Late Lesbian Loser Moments

(An excerpt of a previous draft of “No Gold Star” – my one person play… part of this still made the cut.)

I feel like the 16 year old who still has’t got her period.  Or the only virgin in the room.  The other lesbians talk about the days of the L word, and how they saw the actors from the show when they were in the lesbian club that no longer exists.  They mention their ex girlfriends in funny or interesting anecdotes and everyone nods in knowing agreement or appreciation.  They share photos of themselves going to that lesbian concert wearing their out-of-date lesbian fashion.  And they all laugh.  They joke about the time they hooked up with their friend, reminiscing and giving critiques of how the other was in bed.

So what do I say?

Nothing.  I don’t want to turn it into a therapy session, nor do I feel like joking about the time I hooked up with the guy in Mexico and afterwards he crossed himself…. Because I’m amazing… That story is hilarious for a straight woman audience, but it will taint my validity in this group.  It’s hard to equate a lesbian as being good in bed with men.  Hey, I had standards for myself – sex was much about ego for me – Also, I was making the best of what I had – before I was with women.  But that’s not really a light conversation when you are just meeting people, when you are expected to blend.  In fact, that story doesn’t really resonate for the straight posse either – it just furthers their belief that you aren’t actually gay – you’re just trying it on for size.  And it would convince the bisexuals that you’re on their team… which isn’t the worst thing – but it’s not the truth.  You’re just a specific kind of gay.  So instead of getting into a whole speech about how you are a special kind of snowflake, you just nod, and laugh, and hope that the conversation shifts back to what everyone was up to last weekend.

Or you can tell your truth.  You can find yourself in a new closet if you aren’t careful.


Unravelling the Gay


Each time I have an “aha’ moment about my past.  A clue that I “should have known” earlier;  like choosing to play the trombone in grade 7 band, or only playing ‘doctor’ with girls, or feeling completely repulsed the first time a guy I had a crush on was about to make a move… why didn’t I want this? This is what I wanted, right? A boyfriend?…

These memories can both make me laugh at the truth of who I was/am, and at the same time can make me so so so angry that I didn’t know.  Because how could I know? I didn’t have a chance of knowing.  Lesbians didn’t exist in the real world.  They were an insult or a warning.  They weren’t living breathing people just like me.  They were definitely not me.  Me – a well brought up girl from a neighbourhood that didn’t house divorcees let alone Lesbians.  A highland dancer and a ballerina.  A recipient of a government scholarship for achieving high grades.  No, if lesbians did in fact exist, they were about as far away from me as a super hero or a fairy princess, without the positive reviews.

So how to I rectify all that time lost?  All those years making due with a false sexuality? All those passed opportunities – when I knew, I could feel that I was different – but being gay was not even an option. It wasn’t even a question I could sincerely ask myself.

I could have dated that girl in my improv class.  I could have stayed best friends with that boyfriend from years ago, instead of dating him and then breaking his heart.  I could have bypassed all or most of those awkward and unsatisfying hookups and crushes and relationships with the wrong gender. Could have avoided stretching my wavering  sexual fluidity as far as it could reach in the direction of ‘straight’.  I could have understood that my love for my male friends was just that – love for a friend.  I could have kissed that girl and that girl and that girl and let myself love it – not had to pretend it was just for show.  I could have made room for desire.

But now, I’m all the way over here.  37, not that old, but not that young either.  I have a wonderful partner – one that I love, one I would be stupid to let go of.  I went from married to a man, to realizing I was gay, to almost immediately falling in love and settling in with an amazing woman.  The lesbian dream right? Well, the last bit.   I remember watching the Tig documentary on Netflix and crying because I wanted what she and her partner had.  It is the dream.   I just can’t seem to let go of the grief from all the time and opportunities lost, passed over. The privilege of being able to explore and express my true sexuality from the time it started to bloom.  The ability to learn and make mistakes and collect stories that I could actually own – rather than ones I borrowed or mimicked from the wrong examples shown to me.  To have exes I can actually refer to when having normal conversations with my peers.

I funneled my anger and resentment toward the male – female relationship by trying to turn the tables and make men objects.  I practiced then perfected it – taking mental notes from Sex and the City, which I worshiped.  I twisted my own sexuality so far around in my head to justify the very blatant ways I did not fit in.  The thoughts that shamed me the most I either ignored, denied or fetishized.

I’m still unraveling it.  Still making sense of it.   I have a late-blooming friend who once said to me “It took me two years to unravel all the lies I told myself.”  She came out in her late twenties.  I would expect it might take me a little bit longer.  I meditate.  I work on living in the moment. I try not to dwell.  I count my blessings – I have so many.  And I write, I share my story – hoping it might help someone else heal, or avoid the injury in the first place.

Coming Out. Again and again and again and….

It has been almost exactly two years since I told my now ex-husband that I “think I might be gay”.  Not really that long when you think about it.  I live in a new world now wearing a new pair of (comfortable) shoes.  There is still the occasional stone that gets stuck in there which varies from being slightly annoying to extremely painful.  I wrote about waves of grief.  It seems that they go away, but really they just slow down… spread out… and when they hit they can knock me down or just lap at my feet.  (I’m just full ofmetaphors today – it must be the rain.)

I have been home for just over a week after sharing my one-person show No Gold Star at the Halifax Fringe Festival.  It was part of a double bill with my friends who showed their play Unexpectedly Trans and we named the performance “Out Late”.  Doing this show is a wonderful challenge – a personal, emotional challenge.  Coming out on stage to a new group of strangers every evening.  Not knowing if I am in a supportive space or not on any given show.  Not knowing how I will be judged or accepted for each concept and idea that comes out of my mouth. Being out there all vulnerable, especially the first performance, hit me hard like I was starting coming out all over again.  Luckily I have an amazing support system that kept me going after night one.

To be completely honest – it’s not the most fun I’ve had performing.  It is fun at parts but it is also scary.  But it feels important, it feels purposeful.  The amount of people who have said “Thank you for telling this story”.  So onward I go.  Grateful that I have this story-telling thing that I do, and hoping that it can reach as many people who need to hear it as possible.

OUTLate Cover

Kissing Frogs

Kissing you is like how I thought it should be

But then I kissed so many frogs

I forgot what I knew

And kissing green seemed normal

Became normal – I stopped questioning

Now I remember the dreams the original dreams

Of lust and love and the magic in between

You bring out my insecurity

It’s easy to be confident standing beside a frog

But now I remember the girl, kissing her reflection

With all the hope, but not enough questions

And all the enthusiasm to master the expected.

Women First on Valentine’s Day

I’ve had the privilege to spend my Valentine’s Day helping women in a way I know how.  I am a pilates instructor.  Much of the work I do is therapeutic.  In the past year I have become frustrated  with the feeling that I teach more hours than I have the energy or enthusiasm for, my “day job” has overridden my artistic career, and I don’t make an income reflective of my skill level, experience and education.  “Boo hoo” right? … but from a different perspective, I feel these are legitimate things that every woman should have the right to think, feel, and do something about.  After spending months knowing that this is how I felt, and not really knowing how or feeling ready to push and make a change, I finally was hit with a different approach.  Instead of only figuring out how I can work less and get paid more, I thought – why not also do work for free, and enjoy it more.  Give it away, so to speak.  Obviously I can’t afford to do that 100%, but I realized that I was willing and able to give away my skills, experience and education one time a week to people who need it and cannot afford it.

This was my second week volunteering.  I teach a “well back” class at one centre, and this week I also lead a workshop at a training centre for women who want to get into trades.  The money that I did not make during these sessions was not missed.  The energy and independence I have already gotten back from ‘giving it away’ has been more than worth it.  And this week, as it so happened, was the day of the Women’s Memorial March in the downtown east side.  I got to spend two and a half hours helping women take care of themselves, and literally walk with the women’s march on the way from one appointment to the other.  It was a humbling experience, and I took it as a significant sign that I was in the right place at the right time, doing the right thing.

I want opportunities for growth and change in my life and in my career.  I also want women in general to have more opportunities in their lives, and especially women with less privilege than me.  I am lucky to be able to afford to volunteer, and I can see that there is a need for it.  It is a small shift, but one that has already brought meaning and joy back into my “day job”.  Interestingly enough, as I sought out these volunteer opportunities, I also found the motivation to make a couple small but significant steps toward my personal career goals.  As someone recently said to me – and I am paraphrasing – “Your happiness or having more doesn’t  take away from someone else’s, in fact, it could provide you with more to give.”

Women’s Memorial March Vancouver 2017  img_2355



I’ve been doing an on line meditation practice for the past couple of weeks – part of my “self-care” resolution for 2017.  Within this practice, we are guided to write the things we are grateful for on that given day.  I am not a stranger to listing gratitudes, but in this practice we are encouraged to go a little deeper, “breathe them in”, and sometimes – to list one thing we struggle with/have struggled with and try to find gratitude for it.

This isn’t so easy.  It’s not terribly difficult for me to “look at the positives” in theory. To write it down on a piece of paper.  But to really feel it – that’s a bit more of a challenge.

I recently chose to find gratitude for the losses I’ve experienced through coming out and getting divorced.  Of course I am grateful for the benefits – but I still struggle with the feeling that I have wound back the clock on both my career and my finances – that I’ve lost all progress, and may or may not get it back.  That the big dream I was building for myself came crashing down, and there is no guarantee of repair. Prior to coming out, my artistic career was the most important thing to me.  Since coming out, it has had to take a back seat… which I knew would happen, but hoped it would be brief.

In the exercise I wrote something like “I am grateful for these losses and heartbreaks, because when I do succeed, it will feel that much sweeter”.  Right away I realized I was not feeling grateful for where I am now, but projecting toward something that I can’t control. I then wrote something like – ‘It has lead me to my present self’ – not quite understanding that statement fully.  Later in the day it sunk in for me.  I actually felt true gratitude for these losses – with the result being who I am today.  I have said these kinds of things before, but not understood them in my heart.  This is the thing:  If I hadn’t lost so much, I wouldn’t know that there is way more to life than my career goals.  I wouldn’t know that I would do it all over again – exactly the same way, suffering in the same way, and not knowing when or if or how my recovered career would come about.  I would not know the joy of loving myself – my true self – and allowing it all to be seen.  I wouldn’t know love for another person in the way I know it now.  And I wouldn’t know that this love for myself and for another person could be worth gambling all the rest of it.

I don’t have to choose anymore.  I may or may not get back some of what was lost.  I am working toward it, and receiving wonderful new gifts, strengths and experiences along the way.  Regardless of what happens in my career, I will always know that putting myself first was worth it.

A beautiful image captured on one of the most exhausting, frustrating days of walking the Camino de Santiago, Portuguese route.  We were lost when I took this photo. Summer 2016.