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National Coming Out Day
Wellness
Published Friday Oct 11, 2019 by Erica Arvanitis

Eric Lerma: Coming Out on Their Terms

Personal Growth

Since 1987, October 11th has been an important day for the LGBTQIA+ community. This year is the 31st anniversary of National Coming Out Day—a day that serves as a way for LGBTQIA+ identifying individuals to celebrate themselves, each other, and the people in their lives who support and love them for who they are.

To highlight this day, we asked one of our own, Eric Lerma, to share their coming out journey, what coming out means to them, and how living their truth helped them to empower others. 


How has being part of the LGBTQIA+ community shaped you over the years?

I am so indebted to this community. I have been afforded an infinite amount of lessons, virtues, and affirmations–more than I could have ever hoped to acquire. I would say that I’m most grateful for my ability to understand and navigate shame. I came out in a small, country town in the Central Valley of California. The community was small, and most were deeply closeted, and many of us had a multitude of shared experiences when it came to how we were treated by our peers. While I wouldn’t wish what some of us went through unto anyone, I’ve learned how to help people through their shame. I’ve learned how to empower and instill confidence in people when they maybe feel at their lowest, when they feel they don’t have a place in the world. I’ve learned to actively practice compassion and empathy. The LGBTQIA+ Community has empowered me to empower others. 


When did you know it was the right time for you to come out?

The timing of my coming out wasn’t calculated or given too much thought, nor was it a particularly joyous occasion. For lack of better phrasing, I was very tired when I came out; exhausted even. So much of my energy was spent trying to keep my head down and not respond to any antagonistic behavior; the obscene gestures and comments in the locker room, the pointed questions attempting to get me to admit or confess my sexuality, being closely followed and taunted while I walked home from school, etc. I had been subject to and endured so many years of this harassment that most of my time in middle and high school was spent in a major depression. I remember there being a pretty distinct numbness at the time. This ultimately resulted in a sense of apathy regarding what people thought of me and a feeling of having nothing left to lose. 

So I started telling the truth. I didn’t dodge the questions, I responded to the crass comments without filter or hesitation, and owned my identity. Pretty shortly after, most of the harassment and pestering subsided. It was no longer a secret that people could use against me.


From work to personal life, using pronouns is becoming a part of everyday conversation. In your own experience, what is the best way to go about asking someone their preferred pronoun? 

I would start by saying that we shouldn’t use the word or words familial to “preferred” when it comes to Pronouns. It implies that it’s optional and subjective to each individual that person interacts with, which they’re not. You can prefer Coke over Pepsi. You can prefer Slack over email. But you don’t have a preference when it comes to your identity. That is concrete, objective, not up for debate, and should be respected as such. So, when it comes to asking someone about their pronouns, ask, “What are your Pronouns?”

 

What does “coming out” mean to you? 

“Coming out” is synonymous with living your truth. It is an act of self-care, self-love. It opens the door to self-discovery. It is one of the greatest gifts a person can give themselves.

 

What advice would you give to someone struggling with the decision to come out? 

First thing’s first, do it on your terms. Come out in a way that’s respectful and reflective of who you are or who you want to be and do so with confidence. 

Second, give yourself the time you need. You aren’t on anyone’s schedule or agenda but your own. There is no right or wrong time to come out.

Third and lastly, don’t get hung up on the labels. Sexuality and gender are fluid and exist on a spectrum. You don’t have to speak in absolutes or choose an identifier. Your identity is yours and yours alone, and it is subject to evolution and change.
 

Erica Arvanitis MINDBODY
Written by
Erica Arvanitis
Copywriter
About the author
A copywriter by day, Erica spends her free time mastering the art of puzzles while forcing her 10-year-old Chow mix to wear sweaters. With experience in PR, social media, marketing, and copywriting, Erica lives and breathes the written word. Warning: don’t test her on Friends trivia - she will win every time.
healthy-apple-recipes
Wellness
Published Monday Nov 11, 2019 by Sara Lesher

4 Healthy Apple Recipes to Indulge Your Fall Cravings

Food
Recipes
Expert Advice

 

Autumn is the season of apple picking, pumpkin carving, and delicious holiday treats. Whether you’re searching for a delightful morning pick-me-up or your go-to seasonal salad, we’ve found four apple-featuring recipes that are yummy, healthy, and perfect for fall!

Breakfast

 

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

If you think quinoa for breakfast sounds a little strange, trust us, it’s a game-changer. This protein-packed, healthy treat is a great way to start your morning off strong. Not to mention, it’s gluten-free.

 

Photo credit: Simplyquinoa.com
 

1
Breakfast

 

Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa

If you think quinoa for breakfast sounds a little strange, trust us, it’s a game-changer. This protein-packed, healthy treat is a great way to start your morning off strong. Not to mention, it’s gluten-free.

 

Photo credit: Simplyquinoa.com
 

Lunch

 

Autumn Apple Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

This salad is packed with so many different flavors, and they work in tasty harmony. It might be called the Autumn Apple Salad, but we want to eat it all year long.

 

Photo credit: Houseofyumm.com

2
Lunch

 

Autumn Apple Salad with a Maple Vinaigrette

This salad is packed with so many different flavors, and they work in tasty harmony. It might be called the Autumn Apple Salad, but we want to eat it all year long.

 

Photo credit: Houseofyumm.com

Dinner

 

Harvest Chicken Skillet with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sautéed Apples

Sweet and savory, paleo and Whole30 approved, cooked in just one pan… ‘nuff said.

 

Photo credit: Wellplated.com
 

3
Dinner

 

Harvest Chicken Skillet with Sweet Potatoes, Brussels Sprouts, and Sautéed Apples

Sweet and savory, paleo and Whole30 approved, cooked in just one pan… ‘nuff said.

 

Photo credit: Wellplated.com
 

Dessert

 

Healthy Vegan Apple Crisp

This dessert is gluten-free, vegan, and delicious. It’s made with salted caramel cashew butter and maple syrup. YUM.

 

Photo credit: Veggiesdontbite.com
 

4
Dessert

 

Healthy Vegan Apple Crisp

This dessert is gluten-free, vegan, and delicious. It’s made with salted caramel cashew butter and maple syrup. YUM.

 

Photo credit: Veggiesdontbite.com
 

Sara Lesher About the Author Headshot
Written by
Sara Lesher
Marketing Content Associate
About the author
Spoiled by the San Diego sunshine, Sara’s hobbies include beaching, hiking, concert-going, and brewery-hopping. As MINDBODY’s Marketing Content Associate, she naturally loves reading and writing… so if you have any book recommendations, let her know. And just between us: she’s committed to health and wellness but loves a good taco (shoutout TJ Tacos in Escondido).