Coming OUT

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This is the story of my coming out. After years of repression and my own struggle with inner homophobia, I finally said the golden words, “I think I’m gay.” I didn’t pick the time or the place carefully. Hell, I didn’t even know I was going to say it until I did, and I didn’t know it was true until I said it. As soon as I uttered those four words, It shocked me.

Okay, wait. Let’s back the truck up . . . So, it was the eve of my roommate’s birthday. I had made a huge dinner and we’d invited all of our friends. It was festive and excessive. The food was rich and there was plenty to go around, and our glasses were overflowing with wine. I was sitting by myself. My head had been so messed up lately. I couldn’t think straight. I couldn’t concentrate on anything. Things were bubbling up, and after I drank nearly a bottle of wine to myself I should have seen it coming . . . There was a lull in conversation and I blurted out, “I think I’m gay.” Just like that. The table grew quiet. The room had grown still. The silence was awkward and uncomfortable. One of the women’s husbands reassured me, “I think you’d know if you were.” “Oh, really?” I said looking at him hopeful like maybe he had all the answers. I looked around the table at my friends’ faces; they were skewed in disgust. I laughed nervously, “Haha! I’m just kidding you guys. I’m not gay!” I said. But I knew it was true. It was never brought up again in that house. A couple weeks later my roommates (a married couple) kicked me out of the house over “dishes.” The “man” of the house told me point-blank that I was a woman and I needed to “learn my place.” He threatened to set my things on fire. I was terrified and left that night. I was homeless for weeks, sleeping on friends’ couches with my things packed away in my car, until I found a new home. It was a complete nightmare. And the worse part of it, was that was my introduction to coming out as a queer woman.

Luckily for me, I had mostly amazing people in my life at that time. Once I relocated, I started coming back out of my shell. I told the people I trusted the most: my brother, my aunt, a family friend, my god mother and her daughter. They gave me love and strength. They encouraged me to embrace who I was, and it filled me with confidence and pride. A couple people gave me contact numbers for good friends of theirs who happened to be gay. It was a way for me to establish a since of community since at that time I didn’t know any “out” gay people. I developed a wonderful relationship with an older lesbian. She was a life coach, and was absolutely the perfect person to guide me through this exhilarating and scary time in my life. She gave me books to read and documentaries to watch. I slowly began to educate myself on the LGBTQ culture and history. I gained a better understanding of who I was. I realized there was nothing wrong with me. In fact, I was special. I was two-spirited. I was beautiful.

Once I wrapped my mind around it all, I realized that I had never been truly happy until this time of acceptance and coming out. After all these years, I had finally learned to love myself for exactly who I was. It was so freeing. I cried happy tears. I shed pounds of self-doubt. I had found FREEDOM. It was then that I realized I wanted everyone to know. I told my mom. She was gripped with fear for me. But all in all, this time she handled it very gracefully. “You mean, you are more attracted to women than you are to men?” she asked. “Precisely,” I said. She said she just wanted me to be happy. And that was the general consensus among everyone I came out to. I heard over and over again, “I love you for you no matter who you love. I just want you to be happy.” And I was. I was finally happy.

I soon discovered Autostraddle (an awesome website designed for lesbians). I cut my hair into the faux-hawk I’ve always wanted. I bought books from the gay and lesbian section at the local used bookstore. And I planned a road trip to celebrate my sexual orientation and identity to all the top gay-friendly cities in the area. It was just the beginning, and the future looked bright…

This is Sappho Bambino, signing out, but before I go I think we should take a moment to celebrate amongst ourselves. Pop some bubbly and turn up the volume for QueenS by THEESatisfaction: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qGWFBt_IPOg

Until Next Time,

S.B.

Coming to Terms

Generally, the term “baby lesbian/dyke” refers to a young woman (like young, young) who is coming to terms with her sexual orientation and identity. I suppose it depends on your idea of young, but for most people this happens around puberty. In this blog, I’m referring to myself at age 30 . . . (!) . . . Wait, back the truck up. Yep, you read me correctly. 30. Trienta. Tres-cero. The Big 3-0. So, if I am as good a mind-reader as I’d like to fancy myself, than you are probably asking “Why in the truck did it take you 15 years longer than most to figure out this very important self-identifier?” Welcome to my world. Short answer: idk. Long answer: I don’t know. Repression? Inner homophobia? The time/place I grew up?

I nearly ignored and denied my healthy attraction to the female persuasion my entire adolescence and young adulthood. It wasn’t completely swept under the rug, however. I had a few woman-on-woman escapades in the early years. It wasn’t like I didn’t attempt to reach out and talk to people about it, but when I tried I was laughed at or it was explained to me that it was “just a phase” – something I’d likely grow out of. And I full-heartily believed it. I wanted that to be true. I did NOT want to be gay. And it was easy to convince myself I wasn’t. With all my daddy issues, I was definitely seeking out male attention. I thought that’s what attraction was. I was sadly mistaken. It wasn’t like I wasn’t attractive. In fact, I was/am a very good looking lady. I had a few boyfriends here and there. The relationships I did have were always wrong. Try as I may, I never could get it right. I was utterly unimpressed with sex, although I was horny as all get out. Eventually, I settled down with a nice guy, and we married. It wasn’t until after we were unhappily married and divorced that I started to look into the mirror with a more honest assessment of who was actually looking back at me. (Ya know, that curious girl. The one jumping up and down waving her arms and shouting, faintly audible from behind the glass, “I’m gay!!!! Please listen and let me out!!”) Even then, it took a good three years after the divorce before I had the “ah-ha!” moment when I said the following words out loud: “I think I’m gay.” (It was during a dinner party after a bottle of wine, but that’s an entirely separate post.)

To be completely honest with you, my dear, sweet reader, I didn’t want it to be true. I fought it at first. It is so much easier, in some respects, to live a heterosexual lifestyle, because that is the life the whole world expects you to lead – parents, family, friends, society. But it pained the core of my soul/the root of my  being to live this lie. I had severe panic attacks, anxiety, and depression. My body physically hurt. I didn’t like me, let alone love me . . . As soon as I realized that I was living a lie – as soon as I realized that I was in fact gay, I didn’t want to hide it. And I didn’t. Mostly. Once I knew I was loved and supported, I wanted the whole world to know. The funny thing – the ironic thing – is that after spending my whole life wanting to be happy and denying my true self in order to lead a “normal” “happy” life it wasn’t until after I started coming out as a lesbian that I began to feel truly happy. Isn’t it shocking and appalling that I’d never felt really happy before?! Of course, I’d felt happiness – as fleeting as it was for me, but I’d never really been content with myself until I really loved myself completely and unconditionally, thereby letting all of my colors burn bright.

I am still in the process of coming out and figuring out how I relate to the world as a queer woman, but I have come out to my friends and family and have almost entirely been welcomed with open arms. As I come to terms with my identity, I’ve realized I’ve got to “come to terms” with my identity. Since I’ve figured out that I am, in fact, a lesbian, now I’m left wondering what kind of lesbian am I? There are soooo many to choose from (kid in a candy store over here): stone butch, femme, kiki, gold star, lone star, lipstick, chapstick, elfin, blue jeans, pillow queen, futch, soft butch, boi, power dyke, diesel dyke, sporty dyke, baby dyke [awkward coughing sound], hasbian, LUG, drag king, classic butch, modern butch, andro nerd, andro glam, flowerchild femme, pinup/body modification/tattoo/piercing femme, hipster andro, weekend lesbian. What the truck? I seriously just found all these terms on the inter-webs . . . But then I just laughed at the ridiculousness of even questioning what type of label to stick on my forehead . . . I’m the same person I’ve always been. I’m funny, intelligent, cute as a button, interested in all sorts of stuff, etc. I feel empowered by my feminine energy and charged by my masculine energy. I’m attracted to all sorts of lesbians that express themselves at different places on the feminine-masculine spectrum with different pulls of yin and yang. Romantically, I’m interested in someone who mirrors and thereby balances my masculine and feminine energy – yin and yang. I don’t really belong in a box . . . haha, well, figuratively, at least . . . neither does anyone, we are all just people – uniquely different yet all vibrating on the common chord of humanity.

I believe that we are all two spirited – gay and straight alike. However, I also believe that gay people are more balanced in their duality. More powerful, because of this harmony. Although, society sadly still balks at letting us celebrate this fact the way we should. But when I look in my crystal ball, I see the words not for long seeping through the haze of What’s-To-Come.

I refuse to put myself in a box . . . again, haha . . . But seriously, you get what I’m saying, right? So, I’m giving myself permission on this stretch of my “coming out journey” to just be me. And I give you, dear, sweet reader, permission to just be you.

In honor of you, me, this post, and all things that refuse labels, is the song “Androgynous” by Jhameel. Follow the link to take a listen: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jOhmMt8pawE

In saying all of the above, this is Sappho Bambino, the “proud baby lesbian,” signing out [pause for gasps of appalled irony recognition], good night and good luck. [Lights fade out . . . and scene.]

Until Next Time,

S.B.