Ellen DeGeneres decided to come out of the closet in 1997. She was at the top of her game at the time, starring in her popular “The Ellen Show.”
Why did she take the risk? Because she felt it was important -and healthier – than living in fear or denial of who she really was. The “secret” made her feel as if she was wrong and she knew she was right.
So she came out as the real Ellen and then had her character come out on the show.
She lost her show. No one would call her. She got no gigs.
For three years, she was stripped of all the external factors of identity: no career or the benefits that come with it. Not only that, some of her previous fans berated her and judged her. Christian groups picketed her studio and mentioned God while acting very un-Christian. Studios wouldn’t touch her.
You realize who you really are when you don’t have anything. – Ellen
And then “Finding Dory” came along. Ellen also got her own new talk show. She’s immensely popular all over again. Only now, she has no secrets.
Does she regret coming out?
NOT AT ALL.
“It’s the best -because I’m free.
I’m completely able to be exactly who I am.”*
When I was a young teen, my father gathered my sister, brother and me and told us we were going to start taking Tae Kwon Do lessons. He didn’t ask what we thought about it or if we wanted to do it, he told us we were doing it. My father was an extremely strict father. Tiger Moms these days are mere kittens compared to my father back then. So we didn’t even groan or try to get out of it.
We began. The entire time, I kept wishing I was taking dance instead. But no, martial arts it was.
My sister and I were young teenage girls and we had to spar grown men and believe me, they didn’t “take it easy” on us. JoAnne and I learned to use our elbows to defend ourselves against their powerful kicks. It worked! Martial arts was big back then because of a guy named Bruce Lee.
Our tenets were: Courtesy, Integrity, Perseverance, Self-Control and Indomitable Spirit (CIPSI).
We lived those tenets. All three of us earned 1st degree black belts.
There were no Asians in magazines back then. Or TV. Even “Kung Fu” starred a white man named David Carradine. It turns out Warner Bros. stole Bruce Lee’s concept and believed a full blooded Asian on TV wouldn’t work so they hired Mr. Carradine.
What did Bruce Lee do? He went to China and made “The Big Boss” which made him an international star.
This is what you must do when you face rejection. When you face sexism. Racism. Any kind of bigotry. Go out and be Bruce Lee. That is, embody his spirit.
Always be yourself, express yourself, have faith in yourself, do not go out and look for a successful personality and duplicate it.