Tuesday, July 13, 2010

someone please tell me

What was I so afraid of?

My 45th birthday has come and gone. Okay, well it's not quite gone because the mystery weekend starts Friday. But my actual, official birthday is over.

I decided a few weeks ago that if I had a family birthday party, that the girl would be there with me - if she wanted to be there. My superficial reasoning was that if I couldn't invite my girlfriend to the party, then I didn't want to be there. But the logic behind my desire is deeper.

You see, for the past two years my family and I have drifted apart. This was my choice - not so much because I want to distance myself from their beliefs or behaviours,  but because I realized that they were only seeing the smallest part of me, the me they knew 10, 15, 20 years ago. The person who couldn't cook, the person who wandered cluelessly through relationships because she didn't know who she was. They were seeing the old me, because that's all I was revealing of myself. The hardest transition to make was to be open in front of my family. I'm still working on it...it will be much easier to be open at work, especially now that I've shoved the door aside, with creaking hinges and all. But my family - I chose to keep my real authentic life away from them - the life I treasure, the life I gain the greatest pleasure from. I am a woman who loves another woman.

I reached an epiphany the other day, with the help of a good friend. Not only do I deserve to be open about my relationship, my family deserves it, too. They deserve to see who I really am, to know and love the person that I have become over the past two years. Because I am strong, artistic, talented, funny and wise. And sharing myself with anyone is a gift, for them and for me.

My sister ( I am out to my sister, and able to be completely open with her, she has shared almost every aspect of this journey with me, bless her) called my youngest brother and explained my dilemma - because I had hesitated about even setting a date for a family birthday. I wanted a party, I wanted my family to celebrate with me, but I also wanted my girlfriend there.

As far as he was concerned it was no problem. He and my parents share a duplex, and we could use the back yard, and my parents' house, which has central air. Or so he said - whatever doubts he had about inviting her were set aside in order to make me feel more comfortable.

Still, I was oh-so-nervous. So was the girl. How would they react when they actually saw us together?

I arrived late, because I do that. And discovered that in addition to my family (minus parents, who are off on a retirement travelling adventure) my best friend from high school (whom I was not out to) and assorted, non-related kids were also there. Increase of nervousness...

I introduced her. We were all casually polite with one another as the awkwardness seeped in. We went inside to eat lunch, because it was too hot out...and I made a point of sitting beside the girl. Because she's my girl. And because there she was, in a sea of family members, including my middle brother - have I mentioned that my little brother is one year away from ordination as a catholic priest? So things went along swimmingly, if rather awkwardly...

until my sister in law accidentally threw a grape at my bff from high school. Being the mature, reasonable adults that we are, we proceeded to have a food fight.

A small one - but see what happens when your parents are away? All hell breaks loose. The last time we had a party when my parents were on vacation, we were much younger, and there was a lot more alcohol involved, but still, a food fight?

It broke the ice. She was a lot more comfortable after that, seeing that my family was a bit kooky and sort of fun. Sort of the kind of people you'd want to have around...they have accepted anyone I've introduced with open arms up until now, but I was so afraid it would be different this time. It wasn't.

A while later, my oldest brother reminded me that his birthday bash (annual big party) was coming up - his birthday is just after the Girl's, and I looked at her in confusion - I wanted to go, but I want time with her, and our summer is so busy...My SIL looked at her and said "You are coming too, aren't you?" I said "Well, her birthday is two days before" and she replied "That's fine, we can add her name to the cake."

There you go.

All that angst for nothing. I have given them lots of time to get used to things - and maybe they're not so sure about what's happening with me, but I know one thing. We are still family, and we are as tight as we used to be.

Just one question remains...do I look 45 to you? I feel like I'm about 29.

Me and the Girl at Toronto Pride.


Eileen Pennington said...

young and beautiful!

glad to hear everything went well!!

Kalisis Rising said...

You are beautiful! You are a beautiful couple.

Happy Birthday and may you enjoy many more bright blessings on your next trip around the sun!

aneke said...

Yay a picture!

Be HAPPY Camlin, you deserve it :) I'm so glad things went well, it gives me some hope.

Earth Muffin said...

You look fantastic and very happy. I'm so glad to hear that your family was open and accepting of your girl!

B said...

Great to finally see a pic of the girl!

Camlin said...

I haven't posted pics until now because I was under the impression that she didn't want me to post them - apparently I was mistaken. So, expect more.

Aneke - I am so happy with how everything worked out. I know it could have been much different.

Anonymous said...

Looks like two happy, beautiful kids to me.

It's been over 4 years and my parents still haven't met gf (they have refused). Now, when they come to see our new place they will have no choice but to come face to face with what they've been avoiding. It won't be an easy day for me but I'll think of you and and your story - that will give me the courage to believe at the end of it that everything will be just fine.

Avril Fleur said...

You look radiant and yep, just about 29, if that! So glad to hear that things went well with your family birthday and that your siblings were not only accepting of your new lifestyle, but that it hasn't changed your relationships at all with them. :)

Redbone210 said...

You are a vibrant 45 year old and you both look very happy together in this picture. I've been reading your blog for a while (catching up on your history) and am very excited for you and this chapter in your life.

kym said...

You look fantastic! And happy and free!

Happy to read things went well with your family and your birthday and that it has not changed your relationship with them. Awesome.

Making Space said...

Oh shit how'd I miss this one???!!!! Adding her name to the cake - FAB!!U!!LOUS!!!!

You are a beautiful couple and you btoh look transcendently happy. Young and ageless at the same time. Hooray!!!

Mon said...

Camlin, one of my dearest oldest blog friends now, I am so so happy for you. Of course you know I stalk your FB page for photo's...but you both look amazingly happy and in love. Isn't it wonderful, we've both come so so far since we met!!!

For you tonight, I'm sharing my favorite lyrics to our "girl"...

"It's been a warm winter, and a cold spring, everywhere I've been has felt wrong to me.

So put your head on my heart, and lay down in the crook of my arm.

Everything's okay, I've been found again, I've been found again..."

Anonymous said...

Yep, not a day over 28, too! I'm glad you're happy and that you've found someone! Whoopee! And, happy birthday! (Does that mean you're a Leo?)

~seelenschmerz~ said...

absolutely and beautifully young and vibrant...you look happy...just how it should be
isn't love grand?? LOL
hugs and (very!) belated birthday wishes

LizW said...

You both look very happy (and no more than kids!). Interesting backdrop, too. I'm still trying to figure out what it is. I'm glad things went so well for you at the party. I have yet to go to a full-on family gathering with my g/f. There could be an opportunity in a couple of weeks, but I admit to feeling a bit chicken about it and thinking about making the date of our family barbecue fall before my g/f arrives from Houston. I think I will read this post of yours a few more times to gather up the courage to arrange this get together to include B. And now I know, should we need an ice-breaker, that food fights are just the ticket!

Camlin said...

I can`t exactly place the background either. I think we took the shot in Queen`s Park or just outside of it, and the background is some kind of sculpture...