Happy Coming Out Day!
Cakie has a new game in which he slams the bifold doors to my kitchen when I’m inside and says, “Mommy, you stay in the closet.” And I reply, “No way! Mommy doesn’t like to stay in the closet. She likes to come out.” (I don’t know where he got the “in the closet” thing from.)
I feel like coming out happens in stages. First, you come out to yourself. Then you come out to the person you most trust with the information… usually a friend. Then you come out to a bunch of strangers. Then you come out to the people you worry the most about losing, usually your family.
It took me a long time to come out to myself. I’d had sexual dreams about women and crushes on women. I even remember saying to a friend when I was about seven years old, looking at one of those dolls that are dressed in big flowy gowns to represent different countries, “It isn’t fair. Woman are so beautiful. And men are not. Why do the girls have to love the men?”
I dated men. And I did love them. But I also sort of felt like I was playing a part in a play. I had to love them, so I did what I could to make the scene work.
I did this weird thing with an earring. I had a second earring hole, in which I put a yin-yang earring. To me, the yin and the yang represented the male and female energy. In order to keep balance in my life, I needed both. This was all sub-conscious, mind you. I mean, I knew what it meant and I said out loud, if asked, that it reminded me to keep balanced. But I really had it there to remind me that to be balanced meant I needed to have some “male energy” in my life in the form of a boyfriend. How screwy is that? Of course, since then, I’ve met a whole lot of women who have enough of both yin and yang in them to be plenty balanced, thank you very much.
One day I kissed a girl. I was living with a boy at the time. We went to a party called a “Food Orgy.” I preface this by saying that my university was not a party school at all. People at my college were always too stressed-out about their school work to have big parties and abuse substances. So we thought the idea of someone having a party called an orgy at my school was downright hilarious. You were supposed to bring food that you could eat with your hands. And nobody could feed themselves. So I kissed a girl. (We did not have sex at said orgy. For me that didn’t happen for at least another two years.) She was a friend of mine. So smart and beautiful. I instantly became crazily crushed out on her. I remember going home and reading the lesbian section of Our Bodies, Our Selves over and over in the dark of my living room.
I came out to my best friend, who was already in a lesbian relationship. That was easy. I came out to my boyfriend, happy for an instant way out of the relationship. He actually thought we could work it out. He thought he could just let me sleep with women. Hmmm. No. It wasn’t about sex. It was about love. Love and kissing. He didn’t really get it. He didn’t get it for a long time. I think he sent me flowers on Valentine’s Day even two years later. Poor guy.
I came out to my friends. But I was too scared to come out to my family. I thought they’d think it was a phase.
I’m sorry. I’m plum tuckered out, folks. We took the boys apple picking today. This is a deep-in-the-bones tired. So I’ll leave you with just that first coming out to myself part. That was good enough. I have more to say about it, but I’ll have to say it later. Peace.