Presence

I’ve come to realize that one of the the greatest gifts we have to share is our presence, our undivided attention and the vulnerability of exposing and sharing our true selves. This seemingly simple offering can not be quantified by money or material expectations because its reach far surpasses anything  physically tangible; the connecting of souls is visceral.

However, I’ve also discovered that although I’ve been sharing myself with others my entire life, I’d neglected to take the time to truly connect with me. I gave so much away, never pausing to realize that the person I needed to love and nourish was me. In 2016 I put a lot of energy into reflecting who I wanted to be; I don’t have all of the answers but being consciously present has helped me discover so many amazing things about living a life that brings me joy and happiness.

I am a unique, quirky and nerdy woman who stands proud and refuses to apologize for loving words, the pursuit of knowledge, creating lists and breathing in nature wholeheartedly. I am a woman who feels deeply, who empathizes, cares and tends to others, but no longer at the expense of myself. I pay attention and trust in my feelings, my experience and my journey. I love deeply, but I’ve learned how important it is to love myself first.

I am a mother and my children are a piece of me always. I trust in the messages and lessons my heart wants to share with my boys and I strive to parent from a place of love, honesty and trust. I have two hopes for my boys, the first is for them to always feel safe to talk to me about their dreams, their fears and everything in between and second, I want only  for them to grow up and be their most authentic and happy selves.

I believe in honesty, loyalty, empathy and authenticity. I believe that true strength emerges when we are brave and step forward in the face of fear. For years I was afraid to admit I was unhappy; to admit that my feelings mattered, that I mattered. I was afraid to walk away from a marriage and a life that brought me no joy.

I am no longer that woman, after stagnating for years, I am evolving each and every day; discovering, appreciating and respecting the opportunity to meet the woman I was once so scared to become.

It Changes Everything

“Realizing that I’m  pretty fucking gay has made a big difference for me in figuring out who I am.”

This week I described myself as ‘pretty fucking gay’ and I feel pretty fucking great about it. It’s an absolutely true statement, I am not a little bit gay and I’m certainly not ‘maybe gay’ anymore either. I find myself thinking back on so many experiences over the past 20 years and the signs have always been there. I have always been attracted to women, always.

And now that I’ve found that piece of me, it will not be denied; I seem to have found my  lesbian self in pretty short order if I’m being honest. Granted I think I’d been making my way out for a long time, but when my girlfriend jokes about me parading around in my rainbow tutu, it doesn’t feel too far from the truth.

I read an article a while ago (I don’t remember which one, I read a lot) that made reference to the gay glow that newly out people get. From where I’m standing I have no idea what it looks like from the outside, but I can assure you that from the inside I feel so vibrant that perhaps glow is the right word.

I was recently trying to find a way to explain all of this to a friend in the midst of a discussion about someone else she knew. Despite all my feelings and thoughts on the topic, I spit out somewhat meaningful gibberish at best; ‘it’s a big thing to figure out who you are, especially when you didn’t even know, that you didn’t know. It changes everything.’

And that’s the truth.

Turns out, I’m pretty fucking gay and that realization has changed a whole lot of everything for me.

This Love is Different

A new friend asked my about my girlfriend this weekend; she was genuinely interested in how we met, what we had in common and just generally engaged me in girl talk. It felt easy to open up to her, to tell her how this was different than anything I’d ever experienced and how amazing if felt to be so aligned about life and about love. I gushed about my amazing girlfriend and she listened, asked questions and allowed me to revel in the beauty of my relationship.

We’ve been dating almost four months and in hindsight I’ve realized that this was the first time I’ve had the opportunity to be girly and giddy about her and about us. I have had conversations about our relationship with some of my friends and a few special co-workers, but this was different.

My friends and family are protective of me, they’ve watched me hurt and they’ve watched me lose myself. They’ve supported me as I struggled to walk away from my marriage and again when I let a relationship become more than it was meant to be and started to lose myself in a whole new way. I understand why my people are cautious, why they don’t trust me to make the right choices, to put myself first and never compromise who I am for someone else, and I will never hold that against them. They are beautiful souls and I am fortunate to have them on my team.

But WE are different, SHE is different and everything about US feels different. When we finally had the opportunity to become friends, we bonded over a mutual desire for change, to have room to be and grow ourselves first and foremost regardless of our relationship status. And now that we are together, that continues to be a priority; I love her because of everything she is and all that she dreams of being. I have only love and support to offer as she strives to reach her goals and I feel the same from her every second of the day.

We are the only ones that feel what we feel, that live what we live and know what we know. And what I know, is that we are nothing like anything before. I know we will continue to love and support each other through the obstacles that are sure to cross our paths, we will grow on our own and we will grow together. In time, I’m certain that my people (and hers) will come to see all that we are and all that we give each other, and that will be nice, but its not necessary. It’s our relationship and we know that this love is different.

I am Enough

In a world ruled  by chaos, my constants used to be doubt, guilt and uncertainty; I could never seem to let go long enough to fully appreciate the beauty of my sheer existence. I was unable to see that everything I needed was within me: waiting to be nurtured, waiting to be free.

I needed to stand tall and leave behind the life I had built, with no idea where I was going, knowing only that the life I had wasn’t the one meant for me. I needed to learn to be me, just me; not a mom, not a wife, not a girlfriend, me.

And when I finally stood alone and channeled all my energy inwards, my world literally exploded and became something entirely new and incredibly beautiful. I found my ‘don’t give a fuck’ and started to let my opinion be the only one that mattered. For the first time I reflected on my dreams, my desires and my future without consideration for anyone else.

And when I did that, it was like putting on glasses for the first time; watching a world I thought I knew slowly come into focus, only to discover that nothing was quite what I had believed.

When I accepted my truth and claimed my gay, all the irrelevant baggage I’d been carrying around dissipated and I was left standing alone, looking in the mirror. In my reflection I see a lesbian, but more than that, I see woman who knows who she is and I see a woman who can’t hide the joy the emanates from within her. She’s been in there all along waiting to be free and now that we’ve united, what remains is an incredibly fierce woman who is absolutely enough.

I feel like I’ve spent the past twenty years convincing myself that my life was good enough, when all I had to do was root around in the box to look for that last piece of the puzzle. There was a time, when I was willing to settle for mediocrity, for normalcy, for smiles that didn’t reach my soul, but that time has passed and that door has closed.

I shine bright, because I am enough.

Pause

Sometimes, in the midst of intensity, I can’t help but pause; my eyes delving into the depths of hers, my fingers caressing the curves of her jaw as I attempt to breathe in the beauty that is us. I have no words, but I’m certain that written across my face is the trust, the loyalty and the love that we share.

I’ve never felt so certain that someone was meant to be in my life; for no purpose other than to simply be. Her presence is a gift that gives me smiles for days and fills me with a happiness that is indescribable; I feel a joy that radiates from deep within me and I hear the song that my heart sings, urging me to go forth and be free.

Gay Mom’s Club

I am so fortunate to have a woman in my life that regularly feeds my curiosity and  challenges my thought processes. A few months ago, during one of our chats we were talking about my kids and she pointed out that my situation is not all that unique; there are a lot of gay moms in the region.

However, my particular town has a population of less than 2,500 and to my knowledge the local gay mom’s club has a membership of one. Over the past year, as I reflected on my life and sexuality, I put a significant amount of energy into considering how my life choices might affect my sons. At the end of the day, I know that my kids may be subjected to bullying and teasing, because of me (which is a hard pill to swallow) but I also know that there are an infinite number of reason they may get teased in their lifetime, I am only one.

But the potential for positive repercussions is also infinite; my boys will grow up in a home where love is love is love and they will be free to be and to love whomever they choose without fear. My boys will understand that the struggle to be true and authentic to their hearts song is worth every tear that they may shed along the way. And I hope that my boys will know that although their Mom made a decision that shook their lives and changed everything, it gave them a happy mom, which is the best type of mom to have around.

To be honest, its been ages since I’ve given any thought to the potential impacts of my coming out on  my children; long before I was actually ready to accept that I was gay I came to terms with the fact that my world cannot revolve entirely around my boys. But yesterday a friend was commending me for being brave, strong and true to my heart, and she couldn’t help but comment on how difficult my coming out must be, because I’m a mom.

Although I know it wasn’t her intention, I couldn’t help feeling a little put off by the connotation that being a mom somehow made my decision to come out especially difficult. It was one of many things that I pondered, and although my children are my everything I have a hard time trying to justify my struggle being any more important than someone else’s. Coming out is a huge, life altering decision and for me its been a long time coming; not even being a mom could have changed my ultimate destination.

At the end of the day, I believe in my heart, that my boys will be proud to have a mother that was not afraid to walk away from everything that society told her to want in order to live a life full of love and light and happiness. If that makes me the president and membership of my local gay mom’s club, I’ll take it because this is me, and I’m proud to be my kids’ gay mom.

More Than Silver Linings

I have always considered myself an optimist, I see the glass as half full and I’ve always looked for the silver linings, but there was a time, not that long ago, that I forgot how much more there was to live for.

I forgot, about laughter, that refuses to be contained and spills forth with reckless abandon. I forgot, that the best smiles are the ones that shine and sparkle from within and cannot ever truly be hidden. I forgot, that I am, and always have been, enough. And I forgot, that the fire within me burns strong, I can be anything and anyone that I want to be; only I have that power.

And I’ll never give it away again. I’m discovering and uncovering a whole new way of life, one where I am unstoppable, strong and true.

I’ve discovered the freedom that comes when you truly accept yourself, wholly and entirely. I’ve discovered that kisses can be like souls intertwining, drawing people together as their breath becomes one. I’ve discovered that there is great beauty in slowing down, immersing myself in feelings and being truly present in the moment.

But most importantly, I’ve discovered a happiness like I’ve never known; I feel overcome with love and light and happiness each and every day.

My life is so much more than silver linings.