explorer saidI'm curious how many of you feel this way?
I do, and I've written about it many times over the last 14 years since it happened. But for slightly different reasons than you describe for yourself.
I honestly didn't know I was gay. Oh, likely somewhere deep down inside at some level I knew, but not at the conscious level. I was convinced I was straight, and I believe this created an inner conflict that made me miserable, and led me to make many poor decisions, and not enjoy life.
Then one day I came out, all at once, publicly & unreservedly (hence the movie quote in my RJ Profile). The background story is lengthy, not for here, but it happened in a single flash.
And when it did I began to cry, in pure joy & happiness. Because I knew at once this was the missing piece to my life's puzzle, the answer to many questions, the secret that was going to make me happy at last. And it has.
I am all those things you list: proud, glad, excited, and thankful to be gay at last. My only regret is that I was too stupid to know it sooner, that led me to make many mistakes, that hurt not only myself, but others. Like women to whom I innocently presented myself under false pretenses.
And to answer your final question, I am outer than out, despite the slanders of a certain RJ member who's obsessed with the privacy precautions I take with my Vespa online main photo. I live every day gay, very gay, very out, very much trying to make up for the 30 lost years of my straight detour.
But at least incredibly happy at last, with a partner and all the love in my life I never had before. I'm glad you're experiencing the same thing.