Mental Health Art Exhibition
The Closet - sexuality & self-acceptance
David had outgrown his grandmother’s old closet which he had made his. The closed was an antique brown, but she had put some wallpaper on the front when it got damaged. It was small—she hadn’t had many clothes. The closet reminded him of her, he thought of her in heaven; her lavender-scented flowers still hung on a hanger.
David opened the door and put one foot outside. Suddenly though he retracted and closed it again; everything outside looked frightening and threatening. He felt safer inside, it was comforting and familiar. He had tried to open the door many times in the past but had closed it again, locking it tighter every time.
His head had already reached the cornice of the door, and his clothes were getting too tight. He no longer recognized the image he saw in the cupboard mirror, who am I really? Suddenly everything in that closet felt suffocating. His fears sitting on his chest. He needed to get out, but he didn’t know how to.
His mother had gotten close to the closet before putting her hand on the handle to try and open it, but fear had gotten the better of her too. His father wasn’t even aware that the closet existed; denial was his only way to cope with the suspicion of his son being gay. David knew that the only person that would open that closet and help him out would be his grandmother, but she was no longer there.
David wrote a letter confessing his sexuality. He slid it underneath the closed door and listened to it fall to the ground. Mum is bound to see it and pick it up. He thought his touching words would make her open the closed door; she would hug him and help him take his first step outside, but the letter lay on the floor unnoticed. Each time she walked by the closet, she grieved for her son. For her, it was a loss of a secure and safe life for her son, the loss of a traditional one and the possibility of him ever having a normal family life. She wanted to tell her husband there was a letter to be read and they could read it together, but he would see that as a betrayal. She loved her husband dearly; she loved them both dearly.
That night David heard his grandmother’s voice in the closet, “son, open the door and step out, the world is beautiful out there. If you can’t accept yourself, no one will. I want my closet back; I need to lock it up for good. Enjoy your life, be true to yourself and show your true colours. I’ll love you forever.”
The following morning David took one last look in the closet mirror. He didn’t like what he saw because he had not been true to himself, he was capable of more than that. He was strong, he was loyal and above all he wanted to live again. Before stepping outside, he smiled at the reflection in the mirror; it was time to make his grandmother happy and proud. He stepped down and once outside he realized it wasn’t as scary as he had thought. All that worrying and agonizing for nothing. David wanted to find true love, the true love that he never would have
found inside the closet, only if he wore his sexuality with pride would he find that sense of purpose he was looking for.