard for people to deal with. The size of my town and the speed at which information travels is one reason why I have given a lot of consideration as to how I want to go about this. I'm not really concerned about who finds out, because I eventually want anyone who cares to know, it's more that I want to be able to talk with people on a one to one basis to deal with any questions or difficulties they may have the "new" me.

I probably sound like I'm devising a plan to end world hunger or something im-portant like that. I know that I'm not the first nor the last to go through this but it really is one of the biggest challenges I have had to deal with.

As I was writing this the power went down in my town and I am now sitting on the couch with my laptop working under candlelight. My dad is sitting across the room and the whole situation seems a little odd. I could tell him now and it would all be over. Talking with him as I write, I can't help thinking that everything will be fine soon enough. I only wish I had taken care of this sooner but the time needed to be right. Tomorrow I will tell my friend Liz during our ride back down state. She is one of the most understanding and genuine people I know and I'm sure things will go fine. I'll keep you posted on how things go and if anyone has any advice for me about this process I'd love to hear from you.

Finally I'd like to thank all of the other writers who have shared their thoughts on Oasis. Your insight really provided the extra support that I needed to finally commit myself wholeheartedly to my decision. Thank you.


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