It's dark in here. Things are a jumble. Things are a mess. But it's a familiar mess. It's untouched, untainted by anyone else's interference. What I do in here, what I put in here, what I leave in here - remains unassailably mine and mine alone. The light isn't off by accident, or because the light is broken. I choose to leave the light off. Because I'm not ready to shine a light on my closet. Because it needs to remain hidden. I don't need a light to find my things in here. Even if I don't find something, I know that a light wouldn't help me in my search for it.
It's damp in here. Damp because it's soaked with my tears. Tears that came, tears that wanted to come but couldn't. Tears that won't come because I've been reminded whenever I had to step out of my closet, that I shouldn't have tears. That I should be happy. Because nobody can see my closet, so they think it doesn't exist.
It's cold in here. I'd have expected it to be warm. But it isn't. Because I know I can't stay in here forever. I know that whatever comfort I find in here, is ephemeral. Yet, it's better than outside. Outside, I get to be numb. Here, I can feel, even if it's cold. The cold is a reassurance that all is not yet lost.
It's noisy in here. There are voices - voices with meaning, voices without meaning, voices beyond meaning; voices that are audible, voices that suppress, voices that are suppressed - an imbroglio of thoughts and views.
I'm lonely in here. I know I'm not the only one with a closet. I've been invited to some of my close friends' closets, and I've had them visit mine. Well, at least the sections of my closet that I'd neatly prepared for their visit. Because it's scary to share it all. I'm not ready for it. And they are not ready to see it all.
Do I step out of my closet? Yes. I have no choice. My closet doesn't feed me. My closet isn't a utopia or a panacea. It's a necessity. I need my closet because it's the only place where I can take my armour off. The armour that I'm told that everyone must have. And I wear this armour whenever I step out of my closet.
The armour conceals who I am. When I'm out of my closet, wearing my armour, people expect me to be like everyone else. If, at any time, my armour is peeled back in the slightest way, they remind me how I don't look like everyone else. They tell me I'm broken. Some will stab me, in the belief I'm violating some law of nature, or that they ought to stab me so that I'll wear an armour and look the way they expect, when they see me again. Some appear to not know there is an armour at all. Or that when they see me with the armour, they see who I am.
There are some people who will share with me that they wear an armour too. Who will tell me they weren't born with the armour. That the armour isn't part of them. That like me, they wear the armour because it conceals who they are. That like me, they have a closet too. And whether or not they are yet comfortable inviting me to their closets, they understand what it means to have a closet, and why I have one.
Speaking of closets has been taboo. We only speak of them when we're ready to come out of them. I think it's time we reclaim the closet. It's time to stop making our closets a matter of shame. For us to have the freedom to come out of our closets (and yes, I do dearly wish to not need a closet and an armour), we first need the freedom to have our closets and to be in them, and to talk about them. For us to be able to say, I have a closet, and while I can't share with you what's in it, it's mine. And I need my time and space in my closet.
This is me, reaching out to those of you who understand what it means to have a closet, and to wear an armour when having to step out of it to face the world outside. To share with you - you are not the only one with a closet. I have a closet too. And this is how my closet looks, feels and sounds.
Perhaps, one day, I'll be comfy enough to tell you what's inside, or even come out of it.