You said, “I have something I was thinking about telling you, but I wish I knew how you’ll take it.”
Your truth wasn’t something I had to “take”. I love you, actual you, real you, all of you. Knowing more of your truth, more of your reality gives me more of you to love, and I’m grateful for that.
You said, “I thought you might have this image of me, and I’d ruin it.”
Nobody is entitled to hold an image of you over the real you. That nobody includes me. And I would never want you to be anything other than absolutely who you are, because I totally love you. And truly, my image of you has always been of a happy you. Anything beyond that remains blurry and terrific. Terrific blurs and I love all that, too, because whatever and whoever is in that blur? That’s what’s making you happy.
You said, “I hate keeping secrets, but it seemed safer.”
Secrets should be made of crushes and birthday presents. Have lots of all that good stuff. Let me giggle and crush on cute people and wrap presents with you. Identity is a big, hard secret, and I don’t want anything in your way in this world. I want you to be you.
And there was hugging and good food and the blurs began to seem less blurry and more terrific than ever.
About the erasure below: I constructed this for all my MFA people during the last of our time together. I had this heart absolutely bursting with love for everyone I was with, there, in that moment, specifically, on the shores of Puget Sound. But to me, this poem stands for love, all love, all acceptance, and embrace. To me, this piece celebrates how good it is to know your people as they are, and love them deeply, and want them to know it.
from Henry van Dyke’s Out of Doors in the Holy Land:
Sending love, celebrations, and safe harbor to my LGBTQI family and friends. Happy National Coming Out Day!