Hollywood Actress Issues Challenge on National Coming Out Day

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Editor’s Note: Out actress Heather Matarazzo of Welcome to the Dollhouse and The Princess Diaries dares us to take action on this important day.

In celebration of National Coming Out Day, I want to contribute a few words about my own experience to dot429. Sitting here reflecting, it occurs to me that I am still having the experience of coming out. Harvey Milk put it best when he said that everyday is a day we must choose to come out of the closet. I don’t actually know the history of the phrase “coming out of the closet” and I don’t know how appropriate it actually is. In my experience, it was realizing that I held the key to my own self-imposed prison. A prison I had constructed out of my own fear. The fears were substantial: What would my mom say? Will I ever work again? The list of fears went on. Did, or have, any of those fears come into manifestation? Happily, NO!

With the recent publicized events of the past month and a half, mainstream media is finally talking. We have bully forums on CNN and Dr. Phil is dedicating an hour on his show. But, the truth is, this is an epidemic that has been timeless. Hiding, ridicule, fear, self-loathing, and self-hatred are all emotions that we have felt, or at least I have.

We talk about the problem, but rarely the solution. Here is a solution for you. Over the weekend, I spoke to about 400 GLBTQ people in Arizona. I challenged them, as well as myself, to 30 days of making choices and decisions based on LOVE, instead of FEAR. I’m sure that some are rolling their eyes at this point and thinking ” Yeah, but.” No buts. What if? What if we really, actually took the action of walking up to the things that we are afraid of? What if we actually got to take a step back and see just how much faith we have in FEAR?

I’ll anagram it for you. We have all, including myself, had faith in “FALSE EVIDENCE APPEARING REAL!” The truth of the matter is that 99.99999 % of the things I think will happen won’t happen. And, if they do happen, I always get to see there is a gift in there somewhere, leading me to a new experience with myself and my fellows. When I keep myself closed off from the world by my assumptions and my judgments, I don’t allow other people to WOW me. How critical have I been of the “far-right,” the “bible-thumpers,” the “them!” It is not us versus them, it is all of us! When I point a finger at you, I have 3 pointed back at me.

Now is the time for change. Now is the time for action. The action is to make a conscious choice to have faith in something that isn’t fear, worry, remorse or regret. It is making a conscious decision to see just how far an ACTION of love will go. For example, a kind word, a helping hand, a listening ear. The examples are as limitless as you think they are. 30 days? We have everything to gain and nothing to lose. Except for, of course, our fear.

In love and action,

Heather Matarazzo

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