Putty Peeps Diaries - Come Out, Come Out Wherever You Are
When I woke up that morning I had no idea what day it was. I went to bed after exhausting all the news outlets, worried about all manner of worldly things. I thought the day was just another day, much like yesterday and more like tomorrow. Color me surprised when I found three people outside my tin.
"Who are you?" I asked holding the lid trying to shield myself from the creatures.
"We are your fairy god potatoes," Purple Rose answered. "I am Purple Rose, these are my companions, Blue Suede and Scarlett.
"My what," I responded. I tried to take them all in, looking from one to the other. Looking at each of the colorful creatures, I supposed I should have clued into some genetic differences. In my defense, these creatures were the first nonbird/insect I had seen sprouting wings. Although not the first holding wands. I walk through Civic Center Park and there are quite a few people who have wands at their disposal.
"Your fairy god potatoes, dear" Blue Suede answered.
"What do I need fairy god potatoes for?" I asked, looking from Purple to Scarlett to Blue and feeling like I should have stayed in bed and played one more round of Candy Crush.
"Why to come out of course," Scarlett answered with a giggle.
"Come out?" I asked. "Come out of where?"
"Your tin, silly," Blue Suede said.
"I like my tin, why would I come out?"
"Because everyone is out these days, it is the thing to do," Scarlett responded waving her wand in the air above my head.
"Hey, watch where you are waving that thing," I said ducking under the yellow star. "You almost took my eye out."
Turning back to Scarlett, "I don't want to be out," I said.
"Of course you do," Purple Rose said stroking the petals on her wand. "Everyone wants to be out, in the open, living out and proud."
"Ummm...Not me," I confessed., sinking down into the safety of my tin.
"Of course you do," Purple Rose said.
"No, I don't," I answered. This is too much for me, I thought. I don't understand where these potatoes rolled in from and I don't feel like explaining anything to them.
"Yes, you do," Blue Suede chided, pulling the lid of my tin out of my hands.
"No, I don't," pulling the lid back.
"Well, if you are not coming out, then who are?" Scarlett asked.
"What do you mean?" I asked. "I am just me."
"Yes, but are you out as you?" Blue Suede asked impatiently.
"I don't understand. If I am me, why do I need to come out?"
"Because that is what people do on National Coming Out Day," the three fairies shouted.
"No need to shout," I said pulling my tin closer to my chest. "I just don't understand your questions." I don't understand why you are here either, I thought.
"It is not a question, it is a collective statement," Purple Rose said tapping her wand against her hand in frustration.
A collective statement, I thought. What the hell does that mean? I took a deep breath, centered myself and tried to gather my thoughts. "Why must I leave the safety of my tin to be part of this collective statement?" I asked. "I like my tin. I like the closeness, the familiarity, the cozy towels I just found for the bathroom. I like things just the way they are," I finished out of breath.
Purple Rose's wand dropped to the ground. Blue Suede bent over and picked it up, handing it back and patting Purple Rose on the shoulder, trying to comfort the rattled potato.
I pushed on. "I like my tin. I am me and I don't need to come out of my tin and explain to people who I am. Everything is just fine the way it is, no need to go out, or be out."
"National Coming Out Da is a chance for those who are too scared on their own to make a statement about who they are. It is a chance to be a part of the collective. It is meant as a sign of solidarity, a show of pride, and a statement of acceptance," Scarlett explained.
"I accept myself," I said. "Why do other people need to know how I feel about myself."
"Oh honey," Blue Suede said, "If you can't admit who you are, stand up and stand out then you do not accept yourself, you just tolerate yourself."
"What do you know?" I asked. "I am out, I live every day inside out. Saying hello to anyone in the bathroom, waving at people on the street, and marching to beat of my own marching band. I don't need a day to tell me when to come out. I am out, inside my tin, I am out." I was breathing heavy after my outburst. The three just looked at me.
"It must be exhausting," Purple Rose said finally.
"What, what is exhausting," I nearly screamed.
"Being confined to your own expectations of yourself and of the world," Purple Rose said.
"I'm not confined. I just believe I know how people will react."
"Knowing a thing, and experiencing a thing are two different things," Blue Suede said in a mock Yoda voice.
"You should take that act on the road to ComicCon, you would kill it there," I offered.
"How do you feel inside your tin?" Scarlett asked. "Do you feel free, able to say what you want, dress how you like, sit where you want, look at who you find attractive, dream about a life with someone you love?"
I thought about this for a moment. I did feel like I could do what I wanted in my tin. That is because no one judges me,I told myself.
"Do you relax inside your tin, let your guard down, forget about your choice of language, drop the pronoun game and just relax in your favorite jammy pants and old t-shirt?" Blue Sued asked.
"Inside your tin do you feel safe?" Purple Rose asked.
"Yes, I am safe in my tin."
"Do you want to feel the same outside of your tin, well minus the jammy pants of course," Scarlet asked.
"I'm not sure what you mean," I said feeling confused and tired.
"You should be able to live the same, be the same, feel the same, inside your tin or out," Blue Suede said.
"You should feel safe inside or outside of your tin," Purple Rose said.
"I feel safe outside of my tin," I said defensively.
"Yes, but do you feel safe being out when you are out of your tin?" Scarlet asked.
"I just said I feel safe," I answered growing tired of the conversation.
"No dear, you didn't," Blue Suede said softly. "Feeling safe outside of your tin is not the same as feeling safe being out while out of your tin. That is what National Coming Out Day is about. It is an opportunity to step out and starting living out and proud inside our outside of your tin."
Scarlett stepped in, "it is a day to step into the light and out of the shadows and ask for acceptance. . ."
"Demand acceptance," Purple Rose interrupted.
"Yes, demand acceptance," Scarlett agreed. "Demand acceptance of others and of yourself."
"It is your chance to stand with others outside in the open, just as you truly are. A gender outlaw, free from constraints, binary rules, and limiting roles. It is your chance to accept who you really are and tell the rest of the world you will no longer be confined to your tin but will take your place in the world," Blue Suede explained.
Each year on this day when I wake up I hope to see my fairy god potatoes waiting outside my tin, wands in hand and jokes at the ready. They helped me understand the meaning of coming out and the necessity of making the conscious effort to be out and live my life as I see fit. They taught me to accept myself, to celebrate myself, to be proud of who I am. They christened me a gender outlaw and deputized me to go forth and spread the word. My fairy god potatoes helped me overcome my fear of living out loud, my fear of being proud in a crowd, not with head bowed, or feeling cowed, but with, (I ran out of rhymes) pride.
Yes, today is a special day for me. It is my anniversary. I came out on this day so many years ago. I came out of my tin with the help of my fairy god potatoes and not a day goes by that I regret coming out and jumping into the collective fray yelling all the way, I am queer, I am here, a gender outlaw waving hello to you in the bathroom.