Do You Need To Let Your REAL Self Come Out?

Queen of Katwe Event disclosure #QueenOfKatweEvent

One of my favorite Dr. Seuss quotes reads:

“Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.”

Very motivational, don’t you think? Yet, it’s not that black and white.

Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. - Dr. Seuss quote

I’ve been thinking about this a lot the past month, after having the really cool experience of touring the set of The Real O’neals, a popular ABC TV Tuesday night comedy.


David Windsor, creator and executive producer of the The Real O’neals led the behind the scenes adventure, as he taught us about what it takes to film the show. It takes 5 days and 125 people to film the show!

As you can see from the pictures I took, they had already transformed The O’neals home into a Christmas Wonderland to film the Holiday episodes. It took them only 24 hours and plenty of bags and rolls of “snow” to create the perfect white Christmas. I am certainly not that fast in my Christmas decorating, and the result is definitely less than perfect.

Even though they weren’t filming while we toured the set, actors Matt Shively and Bebe Wood joined in the fun – and they were inseparable. They were also really friendly and love selfies!


I was also able to screen the second Season Premiere episode, which aired October 11, on National Coming Out Day. I didn’t know there was such a day – did you?

I really loved the message that everyone must embrace their own journey of coming out. It’s so hard to let your real self come out, whether that has to do with your sexuality or not, but it makes me sad to know many people don’t feel safe to express themselves to their own family.

Sometimes the people who matter do mind. The Real O’Neals is about a conservative family, in which each character comes out of their own proverbial closet in Season 1.


Though I’m still figuring out who I am, as I have invested time, energy, and money into self-awareness, I’ve come out of many closets in an effort to dare to live fully and give myself permission to be authentic, while understanding why the closet can be the safest place, at times.

I was 19 when I introduced the family to “my girlfriend,” and how shocking those news can be. It was a relatively short period in my life, and yet, the judgmental looks and comments are still embedded in my memory and my heart.

Though these days I am target of the opposite assumptions (because like The Real O’Neals I am part of a conservative church), I am grateful to have a first hand experience, even if a glimpse, of how much it hurts to long for acceptance, approval, and embrace you will never have.

I am striving to raise my daughters to be real Christians and love everyone without labels. You know what they say: “Be careful who you hate, it could be someone you love.”

I feel blessed to be able to share my experiences with my daughters and know they love me and accept me, and that they can extend that embrace to anyone around us.

I remember when they were in private school and came home saying “I don’t like Justin Bieber because he’s gay!” and I wanted to die. They didn’t know who Justin Bieber was. Or what gay meant. I decided to have a conversation and help them unlearn other’s judgment.

I wasn’t yet ready to disclose the tragic circumstances surrounding my “same sex relationship,” so I decided to use my brother as an example. He’s one of the most important people in my life and they’ve always known how much I love and admire him. You may think I was crazy to out my brother like that, but it was actually such a beautiful moment that I’ll never forget.

While you may not be or have been gay, maybe there is a way in which you are hiding or feeding a false sense of self for the sake of the image of being perfect. Maybe you feel it’s not yet safe to talk about your past, to tell your real truth, or to be who you truly are in some way.

I encourage you to give yourself permission to discover who you are and to embrace it. Whether you do it gradually or abruptly, publicly or privately, it is up to you, and it is your own journey to lead. Honor yourself, wherever you may be on that path, without self-shame, and practicing self-compassion.

I admit sharing this story is out of my comfort zone, because even though I was openly lesbian at that time in my life, this is something I haven’t been really open about with many people afterward. My daughters are going to be so proud when they find out I came out to you, loves!

In season 2 of The Real O’neals, “The O’Neal family continues its journey of self-discovery and growth, resulting from Kenny coming out and his parents, Eileen and Pat, getting divorced. After finally coming out, Kenny will discover that life outside the closet isn’t that easy. Luckily for him, his older brother, Jimmy, will always be there to offer his often-misguided advice. And finally, there’s Shannon, the youngest O’Neal, whose unique views on life make her wise beyond her years.

Eileen and Pat will continue to deal with starting their separate lives while still living under the same roof. Through it all, Aunt Jodi will be there offering her unusual brand of support, as the O’Neals continue to explore new relationships, friendships and acceptance of one another in the next, messier chapter of their lives”.

ABC’s ‘The Real O’Neals’ stars Matt Shively as Jimmy, Bebe Wood as Shannon, Martha Plimpton as Eileen, Noah Galvin as Kenny and Jay R. Ferguson as Pat.


Tonight’s ABC Tuesday Night comedy line up starts with The Middle, which airs from 8-8/30 ET, followed by American Housewife at 8:30/7:30C (my favorite episode is airing tonight, mommies!) Then, you’ll enjoy Fresh Off the Boat at 9:00/8:00C, and The Real O’Neals at 9:30/8:30C, showcasing episode 203, which is centered on the Halloween celebration.

And be sure to check out all the posts I wrote about the #QueenOfKatweEvent press trip: I walked the Hollywood Red Carpet, interviewed the Queen Of Katwe cast, filmmakers, and the real life inspirations, too! I also screened the season premiere episode for Once Upon a Time, visited the set of The Middle and met the cast of American Housewife while they were filming on location!

For more information on “The Real O’neals,” visit and make sure you follow on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram and follow along online using #TheRealOneals and #ABCTVEvent while watching live tonight.

Do you need to let the real you come out? Give yourself permission to share a story or experience in which you were hiding your authentic self in any area of your life – only if you feel you need to!  I want to learn from you, querida!

Elayna Fernandez - Author - 
Speaker - Success Guide to Moms and Mompreneurs
© Elayna Fernández ~ The Positive MOM

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34 thoughts on “Do You Need To Let Your REAL Self Come Out?

  1. So happy you shared this sweet friend. I JUST had this conversation regarding being gay with one of the girls. A childhood friend opened her home to us for our trip to Seattle and I told me she lived in a gay neighborhood in case I wanted to change my mind.
    As a christian, I love ALL people. Period. Love you Elayna and thank you for continuing to inspire me.

  2. YOu never cease to amaze me. It broke my heart when a dear friend o mine came out to our community and he was shunned. A man who everyone loved for years all of a sudden became the man they hated. It was heartbreaking. what was even worse was seeing his children suffer. So thank you for this and for always being a light to others. Much love always my friend.

  3. I think it’s important to let the real you come out once in a while. There is a fine line between hurting others and seen as being judged by others. An good example will be like going for a job interview.

  4. I’m serious….I am always amazed by you. That 4 foot frame of yours carries a lot of weight! You are one amazing person Elayna, and I am blessed to callyou friend.
    And one day I will learn to tell my stories in such a compelling way….I’m learning from the best. Love ya!

  5. It all starts at home. Teaching our kids about gender preferences and being aware and sensitive is important. They’re going to grow up as respectful and compassionate human beings regardless of who’s in front of them. Sounds like a great show from ABC!

  6. It’s so great to see shows embracing Coming Out Day. I think it can make it easier for kids IRL to let their families know who they are. It would be nice if we could all be unfraid to be our real selves, no matter what that self is.

  7. All of those shows sound great – I haven’t watched, but I’d like to! It’s important to share your true self for sure!

  8. It’s tough for people to show their real selves because of constant rejection and judgement. I am glad that there’s a show like this help open people’s minds when it comes to coming out.

  9. It’s definitely important to be who you are and it’s your loved ones’ duty to be accepting and understanding. I love that The Real O’neals deals with some real life situations!

  10. I’m so proud of you and I admire you, my friend! It takes courage to own who we are and be candid, even when we know it might ignite controversy and judgement. You are right, and you know I struggle with this, we must embrace our own journey and be unapologetically who we are, that’s the ultimate freedom. Love you, thanks for leading by example!

  11. This looks like so much fun! And i’m in the market for a new show to watch on tv so I’ll make sure to check this out!

  12. My true self has been suppressed for the longest time. I am tied down by responsibilities and making a living, when deep inside, all I want to do is spread my wings and travel to places I have never been. I long to stay in a small cottage near a beach and watch sunsets till the end of my days.

  13. This will inspire multiple mommies in the world, they know how hard it is but if they read this, thell will surely have their motivation 🙂 Thank you for sharing this 🙂

  14. I love that show. I also think we need to be okay with being ourselves. It doesn’t matter what others think, what matters is who we are and being true to that.

  15. It’s never easy to show who you really are to people because of rejection. I think these are very good pointers. We also have to realize that it’s not about the people around us, we have to love ourselves enough to let the real us come out.

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