I was moved to tears when I saw K.D. Lang perform onstage last night. Her voice and her presence and the heart and soul that she gave to the audience were experienced by everyone in the Harris Theater in Chicago. It’s so inspiring to witness someone experiencing and sharing their greatness. *Thank you to my client, Julie, and Bank of America for giving me and David those wonderful VIP seats.
As I watched and listened to K.D. Lang perform I kept wondering how she came to discover her talent. When you see her she seems mannish and clunky, and I do not mean this in a bad way, because she looks like a fun person whom anyone would want to hang out with. But the sound that comes out of her mouth and the way she uses her voice doesn’t match with what most people would associate with the voice of a person who looks like her.
I can only image that if I were K.D. Lang and I looked in the mirror every day while growing up I don’t think I would say to myself, “I’m a singer and I have the voice of an angel.” How would it ever occur to me to think that I could make it as a singer, let alone attempt to sing at all if there was no one in the world who looked like me and who sang like an angel?
Remember the day I said that we owe it ourselves and to the world to use and share our God-given gifts? K.D. Lang is a person who has used her gift and she has shared it with the world. I could write pages of praise and reasons why the world is a better place since she began to sing. But today I only wonder how hard was it for her to let that gift of song come out her. Did she struggle? Did others tell her that she had to look or conform a certain way to match her voice? Did being a lesbian hinder her getting a record deal? Or was it easy for her? Did she just wake up one day and say, “I’m an original and I’m going to be the first person who looks the way I look and sings the way I sing!” ???
Thank you, K.D. Lang, for stepping into who you were born to be. The way you look and the way you sing, added to the fact that you are proud of who you are, makes me want to step into who I am with more self-love and more pride.
The man who was one of the co-creators of The Experience workshop I mentioned in yesterday’s post was named Rob Eichberg and he was a man of many achievement one of which was founding National Coming Out Day. I was privileged to be in the room, on the last day of The Experience workshop that I attended, when Rob first publicly announced his intention to make coming out a national day. I remember my reaction. It was 1992 and I thought, “Yeeeah… That’s gonna be a big hit. NOT!” You see, even though I was a successful and an openly gay man who lived and worked in a very liberal and accepting community, I thought I was living in a greater world that would never accept me for who I was. It’s people like Rob and K.D. Lang who, by the stepping into who they were born to be and by using their gifts, have changed the way the world views itself and other people, namely, gays and lesbians.
Both Rob and K.D. Lang (and I’m going to include myself here) came out. Not just coming out and stating “I’m gay,” or “I’m a lesbian.” We all had to come out to ourselves and the world and say, “I’m a singer,” or “I’m a hairdresser-writer,” or “I’m a human rights activist.” I can speak of my own coming out when I came home one day after I walked out of my finals, of my first and only year of college, and marched into my parent’s house and announced, “I hate college so I quit and I’ve decided I want to be a hairdresser.” In my world a college degree was mandatory and choosing to be a hairdresser was the equivalent to saying I wanted to learn the fine craft of serial killer. There were tears from my family and only a little or no support from my friends as I stepped into the career that has defined my life. I have used this gift and I had to fight for it and it has been well worth it. I’ve also experience more joy and more love from going through the coming out process for the many other parts of me that needed me to embrace, step into or take a stand for.
You might be straight or gay or lesbian or transgender. Take your sexual orientation off of this table discussion for a minute and ask yourself, what have been those defining moments or events in your life where you’ve had to come out? Did you stand up for someone else? Did you stand up for yourself? Did you have a burning desire to build a skyscraper but had no idea how to do it and yet you took your whole life striving to achieve that desire? Did you have to “buck the system” to snag that job that was traditionally a job for the opposite sex? Did you elope because your family wanted you to have a big wedding and you did not?
I think coming out is stepping into who you are and is an act of self-love.
Coming out is what every person has to do to when one realizes or connects to what their God-given gifts are. Like K.D. Lang and Rob Eichberg, and myself!, simply by being who you are can change the world for the better.
Who are you? Come out, come out… It will be worth it and the world will be a better place.
Experience Their Greatness!:
*The seats were purchased by Bank of America who was also a sponsor for the evening’s performance by K.D. Lang and the Siss Boom Bang with host, Andy Cohen who is host of Bravo’s Watch What Happens. The evening and performance was in celebration of the first five years of The Center on Halsted, the largest LGBT facility in the United States. Part of the evening was recognizing some of Chicago’s finest human beings by honoring them with Human First and Community Spirit Awards.
Andy Cohen told the story of when he came out to his mother, she said, “I would have hated all of your girlfriends anyway.” Click here to learn about Andy’s new and inspiring book.
Coming Out, An Act Of Love, is not an original thought, at least not mine. The first time I heard this term was in the workshop, The Experience, and Rob Eichberg, the facilitator, explained to all of us that we were all in the workshop to “come out:” to become whoever we were gifted to become. He believed, as I now do, that to step into who you are and to use the gifts that have been given to you is the greatest love that one can give to ones’ self and, ultimately, to the world. Rob Eichberg’s book, Coming Out, An Act Of Love, is still available. It’s a great book for anyone making big changes in their life–not just for coming out of a closet.
National Coming Out Day is still available.
Thank you, President Obama, for coming out and standing up for what you think: Equality and marriage are the rights of all Americans.
No, I do not work for The Experience, nor do I receive commissions for getting people to take the workshop. I do not know what I’m going to write in this blog from day to day. But I do know that The Experience empowers people to step into who they are meant to be and my world will be a better place when everyone does that. I’m thrilled to be recalling this wonderful workshop two days in a row.
It’s not been easy. And I had to learn a lot. But I had to come out to become a writer. Once I established myself as a hairdresser and a salon owner in California I felt it was nearly impossible for me to switch or add the writing career so, in 1992, I closed my successful salon and moved to Chicago where I am now known as a writer and a hairdresser.
Mafiahairdresser.com and my 50 Days of 50 blog is part of my coming out too!
You have just read Day 34 of “50 Days of 50: One Man’s Sobering Realization That It’s Not The New 40s.” Watch for this blog to become an eBook in June 2012. And watch for Jon-David’s how-to book: “Social Media for Stylists, Salons & Spas,” and the 3rd and last book of the Mafia Hairdresser trilogy, “Murder, There’s an App for That,” both due Fall of 2012.