Sunday, October 19, 2014

Of Coming Out, Anniversaries and Invictus Pilgrim

Four years ago this month, I began the process of coming out. Every year since that time, when October rolls around, I reflect on that process - a process that is still very much ongoing.

I have reminded myself recently of what my thoughts and feelings were in those initial scary months that followed a decision I made to at least come out to myself - to stop beating my head against a granite wall that had stood in front of me for 40 years. That reminder has come from reading the blog that I started shortly after making that decision. I chose to blog anonymously (for obvious reasons) under the pseudonym of "Invictus Pilgrim." Anonymity allowed me to frankly write about what I was experiencing and to protect myself as I did so.

I chose the name Invictus Pilgrim for several reasons.  First, I was very fond of the poem Invictus (which means “Unconquered” in Latin), written by 19th century poet and atheist William Ernest Henley. The words of this poem expressed the resolve I felt to become the master of my fate and the captain of my soul: 

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed ...

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

However, though determined to leave the closet forever, I realized I was very much a pilgrim on a journey. I didn't know what my destination would be. It was the journey that was important. 

Thus the persona of Invictus Pilgrim was born. When I first started my blog, I could not have foreseen where it would go and what it would mean, not only to me but to others as well.  I began writing as a means to free long-imprisoned thoughts, to express long-suppressed emotions and to explore long-forbidden lands in my psyche and soul.  I could not and did not foresee the extent to which my writing would not only prove therapeutic for me, but also expressive of others’ unexpressed thoughts and emotions.

As I have been re-reading my blog, I have found that I have been reminded of so many things that are still pertinent to me today, going on four years later. Then, it was fresh and raw. Much has transpired over the ensuing years, but I have found that those words I and others wrote have inspired me today to continue that journey of seeking authenticity, self-knowledge and self-love.

I closed Invictus Pilgrim some time ago for various personal reasons. I have been recently re-reading it because I have decided to write a book based on the blog. I had attempted this endeavor once before, but I wasn't ready to do so psychologically and emotionally. 

Now the time seems right. It is challenging for me to read some of what I wrote because of the pain associated with that period. But I have also frankly found it inspiring to me to read today what my fledgling out gay self was expressing and writing during the year following October 2010.

Yes, the time has come. Wish me luck.


  1. You don't know me but I do enjoy your blog and the many insights you've shared.

    I am excited for you to write your book and continue on your journey. Good luck!

    Next month marks a year since I left the Church. I, too, am looking forward to celebrating the anniversary of my rebirth even though my journey is fraught with uncertainty and some anxiety. Still, I sm finding great joy in working to create the life I want.

    Best wishes to you as you go forward!

  2. Thank you, Jamie Lyn. Best wishes to you as well!

  3. Go for it, Joseph. I so appreciate your voice and perspective. Glad to hear it is your time to move forward. May it be so with all of us.