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.