“We all have closets,” says Ash Beckham. “All a closet is, is a hard conversation, and although our topics may vary tremendously, the experience of being in and coming out of the closet is universal. It is scary, and we hate it, and it needs to be done.”

In this video, she talks about the “easiest hard conversation” she ever had. It was easy because she was real.

“I’ll give you 100 reasons why coming out of my closet was harder than coming out of yours,” Ash says, “but here’s the thing: Hard is not relative. Hard is hard.

“At some point in our lives, we all live in closets, and they may feel safe, or at least safer than what lies on the other side of that door. But I am here to tell you, no matter what your walls are made of, a closet is no place for a person to live.”

Ash offers us her three “Pancake Girl” principles.
Be authentic. Take the armor off. Be yourself.
Be direct. Just say it. Rip the Band-Aid off.
• Most important: Be unapologetic. You are speaking your truth. Never apologize for that.

“We know it’s hard but we need you out here, no matter what your walls are made of, because I guarantee you there are others peering through the keyholes of their closets looking for the next brave soul to bust a door open, so be that person and show the world that we are bigger than our closets and that a closet is no place for a person to truly live.”
As a straight, white professional male, the closets I’ve found myself in have been facing painful moments in close relationships, failures in my work or being “the other” in a group. In each case the smugness and confidence born of my privilege is suddenly gone. Sometimes I quietly close the closet door and withdraw. Sometimes I let myself be vulnerable, admit that I do not know what to do and step into the conversation — and then I find my whole self moving forward in ways I could not imagine moments before.

We believe in being real. In taking the risk to be vulnerable.

How do you find the courage to step out of your closets?

P.S. Courage & Renewal programs are places to be real and find the courage you need for conversations of all kinds. See our calendar for upcoming programs and retreats.

This blog is a mirror of our August Words of EnCOURAGEment newsletter. Subscribe to our monthly mailings here.

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