If I had to sum up the hardest part of my coming out experience, it could be encapsulated in one word: guilt.

First off, I feel guilty that I’ve portrayed my coming out experience as a purely joyful event. Scroll through my Instagram feed from the last year and a half and you’ll see me visiting family in Australia, spending Christmas in Paris, getting fresh haircuts and staring face-first into the sunshine.

What I haven’t documented publicly is the unravelling of years and years of repressed sexuality, the shame, the pain, and the guilt of shattering the illusion of my identity to every person I know.

Secondly, the guilt is mostly centred around the upset my coming out has caused other people.

Namely, my ex and of course my family, who have had to reconcile who they thought I was with who I am today. The guilt for getting married. For accepting wedding gifts and allowing our families to pay for our big day.

And there’s another layer of guilt. The guilt I have about abandoning myself for so many years. Guilt, upon guilt, upon guilt.

The myth of external success

I wasn’t consciously hiding my sexuality from the world. It just lived under my skin and I refused to peel back the layers to see what was going on. I distracted myself with ambition, building a business and writing books.

Part of me believed that if I could just create this successful version of myself, everything would be OK.

But it didn’t work out like that. When I had done all I could think of, written two books and finished my first attempt at a novel, I closed my laptop and heard silence.

Without the noise of recognition, praise and sales statistics, the great unsaid inside of me screamed and I had no choice but to listen.

Logic doesn’t work

I don’t know if I will ever write about the day I came out to my husband. Some friends have asked me about it, but I’ve refused to talk about it because it’s just too painful to recall.

In the aftermath of that, inflicting pain on someone by merely discovering who I am, the guilt kicked in hard and I’ve been trying to shake it off ever since. But it just. keeps. coming.

“You have no reason to feel guilty, you did the right thing,” is the phrase my friends repeated to me over and over again.

And although I know I did the right thing for me, for us, it doesn’t make it sting any less.

We should never be taught to abandon ourselves in order to feel safe

Why don’t we, as women, have the ability to let go of our responsibility to make other people feel OK?

It’s so ingrained in us from birth, from being forced to hug a relative so that they don’t feel left out, to smiling at boys to avoid making them angry, to wearing ‘appropriate’ clothing at work so as not to distract anyone else, we’ve been indoctrinated into this narrative that the buck stops with us. We are somehow the gatekeepers of the world’s happiness.

We only have to look at the famous monologue in the recent Barbie movie to witness the pressure placed on us as women today, and the anger, self-hatred and frustration that ripples through our cells as a result.

At the end of the speech, delivered by America Ferrera at the climax of the movie, she says:

“You have to never get old, never be rude, never show off, never be selfish, never fall down, never fail, never show fear, never get out of line. It’s too hard! It’s too contradictory and nobody gives you a medal or says thank you! And it turns out in fact that not only are you doing everything wrong, but also everything is your fault.”

It’s too hard and it’s too contradictory.

There is no medal for coming out and owning my sexuality. I’m paying the price in many ways, of not performing in the way that society wants me to.

School, family, and the media, all trained me to be a good girl, to prioritise those around me first, and to care for others at all costs. But the cost I paid was too high and I know now that as women, we should never be taught to abandon ourselves in order to feel safe. In order to simply live.

I willingly gave up my home and a sense of security for the unknown because it was killing me to keep up the performance of being a typical woman.

It gets to a point where it’s impossible to keep up the charade.

I don’t want to be the creator of worry, the supplier of sadness, or the deliverer of yet more bad news.

People say it’s the best time in history to be openly gay. That to come out now is to taste real freedom and true acceptance. So here I am feeling guilty, yet again, for not feeling that way.

Straight people, look around you.

Queer rights are being stripped away left right and centre, and we are terrified.

Some truths

  1. I am scared to wear a rainbow or trans ally badge in case I get abuse from a stranger.
  2. I am scared to write about sexuality on my own blog because I don’t want to lose clients.
  3. I am scared that one day, the relative freedoms that queer people enjoy will be reversed.

And the guilt of all of that weighs heavily on me as I write this blog because I don’t want to put more fear out into the world. I don’t want to be the creator of worry, the supplier of sadness, or the deliverer of yet more bad news.

But isn’t that the problem?

That I am still censoring myself because I don’t want to upset anyone? I don’t want to upset you?

What I’m working on now is trust. I want to – I have to – trust that you will receive my words in the way I intended when I started writing this blog post: as a permission slip to express who you are, in all its anger and glory, to talk about guilt as a way to relieve the guilt, to write or speak your words with conviction, without feeling the need to apologise, without ever worrying that you are responsible for how other people feel when you expand into your truest self.

I trust you.


If you’re curious about my use of the word queer, watch this video.

A list of the anti-LGBTQ+ legislation advancing in the US here.