Okay.... moving right along, the thing *most* of you have been waiting to read is about when I told El Capitan that I was a lesbian.... so here it is.
Shortly after coming out to my family, I started coming out to my closest friends. I tried to find time to tell every one in person (when possible) - and I have to say .... it was all very nondescript. lol Jenny B didn't care, Chloe didn't care.... Jessica didn't care - I honestly only had *one* friend who said/did anything really stupid when I came out. (More on her.... later).
Of course I fielded the usual questions:
How long have you known? .... my whole life.
Why didn't you come out years ago? ..... didn't think I could.
Why do you think I care....... because it doesn't matter. ..... awesome.
I had, of course, been asking myself those very same questions for years and years. I had graduated high school with my virginity well and truly: intact. The first man I was every with my first husband Drew. Our marriage had it's own issue's - not the least of which was our age and inability to communicate well. Around the time I started dating Mick, Drew was still living in our flat - just in the other girls bed... lololol. Mick came round one night to meet everyone and we went for a long walk and Mick asked me to move to Scotland with him..... when I came back and told Drew I was moving (he and the girl were moving to Spain....) he looked thoughtful for a second and then he said, "Do you want me to talk to him about you and the sex thing?"
Even then, my interest in male/female sex was..... almost nil. Drew wasn't a bad guy, may be a bit selfish and young, but he was good-looking and funny I did love him, but clearly my issue's with sexual intimacy weren't as 'secret' as I thought they were. However.... I was *sure* that perhaps it was all possibly related to just this relationship - my first, blah blah blah. I wasn't willing to throw in the straight towel just yet, dammit.
(PLEASE NOTE: Drew and I had agreed to separate and live as though we were 'divorced'. As there is no separation of Church and State in the UK - it was actually pretty hard to get divorced and you had to be legally separated for TWO YEARS before a dissolution could be granted - which means different address's etc. We mutually agreed to move on romantically... though, admittedly, he got a bit of a head start. lol)
Life with Mick was good..... and then there were a few more 'gentleman callers' after him.... all of whom I *did* love, however, none of whom changed my intimacy issue's in any way. I really don't know WHY I never 'explored' women... but again - opportunities never presented themselves and I was raised in a conservative and religious home. While there is *nothing* wrong with that, in itself, it didn't leave a whole ton of room for me to believe that I might be able to bed a few chicks to see how I felt.
At 8 years old I was pretty sure I was going to hell for the thoughts I had then.... and I spent my teenage years praying for them to go away.... and I spent my twenties running from them - not because I wanted to, but because I believed I *had* to. I was supposed to grow up and getting married and have babies.... that's the *right* way to do things... the Bible say's so, my parents and community tell me so.... Period.
The night I met El Capitan ....was magic. It was every bit the perfect date that 12 year old me had dreamed up... it was all Lloyd Dobler and John Cryer kinds of perfect and I was *totally* smitten and in love. We had a whirlwind courtship that lead straight to the courthouse three and a half weeks after the night we met. There wasn't a lot of time for..... thinking.
That's the truth.
The first month into our marriage is my car accident that I'm in a back brace for 6 months: no sex.
Then there's the whole Vagina Monologue (buy The Book if you wanna' know) for two years: very little sex.
And now, for me AND for El Capitan, we were in their weird place where *we* hadn't grown apart - we sat on the couch holding hands every night and we were happy.... but my girl parts had seen more gloved *hands* than they had seen "gloved" man-parts ..... I was like a Medical Grand Central Station with several surgeries and then 'physical therapy' to put me all back together.
I'm totally, completely being honest when I tell you that *the VERY* first time we had sex in a very very long time.... *AFTER* the doctors had told me that I would NEVER get pregnant (and the only time I ever had sex with contraception) - I got pregnant with The Boy. We were both stunned.
So now we're four years into our marriage and we've faced *alot* of crazy stuff - and NOW we have a kid.... so I wasn't sitting around and thinking about girls or dreaming about girls.... my hands were pretty full with life and bills and a fairly healthy marriage. I mean - you don't leave your spouse because they lose a leg or something in an accident.... right? So .... you can't really leave your wife when a doctor breaks her girl junk... you just have to ride it out.
It really wasn't until after we had The Girl in year 7 of our marriage that life had started to slow down enough for us to start seeing the cracks in our foundation..... years of problems and issue's and ... again - a lack of communicating, add the 'mother/son' type thing we had going on.... AND two PARENTS working 50 hour weeks and running a household.... and again: sex isn't on the front burner.
And you know what.... don't even *ACT* like while I'm typing this *right now* there aren't like one million wives telling their doting, loving husbands that they "have a headache", cause I'll call bullsh*t on that right now. lol
Looking back NOW - obviously I might be brave enough - willing enough - to make other choices, or HAVE certain conversations with El Capitan... but it really wasn't something that crossed my mind (well... not really). I just - I don't want anyone to think I was lying around all day dreaming about getting with girls - which I think is how some people see it - like I "lied" to El Capitan and 'tricked him'. In first place... I was lying to myself and as a by-product, I was lying to him. I own that. I feel *badly* about that.
However, in other respects I was a good wife and we *were* happy... until one day we weren't.
So, having a good month or so to process my life with new eyes and a new heart and a new sense of truth for who I was.... I have to admit I was a little scared to tell El Capitan. I wasn't sure how he would take - or that he would support it. So I told him to pick a night so we could go out to dinner.....
A week later we met at Red Robin and sat in a booth. We talked for a while and laughed and messed with the waiter for giggles.... he had a particularly sh*tty table that was causing him alllll kinds of trouble. So we kept joking with him to help lighten his mood.
I didn't wait long before I showed him a picture of a pretty cute butch girl that I had been talking to and I said, "So.... here's the thing: I'm a lesbian."
And El Capitan, took a second, and then he said, "No sh*t you are! I started to wonder that three years ago."
Oh. Feck. SERIOUSLY??? lololol
So we talked - and we laughed..... I asked him why he never said anything.
In so many words, El Capitan said that we had been through so much that he never knew if my apprehension to sex was physical (after all the surgeries) or emotional (from all the actual trauma to my girl parts) or... if I was gay -BUT that he didn't want to be the "asshole" husband who insisted on sex.... so he just never did.
And that's the truth - he never asked for it.
I would listen to my other friends complaining about their husbands have Tues/Thurs night sex schedules, or how if 'so-and-so' didn't get a blow job one a week - that he was a "bear" to live with and it was "just easier" to do it.... But not El Capitan. He never asked for begged or made a big deal of our somewhat active but perhaps not "thriving" sex life.
Mind you.... again - TWO Parents, working 50 hours weeks.... 7, 8, 9, 10 years together.... we were no the first couple in romantic history to let our intimate life fall a little by the wayside in favor of sleep.
As our night dragged on, the other table kept calling for the manager and driving our poor waiter crazy.... and we just kept laughing and talking and dissecting our marriage and my liking girls - which El Capitan thought was pretty funny.
At one point, I *did* get very serious and I told him that I was sorry. I told him that I didn't really understand myself, let alone be in a place where I could accept myself and that I did love him and that I never lied to him, and I never set out to lie to him - but that I was sorry.
The table was quiet for a moment and then El Capitan said, "Your being gay isn't my 'get our of jail free' card. I could have talked to you. I could have talked to you any of the times you begged me, too. I did love you, very much and I could have handled things differently and I didn't. Your being gay doesn't give me a reason to have done what I did in the way that I did it."
See.... I've been waiting to tell you that for months now. Months.
Like it or not.... at the TWO biggest times in my life - when they told us I'd never have kids - El Capitan stayed.... and yes, I realized he douched it up and got a girlfriend while we were married - BUT you *have* to give credit where credit is due and say that a lesser man would have used my new found lesbianism as *THE ULTIMATE* 'get-out-of-jail-free' card.... but El Capitan didn't.
I told him that I hoped he would support me with the children - that he would not make "gay jokes" or say negative things about gays or lesbians, and that - one day - he would fully support another woman in my life as my partner and as a co-parent. El Capitan said: "Of course."
Even after The Sign and The Blog and The Book.
That's kind of rad.
We were at Red Robin for *hours* .... literally. Laughing and talking - as we did for ten years of marriage.... we get a long *really* well.... even now. And the waiter kept coming back and towards the end of the night he came to our table and said, "I wish all the couples who came in where as fun and laid back and happy as you guys, you seem really happy together."
El Capitan and I just looked at each other and broke up laughing our f*cking asses off and El Capitan is barely able to get the words out and say's, "Man.... if you *only* knew who we were..... "
I was kind of proud of that moment, to be honest. Less than one year from the date he left us, we were able sit at a table, enjoy each other, laugh and have that *joy* be noticed by a stranger.... ALL while I'm confessing to my ex-husband of TEN YEARS that I'm a lesbian. You gotta' admit.... that's kind of crazy f*ckin' cool. So we made sure to make the manager come to *our* table so we could say how *great* out waiter was and how the other table were jerks to him. (Fast forward 4 months, that manager remembered me the next time we were in. lol)
When I got home that night The Bubbie and The Papa were pacing the floor.... turns out, they were worried that El Capitan would use my 'gay lifestyle' to go back to court and gain custody of the kids.... to which I actually laugh out loud and said that NO, El Capitan was *supportive* and there's not a court in Oregon that would take my kids away for just being a lesbian.....
Parents... what are you gonna' do, right?
One more thing..... that night El Capitan and I decided not to put my "new status" on facebook or The Blog: neither of us wanted another media storm. And a month later when I met with La Novia, I *did* tell her as well, right there at the table.... because El Capitan had not yet told her. She immediately agreed to support me (with the kids) as a lesbian and also agreed to treat any future female partner I have as an equal. But again, the three of discussed it and we mutually agreed to leave my status off The Blog for a while longer.
And that was it..... I think, after 37 years of worrying and hiding and avoiding.... I have probably the *lamest* coming out story ever.... even my own ex-husband accepted me.
I'm not gonna' lie..... that's really rad.
Alright… let's get back on track, shall we?
In January - I had decided maybe it was time to start dating. I had met Coffee Guy (remember him? lol) and I liked him, I felt I could trust him- so I thought those were good signs about "being ready" to date in general. Up to that point, I had really not even *remotely* considered dating anyone. I had my hands full enough with prepping and selling a home - and, most importantly, helping the kids and I heal from the rift our family had just gone through.
So, Coffee Guy was coming around and I liked him and I did the thing that girls do and "dreamed" about the potential future.
He had a good job: check.
He was a stable guy: check.
He liked kids: check.
He knew about the sign and blog and book and didn't care: check
He thought I was cute…. bonus.
I liked him, I enjoyed talking to him…. I felt like I could trust him. Those were all good things…. but the more I thought about it, the more my stomach started to hurt. I started getting heartburn almost every night. Text messages from him made me happy and sick at the same time…. and I struggled to figure out exactly why.
I thought about kissing him….. yeah - I could do that.
I thought about making out with him….. yeah - I could probably do that.
Then I thought about having to (eventually) have sex with him and my hand to G*d, the first thing that popped into my head was this: I would rather cut off my own hands and sew every orifice on my body closed than ever have sex with any man…. even nice, sweet Coffee Guy - ever, ever again.
I realized that my subconscious was now *screaming* at me to stop and think about things before I got myself into another male/female relationship that I would end up feeling miserable in.
So, I started thinking. And reading. I read everything I could on being a lesbian - coming out in your thirties, I read it all. I needed to read because I was pretty naive. I had never even seen lesbian porn…. and I quickly fixed that. lololol
I felt guilty and dirty as my Kindle filled up with lesbian literature, seasons of The L Word and The Real L Word and movies about Brandon Teena. It was quickly becoming a dirty little secret and I guarded my Kindle with my life - hoping no one would pop it open and see what was on my 'carousel' of purchases.
At that point, I didn't have one single Lesbian friend and only knew two gay men (a couple). I first went to them and told them how I was feeling - how I *had* been feeling for years and they paused, looked at each other and one of them turned to me and said, "Honey…. we knew you were one of us the first night we *met* you- it's about time!".
F*ck. Has it always been this obvious to everyone but me?
They were very supportive and *very* sure that I was gay - and they encouraged me to find some lesbian friends. While I didn't actually know any lesbians - I knew of one through work. She's the kind of lesbian that *some* in my community would refer to as a "hundred footer".
A 'hundred footer' is a woman who is *clearly* a lesbian - the kind of lesbian who can be spotted from a hundred feet away, hence: hundred footer. Keep in mind though, that she's also totally gorgeous, so don't get the wrong idea about that. lol Anyway, I waited for her one day, approached her, politely introduced myself and asked her if I might be able to take her for coffee one day - soon? Still shaking my hand, her eyes narrowed and she said, "This is going to be a long conversation, isn't it?"
She was kind enough to clear her entire afternoon and take me for coffee right then and there. I unloaded a lifetime of thoughts and issue's and fears….. and when I was done - I said, "So, I'm pretty sure I'm gay….. does any of this sound familiar to you?"
"Well, you're not 'gay' - men are gay." She explained, "and since I don't know any straight girls who think the way you think…. the way *I* think - it sounds to me like you're a lesbian."
I suddenly realized that I would need to add studying a dyketionary to my list of nightly reading… so many more terms and definitions to learn and understand. Sigh.
I asked her how she identified and she said - "I prefer the term dyke or lesbian. And, if you're asking for my advice - you should get comfortable with use either of those terms because from everything you've told me - I'd say it's a pretty safe bet to assume you're a lesbian, too."
Both my new Dyke friend and my two Gay friends told me to go out in the community - find a girl, have my "first experience" and "make sure" that I liked... 'going down south' - *before* I came out to my family, because what if I didn't like sex with girls? What if it wasn't what I thought it was? Why upset my whole family to change my mind later…….?
I wasn't so sure about that idea - other than I needed to get out in my community and make friends and my Dyke friend gave me some new books to read - more politically driven lesbian texts. However,I didn't much like the idea of "experimenting" with another human being…. women are *people* - I didn't think they were something I should take for a sexual 'test drive'. It felt wrong…. and I wasn't sure I could do that. BUT…. was it that I couldn't *be* with a woman? Was this a convenient barrier I could put up? Without knowing…. I guess I wouldn't "know" - but it still seemed wrong to "test" things out on another person.
I went online and I typed in, "Lesbian Portland" - and I started going out to everything Google suggested. I went to gay bar after gay bar, I ate lunch and dinner at the tex-mex place owned by a local lesbian couple. I hung out at what were listed as 'gay friendly' coffee shops and deli's….. I tried to surround myself with as much of the LGBTQ community as I could.
One day, at the tex-mex place, the gorgeous waitress there could see that I was *alone*…. again. She was kind enough to chat with me and I just came out and asked her where someone might meet other girls in town….. she pulled out her phone, went to her facebook page and wrote down a whole list of gay and lesbian events.
One of which was a burlesque show at a gay bar - The Fringe Benefits performed and they were breathtaking. Zora and Angelique were so kind to me - they chatted with me after their show and invited me to the next one. Angelique became facebook friends with me - and she too, started sending me lists of what she called "queer news" from around town so that I would know where to go to meet people in the LGBTQ community. I was so worried because women... well - they can be catty - and having no 'lesbian friends' - I worried if a large community of women would be catty and un-accepting of me.....? But these women they were so kind, and so talented - it really is an art form, what they do and the took the time to show me kindness and understanding.... and friendship. It was a lifeline - they didn't know it... but it was.
The second thing on the list from the waitress at the tex-mex place was going to something called Inferno. Inferno is a lesbian dance that is held at a local Portland bar once a month…. so I looked it up online, wrote down the date and I waited because it was a few weeks away.
I kept reading books and watching The L Word. I would sit and hide my internet searches and hope no one saw what I was looking at. It was hard, living in a home where there are conservative values….. it felt wrong and I felt horrible for not being honest about where I was going at night….. I felt awful.
I was living two lives….. things had fallen apart with Coffee Guy - which is kind of what I wanted…. and I avoided the advances of another man. I didn't tell anyone -but it was getting harder and harder and I needed to talk to someone…. so I told J.
At first she laughed - but more in a shocked kind of way - then she asked me in a serious tone if I was sure - and then she said she didn't care, that it would never change our friendship and that she loved me no matter who I loved. So for a while…. I could only talk to J about how I felt and what I was going through - and she was unbelievably supportive…. I was so grateful to be able to tell someone. BEST. FRIEND. F*CKING. EVER.
So then the night of Inferno came - and I really had yet to make any "friends" on any kind of serious level, and I had certainly not had any kind of "experience"…. and I walked into that room and it was like a f*cking cloud parted and rainbows filled the room….. seriously.
I know that sounds super gay…. but it was *was* super gay - but in the very best way.
There were woman everywhere.
Women who looked like 'women' in heels and make up (Lipstick Lesbian).
There were athletic girls in tank tops with toned arms and backwards hats (Sporty Dykes).
There were women who looked like men, with short hair and boys clothes (Butch's).
and me…. in my Mom jeans, black sandals and Old Navy t-shirt. I'm pretty sure I really looked like lesbian repellent…. seriously. At least I wasn't carrying a purse (for the most part, *most* lesbians do no carry purses - backpacks, yes - and one certain friend always has her Coach bag- but in Portland, you'll find most of us have everything tucked into a pocket.)
I was surrounded by girls …. girls kissing other girls, flirting with other girls… laughing with other girls… grinding on other girls….. and I never felt so 'at home' in my whole life. It was like having spent 37 years standing in rooms never *once* feeling like I actually fit-in…. and suddenly: I did.
I didn't know a single soul in the room….. and yet, I felt like I was at home.
I stood, for the most of the night, off to the side on my own. I watched these women of all ages dancing and expressing themselves and I was mesmerized. I had never been in a room full of lesbians in my entire life… and here I was: immersed in them.
They were intoxicating.
After a while this totally gorgeous girl came over to me. She was around my height and age - covered in tattoos with short hair and wearing boys clothes…. and I was … barely able to breathe.
As she talked to me, her hand brushed my arm and I felt my chest tighten and my head get a bit light… I could do barely more than nod in agreement and laugh at the appropriate parts of the conversation. My entire body responded - without my even having time to think about it - without time to process what it all meant…. it responded to her every gentle, ever-so-slight touch of her fingertip on my shoulder or hand as she talked.
Then she asked me to dance.
Ok…. so *she* danced and I kind of kept myself together enough to sway in some kind of rhythmic fashion and then she turned and grinded up on me (but not in a 'twerk' kind of way … just in the general dancing really close kind of way….) - and I almost passed out.
My hand to G*d (yes, I know that's the second time I said that…) - but seriously - I had to leave the dance floor and go back to lean on the wall. My head was light, my heart was beating out of my chest - parts of me that I was pretty sure had rotted closed in the year before.... were warm and….. tingly.
Sh*t. I liked girls. I mean…. I *really* like girls.
When the dance was over she walked me to my car and we exchanged numbers (after that we became friends and nothing more.)
I drove home that night firm in my heartfelt conviction that 8 year old me was right: I liked girls.
More than that... I knew that I wanted to dance with them.
I knew that my body wanted to hold them and be next to them.
I knew that I wanted... more than anything to kiss them... and do other things to them.
I also knew... just from the Inferno dance-floor, that no "experimenting" was needed.
I had found myself... as cliche as it sounds: out there on that dance-floor... and there was no turning back.
I was confident that I didn't need to 'test drive' anyone for anything….. if just *dancing* with a girl - feeling her body pressed up against mine, feeling her sports bra under my finger tips, smelling the boys cologne coming off the back of her neck…. if *that* was enough to make me *literally* weak in the knee's…. I was gay. Period. As gay as a rainbow unicorn: flaming homo. Lesbian. Queer. Dyke.
And I couldn't wait to come out of my closet…. and start living.
I woke up the next day and first I called my brother and told him over the phone…. I waited for some kind of reaction: he had none. He said…. "Are you sure?" I told him I was pretty sure and that this would mean he would need to raise his children to support not only me, but any future partner, etc…. he said, "No sh*t - but you know we already support gay marriage anyway in our house - so this is not a big deal to us."
Then I went out and told The Bubbie. I'm not gonna' lie…. the first twenty or so minutes, she had a hard time getting her breath and she had to sit down. She laughed nervously, asked me a few questions… was I sure? Again…. I told her I was. She told me, once she could put a whole sentence together, that she loved me and that she accepted me and that she accept me as a lesbian.
Then she told me that she wanted to tell The Papa at dinner that night and for me not to say anything.
Then I called my other brother and his wife and made lunch plans to see them that day…. sitting in the booth at Standfords, I came right out after we ordered our food and told them that I thought I was gay…. to which my brother threw up a hand and loudly said, "Sweet, now we have something in common - we both like tits."
We high-fived…. and I was, again, accepted.
That night I waited in the kitchen, after the kids had gone to bed for my parents to come home. I was nervous…. would they kick me out? Here I was living a lie I knew they didn't approve of…. and they would have every right to ask me to leave - and I would have to respect that.
I heard the key in the door and I stood up and waited for The Papa to come down the hall - and when I saw him entering the light in the room I said, "I'm sorry, but I had to tell you - I can't live here and live a lie and lie *to* you ….. so if you need us to move out, I understand."
The Papa walked up with teary eyes and said, "Move out? Why would you do that? You're my daughter and you don't need to move anywhere…. I love you and I accept you." Then we hugged.
That night I went to bed….. and I cried.
I cried because I had spent sooooooo many years believing that being who I was *meant* to be would cause a rift in my family. I had spent 37 years living as a straight woman - because I thought that I would destroy my family by being gay….. but in the end - the only thing it was destroying was *me*.
No gave a sh*t. Not at all. Not even a little.
No one threw a single pan, broke a dish, no one even dropped an f-bomb….. I came out of my the closet expecting to find a war-zone of landmines…. and instead, all I found was love and acceptance.
I cried, because I wish that I had been braver sooner…..
Mostly though, I was just grateful that I could finally be myself and *still* be loved and accepted.
You have no idea just how awesome that truly is…..
Being a lesbian is just so gay…. it's *literally* the happiest I've ever been.
Well. Holy crap. I blog tonight as human being full recognized as a "whole" person by my own government.....
I'm not gonna' lie... that's kind of rad.
Now, of course, there is a battle ahead for those of us living in the 37 states that DO NOT currently recognize same-sex marriage. Oregon, sadly, is one such state, so while I stand in absolute celebration for the entire LGBTQ community and cheer with PRIDE for those of us who *can* get legally married..... Oregon has another 17 months of struggle and petitions and signature gathering to get a measure back on the ballot to fix what Oregonians got wrong (IMHO) with Measure 36.
Oh... you *better* believe that I went to the PDX rally today and signed on the dotted line to stand outside supermarkets, bookstores... whatever/wherever to collect enough signatures to get on the ballot.
Today really was just sooooo amazing. I couldn't believe all the posts and messages that were blowing up my phone by 5 am.... I couldn't sleep. Soooo exciting. DOMA and Prop 8 are both overturned and now.... same-sex marriage is a 'states rights issue'. We still have a ways to go... but it feels *really* good to know that the federal government stands behind us.
VooDoo Donuts sold $1 rainbow Gay Bars to celebrate.... so of course I waited the 40 minutes in line to buy one - incidentally.... the *cutest* butch girl sold them to me.... donuts + butch girls = Elle swooning....
Omg...honestly, I'm still so excited I'm having a hard time writing tonight... staying on any kind of track is rough for me right now because I'm just so *freakin* excited...... seriously. It's a crazy day in our countries history - and an excellent day.
Tonight we went out to our favorite gay bars where the general mood was total celebration.... people high fiving each other and fist bumping and hugging..... just random strangers: spreading joy. It seems like in the past year, days where people are looking around with shared emotions they have been ones of fear, disbelief and grief - after the theater shooting, or Sandy Hook...... but TODAY, today was allll giddy and rainbows and GAY! Today was GAY in alllll the best ways. Man.... it felt so good to be *a part* of that AND for it to be such a positive thing.
Honestly..... I feel not even worthy to be standing in my own community right now.... sooooo many people have fought and been judged and brave for soooooo much longer that I have. I feel like I have to work harder to make up for that lost time when I should have been out there helping myself and my community..... it's really so humbling to hear so many couples share their journey - how hard it's been and how much equality really means to them and their children. Today, people were just literally hugging in the streets.
How far we've come..... it's 20 years since Brandon Teena was raped, beaten and killed..... and today the streets of Portland were a *rainbow* of queers and drag queens and transgender and gay and lesbian - and there was elation in the air: a genuine feeling of true happiness..... and safety. That's crazy to think about.
And then.... when I thought my day couldn't get any better,I came home to this Blog Comment:
You are giving us a gift by allowing us to go through this process with you. You have positively affected people both in your recovery from the divorce and from your coming out. People's hate has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them.
To those who feel they've been duped, that is your issue entirely. It isn't Elle's job to live up to your expectations. She is authentic and her coming out doesn't invalidate her marriage or her relationship with El Capitan. Life isn't black and white....it's a Rainbow.
Life is a process of discovery so more power to you, Elle.
Wow. I don't know who you are 'Landy' - but I *really* needed to hear that....... really. It's so awesome that you wrote me that...... I know there I have a solid core of support on this blog (Emma, Kay, Alex.... you know who you are! :) but.... so many times in the past few weeks I've really considered throwing in the towel and just being done.
But, I said when I started this Blog almost a year ago now, that I would continue to write and share their journey so long as people were reading.... and each month my numbers grow - not shrink. AND - you know what - when the Single Dad Laughing guy "came out" as a 'bi-sexual" - he lost a TON of readers..... like 10,000 he said...... I haven't seen a drop: in fact it's gone up. That's kind of cool.
I don't have to be famous. I don't have to make a ton of money. (Which is good, because clearly neither of those is ever going to happen... lololol) - I know that there were people who were helped and continue to feel "helped" by my sharing the process of healing after the divorce (a process no doubt still going on...) - and I have to believe that there is *at least* one person who has been helped by my willingness to come out and talk openly and freely about what it means to be gay.
I'm sure that it will continue to cost me interest from certain girls.... and I understand that. I *Really* do.... but, at the same time - I'm a pretty open and honest person. Most people come here because they say they "feel like my friend".... well - this is pretty much how I talk to my friends.... true story. lololol I'm the same person on The Blog that I am sitting at Jenny B's house having coffee..... so, if someone is going to walk away from me because of The Blog, then I think perhaps that might not be the right person for me anyway (though.... it hurts like a bitch, I'll be honest.) I think, perhaps, I might need to extend future "people of romantic interest" the option to NOT be written about on The Blog.... I think that might be fair - right?
That would be hard to do..... oh - and on that note: a nice girl asked me out on a date.
A DATE Yo...... that's kind of cool. :)
So..... I know these feelings of gay elation won't last.... but I'm feeling pretty happy tonight - lots of reasons to smile, lots of reasons to rejoice and until tomorrow hits - I'm just going to go to sleep with thoughts of rainbows and unicorns on my mind.......
Coming out on The Blog has been.... challenging.
It's amazing to me that so many people, who don't pay me to be here - who don't pay a single penny for the hours and hours I have spent writing, nor compensated me in any way shape for form for my willingness to be honest and raw about this journey.... feel like they get to feel "duped".
It's ironic, because even El Capitan pointed out to me that *he* doesn't feel duped. He feels like it was just yet another issue in our marriage that went un-talked about and un-dealt with - and we *both* freely admit (with hindsight and a year between us and our marriage) that there were *a lot* of unspoken things between us..... my being gay didn't define our success or our failure- it's just another card in the deck.
More to the point - it is NOT AT ALL - any kind of f*cking reason I did anything.
Everything in the book is true. EVERY WORD. I didn't sit there the night El Capitan walked out and thought... "sweet - bring on the boobies....". Far from it.
I was terrified that *we* had failed our children. I was *sick* at the idea that they would grow up now in a "broken home" and DUDE.... THAT WAS A REASON I WASN'T GAY TO START WITH.
Being gay and coming out hasn't made a damn thing easier... in fact: it's only made so many things harder.
But it's made being *me* easier.... and I refuse to change that.
The decision to come out was made because while I knew I would catch hell.... and have I. Sigh.
I also knew that there were other women out there who felt the way I felt.
I *KNOW* that there are people reading this Blog right now - who are raising a gay child whether they know it or not.... so any little bit that I can do to help ...... educate? inform? Those words seems a bit too strong.... perhaps I'm just hoping to shed some light on issue's that were mine... and could well be yours.
So now my in box is full of hate mail...... but that's happened before. I'm used to it.
Yes... I'm not thin. Yes - clearly I want to be "gay" because "no man wants me".
Good times. Good times.
I'll be totally honest.... I could give two sh*ts if there's a guy out there who wants to be with me or not (but to be frank: there are two that I know of for a fact... just sayin'.) Being a lesbian is about sooooo much more than just sex, sure, I understand that that's what people focus on because the bits go in the different places in the bedroom... I get that. However, it's just soooo much more.
In the first place, I am not - nor have I ever been - sexually attracted to men.
I'm also not a "man hater". I like men.... I like to hang out with them, debate world politics, beat them at arm wrestling (happens more than you think....), enjoy them as friends and fathers and husbands of my friends.... but that's it.
I have never been a good "mate" for a man, because I'm not good at being super .... 'girly'. I don't wanna' wait for you to figure your sh*t out and work on the kitchen plumbing... I'll just fix it myself. I don't need you to pay my bills, I don't even *like* jewelry.... sad but true.... I don't need someone to "take care" of me.... which to a large degree *men* find this kind of behavior/attitude "emasculating".
Women however, understand that there is a push and a pull... there is a strength and a weakness and that I can *be* both and it's doesn't 'emasculate' them. They can be equally strong and weak.... and when we're put together: it's perfect. It fits. No one is made to feel "less than" the other.....
May be other straight people *have* relationships like this... but for me - it has never worked with men.
F*ck... may be it won't work with girls either.... who knows. lol
My inbox is also full of emails from women who either *felt* as I did - and they know they are also gay and living 'straight' lives to appease families and husbands - and also not wanting to ruin their family by coming out..... and a few from husbands who think their wives might be gay.
That's a lot of emotion.... but I'm *glad* that people are writing me and I write them all back because I really do understand what they are going through.....
And there is one email that came in several months ago from Alex - hi there :) - and she asked me what I wanted in the "perfect husband".... I didn't publish it at the time, because I knew what I really wanted a wife - not a husband - and I wasn't ready to talk about that openly just yet......
Today I am, and (hopefully) in honor of SCOTUS doing the *right* thing because they have said that tomorrow is the day.... I'll share what I want in the "perfect wife".
nothing short of amazing..... she's *literally* my idea of the perfect wife.... but more on that later. She's also stunning and gorgeous and .... she totally makes me swoon (especially when she wears her newsboy hat). To the RIGHT is Laura Valentine - she is the drummer in Hunter Valentine - which is a lesbian rock band. She is, *by far* one of the best drummers I've ever heard.... but she's also daring and funny and wild - and yet very serious about their music. She is also stunningly gorgeous and pretty much makes me swoon just about any time I see her.... lol If I had to pick, though: Kacy is perfect.
Hopefully...... my future wife will be as strong as me - and stronger than me when I need her to be. That's the thing about girls (generally speaking) - they can hold your hand and cry with you one minute, make love to you (for hours and hours) the next, and then fall apart giggling with you. It's...... kind of awesome.
Butch girls.... they get shit done. Lesbians in general tend to do that.... but- most of the butch girls I know are pretty proud of their collection of power tools and all the cool things they can do with them. I knew this one girl who complete gutted - interior, engine and exterior, an old car and re-did the *entire* thing by hand.... re-built the engine and installed a new dash: the whole car.
I'm not gonna' lie.... that's kind of hot.
Butch girls (while being somewhat masculine) are still "girls" so they have a deeper understanding of .... you. They actually *listen* when you talk - they *want* to know how you feel and they want to talk and talk and talk about why you're upset or angry..... they will talk sh*t out with you and they make you feel as though you've been heard and understood.
That's super hot.
Butch girls are usually very confident because they are the "most out" of our lesbian community. They have to deal with people harassing them in bathrooms (because they don't look like they belong in the women's bathroom), they get harassed at clubs and frequently.... men try to pick fights with them. (Just ask Carhartt). So, because of that, they have a swagger and a confidence that is intoxicating.
That's mega hot.
There's this one thing a lot of my butch friends do - and they kind of act a bit like old men.... they say things like "honey" and "sugar" and call you their "lil woman".... and I'm not gonna' lie.... it's f*cking adorable when they do it.
Massively hot.... and it makes you feel - as a woman - like.... soft and tender... which, for someone as bold and out and brazen as I can be - I don't usually get to feel "soft" all that often.... I love that feeling.
It's mega hot.
Massages, manicures, pedicures.... oh my. Butch girls are usually *Very* good at back rubs, or painting your nails for you.... and they do it - to make you feel good. They do it because they know it's a sweet thing to do and they *want* to do sweet things for you... Butch girls can be both soft and sensitive, and take charge all at the same time.... and that's super duper hot.
Butch girls are usually very attentive and affectionate.... but- with girls, femme or butch - it's about expressing emotion, it's about showing affection and attention for the reason of wanting their partner to *feel* those things and LESS about "getting them into the bedroom"...
That's the hottest thing ever.
So..... hopefully my future wife is Butch - because it's really, really hot to be butch. :)
And.... I'm hoping that by tomorrow night - it'll be federally legal to marry said future, mega hot, super hot, swooning... Butch.
"But please remember in the same way that you dont like to be judged dont judge others. Because that worker man had a different opinion doesnt mean hes a bad person or that hes wrong, in the same way that you have a different opinion. I think thats where the problem lies. People now a days need to get off their "your doing me wrong horse" and get on the we are all people band wagon. You know what this world needs more of? Grace on tap. Thats right, grace to accept people, help people, nurture people, we need compassion we need to stop looking at color, sexuality, and most of all pointing fingers and name calling those that think differently. Everyone has struggles and not everyone is going to get along, we are all different, we all think different, feel different, love different and need different. But if you want to get somewhere with me dont tell me Im wrong for my beliefs, dont assume because I think same sex marriage in a biblical sense is wrong that I would raise my kids to hate homosexuality and that having a gay kid I would teach them to hate themselves. Dont assume that because I dont like seeing people making out in public that I am closeminded. How judgemental of you to make those statements. You want acceptance people need to learn to show acceptance. Please remember that just because people might not believe in same sex marriage doesnt mean that they dont believe in equal rights for all. I dont have to share your beliefs, this is America but please dont condemn me for having different opinions of you. I hope by saying this I havent offended you, I just wanted to explain a few feelings. I think your amazing, I think you teach your kids the very lessons that I hope to instill in my children. I will continue to read your blog and journey your journey with you. Cant wait to see what direction your life takes."
Blog comment from yesterdays blog.....
Hmm..... so I re-read yesterdays blog: and I'm confused.
Was the man who stood mere *feet* from me and said alllll kinds of nasty things about "those gay's" - was he showing me grace? Was he showing anyone grace......? Don't you think it's a bit ballsy to stand in *any* kitchen in this country - and spout stuff like that?
I kind of think it is.
I actually didn't say that *anyone* was wrong in their beliefs - and in fact, I *welcomed* the Mormon's kid offer of prayer.... and..... I said I hope that THAT MAN didn't have a gay kid in his house - I don't assume that everyone who "disagrees" with gay marriage spouts hate in their home.
More to the point... I didn't ask anyone to "accept" me - I only ask that I not be discriminated against.
There is a significant difference there, don't you think?
I'm not going to apologize for calling the man a tool, or a jackass or a moron... because he WAS one. This country *is* a melting pot... and so are many families: anyone who is dumb enough to stand in a strangers home and make derogatory comments about a persons sexuality or race *is* a dumbass because it's stupid to assume that family isn't diverse enough to have "one of those" type people in it.
I never said he was a "bad" person.... if *you* read that and thought he was a bad person, then that's your opinion.... I said he was a jackass: and he is.
He didn't say, "By golly, that display of affection between two people is out of order in a public space!"
He said...."these queer women were making out and it was gross and I had to explain it to my kids."
That's not grace.
That's not tolerance.
And.... last time I checked, that sure as sh*t wasn't acceptance.
I was fuuuuuulllll of grace, so much so- my lips were sealed with it.
And, while I might be single right now..... I'll be more than happy to walk around downtown PDX making out with my perfect butch girl. Watch me. Take notes: because *that's* what happiness looks like - and frankly, that's all that man "needed" to explain to his kids.
Man...... this is one of those days that life and everything my life has become.... starts to wear on me.
The irony, is that (speaking in stereotypes) - it would have been a *thousand* times easier for me to find a guy, marry him, get his medical benefits, his social security.... sit back while he pays my bills, I could continue the studio, we could raise my kids and *be* a happy family.....
That would have been easier.
In stead, I'm going to spend the rest of my life fighting to be recognized as a whole person - either by my own government.... or some dude standing in my kitchen. Good times..... good times.
Well.... it's still easier than fighting with myself.
I'm sorry..... I'm tired tonight.
I'm tired and I'm worn down.
The Supereme Court said, previously, that they would issue an official ruling on DOMA (Defense Of Marriage Act) and California's Prop 8 - "any Monday in June."
Tomorrow is the last Monday is June.
The thing about DOMA is that it gets reduced to being *just* about "same sex marriage"- but it's really about sooooo much more.
One of the more frustrating things for the US Military is that THEY got rid of "don't ask, don't tell".... and yet because same-sex marriage is NOT recognized as "legal" on the federal level.... the husbands/wives/widows of our *own* American soldiers ARE NOT eligible for death benefits, medical benefits, VA benefits, etc- that their opposite-sex counterparts ARE entitled to.
This *really* isn't about your religion or my religion..... it's about equality and fairness and *taking care* of our own people in the same manner as we take care of our "straight" selves.... without discrimination.
So we wait.... as a community - unrecognized by our own government.... the one we pay *the same* taxes as our straight counterparts do - to support and finance.... while they collectively decide on just *how* much of a whole person I'll be counted as down the road.... simply because I *dream* of marrying a girl.
As you all know - I went to Portland Pride this year.... and it was: fanF*CKINGtastic. I really can't even begin to put into words how much I love and adore my PDX LGBTQ community. I love going to coffee shops and seeing two hipster boi's all cuddled on the couch with their floppy top short hair cuts and boots with knee sox pushed down and shorts..... I love going to the clubs at night and seeing all the cute and *extremely* well-dressed gay boys making out with each other on the dance floor..... it's really the sweetest thing. It's a beautiful thing to see humans being comfortable just being themselves.
I absolutely feel *inspired* by a couple I recently have gotten to know - one of them is a Drag King and a *fantastic* performer in Portland (Drag King: female performers who dress in male drag - usually to impersonate an artist or a male persona) and she is married to a woman who gave birthday to their beautiful child. They are..... a gorgeous family. Happy. Content. Loving Life. I have poured through their photos on facebook and the story that unfolds is a love story by any Disney definition out there.... except for the fact that it's two women who are not fully recognized as married by our own government.
They are out and proud. They have a wonderful child whom they clearly dote on. They have a love for one another that radiates off the screen.... and when you see them in person: you can feel it. Their togetherness is so evident, it's almost tangible. Having spent soooo much of my own time working weddings for same-sex couples who fought each other right up the alter..... and yet *are* fully recognized by the feds.... it's a bit ironic.
Hell... even my own shambles of a marriage - has more federal "value" that this family.
That's just so ass backwards.
I wish you could see them....I wish you could be near them. I wish you could experience their family and their love.... it really is inspiring... at least to me.
To be honest, I'm not sure why we're still even arguing about this on a federal level. We are *supposed* have a separation of Church and State - and there aren't any good reasons for denying same-sex couples the same rights as straight couples. I've been reading and reading.... and I haven't found one yet.
To my way of thinking, this is a personal thing - the opposition of same-sex marriage.... TWO TIMES, during this last week, I've been..... 'commented' on.
In the first occasion, I was sitting at the table working on my computer and someone came to do a home repair on the house. While standing mere feet from me, this repair person and The Bubbie were shooting the sh*t. The man got to talking about how he had taken his wife and kids to the Portland Water Front last weekend - over Gay Pride Weekend - and it was said in *total annoyance*.
Instantly.... I could feel the tension from The Bubbie. She shot me a look out of the corner of her eye - wondering if I would say anything.... but I didn't. I looked forward and continued to type.
The man continued on about all the people he saw.... the women with JUST TAPE over their nipples and nothing else... and the posters and the signs and the open display of homosexuality ... blah blah blah. He didn't understand why "these people" need a parade anyway...... how offensive it all was - and who cares if people are gay????
Ummm... Dude - *clearly* you do motherf*cker..... duh.
I still said nothing. I knew that this person was *mid job* and saying something would make it awkward and difficult..... and so I stayed silent.
Of course, jackass over here.... after *getting* to the Water Front and finding the gays frolicking and offending him.... doesn't *leave* said Water Front and either goes to The Saturday Market (bereft of naked and taped nipples), or to Pioneer Square.... nope: dunderhead stays on the Water Front.
He goes on and on and about the "craziness" he saw and how *awful* it was to try and explain this all this is teenage children..... um... dude: newsflash, your kids have the internet, they've seen racier porn on the youtube and in a Katie Perry video. just sayin'......
Then he started talking about taking his family to lunch and how these two "queer girls" were kissing at the table next to theirs and how.... how *disgusting* it was - and how "they" shouldn't be allowed to display their sexuality like that.
And then I got up. I'd had enough, and I just left the room.
I hope and pray that man isn't the father of a gay kid.... because I'll be *really* honest here - if THAT is how he talks at home and in front of his kids - he's going to raise a kid who hates themselves.... a gay kid who grows up in a home like that becomes a cutter or commits suicide *far* too much of the time because they become convinced that a dead kid would be better for their parents than a gay kid.
Fast forward to the end of the week and I'm waiting for a family session at a local park and I go into the library to use the bathroom. Leaving the library, eight Mormon missionaries are entering and one stops to hold the door open for me.
The rest of the boys wait outside while I exit - wearing my Nike #BETRUE (in rainbow letters) shirt from Gay Pride Weekend. As I leave the doorway, one taller boy in his white dress shirt and black name tag smiles (very nicely), nods at my shirt and say's, "I'll pay for you."
I smile back and say, "sweet, can you ask God to send me a hot Butch girl in a sports bra, spiky hair, a good heart and big hands?"
The kids doesn't know what to say - and I'm already halfway down the path when they're walking in..... and I'm giggling to myself because I know those 8 boys are going to go home and google up some lesbian porn to figure out what lesbians do with bigger hands.... and probably try to figure out what a butch girl even is (which... in my world - butch girls are perfection.... just sayin'). And then - like you do these days.... I posted the whole thing on facebook.
The thing is - I wasn't offended by him saying he would pray for me. That's cool.... f*ck knows I prayed and prayed and prayed..... I prayed as a little Catholic girl who read books and books about Saints and *dreamed* of becoming a Saint like St. Agnes (my favorite Saint.)
I prayed and prayed as a Born Again Christian in high school..... I raised my fists at a God who promised to love me and protect and provide for me.... and HE WASN'T. He was forsaking me and leaving me to have feelings that my religion and my family and community said were wrong.
How the hell could God do that?
I was a good kid. I didn't steal or sneak out at night. I didn't f*ck guys in the back seats of their cars. I didn't get pregnant. I didn't 'go down' on boys in the movie theater. I didn't cheat on my tests (nope....I flunked out of Geometry with pride, let me tell ya.....). I went out of my way to befriend the "nerdy" kids. I kept my "date anyone who asked me" policy. I showed kindness and did charity work.... and I prayed and prayed and prayed..... but I couldn't pray away the gay.
I grew up and got married.... and got married again. I tried sooooo hard to be a good wife, and a good Mom and a good daughter..... and I continued to pray. I read books and bought lotions and talked to my OBGYN about what the hell was medically wrong with my girls parts because nothing was working..... and my doctor *actually* said to me that it was "duty" as a wife, and I should just do it three times a week because that's what a good wife does..... (true story - great doctor, but the dude was *really* old. lololol).
So I prayed..... and I got reduced to being a handmaiden. Well.... almost: El Capitan never made me feel that way. He thought it was all the surgery and stuff - so he didn't push, he didn't ask. Not once. He was patient.... which just made me feel even sh*ttier.... I LOVED this man. I loved my life and my family and my little tiny home..... so why couldn't I figure out how to love sex like everyone else on the planet?
I couldn't pray away the gay.
I couldn't medicate away the gay.
Lord knows....I tried.
So, some nice missionary kid saying he'll pray for me is fine by me.... because I know it won't change me. I already did that.... and it didn't work: BECAUSE IT WASN'T SUPPOSED TO.
Pslam 139: 13-19
For you created my inmost being;you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;your works are wonderful,
I know that full well. 15My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. 16Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. 17How precious to me are your thoughts,a God! How vast is the sum of them! 18Were I to count them, they would outnumber the grains of sand— when I awake, I am still with you."
I would read this and soooo many other passages and wear the thin pages of my Bible to nothingness with my tears.... because I couldn't understand how God could *know* me as HE promised He does... and then leave me here to suffer.... to be alone and feel alone.
I don't have all the answers, but I do know this for sure: You can't pray away the gay.
It's fine with me if you try.... I sure as sh*t did.
But. I'm an American. So while I am not only *tolerant* of anyone's ability to pray about whatever they want... they can even openly and publicly try to pray away my gay.... in fact: I will fight for your right do that.
Because I am tolerant, even of people who don't like me, don't agree with me: you don't have too.
What my government and it's people do NOT have a right to do - is VOTE AWAY MY GAY.
So stop it.
Stop punishing me, and people like me, for being who I am - because I can assure you.... you're never going to punish me as much as I have punished myself.
You don't have to agree with me.
You don't have to applaud me.
You don't have to even accept me.... but you have to accept my RIGHT to BE.
I hope the Supreme Court does the right thing and stops Voting Away The Gay.
As I head off to bed tonight... I know that's what I'm praying for.
This past week I have seriously considered why I'm still writing The Blog. As we all know - I don’t think I'm some kind of "folk hero" - regardless of what the media wants to label me. I don't feel like I have life all figured out, nor do I think I'm in any kind of position to give people advice.
I've thought a lot about the last year and the countless emails….. so many of them were heartfelt and raw and grateful…. it's really hard for me to discredit those regardless of the affect all of this has/had on my life. I don't mean that to sound so… 'self-less'…. there are countless times when readers would comment and help me - tell me where I was going wrong and how to do it better.
And I listened. I learned from a huge pool of humanity, bereft of color or gender or 'class' distinction - but just from human experience and I think that that has been invaluable. Very few other times in our world is such an opportunity presented to just *hear* someone's story and experience and advice: and yet I have no face or race or other life experience to put with it, to jade it or change it. That's actually kind of amazing if you ask me.
So last night I got this email, and honestly…. I had to read it like three times. I'm incredibly humbled that this person feels the way they do. It's really… well, it's kind of cool.
I have to hope that there is some greater master plan behind all this…. some *reason* that my entire life for the last year is online for anyone and everyone to read and critique and criticize…. and most importantly, I do hope that my honestly about my sexuality helps at least one person, because then it will have been worth it all.
I got this sent to me last night.....:
I want to tell you so much, but I don't know if it will come across the right way.
First of all, I related to your story so much and I wish I had been more like you through my divorce but I went with a different reaction of fuck you and fuck off, and I just almost completely cut them out. It was easy to do because he was in the navy and ended up stationed far away. He didn't exactly try to keep a relationship with his children anyway...
But since I started reading your blog last August I've strived to just look at life in whole, differently.
So, some things I wanted to tell you:
We lost everything in a fire back in January. It happened the morning I turned 9 months pregnant with my 4th child (my first boy). I literally thought to myself - standing out on the sidewalk watching the house go completely up- am I going to freak out right now and go all crazy or am I going to get my ass in gear and look at it like Elle taught me to look at life? And no, you didn't give specific lessons on how to get through trying times, but your reactions to the most devastating life event taught me how to look at life differently.
So, I made jokes when I needed to. I cried when I needed to, (although I never cried over losing the stuff), cussed when needed and I thanked the universe that we all got out alive and believe it or not EVERYTHING worked out. The community, my work, etc. came together and put us in a better place than we were before the fire. I wanted you to know that even though you didn't set out to help people with things, you are and not just hard divorces. If people will really look at what you did and understand what it would take out of a human to take the high road when you could've so easily not, they would get it.
So that brings me to your most recent revelations and I read what some people say to you and I'm like, "Really? Really you idiots? You could only identify with her when you thought she was straight?" Your pain was more painful when they thought you were straight but now that you are being true to yourself they can't relate and it must not have hurt? What the fuck? I will never understand some people... I don't know much about the LGBT community, shit I was raised in Alabama, most of my family is still there, I only came to California with my 1st husband and when I tried to move back to Alabama after the divorce I realized I had outgrown the backwards thinking (yes, it's STILL backwards and behind there) and high tailed it back to Cali with no intention of ever leaving here again. And I don't want to come across wrong, I am grateful for my country upbringing and most of the values it instilled in me. I however, will not raise my children there and feel I can teach them those values on the west coast just as easy. Sorry, I went off on a tangent, but I wanted to say that I have family that refuses to live their life true to themselves because we were taught that homosexuality is wrong, so even though they know they are they refuse to live their life. And back in April my nephew (15) came out and of course my Alabama family is shunning him and I am on their shit list because I'm standing behind him and supporting him all along the way. So I feel like an idiot, but I love my nephew and I will not be another person telling him he is wrong, unwelcomed, or unloved.
Thankfully I have some really good friends who do understand LGBT and literally had to take me by the hand and walk me out of ignorance so I can be sure to give my nephew and others the right support. And 30+ years of ignorance is a lot to undo, lol. And now, you're life story is helping me in that aspect as well.
Anyway, I don't want to take up to much of your time, and I still don't know if I came across right, but please please understand that I thank you so much for your major part in making me look at life differently and I wish everyone would look past the divorce part and understand you made a life decision about how to react that just showed up in how you reacted with the divorce.
We, as humans, don't tend to react to hard situations with dignity and integrity, so good job! And hang in there. Thank you so much.
I am so sorry for the loss of your home - and I am incredibly humbled that at such a time in your life anything I ever wrote came to your mind and helped you in some way..... thanks for sharing that with me. I'm glad to hear that things turned out for the better.... we should all be so lucky. :)
This week has been hard for me for a multitude of reasons...... one of which *is* actually The Blog because it cost me someone this last week and I'm disappointed about that.
I certainly come with a of baggage..... and a blog. A Blog that 20K plus people read every month. Which is weird and humbling all at the same time..... there are days though, where I sit and wonder why all this happened to me. Yes, yes..... I know - I'm not saying 'oh poor me'..... but I think back to that ONE innocent request for an interview and El Capitan's excitement about having the 'house on TV'.....and I wonder now if should have done it.
If I hadn't put my face on TV *with* the sign.... could I have just slipped back into my private world and moved on away from the cyber-limelight? Away from the HuffPost and it's wayward and ill-informed 'writers'.....? Then I could have just been me without the trolls and hurtful, negative comments.... I could have just moved on and left this whole mess behind. These days - with almost 200K returns on google when you type in my name.... how the *hell* am I ever going to get a regular job? LOL
How can I ever create any kind of 'mystery' with anyone I date.....? I have this lesbian friend, Keller, and she thinks The Blog is killing a lot things for me.... I fear she's right. But what do I do now?
I supposed I have to just trust that this has all happened for a reason... though I don't know what it is. I don't gain financially from it. It hasn't helped me get a job... it hasn't helped me book more work as a photographer.... so - if it costs me personal relationships as well... then I have to wonder .....
However. I'm an open person. I feel like we all benefit and learn and grow from watching other people, from sharing our experiences and our decisions..... Alex (blog reader) say's that I'm "hard" on people for not 'healing as fast' as I did.... I think perhaps my aggressive writing style might sometimes lead people to believe that... but for the most part I'm not trying to be hard on anyone: I'm trying to save people from making their lives *harder*.
When we sit around and feel sorry for ourselves, or wallow in our pain... all we are doing is sitting and wallowing: we aren't living. I just want to live...that's all. Just live - and do it with tolerance and laughter and in happiness.... and yes, I didn't waste any time trying to get there. To get here.
I get email. A lot of email. I get lots of requests for advice..... so tonight I'm feeling like rather pointless (I know: pitty party- table for one please!).... so I'm going to reply to one that came in tonight so that I feel like this all has a teeny bit more purpose today.
Well, in the first place, I'm so sorry for our loss. That must be incredibly hard and painful to go through. However, your..... emotional fragility is probably part of what attracted this man. I know that sounds harsh, and I feel mean saying it.... but newly alone and whatnot - he probably see's you as 'easy pickings'.
In the second place, this man is a liar. You have caught him in MULTIPLE lies to several women... and if you found one or two or three.... I can *assure* that the actual amount of girls he's currently 'dating' is much, much higher....
So, I think first and foremost, you need to go get an STD test. You can get one through your regular GP, or you can go down to Planned Parenthood and regardless of age, you can get tested on a sliding scale based on your income. You can also grab any of the free gay or queer *local* magazines - and in the back there will be several places you can get STD and HIV tested for free or for a minimal amount.
Chances are.... he's probably already shared HSV type 1 or 2, almost certainly HPV and potentially other things.... so you want to make sure you know before you talk to any of the other women. If you have something - they will have something. :( My first priority would be my own personal health and well-being.
After you get your tests back (and let's hope and pray that they negative for everything) - I would contact the second woman on Facebook. I would have a detailed conversation with her about *what* he say's and what promises he makes. Men who lie and cheat do with with the same vocabulary for each woman. He's tell you YOU that you're "the only one" and he's saying the exact same words to the other woman. Chances are... he's telling any woman in his life the same lies and promises and doing it with the same words. When you confront a woman about her cheating partner - if you can give her concrete details - like the same saying/lies/etc... that will go a long way to proving you are right and not just lying to her.
Then I would ABSOLUTELY call his wife. Without a doubt. If they are truly separated, then she won't care. She'll confirm that they live in separate rooms and they are no longer "together". I certainly hope his daughter didn't try to commit suicide... however if she's been in graduate school since 1999.... well - that might drive anyone to suicidal thoughts.
I mean... seriously - that's a very long time to be "in school". So that doesn't add up at all.
If they *are* together, then his wife has a right to know who you are, what STD's you may or may not have, and how many other women there are. She has a right to her own intimate privacy and her husband could be violating that right now. That's unsafe and not okay. Not. At. All.
Finally, you should think about yourself.
Why - WHY are you settling for a man who tells you that he only "dates married women" so they don't "get attached".... I'm guessing you're having sex.....? Guess what motherf*cker... that's pretty "attached". According to the Spice Girls in 1996, "Baby get it on, get it on... 'Cause tonight is the night when 2 become 1".... and we all know that Sporty Spice and Ginger Spice and Baby Spice were right.
Why are you okay with being with someone who doesn't want to be "attached" to you?
I gotta' be honest... I don't know you - and *I'm* not okay with that. No one deserves to be someone else's toy or distraction or ego boost.... or whatever it is he's playing at.
You deserve to take time for yourself. You should step back from this toxic man and a bad situation and work on *you*. Only YOU. You should get a hobby, take some classes at the local community college - explore a subject or a theory you always wanted to know more about. Volunteer at a local women's shelter, homeless shelter.... or go hang out at an old folks home. There are countless *amazing* people literally sitting on couches waiting to tell you kick ass life stories. They would *love* and value your company.
Don't you want to be valued?
Don't you want to be appreciated?
Tell the wife.
Change your cell phone number, block him on your facebook page and move on.
Get right with yourself. *HEAL* yourself..... and you'll look back on this one day and be grateful that you did - you'll be grateful that you moved forward and built a new life for yourself instead of being this man's "only 1" of many, many women......
I'm sorry he lied to you.
I'm sorry he's a giant douche bag.
Oh.... and when you talk to his wife, if they aren't broken, up, be sure to tell her that you're sorry.
Good luck. :)
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 sight 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. No hanky-panky.... I'm a good girl - remember?
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 like it?
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 'hot' '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..... together.
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 back then, 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.... but eventually it'll happen for me.
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.
Mother, "scorned wife", photographer, designer, potential blog writer and recent guest on The View.... life's been pretty crazy as of late - crazybeautiful that is!
You can see some of Elle's photography at: