Friday, May 07, 2010

My Weekend Crush

Chely Wright

The more I learn about Chely Wright, the more I love her. Which, considering I didn’t even know that she existed a week ago, is no small feat. I’m not a contemporary country fan, but I am a fan of honesty and openness. And in interview after interview, Chely has shown herself to be nothing but honest, open, thoughtful, compassionate and real. Heck, thanks to my friend Heather’s glowing review, I’m even seriously considering buying her book. And I, as a rule, shun all celebrity memoirs. The way Chely talks about her journey out of the closet is just so wonderful, encouraging, inspiring. We sometimes forget, in this seemingly endless struggle for equality, that there is more to coming out than just the external politics of living openly. It’s deeply personal process that can involve intense internal turmoil. For Chely, that meant losing a partner of 12-years who she called “the love of my life” because she chose to stay closeted and one day sitting in front of a mirror with a 9mm in her mouth and wanting to end it all. Luckily for us all, she didn’t.

In a fantastically candid and slyly funny interview with Entertainment Weekly (for heaven’s sake, read the whole thing!), Chely talks about everything from the industry to her anger about Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to how long it took for her to tell even the people closest to her. They included her best friend, her sister, her brother and her dad. She still hasn’t told her mother.

My dad’s reaction surprised me. I thought someone was about to tell him. And I felt that division. There’s a compartmentalization that goes on, and the older you get, the more separate you live your life. You don’t want to do it, but you do it to protect your secret. I found myself just not being comfortable when he would call. And thought, Why are we growing apart? I can’t do this! I can’t have my dad die of a heart attack and him not know who I am. So I told him. He was surprised. He said, “But what about the boys?” I said, “Dad, I tried.” He said, “What is that when you date girls and boys?” I said, “Bisexual. But dad, I’m not that. I’m SUPER gay.” I haven’t told my ex-partner yet. I’m single. I’ve never dated, you know.

Not everyone comes out dancing and waving a rainbow flag. To deny how difficult the decision is or gloss over that silent struggle is to once again alienate a group of people who already feel isolated. I get emails from time to time from closeted readers who thank me for making them feel a little less alone. Each one humbles and touches me in ways too profound for simple adjectives. Know this: If you feel alone, you are not. There are countless other Chelys out there, perhaps looking down the barrel of their own heartbreak, who feel exactly the same way. But she came out of it stronger, happier, more alive. So can you. Happy weekend, all.

p.s. If Chely keeps wearing those tank tops, I’m going to have to amend my Hot 100 list.

16 comments:

D said...

"Know this: If you feel alone, you are not. There are countless other Chelys out there, perhaps looking down the barrel of their own heartbreak, who feel exactly the same way. But she came out of it stronger, happier, more alive. So can you."

Not only that, but your life is about to get better than it's ever been, because you're living with integrity. blessed be.

Anonymous said...

I've been waiting all week to mention how much Cheyl resembles Holly Hunter, at least in some pics. If there were one more season of *Saving Grace* I'd be on the phone to a casting agent . . . .

Lyn said...

I never enjoyed country music but the one song I had on my computer was "It Was" by Chely Wright. I actually used it years ago while making a video montage of the willow/tara relationship. I'm glad that she is at peace with herself now and it takes tremendous courage to come out when you're a celebrity especially when you're a country music singer. I wish her and everyone else still in the closet the best.

Anonymous said...

"She still hasn’t told her mother."

Um, I don't think she has to worry about that one anymore.

Fred said...

i do listen to country music (it's the only decent station on the radio in my town), and while yeah, a lot of it is god, country, and conservatism, they are getting better about it.

for every toby keith (*facepalm*) there's a reba mcentire loving every fan, gay, straight or in between. will country music embrace her with open arms? i doubt it, but it does my heart good to see someone being who they are without restraint...

Norma Desmond said...

I just want to add that, if people are struggling, they need to know that it gets better. It's hard and it sucks and it's the loneliest thing ever, that journey to coming out, but once you finally crawl your way to the other side... It is so worth it. Now, I'm single, so I don't mean sex and dating and love worth it, necessarily, but personal fulfillment worth it. Knowing and loving yourself worth it. And that's worth a LOT.

jelly said...

Good for her for coming out and living her life authentically.
I don't listen to country and had not a clue who she was...but I do now...and welcome to the club!

Anonymous said...

Chely is such an inspiration, especially to girls like me. For God's sake, I grew up in the backwoods of Kentucky...with conservative, ass-backwards parents who think gays are going to take over the world. As a fellow gay lady, I can't help but love Chely for coming out. She's paving the way for country girls like me. I've been listening to her ever since I was a little girl. I'll always be the down home country girl, the only difference is that I'm gay. Hacking away at conservative views is a big deal.

I should send her a thank you letter.

And she does look like Holly Hunter sometimes! I've always thoughts that! How crazy is that?

Anonymous said...

okay..

the whole point is..should love woman anyway.

do you think love always stay same?

you know the process,

1. crazy about

2. want to know more

3. love more

4. lost interest

5. don't feel anything.
your lover = stones

I never heard people should coming out from the closet cus they feel anything but have memories.

by the way, if you feel you're,
and want to be honest, and finally do it,

that's great, I will support. I said zillions times
I support.

you know that I'm not like hiding things
If I want to I can do more smart way, not like this.

what I'm talking about if it's true
you'll see, I'll tell whoever.

Anonymous said...

i'm the person who leave comment above,

I'm talking myself
so never mind people,
It's not about chely.

thanks for the post ds~

have a nice summer~

Anonymous said...

i'm the person who leave comment above,

I'm talking myself
so never mind people,
It's not about chely.

thanks for the post ds~

have a nice summer~

Anonymous said...

i'm the person who leave comment above,

I'm talking myself
so never mind people,
It's not about chely.

thanks for the post ds~

have a nice summer~

Dawn said...

You totally missed this photo on her facebook page... that's a tank top... or what's left of it.
http://www.facebook.com/#!/photo.php?pid=1128120&id=25657896583

Anonymous said...

I bought her book and casually started to leaf through it at 8pm one night this week, thinking I'd pick it back up over the weekend. Instead I found myself devouring it in one sitting, staying up until 2am. I've never read anything that so closely told my own story. I grew up in KS and am the same age as Chely. I'll be sending copies to my parents and siblings. I'm so so proud of her for the thoughtful way she told her story. To me, this is more important than if the "Cinco de Gayo" (love that!) had been a big a-list celeb. Bravo Chely! I hope only good comes her way.

elliB said...

After reading her EW interview and the piece in People, and watching her on the Today Show, I went and picked up her book. I can't wait to start it. I have a feeling I'm going to want to send it to a few people.

betseyb said...

Some people may not know who John Rich is....just an FYI, he is a country music singer and was the guy who wrote and performed "Raisin' McCain," the theme song to John McCain's failed presidential campaign.