Everyone has a closet to hide in

Lis Sorensen, Channels Staff

The closet, an exclusive hiding place for individuals harboring feelings of uncertainty or insecurity, has expanded from its traditional population of gay youths to house all the rag-tag people afraid to come out. sorensen_lis

While I, as a relatively average college student, have only really heard “the closet” in reference to homosexuality, the idea that all people shelter some secret part of themselves away from others is really intriguing. It made me wonder if I had subconsciously been pushing the oddball departments of myself into darker corners.

There are closet Skyrim fanatics, closet writers, closet athletes and there is a different closet for basically every personality trait a person could have.

But what about the people who don’t have anything to hide?

That being said, I looked around to the most confident people in my life—the ones who have no problem projecting every aspect of their personalities for the world to see—the open books of society.

For example, my mom, who selflessly devotes her life to her students and just about any other person who could ever be in need, or my dad, who literally carves out his thoughts and feelings into wooden instruments.

How could two such people who live so much under the intense scrutiny of everyone else have anything more to hide away? Why would they even want to?

But after examining myself and determining that I am still in the closet, I have come to the conclusion that almost everyone can attest to squirreling at least a teeny tiny fraction of him or herself into a closet.

The look on my mom’s face moments after the convalescent home called to inform her of her mother’s death was a brief moment when her closet doors swung wide open. In hindsight, I realized what she kept tucked away—her vulnerability.

As an eighth grade science teacher, mom to two sassy children, and spouse to an explosive artist, she has always been the pillar that never chips or erodes even in the most turbulent times.

Unbeknownst to her, that vulnerability that would have been detrimental to her teaching and motherly instincts ran and buried itself away.

My dad, on the other hand, is an outspoken virtuoso at all things art, meaning he is often frustrated and stormy with his own work. Finding his closet has proved more difficult, because the blustery winds have open more doors for my exploration.

In the end, I think his closet safeguard is the panic brought on by any potential failure. Paychecks that ebb and flow by the perfection of a craft that a scant few instrument builders have the courage attempt are a huge responsibility to the head of a family.

He’s not afraid of failure, but that minor sense of doubt is what he keeps hidden away.

While social pressures of trying to fit in are the most obvious reasons to keep part of yourself hidden, there is another feeling of security that you simply cannot get by leaving everything out in the open.

As for my own insecurities, which I’ve so skillfully concealed behind a façade of open book-ness, I have a closet. A real, physical, mirrored closet filled with clothes that I go in to when everything comes thundering down. I literally hide in my closet and only come out when I’ve cried myself dry.

Imagine letting strangers into your home, allowing them the freedom to poke around under your bed and through your drawers. I can’t imagine anyone who would be really truly comfortable with that.

The closets that gay people have to squeeze into are much bigger and harder to shove away than those of people who are not hiding one of the most important aspects of their personalities.

However, it stands to reason that we all have at least one closet inside our houses that no one can really pick the lock to.