[I was inspired by another great blogger to post my story. I hope someone can relate to it & find some sense of comfort or encouragement within it.]
It's not easily explained, the feeling that washes over you the first time you're turned on by someone of your same sex.
Let me backtrack a little. Maybe it's not proper to say 'turned on' because in my case, I was in pre-school the first time I kissed a girl and liked it. I doubt I was turned on seeing as how I didn't know what being turned on meant. Or maybe I was and just didn't know how to explain it. Whatever the case was, whenever 'P' (yes I remember her name) and I played house and snuggled up next to each other in her cot, I loved it. She was my best friend, we were protective of each other and it just felt right. I didn't get that same sense of comfort from the little boys attempting to chase me around the play ground or trick me into playing doctor with them. Yes, I snuck into corners with them to look/poke at body parts out of curiosity (dont act like you didn't) but I was more grossed out than intrigued. Call it premonition.
I was born into a heavily religious family. My father, a pastor, was ordained into the ministry when he was 12 years old. He's now a Bishop and has been preaching for over 45 years. My mom was raised in the church and has been at my father's side for 41 years. They are not perfect. But living in a household with two loving parents who do not drink alcohol, smoke, curse, cheat on each other (as far as I know), or any thing else that most "normal" people get caught up in...I had tons of pressure on my shoulders. I was blessed to have such a stable family unit, but damn if it wasn't hard to live up to at times, ya know?
Anyway, so yeah. I was in church 3 nights out of the week, and bright and early on Sunday. I sang in the choir, I attended bible study, I taught sunday school. Church was a huge part of my life. Everywhere I turned, strong, religious heterosexual beliefs surrounded me and I never felt as if I had any other choice but to fall in line. And that I did. Jr. High was fairly easy. I didn't focus much on either sex. I got A's in school and had a bunch of giggly best friends who sat around all day and talked about boys. By then, the yuck-factor of boys was wearing off and I tapped into my attraction for them. I was never boy-crazy, but there were a few who caught my attention. But still, I had this one friend (girl) who I thought about wayyyy more than any of the guys I claimed to be crushing on. There was just something about her. I couldn't explain it. At times I was ashamed of it and hoped she never picked up on my thoughts about her. There's nothing worse then knowing there's something going on in your mind that you can not control because it's natural, but it makes you feel dirty and ashamed because you've been taught that those type of thoughts are bad enough to send you straight to hell.
High school was an interesting journey. I thought about girls every single day. Who was cute, who had a nice body, who I thought could possibly be closeted bi or les. Through sly looks and quick head turns, I definitely paid attention to the female student body. Pun intended. But while I was wondering/pondering/fantasizing about women, I was dating guys. On the outside, I was straight as possible. Talked about men with my clique, hung pictures of Usher and Ginuwine in my locker (Ha), stressed over this guy and that guy, fell in "love/lust", fell out of "love" and then back in "love"...with men. My parents and family saw nothing wrong. I appeared normal to my friends. I wasn't disappointing or hurting anyone. You can say I was content. But that's a far cry away from being HAPPY. There was still that something.
I never questioned whether or not I was straight. I felt like hey, I was capable of being in relationships with men, so i'm fine. Right? Just roll with it. Fake it til you make it. Yeah. I can put up a facade all I want and fake it for everyone in the world, but it's a tad bit harder to prank yourself. Especially when you've encountered another girl who shares your same thoughts, feelings, and desires. There's nothing quite like that first time you say the words out loud to someone else. "I think I might like girls." It's like stepping out of a violent rainstorm into a warm beam of sunlight. But it only lasted a minute, because, of course that revealing statement was quickly followed with "But I mean, I haven't done anything with a girl yet. I don't know if I really could. And of course I still like guys way more."
So I downplayed my inner struggle. I was never suicidal. I didn't cry myself to sleep at night every night. Once in awhile, yes. But not every night. I didn't have this desire to come out to anyone. I didn't even know what I would becoming out about. I mean, I was still dating guys!! I was "NORMAL". And my parents were still happy as clams with their lovely college-bound daughter who dated men. If they were satisfied, who was I to rock the boat? But dammit all to hell if love didn't have other plans for me...
Once you fall in love with someone of the same sex for the first time, I swear there's no going back. No do overs. You can't hit pause and erase the occurance . It's there and you'll feel it. the more you fight not to feel, the harder it hits. And the harder it hits, the easier you bruise, and with each "bruise", it becomes harder and harder to hide.
Here come the lies: "Mom, we're just friends. You know that. What's wrong with you?" "What gay book? It's not mine! I don't know what you're talking about." "Porn!!! With women in it? Eww. [Insert random guy name here] must have brought it over here with him and left it by mistake." "Helll no, I don't swing that way! So don't even play like that." "I was not talking to a girl! Are you deaf?. And why you all up in my phone conversation anyway?" Etc...
And then came the hundreds of lies on top of the first wave of lies. I sacrificed my word, my honesty, my respect, and my personal happiness to keep my life a secret from the people I cared about the most. All in the name of fear and self-loathing. How could I ever even think of hurting my parents like this? They've done everything to give me a great childhood. They taught me right from wrong. They loved me, and they taught me that God's love is mightier than anything and the closer I am to him, the more peace I will have in life.....
And that realization is what allowed me to take baby steps towards my genuine self. When I thought about the things I was scared to death of: my friends disliking me because i'm gay, my parents being disappointed in me because i'm gay, being stared at by random strangers on the street because i'm gay. I finally realized that none of this mattered because the one person who would love me unconditionally for who I am because He made me....He would always be there. I would never be alone, and I would never be left to fight my own battles because my life has already been carefully mapped out and i'm merely going along for the ride. So why not enjoy it being HAPPY.
I'm still on this journey towards being 100% comfortable in my own skin. I still need to allow myself the oportunity and the freedom of walking into my workplace as an openly proud lesbian. It's not an overnight process. And I often wonder if i'm truly obligated to tell everyone my personal business anyway. (thinking hard about that one) But I can say that those people I was once worried about losing,my friends and my parents, know me for me now and they are still here. They still love me and it's no different from how they loved me before. I live my life as a lesbian. (with the best girlfriend ever) I love my life as a lesbian. I laugh at life as a lesbian. I'm beginning to know what true inner peace feels like, and I love it.