I kissed my girl and I liked it

Featured

Sorry for the long break from my blog. After a long hiatus, I’m back!

This will be a short blog post. So, for the record, I’m “out” to any coworker who asks. I work in healthcare. The other day I was visiting a friend in hospital who had complications after surgery. My partner Cee was there with him. Cee’s the type of friend you want by your side. She’s fiercely loyal and will stay with you when no one else does or is able to.  She was by his side all day while he awaited scary test results.

I came into the emergency department where I sometimes work, and grabbed some supplies for our friend. Often times the nurses in emerg are too busy with other things, so I thought I’d help them and our friend out.

On my way out the door, I gave Cee a kiss on the lips. I felt the gaze of several nurses on us. I smiled and left. It felt great to be able to be myself. With Cee’s love, I feel untouchable. Our love is love. We’re just like any other couple. For those that read my blog, you’ll know that this was a big deal for me. Just years ago, I couldn’t even begin to talk about my life outside of work to coworkers because I built a big wall with homophobic fear in my mind. Sometimes I think that the wall I built out of fear is greater than the actual size of homophobic fear out there.

Have a great day everyone.

Six years of breathing air out of the closet

Featured

Six years ago as of April 15th (which landed on Easter at the time), I came out of the closet. It hadn’t happened the way I wanted to. I had been a member on the Empty Closets Forum, click here, and looked for support from an amazing online community of LGBTQ and LGBTQ friendly people around the world. I had already told a few of my closets friends from high school and at college and for the most part I felt the support-because it didn’t change how they saw me which I was grateful for. But I was gearing up to eventually tell my family.

I was at my parents house for Easter weekend. I was discussing my long distance relationship with a girlfriend to one of my friends and I thought my parents were out of ear shot but apparently not. Midway through a conversation, my mom comes into the room and angrily comments on what we were discussing. Not knowing how else to respond, I stated that yes I was likely going to marry a woman and I wanted to have elephants at my wedding. My mom stormed off and my friend politely excused herself to go home.

womenpride

(Photocredit: Candygurlz)

So at dinner that weekend, in front of both my parents and my younger sister, I stated that I was not heterosexual. I had written a letter (which I thankfully still have), stating that it was difficult for me to accept myself, let alone tell anyone that I was more different than the average person. I told them my struggles and dating different types of men wondering what the problem was, whilst knowing that deep down I was the issue, I was not heterosexual. I originally came out as being bisexual because I thought that my emotional connection with men, but not sexual connection with them would have been enough and that I was just more attracted to them. I shamefully also thought that being bisexual would have been easier to tell people than flat out stating that I liked tacos as opposed to tacos and hot dogs.

It didn’t go well. There were periods of silence, there were days of non stop bickering and yelling. My sister felt scared to tell her friends her sister was a homo for fear of losing friends in high school. I came home one day to find my mom on the phone with an old friend from high school telling her that I needed to talk to a priest and start Conversion Therapy which led me to arguing, promptly packing clothes into a back pack and driving off to live with friends for a few days.

It was rough and a very lonely period. My friends got me through it. Reading people’s stories and vlogs on the internet got me through darker days.

When I was suddenly brave enough to venture out and find “my people” (like minded people in the LGBTQ community), I drove 2 hours from home to find gay events in another city. I found like minded friends. I found people that were just like me, with stories of heartache and inspiration. I realized that it gets better. I realized that you could be yourself and live a fulfilling life and be accepted by good people if you surrounded yourself with positivity and people who were accepting of you.

As the years passed, the questions about “boyfriends” and “grandchildren” dwindled from my parents and were replaced by pronouns such as “girlfriends”. Parents became more willing to meet my girlfriends that I deemed serious relationships. I went through many girlfriends that I thought would be serious but ended up being short lived relationships which was hard on my parents who thought that I would never find happiness.

I have learned so much in the six years that I’ve been out of the stuffy closet I called home for many years. I learned that I don’t have to adhere to gender roles (no one should really but it seems more prevalent in heterosexual relationships). I learned to accept that people would hate or dislike even if you kept your mouth shut and they didn’t know you personally. I learned that my love was different but that didn’t make me less of a person. I learned that I can dress however I want to be portrayed by how I view myself. I learned that I love short hair (not every lesbian does, but I do). I learned how to smile at people who scowl at me when I hold my girlfriends hand in public. I learned how to stand up for myself to people who would say rude things about LGBTQ or people in small minority groups. I learned that I want to be an advocate for LGBTQ rights even though I live in a country that allows things like same-sex marriage and equal spousal support because many countries still struggle with these basic human rights. I learned to speak about my experiences to others who struggle with theirs in attempts to let them learn that they are not alone, and that “It does get better”. I learned to flirt with women-flirting with men was easy-it’s a whole different thing when you suddenly have to flirt with women and you are attracted to them. I learned to become comfortable in my own skin while having sex which was never really discussed while I was growing up. I learned and developed a positive body image (in high school and part of college I had eating disorder issues)-because when you’re happy with how your life is going- you feel more comfortable in your own skin. I began writing a memoir detailing my life in high school, my mental health and sexuality and I hope to publish it to help others deal with their own issues. I learned that if I want to change the world into something more positive, I have to be someone to stand up and do something – volunteer, share links on social media, and talk about things that need to change.

I have learned so much in six years about myself, my hobbies/passions, my career, my friendships and relationships. My confidence has grown and I am starting to shine as an individual. I don’t think that would have happened had I not accepted myself, taken a risk and come out of the closet. It’s a scary thing to admit to the world-let alone yourself.

Just remember, “It Gets Better”. Happy Easter/long weekend for whatever you believe in in this world.

“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi

EmptyClosets Forum
It Gets Better – Youth LGBTQ
Human Rights Campaign
The Trevor Project

I won’t be home for Christmas

Featured

Christmas isn’t about commercialism (as companies may hype it up to be).
Christmas isn’t about the alcohol (as alcohol companies may try to play it up in advertisements).
Christmas isn’t about the food (even though food is an important aspect of life).
Christmas is about love, support, friends and family.

So while I have that with Cee, my parents and sister will not be a part of Christmas this year. This year will be the first year that I’ve not gone home to be a part of our nuclear family. Now that I have Cee in the kids, Christmas has changed. Christmas is about the kids. Christmas for adults is more about having love and support and a fun time watching the kids play during a magical season that comes just once a year.

My parents don’t quite seem to see eye to eye with me on this one. Since before I could remember, Christmas has been about the kids When that was me, I was thrilled to be able to unwrap something in front of the Christmas tree that my dad had sought out and harvested himself.

As the years have passed and I have grown older, my wants and wishes have changed from material things (which though still nice), to things that cannot be bought. I want love, support, kindness and acceptance. Some of those things I have realized the past few years that my parents are not able to give. They say they love me but I do not feel it in my heart. Love that is placed under condition and with the expectation that material goods can be given as love instead of kindness and things from the heart seems cold and hard.

A few days ago, I received a courier package from them. Inside a card for me were several gift certificates to several stores. While they were nice, I felt anger. I had told my parents that I wanted to go to therapy with them so we could work out our issues and get rid of the toxic relationship that still sweeps between us. Instead I was given gift cards and no more mention of therapy. This saddens me. My friends tell me I should give them an ultimatum of “go to therapy with me or don’t contact me at all” kind of deal. That seems so harsh to say to someone who brought you into the world and raised you. Yes they raised me, but it still doesn’t give them the right to treat me, or Cee the way that they do and still expect me to be there for them. I could care less about material goods. If I want something that bad, I will go out and buy the friggin thing myself.

I am deeply hurt. A part of me is missing. There is a void in my chest. I guess it’s taken years but this past year, I’ve realized that my parents can’t give me the type of love I need to receive. I can’t seem to move on because they keep opening up old wounds and don’t try to change the way that they view/say things. The depressions and hurt and anger I feel after speaking with them leave me crying in bed for hours. This affects Cee and the kids and has to stop.

This Christmas will be different. I will not have turkey dinner with my blood family the night of Christmas eve or unwrap presents with them. I will not have Danish smorgasbord Christmas morning. Instead I will be with my chosen family watching the kids gleefully unwrap their gifts. I will focus on their beautiful smiles and warm laughter.

I have to somehow accept what I will do if my parents don’t accept therapy. I plan on sending a photo album of my life from when i was young up until now to my parents since they really do not know me. Every time I’ve tried to allow them to get to know me I get criticism or passive aggressive back stabs and comments. Cutting them out of my life, while harsh is something I may have to do for my own mental health. I can’t keep crying and feeling a void in my chest every time I converse with them because they can’t love me like I just want to be loved. That may be a soon approaching reality. For this year, I won’t be home for Christmas. I will be forging a new path in the snow.

How to love and keep her

Featured

Over the past year, Cee and I have been through a lot of ups and downs. We’ve learned a lot about each other and ourselves through our experiences. As a couple in one year, we’ve faced two car accidents, my depressions, and her unknown health diagnosis. It hasn’t always been bad though. Our highlights have included going to Mexico, spending a beautiful summer together and getting engaged.

On this post I want to share some things I’ve learned from our experiences and our relationship that may help readers with their relationships. These points may not all apply to you and they are in no particular order.

1. Love her as she is 

You fell in love with her as she was. Maybe there’s points about her you aren’t as fond of (like impulsive speech , which is an ongoing fault of  mine), but you don’t stop loving her. She is a human being,  the woman you fell in love with because of her strong,  beautiful  spirit. Remember to love her because she isn’t perfect not because of an idea you have in your mind. It’s hard at times to remember this point when you’re staring at one another with raised voices about some disagreement or personality clash, but you have to remember it. It’s important.

2. Remind her she’s beautiful 

Tell her she’s beautiful in the morning just as she’s waking up. Tell her she’s beautiful when she’s PMSing. Tell her she’s beautiful with and without makeup on. Just remind her that she’s beautiful often. Women have enough issues with body image society places on us. She will love and appreciate it, but be genuine of course.

3. Surprise her

Keep the love alive. Make her something special if you’re creatively inclined. Buy her little trinkets if you aren’t creative. I bought a wooden box from Michaels and painted a Gerber daisy on it. She loved it. She thought it was the sweetest thing. Now we keep our memories and little notes we pass each other in it.

4. Be present

This is one thing I still struggle with. I’m not sure if this is a personality or ADHD issue but I still struggle with it. I have to force my mind on task. This is easier to do when I have taken my ADHD medication but I find distractions still linger. Mindfulness is tougher to learn than I thought. But with awareness comes knowledge of my faults. Being present in each moment is an important skill to learn. When you are present with one another you are fully aware and engaged with one another in what they are saying, and feeling.

5. Communicate. Communicate. Communicate!

Talk about everything. If she is your love, you should be able to talk about everything under the sun. You may not agree on some things but you still have to communicate. Talk about your likes, dislikes, fantasies, dreams, what happened at work, your black sheep position in your family tree, how your coworker was a dick today, or how supportive your friends are. Don’t shut down and refuse to talk. Communication is one of the pillars holding up your relationship, don’t stop communicating.

6. Appreciate little moments

Life is made up of a long strand of moments we call memories. Find joy in the sorrowful moments.  Appreciate and be grateful you have each other. Appreciate times you snuggle and stroke her hair. Appreciate the times you laugh out loud. Appreciate making up after a disagreement or fight. Appreciate the bad times so that you can reel in happiness during the great times. You only get some chances once. Appreciate them.

7. Show interest in her interests

I’ll never forget the times when Cee showed interest in my photography and artistic side, I was thrilled. She understood that art was a big part of me and my life. She wanted to show me that I was welcome in her home (when I uhauled), by setting the garage up into a creative space for me and the girls. I have an area for my paints, and my easel.

I do my best to show my interests in her by encouraging her to run the local youth group and cooking (which she loves to do ). I also encouraged her to go back to school for something she feels will make a rewarding career.

8. Trust your partner

I learned this one the hard way. There was a time when I got a bad vibe and went through Cee’s phone. She hadn’t had a lock on it. I discovered some texts from an ex and felt jaded about it without even bringing it up till days later. Instead of just letting go and trying to trust her by not going through her private messages, I broke our trust temporarily which hurt our relationship for a bit. This is where communication comes in. Speak honestly and openly using “I feel” statements when discussing your feelings about love and trust. You’ll both feel better knowing you discussed things.

9. Accept her friends

Her friends may not be the usual types of people you would spend time with had you not met her. You may not agree with them at times but you have to put aside your views sometimes. If her friends get along with you and vice versa your relationship will sail more smoothly.

10. Compromise 

Sometimes you will have to compromise even when you feel you are right in your views and feelings and your partner is not. It’s crap sometimes but there will be times you have to compromise on things you initially refused to compromise on. Just let it go, apologize if need be and communicate. I can’t stress communication enough.

Just try to remember these points and learn from your mistakes. I hope these points will be some of the keys to helping you with your relationship.

5 Things I wish I knew before I came out

Featured

Lately, I’ve been on a roll with lists. I’ve been typing them on my blog, I’ve been writing more lists on my refrigerator… hell, who doesn’t need lists? If you’re as forgetful as me at times, then you definitely need lists, whether you plan on blogging about the contents in said list or not.

Image

They are in no particular order.

5. I wish I knew of successful gay people in real life. 
Sure I had heard of Ellen DeGeneres. She was one of my favourite celebrities I had looked into when exploring my sexuality and when I was realizing I wasn’t exactly a Kinsey 2, 3, or 4… But when it came to people I knew in my every day life (ie: not celebrities), I found it difficult to know many successful gay people. I worried that being gay was a sentence that would make me lead a life of being unsuccessful and discriminated against. I was happily wrong. 

4. Women are not necessarily easier to date than men
I wouldn’t change it for the world. They are not necessarily easier to date. Sure they don’t generally burp, fart, or make rude disgusting sounds like some men do, but I think every sex has its own set of pros and cons. As does every person because people are complex creatures, we can’t all be neatly tucked into boxes.

Because I hadn’t dated women in high school, I was a bit later in the game in learning how to date women, what was expected and what it meant to be a part of the LGBT community, in a larger heteronormative type society.

But if there had been a guide book on how to date women? I would have been all over that mess like a lesbian viewing the Lword. Oops. That was me.

3. That I would learn so much about myself
I honestly believe I have become a better human being since realizing I was gay, and being my most honest and authentic self. I think we all ultimately choose whether to be a good or bad person. Despite the things that happen to use, we ultimately choose how to live our lives. I have learned so much about myself. Facing discrimination from family, work, strangers and society has taught me that I have to live life for me. The alternatives aren’t worth exhausting my time, energy and emotions with. My self worth is stronger because of some of the things I’ve faced because I know that I am living for me, not anyone else. I deserve to be happy, just like anyone else. And I think more before my actions now than I did in the past because I know what it’s like to be on the receiving end of hate, ignorance and bigotry.

2. People may dislike you simply for living authentically
And that’s ok. If they are not harassing you (verbally or otherwise), then leave it at that. If you wish to educate them as I have for a few people, then that’s great. Education and information can banish ignorance and bigotry. If it does not then the issue is out of your control and you have to leave it at that. People will believe what they want to in the end. They will like you or dislike you for any number of reasons. I have become accustomed to hearing things within ear shot, having glares thrown my way or people unsure of how to take me at times. I just had to become accustomed to it. There are some days when I still feel the brunt of ignorance, but I have to remind myself of how happy I am and how the closet door will only hide my clothes from now on.

1. I wish I had known that “It does get better”. 
I had grown up in a very traditional family, living in a small town with no real media access to different groups or world issues. When I was piecing my identity and sexual orientation together, I tried to keep things on the down low, and only tell very close friends things that I thought about and was experiencing. I was fortunate to have some friends that did not judge me from the beginning. This helped in knowing that some people would stick by my side unconditionally.

I believe that having supportive people around you while you’re discovering and realizing that you are gay, bisexual, lesbian, trans etc is essential. It is necessary. The world is a scary place without community and friendship. Once I started living an authentic life,  I could begin to start new jobs, make new friendships and date women and just be me. Being me was the best feeling in the world because I could look in the mirror and smile knowing I wasn’t hiding from myself or anyone else.

Running into a (straight?) ex of yours

Featured

I experienced this today. I ran into an ex of mine. I was out in the city running errands. I recognized my ex as a cashier at the store I was in. I was tempted to pull the guy behind me in line and tell him to go next when she annouced that she was ready for the next person. That would have been childish, I know.

I stepped forwards, and said hello to her. I was all bundled up in winter clothing. My ex was ringing some purchases into a till. I kept my head down and hoped she didn’t see me. Was this childish of me? Perhaps. Maybe she didn’t recognize me.

Image

(PhotoCredit: IvyLeagueInsecurities)

Years ago, she was the second female I ended up dating. We were friends while I dated someone else. When my relationship ended, we became closer friends. We started dating soon after. She went through the whole, “I love you. I’m gay, be my girlfriend.” to “You’re never there for me” (we lived over an hour apart). Our relationship progressed and in the second month of dating I met her parents who seemed nice but couldn’t believe their daughter was dating a young woman instead of a young man. We went out together on dates,held hands and did all the other things couples do. Some people where we lived called us dykes when they saw us holding hands (I love how mature men can sometimes be). Some guy tried to tell me to grow my hair out to be more beautiful. My girlfriend then stopped texting me. Communication became very difficult and she was not able to have conversations face to face. It became a very dysfunctional relationship, and our communication was so poor she was not even able to speak with me via text about her feelings. It was “I dunno” every time I asked a question even when I was trying to be gentle asking things. When I asked if she wanted to break up, it was “no”. I don’t want to assume she cheated on me, but I know that I couldn’t deal with a relationship like that. When she told me she needed a break finally, I was able to grieve. Hey, I was young, and it was my second same sex relationship. Kind of intense. She left me with “I need a break” and I knew what that meant even though it should have been said like “I am breaking up with you” to show finality.

Well anyway, I said hello to her. To me, she looked the same. I wonder if she recognized me, if I would look the same to her? I think some times we are snap shots in the lives of one another for a reason. We are there to teach each other things about ourselves, other people or find meaning in different ways. She played a snapshot part in my life, and now I can say that I am not the same young woman that I was when I dated her years ago. I know that I’ve grown.

Sometimes I think back and wonder how my exes are doing. Most of my past relationships involving exes that left me heartbroken, I still wish them well. They played a part in my life. I played a part in theirs. We went our separate ways and have (hopefully) grown into something better.