In the aftermath of Anderson Cooper’s subtle coming-out statement, a radio conversation struck me the most. The editor of the Washington Blade, when speaking about Cooper’s decision to go on the record about his homosexuality, didn’t say “coming out”; he said something like this: “Anderson’s decision to be publicly who he is.”
I was driving up Orchard Lake Road and down Telegraph as I heard him say, over and over again, “his decision to be who he is.” It wasn’t a big pronouncement, proclamation or announcement from a grand stage. It wasn’t an admission on a soapbox or through a megaphone.
He was just being who he is. But publicly.
And another person on the radio conversation (forgive me, I’ve forgotten who exactly) said something else that made perfect sense: we often don’t know who we are in our 20s. Why does our society expect us to proclaim who we are the minute we step into the work force and never change that notion of self forever after?
I don’t know about you, but the person I was in my 20s better damn well not be who I am at the core. And it’s not. But I didn’t know this until my 30s for sure and I figure I truly became my Self around 37 or so.
If I had been bound to stay the person I was at 22…wow, I can’t even imagine.
We are a compilation of our experiences and our years and the growth over time is what deepens each person’s sense of self. Most people don’t have the confidence to stand for what they believe in early on. Heck, most don’t even know what they believe in during their 20s. If you do, I’m going to bet it was hand-fed to you all your life and you’re the kind of person who never questions.
As a society, we expect people to have all the answers, all the time. In an election year, we are mindful of a candidate’s past possibly more than his present and definitely without any concept of a future. It’s a sickness – voting based on the past. You know, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – the past doesn’t exist. It’s gone. Only the present is real.
So when you frame it that way, this announcement by Anderson Cooper is, well, not important. He is who he is. We all are. And it’s probably not worth talking about, right? It’s just worth BEing.