Use of Pronouns: “I”and “me” to “us”, “we” and “she”

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Somethings that’s been on my mind lately has been the use of pronouns. People use pronouns in the English language without really thinking of them. “I” and “me” signifies singular uses where one flies solo and does something alone. “Us” and “we signifies something more of a partnership, friendship or relationship. When it comes to relationships, pronouns often change and are used on a more regular basis.

When someone is involved in a heterosexual relationship, one rarely has to think about the pronouns that they use with their opposite sex partner. In the case of a woman dating a man, she would say, “My boyfriend and I went___ last weekend.” In same sex relationships pronouns might be used liberally if someone is not closeted or depending on a situation (for instance someone not being “out” at work). “We”, “us”, and “our” becomes a normal part of reference to us and it might be used instead of “My boyfriend” or “my girlfriend” because it might feel awkward or if one isn’t sure of how the other person will respond to the subtle or blatant use of pronouns that differ from the hetero normative end of things.

I remember when I first struggled to come out about my life and live as honestly as possible. I wasn’t sure how people were going to take me when I revealed that I wasn’t exactly like the majority of people. I was rejected by some friends, a couple of them close. That hurt. And as time progressed, I learned to surround myself with supportive people who didn’t see me as any different than them. I was just me.

Before I came to that point of confidence in my life and friends, I would carefully censor myself with use of pronouns. If I was asked about my dating life, or what I was up to, I would censor my speech after thinking about what I was going to say. I used a lot of “we”s, “they” and “our”s instead of “she”, “my girlfriend”, and “partner” in an attempt at feeling out the situations ahead of time or to avoid awkward or stressful situations. I don’t feel ashamed at being gay anymore. That time has long since passed (thankfully). I know it is not an illness, or something I need to be cured of. I am simply attracted to the same sex.

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I still find myself doing so at times when I feel self doubt the situation I’m in. But over time it has become less and less and I’m able to say, “she”, “My girlfriend”, “My lady friend”, “my babe” and other terms with endearment devoid of shame.

I’m dating my wonderfully beautiful, caring, intelligent, funny and hardworking girlfriend right now. And I wouldn’t have it any other way. I’m glad I am no longer “me”, but a “me” in a “we” partnership. I’m glad I’m not afraid anymore of having to censor my pronouns. Hearing “us”, “ours” and “we” makes my heart sing a little and I can’t help but smile.

Running into a (straight?) ex of yours

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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.

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(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.┬áMy 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.

You and me + three: Dating a woman with kids

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As soon as I knew that I was falling for the woman I’m dating now, I knew my life would be different. I am not only dating her, but I am dating her children as well, in the sense that I am an adult involved in their lives.

I have never felt so conflicted. I feel inadequate, stressed and blessed simultaneously. There are times when I wonder what I have gotten myself into. I am in my 20s, and I still haven’t fully reached my dreams or what I want to do as a professional in this world. I am dating a woman who is older. I am dating a woman who knew what she wanted when she decided to have three beautiful children with her ex while I was still in high school.

Years ago, I had a feeling that I would never want children. I definitely knew that I would not be the one to birth them. I never and to this day still do not have that “Oooh, I want to make a baby” urge. I do not want to wait 9 months, carrying a baby in my womb and feel it grow inside me. Perhaps that has to do with my gender identity as being a tomboy or perhaps I just do not have that urge. I never really did even as a child. I would always play house as the provider. I’m happy for my friends who want to have kids and ultimately decide to take that courageous leap towards parenthood.

I’m not sure if I do not want kids of my own because I feel that I have lost the genetic lottery with some health problems I am battling or if it’s just lack of maternal instinct, or simply because I just want to change and impact the world in different ways. Perhaps it’s a combination of all of the above.

When I first began seeing my girlfriend, my instincts told me to cut and run because I wasn’t ready to handle acting like a second parent when I still have my own things to deal with and dreams that are waiting to be achieved. I fell hard for my girlfriend, and it was more intense than any connection I’ve felt with someone. We talk about everything. We share everything. We have incredible intimacy. We are both intuitive care givers so we both try to care for the other on our bad days and celebrate on the great days. I have not had the level of intimacy and care in past relationships that I have had in this one. I feel like I have a spring in my step. I melt and feel my heart skip a beat when I hear her laugh. Her smile is contagious.

Her kids are great. I always hear, “You missed dinner the other night. Where were you?” and get hugs. They always ask me to colour with them, watch videos on YouTube etc or go do things outside.

We still have to approach the issue of telling her children about our relationship. Some of them are old enough to understand what’s going on. The kids watch Glee and know that gay people are the same as any other person (which is great). My girlfriend has told them that I am gay. The kids know that I stay over quite often but it doesn’t seem to be an issue to them.

I was worried that it was going to be an issue to them seeing as I am a woman and I didn’t know how they would react to that. My girlfriend has raised them to accept other people and be compassionate even if they might have differences which is so great to hear. I have dated the odd woman in the past who had a child, but it was usually only one child. The other parent was usually in the picture and the kids would often be taken by the dad occasionally. This is a bit different. My girlfriend is a single mom, so the kids are with her 24/7 (unless at school). This makes things interesting when it comes to children coming into the room unannounced, or needing time from their mom. I am learning the boundaries of a different sort of relationship and it is a bit of a learning curve. But I love my girlfriend, and I am beginning to also have feelings for the other three people in my girlfriend’s life.

It’s a different kind of love. It’s one that I was not anticipating, but I am liking this different kind of life and I find that I miss it when I don’t see them all for several days.