I'll be honest... these last few months have been hard.
A different kind of hard than last summer... that's for sure, but hard all the same.
The kids are growing up faster and faster and I feel like life itself is slipping through my fingers..... while I'm scrambling to make money and figure life out - time is marching on and taking their childhood with it.
I'll be totally honest.... I'm not sure I want to do this anymore.
I'm sorry that some people want to assume all kinds of the wrong things about what it means to be gay or be a lesbian.... fun fact: we're not all living like Porn Stars. Really. We're not.
I get asked all the time, either by people on The Blog, or my own friends: When Did You Know You Were Gay? The true answer.... is that I never really did, I just knew I was different. I knew I never fit in - I never felt comfortable in my own skin.
It's really really hard to spend a lifetime living someone else's life.... and not really having any concrete answers because the *truth* is that you don't know *who* you are - because you haven't lived *as* you yet.... so how do you know? How do you fully appreciate the difference?
I knew that when I stood in locker rooms and heard other girls talking... I knew I didn't think like they did. I didn't dream about boys and their parts... I wasn't eager to give up my virginity in the back of some football players car.... sure - I wanted to wear that Letterman's jacket and go to Prom and wear a pretty corsage and tape pictures of a happy couple to my locker.... but that's because we raise our children to "fit in" - we don't really raise them to spend any kind of time discovering their own identity.
Here is where most people go wrong... being 'gay' isn't so much about sex - it's about an identity.
I didn't stand around in that locker room de-toweling every girl around me with my eyes.... not at all. I never had once crush or one fantasy about a girl: ever. I had several best friends.... Courtney, Janda, Robin.... never ONCE did I have romantic feelings towards them.... in fact: it never occurred to me. (Mind you... they are all long haired femme types - if they were gay... which they are not- and I'm not attracted to femme's).
I had *crazy* love for High School Edward and a few others and my first husband Drew and for El Capitan.... but, it's true - when the relationship are over.... I'm kind of resigned to it. It hurts.... but I've always been able to separate myself from them a little bit.... it's hard to explain. But, loving any of them was the only kind of love I ever knew.... the kind of love that stops your heart and makes you whisper their name while they kiss you.... yeah: that kind of love.
I wasn't trying to cheat anybody or lie to anybody.....
After high school I worked as a nanny for a while - because, truth be told, *kids* have always been one true love... I LOVE kids. I always wanted to be a Mom.... and these days I worry just what kind of Mom I've become- distracted and working and too busy to make ends meet to be the Mom I was... the Mom I wanted to be.... but that's for another post..... Sigh.
Then I moved to London. I was scared and alone... very very alone, until I met Drew. Even after that, I was a bit alone. I was working while he finished college and as he finished his degree I decided that I would start doing photography. I was working as a nanny for a family that lived almost next door to Noel Gallagher from Oasis and I was a HUGE fan. The whole story of how my photography career came to be in The Book so I'm not going to go into all the details.... but suffice to say, Mr. Gallagher helped kick start my photography career and it wasn't long before I was making connections and befriending bands.
It's great to work with established bands - but what every photographer dreams of is finding that raw talent band that's just getting started and working with them - capturing their early years and doing their early press work.... which I did with several bands - some that went on to be famous like Snow Patrol... and others that did not.
One such band that didn't make it out of the garage scene in London was Athletico Strip.
I forget how I met them, but I became fast friends with Gwen, and I ended up shooting them when they performed at....... The Garage? or wait.... no. I think I took those pictures at a place in Camden the night they opened for the Dandy Warhols... yeah - I'm pretty sure that's right. They used the images of them for the back on their vinyl EP for their song 'Kisser'.
We hung out all the time - and I drove a VW Golf with a sunroof and a CD player - which was HUGE in London.... the car and petrol came with the nanny job - but I could help shuttle band members and gear around town - plus I took decent photos.... so they liked having me around.
I was becoming a regular fixture at their flat and becoming quite friendly with all of them, especially Boon and Tonya. Boon had this sweet little American girlfriend named Tonya. She was this tiny little pixie-like spitfire American with super short, died blonde hair. I liked having another American around and she was from Orange County - so she and I were a lot alike.
One day, Boon and Tonya took a regular piece of paper, ripped it in half and drew a picture of a cartoon Boon carrying a cartoon Tonya and it said..... "Boon and Tonya are gettin' it on!" and it had a wedding date and time and a request for all of us to attend..... which we did.
I did their 'wedding photos' - which took place in a registrar's office. Simon sat atop an amp at the front of the aisle and played the wedding march on his electric guitar.... it was pretty rock and roll. Tonya wore tight white jeans that tapered at the ankle, a flowery white lace bra and a a totally sheer, long sleeve blouse over the top. And by *totally sheer* I mean.... completely and utterly see through. We did her make-up and we pulled back her short hair and put clips and a row of roses in her hair 1/4 of the way back from her forehead to give her a "headpiece". They were married and we all celebrated.... and I caught her purple rose bouquet.
However... a few weeks before this magical day I got something else from Tonya.
They had been in the studio recording their album and I had been in and out shooting stills for their albums sleeve and on the last night we all had a party at their house. There was talk of Martin leaving the band and stuff like that... the usual band stuff.
The night of my 22nd birthday and, as I said, Malcolm wasn't interested.... AT. ALL. So I was sitting on the couch going on and on about it was my birthday and no one was going to kiss me.... and how awful that was.... how *sad* that was.... and on and on - all in an attempt, mind you- to get Malcolm to pay attention to me... instead Tonya - who was sitting next to me - grabbed my face with both hands and promptly stuck her tongue down my throat.
I didn't really know what was happening.... but I knew I was kissing her back - and it was like a Hollywood movie... you live all these emotions and thoughts in a matter of mere seconds.... but in a heartbeat my entire body came alive. I could feel every inch of my skin grow hot. It was like the sky opened up and fireworks were going off all around me.... it was this incredibly intense physical experience..... and her mouth was so soft.... seriously.... women are just so soft..... (that's why Katy Perry likes it... trust me on that one. lol).
So I'm having this like 'moment'..... and there's whooping and hollering all around us and Tonya pulls back and say's, "There, now someone f*cking kissed you... so shut it!" And we were both laughing.... well - she was laughing and Simon was high fiving me and *I* was laughing on the outside... and on the inside I was like... "oh sh*t....... that makes sense.".
Suffice to say, the sigh of two girls kissing *was* enough to garner Malcolm's interest and he took me back to his place where we kissed a little and we fell asleep and he made me breakfast in bed the next day... which was very sweet.
For me though, the days that followed were filled with confusion. I still didn't have romantic feelings for Tonya, or even any interest in her at all... but *kissing* her had been the single most amazing sexual experience I had had thus far.... and yet - I had already been married to a man.
I thought about it a lot. I prayed about it a lot.... because I was *still* a good Christian girl and good girls don't kiss girls and like it - I don't care what Katie Perry thinks... they don't. So. Point of fact: I didn't.
There are literally only a few more women in the next 17 years that I would meet and feel my whole body come alive just by being near them.... and they aren't what people usually think of when they think of a 'lesbian'. They wear boys clothes and sports bras.... or they bind their breasts down. They wear short, short hair with a little bit of spike to it. They don't wear make up. They wear mens' cologne. They are usually a little bit heavy set.... I tend to like girl that aren't thin.
I like butch girls. No..... scratch that - butch girls drive me CRAZY. Literally. They are like magic and kissing them.... is way hot. They do things like... take out the garbage without being asked. They change the oil in your car. They can fix a bike or rebuild the engine on a car because they have a garage full of tools. They are strong and bold..... but they also respect a woman who is just as strong and just as bold. They can give you fantastic pedicure and back rub and run you a bubble bath complete with trashy gossip magazines and you can giggle.....
That's the thing, they are strong and butchlike... and then they are also giddy and goofy and girly and it's like being able to be with your best friend laughing and giggling and being silly and then in second it can turn super hot and hours and hours of sweaty unicorns and rainbows and gayness follows that... for me - nothing else has ever come close to matching.
But even after kissing Tonya.... i *still* didn't know - I didn't understand what this would be like - how much *more* I could sit in a room.... *any* room and feel more comfortable just knowing and understanding and having verbalized that I was gay. I don't actually need to be with anyone to know I'm gay - not now.....
Sadly... there's isn't a hot butch in my life drawing me a bubble bath....
This has kind of gotten allllll out of order. I was trying - after my post where I came out - to *explain* how this all came to be… my feelings, El Capitan's response, etc…. but emails and comments and messages flooded in - and we still have "regular" life going on…… so in an effort to answer questions, etc, we've gotten alllll out of whack.
I will go back to finishing my …. journey? life? Experience as a gay child/teen/woman, and endeavor to explain *why* I felt the way I did - and why I chose the things I chose - and NOT because I owe anyone anything….. but because I *know* for a fact I'm not the only person who grew up this way - but I *hope* that I'm one of the last generation of gays who grows up this way.
I get a lot of email and questions about why I didn't come out on The Blog when I came out to my friends and family…. in the first place, and I say this with love - I am entitled to some privacy. This is a *huge* personal step for me to take - and it was my right to take that step in private. Additionally, when someone "comes out" - there is also a coming out period for that persons family and friends - and I needed to honor that and allow my family and friends the privacy to come out with me.
And yes….. El Capitan and La Novia *both* felt that I should not publish anything on The Blog. Last time - none of us were expecting, nor inviting, the media storm that followed the sign. *THIS* time, however, all three of were concerned about what (if any) media storm might occur if the country's "most famous scorned woman" (according to certain news outlets) - discovered that I was living as a lesbian. Remember that thing I wrote about giving La Novia a *say* in our family…..? Well: I meant it.
There were also concerns about safety. I posted the story about Brandon Teena (if you didn't read it - at least watch the movie….. seriously), but most of us think that safety in the LGBTQ community isn't a real concern…. well: it is.
In an unrelated event, the day after I ended things with Carhartt she was assaulted in a parking lot. Because there is an on-going legal investigation where charges have been filed, I have to very careful about what I write….. but here is the story:
I was honest when I said that Carhartt looks…. like Carhartt. She wears Carhartt pants and shirts, she works in a place where only men work - so much so, there is NO women's bathroom for her to use. Yes… that's true.
She keeps her hair short and wears boys trucker hats. She wears big ole' work boots and no make up. She *likes* being a she…. but she dresses like a man, goes by the male version of her name and from a distance (and even from close up) looks…. like a guy. In the 80s some people might have called her a "bull dyke"…. the common term these days would be "butch" lesbian.
Dressed in her usual work clothes, Carhartt was approached by a man who was speaking in a foreign language. He appeared to be under the influence of something and he was gesturing in a manner that indicated to Carhartt that he was questioning whether or not Carhartt was a girl or a boy.
Carhartt ignored the man and continued to her truck in the parking lot. The man stepped in front of Carhartt prohibiting her from getting in her truck and while asking questions the man reached down and grabbed Carhartt in the groin area.
In the LGBTQ community, this is known as a "gender check". When someone walks up to someone - usually a stranger - and feels either their genital area or their breast area to "see" if they are a boy or a girl.
This happens *much* more frequently that you would know. Butch girls are *constantly* harassed in women's bathrooms because they are mistaken for men. I had one friend who was escorted out of a mall bathroom and held in the mall office while these "security guards" tried to make her remove her shirt and "prove" she was a girl.
So this man reached down and grabbed Carhartt's crotch. Carhartt, scared and surprised in a parking lot well after hours (she works a night shift) - pushed the man off her and punched him in the face - apparently breaking his nose.
This infuriated the man who proceeded to punch back - striking Carhartt in the face once above the eye and once below the eye. The punch below her eye broke her cheek bone… which has another name.
Carhartt then stepped back and did what her Grandma taught her to do: she kicked him in the nuts.
Apparently, certain medical damage was done to the man's genitals. As he stumbled, another co-worker arrived in the parking lot, having watched the man punch Carhartt several times - and he pushed the man to the ground. The man hit his head and (apparently) suffered a skull fracture.
The end result is that Carhartt's face was smashed in (it's broken in two places), the man who started this is now charged with a Hate Crime (which is a federal offense) and the co-worker has been charged with assault for pushing the man to the ground.
Carhartt is still recovering from her injuries.
My decision on whether or not to come out *does* actually put me at risk, and to that extent, it puts my kids at risk as well. Which is a very scary thing for me….. for all of us.
This is actually the *third* time Carhartt has been injured in a physical altercation with men looking to prove she's a girl or a guy…… and sadly: it probably won't be the last time.
So, I didn't not tell you guys when I finally decided that I was willing to stand up and be true to myself because I wanted to dupe anybody, or I was trying to lie…. I was very careful about the language I used - it was gender neutral. And, any Blog readers who were friends with me on facebook were told over FB message that I was a lesbian - and - anyone who wrote me and asked me directly was told the truth.
The worst part is that Carhartt was hurt and there was nothing I could do about it. I couldn't make it better, I couldn't nurse her through her injuries because she lives too far away…. and we broke up. It's been a *really* rough fourish weeks now…
So. Now you know the truth. Carhartt and I talked about whether or not to share this…. but we both felt that it's important for people to realize that it's NOT OKAY to question someone's gender. IT's NOT OKAY to challenge someone in a parking lot because of how they are dressed….. or because how they are dressed isn't something you can easily define as "boy" or "girl". It shouldn't matter.
No matter what she's wearing - Carhartt is a strong person with educated opinions, a kind heart and a passion for alllllll things outdoors. Her gender doesn't define who she is, who she loves or how she lives….. and the question of her gender should be a reason for someone to cause her harm. Her being a dyke should be even *less* of a reason someone physically challenges her.
Being gay is how we identify. It's defines who we love …. but - we are still just normal people who should be afforded tolerance and safety. Period.
Gay looks like *a lot* of things.... sometimes, unless we're wrapped in a rainbow flag: you can't even tell we're gay. And sometimes.... it's obvious. Regardless, even in our Sesame Street society where we are raised to believe we are all the same and we all deserve the same rights and respect as humans.... that sometimes isn't taking place. The only way to change things is through exposure and education. I am, most certainly, not hoping to be *any* kind of poster girl for my community.... it already has amazing, visible leaders who are much wiser than I am.... however, the most of us who are out and visible and willing to talk about our life experience and struggles... the most chance we have to educated people and create, through our willingness to share, a place where tolerance grows and hate dies.
That's all that really matters..... I've subscribed to those values since the day El Capitan left - the hate must subside... it must die away - and in it's place, tolerance grew... and a new family came with it. Again... not because I'm special or better than nay other woman in my shoes... but because I didn't see a better way our for my children. I didn't see a different way to heal and become a kind of family they could recognize and feel a part of..... taking those same values with me into my own personal journey means that I have to be willing to be honest..... and that is why I came out on The Blog.
Be the change you want to see in the world.
Every time I hit one of these "one year" marks, I usually have to force myself to stop and notice them.... I actually *missed* the one year anniversary of our actual divorce - because frankly.... it doesn't mean much to me. Sometimes I think (in the run-up to the day) that I'll be upset.... like on what would have been our 11 year anniversary, or the day that I found out about La Novia..... yet, for the most part, I wasn't upset or bothered by them at all.
Today however, was Father's Day: today was different.
One year ago, things were..... bad. El Capitan wasn't around much at the time, the kids were seeing him barely once a week, and..... not at all last year on Father's Day. Not at all.
I was heartbroken for the kids and I feared that not only had we *already* failed them by getting divorced, but that we would fail them further and El Capitan's absence might become a continuous thing. You see, being a Mom is *very* complicated.
You are a Mom FIRST.
You are a wife second.
You are an employee of some kind.... either at a work place or at home.
You are a friend.
You are a daughter.
You are a volunteer at school or some other worthy cause.
You are ..... you: but *you* come last.
For me, even standing in the rubble of our marriage - the KIDS and their relationships with *both* of us took an immediate front seat on this journey. I made every choice and every decision with them in mind - and me.....? I was kind of waaaaaaaay back at the end of the line and I would "deal" with me later.... first and foremost, I had to fix their world. Standing alone on Father's Day, I was keenly aware of *how much* work we would both have to put into this to restore (and keep) their world to a safe and happy place for them.
I spent every single day thinking about how to handle things, how to approach things for the benefit of the children -and yes... sometimes that also benefited El Capitan, however, it was *never* done because I was gay. I was *still* the same me. I still had to heal the children and myself. I had to deal with *Everything* that went wrong in my marriage- talk things with our El Capitan.... I had to help the children heal - and.... I had to give El Capitan time and space to start to heal himself.
There was no easy way out. There were days that felt as though there was no end to the pain I was feeling.... I lost my best friend and husband - gay or not... that was kind of a big f*cking deal. Seriously. I can concede that while I was not always the best wife.... I sure as sh*t am a pretty good ex-wife.
I can promise you that.
We both failed each other during our marriage.... but failing the children *after* that was simply not an option for me. So when we spent last year on Father's Day without El Capitan, I was heartbroken.
Several people have written to say that clearly now - the reason I have a good attitude about things, the reason I could laugh and smile and be happy - was because obviously I never really loved El Capitan OR - I got "what I wanted" and could now just go out and "be gay" - so none of mattered anyway.......WRONG. lolol
I had a good attitude because some of the time I chose to have one... and some of the time I didn't.
I moved on... because I HAD to, I had no choice.
What I *did* choose was "how" we moved on. I chose how to handle things with El Capitan and with our children and no matter how angry or hurt or livid I was..... I *always* made choices with the children at the FRONT of the line. Every. Single. F*cking. Time. PERIOD.
This Father's Day..... the fruits of *my* labor (and oh yes.... i'm taking credit for this one) - were easily seen.
The Girl was using her white board and a marker and she wanted to write "everyone in the family" on her board. She started with 'Mommy', Then The Boy, then Papa, Bubbie, Daddy.... and then she said, "Mommy, how do you spell [La Novia's] name?"
I told her and then The Girl wrote La Novia's name on her white board, right there with HER family.
Do you know *how* many women - gay or straight - would have NEVER EVER EVER wanted their four year old daughter to write the name of the woman who broke up their marriage in a place with other family names?
Do you know *how* many women would NOT be okay with their daughter consider La Novia family?
For me.... it's a victory. It's an absolute win.
First of all - the kids like La Novia because she's kind of cool. I hear that she makes good mac'n'cheese and she does art project with them and hangs out with them..... so, they like her, in part, because she's likeable and *SHE* puts the effort and time into getting to know them and making it work.
However.... the *reason* both the children are *open* to this is because I have worked pretty hard to make sure that this family and this new place that they operate from emotionally, is a SAFE one. I have made sure that they were open to La Novia being a part of their lives.
I have spent the last year of OUR lives, working hard to teach them to understand that sometimes people you love hurt you, they let you down... but you can move past the hurt, you can love them anyway -and when you're ready and they are ready.... you can move on together if you want to. They know what their Dad did, they know who La Novia is... but I have set an example of humility and humor and openness. I did that because THAT is what's best for them... that's a life tool that they are going to use over and over and over... and no doubt, they will need to use that with me for one reason or another. No one is perfect. I sure as sh*t never said I was... lolol
Today..... having the kids come home with stories of being with Dad and how much he liked his presents.... and stories about La Novia.... It hit me just how far we have all come.
It made me very, very happy that *THEY* have come so far in year..... that part of their safety has been restored and they ARE actually living (rather happily) with two families- and that's kind of cool... it's certainly what's best for them..... for all of us really.
All of those choices were made because I'm a Mom... not because I'm gay.
Just fyi.... lolololol
HOWEVER..... because I *AM* Gay.... and proud: I spent the last four days being proud at Portland Pride.
It was simply amazing.
Once I came out, I wasted no time at all going out and making friends and finding ways to be apart of my LGBTQ community. One of the most *amazing* things I found was HotFlash Inferno dances. They are dance parties for lesbians over 30.
And yeah.... they are generally kind of amazing..... lol
How could they *not* be? 300 or so hot women in one room... I'm not sure it get's much better.....
Oh wait: it does when there are 1,100 of them!!!! lolol
I was fortunate enough to become friends with the women who own and run Inferno - Pauline and Joyce, and several months ago I started being the 'door girl' - welcoming people in.
When it came time to planning our big PRIDE dance.... I was promoted to running our entire line-up and taking care of our special VIP performer.... Vicci Martinez - from The Voice.
Vicci was AMAZING.
The dance was AMAZING..... and I was just humbled.... totally humbled. It's a wonderful and beautiful thing to see so many people within our community feels safe and being who they are.... who they were born to be -and doing it openly and freely.
It was an amazing weekend - for both halves of my family
So..... it's PRIDE week in Portland and festivities were started tonight......
No... this is not Carhartt - this is a very good friend of mine.... :)
See me.... that's me: happy.
See me.... that's me: being who I am.
See me... that's me: being whole.
See me... that's me: being true to myself.
See me.... that's me: feeling comfortable.
See me... that's me: being out.
See me.... that's me: being proud.
See me..... I'm gay.
See me..... I'm smiling.
And you know what.... it's about f*cking time, don't you think? lol
I can't begin to tell you how amazing, how *comfortable* I am surrounded by gay people who are dancing and kissing and having a great time.... and feeling comfortable and safe doing it. We are lucky we live in Portland... home of the bacon donut and naked bike rides.... a bunch of queers dancing is the *least* 'weird' thing you're likely to see around Portland.... lolol
What is 'weird'... is seeing myself and seeing me happy.... I've only every really been *this* happy when the kids were born.....
It's been a loooooong couple of weeks around here. At the end of the day - and I say with absolute love and affection and respect for all of you..... but I'd rather be hated for being who I *am* than being loved for being someone I'm not.
I am the woman who's husband left her for a 22 year old.
I am the woman who made a funny sign to sell her house... and wound up on TV.
I am a Mom to two beautiful children.
I am still the person who tries to do the right thing, tries to find the silver lining and the humor in everything.
I am a small (and struggling) business owner.....
And I am a lesbian.
I am - for those who need more a definition - a 'chapstick femme' - who swoons completely and totally over girls who dress like/look like boys..... sports bra's, boy jeans, boy clothes, short hair.... and if they have tattoo's and muscle cars.... well.... yeah - that's *super* hot.
Most of all... I am proud.
Proud that I have been able to stand on my own two gay feet, find a place in my LGBTQ community, get involved and..... make friends. That's kind of awesome..... actually - what's *really* awesome is that the Portland LGBTQ community is sooooo fantastic. It really is.... I am blessed and grateful.... and really - I'm proud....
So. Whoever you are. Whatever you do. Whoever you screw.... I hope you're PROUD, too. :)
Happy PRIDE weekend!
It's a little bit strange to date me..... Carhartt read the blog from start to finish once we started dating - and recently asked me what Shirley (a blog reader) thought she saw when she said she saw our breaking up coming.... so I asked Shirley - and this is the response from Shirley (the post for the comment thread is the Angry Table one):
“Wrath” was not referring to LaNovia but to me, us, your readers and commentors making you angry when we comment something that you don’t like and sets you off. And as to “seeing it coming,” well, you’re not gonna like this but it’s nothing to do with Carhartt, more a case of history repeating itself. Having followed this blog pretty much from the beginning, it’s come out before that you have somewhat of a tough, demanding, controlling nature. When Carthartt came along and I saw glimpses in your posts of some of that same tough, controlling, demandingness that I saw when you were working yourself through the situation with El Capitan, it gave me a clearer understanding of why El Capitan chose an easier ride through what remains of his life. And I am not saying that cheating was the proper way out or the right thing to do. I’m just saying that it came to me that you seem to be way too much trouble to deal with in a relationship. I could understand why El Capitan did what he did (not agree with but understand), and I did not see Carhartt (before I learned she was a she) or anyone else wanting to work as hard as one would have to work to be in a relationship with you.
I was actually going to reply back.... but Carhartt wanted a chance to respond since someone was actually "talking" for her..... this is what she sent me:
In my world, when you run your ignorant mouth, you get popped in the face.
Seriously. So here's your virtual smack down. What gives you the right to harshly judge anyone, specifically when you don't know the other half of the story, because Elle was again protecting someone: Me.
First of all, Elle made the decision to break it off with me because my personal life at the moment is not a good/healthy fit for her or the kids. So history is NOT repeating itself, the separation is for the most part, entirely my fault.
Secondly, Elle really does have a fairly tough, demanding and controlling nature. I knew this before we ever met. Its one of the many traits I found very attractive. I love that she is not afraid to voice her opinion, she is certainly not afraid to argue with anyone. Let me explain to you why her strong personality is pretty much exactly what I need. We are pretty close to the same age, we have had very different lives. While she has been the loyal, devoted mother and wife. I have been the loud, drinking, partying, fighting loner. (Yes ma'am I do drive a giant jacked-up truck, I can piss standing up and I can work and fight just as hard as any man).
I have Never loved anyone or been so hurt by anyone in my life. The fact is that she is has been the only one ever... brave enough or strong enough to tell me that my life is fucked up. I have never wanted or cared to change - until I met Elle. Having someone strong enough to stand up to me has pretty much knocked me head over heals in love. There is nothing I won't do (yes seriously in the process of making very big changes) to get back what I lost. I realize I have done some pretty severe damage and I may not ever get back what I fucked up. The point is her strong personality (domineering and controlling whatever bullshit you called it) is also amazing and her love and loyalty is exactly what I needed.
As for "way too much trouble to deal with in a relationship" you still don't know what the fuck you're talking about. You get what you give. I'll tell you why myself and (others I really don't care to know about) would want to work that hard to be in a relationship with Elle. She is the most loyal, caring, devoted and deeply passionate person I have ever met. More times than I can count she has driven a four hour round trip to spend two hrs or less with me before I went to work, countless meals and an unknown (really im scared to know) amount of money on outings and such just so we could spend time together and I could get to know the kids.
I really fucked up, she has every right to shut me completely out of her life. This fuckin tears me up like nothing else EVER has but the thing is, even though im completely undeserving, she is still here. Still talking to me, still encouraging me to do the right/best thing. This is EXACTLY why me or anyone might work so fucking hard for the that relationship that you just called "too much trouble"..... because she was/is worth it.
Next time you run your mouth, remember you probably don't know the whole story, so shut it!
Sent from Mobile
So ...... there you have it. That's kind of hard to read..... to be honest - I wanted to edit parts of this, because
there's not so much "fault" of any kind... there is love - a lot of love, and Carhartt is right: I am the one who broke it off. I didn't want to blog much about the what and the why.... I didn't think it was fair to her. However, she is amazing.... and gorgeous and funny and strong and bold - and not afraid to voice her opinions.... clearly. However, she's right, I just am not sure it's a good fit for all us and the kids.... and they come first and Carhartt understands that.
She understands a lot of things....
Shirley's comments have actually kind of upset me..... because while I concede that I am bold and strong and opinionated.... I have also spent a good deal of time *trying* very hard to do the right thing, make the right choices and move my family forward..... I feel like I've shown a lot of tolerance and acceptance in the past year.... and yet - that all adds up to me being a 'demanding' bitch who isn't worth the work?
That's a pretty bold and hurtful statement.... that I'm not worth the work..... isn't *every* relationship in anyone's life a certain amount of work? I would love to get to sit down with Shirley's partner and ask them what being in a relationship is her is like.... lololol.
And..... do you really think that El Capitan chose an "easier" ride......? Really? May be... but remember - La Novia is *a lot* like me.... hahaha - kind of why I like her so much. Either way.... I want them to be happy, to build a good life for the children to be apart of .... so- while the comment hurts me as it's intended to.... I actually *do* hope that it's an easy (and happy) ride - because I'm not sitting around and hoping for him and for them to fail..... on the contrary - I would like them to find love and success within each other because that *is* actually what's best for our kids. Period.
So.... tonight I'm tired and heartsick and sad.... and going to bed.
I'm only slightly less angry today.... so reader... be warned. :)
First of all, let's *try* to keep in mind that I could have come out and said.... "El Capitan ruined me - I'll never trust another man again..... blah blah blah." I could have become a man-hater.... and you know what? Not too many people would have blamed me......
But I didn't.
*WHEN* I was ready to start dating I was *finally* ready to address a lifetime of questions and confusion and fear..... and be who I really am.
I am NOT brave.
Believe me.... I'm not.
I'm just trying to be honest...... that's all.
Colin - a Blog reader - wanted to know what kind of "deal" I had with El Capitan... had I told him while we were married? Did we have some kind of agreement.....?
Sure.... it was I'll cook dinner and you do the dishes....
I'll do the shopping... you unload the car.
I'll change this diaper and you get the next one.......?
You work 60 hours a week and I'll work 50 hours a week and we'll raise two kids the best we can....
*THAT* was our deal.
I never ever felt anything but love for El Capitan until the day he left... and even *now* - there is a love for him and a desire for things to turn out well for him- NOT because I'm gay and I want to 'let him off the hook'... but because this man is the father of my children and it's important to their emotional development for them to see him succeed.
It is *incredibly* important to our children's emotional health and their ability to maintain future adult relationships that they see us heal and grow and succeed as a family living in two households. THIS has been the *only* driving force behind every choice I have made since El Capitan walked out our front door carrying one backpack and a cell phone full of text messages.....
So much so.... that is *almost* had me making the same choice to be straight that I had been making for decades...... Almost.
I think there is some kind of ..... well - a lack of understanding about what being a lesbian is - at least for me, anyway. I think we all interpret our sexuality differently, however..... for me - hmmm..... how can I put this?
I like meat. I like bacon. That *doesn't* mean that I won't eat a salad (shocking I know... but I *do* actually eat salad.... lol), it doesn't mean that I don't also eat bread and fruits and veggie's.... of course, we *all* know I like donuts best... hahahaha.
In that same way - I like girls.... I know that I would prefer to marry a girl and when it comes to sex... yes, I would very much prefer to be with a woman - *however* - I'm not running around drooling over every cow in the pasture... and *nor* do I drool over or lust after or even find *every* woman on the planet attractive.
I never had a crush on a girl in grade school or high school.... or ... at all.
The first time I crushed on a girl I was 37 years old and she was covered head to toe in tattoo's,boys clothes, short hair, a motorcycle and collection of muscle cars.
That's the truth.
There were no "women" during my marriage who I wanted to be with or crushed on....and - let's be frank - *how* many of you are currently fighting with your spouse over your sex life? Ten long, hard working years of marriage - and *most* couples aren't banging out the magic every night.... or even every other night.... actually - most people with two full time jobs and two young kids are relying on their google calendar to set the NIGHT they'll have sex in a two week period.
We were no different.
Life came at us fast .... and hard. We have actually talked about this - El Capitan and I - how, in our early days (month two of our marriage) - I spent 6 months in a back brace - which mean no sex... and we would sit on the couch every night holding hands.... we would be 'intimate' in a different way.....
As the years passed - and we faced other medical challenges that impeded our marital relationship in the bedroom - and we worked around it a little bit.....
El Capitan say's it was around year 8 that he started to wonder if may be I was gay..... he said there wasn't any specific reason - he just started to wonder.... but he *never* asked - and by then.... I had just settled into a routine where we had certain patterns and stuck to them.
El Capitan freely admits that the thing he *should* have done was TALK to me about it.... any time I begged him to talk to me... or a counselor.... but he didn't.
For me.... I was happy. I didn't know any different. I had never been with a woman - so not only did I *not* know what I was missing in my life... but I didn't fully understand what El Capitan was "missing" by being married to me.... (which according to him- isn't much... trust me: I asked).
But yes - under the pressure of his family being kind of sh*tty to him, and crazy hours at work and pressure and kids..... our marriage - like *MANY OTHERS* broke under the strain of our daily life and the myraid of issue's we had - and while my being a lesbian most *surely* comes under that heading... so does not communicating, not taking time for ourselves and for each other.... so does letting life take over to the point where we were *both* getting less than 5 or 6 hours of sleep.....
All the details kind of got lost in the rubble in our life.....
That's the truth.
My rubble might look a little different from your rubble.... but it's all adds up the same if it ends your marriage.
For me.... the hardest part of actually accepting myself is that it took me a while to even figure out how *I* could be married to El Capitan and be gay.... because - I never stopped loving him. Knowing that my love of him was so intense and whole - I thought there was no way on earth I was actually gay.... because that made no sense to me at all.
For some people there seems to be this impression that he left and I was running around high-fiving dykes and throwing a triumphant fist in the air to celebrate my "freedom".... and *that* is really not the case.
Those early days and months where I was in the pit of the worst emotional hell I've ever felt.... I wish like *hell* I would have been able to give myself an easy out by saying.... "Phew... well - none of this matters because I'm gay anyway....."
that would have been soooooo much easier than working through my sh*t and his sh*t and our collective failed sh*t to get the bottom of everything and start healing..... if I could have just slapped a label on myself and moved the f*ck on.... believe me: I would have.
Every step of my journey - every Blog post, ever page of the Book is still, very much, my true story... because I needed to heal.... and I *didn't* want to waste my time crying over him..... I wanted to find a way to heal us all as best I could so that we could move forward ....
I did that because that's what I thought was best for the children.
I can't help but be a teeny, tiny bit frustrated tonight.
I knew it was coming... I knew this would be hard.
Let's be *SUPER* clear to start with. I'm a funny lady with a decent sense of humor who made a funny sign to sell her house.... and then this happened. I *HAVE* been as open with all of you as I *EVER* was with myself... with the exception of the last 6 months. But since you don't' *pay* me for this ... 'entertainment' of sorts... El Capitan AND I *both* felt we should take some time to talk about whether or not I should go public about my superb gayness. For the record - El Capitan AND La Novia BOTH thought we should tell no one.... and they kept my secret for the last six months.
So here is this from a regular reader:
"I didn't see that coming. No one should care if you like women or men. I certainly don't.. and it's not something anyone should be judged for and I wish you all the best in the world. With that said.. for most of yesterday, after I read your blog, I was mad. Not because you are gay, but because you gave people (like me) the impression that our stories were very much the same and that someone felt the same ways and was honest to the core in a very public setting about the situation. Your story is now NOT the same. Since you are gay, I don't believe it's possible that you loved your husband the way someone would who wanted to be with that man (physically and mentally) forever. I don't believe there is a way in which the same passion and desire could have been shown as you would have for a woman. Just like the same would be said for me in the reverse situation. I KNOW you loved El Captain.. you have to be an idiot to not see that. But there are different kinds of love and the way you loved and the way I loved my ex husband are not the same. I believed for all the months I've been reading your blog (& buying/reading your book) that you and I had so much in common and it was awesome to see you heal and move on. Although I will say that it took me FOUR years to get to a place that you seemed to have found just one year later, and now that makes sense. Although, I still feel duped in a sense. You will never know what it's like to try to not have trust issues in another MAN or have an issue with a woman who took your husband who you wanted in every way. Or for your ex husband to have to deal with another man being a father to their children. All of that changes so much about how everyone interacts together and how things play out. I hate being lied to or being duped."
On the one hand....I can *kind* of understand why someone would think my being "gay" changes my story... but it doesn't. It doesn't for me.... and it doesn't for El Capitan.
For the record - El Capitan doesn't feel like this was the biggest "issue" in our marriage.... we had numerous to choose from - and my sexuality really wasn't on the table like it could have been. If you do the math - we were married, I was in a car wreck and in a back brace - then there's the Vagina Monologue that takes up two more years... then we're pregnant.... then we're pregnant and lose a few pregnancies... then we're pregnant and having a baby - complete with c-sections and healing times - sexual intimacy kept taking a back seat to a myriad of medical problems and *not* because of any "hidden" sexuality.
Grr.... I'm kind of pissed right now. I'm not sure how this post is going to go.......
I like girls. This is a fact. It's been a fact ever since I can remember...... however, having *NEVER* acted on it, never explored it.... I didn't *KNOW* any more than the passion and love I had for El Capitan and FUCK YOU for thinking it's any less than any love ANYONE ELSE has out there for their spouse.
Seriously. FUCK THAT. And FUCK YOU for writing that.
Gay or straight.... I GAVE MY HEART AND MY LIFE to that man. And he'll fucking tell you that straight up. He knows it. EVEN NOW THAT I'M A LESBIAN - he'll tell you he *STILL* feels guilty for hurting me like he did because I didn't deserve it and we *DID* love each other.
How do I know that......? Because I NEVER ONCE gave up on *him* or our family or our marriage.... NEVER. NOT. ONE. FUCKING. TIME. and frankly.... I never would have. I believed in him from that first moment on the cracked sidewalk.... from the first time he kissed me under the Leonid Meteor Shower...
Period. I fell in love with HIM.
I worked my motherfucking ASS off to put him through college and then I worked 50 hours a week with my studio, plus had two kids AND STILL help down the fort so he could put in 65 hour weeks to work towards the next promotion at work.
I lost BABIES with that man... don't fucking reduce my marriage and my love simply because I like ladies.. That really just doesn't have a lot to do with... frankly speaking.
I was FUCKING HAPPY...... I LOVED my husband and my family and losing it - it NEARLY FUCKING KILLED ME. It truly did... and if you were my friend at the time - you would know that that's the truth..... when I write in the book that I was CATATONIC .... it's because I was. I had NEVER felt such pain in my entire life... NEVER.
Being "gay" didn't make that easier - because it WAS NOT something I was even REMOTELY thinking about.... my first thought was "how the hell do I get us out of this so that the kids get hurt THE LEAST" - and it's with THAT as my forethought that I made ALL of my decisions....
It was NOT until January of this year that I even *thought* about "dating" anyone... Male or Female... and the truth is - Coffee Guy WAS a Guy..... I spent the bulk of last year just processing and working through the pain and the betrayal and constantly working towards making things better for the kids...
THAT. WAS. ALL. So... our "journeys" are the fucking same. I'm sorry you can't get over shit in a timely fashion.... my being "gay" didn't make dealing with the loss of my home, my financial security, my family, my life... my husband and BEST FRIEND... my EVERYTHING. It really didn't.... and it still doesn't.
I knew that we were over.... reading his text messages *that* night ... I knew he had changed and we were done..... So, I started making plans. It wasn't easy... this blog is DRIPPING with REAL and RAW emotion.... EVERY ounce of it is true and *hard* for me to read.....
I wasn't trying to "dupe" anyone... and for fucks sake - everything I did was still shit *most* people in my shoes should do..... do you think because I like butch girls in sports bras and boys jeans that THAT makes dealing with El Capitan *easier*? Well... it doesn't.
Perhaps you have this impression that I was secretly wanting to be with women all these years? I wasn't.
I didn't think about women.
I didn't dream about women.
I didn't plan my great escape.....
I didn't breathe a sigh of relief when he left because *now* I could go full-fill myself and be with women.... why?
Because when he left... he took the air with him.
I had to spend minutes and hours and days and weeks and months.... JUST LEARNING HOW TO BREATHE.
Fucking anyone was not EVEN on my radar... and so it shouldn't have been - I'm a mother with TWO CHILDREN to try and help through his process.... THEY are to whom allllllllll of my personal and emotional responsibility lie - and as such I poured as *much* of me into healing in a way that healed *ALL* of us.. including El Capitan.
And Carhartt..... she's amazing. But, the truth is - she *struggled* with reading The Book because actually knowing me... she understood that my love for El Capitan was real and whole and full.... that was hard for her digest (as it will be for any future Lesbian partner... and for some women, it will *even* be a reason they won't date me...... to be honest). However.... you are DEAD WRONG when you say that .... no - *more* than DEAD WRONG.... it is *IGNORANT* to think that a woman in my life WON'T face the same situations that a "step Dad" would face because while YOU and The State of Oregon reduce us to being 3/4's of a person.... children DO NOT.
Children see two adults in a home and they listen to them, obey them, disobey them.... they *WILL* treat them both like parents..... they won't see any future woman in my life as "less" than their father BECAUSE SHE WON'T BE LESS THAN THEIR FATHER OR ANY OTHER MAN WHO COULD HAVE TAKEN HER PLACE.....
yeah. I'm kind of pissed right now.
The role of "step parent" no matter what gender fills it.... is hard and just because it could potentially be filled by a woman and not a man in my house doesn't make that woman "less than" any man who could have filled that role.
Good fucking gawd.
Grr....... I'm sorry to be so angry. I'm sorry to be writing in a ALL CAPS and not bothering to sensor my fbombs... and I'm sorry if some of you feel "duped"... but I'm gonna' call bullshit on that right now. There is NOTHING LESS than 100% raw, real, honest emotion on this Blog and in The Book.
I didn't think I would *EVER* actually be gay.
I never thought I would be brave enough to RISK losing my family and my friends......
So, the truth is.... I just never thought about it.
I didn't (and still don't) look at women with lust in my eyes.....
I didn't dream about them.
I didn't WANT to be with ANYONE ELSE but my own husband.
If you find that hard to believe.... I'm sorry.
If you somehow think the fact that I'm gay reduces my pain..... Fuck you.
If you somehow believe that being a lesbian made this EASIER.... you're an idiot.
If you somehow think you know that YOUR "STRAIGHT LOVE" was greater and stronger and more passionate than the love I had for El Capitan.... then you're a jackass.
Fun fact.... coming out to my friends and family - who had a ring side seat to the last year of my life.... not ONE of them assumed it changed or made anything "easier"... except for the one tool who suggested I would "blame" El Capitan for "making" me gay. Sigh......
So, if the people in my life who held my hand and dried my tears and watched me FALL. A. PART aren't shaking their heads and saying.... "Well, that explains how she handled this all so well: she's a clam licker."... then you shouldn't be so bold to assume so either.
And PLEASE... try and remember... I didn't *ask* to be here.
I would have NEVER chosen a life or a path that broke up my family.
I would have never left El Capitan.
I never said I had my shit figured out... I've just been honest..... and it wasn't until January that I stopped being totally honest.... and I felt horribly conflicted about it. However, there were opinions from family, friends, El Capitan, La Novia (yes, her opinion matters here) and eventually Carhartt's..... I listened to them ALL and decisions about WHEN to tell and how to come out where made.... collectively: as a family.
When this happened - my focus was on keeping my family. It was on changing not only *my* view of family, but the kids view..... so that they *might* stand a chance of being Two Happy Kids from ONE Broken Home.... that's been my goal every single day since the day El Capitan left. Being gay didn't influence that. It didn't make it easier.... it wasn't even a factor.
*I* got us here... ME. The person who has sat here 5 nights out of every week and *shared* this journey openly and willingly and honestly.... even when it hurt. Even when it was tearing me apart... and EVEN WHEN SHARING IT GOT ME TORN APART BY TROLLS..... I was here. Still Writing. I have not financially benefited from any of this.... a few thousand dollars at best... which is like nothing when you consider all the hours and the words.... I make like a penny per 10,000 words at that rate.... this is not lucrative. Nor did I try to make it that way.... I turned down the "paying ads".... I *tried* to keep this an open and honest space..... And it has been.
I moved through this pain and the betrayal and the anger step by step.... working *hard* to heal myself and find my happiness so that we could be living again.... *truly* living. I NEVER stopped to "define" it.... I never thought about anything other than working through my emotions and healing - FOR ME and for MY KIDS which *WILL* make me a better partner for anyone in my life.... it just so happens that when it came time to be READY for dating.... I decided that I had been through enough in my life that I was brave enough to stand up for myself..... but that didn't make getting *HERE* any easier.... or any less real or important.... because we ALL have to get here - we all have to get to a place where we're moving forward, learning to breathe, learning to laugh and starting to smile....
I got to this place because I *WAS* strong and forgiving and I focused on doing the *right* thing - not the vengeful thing ..... ALL OF THAT makes me STRONG ENOUGH to now stand on my own two feet and be who I am... I earned that right. I worked HARD to be here and it's the SAME WORK anyone in my shoes has to do - regardless of their sexual orientation..... I got HERE as a whole, happy person because I WORKED HARD TO GET HERE... and not because being a lesbian gave me some kind of "pass" and made this easier.... nothing. NO.THING. could have ever made this easier......
My journey hasn't changed..... only my destination.
And.... for those who still don't believe.... when I told El Capitan - after he got done laughing.... he got a bit serious and he said... "Well, that doesn't change anything. It doesn't give me a 'reason' now for doing what I did.... I still have to own what I did and where we went wrong and the fact that I should have come to you and talked to you and not cheated..... your being gay doesn't change any of it, and it's not a reason any of it happened in the first place, really."
Rant aside.... what I was trying to do with my recent posts was *explain* how I felt growing up, the choices I made.... and yes, I will write more in depth about coming out to El Capitan AND La Novia.... because it wasn't easy. And yes.... I will most certainly write about the role my sexuality played in my marriage...... just hang in there.....
Ahh...... so we're going to take a break from my sharing about *being* gay and have a wee conversation about what that actually means - in real time, since I'm living it....
And clearly - based on the card to the Right - we're going to have a small conversation about what words are *not* okay to use around me.....
Sure sure... some of you don't need this.... however, some people around me are *clearly* in need of a gentle (and yes, public) reminder that using gay epithets are not a good idea. Not now... not *ever*. Period. Only I'm going to do the thing I do with my *children* and I'm not just going to say 'don't do that' - but I'm going to qualify that request with some facts and feelings that represent all the reasons *why* one shouldn't use those words around me anymore.fag /fag/
- offensive. A male homosexual.
- A cigarette.
In the first place, I do not actually "identify" as gay, personally. This is somewhat confusing, however, when I'm talking to people outside of the LGBTQ community, I use "gay" because people know it means I like girls. However, for some within my community the use of "gay" refers mainly to homosexual men. For instance, a "gay" bar is open for all people within the LGBTQ community but mostly men will go there, but for those us of seeking the company of *only* women, I look for a lesbian/dyke bar or event. There's is *nothing* is wrong with being gay - nothing at all. But I look at it like this, I'm not *just* gay - I'm a lesbian.... it's kind of a pride thing. Like, if I were a doctor (which clearly I'm not) - I would probably tell you what kind of doctor I was, right? It's something like that.... *******
As such, I identify as a lesbian or a dyke. Using such terminology, the use of the word "fag" really doesn't apply to me as it is predominantly a slang/cruel word used against gay men. However, aside from that fact that I stand (proudly) beside my gay/transgender male counterparts, "Fag" is also something often yelled at 'butch' lesbians.
A 'butch' lesbian is one who likes to dress (predominately) in male clothes and usually appear very masculine in public. It's not uncommon for butch lesbians to be called "fags".... and since I have a *very* soft spot for butch girls..... I don't like the word 'fag' used in my company unless you're from the UK and you're buying a pack of cigarette's.
So, the kids and I were at an event and there was a card given from one male friend to another (both were straight). Someone commented on what it said, and the person giving the card said, "Well, I'm clearly not "that way"" - and pointed at their kids.
In the first place... *plenty* of people within the LGBTQ community have kids. Having kids does not make you "clearly" anyway.
For instance... I'm a lesbian and I have kids... in fact - being married didn't actually stop me from *being* gay - it simply kept me from acting on it. EVER. But, that act alone never changed me. Praying didn't change me. Sleeping with boys didn't change me.... having my children doesn't make me less gay: it didn't change me.
Anyhow... everyone laughed and the card was placed on the table. No one said anything else. And, me....?
I said nothing at all... what was I going to say?
The card wasn't meant for me.... and I know the person giving the card didn't mean anything offensive by addressing to the other person with the word "FAG" ... however.... it still hurts.
It hurts because tolerance needs to be *more* that just something we do when no one is looking.... it needs to be acceptance and understanding and *support* that we provide to the people in our lives even when they aren't around... or even when we're making a joke.
For instance, I haven't ONCE gone back on my deal with La Novia. If my friends start to say something nasty about her - I shut that sh*t down. I was serious.... she's one of the family - and I will defend her, talk nice about her, show her kindness and full acceptance - which *also* means full support. AT. ALL. TIMES.
Doing this has provided the children a *safe* place to develop a relationship with her because they aren't hearing me tell their Dad one thing and then talking a different way back home.
Not Gonna. Happen.
So..... let's see... if *I* can show that kind of kindness and tolerance and acceptance to the woman who had an affair with my husband (and yes... even though I was a lesbian, that all still counts - to both El Capitan AND myself.... more on that later, I promise) - then I sure as sh*t would think that people who are supposed to matter to me in *MY* life could stop using gay slurs in my presence.
This isn't too much to ask for .... and now everyone in my life is on warning: Don't Do It Again.
It's not okay.
It's not funny.
It's not going to be tolerated..... and why?
Because THIS is the face of a "FAG".
This is the face and the family of a lesbian. It actually takes * A LOT* to come out. It hasn't been an "easy" decision - and yes, I do worry about what will be said to my kids..... however, I shouldn't have to worry about what is said in front of them in our inner circle.
This should be a safe place for them... for their view of their mother and how that will reflect on their view of themselves. Even if it involves people who love us.... actually *especially* if it involves people who love us..... it just can't happen.
If you use "FAG" and that is "bad" and that label then gets assigned to ME because I'm gay.... then you're telling them that I'm bad.... and by default - children will think *they* are bad.
This is a no bueno.
Not. Gonna. Happen.
I know....I know... no one 'meant' anything by it.... it was a joke.
However.... this is my life, this is my journey and being a lesbian is a part of it..... a HUGE part of it.... and it's not a joke.
Labels are funny things.... there is a lot of pressure with the LGBTQ community to stop using labels for ourselves because, for many people, sexuality is a journey that can change over time and having labels can be confusing.... there was a time when calling someone a "dyke" was a bad thing however within our community it is a term of strength - hence the Dykes on Bikes who ride in every town during Pride.....
No one, however.... will be re-claiming "FAG" into the accepted terminology within our community and *you* (general population) shouldn't be using it either.... because *even* if it's just a joke... it's not: it's a put down. It's said in a manner that is a derogatory term and let me be clear..... PLENTY of people are total asswh*les based on their behavior and what they do to people.... but the simple *act* of loving someone who is of the same sex is *not* such an act and there should NEVER EVER EVER be placed on the same level..... because may be that person is "fine" with it... may be they don't care... but other people - perhaps that persons children are listening and they won't know the difference... they won't get the joke: they only hear the negative.
They only hear the negative about someone they love.... and they deserve better than that.
We all do.........
In other news..... you can see me shrinking just a *weeeee* bit more... hooray! And you can also see that the kids and I had a *very* good time visiting Seattle..... and I even sacked up went on the Ferris Wheel (I'm scared of heights) - and we had a wonderful weekend..... truly. Life is good.
******It's super important to say that you speak in stereotypes and labels and generalizations, you cannot be talking in specifics. This are ideas/ideals that are "generally" understood to be one way or another.
We had moved around a bit when I was kid and we ended up living in a small town in Iowa the summer right before my Freshman year.
From the start....I didn't fit it in. It's hard to find your own "place" among a CLASS of 50 students - almost all of whom have grown up together since preschool.... there were around 200 kids in the entire high school - and they all knew each other very, very well.
On top of that, I was from the West Coast - I was all Dr. Dre and NWA..... I loved Eazy-E - and I was *about* as far from any kind of farming/pig farming/corn farming/farmers kid as you could possible get. I was loud and opinionated and ... yeah. High school had it's challenges for sure.
I remember sitting in my "History class" - which my parents thought was a total joke because we spent the first part of class covering current events OR that small towns history..... not things like... WWI. Freshman year was around the time that kids in larger cities were being shot for their Air Jordan shoes... remember that? Kids in Chicago and L.A. being murdered for their shoes.....
There was utter disbelief in the classroom: no one could believe that could ever happen to the extent that they discussed if the news stories were not real.
This was a sleepy little town where people still left their doors and windows totally unlocked - kids walked around main-street at midnight and no harm would ever come to them. There were only two cops and one police chief, one fast food place, one pizza hut and one grocery store.
Diversity..... however, was found nowhere.
Now, that's not to say it's a bad thing. For the kids who grew up there... they kind of had pretty awesome childhoods running around this tiny town feeling safe and whatnot... while we lived there - it was one of the things I cherished: that feeling of safety.
There was also some safety for me in *being* in high school..... I was a volunteer at our local Catholic Church, went to mass, then I was 'saved' during the summer after Freshman year and man... oh man..... I really went to town with that.
I was in two or three youth groups and never missed Church and I read the Bible front and back... back to front and to this day I can hold my ground with *most* people when it comes to debating the Bible and it's 'intended' meaning.....
I was very serious about my feelings about G*d..... and best of all: as a gay girl - I didn't have to put out.
Being a 'Good Christian Girl' meant that I never had to have sex with a boy.....
I was even featured in a brochure my Senior Year about abstinence - and how I was going to "wait to have sex until" I married my "future husband".
No doubt this is confusing for kids I went to high school with.... because I LOVED boys - I loved getting their attention and their affection.... I just had ZERO intention of doing anything with it..... I really did love High School Edward.... but, it was all at a cost to me.
And no, we don't need to break out the pity party... lol. However, my years in high school were teaching me that I could separate things - since I wasn't sexually active, I was able to have great, solid, fun, enjoyable and *romantic* relationships with boys because they only went sooooo far - and then I could pull out my G*d card and close up shop.
No one was ever the wiser that I was a secretly gay and the idea of male parts made my stomach hurt.
I really can't tell you how scared I was about sex. I remember being in the locker room and there was this couple in school - you know the one that's been together for *years* and everyone thinks they'll graduate and get married.....? We were in the locker room and the girl was talking about how she *knew* the boy was cheating on her because when she 'went down on him' the night before his male parts *smelled* like someone else......
I remember actually feeling ill. In the first place, I felt sad for this girl that she was having such a 'grown up' experience when none of us even had a high school diploma yet.... and then I just felt sad for her that she was sniffin' some guys junk.
None of that appealed to me.
At the same time, however, not being exposed *at all* to anything to with homosexuality - I didn't think or fantasize about girls either.... I was just kind of 'asexual' a bit. I liked my boyfriends, getting flowers or cards or mix tapes... remember mix tapes? Those were the best.... and I enjoyed going out on dates and flaunting my new cute boyfriend.... and I was comfortable in that role - so long as no one expected me to put anything in my mouth .... lol
I sure as sh*t wasn't going to to 'sniff' anything either.
On a larger platform, being "gay" was still not kosher...... By now I knew that Jeremy in grade school was wrong - it was AIDS and it didn't come from monkey's. But... it was scary sh*t - and even still it seemed to be something that the media associated with gay *men* - so I was constantly seeing gay men on tv... but not women.
I wasn't too bad looking in high school either..... honestly - I was a cheerleader and a 36-24-36.... and yet I usually wore baggy sweatshirts to hide my curves. I would almost always show up to anything in a t-shirt and jeans - and only on rare occasions would I wear a dress.
Dressing to get male attention seemed.... wrong. At the time, I associated it with feeling 'slutty' - like I was 'advertising something that wasn't for sale' as my Grandma would say. The truth is that it really just felt wrong.... at the time I couldn't fully understand if it was because I was a gay - or may be now I was just a *really* good Christian girl.... right? Like, somehow I had 'cured' myself and now I *did* like guys but because of my moral and values firmly rooted in virtue - and that was the reason I didn't want to have sex with them.
I cannot tell you *how* painfully confusing it is to be a gay kid growing up a straight world with NO ACCESS at all to any kind of imagery or literature that could help you understand and accept yourself......
Because the truth is....I hated myself.
When I hear about teens - even today - who commit suicide my *first* thought is... "I wonder if they were gay?" NOT because I think all teens who do that are gay... but simply because I can *VERY MUCH* identify with the confusion, self-hate and anger and that constantly swirls around your head and how there *are* days when you start to think that it would really just be better if you didn't wake up tomorrow.
Your friends won't know.
Your parents won't have to explain to the neighbors why you don't want to date boys.
It's a sure-fire plan to make sure no one ever knows the deep dark secret that you stuff down, shove down, pray away and cry about..... that you're gay.
On the outside I was .... decently well-known - I wouldn't say 'popular' because not every one liked me.. lol - but I seemed happy and pretty and socially active.... and inside: I was torn.
Even again, just before my Sweet 16, I had my first "big" high school boyfriend - his name as Danny. I was totalllllly in looooooove with him. As you do at 16.... he was the first about I was allowed to "date" - and he had been nominated for Prom King at his high school. He had been pressuring me to "do more" with him other than kiss, and when I wouldn't...... he made it to third base with my friend Alexis.
History repeats itself.
Only this time I dumped his sorry ass instead of allowing myself to give away parts of who I was just to keep up the facade and a boyfriend.
I spent the rest of high school perfecting being 'straight'. I knew that if I wanted to *have* boyfriends and keep them, that I would need to start giving up a few things... let a few guys 'tune in Tokyo' as it were.... but the truth of the matter is..... I never really liked it.
I spent a lot of time hating myself.
Wondering why I was broken... because I MUST be broken when some hot senior guy wants to bang me and I'd rather pull my eyes out with forks.
Praying....I prayed a lot.
I wanted to *be* normal.
I wanted to *feel* normal...... because no one f*cking told me that being gay *was* normal.
Because in the early 1990s.... being gay WASN'T seen as normal.
Don't believe me?
Rosanne kisses Muriel Hemingway on her tv show.... and people had a sh*t fit - it was 1994.
Ellen came out on her show as a gay character.... and got cancelled - that was 1997.
Matthew Shepard was tied to a fence and murdered for being gay in 1998.
Worst of all..... in the middle of my senior year just 338 miles from my own unlocked front door.... Brandon Teena was raped, brutally beaten and murdered for being a transgender individual.
Born a girl, she identified as a MALE who likes WOMEN. For some people this makes her a "lesbian" - but that isn't true because Brandon saw her *true* gender identity as male. A male who liked woman.
To people in her community is Nebraska... that just made her a fag and she was killed for that.
I didn't talk to anyone about it.... because I understood how she felt. While I have never identified my *gender* as anything other than female..... I knew that I liked girls and.... sad to say - Brandon Teena is actually my "type" of girl.
What is that.... the sound of crickets?
I like girls who dress like and look .... like boys. Yet... I don't like boys.
Trust me - I think my parents are still trying to wrap their heads around that one, and I'll go way more in depth explaining this later..... hang in there.
For now though, I realized that *I* thought Brandon Teena was hot.... (sh*t f*ck), and that that made me a dyke (which is a 'bad thing') and that I was gay... otherwise knows a fag and that could get me killed.
To be totally frank.... dating boys seemed like a much easier choice to make when lined up against the possibility of being raped or beaten or killed..... yeah: boys seemed easier.
So I made it.
I chose to keep dating boys. I chose not to talk to anyone about how I felt..... which is actually kind of hard for a few of my friends.
My very best high school friend, Janda, was *shocked* when I came out to her - and she said (not intentionally) one of the most hurtful things to me that anyone said.... she said, "I almost don't believe you because you have ALWAYS been WHO YOU ARE and never apologized for it.... why wouldn't you have just been gay then?"
She was right. I had always been happy to tell you my opinion on anything - I swore like a trucker (yes... even then) and I didn't give a sh*t was anyone thought of me.... however, the truth is, I wasn't brave.
I wasn't brave enough to stand up and say - I'm queer: deal with it.
My *impression* was that my community would reject me.... but that was unfair for me to assume that. I never gave them a chance to accept me... so I can't say for sure that they wouldn't have.
I can say that the social and national climate for homosexuality in the early 1990s was.... not so great. There was no one for me to talk to or read about or look up to.....
So, for the umpteenth time in my life I chose to be straight..... and I hoped that one day I would get married and have sex for the first time and it would be as magical as everyone kept telling me it would be. (it wasn't).
If I prayed hard enough.... if I was a good girl.... that would be my reward - G*d would change me because He doesn't "make" gay people....
G*d loved me - the Bible told me so.
My Pastor told me so....
My *heart* told me so.....
So I sure as sh*t couldn't be a girl who liked girls who looked and dressed like boys.... Right?
so. so. so wrong.
and Monday will hear about said first time..... you know the one on the balcony in above the Queens Roses?
Yup... that one. :)
I hope you all have a very GAY weekend..... I know I will. :)
For me to properly describe what being in high school was like - living in Iowa..... I first need to share with you the story of Brandon Teena. I *DID NOT* know Brandon - however, the social climate that surrounded Brandon was not unfamiliar to me.
Below is the story of what happened to him - which was during my senior year of high school. Tomorrow... I will blog about me - but tonight, I wanted to share Brandon's story with you:
Background of Teena BrandonTeena Marie Brandon was born December 12, 1972 in Lincoln, Nebraska and was murdered December 31, 1993 in a run down farm house on the outskirts of Humboldt, Nebraska. She was the second child born to JoAnn Brandon, a sixteen year old widow whose first child, Tammy, was born when she was only thirteen years old, and whose husband and Teena's father, Patrick, two years older than her, was killed in an alcohol-related motor vehicle accident while JoAnn was pregnant with Teena. Teena was named after the family dog.
Teena Brandon Evolves into Brandon Teena Sometime after Brandon obtained puberty, she began to reject her own sex. She began dressing like a boy, cut her hair short, bound her breasts, and even put a sock in her pants to simulate male genitalia. She began posing as a boy and started dating girls. She was repelled at the thought of being touched by a male.
After her expulsion from high school, Brandon began a series of unskilled jobs including working in a lumber yard and selling vacuum cleaners, posing as a male. She was consistently short on money. She began having brushes with the law which culminated in her being charged and convicted of a felony check writing offense in Lincoln, and was subsequently placed on probation and was instructed to have psychiatric evaluation because of the transsexual ideation that she displayed. It was during this counseling that the history of incest first appeared.
In 1991, Brandon attempted suicide. In January, 1992, after having been charged and convicted of second-degree forgery, Brandon ended up at the Lincoln Crisis Center and was diagnosed with a gender disorder, possibly transsexualism, as well as an adjustment disorder. In April, 1992, Brandon was placed on probation by the district court, and was required to go to a mental health clinic as part of her probation. In October, 1992, Brandon was terminated from the clinic, indicating there was no change, and in December, 1992, she was terminated from the program for failing to follow treatment. In November, 1993, Brandon was diagnosed by another counselor with transsexualism and a personality disorder.
Brandon goes to Richardson County, Nebraska Richardson County, Nebraska, is one of the poorer counties of the state, located in the extreme southeast corner of the state, a town of approximately 4,800 people.
In the late fall of 1993, Brandon violated her probation and a warrant for her arrest was issued. Fearing that she would ultimately end up in prison, Brandon, posing as a male named Brandon Teena, developed a friendship with an unwed young mother named Lisa Lambert. Lisa lived with her baby in a dilapidated old farmhouse on the edge of Humboldt, Nebraska in Richardson County. In November 1993, Brandon moved to Richardson County and began living with her new friend, who assumed that Brandon was in fact a male.
After Brandon commenced living with Lisa in the Falls City area, she began associating with a number of her friends, most of whom did not work on a regular basis. Two of these were a couple of local ex-convicts, John Lotter and Marvin Nissen. Lotter had just been released from prison a short time before meeting Brandon. Nissen was also a small time convict, also in his early twenties, who was married and had children but apparently no job.
Brandon immediately took a liking to Lana Tisdale, an attractive seventeen-year-old woman, and a former girl friend of Lotter. There were indications that Brandon and Lana had sexual contact although the exact nature of same remains a mystery. Lotter didn't seem to be upset about his new male friend dating his old girlfriend. This group of friends partied regularly, did not work, and basically got into trouble. Lotter and Nissen took Brandon in as another male friend. It did not dawn on any of these people that the boy they knew as Brandon Teena was, in fact, a girl named Teena Brandon.
Brandon Teena is discovered to be a female named Teena Brandon Brandon's difficulties began on November 30, 1993, when she was arrested in Richardson County for a minor in possession charge while carrying a drivers' license of a man named Charles W. Brayman, her cousin. On December 15, 1993, Brandon was again arrested on forgery in Richardson County for stealing checks and forging the name of the owner of the checks for the purpose of buying gifts for her then girlfriend, a repeat of the conduct that got her into trouble in Lincoln the year before. Brandon, who could not make bail, was held in the Richardson County jail for safe-keeping. On December 17, Brandon gave a signed confession to the bad checks and wanted to accept blame. After being taken to jail and put in the usual jail uniform, it was discovered that the male who they thought was Brandon Teena was, in fact, a female named Teena Brandon. Brandon was then placed in the women's section of the jail. Word soon got out in the community Brandon was in fact a girl. The fact did not set well with either Lotter or Nissen who felt that they were made to look foolish. On December 18, 1993, Tammy, Brandon's sister, called the Richardson County Jail, talked to the sheriff, Charles Laux, and advised him that the person they were holding named Brandon was in fact her sister. On December 22, 1992, Brandon was bailed out of jail by Marvin Nissen with money he had received from Lana Tisdale, who was too young to bail her out, using money Lana had received from her father.
Lotter and Nissen were both what might be appropriately classified as classic ne'er-do-wells, both from broken homes, both ex-convicts, neither employed, and both used alcohol to the excess.
In March, 1987, Lotter was charged in Buffalo County, Nebraska, with escape, theft by unlawful taking and operating a motor vehicle to avoid arrest. He spent some time in prison. In March, 1990, he was then charged in Richardson County, with Class III felony escape, a habitual criminal charge, and virtually attempted to escape from jail while wearing an orange jumpsuit and shackles while visiting with his attorney. He was immediately subdued and taken back to jail. In April, 1993, Lotter was charged with flight to avoid arrest and resisting arrest when he tried to outrun a Missouri state highway patrolman. He was returned to Richardson County and in June, 1993, was incarcerated in Richardson County. That same month, Sheriff Charles Laux, took him to Lincoln for safe-keeping because he didn't want to keep him in the Richardson County jail while he was out of town, when the sole guard would be a female jailer. In other words, he was well aware that Lotter was extraordinarily dangerous and did not trust him to be alone even in jail with a female jailer unless he was there.
In May, 1992, Nissen was charged with escape and sentenced to a year for burglary and arson in Richardson County. In June, 1992, a temporary protection order was entered in Richardson County against Nissen by a family that he threatened to harm. In September, 1992, Nissen was sentenced to prison for three years by the district judge in Richardson County
In short, in December, 1993, the authorities of Richardson County were well aware of both Lotter and Nissen and knew that they were both dangerous.
The Rage of Lotter and Nissen It was against this backdrop that Teena Brandon found herself on December 22, 1993, when Nissen bailed her out with money that he'd received from Lana Tisdale. By this time, Lana knew that Brandon was in fact a female or at least had strong suspicions of it. The rumors were flying in this small community of unemployed young adults that Brandon was really Teena.
On December 24, 1993, Nissen had a Christmas Eve party. Among the guests were Lana, Nissen, Lotter, Leslie Tisdale (Lana's sister), Teena and a number of others. In the early morning hours on Christmas Day, Lotter and Nissen took it upon themselves to take Brandon into the bathroom and "undress" her to determine whether she was really a male or a female. During this time, Nissen hit her in the face and kicked her in the back. Lotter and Nissen forced her back to the Nissen house and again assaulted her in the bathroom. This time they forced her to go to their car, left the house, and drove to a country road. There they were actually stuck and were pulled out by a farmer who sent them on their way. They then went to a remote place and both Lotter and Nissen savagely beat and raped Brandon. After the assault, Lotter and Nissen again drove Brandon back to Nissen's home and locked her in a bedroom and told her to stay put and not tell the authorities or be killed. They also took her shoes. At somewhere around 5:00 to 6:00AM, Brandon pried open a window, crawled out and, barefoot with no coat in 20 degree weather, virtually ran from Nissen's house a distance of approximately a mile to Lana Tisdale's house where she was obviously in an extremely distraught condition. Lana's mother called the authorities and ultimately Brandon was taken to the local hospital where a rape kit was performed (and subsequently lost). The Falls City Police Department was called, and the investigation began.
Brandon meets Sheriff Charles Laux The original investigation was done by the Falls City Police Department. Photos showed that she had been beaten in the face and kicked in the back. The rape kit indicated that she had been raped. There was little question that this woman was the victim of a brutal sexual assault. At this point in time, the Falls City Police Department decided to bring in the Richardson County Sheriff's Office because the rape had occurred in the county outside of the jurisdiction of the small police department. Enter Sheriff Charles Laux, a typical small town sheriff who had some law enforcement training, but no experience with transsexual people. It soon became clear he did not like or trust Brandon because of her sexual orientation. The local police probably should have immediately had a warrant issued for the arrest of Lotter and Nissen, and obtained a search warrant, if nothing else than to preserve the evidence, but they did not. Brandon ended up with Sheriff Laux, who began interrogating her at approximately 3:30 PM on Christmas Day. The interrogation started with a deputy but during the middle of the interrogation Sheriff Laux took over and began the interrogation of Brandon in such an abusive and repulsive manner that plaintiff's expert, Dr. Mario Scalora, would later testify it was "like pouring vinegar in an open wound." His interrogation of Brandon was, at the least, intimidating and was later the foundation for a lawsuit involving intentional infliction of emotional distress. He concluded by asking her "why do you make girls think you're a guy." The deputy testified he was so concerned about what was going on, he left the interview room in disgust. At the conclusion of the interview, Brandon agreed to testify against Lotter and Nissen. By this time, she had been up all night, had no sleep, and was completely disheveled and distraught.
Laux refused to arrest Lotter and Nissen after the interview. Instead, he dispatched the deputy to the location to where Brandon had described the rape and he came back with corroborating evidence including beer cans, used condoms, and a pair of socks that Brandon had actually put in her pants to simulate male genitalia. Still no arrests were made.
During the next two days, the police and sheriff's office interrogated a number of witnesses, all of whom corroborated one way or another Brandon's story. On December 26, during one conversation with the mother of Lana, Linda Gutierrez, Sheriff Laux referred to Brandon as an "it".
Despite the overwhelming evidence, including the local knowledge of Lotter and Nissen, the corroboration from the witnesses, the physical evidence and the photos and examination of Brandon, and Brandon's statements, still no arrests.
In the meantime, Brandon had telephone conversations with her mother and sister, and was extremely frightened. Thinking she would be safe, Brandon then returned to Lana's home because she virtually had no place else to go nor did she have a motor vehicle or money to go anyplace else. She was under the mistaken impression that Lotter and Nissen were arrested. She was scared for her life.
On December 27, Tammy called the sheriff and advised that both Lotter and Nissen had threatened to kill Brandon if she reported the incident. Laux replied to Tammy "mind your own business, I'm doing my job." Two other calls to Richardson County by Tammy were refused.
On December 28, both Lotter and Nissen were finally interviewed by the sheriff's deputy. Lotter refused to talk, however, Nissen admitted essentially trying to "depend Brandon to get to the truth", and assaulting her. Nissen later admitted that Lotter and Brandon were in the backseat of the car out at the remote location where she allegedly was raped, but denied he did any thing. At the conclusion of this interview the deputy and the police investigator thought they should be arrested. Laux refused.
On December 29, the sheriff again wanted Brandon to come for a further interview. Because she was afraid of Lotter and Nissen, Brandon did not show up. Why she did not show up is a little unclear, but she told her sister she saw Lotter and Nissen sitting by the courthouse, and was afraid to go in.
On December 30, the deputy requested Laux contact the county attorney for an arrest warrant but Laux still refused to do so.
The matter came to a tragic conclusion on News Years Eve, December 31, 1997. Brandon had returned to Lisa's home in Humboldt and was there with Lisa, her baby, and a student named Philip Devine, a friend, who just happened to be visiting in Falls City during Christmas break. She thought she would be safer in the country than in the city. However, Lotter and Nissen tracked Brandon down to this remote location, where they brutally murdered Brandon, Lisa, and Philip. They did not harm the baby. The bodies were discovered by Lisa's mother later that morning. When the bodies were found, the authorities did not have any trouble pointing a finger at Lotter and Nissen. On Jan 1, 1998 Lotter and Nissen were finally arrested for rape (not murder).
Both Lotter and Nissen were charged with first degree murder. Nissen agreed to testify against Lotter in exchange for a life sentence and ultimately Lotter was convicted and sentenced to death. He is currently on death row. State vs. Lotter, 255 Neb. 456, 586 NW 2d 591 (1998). Nissen was imprisoned for life although he too had a lengthy trial. State vs. Nissen, 252 Neb 51, 560 NW2d 157 (1997). Recently, Nissen has written a lengthy letter to Mrs. Brandon accepting responsibility and apologizing for his grotesque actions. Lotter still maintains his innocence and the matter is working its way through federal court.