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.