I recently started reading Untamed by Glennon Doyle and it has ignited an overwhelming amount of emotions in me. I couldn’t sleep one night, so I lied awake & simply let the rush of feelings flow through me. Today I am putting those feelings in writing.
Glennon covers a range of topics including the pressures of being a woman in society, coming out later in life, recovering from drug & alcohol addiction & bulimia. Glennon was married to a man, with whom she had two children with. Then at the age of 40, she met the love of her life- a woman named Abby. The early chapters of the book had me reflecting on what it was like when I first realized that I am gay. I get this question a lot- did you always know? The short answer is no, not really. If I look back there were definitely signs. I begged my mom to cut my hair short, I was very much a tomboy & had a serious crush on Helen Hunt when she wears a white tank top in the movie “Twister” (don’t judge me haha). I dated men throughout college & was in a 4 year relationship. A couple of years after that ended I had my first practice for the semi-professional basketball team I was playing on. It was a regular day for me. I was just going to the gym to meet the team & get ready for the season. I’ll never forget the moment I realized that I am in fact, gayer than a bag of glitter. It was when she walked into the gym. She came in the back door so she had to walk all the way across the court & I knew in that moment, that I wanted to be with her. I didn’t know what that meant & it terrified me. I knew how to be straight, I knew how to be attractive to a man, but I did not know this. So I introduced myself, turned around & promptly ignored her for the coming weeks during the season.
I am very fortunate to have the support of my family. The night after I had my first kiss with a woman, I called my mom & told her what happened. My mom (nicknamed Pistol) is bi-sexual & I knew this when I was in junior high. She used to have these “friends” that were clearly lesbian & sometimes these friendships would end & we wouldn’t see that woman anymore. My sister & I used to talk about how gay our mom is & if we should ask her or let her tell us. So we waited until Pistol was ready to tell us. We went to a family counselor, Pistol cried & we waited until her speech was over. Then we said we knew & that she was a terrible liar & we loved her no matter who she loved.
So at this point, I am having some very gay feelings followed by the self doubt that creeps in combined with questions from other people. Could I trust myself enough? Is this just a phase? Am I gay or is this just about her? Am I allowed to be gay? I have dated men, does that matter? In complete transparency, I have always envied the lesbians who knew early on that they are gay. The gold stars that had girl crushes in kindergarten are so lucky. They just knew! There wasn’t any doubt, or question, they were born with the Knowing. I didn’t come into my Knowing until I was 25. Why didn’t I find out sooner? Where was the giant rainbow sign that said “Hey you, yea you, YOU”RE GAY AF”. Now, I realize that every persons coming out story isn’t easy, thats not what I’m suggesting. I want the acceptance from my own lesbian community that just because I have dated men in the past, doesn’t mean I’m any less gay. When I first came out I had a (former) friend tell me- “I’ve been gay for 7 years, so when its been that long, then you can call me.” As if I needed a resume of experience to be qualified for the the title of- lesbian. PS- It’s been almost 10 years & no, I didn’t call that friend ever again.
I was with that woman from my basketball team for 5 years. We had a home, a dog & a deep love for each other. After that ended, even my closest friends asked me if I would ever go back to dating men? As if 5 years with a woman still did not make me gay enough. I needed to be more gay. Maybe I need to cut my hair? Or wear different clothes? I shouldn’t wear lipstick or curl my hair, that’s too straight. Who do I need to get permission from? Who will let me be gay and not be confused if I say- that guy is hot. Newsflash! Just because I’m a lesbian, doesn’t mean I’m blind. I can appreciate an attractive man, it doesn’t mean I want to sleep with him. Most likely, I think of the 3 friends I have that should date him, so who wants it? Not me. I”ll be over here still, very gay. *googles pictures of Kristen Stewart*
So here I am. I can’t change how I got here, but I am here. Fighting for acceptance, refusing to ask for forgiveness & somehow still wanting permission.
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