Although its taken me a long time to get there, earlier this month I embraced the realization that I’m gay; I naively didn’t expect that this enormous self acceptance would fundamentally change the way I live my life or see myself.
I’m still me.
Earlier this year, I told my parents that I was dating a girl, I told all of my friends (that matter) that I was dating a girl and my sons, though not explicitly told, knew I was dating a girl. It felt like I’d already done some pretty ‘tough stuff’ without ever actually owning a lesbian label.
With all that behind me, I had a hard time imagining that accepting a label would have the ability to change anything, but I was absolutely wrong. In only a few short weeks, I’ve found myself feeling more free, more authentic and more me (all things I’ve written about wanting) than I ever remember. My sexuality doesn’t define me, but it is a part of me that I had not yet invited to shine.
Last week I was chatting with a coworker about a discussion I’d had with my Mom and given the direction of the conversation, he appropriately questioned ‘like she’s asking about a boyfriend or something?‘ and I just naturally said, ‘yeah something like that‘ and we carried on talking. The conversation flowed normally, but after he left, I sat at my desk and all I could think of was that I wished I’d said something else, that I’d corrected him or otherwise owned my gay.
So when a different coworker asked what I was doing with all my kid-free time off, I’d already been considering how I wanted to approach discussions about my personal life and was more prepared to answer. I told him I didn’t have much planned, but was hoping to day trip with my girlfriend to the local mountain.
And you know what happened?
Nothing, the sky did not fall. We carried on our conversation, like adults do, I felt empowered and he may or may not have noticed or cared.
It feels a lot easier to stop caring what other people think, now that I’m giving myself the gift of acceptance.