Sunday, October 11, 2009

Coming Out....a love story

I've done it. I've fallen in love.

The woman I love is a little bit quirky. She's always been beautiful but only just figured it out. She is a little shy, and has trouble taking risks (although, if you were to read her Facebook status this morning, you wouldn't know it). She's a writer, a poet and a closet songwriter. See, even though she's decided to come out as a lesbian, there are still a few things in the closet - at least while she works on her stage fright.

I've fallen in love with myself, for the very first time. And you know that thrill you get when you meet someone special. Those are the thrills I experience every waking moment. I want to share my life with someone else... now it's more than a daydream, and I no longer hopelessly worry about being alone for the rest of my life. Because I don't think I will be...and if I can cultivate this deep self-love as carefully as I raise my children, care for my pets and tend my garden, I know I will never be alone.

Loving myself has given me courage. The courage to share who I am with everyone in my life.

I am a lesbian.  Any questions?

Some people have that sense of knowing, all their lives. I didn't. I had mostly confusion. Some of this was from missing a few key socialization skills which I didn't really develop until adulthood - that's a story in itself. Some of it was based in Catholic guilt - thinking about women sexually was just plain wrong and when I had those thoughts, I just ignored them.

Did I have those thoughts? Yes. I was a summer camp counselor in high school and I developed my first crush on another counselor, a few years older than me, a beautiful long-haired butch with amazing eyes. We became best friends, even though she lived in Toronto and I lived in small-town Ontario. I spent most of my money that year on train tickets, and we would travel back and forth about once a month. And like most first loves, it came to a spectacular and devastating end about a year later, without me once being able to tell her that I cared about her, because it just wasn't okay.

My second crush was on a beautiful singer who lived in London. My third, my fourth and so on....and all the while I was dating, or not dating, or having various disasters with men. Because that's what I was supposed to do - I was supposed to like guys, and if I didn't really like sex...well...maybe I just didn't like it.

But I wanted babies. So I had them. the first, as a twenty-four year old single mother, because my ex couldn't take responsibility for himself, let alone a small child.

And I had a spectacularly horrible, brief marriage. I don't even want to talk about it because it was a huge mistake from start to finish.

And then I met my ex - we were together for ten years. We were happy, after a fashion. I cared about him. I was safe, I didn't have to think, and after four years we had a child together. I stopped doing the things I loved to do - didn't listen to music at all, stopped writing, didn't look for social connections outside of the relationship - which was sad because I didn't really like his friends any more than he liked mine.

After my youngest was born, my limited sex drive just went somewhere else. I couldn't care less. It was something I did to please my partner, and it never felt right. In discussions with him after the fact, we realized that it should have been our first clue. ( and I'll mention here that I am very lucky - we're still good friends. In fact he cooked me a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner yesterday. It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada).

Becoming a witch was one catalyst. It exposed me to a lot of new people and ideas. I met queer women, straight women, poly women and men who helped me change the way I looked at life. I had more crushes. I ignored them - well, no I didn't. But 300 pounds is a successful barrier between yourself and the woman you're crushing on, if you want it to be. I secretly started to acknowledge that I might be bisexual, in a relationship with a man, and since I was with a man, I would never have to tell anyone.

I had weight loss surgery. I spent eight months sleeping in a recliner because of my back problems. Presumably. I like to think that my body was smarter than I was, and the back issue was my way of staying out of our bed, a bed that didn't work for me anymore. It was hard, unbending and I had to share it with someone for whom I felt no physical attraction, even though I cared about him.

And I started to dream again. Dreams about being with women, sharing telepathic secrets with them. And one day a friend of mine - a lesbian - kissed me in my dreams and said "You're really one of us. It's time to acknowledge who you are." I woke from this dream trembling and afraid, and full of incredible desire. Holy shit - I had never felt that way before.

I came out on my blog first, to my ex second. My older daughter. My younger. My sister. And then my friends. And then my parents. It's been a year, and you might be reading this while in shock, not knowing until now that I am a lesbian.

But I am. And proud of it. And loving myself for finally having the courage to live my life openly.

I decided a while ago that there would be no big family meeting. No fanfare, no fireworks. It is who I am, and while it is something to celebrate, and not something to hide from, I see it as...a step in my personal evolution. If you ask, I'll tell you. There are no barriers, except the ones that other people create, and really, that's their problem.

But attack me, and you'll see a different side of me. In any conversation where human rights and bigotry are being demonstrated, I will not be silent. Silence is a thing of my past, when I didn't know myself, I didn't love myself, and I didn't have the courage to speak.

I'm a whole new me. And I love me.

24 comments:

Janet said...

Congratulations!

Ang said...

Awesome blog. I am proud of you. :)

nina said...

Good for you honey! This is an awesome post and a story that is very familiar to me.

oxox
nina

Avril Fleur said...

I am very proud of you for having the courage to live your life authentically! You deserve it and all the good things coming your way!

Mel's Way or No Way said...

Congrats on your great love. Thanks for sharing your story.

greg said...

Yay you!!!

Laura Lee said...

keep going! there are probably lots of little things about her that you will discover!! and love even more!!!

Camlin said...

Thanks everyone.

I posted this on my Facebook, and changed my status for the day. The support I've received from my blogging friends and from my Facebook pals has been overwhelming. I am so grateful!

Propane Amy said...

This is an awesome post Anna. I've just started in the past few months to actually like myself. I haven't made it to the point of saying I love myself... that totally in love with myself feeling. I know some day soon, I will be able to say it and mean it just as much as I mean it with a partner.

Camlin said...

Thanks so much Amy!

It's a process. You are an amazing, courageous person in your own right, and I know you'll get there!

kimber p said...

this is a beautiful, brave, sweet post :) You couldn't have found anyone better to fall truly in love with than yourself :)

Camlin said...

Thanks, Kimber.

I like to think that loving myself is the key to loving others deeply - some day, I will fall in love from the right place in my soul, and at the right time.

MakingSpace said...

What a beautiful, beautiful, beautiful post! Can I love you just a little too? Pleeeeeez? LOL Seriously, gorgeous gorgeous post. I'm in tears. The really really good kind. Bless you!

Camlin said...

You can love me as much as you want. There's plenty to go round :)

And I made it to A World Of Progress magazine! My post is featured in their "coming out stories!"

http://aworldofprogress.com/coming-out-stories-national-coming-out-day/

MakingSpace said...

Congrats Congrats Congrats!

jelly said...

Congrats on your coming out and you should be very proud of yourself!

Oh, new reader btw...your blog is wonderful.

eileen pennington said...

:) very nice. thank you for sharing!

Catherine said...

Amazingly written cousin! I am so inspired and happy for you. Enjoy your journey and continue to love yourself, even though we are not close I love you as "We are family". I've got all my sister with me :)

Windy Days said...

Wow! Wow! This is an amazingly powerful post, Camlin. I'm so proud to call you Friend.

Camlin said...

Catherine - it's a whole new day! The barriers were mine, created by my own internalized homophobia, among other things. The beauty of this world is we get multiple chances to start again...as kids, we were thrown together, but as adults we can make choices about who we spend our time with. We really don't know each other very well, but like all things, that can change. Thank you so much for your support!

Windy - I am so grateful to have friends like you. And I'm honoured tio be your Friend.

trinity2 said...

Congrats!

~Just me again~ said...

Congrats....be patient while she's coming out ;). God only knows after 8 years my g/f s still waiting for me. LOL It's so not an easy thing sometimes.

LilliGirl said...

I just read through all of this again. It is wonderful. I am so glad you love you! It's so important. (HUG)

Camlin said...

Lilli

Thank you. I needed that hug today!