Not fitting into the prescribed boxes that parents, families, religion, culture, or the wider society in general have in areas as personal and private as sexual orientation and gender identity can be an incredibly painful and lonely experience.
There can be an inner awareness of what’s true, and the years of needing to cover over, deny, hide aspects of yourself can be exhausting a cause a sense of feeling overwhelmed and trapped, and constant feelings of shame, isolation, and anxiety. “If I accept this about myself, what will it mean for other areas of my life? Will I be rejected? What will people think of me? Will they see me differently? Will I have to give up the whole future I thought I had?” The consequences can feel like being caught in a web where if one thread gets pulled on, every other intersecting thread will be affected, and the size of all those complicated interconnections can lead to feeling completely lost and stuck. “I know I need to do something – I can’t go on like this – but I have no clarity about what to do.”
It doesn’t help that often we might feel totally alone with these struggles. Internally there may be an experience of feeling totally lost and confused – especially if I don’t feel like any of the boxes quite fit. Or, I might be totally clear inside, but struggle with how to share with others, or I may be experiencing difficulty in relationships after coming out. I may be struggling to reconcile this part of me and other parts that are very important too – my faith, or desire for a family. It may be that the issues I want support in aren’t related to my sexual orientation or gender identity, but I just want to talk with someone who will accept, respect, and understand these aspects enough and I won’t have to explain the basics to them – such as my pronouns. Or I may be wanting to work through long-carried shame and hurt that resulted from past experiences.
At Lavender Counselling, all of our counsellors work with clients exploring gender identity and sexual orientation.
Working with one of our Counsellors can offer you someone to accompany you on your journey, who has no expectations, no assumptions, no agenda for you, but offers curiosity, openness and support for you to express and explore identity and meaning can be incredibly liberating. Not needing to contort yourself into any box, but having the freedom to name and express your experience and who you are, and find clarity, inner freedom, and a safe space to share the burdens, sorrows, to grieve and find joy and celebrate who you are in all it’s complexity can be incredibly empowering.