This is the thirteenth article of the series: “Coming Out, Going Within.” Published with LinkedIn Articles and Medium.
Learn More about “Coming Out, Going Within”: I think we can all agree that the queer / LGBTQIA+ community needs more resources for our self-healing and spirituality. And ways to communicate our lived experiences and truth. Coming Out, Going Within chronicles my journey toward self-love as a newly out bi-racial gay / queer woman. I share my day-to-day life not just as a personal journey, but also as a communication coach and cultural storyteller. I hope with this series, I can hold open a space for the LGBTQIA+ community–and all of my intersections as BIPoC, API, womxn, Jewish, and neurodivergent–to grow toward wholeness and success. Please join me in my storytelling, and feel free to share your own story in comments.
I can remember the moment I woke up from my long sleep. It was electric! At first I jumped on OkCupid! And I was floating as I contacted the women and people whom I thought I would relate to. Connect. And eventually, find a match. Those months of dating, the anticipation of the first date, and then starting new relationships with individuals. And being introduced to a community I would build. This time, was my deeply hidden fantasy finally coming true. And I was now able to be my real self. Floating on a cloud of new friends and eventually a loving partner.
I didn’t anticipate everything that would happen when I came out. After having made that decision initially to WAKE UP from my closeted slumber. That as I remember from the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty, was a very deep sleep brought on by a witch’s spell.
My witch’s spell was brought on by no one but myself. My parents and my core friends weren’t homophobic. And I wasn’t brought up with religion. My best guess was, perhaps the spell originated from social pressures. And the status quo competitiveness I had taken on. As someone who was aiming to be a well-known and respected scholar and professor. And who wanted to just take on the world! But the problem was that I was doing all of this not as me. I was someone else. And furthermore, I was walking through life asleep.
Similar to if Sleeping Beauty had taken a stroll through the forest. She was sleepwalking. And she had this dream that’s different than the others. This dream that happened while she was walking around in the world asleep. And she finally figured out who she really was. She saw another sleeping beauty, Snow White and gave her a kiss. And both woke up into each other’s arms. Finally present. In love. Happy.
Okay, I know I’ve written here that my high femme self is under wraps. And the part of me that is sentimental. And yet I’m writing this saccharin romance story, because this adapted drawing struck me so strongly.
In those early days of coming out. I was so happy to have found my true self. And my people. And simply, to not feel completely out of place. Or stuck. Or checked out anymore. But what came after this high of my OkCupid phase and being in love and newly in a relationship. Would be a much more difficult place and set of feelings and experiences. That I’m still going through.
When I woke up, I had to go through the dissociation, the abuses, all of the mistreatment. That I had been through when I was asleep. And I felt all of this as if it was the first time. But it was so much more intense than I had imagined. I had put myself through all of this. But also it was what the world had put me through. I was punishing myself for being gay / queer. The world, some of my friends, family members, my collaborators, were punishing me. Before I came out and after. Let me take a breath for a moment…
I would like to continue this conversation later. Especially on the platform of LinkedIn. Because although I’ve found more community here than any other platform. We are still here at least partly. To promote our businesses and to try to carve out a space for ourselves in the professional and entrepreneurial world. And positivity sells!
This series, Coming Out, Going Within is being written with love and intimacy in mind, as conversations. In which topics and my readers are held closely in a safe space. An unconditionally loving space. I want to make PRIDE this year and AAPI Heritage Month about our real lives in the same way. How we hope for ourselves and others to get better and do better. And to know that time spent within. To hibernate. Or to cocoon. It’s just as important as the moments when we are shouting our successes and praises. Or celebrating a new win.
I’m here to say as we are about to enter PRIDE. And as we are just about to put a close to AAPI Heritage Month. That although I have a cheery disposition. And that is part of my personality. And I wish wellness, life-work balance, and self-care and self-love for my followers and friends. That not all stories have to end like a fairytale. In fact, many and most don’t, if we are being real with ourselves and those around us. It’s how we tell our stories to inspire and inform that matter. And it’s how we treat others as we go through our most difficult moments that matter, too.
Dr. Shannon Wong Lerner portrait, Taken by Matthew Gordon
BIO: As a longstanding multicultural coach & thought leader who brings full-service, high-level communication courses to diverse clientele – Dr. Wong Lerner is a 🦄!
She has 20+ years of academic and industry experience.
Across several Fortune 500 companies, engineering and Ivy League universities, non-profit organizations, and U.S. and international government entities.
Her clients have remarkably high success rates as professionals, entrepreneurs, public speakers, and presenters.
Dr. Shannon also works as a keynote speaker and provides trainings on a variety of different subjects between DEI and communication.
As a queer API coach, she meets you from your unique starting place. To better support you as women, BIPOC, WOC, non-native speakers, nontraditional learners, allies, & LGBTQIA+ talent. Inclusive of genderqueer, non-binary, & trans individuals. Dr. Shannon specializes in helping her clients tell their coming out stories at their place of work and as business owners or public figures. She curates her content not just as an expert in her field. But as vulnerable and intimately bound to her topics, to open up spaces for others to speak as their authentic selves.
Dr. Shannon uses a whole-person, holistic method for all and any speaking situation that considers:
WHO you are
WHERE you come from
HOW you orient and identify
HOW you process information
and HOW you sound as a communicator.
So you don’t sound like a version of someone else. But you sound like a better version of yourself.
To help others with their personal brand storytelling to host your own podcast and write your own content to level up, attract new employers and clientele — she enjoys hosting: The Intersection: Diverse Folx Converse, eFEMeral: Voice Matters, and Queer Home Meditation.
**”Coming Out. Going Within” started as the LGBTQIA+ meditation project, Queer Home Meditation, as a private Facebook group airing on Facebook Live. Intermittently, QHM videos are shared to LinkedIn Events and YouTube.
Services: If you are interested in working with a communication coach who values and understands your lived experience, feel free to reach out on LinkedIn through DM. Speak Your Way to Success is Dr. Wong Lerner’s signature program that includes everything you need to become a better communicator in just 3 months. Learn public speaking, personal brand storytelling, intercultural communication, rhetoric and critical thinking, and gain many personal resources. The program is catered to your needs and individualized with supplementary materials and group support. We have spots available and are taking on new clients now.
Dr. Shannon also offers her services for keynote speaking events, talks, and trainings. She speaks and trains on topics surrounding communication, public speaking, DEI, AAPI, BIPoC, and LGBTQIA+ individuals and communities.