Those were my mother’s words during one of our last face to face encounters.
You go through a lot of crazy phases.
She was referencing my re-entrance into “alternative” spirituality. She then gave me a big hug and promised that “god” would always love me no matter what.
I am a fluid person, but because I was told from an early age that I was impulsive, flighty, unstable, enduring eye rolls at my silliness, I will always hear certain things in my head. Especially when a deep truth comes to the surface. I’ve wondered a lot of times if she was right. Maybe in a way, yes. My Sagittarius moon makes me an explorer of life. I like to try on different hats, see how they feel. See how other people live. Look inside their houses and their internal hard drives and do a fair amount of mimicking. Sometimes the mimicking is to fit in and sometimes it’s just to gain an understanding of another person. It’s just how I’m made.
But when I have a realization about what I am, I have to look back at the threads. Last December, I wrote THIS post after a big A-HA moment. Then life happened again, I became ashamed, threw it into draft and dated a couple men. Somewhere I published it again and I’m glad I did. Because I remembered it yesterday, re-read it and began to see something emerging in me as I had been making the decision to be singular for awhile in order to sort myself out.
I remember a slumber party where 4 or 5 of us teen girls began to strip our clothes off, circa 1980s, and dance in the empty trailer next to her home, being overcome with sexual excitement, and then getting caught by her mother before things even got rolling. The shame that followed was catastrophic. I had no one to talk to. No one to help me understand. I locked it away and threw away the key. This wasn’t the only experience that I’ve pondered over the years. But you get the idea. This key that I threw away just keeps rising to the surface where I thought I buried it.
Like many others, being a lesbian (or gay) was not only looked down on growing up, but it was the worst thing someone could be. My first boyfriend, that physically abused me, used to keep me from seeing any of my female friends…because surely we were all secret lesbians. Anytime I wanted to cut my hair short, my own child and others would say, “people will think you’re a lesbian,” I’ve had self proclaimed progressive people even make weird comments after I’ve shaved my head that maybe I’d attract women and at the time, felt so weird and awkward. Wrong, somehow. And now, I think…so what is wrong with that? But at the time, it made the shame rise. No…we can’t have people thinking I’m a LESBIAN. The stigma around this is real for those of us without a community to support such an awakening. Even writing this makes me feel cringey and kind of scared. Like someone is going to call me out or not hire me because I’m gross now. The programming runs so deep.
I remember loving the bodies of women in secret for years and years. Admiring them. Fantasizing. Never acting on it. Maybe it was just a quirk meant for me only to know about. Maybe I was just really overly sexual. Why is it so hard to talk about our sexuality? Honestly, it’s one of my favorite subjects, and I’ve longed to write about this so many times but again….fear. People fear this kind of openness. I haven’t been writing for awhile because my issues and inspiration have been such that it felt wrong to share them here. Why? Is this not my self proclaimed space? When did I start caring who read my journey. I will leave my truth here and you do with it what you will. That’s across the board.
But back to my story: I remember telling my first husband toward the end of our marriage that I was sometimes attracted to women. His words: that’s an abomination. It’s not right. I slipped into my acceptance of liking both sexes, letting the word bisexual pass across my lips enough times until it was normalized. And then l I realized that my attraction to men was a very deep need to be loved. Much like what I wrote in that last blog, I’ve wondered for some time now if my choices to be with men came from somewhere tangled. It would explain how I’ve never felt right with any of them ultimately. I began to believe maybe I was just meant to be a solitary creature altogether. Then something shifted in me as I began to love myself first, and take care of my own needs. Create a healing bubble around me, tasting the freedom with the tip of my tongue to see how it felt.
The desire for men began to fall away. Not all at once. I’m still sorting through it all. It’s a very vulnerable place to be. To be 40, have no complete experiences to back up what I know is true about myself but to know it just the same. I have to remember that even straight people know they are attracted to the opposite sex before ever experiencing intimacy. This isn’t a new discovery for me. It’s a lifelong knowing that I’ve ignored. I know I’m not the first late bloomer out there, trying to grapple with whether or not I’m a lesbian. I also know labels aren’t 100% important, but it feels important to me right now. And I know it’s all fluid. But after so much of me has died, I am left with this understanding that should I ever love again, it will be a woman that I share myself with.