Hello again, friends! Happy National Coming Out Month!
I, myself, have done my share of coming out over the last few decades. I’ve come out to friends, family, in-laws, dates, lovers, college classrooms, non-profit trainings, real estate agents, employers, wedding guests, and clients. I’ve come out around sexuality, pronouns, food choices, relationship choices, body dysphoria and family structure. As you might imagine, all these conversations varied widely in my investment, the receiver’s investment, and how everyone took in the information. I’ve been lucky to have had a lot of love reflected back to me, and privileged enough to have enough of it stored up for the conversations that ended in tears, slammed doors, and long periods of not talking. There were ones I think I nailed, ones I wished I could have done better, and the ones that needed to happen a couple of times to really stick. Denial can be powerful. Sometimes you have to do refresher courses.
In my line of work, I’m also really grateful to be a humble facilitator and sounding board for the way folks are writing their own coming out stories.
The more stories I bear witness to, the more our diversity and our common struggles are simultaneously highlighted. Each of us falls into a singularly unique and constantly shifting set of circumstances that we’re navigating as we embark on the process of telling the world who we are. We also have our own unique set of needs and requests we want to make. We all need to identify them so we can set good boundaries and take good care of ourselves in this vulnerable process. And we all need to take a lot of deep breaths because, as anyone who has ever come out once will tell you, it never happens just once. You’re going to have to do it again and again.
The older I get, I also realize that coming out is really about boundary setting in how we want to interact with the world. And just like boundary setting, coming out can happen in a lot of big and small ways. It’s not so glamorous as I once imagined, there’s no confetti, glitter, or rainbow colored feather boas (at least not every time), but that doesn’t make it less important, radical, and identity-affirming! I, for one, in this age of digital interactions where we have to specify conversations as “IRL,” have become particularly fond of leaving pronouns in my email signature. They go right up at the top, right after my name, before the rest of my titles, address, and hours I might be able to be reached. It’s a way that I take up a little space without asking for permission, and here’s another coming out disclosure, this is actually a particular challenge for me. I hope that they serve as a statement about who I am, a soft request as to how I’d like others to interact with me, and maybe create a bit of an open door for someone who might be wondering if I’m a safe person to come out to. A little reminder that we’re all valid in being exactly who we are.
So with that in mind, and in honor of National Coming Out Month , here’s a little support if you plan on making any big announcements on the 11th.
Heart Oil recipe
I thought I’d add something a little different this month for a little extra support in boundary setting as folks navigate the coming out process. I dabble in mixing essential oils for personal self-care. Working with my own blends has always felt like a complement to my tarot practice. It’s another way to process that feels intentional and full of agency from start to finish. “Heart Oil” has always been one of my favorites, and feels especially relevant to this post, as it was created to support coming out around a relationship. And even though that love has long passed, its messages of clearing, comforting, and grounding in a safely boundaried way continue to resonate.
In its simplest form Heart Oil contains Palo Santo, Rose, and Sage. I like to use a base of almond oil for gentleness, but amounts and carrier oil can vary per the user’s desire for concentration and preferences for use.
Palo Santo (5 Drops): To clear, ground and center.
Rose (15 Drops): For comfort around journeys of the heart.
Sage (10 Drops): To clarify messages around emotions/needs/boundaries and energy as well as soothe and uplift.
**Recommendations for amounts in a 0.5oz bottle, remainder of bottle to be filled with carrier oil of choice**
This heart oil was made intentionally to clear the way for messages from the heart to come through and to offer a quiet calm spirit to follow them.
This oil can be dabbed on wrists, temples, underneath nose or on heart space. It can also be mixed with a carrier at oil at home for healing massage.
Coming Out Tarot Spread
If you’ve made the Heart Oil from above to accompany you on this journey, dab a bit on your heart space and your wrists. I like to get grounded with my tarot deck in front of me and use the simple Anjali Mudra. Once I’ve spent some time with my palms meeting at my heart, sun side to moon side, I’ll move them up to have the base of my thumbs in between my eyebrows, taking in a few deep breaths of Heart Oil at my wrists, and metaphorically drawing up messages from my heart into my conscious process.
Next shuffle and cut your deck like you usually would.
When complete, cut your deck one more time with your non-dominant hand and stack five cards face down on top of each other. Unveiling these cards one by one offers a nod of validation to the journey of “Coming Out of the Closet,” where we have to relieve ourselves of the heaviness involved in the (sometimes necessary) act of hiding who we are.
Card 1. What You Might Get
This card may be a more literal message of what awaits you on the other side of coming out or might be a little bit of wisdom around how to accept and work with it. This card is about what there is to look to after some layers are removed and you’re seen a little bit more clearly by the rest of the world. If you feel like you get an ominous read for this card, try to refrain from placing a “positive/negative” label on it. Don’t ignore its meaning but think of the many ways this card might be able to be read and what wisdom it might be offering you.
Card 2. What You Might Have to Give Up
This is a journey and while who you are isn’t a choice, coming out sometimes can be. This is part of what makes it so difficult. It doesn’t do us any good to ignore the fact that as we move closer to our most authentic self we’re shedding layers, and there might be some sacrifice that goes along with that. Just as with the “What You Might Get” card, be especially conscious of not passing a binary good/bad judgment on what this card is telling you. Binaries just make for more oppressive boxes. 🙂
Card 3. Needs
This card represents and helps you clarify your needs. We’ve too long sat with the idea that when we come out we’re “asking” and should be “grateful” for an accepting and loving response. Remember that when you come out to someone you’re offering them a gift! The gift of sharing a bit more about who you are! This card helps you think about what you might need from others. Do you need check-ins, space, tangible/functional basic needs met, etc. Part of setting boundaries is asking for what you need.
Card 4. Boundaries
And speaking of those boundaries, this card speaks to what we need to pay attention to and what we need to hold them. Even though we flip these cards from top to bottom, their priority is set from bottom to top. The first thing to explore for yourself is boundaries, do you need to come out, want to come out, to who and how much, what information are you willing to share and what education are you willing to offer?
Card 5. SELF
At the bottom of this stack lies the most important part of this spread, YOU. This card brings attention back to the self. Sometimes in the complications of coming out we forget to get grounded and check in with ourselves. We forget to remind ourselves of who we are, what our core strengths are, and what might be challenges we need to pay attention to in order to protect us in this journey.
The biggest lesson of this spread: Coming out should happen on your terms! I know it doesn’t always happen this way, but it should. And when we have some agency over this timeline it’s important that we prioritize ourselves. This is about you, your boundaries, your needs, what you’re willing to release attachment to, and what you want from it. Trust your gut and do it the way that makes sense to you!
Queer U sharing the good news
If you need a little extra support with exploring or the functional aspects of planning to come out I also co-created a free course I’d like to invite you to at Queer University .
This course is for coming out (or supporting someone coming out) as trans* or genderqueer but all are welcome to utilize what makes sense for their individual process. We make sure to hold that everyones journey is different and that coming out doesn’t have to be an ominous process. We use the framework and activities in two books for this self-guided course.
More information can be found if you follow the link but I also have a secret Little Red Tarot community offering. If you’d like the Not So Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook (now in its second edition) you can get that through me for free via PDF. Just drop me a note through my contact form with the Special Offer Code: SundaySpread1017 and I’ll send it your way! Unfortunately, you won’t get the unicorn dust that comes with the hard copies but you all are magic anyways.
Happy National Coming Out Month, everyone! You do you.
Traci (She/They) is a therapist, yoga teacher, life coach, and human in progress. They offer in-person/online therapy and life coaching services from their private practice in Fullerton, CA, USA, run the educational resource hub Queer University, and write love letters by request at Shame Kills Love.
Sunday Spread: Simple Tips for Not So Simple Lives is their offering to this wonderful alternative playground of tarot. It will be filled with a monthly collection of simple self-care ideas, intentions, and rituals for the beautiful chaos that we call life.