Since coming out I've gotten lots of email.... some good... some, not so kind.... and a few from men and women who have read what I've written about growing up gay in a straight kids world, and they find themselves relating to what I wrote far too well.
They - like me - never set out to "trick" or harm anyone.
They - like me - believed that they were supposed to grow up, get married, have kids, etc....
They - like me - believed that doing anything *other* than marrying someone of the opposite sex wasn't acceptable... that it wasn't something their friends and family could support.
*THAT* is why I am constantly writing about how important.... no - *IMPERAF*CKINGTIVE* - it is for all children to be exposed to positive examples of same sex couples. I'm not saying you have to talk about it or even endorse it..... but just seeing a pictures of a *happy* family that is two Moms or two Dads - THAT would have told me so much more about who I was as a child......and growing up, I might not have felt so....damaged.
That's the thing.
Among teens, those who identify as gay are FIVE TIMES MORE LIKELY to commit suicide than their 'straight' peers. FIVE F*CKING TIMES.
As it is, the majority of teen suicide is LGBTQ based.... kids who get bullied, can't accept who they are - because their *parents* won't accept them..... or may be they just believe that their parents would rather have a DEAD kid than a gay one......
Yup.... that's honestly what it comes down to.
How do I know that?
How can I write such harsh words so pointedly.....?
Because *I* felt that way.... duh.
I *never* for ONE SINGLE DAY, thought that being a lesbian was an option. I didn't want to lose my friends or my family or..... my *Church* - because once upon a time I was actually *engaged* to a guy who was in school for ministry and as Janda could tell you: no one can out-thump a Bible like me.... believe that.
I prayed and prayed and prayed to be normal.....
to not be broken.....
to be the same.....
to *feel* the same......
But I never did. Nothing ever changed.
I would date boys and fall in love and try sooooooo hard to be like everyone else. It never came from a place is dishonesty or tricking or lying..... it came from a place of wanting to be like everyone else - wanting to be happy and make the people in my life happy...... or wanting to be 'normal'.
Recently, I've been exchanging emails with someone who knows, all to well, how I have felt and....how I feel now. They are married with kids and also very connected to their community and their faith.
They are also gay.
Like me, (we are a similar age) - they grew up in a conservative home and only wanted what everyone else on the planets wants: love and to be accepted. So, like me, they grew up, married someone of the opposite sex, had kids and started down the road that Hollywood and society *promises* us all will bring us a lifetime of happiness and blooper reels and the kind of love that will keep us holding wrinkled hands on a porch swing watching our grand kids play.
For me, this was always enough. I never wanted anything else when I was married.
That's a TRUE STORY.
Now, let's be fair and I will admit that due to *VARIOUS* factors in my marriage, one of which is *most certainly* my sexual orientation.... I was less and less inclined to *want* to have sex with El Capitan: but that doesn't mean I stopped doing it. Having said that.... a less than enthusiastic partner is hardly an aphrodisiac - right? lolol
I've said it before, but it's worth mentioning again: among several of my peers, *not* having a super active sex life 6,7,8,9 years into a marriage *wasn't* an uncommon theme and most of these people were NOT gay.... so - you know... that sh*t can go downhill for a lot of reasons... lololol
So, for me, I never had.... 'temptation.' Mind you, I also didn't go out into the LGBTQ community. I didn't seek the social company of lesbians. I shot an LBTQ wedding once, during my marriage, and there was a woman there who.... to put it nicely: had every nerve I never even knew I *had*: standing on edge.
Being around her was .... quite honestly: electric.
So I got the f*ck out of there as soon as I as done with my job and went home to my husband and my child.
I didn't even *for one single second* believe that I wanted anything other than being apart of my wonderful, amazing little family that I loved....
But not everyone who walks in my shoes feels this way.
The person I've been emailing has met someone of the same sex who they have.... fallen in love with.
And it's heartbreaking.
I see all sides of this *very* clearly.
I know their pain.
I know what their spouses pain will be when they find out.
... though, their relationship has been rocky for a while, it doesn't matter: this will hit them like a ton of bricks.
If they are *honest* about their feelings.... this will destroy their marriage.
.... tear apart their family.
.... make them the 'enemy' for a lot of friends and family.
Worst of it all: it will put a swift and untimely end to their children's sense of safety and security.
I think this is, above all else: the worst outcome possible.
Which is why I never left... never 'explored' some thoughts and feelings I had. For me, the idea of taking apart my children'ts family was *NOT* an option. It just wasn't.
So, I have been honest with this person.... honest about how *AMAZING* it is to be out and living as the person I believe I was born to be......
.... I've never felt so comfortable in my own skin.
.... I've never felt more *proud* of who I am.
..... I've never had such fulfilling relationships.
.... oh... and yeah: I've kind of never had better sex.
That's for *damn* sure. lololol
However, this has *ALL* come at a huge cost for The Boy and The Girl who have paid the price for a marriage that went horribly wrong.... (NOT ALLLLL BECAUSE I WAS GAY - ONLY IN PART, dammit.lolol) - Not ONE of the reasons above are worth more to me, *mean* more to me, than my children's sense of safety and self and well-being.... and those are things that divorce attacks very quickly.
My "happiness" was never worth it... sure, that's partly due to the fact that while I *knew* something was missing, I never *ever* identified was that was..... and so I thought it was something I could live very happily with out.... this person knows better.
This person has feelings and emotions and certain actions have taken place that have put this persons heart and mind in a tail spin..... and all I can do it try to help them "right their plane" and stay in the air.
From the get go... .my advice has been two fold: get a counselor and DO NOT DO THIS.
Do not leave your spouse.
Do not break up your family.
Do not destroy everything you know and love and have....
It will be a looooong time before your "happiness" will tip the scales of all the loss.
It will be hard- *almost impossible* to start over financially their age.
They have no means to gain employment that would support a single parent.
It will be *harder* to find people to day within the LGBTQ community when you do have kids.
That's a fact.
My opinion isn't a popular one..... again, it doesn't come from any kind of 'shame'... NOT AT ALL. But once you're a Mom or a Dad..... your kids *should* come first. That's just how I feel.
At least once a week I will tell Hail Mary that if I could go back in time and stop it all.... stop it from happening, that I would. I would stay married, so my family could stay together. So I could continue to mother my children how I wanted to.... so we wouldn't all have to give up so much (due to the finances of a being a single Mom).
And she understands. She realizes that that doesn't negate my feelings for her.... not at all. She can see that I have two minds: my Mommmy mind and my Independent mind. She also knows that my 'Mommy mind' will always make most of my decisions.... but she also, very gently, reminds me that our marriage broke for a lot of reasons and that in spite of that breaking: the kids are okay.
They are happy.
They are adjusting to everything.
They are accepting.
They are open and kind and still giggly and fun and .... somewhat innocent.
I hold onto that.
So, while my advice remains the same: DO NOT DO THIS.
I can understand why someone would.
I can understand why they would not.
I just with *other people* understood how *un-simple* these situations are.... that no one is setting out to lie or hurt or trick anyone...
There are some heavy conversations heading towards this person and my heart breaks for them because either way because if they fight to stay.... they will be miserable. However... if they are honest and their family breaks up: they will know another kind of misery.
It's a lose/lose situation.
My final piece of advice was this: don't lie. If your spouses asks you if you are gay and you believe that you are... you *have* to tell the truth. It's one thing to lie to yourself (which inadvertently hurts other people) and it's another thing to *lie* to your spouse..... so if they ask and your heart of hearts screams YES: then just say it.
Say it with love.
Say it with compassion.
Say it with patience and understanding that you will pay a heavy, heavy price for who you are.
It's not fair... but that's the way it is.
Being gay isn't easy.... being *out* and visible can be *less* easy.....
For me though, I am where I am and I can't change it, no matter how much I might have wanted to..... I can't go back and now that I have found someone who is amazing and makes me feel whole and loved and *happy*..... well, how can I put this.......?
May be Hail Mary is forever.... may be she's not.
I think to some degree my 'forever button' is a little bit broken.....
BUT, what was missing in my life prior to the end of things was ...happiness, fun, adventure, passion..... and now that *WE* have those things with Hail Mary..... I'm not sure I would go back. Which scares the living sh*t out of me.... because what if she trades me for a younger version later in life?
What if she goes away......?
But.... you cannot live in 'what if'..... you have to live in what is.
What is being gay after been a straight and married?
Complicated, for sure.
But .... it is also being 'whole' in a way I never knew I could be.
Everyone should be allowed to be whole.
So...while my advice remains the same: DO NOT DO THIS.
I understand the need to be whole..... and I will be there for this person when their life implodes.
All I can say is this: we HAVE TO STOP teaching a straight life to our children. If your family has a Mommy and a Daddy...then they already know what that looks like. They also need to *see* what other families look like- and understand that they are happy, too. Happy and accepted and okay.
It's such a simple thing..... but it would accomplish so much.
Teens, who felt their parents could accept a gay child, would be less likely to hate themselves and harm themselves.....
Adults... people like me- may be wouldn't feel as though the only way to *be* happy was marrying someone of the opposite sex and then people like my friend wouldn't be faced with the choice of remaining in an unhappy situation.... or causing a potentially even less happy situation by being honest.
This is why I giggle a little when people say, "Gay people choose to be gay."
Who the f*ck would willingly "choose" all this......?
No one. Seriously. No one.
Now I wait for an email from across the country.... and I'm hoping for the best for all of them.