I am typically a day late, so bear with me. National Coming Out Day was the 11th. So I’m technically 8 days late. But I think better late than never.
I read about my various friends experiences with coming out last week on Facebook. And honestly, I know some really brave folks. I don’t mean brave because they are big and brawny or can kick someone’s ass in 2.2 seconds. Brave because they didn’t let society define them. They didn’t hide their “secret”…they told those closest to them WHO they were, HOW they loved and accepted the fact that whether or not they had support, they were going to be authentic to themselves.
Some of these folks came out 30 years ago, some 10 years, some last year, last month, last week. And don’t for one moment think that these people aren’t brave.
I thought about this all week last week. To say something. Only my story, to me, isn’t extraordinary. It’s quite tame. This week, changed that…I was asked to be the subject of an interview. A college student contacted me and asked me to tell him my story. To tell him about me for a paper he is writing for his Humanities class in college. Me.
Personally, I think I have LOTS to say. Daily. Ask my staff. Or my kids…or my wife. I can do some talking.
But this is a person, who doesn’t know me, wanting to know me. Holy hell….am I THAT interesting? Can’t be…I have 6, count ’em SIX followers on Twitter…which could be either really funny or really sad, depending on my mood that day. I truly keep it to do the “poor man’s copyright” on the ol’ blog…but I have occasionally tweeted. I don’t think I am exceptionally quirky. But hey…6 folks like me.
So anyhoo…an interview, tomorrow. About me, my struggles as a gay woman, mother and wife. Where I’ve been, who I am. Wow…
You know, I wasn’t always gay. No, well….maybe….but I didn’t feel it. I was married before. To a man. Well…to a male, I don’t think I would ever actually call him a man; to be one, you gotta act like one. He doesn’t. Ever.
For the first 10 years of my life, I had the Beaver Cleaver existence. Mom, Dad, blonde baby sister, dog. Mom stayed home, dad had the job…I fought off a teething baby sister. My world was perfect.
At 10, my parents divorced. At 11 my dad remarried, my mom came out to me. On Christmas Eve. I still didn’t even think about boys, other than the Nolan boys…but I digress…
I will say, I met one girl when I was twelve that I crushed on. I crushed on her for twenty-seven years….lucky for me…she married me. I never once, in all the time that I got butterflies around her, did I think, “hmmmm…..could I be gay?” No I only thought, “my mom’s friend is HOT!”
Fast forward 23 years…I have been married, had two children and divorced. In the last year of my marriage, I befriended someone who in time, I began to develop strong feelings for. Very strong feelings…hi-evah…this someone, was a girl. And when the daughter saw me kiss her, run in the house sending the Boy out to “fetch me” for my mom…my coming out was something like this:
the Mother: “the daughter saw you kissing so-and-so. It’s okay, you just need to handle up on this.”
I stared at the floor and thought: shhhhiiiiit. And I asked myself “hmmm…..could I be gay?”
The answer I found was, yes. I was.
And I was completely okay with it. Once the shock wore off of it for my kids, my mom exclaimed, “I KNEW it!!!” My sister said, “Thank God it was you!!! Now everyone can quit saying it’s me!” and the Respondent said “That’s why you divorced me you dyke!” (it wasn’t, but who cares?)
I slowly moved forward with this…we were just “friends” to everyone at work…to my neighbors, to anyone.
I realized one day, folks aren’t stupid. Whether I was admitting it or not, folks knew, they could see it. I was only kidding myself. I was comfortable in my skin, in my relationship…but I wasn’t admitting it.
Then I stopped. And the first time I introduced her to someone as my partner, I literally felt the weight lift. There wasn’t any judgement, there wasn’t a clap of thunder, a bolt of lightning. I was simply a gay woman, with a partner.
There was one person, ONE, that I knew I had to tell, but she was on a different continental shelf. She was living in another country. She is my best friend….I knew I would have to tell her on the phone…how do you do that? God must have known, because she came home for a while during her husband’s tour of duty in Iraq.
She came over, took one look at me, took one look at my girlfriend and just knew…and she was happy for me. She didn’t judge me FOR ONE SECOND!!! She knew if I felt right, then it was right. (I only wish I had listened to her about WHO I loved, not “who” I loved…the bestie, not a fan of the first girlfriend)
Fast forward four years later, the first relationship has ended…and enter the Crush Who Became the Wife. It’s the healthiest relationship I have ever been in. And it shows. Folks who know me, those who have known me all along, say I am happier, shinier and lighter than they have ever seen me.
In a conversation in the past few years, I told the bestie that she was the one person I was most afraid of telling. She looked at me with such a look of shock. I will NEVER forget her words: “Why would I care about who you love? I love you! If this makes you happy, who am I to judge you about ANYTHING?!?!?” And I burst into tears!
I don’t make excuses. I don’t judge. I live how I live. I respect and honor anyone who crosses my path, anyone who shares the 3rd Rock with me. I am simply me.
I have been blessed. I haven’t had many struggles, I haven’t had the fight that many other have experienced. Literally the only person who has ever flipped me any shit, has been the Respondent. And the only time I have given it two moments pause, is when he discusses it with my children. Cause THAT’S classy. He’s a dick.
I have been blessed. I have not lost a single, solitary friend or family member because I am gay. In fact, I have made some incredibly beautiful friends, inside and out. Some of the most loving, accepting, honorable people have crossed my life since (1) my mother came out and (2) since I came out.
No, I didn’t have to stand in front of a room full of people to come out. I literally stared at a floor, feeling like a kid who got caught with my hand in the cookie jar…and took a deep breath, went and talked to the daughter and that.was.it.
Don’t think there haven’t been conversations with the kids along the way, when they have questions, I answer them honestly. It’s open, honest and raw at times. But in seven years, they have grown to see that mommy is more secure, more peaceful and less “me” than I used to be. And nowadays…they don’t care.
The Boy tells his friends his mom is a cop. All the time. To which I respond, “No, your mom is an accountant.” To which HE responds, “Mom….that’s not cool. So I am gonna tell them about my other mom….okay?” The daughter, yeah, pretty much the same thing…only, she does this when it’s convenient; meaning, when she’s in a pinch, mom’s a cop. Otherwise, she doesn’t claim EITHER of us. Most people look at how in love we are and I have been told on more occasions I can count, by my “breeder” friends, that they wish they had what I have. That they had the love in their life that I have in mine. That they hope they find that. And they say this to a GAY GIRL who is in love with a GIRL. And I know, they know, exactly what they mean. It’s beyond gender; it’s simple, pure love.
I wonder if I had to come out, really come out, would I have had the strength to be as brave as my friends. Would I have been able to stand there, bracing myself for the judgement, for the distance, for the stares, looks, whispers? Could I have been as brave as my family of choice?
I don’t know.
So to you, my brave, brave brothers and sisters, I raise a flawless toast to you. I love each of you and am in awe of your bravery, your capacity for love and for the forgiveness you have needed for those who have judged you. I stand beside each of you, with a common thread that sews us together…
We have broken the mold. We have stood against what society has deemed normal. And we love, out loud.
To you I say, thank you for blazing a path with me, for the now, for the future.
And with that, I Am OUT!