Obviously ‘Out’

I recently received a message that included reference to me being ‘obviously out’ (in a totally positive way) and it made me realize how not only my sexuality, but also my perspective, has changed over the past year. Once, I worried that someone would notice my longing gazes were directed at women, but today I find myself grinning when a stranger can identify that I’m gay (especially when my girlfriend isn’t by my side). In no way do I need the validation of strangers or society, but to me, their acknowledgement tells me that my that my exterior is finally a true reflection of who I am on the inside.

I’ve only been ‘out’ for a short time and I still remember feeling cautious, unsure what it would mean to truly feel the feelings that I had. I worried about being judged and becoming a topic of small town gossip. And I even worried that the societal perception that I had a shitty ex-husband and was ‘off men for a while’ might be true (to be clear, its definitely not). I spent a lot time in my head trying to understand what the implications would be if I was gay, if I was out and if people knew that it was women, and not men, that I was attracted to. I think at some level I was simply afraid that my life would be harder if I was gay.

And the truth is, in some ways my life probably is harder, but without question, it’s also happier. I’ll take hard and happy over easy and miserable every single day of the week, and I guess in a sense, we do. My girlfriend and I live in a small mining town, and although I wouldn’t consider everyone in our town inclusive and accepting, there certainly is a subset of the population that are. Since my girlfriend moved in 7 months ago she’s continually amazed how many people know who she is and what our situation is. People know her name, my name, my kids name and the days they are at their dad’s and they have no problem bringing it up and that’s just our reality.

The truth is, it matters a lot less what others think than I ever expected. Perhaps for the first time in my life, my heart is guiding my path and my journey and that gives me the strength to dismiss those that are not worthy of my time or energy.

Today, the happy I’ve earned by being me, far outweighs the fear I had when I felt scared and alone. Never in my wildest dreams could I have anticipated how freeing it would feel to unravel my grip on the life society told me to strive for and instead allow my fingertips to waver in the wind of my soul.

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Be What She Needs

A girl, that I’m pleased to call a friend, recently inquired about my past interest in women; curious whether it had come about suddenly, perhaps surprisingly, or if it was something that had been with me for years. She came to me because she’s met a girl, a girl whose struggling with her attraction, unsure if she is ready to date a woman.

For a moment, I struggled with how to respond; I could simply answer the question, but as much as she was asking about my experience, I knew that what she was really really looking for, was clarity in hers.

And so I offered her the only thing I could, honesty.

For years I have told myself that given the opportunity to date, I would pursue women. I have dated women in the past although never exclusively; I always had a boyfriend or a husband. The idea of dating a woman wasn’t new to me, it was like following through on something that I had been thinking about for all of my adult life.

That part was easy.

Giving up the hetero privilege that I never realized I had, or wanted, has proven to be  more difficult. I can no longer grab my partners hand, kiss her lips or profess my feelings at any given time or place without a very real worry of stares, comments or discomfort.

I tell myself frequently, ‘I’m too old to worry about what people think, if they don’t like it Fu*k them!’ and most of the time it works. Yet I still find myself occasionally feeling shy or awkward in certain circumstances: at the grocery store, at the playground, around strangers.

Part of me wants to pull away, to avoid any stares or discomfort, to hide behind the cozy comfort of my assumed straightness. But then, I find myself overcome with a shadow of shame and the acute awareness that I’m simply not ‘there’ yet.

It doesn’t mean I won’t be ‘there’ one day, it doesn’t mean that my girl means any less to me or that what I feel is any less authentic. It means I’m still figuring out who I am and what it means to be this new kind of me.

And my girl never, ever let’s me feel ashamed of being the ME that listens to the song that my heart has been trying so hard to sing.

She is always there loving me for who I am and supporting me along my journey; never rushing, never pushing, always letting me be. And that patience and that support means everything.

Be a rock, be a sponge, be a shoulder, whatever it is she needs, so long as its supportive, be that.

 

More Me

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When I decided to date, I wanted to meet someone special,but not too special. Someone to help satisfy my physical needs and possibly form a distant, but existent, emotional connection.

If I’m honest, I wanted a friend with benefits.

But I’m not really built for a friends with benefits kind of scenario; I’m the girl that’s attracted to personality and doesn’t have a ‘type’ because the most defining trend in all my relationships, is an emotional connection. But, I really wanted to meet someone, so I chanced the internet, made myself a profile and was fortunate enough to meet a girl.

A girl who has exceeded every possible expectation; who embraces me wholly and has seemingly never ending patience while I discover just exactly who I am. I feel lucky to have a girl who never questions my feelings, who feels the intensity of our connection so clearly, that she never hesitates  to assure well-meaning friends my intentions are pure. She never pressures me to label myself prematurely or to be more than I’m ready to be. That  alone is enough to make me want to be more: for me, for her, for us.

But I’m not sure what exactly that means, more what?

Instinctively, the answer is more gay, but I don’t really buy into that. Gay is a label, a single word used to describe sexuality; a personal, emotional understanding, deep within the core of our being that we can only strive to understand, honor and respect. I want to be more authentic, more honest and more true to myself. I want to be more ME than I’ve ever been before.

With my girl by my side, I have begun to venture into a community that I feared I had not earned the right to join, but not once have I felt judged for having been with a man.  Instead I feel welcomed, comfortable and assured of a safe space where I can hold hands, embrace and kiss my sweet girl with abandon.

And the more I do those things, the more right they feel.

Catalyst

I high-fived a waiter recently, because we both like sleeping with girls, and I’m kind of proud of it.

I was out for dinner with a gaggle of girls, we’d all had at least a few drinks and discussions were definitely of the adult variety. After one of my friends made some sort of comment about guys being difficult, the waiter replied with a laugh, ‘yeah, that’s why I sleep with girls’; without hesitation, my slightly inebriated self reached across the table and initiated a high five, gleefully sharing in the camaraderie. In that moment, I wasn’t shy and I wasn’t worried. I simply grinned and embraced my lady love and it felt amazing.

The freedom of that moment felt celebratory; my lack of hesitation and the certainty of my action has stayed with me since it happened.  On that particular day, I may have needed a few drinks to publicly acknowledge my desire for women, but I feel nothing but positivity from the experience and feel like THIS small action, may be a catalyst that helps me embrace the next steps on my journey to being ‘out’. Even if I’m not exactly sure what being out looks like for me.

This post is inspired by the Daily Prompt, Struggle.