This is the fifteenth article of the series: “Coming Out, Going Within.” Published with Dr. SWL’s blog, 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.
Even though I was brought up an only child in a tiny beach town of only 200 (I was the only girl), I have always hated being alone. When I was left alone at a very young age, I day dreamed and manifested imaginary friends. Eagle and Poodah. They were twins or a couple. I wasn’t sure which, but they kept me company and we told each other stories when I was left by myself. My family life was pretty troubled with an alcoholic father who, even when he was in town and was physically present. Wasn’t present in any other way. And a mother, who was kind and day-dreamed too, like me. But, at times, when I looked back, I feel she was barely holding on, in order to cope with her own isolation. And her own neglect from my father. For most of my childhood, she was a single mom. And I remained not only an only child. But also a solo child girl in this beach town. (I did try to play with boys. But I was left in the dust by the older boys because of my training wheels.) When I was an adult, I realized that Moss Beach was so close to San Francisco. But that it would be decades away for me to get there. Like, to get away from that small rural-ish place into a city. With culture, community, and company. And to try to find friends and a “tribe that danced to my particular beat” is what a guru once told me when I was in my 20s and still living in Sacramento.
Moss Beach, the scenery I remember of beach, blue sky, and Cyprus trees
As I wrote about in my last article, I am recently single. This well of loneliness I’ve felt since the break-up has made me reflect back on this earlier time in my life. But also to think about distractions. The place I am in my life and career right now. And how walking solo or playing solitaire. Might be exactly what I need right now.
As I imagine myself back in Moss Beach, I look at this random photo I found on the internet. And I think of the little girl I was back then. Who was lonely, sure. Who was alone but wild. Who thought she owned the place. Who explored freely. And who paid no attention to not having any real, human friends. I was active, thriving, and my senses were alive. I was open and took everything in as if it were new.
And with that said, it took me 4 decades to get HERE! To realize I’ve always needed to return back to that place. The one I’ve avoided my whole life. Of being 3–4 years old. Living in a small-ass town. That was beautiful. I definitely made the best of it with my imagination. And my sense of adventure and high activity!
When I first came back from SF as newly out and was realizing the beautiful independence of being queer! And my declaration of independence for healthier relationships and living!
I sometimes have to explain to some of my straight friends that being queer or gay doesn’t just involve having the freedom to love whom you love. Although for many of us, this is a large part of it. We have all gotten on OkCupid or Grindr or Scruff if you’re a dude. And looked for love. But at the end of the day, you end up on your own. With your own company. And how do you feel about your queer self then?
Since I’ve become newly single, I’ve had to struggle with being solo. Or playing solitaire. For the first time in many years. I am thankful to have had the experiences and partners I’ve had so far. Especially now that I’m queer. But now I need to grapple with who I am on my own. And I need to become my own person, to love myself more fully.
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.