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.