In truth, my grievance with “coming out” is not with the metaphor itself. It is with language as a whole — the soullessness of its vehicle, its concreteness, its singular instinct to unravel a knot into a linear string of vowels and consonants. Language has disappointed me in its inability to capture my sexuality in every one of its stages, in all of its obscurity and uncertainty.
I learned then that having not just a name for my struggles but having the right person learn this name as well was what could finally act as my shield against these thousands of tenterhooks that were pulling me apart. But it was a difficult process, filled with a hundred hotspots of shame, to accept that my private suspicion about ADHD needed to be verbalized by a white coat and printed into a file in order to access the privilege of medical resources and institutional protection.
I write this to the women who feel they do not belong to the believing community as a result of what has happened to them or who they have discovered themselves to be, and to the women who feel as though femininity is a foreign or oppressive word.
Whether we like to think of it or not, our names are marks of colonization that we carry with us. Filipinos recognize the relationship of the name to the location. In this case, the Filipino diaspora recognizes the distinction of Spanish influence on their names, while others assume its Spanish origin must mean my ancestry is directly from Spain.
But why Rebekah? I was asked by a professor when I entered my undergraduate years. Why not Jin? With a simple question, she opened up the possibility that Jin could be just as legitimate of a name as Rebekah; I had never considered it. It was remarkable and sad. I had never considered it, never considered introducing myself by the name I had first been given.