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Coming Out

teafaerie | Musings | Thursday, July 30th, 2009

This has also been released as a video by Teafaerie!

The Good Witch

Come out, come out wherever you are…” The Good Witch of the North sings that song in the Wizard of Oz to encourage the Munchkin folk to quit hiding in the bushes and to come investigate a welcome change in local affairs. It’s the mantra chanted by children everywhere when the game is finally over, and it’s time to stop fooling around and go home.

Coming out: Like a hungry snail sticking its soft wet vulnerable head out from under the rim of its shell and beginning the long dangerous journey to the garden feast. Coming out: Like the gunman at the end of a stand-off, hands raised and conspicuously empty, finally ready to face the cacophony because the alternatives sound even worse. Coming out: like the stars at night, which were there all along in the daytime, too, but invisible until forced into sharp relief by the gathering darkness.

As a married woman who is both bisexual and polyamorous, I’ve had quite a few tough questions to answer over the years. When my husband and I started dating our mutual girlfriend, it took me a long time to tell certain people about it. In fact, I only just told one dear friend last week—and we’re fast approaching our fourth anniversary as a triad. The excuse is that my friend lives in Australia, and I like to talk about such things in person. Partly it’s that I was nervous, though. Not all of my conversations about the matter have been entirely pleasant, and certain people’s disapproval has the potential to weigh heavily upon me, sometimes so much so that when they really think I’m botching it all up, I’m inclined to doubt my own judgment. There are some important people, mostly older family members, whom I still haven’t told and I probably never will tell. (If you’re one of them—surprise!—and I’m sorry, and yeah I also write about drugs on the Internet. Call me and we can talk about it. Ahem.)

Similarly, for a long while I was only “out” about my use of psychedelics to a small handful of fellow explorers. After a while my mom found out. I can’t remember if I told her or if I got caught or what, but she was surprisingly cool about it. I probably didn’t go into much detail about the particulars of my practice at the time, because I didn’t want to freak her out or get into too much trouble. (I was a dumb kid and Erowid wasn’t around to consult about dosage, interactions, or harm reduction strategies, so I tended to sort of wing it. Results varied, as you might imagine.) Eventually I told my brother what I’d been up to, and shared some acid with him, which turned out to be one of the best trips ever. Next I started talking about my habits at social events, awkwardly at first and then more casually when the sky failed to fall. Lots of people had questions, and I got plenty of opportunities to dispel myths and to educate people. Eventually I started tripsitting, and people I had barely met started inviting me to their upcoming expeditions. The word was out about me, and as far as I was concerned that was just fine.

Then I got the opportunity to start writing for Erowid. At first I was elated! The more I thought about it, though, the more concerns begin to creep into my mind. This is for reals, I thought. This is on the Record. Sure, I don’t have to use my legal name, but it wouldn’t exactly take Sherlock Holmes to track me down. I wondered: Is it illegal to just talk about it? I mean Obama isn’t in jail for admitting to having indulged his youthful curiosity, right? What if I want to emigrate one day, or get into some kind of cool program or something, and my public connection with such a taboo subject counts against me? It seems unlikely right now, but life is long and the Internet is forever. Could I get busted for something like promoting terrorist activity under the Patriot Act or whatever? What if an extremely conservative regime comes into power some day and decides to round up all the troublemakers? I’d normally shrug off that kind of ideation (paranoia will destroy ya), but this time it really got to me. Sometimes it still does. I just had to do it, though. I’d end up kicking myself forever if I passed up the chance to contribute to my favorite website out of cowardice.

And then came the big one. See, I recently did something really stupid. Or maybe it was super cool. In any event it blew the closet door off of its hinges and shattered it to smithereens. A well known production company got in touch with me and told me that they were making an open-minded documentary about psychedelics that had all kinds of cool people whom I admire and respect attached to it and so forth, and asked me very nicely if I would possibly consider letting them tag along the next time I happened to be planning on taking something, anyway. (They were scrupulously careful not to suggest that I do anything just for their benefit.) The vision was to follow me around at some sort of festival, and capture a colorful glimpse of psychedelic sparkle to liven up what was essentially a fascinating but rather dry talking heads piece.

Well. I had just finished writing that column about records (Are We Recording? ) and why it was extremely sketchy indeed to so much as make a secret video of yourself tripping in the privacy of your own home, and now here was this strange request. I meditated upon it for several days. Literally millions of people would see this. Some of them might be friends and relatives who would be shocked (shocked!) to see their beloved Faerie both breaking the law and ruining her once brilliant mind. Could I be prosecuted even if nobody ever saw me take the drug and it was just implied that I had done it? Worse yet: What if I made a fool of myself and, by extension, brought shame and dishonor upon the psychedelic community at large? I look like a freak, for one thing. I’m not representative of anyone; I’m sure as hell not the poster child for psychedelic culture, and I have no desire to be. There’s no such thing as psychedelic culture, anyway. It looks as much like a therapy session, or like your dentist and your accountant sitting around the living room with goofy grins on their faces, as it looks like a rave, or like a concert scene.

In the end I accepted it. The fact was that they were going to find somebody who would do it eventually, and I didn’t have anyone to recommend to them that I trusted more than myself and Seuss Dean, who is always willing to share both my honor and my peril. I told them that I wasn’t comfortable with the hedonistic festival idea, though, and suggested that they come record our actual practice instead. All and all I think it went pretty well. I feel confident, at least, that it was better than the festival thing would have been if I’d let the cup pass from me.

But now I’m waking up in the middle of the night in cold sweats. The cat is out of the bag and on the loose, shredding up the furniture and pissing on the rug. I keep thinking of more and more people who might see that documentary, like for instance my mother-in-law. I keep wondering what clips they’ll use; some of the stuff that I said I’m really proud of and some of it was silly, but even if I’d done a perfect job they could surely cut it to make us look like assholes if they wanted to. I’m statistically certain that it will come back to haunt me again and again, sometimes in amusing ways, sometimes maybe not so much so. Whatever. It’s out of my hands now. The point is that I’m feeling it, okay?

And it is from the nauseating pinnacle of this state of extreme overexposure that I want to talk to you about coming out.

One of the things I told the documentary crew was that if even five percent of the people who use psychedelics would admit it, the entire landscape of the debate would be radically altered. Social outliers like myself tend to be the first demographic to step into the light, perhaps because we have less to lose than, say, teachers and police officers. It’s unfortunate though, because that gives the straights the impression that psychedelic users tend to be fringe dwellers. The same thing happened in the gay community. When I was a kid it was largely portrayed as a freak subculture because the freak subculture was its most visible and vocal manifestation. It wasn’t until good solid Joe Average Citizens—bankers and bakers, respected authors and politicians, parents, educators, doctors and members of the clergy—started standing up to be counted that society at large was forced to re-examine its prejudices. I don’t think that the solution to this is to silence the committed minority. Rather, I think the large majority of quiet and respectable users need to be encouraged to speak out about their practice and politics, their convictions and their experiences.

Not all users share the same agenda, obviously. Political and social stances vary both widely and sharply. Some people would simply like to see restrictions relaxed on scientific research, whilst others want to legalize everything and let natural selection sort it out. Most people fall somewhere in between. There is no official party line here. You have to examine the issues and decide for yourself what you stand for, how much it means to you, and how far you’re willing to go. All I’m asking is that you take the time to assess the potential risks and rewards of sharing your opinions on the matter, whatever they may be. Many of you will find that it’s really not worth it, and if I were in your shoes I might well come to the same conclusion. For instance if you’re a junior high school teacher or you foresee a custody battle in your future, speaking out about cognitive liberty issues might not be a wise decision. Your energies may be badly needed elsewhere, and you can’t afford the risk or the time. Your family, friends, church, school, or co-workers might be so anomalously intolerant that you’d turn your life into a living hell if you came out. Maybe it’s just super personal to you and you don’t think it’s anybody else’s damn business. All of this is perfectly legit. I’m just asking you to think about it.

My own position kind of waffles, but I suppose I ought to lay my cards down if I want to inspire anyone else to do the same. I do think people should have the right to experiment with various research chemicals, assuming that the situation can be brought sufficiently above-ground to guarantee materials of known quality and dosage. For sure the actual bleeping researchers ought to be allowed to explore them! And there’s got to be some system in place for therapeutic access to empathogens. Frankly, I don’t think it’s Uncle Sam’s business what adults decide to put into their bodies. I feel pretty strongly about that in principle. On the other hand nobody with any common sense wants to see heroin vending machines on the local street corner, so there’s a conundrum. I feel pretty good about supporting the decriminalization of psychedelic plants, because while it doesn’t go far enough it also doesn’t go too far, if you see what I mean, and it seems like a just barely plausible goal; whereas the blanket legalization of all psychoactive medicines strikes me as neither attainable nor wholly desirable at present. Let’s call it a starting place. It’s somewhere to stand. (Now if I only had a long enough lever…)

For me the prohibition of psychedelic plants is a civil and human rights issue of the first order. Fundamental principles are at stake. Who will make important decisions about our bodies and our minds? From what perspectives shall we be allowed to see ourselves, and through what lenses may we look out upon what we are pleased to call our shared reality? These are huge questions, and they’re only going to get bigger faster as emerging technologies and advancing research put ever more fascinating tools into our hands.

It’s also a religious freedoms issue. The U.S. Constitution guarantees all citizens the right to address metaphysical matters as they see fit, and according to my interpretation that ought to include the right to alter one’s consciousness with psychedelic plants. In fact, I believe that access to our own souls is an inalienable right, regardless of what the Constitution has to say. The association of psychedelic plants with religious and spiritual motifs throughout the archaeological record is obvious even to skeptics, and they continue to be widely used for shamanic purposes in primary cultures all over the world today. The famous Good Friday Experiment, in which graduate degree divinity student volunteers participated in a double-blind psilocybin study, scientifically confirmed the association between psychedelics and the manifestation of direct spiritual experiences. Almost all of the participants who received the active compound (as opposed to the placebo) reported a range of classically mystical phenomena. Furthermore, a follow-up conducted more than twenty years later found that most of the subjects still considered the experiment a peak experience, and still considered it to be relevant to their spiritual lives. My own most profound experiences and insights, by orders of magnitude, have been attained through the use of psychedelic plants and chemicals. These experiences meet and exceed my own wholly personal definition of metaphysical relevance. Add to that the hundreds of breakthrough trips that I have witnessed, and the literally thousands of self-reported entheogenic encounters that have been posted by users on Erowid and elsewhere, and you’ve got yourself something that feels like consensus. Lots of psychedelic explorers never get anything like that, of course, but it’s pretty well established that it happens. For some people it’s the only functional point of access to that kind of thing. And it’s largely illegal. And I just can’t seem to shut up about it for some reason.

Even if I thought all that was mumbo jumbo, I’d still be feeling it for the countless people all over the world who have reported significant psychological, interpersonal, and artistic breakthroughs through the use of various proscribed compounds, and for those who would like very much to have that sort of experience, but who are afraid to do it because they respect and/or fear the law. How much would your set be improved if you didn’t feel like you were doing something that you had to hide? Lots of folks have reported that single sessions were equivalent to months or years worth of traditional therapy. Healing, insight, access to repressed memories, remission of addiction, and even the transcendence of end-of-life anxiety are all potentially available to some people through responsible application of these fascinating folk remedies. We know this. Do our neighbors know? More and more of them do, thanks largely to the tireless efforts of groups like MAPS that work hard to legitimize psychedelic research and to get the word out to the media. It feels like we’ve still got a long way to go, though.

Assuming that there is going to be any kind of a civilized future at all, it seems to me that the people of the future will look back on the prohibition of psychedelic plants and shake their heads in shame and wonder at our past mass backwardness and ignorance—much as we do now when we think about slavery and segregation, or the fact that women couldn’t vote until the 20th century. Likewise, I think that society will revere the people who took a responsible, committed, non-violent stand for cognitive liberty. They may not name elementary schools after us, but in more enlightened times bongs will be raised to those who fought the good fight, and I’ll be proud if I make a significant enough contribution to be counted amongst their number. This story shall the good man teach his son. Any law that denies us access to the numinous is obscene, and I’m going to keep saying so as loud as I can.

I’m not asking you to take drugs on TV here. Like I said, that was probably stupid. Don’t take five grams of mushrooms and chain yourself to the steps of the Capitol Building. That kind of thing wouldn’t help, anyway. Don’t wreck your life over it. All I’m asking you to do is to assess your position and to consider voicing as much of the truth as feels safe for you. Take advantage of easy opportunities to educate people. Go as far as you comfortably can. You don’t even have to admit to taking drugs to speak out for other people’s right to do so, just like you don’t have to be gay in order to support marriage equality. Contribute to organizations that educate people on the topic. Tell people about your experiences. Erowid is a great place to do that anonymously. Share what you know. If enough people did that, it would make a difference pretty quickly.

Come out come out wherever you are! It’s true that the bad witch has a sister and the game is far from over, but it’s high time we quit fooling around in the closet and started heading home.

22 Comments »

  1. I came out to my parents 2 or 3 years ago (when I was barely getting into psychedelia, it seemed like a good idea at the time), I told my Mom and my sisters that I had experimented with psychedelics and that I believed that they were beneficial when used for spiritual purposes. Since then, a lot has happened. Some of the consequences of that have been good and some bad, but overall, I believe that I did the right thing because now that the most permanent people in my life know about my involvement and belief in psychedelics, I don’t have fear in telling the majority of people about my experiences, beliefs, and knowledge. Granted, I still can’t tell a lot of people, namely those in law enforcement and those that are too close minded to even listen to what I’m saying, let alone process it, but those that I do tell (everyone else for the most part) I believe benefit from my knowledge and my story. Even If I can be one example of how to ‘take drugs’ and not ‘fry your brain’, I think that is removing one barrier to a more widespread acceptance of my path. My whole family still doesn’t readily accept my involvement with psychedelics, but they see that it is just one aspect of who I am as a person and I know that I have gotten them to think much more deeply about the subject than they otherwise would have. I have also had numerous experiences of people coming to me for advice regarding psychedelics or other psychoactive substances, due solely to my reputation as someone that both knows about those types of things and is willing to talk openly about them. TF, I’ll agree that not everyone is in a position to ‘come out’ about psychedelics, but I will say that overall it has been an overwhelmingly positive decision for me in my life.

    Comment by Joey D — July 30, 2009 @ 1:10 am

  2. Tell it like it is, Sister!

    Teafaerie, I wish I could enlighten you as you have me with a wealth of
    insightful additions to your essay, but you hit the proverbial nail on
    the head so squarely that it was sunk in one blow.

    Now, if only the rest of us were so brave….

    Comment by zhah — July 30, 2009 @ 2:09 pm

  3. I must admit, you are somewhat of a hero to me. I, too, am a polyamorous bisexual and am seeking a mutual girlfriend for me and my fiance (one who is preferably not twice my age, sigh). I also am (somewhat) involved in the psychedelic community and hope to increase my participation in the future. However, I have not come out to anyone about either thing except to my fiance and a few close friends. I applaud your bravery and think wholeheartedly that you did the right thing. In the future, I hope to take a firmer stand on both issues, which I consider an essential part of who I am and a basic human right. I wish you well in all that you do and eagerly await your next post.

    Comment by Rockybear — July 30, 2009 @ 8:07 pm

  4. Thanks again teafaerie,

    I appreciate that you are capable of both keeping on one topic and bringing in a lot of elements that are tied together at the same time. I would have also had a tough time before, during, and after if I had been asked to be part of a documentary in a similar way. I hope they use the footage to provide for a balanced and open hearted view of psychedelia.

    Comment by Turgendy — August 1, 2009 @ 11:59 am

  5. Dig it, I’ve tried various organic (and non) hallucinogenics, not to mention other chemicals which in combination can acheive a hallucinogenic affect, for years since I was a teen up to my late 20’s/ early 30’s (when a bad trip of sorts did end up in serious disaster), and as far as ‘coming out’ goes..it’s nobodies business but your own, for real..You do those things, you grow spiritually, you figure yourself out, and ultimately, if is is to the benefit of your soul, it will ALSO be to the benefit of those around you…and the world. I would just caution against some of the other harder drugs that tend to go along with trying those organic things, be careful about it all, be responsible. – mg nos

    Comment by mg nos — August 2, 2009 @ 4:47 am

  6. Wouldn’t have Imagined someone who’s “Enlightened” themselves through the use of psychedelic plants to be so self important. We are a curious breed humanity.

    Comment by James T — August 2, 2009 @ 1:07 pm

  7. For me the crunch was parenthood. While I had children who were absolutely dependent on me as a breadwinner I was scrupulously careful not to show any behaviour that might jeopardise their wellbeing (but continued to pursue psychedelics in private). Once that dependence receded I began to speak candidly, aware that it was now only my own welfare that was at risk. By the way, that was ten years ago, and everyone that I have opened to has been quite accommodating about it. But then I am in Australia, where the social pressure is possibly not as severe as it is in the US.

    And Teafaerie, thank you for speaking so eloquently for our cause.

    Comment by Grandad — August 3, 2009 @ 5:29 am

  8. Putting my thoughts onto paper doesnt really come naturally, so im always afraid to leave comments let this be the first!
    I have been aware of erowid for afew years now and become a member recently, im a full supporter of psychedelic use but always carefull about who knows, but in certain enviroments likeminded people are abundant.
    The most rewarding part of my journey sofar is my connection and love for nature flowers tree and cacti.
    Everyday week the branch of information gets bigger and more astounding even in New Zealand
    Thanks Teafaerie

    Comment by Daniel — August 5, 2009 @ 1:55 am

  9. I have so much respect for you. I started coming out as gay when i was 12. Most of my family is very accepting. Coming out as a user of phychedelics was actually harder. Thank you for putting a lot of the things ive felt into a concise essay. I was smoking a bowl at a family function and my mom was like your grandparents might find out. At that moment I made a decision. I told my mom “I didn’t stay in the closet when you asked me too when i was 12. I’m not gonna stay in this closet either. I will never be in a closet again for any reason!” anyway awesome essay. lets all come out of the closet, gays, psychonauts, potheads, even all yall crack heads. if people realized how many of the people they are around are gay and/or high they might treet us different.
    what you mean that really succseful smart guy does ayauasca and smokes weed and puffs a peter omfg. mabey i shouldnt judge people on the content of there urine and what they do in the bedroom.

    Comment by Alan — August 5, 2009 @ 12:57 pm

  10. I think that everyone who uses psychedelics should come “out.” I started tripping at age 14, and told everyone I knew — parents, teachers, friends. Sure, some people didn’t approve, but I was adamant that this is something I believe is very valuable and educational and spiritual, and I’m not going to stop doing it. While I tend towards the “counterculture,” I was also a straight-A student and went to a top college. I wanted my acceptance of psychedelics to show people that the “good girl” was tripping, and it was okay. (I dressed like a freak and was one of the weirdest people at school, but I was still the good girl in most ways)

    Unfortunately, when I was 21 I moved on to harder drugs. My openness and curiosity made me vulnerable — after so many years of getting away with everything, I finally met my match with heroin. Some of my friends tried it but kept their distance. I, however, didn’t believe in “boundaries” or “rules” — I think partially because my lifelong acid use had broken down these societal constructs in my mind. I believed that heroin was no more dangerous than a glass of milk. Oh, was I ever wrong.

    Six years later, I’m still not over heroin addiction — but as with acid, I try to be open about it. I still look like the “good girl” — I never became homeless, lost my teeth, etc, though I did work as an escort for a long time. I’m pursuing a degree in journalism, and I’ve been clean for a few months, but it’s still a struggle. And I still tell people about it, because I want them to know that yes, a smart, pretty, normal-looking girl can be a junkie. I want to humanize addiction for people who think only stupid, worthless people get sucked in.

    Where am I going with this — I think that if everyone who did acid or heroin, or everyone who has alternative love/sex preferences, or everyone who does anything out of the ordinary… I think that if we all were honest with other people, these things would lose so much stigma. I have a cousin who is queer, a dominatrix & a burlesque performer, and is very open about it. Because of her, my entire extended family has re-examined their beliefs about sexuality — it wasn’t always comfortable, but I think it’s been amazingly beneficial in the long run.

    My philosophy is that if someone can’t handle that I have an addiction, or that I still take acid, or that I have had an abortion… then I don’t need that person in my life. Usually when I tell people these things about myself, I try to explain it so that the person understands that I’m not a freak… even the most straight-laced people can be very accepting if you give them the chance. In fact, I have not had one person reject me or not want to be my friend because of things I’ve told them about myself. Our fears about what people will think are not based in reality. If we open ourselves up to the world and other people, we will receive openness, honesty and love in return. At least that’s what I’ve found. The friends I have who are fearful, untrusting and scared to be honest seem to encounter so much more hatred and pain… whereas I always find unexpected kindness, strangers helping me in tough times, and acceptance.

    Sorry this is so long… good luck on your own journey with being open. Trust the universe.

    Comment by becky — August 9, 2009 @ 8:28 pm

  11. This was a wonderful read. I like your writing style as well as your message, please keep it up. It was a brave thing to do to throw your ‘secret’ out in the open like that, and I applaud that. Not just because I feel that most psychoactive drugs are a good thing, but because it’s refreshing to see someone being exactly who they are and not being ashamed of it.

    I look forward to reading more of your column. You have a wonderful voice, don’t ever silence it.

    Comment by waterwok — August 20, 2009 @ 9:05 pm

  12. First off- good read! my heart goes out to you. Even though the world is a little more accepting and you can come out as gay without being totally ostracized, trying to tell anyone (gay or straight) about any innovative theories of relationships (like polyamory) can be met with resistance. Just make sure you remind people that everyone involved is on the same page and no one is being hurt or taken advantage of in your situation.

    I’m gay, a med student, and a dabbler in psychedelics- very interested in the mind, consciousness, ethnobotany, shamanism, spiritual development, etc. I’m definitely more open about my being gay than my recreational drug use, since I think whenever you mention any illegal substance people in my line of work have an instant negative preconceived notion pop into their head, probably because we have a sampling error of only seeing the people who are most irresponsible with their use. You never have someone come in and say “yeah, I have an ear infection, OH and I drop acid from time to time,” but unfortunately you do see a lot of “hey I had a heart attack because I smoked waaaay too much crack”

    I’ve always been down with counterculture, and I think being queer was the first little leak in the great dike (no pun intended) holding back the tides of normalcy, and once I realized society didn’t have the right answers regarding sexuality then maybe some of their other ideas were inaccurate too. The fact that my parents were hippies didn’t hurt either.

    If I could do it all again I’d do everything the same, mainly since I think through psychedelic drug use I became a much better person spiritually, I went from a kid that was an emotional wreck and angry at his mom for her drinking problem, and it was through a particularly fruitful experience with psilocybin that I really understood the healing power of forgiveness and was able to let go of my anger.

    Comment by Robin Goodfellow — August 23, 2009 @ 4:30 pm

  13. Totally agree with the principle of being open about one’s use of entheogens, but not practical for some of us. People have been socialized and brainwashed by governments and the powers that be, who are concerned about maintaining the status quo, that one of the darkest evils is drug use (not very good for capitalism and its requirement to have hard working and driven persons willing to work day in and day out year after year). Individuals who use illegal substances are looked upon as weirdos, deviants and criminals by the majority of society. I am a lawyer, have a family to take care of, and quite frankly if word were to get out about my and my wife’s use of entheogens, my career would be ruined – plain and simple (gossip of this nature spreads like wildfire in my profession, to the delight of many). I still try, when the opportunity presents, to put in a good word for the cause (or support groups like Erowid anonymously) and relish the day I retire, or am in a financial position not to be held prisoner to be able to express my true thoughts on the subject.

    Comment by the lawyer — August 31, 2009 @ 1:13 am

  14. Inspiring as always! keep writing! you have made me want to start my own blog advocating psychedelics and communion with the gaian mind!

    Comment by Willie — October 12, 2009 @ 9:34 am

  15. I saw you on the show they were filming, and it was amazing. The show was great and really spread light on things, that I and probably many other people hadnt known.

    Thanks for being on the show and sharing your insight and thoughts with us.

    Comment by Vapor — November 6, 2009 @ 6:43 pm

  16. “On the other hand nobody with any common sense wants to see heroin vending machines on the local street corner, so there’s a conundrum.”

    Although I have often wondered about the possibly very useful addition of lithium salt licks upon every street corner in America.

    Comment by tenali — December 3, 2009 @ 10:00 pm

  17. Again, you hit the spot.

    I’ve also dabbled upon these questions of coming out about polyamory and psychedelics. I spent a lot of time writing on the net about psychedelics anonymously – did tell many friends though. But at some point I realized that my writing style is too recognizable for me to remain anonymous forever, so I just decided to drop it and slowly started to come out in the open. I told my family, and stopped hiding it from people who asked or wanted to know or otherwise brought it up. Most people have taken it very well, and people often ask me to share my thoughts about psychedelics. It feels so fresh – not having to hide anymore.

    Possible difficulties don’t really frighten much – every possible outcome is a great place to learn.

    I live in Finland, and it’s only recently that there’s started to be some open discussion about psychedelics, and it hasn’t really hit any mainstream media yet. But slowly, we are creating a difference. Translating texts and documentaries, organizing talk groups and communities, spreading information, and most of all, living the psychedelic influenced life.

    I am a freak, yes. I am also very normal. I am not a freak, no. I am also not very normal. Whichever. All of them. None of them. I love the culture and the society (with all its flaws), and am doing my best to spice things up. Not fighting against, but for.

    From a global point of view, this is what I see and feel: The word is coming out . The closet doors are opening. Not a bit too fast, not a bit too slow. At just the right pace. I trust the flow, I trust the creative intelligence.

    Wow.

    Comment by Kasvoi — December 11, 2009 @ 3:24 am

  18. I’ve actually read this entry almost as soon as it was published, but haven’t left any comment before. Now I just wanted to do it because I feel worse and worse in the closet.
    The strangest thing is that it’s not about coming out as a psychonaut because I’ve likely broken every record in waiting. (My interest in psychedelics first started when I was 13 – now I’m 29…) Still I feel incredibly desperate over having to hide. I want this experience so much, but can’t even speak about it. If this desire has been around for so long, has been so strong even without any confirmation, it’s a part of my identity – I’m queer-minded, I’m psychedelically inclined, I have a non-normative drug tendency. So being closeted is like having to hide who you are.
    Probably that’s the most important reason why I’ve never tried a psychedelic – no-one whom I could ask to be my guide…
    I’ve also been active in the Polish LGBTQ community for several years so far. I’m not a lesbian myself – the closest match would be “asexual and happy about it” – but “the gay issue” (in a rather homophobic country that doesn’t even have registered partnerships) has been so important for me that it’s exactly the reason why I DON’T love my country. I do respect it, I feel obliged to vote, but I can’t love a country that hates some of its citizens. Patriotism shouldn’t be unconditional. Anyway, you can surely imagine how intellectually exciting this parallel between LGBTQ people and drug users is for me.
    I’m also a fighter for women’s ski jumping, a sport very much discriminated against. And I feel like “someone” expects me to be clearly anti-drug if I want to be engaged in sport. I feel misunderstood – even some drug users I happened to know laughed me out for being a virgin. Misunderstood from every angle. So I feel a dweller of several worlds (sport, LGBTQ, psychedelia…) – but I don’t belong anywhere, I feel excluded for breaking the rules of the game. I don’t think it’s neccessary to belong somewhere (from my diary: “a culturally homeless person can notice many things that owners of warm burrows in the midst of a culture don’t understand”), but it can be hard to be so misunderstood, to have to hide all the richness you experience just in your thoughts.

    Comment by Nowhere Girl — May 8, 2010 @ 8:15 am

  19. I’ve been thinking about coming out recently, but it’s real tough under the circumstances. My mom knows thinks its a sin(that’s gonna make me lose my job etc.) and has me on the prayer list , my dad who doesn’t know (though I think he suspects) would call the cops to search my room and make sure they press charges. Some of the people at work know but it’s really dicey. How do I put myself in a position where I could come out? I don’t even know how to explain things to my mom. There should be a letter… Dear mom , I trip out on psychedelics … this is why etc. She thinks it’s just pot but it’s Shrooms, Acid , 2CB and sometimes I don’t even know what it is. I once smoked DMT and got into trouble, had to go to a psych ward , rehab and a well know Psychiatric Ward (Mental Asylum for the realists) . After getting out i’ve been struggling with finding permanent work and am working on a year contract. I literally dream about the day I can come out and live my live the way I like. I’m getting older (30) and this act is just getting tiring.

    Comment by Kobus — July 5, 2010 @ 10:36 am

  20. What can I say, this was an amazing piece. You strike upon so many great points and do it all with great prose. Titling this “Coming out” and relating the experience of telling people about your use of psychedelics to coming out in general about being gay, bi, etc, was brilliant and I think it is essentially, very much the same thing.

    If theres one thing I have to say, is that there is always hope. I came out at 15 as gay, something that I now know would be unimaginable decades ago, or even right now in a different country. Just like the LGBT rights movement is pushing forward and making the world a better place for the LGBT, i think the next movement to push forward will be this one, the world of psychedelics. With time, just like you said, more and more people will be coming out, and I think that there is nothing but good in the future for this. :) <3

    Comment by Aaron — July 8, 2010 @ 9:26 am

  21. I am a former experimenter, with acid mainly, and am whole-heartedly grateful that I took it. They were profound eye-opening experiences which helped me be me.

    Now that I’m much older I do notice that my work environment is such that any deviance from the norm of “diverse christianity intolerant tolerance acceptance toward others” is a revolutionary act. Hence, I have rarely mentioned it except to one teacher who shared my experiences with other substances but no longer works there.

    Sometimes I think, at meetings mainly, that if these people took some entheogen they’d be so much more fun! All this bullshit would be cleared up here too.

    Comment by Amy — October 12, 2011 @ 12:14 am

  22. It’s a relatively old post, not commented for some time, but I guess I’ll update my comment since I have more to say in this area. I wrote my comment in May 2010, having still almost two more years of waiting before me… However, I made that step forward, since March 2012 I have so far tried psychedelics seven times (mushrooms, San Pedro, hash – yes, it was definitely a milder psychedelic – and, most recently, LSD). In the meantime, several times still as a theorist, I came out to several friends and acquaintances and last October I finally made my leap of faith and came out to my mother. Maybe my example shows that such decisions should only be made with a fully sober mind – I was under the influence of mushrooms when I came out… I felt I was reliving relations between me and my mother and it felt the right thing to do (I never ever wanted to have children, but in this state I felt that I should in some symbolic way become my mother’s mother). Well, my coming out wasn’t successful – my mother said things like “I am terrified”, “and do you know that my friends son just recently dommited suicide because of drugs?”. When I try to explain why I use psychedelics, she says I speak in cliches. At this point this discussion is suspended – both of us just avoid bringing that topic, I’m unfortunately pretty much back to hiding (still much has changed – I can’t be accidentally exposed anymore) and she – I guess she doesn’t tolerate my practice, but prefers to know as little as possible about it. But it isn’t over. When I’m in a better position towards her – less financially dependent, for example – I will bring up this topic again and I think I will suggest to my mother that she could make up her mind about the whole issue by trying a psychedelic herself.
    The real ironic aspect is that actually she was the person who unknowingly sparked my interest in psychedelics. After my coming out she also said things like “people who dragged you into this are my enemies”, but in fact it was her. (In spite of her being quite strongly and indiscriminately anti-drug after having eaten fresh poppies in the field as a child.) Twenty years ago, when I was less than 13 years old, she said, when asked about something (it doesn’t metter much what it was, it’s too complicated), she said: “I don’t know, maybe it’s about this drug that produces visions” – and this was the key, this was the spark, this was my inner earthquake. Speaking in a less poetic way – this was the moment I discovered my drug orientation. As I wrote twenty years later: “Even when I can’t say it honestly yet, she deserves my gratitude for these words, for everything they did in my life. A simplified message, probably with little knowledge about this subject due to mum’s anxiety over the topic of drugs – and yet maybe God had spoken to me through her lips.”

    Comment by Nowhere Girl — June 9, 2014 @ 7:12 am

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