Looking back

6 Apr

This is an essay I wrote when I first encountered very real feelings for another woman… it is interesting looking back and seeing how dramatic I felt about something that is now just another part of me. I definitely have “evened out,” but this was written maybe 2 years ago. Life has taken an interesting turn, and now what seemed so revolutionary is just a part of me that I accept.

In which a “straight” girl falls in love with a woman

My parents were always afraid that I would become “more liberal” when I decided to go to college in the “more liberal” of the two state schools. In a way, they were right. I was thrown into it.

I have changed.

I was raised in a conservative Christian household, where I was told to cover up,“So my brother wouldn’t stumble.” When I was asked a hard question about whether homosexuality was okay in middle-school, I said with relief and without blinking, “That is easy. It is wrong.”

I like to think that I haven’t changed in the most important ways. I still like coffee. I still consider people to be extremely precious. But I have since realized that I am attracted to passion, intelligence, kindness, humor, confidence, tenderness. And I have realized that not one of these attributes is dependent on male or female anatomy.

Past self did not know this, of course, but I think there were clues along the way. She cried just a little too long over the ending of certain friendships. She was not attracted to most males her age. She did not make promises to God that she could not keep.

This was demonstrated during a particularly charged youth group conference with music and tears and a visceral pain in our hearts for a God who loved a people who only knew how to reject him.

I made an oath to God that I would not have sex until I was 22. They wanted us to make oaths that we would not have sex until we were married, but I just couldn’t do it. Oaths are serious business. You do not just make an oath to the Creator of the Universe that you don’t know if you can keep.

I feel like this oath to God that I made in terms of my sexuality was literally a physical link to the person I once was. This person I mourn for. She was confident and insecure, and used her intelligence to fight and flail against a framework she took to be 100 percent truth. She whispered to her friend in bed once, “What if it isn’t real? Just for one moment, what if?” The friend said: “Stop. You’re scaring me.”

I think even then I knew. What if? What if I didn’t get married? What if I took a lesbian life partner? Of course those exact thoughts did not cross my mind, because I don’t think I had considered them in that way. However, what I did know is that if God was real, which I did and still do believe, he did not take kindly to false promises, to oaths that were lies or even good-intentioned half-truths. I felt that 22 was enough to get to know myself, to know if I was going to be the type of woman was married at 19 and who had a fence of all sorts surrounding me.

I was the type of woman who felt so deeply that I honestly thought dying would be preferable to living with knowing every person I looked at who didn’t know God was going to be in eternal pain forever.

Then.

I traveled. It began as a way to be closer to an older Christian man (“a brother”). I was the type of woman who had lied about her feelings and buried her heart underneath layers and layers of a constructed framework that I believed made me ‘right.’ Who was painfully insecure and who skipped meals and meals to be in control. Who wanted to be anorexic, but didn’t have enough self-control, and ended up as bulimic.

This traveling led to more traveling, and I have been happiest when I was on the rooftop with a man who had a separate love in a separate love. And smoking and drinking on this rooftop, I felt alive. And there was nothing wrong about it. I was not the destroyer and I think he might have been, but I was happy.

I was the type of woman who was okay with taking what made me happy.

I was the type of woman who wanted to breathe in thick flowery air and ingest it and taste it and take that risk when it presented itself. I was the type of woman who never wanted to feel that this was a common feeling, and who knew that this situation would never present itself in the same way again.

Which leads me to now.

To sitting at a place where my feelings are most intense for a “friend”. Who happens to be a woman. But more than that, a person. Whom I love. Romantically, sexually. Passionately.

I look at her, afraid. As I stare into her eyes, I gingerly take her wrist, and turn her palm up, bringing her wrist to my mouth and kissing it. Tenderly. I graze my lips against the thin skin there, noting the fragility. Her skin is translucent. She doesn’t move, giving her permission for me to continue. What am I doing? I honestly don’t know. I reach up and play with her hair, stroking it, putting it behind her ear. I like the way it feels between my fingers. It is silky, and fine, like the white wisps of a milky plant. I know that whatever I feel for this woman is not a coincidence, or the distant curiosities of a person who wants to experience the world. It is not the screaming in my brain commanding me to push away myself and be distant, and let ‘this’ happen. No. It is a knowingness, of a woman who is my family and whose intelligence does more than takes me aback, but astounds me.

This should be problematic, but somehow isn’t.

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One Response to “Looking back”

  1. mik1999 April 6, 2013 at 2:32 pm #

    You are very brave — congratulations

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