When I fell in love with Mel, a long-time, close friend (a gay man) said he hoped that I wasn’t pursuing a lesbian relationship just because I’d given up on men. I assured him this wasn’t the case, I wanted very much to be with her. It was not because I didn’t have a boyfriend at the time or felt that I couldn’t get one. Never mind that I’d always made terrible choices in men anyway. I had always believed in loving the individual, not the package.
Not too long after getting together with Mel, I was looking at some old journal entries I’d made in my early twenties. I’d written several entries about my ‘open-mindedness’ or interest in women. I didn’t remember writing them and they made me realize my feelings about women were always there. I just hadn’t been paying attention most of the time. I certainly never felt I was in the closet – it was more like I didn’t even know I had one.
Just recently, after discussing my 20th high school reunion with a friend, I was thinking about the people I would see if I went to the reunion. I ticked them off in my head, remembering each person and thinking about how long I known them and whether it was really important to me to see them. During this process, I remembered one girl that I’d known since kindergarden. She lived down the street and I always wanted to play with her but every time my mother called her mother to set up a play date for us, she never wanted to. I mused to myself ‘she was my first crush.’ Wait, what was that? Then it hit me like a ton of bricks… the girl was my first crush. At age five. I was quite suprised with myself, for remembering it now and so naturally thinking of it like that.
Over time, pieces of my life’s puzzle have floated to the surface of my consciousness. They’re memories of fleeting moments that provide further confirmation that I’ve always liked women that way. I’m sometimes sad because I feel like I missed a lot. That if I’d realized my preference at a younger age perhaps I wouldn’t feel as much of an imposter now, as I sometimes do. I would have liked to be moving forward with who I am instead of spending time spinning my wheels with who I wasn’t. Like I want more experience behind me, even if the experience isn’t all good. Coming out has been entirely too easy. Strange thing to say, I know. And no one, not my family* and certainly not my friends – was surprised. I know it’s really stupid to miss the juvenile angst of it all and it makes no sense to have melancholy feelings for something that didn’t happen. I also know that had I gained this consciousness about myself in any other way I wouldn’t have what I have now. I would be a completely different person in a completely different situation.
*Except my mother, and that’s a story for another day.