We live in a world where it may seem like our lives are on full display. But Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and pretty much any other social media application, allows us to hide our truth just as well as it allows us to expose it. Every tidbit of our existence can be filtered, edited and censored to project the image we want, instead of the reality we live.
For some, keeping up with an image can become too much to bear. That was the case for Mount Union runners Josh Thorne and Jason Hadley. Both students are gay. Josh came out to his friends and family prior to attending college but Jason had not been fully open about his sexuality before attending University of Mount Union.
When they both started school at Mount Union, they feared telling their teammates and classmates that they were gay. They were nervous it would impact friendships or change people’s perception of them. Their friendship with each other provided them the strength to come out together.
Luckily, their fear of living an unedited life was far worse than the reality of it. After simultaneously posting messages on social media declaring their sexuality, they were fully embraced by everyone in their lives.
They both agreed coming out lifted a weight off of their shoulders. They no longer had to carefully watch each word they spoke or every message they posted in order to put forth an inaccurate image of themselves.
Josh and Jason’s story of coming out reflects a greater conundrum in our society. It is not about sex, it’s about secrets. We live in a society that is seemingly transparent but more often misleading.
Parents post pictures of their students “A” grade, but fail to mention the three “D’s’” they received prior. Models use photoshop apps to thin their waists and tweak their noses. Others brag about the money they've made but don’t mention the debt they’ve acquired. The so-called perfect reality many portray is often just a fantasy one decided to create.
For those who choose to “come out,” it is not necessarily about being gay or being straight. It’s about being honest, both to others and to ourselves about whatever it may be that we've been hiding.
Josh and Jason are advocates for “coming out,” as they have proven that no image is worth filtering out authenticity because happiness does not come from a post that gets likes. Rather it arrives from a person whose truth receives love.