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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I’m Glowing

I’ve had a lot of people tell me lately that I am ‘glowing’ in my pictures on social media, that I look so happy and that people are proud of me for finding my happiness and being true to myself. And I can’t help but wonder, if my people can see THAT much from my photographs, what must they see when I’m standing right in front of them?

My parents spent some time at my house last week and although I missed it, my lovely girlfriend caught my dad looking at the two of us, and smiling as we all shared a meal. Then when we went to the pub for dinner, my mom pulled out her camera and asked us to smile for a photo; it turned out terrible, but when she posted it to Facebook the post was accompanied with a simple ‘Happiness <3′. I just couldn’t tell her to take the picture down, such a public compliment and expression of her acceptance of our love.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, I’ve been spoiled with acceptance when its come to my being out. My cousin is getting married in September and when my invitation arrived, I was excited to see a plus one included and promptly asked my girlfriend if she was free and up for the family affair that is a wedding.

And then I realized, my cousin isn’t on social media, maybe he didn’t know I was gay. Maybe his wife’s family is homophobic. Maybe my gramma is homophobic. And suddenly, RSVPing wasn’t quite as simple as it had once been. But when I contacted my cousin to check in, he told me quite simply ‘I know about the love of your life, and yes she’s invited.‘ And my mom assured me that she had already talked to her mom and although she sometimes speaks without thinking (don’t we all), there was nothing to worry about when it came to gramma either.

Just like that, I realized that our crazy circus, my boys and my girl are going to a wedding and my entire family is going to see all my damn happy. If they can’t see the joy and authenticity that this life brings me, when I’m standing right in front of them, then I guess they aren’t paying attention because apparently, I’m glowing.

It Takes Time

In some ways, being out has been easy for me; once I accepted my truth, it became easy to live it. I started to shine and slowly but surely I began to find my identity, I used to feel uncertain where I fit, not quite deserving of a contributing seat at the gay table and yet clearly not meant to fit in the hetero world either.

But all of that has changed, I feel a comfortable camaraderie being lumped into the lesbian stereotypes and happily giggle along with all the gay funnies. Its taken me twenty long years to find myself, but when I finally burst out of that closet, literally everything became clearer.

I live my life according to my own agenda, I pursue love and light and happiness and I will not compromise that which is important to me for anyone ever again. Yet its important to keep things in perspective, to remember my life, my choices and my person have impacts on others.

My family, my parents in particular, are struggling. In their hearts, I know they want me to be happy, and they understand that love is love but having a gay daughter isn’t exactly the same as generally supporting the gay agenda. I know that to them, its a change of massive proportions and that in time, everything will work itself out.

Meeting  my girlfriend’s family last week made my heart swell and gave me a glimpse of family inclusivity. Her family has had virtually her entire adult life to come to terms with her sexuality and its very evident that my girlfriends family loves and accepts her just as  she is; it was one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever experienced.

I can only hope that in time, my family will adjust to my new reality and be able to not just accept, but welcome my gay self and my love with open arms.

 

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.

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.