Stanley Poh – Letter To My Closet

It took Stanley Poh from Singapore, 3 decades of his life to come to terms with his sexuality. This is his letter to his closeted self.

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Closeted FB Cover Stanley Poh

Dear Closeted Me,

It has been more than 30 years of denial. 3 decades of your life living in confusion that translated to fear, guilt and a whole lot of other mixed emotions.  Because of the need to conform, you may not find it easy to come out to yourself, not to mention to other people.  But, take consolation that it does not matter how long it takes, there will come a point in time where you are ready to accept who you are. It is a huge step but, believe me, you are going to make that first step very soon and I applaud you for that.

But Stanley, coming out to yourself is just the beginning.  In front of you is a long and winding road and the journey will be filled with a lot of unknowns.  But, it also means a brand new world is waiting for you to unravel and you have no idea how excited I am for you.

Stanley Poh 16
16-year old me

Coming Out To Yourself Is Just The Beginning

Coming out to yourself already takes a lot of courage not to mention, to face this world especially when you are of the age to settle down.  You will find yourself trying ways and means to hide your new identity.  It will soon take a toll on you as you will tell lie after lie to people who ask about your status.  As the saying goes, A liar must have a good memory and if you do not have one, you better prepare a recording of what you want to tell people lest you forget.  It is such an irony that although you have finally come out of your shell, you still need to hide behind so many lies.  The toll on your conscience will make you shun gatherings, weddings, outings with family and friends because you will find yourself happier hiding in fast food joints than to face awkward questions.

After coming out, nobody is going to hand you a manual on how to navigate this winding road.  A part of you is glad that you have accepted yourself; the other part of you still wants to conform to social norms.  The fear of being judged still eats you up each and every day.  You can be having a lunch or coffee with an Ang Moh guy but you will be so conscious of how others’ may perceive you as ‘gay’ because of your own insecurities.  How can you ever be happy if you live your life thinking there is always a spotlight on you to judge you?

Someone Important Will Come Into Your Life

No doubt, the road in front of you is going to be long and winding.  You can get lonely and scared.  Be comforted that God will send someone into your life to make this journey easier.  This person will play a very large part in your coming out and it is him who first accepts you for who you are and to remind you that everything is going to be alright because he will be there.

This person will be right next to you when you decide to come out to your sister.  He may be silent throughout your conversation with her, but you know that just by having his presence gives you the courage and support that you need and without him then, you will never be able to have that conversation with your sister.  Not everyone gets the opportunity to meet a confidant, soul mate and someone who allows you to be you in their lifetime.  Take heart that you got sent one at least once in your lifetime.  

But Stanley, if this person ever wants to leave, let him.  Remember, love lost is still love.  It takes a different form, that’s all.  Memory becomes your partner and you nurture it, hold it and dance with it.  Knowing him is the best thing that will ever happen to you because without him, you will not be who you are now.  You will fall but you learn to pick yourself up and grow tougher from each fall you make.

 You will soon realize that coming out to the people around you is not as daunting as you once thought.  You will go through a few milestones starting from coming out to your sis, then to your friends and then, in your workplace and finally, this… yes you will never believe that you will come out to the world by writing what I am writing now! A letter to you, my closeted self! Look how far you will go and I am so proud of your courage.

After coming out
Me after coming out.

Over the next few years of your life, you will see yourself grow so much. From someone who cannot even bring himself to say the word ‘gay’ to someone now who is able to openly declare to the world that “I am gay and proud of it!” This has to be the biggest milestone of your life so far.

I am able to pen this letter to you now because I have embraced who I really am and I come out stronger and happier.  Before signing off, I just want to remind you that not everyone will love you for who you are, but there will be people who will not stop loving you no matter what you do or who you are.  It does not matter what people think or say as long as you are true to yourself and to the people who love you. 

You deserve love just like everyone else. So, be happy. Each day is going to be different. Be it good, bad, beautiful or ugly, embrace each and every day as it comes and live your life to the fullest.  

To end this letter, I would like to quote this tagline from one of our favorite programmes, RuPaul Drag Race – If you can’t even love yourself, how the hell are you going to love somebody else! 

From me, your outed self

P.S: Special thanks to Lynn Awyong for your help with this letter and to my ex… thank you for crossing path with me because without you, I will not be what I am today. Elephant Juice

DSP Author Stanley Poh
Written by Stanley Poh: @iamstanpoh

Read other letters from Singaporeans here:

Sarah Goh – Letter To My Closet

Joyce Ng – Letter To My Closet

Virein Sudheer – Letter To My Closet

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