In the first chapter of the queer hero’s journey, our main character learns how to adapt and survive within an unsafe environment. And they do this by adjusting who they are, in order to fit in. And for a while… this works. There is less conflict, less struggle, and more love in the hero’s life… simply because they have learned how to play the right part.
But of course, this shape-shifting does has a price. And over time… that price gets harder and harder to pay. Until eventually… our hero realizes that hiding who they are, in order to earn the acceptance, approval and conditional love of others… simply isn’t worth it.
And they recognize that no matter how hard they try, no matter how much they change, and no matter how good they are at blending in… in the end, they are always left feeling incomplete. And now, our hero is in crisis. Because on one hand… they want out of the closet. But on the other… they have built a life which is predicated on them playing a certain role.
Or in other words… the shape that our hero shifted into, has begun to solidify. And now… our hero realizes that they need to find their way back home, so that they can re-discover the truth of who they are.
But like I said, this is a moment of crisis… and from the perceptive of the closeted uninitiated queer hero… embarking on the journey of self discovery is going to feel absolutely terrifying. Because for all these years… that closet has been forbidden territory. And just the idea of opening it is going be a shock to their system.
So in this situation… what is our hero to do? How do they generate positive forward momentum in way that feels safe, simple and manageable? Well thats what this conversation is all about. Navigating the crisis of getting stuck inside an inauthentic role.
But before we begin… first a quick reminder - the queer hero’s journey is a mythology of the queer path, which provides a framework of evolutionary unfolding that can help to orient the queer person towards certain key moments along the path of self discovery and creative freedom. This is a series of conversations so check the links in the description if you want to follow along.
Okay, let’s talk about Chapter 2 of the Queer Hero’s Journey… The Crisis
So here’s another way to look at this… if a closeted person changes who they are in order to receive vital nutrients from others… then it’s safe to assume that their dependence on those nutrients, is the thing which is keeping them trapped in the closet.
So if our goal is to reverse this process… and to free ourselves from our dependance on others… then we need to find a way to access those vital nutrients on our own. Otherwise, we will just recreate the same patterns and problems later on down the road. And we will never truly be free of our closeted tendencies.
So instead of leaving the literal closet, only to remain in the metaphorical one… what we want to do is heal that underlying mechanism which got us into this mess in the first place. Or in other words… it’s time for our hero to cut out the middle man, and get their nutrients straight from the source.
Which is exactly what our strategy is all about. Taking Care of Yourself and becoming the source of your own satisfaction.
So just to clarify… I’m not talking about the kind of self care that you post about on instagram. And I’m not talking about a list of self-focused chores that you do once a month. Instead, I’m talking about self care as a lifestyle. I’m talking about a complete shift in perspective… where you turn around, and start looking to yourself as a source of love and affection.
And the reason that learning the art of self care is so important for the queer hero is because right now, your nervous system is wired to keep you in the closet. And even though you may want to come out… you don’t. Because according to your body, and your’ deep rooted survival instincts…. living the closet is keeping you safe.
At least thats how it’s going to feel on a primal anatomical level. And to think that you can simply turn that off overnight… and bypass your natural instincts, just because you don’t want to be in the closet anymore is a gross misunderstanding. Because your innate desire for safety and self-preservation is going to do everything in its’ power to protect you from perceived danger.
And right now… leaving the closet is dangerous. At least thats what your primal instincts are telling you. So when you start having notions of being more honest… of saying no to people… of speaking your truth… your nervous system is going to flip out. And you are going to feel totally overwhelmed.
And that’s exactly why self care is a necessary preliminary step. Because right now, what you really need… is to feel safe inside your own body. Which means more important than coming out… is stabilizing your nervous system and introducing a sense of well-being into your system.
It’s like the saying goes, you need to learn how to walk before you can run. And right now, self care is more like learning how to crawl. And at this point in your journey, the most heroic thing that you can do… is to consistently show up for yourself… day in and day out. And continually reminding yourself that you are safe.
So really… what you want to do is create a warm, stable, and inviting inner environment within which, you get to be yourself. And instead of forcing yourself to leave the closet… and doing something you’re not ready for… just be kind to yourself. Relax, and focus on having good days. Learn more about your needs. Spend time with yourself. Cultivate self awareness. Practice mindfulness. Hang out in nature. Eat a compassionate diet. Be creative. Connect to your body.
And above all… remember, this is an art not a science. Which means that your intuitive instincts should be leading the way. Because really this is just about becoming more familiar with your inner landscape. And becoming more aware of who you are and what makes you feel happy.
And if you can just put your head down… and focus on taking these preliminary steps… one day, before you know it… your next step will be out of the closet. But for now… my suggestion is to trust in the timing of your evolution, and focus on whats right in front of you. Yourself. And if you feel stuck, just relax… because your body knows they way.
And if you can get in the habit of living, breathing, and speaking self care… you are going to be setting yourself up for transformational healing and integration.
Which is what the next chapter of our journey is all about. Alright, I’ll see you in the next one.