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Discover Your Truth & Claim It

15 Feb

The greatest thing you could ever do for yourself is discover your truth and claim it.  As I was winding down my relaxing, snow-infested, wine-infused evening on Valentine’s Day with a best friend, I decided to check Twitter.  The first tweet and essentially every one thereafter rattled off congratulations among other things to talented actress and all around articulate individual Ellen Page for coming out at the HRC Time to Thrive Conference.  Needless to say my little lesbian heart stopped and began to fill with love and happiness for her.  I don’t think I could have asked for a more appropriate and warm ending to Valentine’s Day (unless maybe… if I had like an actual girlfriend).

Standing tall and proud at 5′ 1″ with a fiery passion in her voice, Ellen Page’s presence engulfed the room and touched my soul through my laptop.  While she was visibly nervous (appropriately so), the mission and purpose of her speech rose above it.  She so eloquently narrated the struggle that countless people are experiencing day in and day out.  She took a community of people and hoisted them upon her shoulders while simultaneously standing beside them.  Not only did Page reassure the LGBTQ community that she hears them and has too crawled through the dark spaces in the closet, but she reminded the entire world of how simply being less horrible to one another could make a significant difference; a seemingly easy task that so many people cannot master or even practice.  Prefacing her coming out with 5’30” of poetic prose describing poisonous Hollywood standards and stereotypes, the importance of finding community, and the significance of everyone’s story demonstrates that she is honorably taking on the behemoth monster that is equality.  She said it herself:

“Maybe I can make a difference.  To help others have an easier and more hopeful time.  Regardless for me, I feel a personal obligation and a social responsibility.  I also do it selfishly because I’m tired of hiding and I’m tired of lying by omission.”

Oftentimes when spotlight figures come out, those who have no grounds to make comment tend to do so in the most careless ways.  High atop pedestals, there are some heterosexuals who feel as though what they have to say is valuable and warranted when it fact the opposite is true.  Comments such as “it’s about time she came out” or “this is news because…” or “I knew she was gay” or my favorite from heterosexual men: “what a shame, she’s good looking.”  I say this to them: until you’ve carried the burden of being closeted, the fear, the hopelessness… there is nothing you can say to that individual that can take away their truth and journey.  Commenting on someone else’s truth and experience is meaningless especially when you’ve never experienced anything resembling it.  Hell, even if in your mind you think you’ve experienced something resembling their experience, I can assure you it is not the same.

Ellen Page coming out is important for endless reasons because there are still an endless number of human beings struggling in silence, on the receiving end of abuse, and a plethora of other byproducts leftover from living your truth when it does not fit into societal standards.  When I was younger and still in the closet the only examples of gay women near my age were fictional characters.  While I found support from those fictional characters, I’m confident that the impact would have been far greater if I had had a significant, real life example.  I can guarantee that hundreds if not thousands of young teens and beyond gained some courage and confidence last night after hearing Page’s speech (the same can be said when Michael Sam came out).  So yes those questioning, every time an important figurehead discloses their sexuality to the public, it is important and it does make a difference. In addition, Page is showing her immense bravery as a member of Hollywood, an industry where image and reputation is the most important factor (mind you she is in the upcoming X-Men film).

“Love, the beauty of it, the joy of it, and yes, even the pain of it is the most incredible gift to give and to receive as a human being and we deserve to experience love fully, equally, without shame and without compromise.  There are too many kids out there suffering from bullying, rejection, or simply being mistreated for who they are.  Too many drops outs, too much abuse, too many homeless, too many suicides.  You can change that and you are changing that; but you didn’t need me to tell you that…”

The closing statements of Ellen Page’s speech that left me teary eyed said it all.  Coming out matters because love is one of the most incredible experiences we can have as human beings.  It matters because you help pave the path to equality a little bit further.  It matters because one day we won’t have to come out anymore.

Impromptu “Interview” With MTV’s Ari Fitz

29 Jan

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There is a reason I stomp around preaching the benefits of developing an active social media presence (and defending my addiction) because sometimes it will lead to an opportunity, great or small. The right tweet sent at the right time with the appropriate handles addressed and relevant hashtags can get all the right eyes scrolling in your direction. I recently experienced this when I tweeted at current MTV Real World: Ex-plosion badass and visionary Ari Fitz concerning a small blurb I wrote about her in a previous post.

Screen Shot 2014-01-29 at 11.29.29 AMIn what seems like typical Ari fashion, she happily responded to my tweet and eventually the questions I sent to her via email.  She is a wonderful example of maintaining an active social relationship with her fans as well as those she has an interest in working with professionally. My questions were not the most eloquent or engaging considering they were hastily thought of in the context of my life experiences and what I’ve been reading lately, but still she took the time to reply in which I will share with you. As I addressed in the previous post, these questions (on a very basic level) revolve around the idea of intersectionality and how it poses difficulties navigating through the world of self-identity and dating.

Have you always been aware of your sexuality?

Ari Fitz: Not really. It was never a big realization for me. I just fell for a girl (like hard!) one day and when it continued to happen, I just smiled about it and kept going.

Were you hesitant when you discovered this aspect of yourself?

Ari: No, not really. It’s just another part of who I am, if anything if teaches me a new way to view identity, love, body issues, gender, etc. In short, I have a gift because of the way I love. It’s called unique perspective.

Were you raised in a predominantly white environment?

Ari: Nope. I grew up in Vallejo, Ca which was mad diverse. My best friend is 4’11 confident, tough and Filipina & Puerto Rican. I have really close good friends from where I grew up that are White, Black, Filipino/Pacific Islander, Asian, Hispanic/Latino, etc… Something else I’m thankful for that’s given me perspective.

Your ex on the show is white, have you always dated white women?  Have you felt guilt for doing so?

Ari: Ashley is half Chinese and half “White” (Italian, Irish). She’s the girl I’ve dated that isn’t Black or Latina. She’s one of my best friends, she’s stood by me when I was absolutely nothing and she’s supported me since day one so I have absolutely no guilt about being involved with her.

Were you ever worried your partner would say or infer something racist and not be able to understand why that was problematic?

Ari: Sure and I’m equally afraid I might say something that offends her upbringing as Ashley was raised traditionally Chinese. She and I are human. She and I make mistakes. I know her heart is pure, even purer than mine at times so if she makes a mistake or says something “outta pocket”, I know that’s a conversation we can have and she’ll genuinely apologize/correct.

As you grew and became more educated and experienced adult life, has your perception of being a black and gay woman evolved?

Ari: Oh man. Yes, yes and yes. How could it not?

*BONUS*  For shits and giggles, what are your opinions on sex toys?  Welcomed in the bedroom?

Ari: Quick answer is, I love them and click on my Good Vibes page. Boom! 😉

From what I’ve gathered thus far it seems as though Ari Fitz is quite the motivated creative who is exceptionally conscious of herself and the world surrounding her.  What more could you ask of a woman working hard to have her visions seen and stories heard? Stories that speak to a community who are otherwise starving for any kind of sustenance.  Luckily for us Ari is developing a presence in the film community. Check out her short film The Anniversary costarring her equally gorgeous ex, Ashley:

 

I do believe she is currently working on a prequel to The Anniversary so look out for that.  I don’t know about you all but I’m excited to see what the future holds for her. Keep up with her shenanigans on Twitter and don’t forget to watch her in action Wednesdays at 10pm on MTV.

Fear of Mediocrity

24 Jan

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Mediocrity is a word that I’ve feared before I even knew how to pronounce it.  Ever since teachers began scribbling grades on assignments and I had classmates to compare my performance with, I’ve always unconsciously sprinted in the opposite direction of mediocrity.  If you were a product of my household then you would bring home nothing less than excellence or face some dire consequences.  From childhood throughout my intermediate studies and experiences, the thought that I may in fact be mediocre never crossed my mind.  No, this was not due to the millennial byproduct  Special Snowflake Syndrome, but rather being raised under the rule that producing what is expected of you (excellence) does not qualify for reward(s).  However, as I continue to get older and am surrounded by unmatchable personalities in real life and on the Internet, I find myself thinking… do I reek of mediocrity?

Mediocrity certainly moves within a multi-dimensional space depending on the one defining, the surrounding people who help influence that definition, and other factors.  There are plenty of occasions though, in which it is very clear that mediocrity is the standard and the apex.  Surrounding myself with people who surpass me intellectually, spiritually, physically, culturally, etc. guarantees in the least that I’ll constantly be striving for something greater than my current self.  This then begs to ask, will I continuously find the present version of myself mediocre?  Or possibly, it is not that I will find myself mediocre as a whole, but the results of any efforts I put fourth as so.  It is possible that extraordinary persons can create ordinary work without being reduced to mediocre as a whole.  Is the person who can acknowledge, interpret, and discuss seen and unseen components in extraordinary works just as valuable as the creator, or are they doomed to remain in the category of mediocre?  Cue the phrase “those who can’t do, teach” (not something necessarily I agree with).

If mediocrity is largely subjective and unfixed, is it ever possible to transcend it?  I suppose if you find yourself walking in shoes similar to Steve Jobs or The Dalai Lama then this isn’t even an issue (if it is an issue).  But what about the rest of the regular folk out there, how do we transcend?  The Internet has allowed for every user to become a producer making it increasingly difficult to appear a little more than mediocre.  Thought Catalog kind of ushered in the era of “everyone is a philosopher with something important to say”, which eventually triggered an avalanche of rewarded mediocrity.  This rewarded mediocrity then gets absorbed by millions of mediocre people and so on and so fourth.  But if the work brings in funds then there really is no reason to change approach in the business sense.  Morally though, holy shit we are incubating a generation of kids who will fear critical thinking.  I am probably exaggerating though, but I digress.

However mediocrity be defined, a latent fear will always remain no matter what success I reach.  The more time it takes for me to reach different levels of success, the more I consider myself mediocre.  Maybe this speaks upon my self-confidence.  I think as long as one stays motivated to progress towards goals, continuously raises personal standards, and observes and acknowledges genius, then that is all you can do as a responsible human being; mediocre or not.  If skill (and luck) have it you become a trailblazer, then what a blessing from the Universe.

The Art of Rejection

22 Dec

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After sitting in my drafts for a bit I’ve yet to come up with any new, profound points about experiencing and consequently rising above rejection.  I’ve also been temporarily paralyzed by my (most recent) personal meeting with rejection.  Hopefully I avoid sounding like a whiney millennial because… none of those are here right now.

In the last two weeks I made it to the final round of candidates for a dream position of sorts, had quite the encouraging interview (with encouraging activity from the interviewers), and waited for a week in high but realistic spirits.  A week later I was smacked in the face with the most generic rejection email.  It was almost as though I had never talked with anyone affiliated with the organization.  I refreshed my inbox several times to insure I did not read the message incorrectly.  But of course, there it was, the rejection just comfortably sitting there–mocking me.

It’s almost comical how many instances of rejection we will experience in our lifetime.  That little girl didn’t want to hold your hand in the sandbox.  Your body rejected your first navel piercing.  The girl with a constellation of freckles (damn I’m sounding like Thought Catalog…) and honey eyes politely rejected your offer to take her on a date.  Your professor rejected the topic for your final paper.  Your dream job and others like it send you a sugary coated e-reject on a weekly basis.  The list infinitely continues.  Rejection is the gift that keeps on giving (among the other “gifts” that keep on giving).  Yes, it is a gift if you take the necessary steps and use it as a catalyst for growth and success!

Here are my steps:

Step 1 is a completely natural response to disappointment and should not be skipped.  After every other failure comes back to haunt you,  I think it’s appropriate to spend a short amount of time acknowledging your sadness.  What a great way to remind yourself that you have feelings, meaningful goals that you would like to accomplish, and have made efforts to reach them.

I find myself suspended in step 2 whether or not I’m going through the stages of rejection.  I know my generation is supposedly stuck in the “existential vacuum” and I am completely corroborating that notion.  However, existential does not necessarily equal nihilistic, apathetic, or lazy–which are additional terms that often get thrown into the vortex of immobile millennials.  

Step 3 is somewhat like a passive rebellious phase for me. My mind begins conjuring up images of me traveling to exotic destinations and being transparent; rejecting western values, corporate America, and the white picket fence portrait (Note:  I already generally reject these notions to lesser degrees).  Ultimately, I am all bark and no bite.

Alas, the light at the end of the rejection tunnel reveals itself as step 4 slaps you back into reality.  Your friends and friendly strangers are there bandaging your wounds, giving you lollipops, and offering you all kinds of next steps that never even crossed your mind.  Confidence regenerates and you’re feeling stronger than ever.  You even appreciate the rejection because with it came experience and evidence that you are trying to level up in life.

Leveling up requires the final step of getting back out there.  Change your approach and typical patterns that seem to result in rejection.  Maybe there’s a different strategy or perspective you did not consider because it’s unfamiliar to you.  Tweaking your routine will yield other results and get you one step closer to that life goal.

This is the simple way in which I experience rejection.  I probably sound dramatic but it’s not my fault because I’m involuntarily hyper-aware of my emotions. Embrace rejection.  You were rejected for a reason so kindly thank the Universe for nudging you in more correct directions.

Blue is the Warmest Color: Not a Lesbian Film

18 Nov

**Spoilers Ahead**  Also  jumbling of random thoughts as the film is very long and I will probably be piecing together my feelings until I see it again.

After months of anxiously waiting, Googling, and Youtubing the internationally acclaimed film Blue is the Warmest Color, I finally got to indulge myself in all 179 minutes of emotionally charged  glory.  This is the first film involving a relationship between two women that didn’t register as a “lesbian film” in my mind but rather a story about self-discovery and exchanging energy rivaling that of the sun.  I walked out the theatre feeling emotionally exhausted and headed straight to the sushi bar with my friends to share reactions and alcohol.  Despite the length of the story I was enthralled the entire time because (obviously) I’m biased towards illustrations of same-sex relationships.  The shots were beautiful and simple, often with warm glows accompanying scenes of intense passion or happiness.  Extreme close ups were used during the most intimate scenes such as eating, kissing, and sex; something we’re not used to seeing in American films.

The infamous and well-lit sex scene started off sensually from my perspective.  I could feel their raw passion being released as they deeply explored each others bodies.  But the longer it progressed the more uncomfortable it got (not to me per say) and I really did not see how the addition contributed any more to the scene or film as a whole.  The male gaze was strongly present here as many articles have pointed out but it didn’t ruin my experience because I received the scene as another step in the evolution of their relationship and demonstration of human beings succumbing to their visceral, carnal desires.  Either way, I thought it was pretty damn sexy.  Another point of probable contention was Adéle’s infidelity with her male coworker, occurring approximately a few or so years into their relationship. Some saw this as the typical queer narration of the “straight” girl going back to guy.  Clearly that is not the case here.  Emma focused much of her time and energy in her work, which made Adéle feel undesired and under appreciated so she sought out another being who could fill the voids.  Attraction of any sort due to proximity is very common and so her decisions or mistakes have some validity.  I’m not condoning her cheating, but Adéle’s condition after Emma ferociously dismissed her from their shared home was indicative of her not “going back to men.”

It was almost physically painful to watch Adéle begin her monotonous life devoid of passion and energy.  She regresses back to her High School self, sleeping sprawled out and child-like, having sexual fantasies, and being mostly alone.  One of the most heartbreaking scenes came towards the end when Emma met Adéle in a café to reconnect.  Adéle’s intentions were obvious even before Emma sat down.  She was waiting poised, primped, and had ordered a glass of white wine, of which she called Emma’s stepdad to make sure it was a favorite of Emma’s.  Emma refused the wine and instead ordered a coffee.  Typical questions of ex lovers were passed back and fourth until Adéle asked Emma if she was sexually satisfied with her new lover (who has a child).  After ambiguously responding, Adéle aggressively and I suppose passionately kisses Emma and directs her hand to the crotch of her tights.  They briefly continue the heated moment in the public space until Emma stops, ultimately ending Adéle’s last efforts to win the love of her life back.  Emma then eloquently states that she has a family now but will always have “infinite tenderness” [for Adéle].  That was when mine and Adéle’s tears flowed in harmony, continuing as Emma got up and walked out, back to the love waiting for her at home.  I teared up because I could see and feel Adéle’s burning desperation.  Her emptiness.  I wanted to jump through the screen and give her words of advice from Sheryl Crow, “the first cut is the deepest.”

Overall, Blue is the Warmest Color met and maybe exceeded my expectations.   I enjoyed watching the passage of love between two very different individuals.  I am delighted the film was French not only for the beautiful language but for the French aesthetic.  Little dialogue and a lot of Mise-en-scène, cigarettes, and eating.  It forced the viewer to  focus on emotions told through eyes and mouths.  In an interview (they are so adorable and attractive) Adéle described the story as one about “skin, close ups, mouths, itching, and cumming” so they had to let their bodies speak.  It is perfect example of showing not telling and that really resonates with me.  The high-tensioned moments were dispersed among mostly uneventful scenes, which may be a more accurate portrayal of love than your average love stories.  The fact that my mind truly did not register this as a distinctly lesbian film, I think means that love honestly was the focus and not the sexuality of the characters.  I am looking forward to seeing how Blue performs during award season and the impact, if any, it makes in the future of film in terms same sex relationships.  Who knows, maybe we can get an actual queer person to write and direct one day!  If nothing else, see the film to gawk at the beauty (and bodies) and talent of Léa Seydoux and Adéle Exarchopoulos.

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I’m partial to Adéle.  The shape of her lips are so curious and irresistible to me.

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I Don’t Want To Be Gay

15 Nov

I was in the midst of writing a post about my current favorite music acts when suddenly I scrolled passed something on a Tumblr (I’m have tech ADD and on any regular day you can find at least 14 tabs open in 2 different windows) that made me sad.  Although this is not the first time I’ve heard or seen this statement from a member of the LGBTQ community, it still makes me cringe and ultimately evokes some emotion within me.  “I don’t want to be gay,” the young blogger posted followed by a series of questions asking her why.  Her response was simple, “I just think it would be easier.”

She is completely right and I am sympathetic toward her.  Life would be twice as easy if we didn’t self-identify as LGBTQ.  I don’t know about other members of the community, but when I came out the last thing on my mind was how difficult life would be if I came out.  I just knew that keeping the secret and those thoughts hidden would be more difficult than anything else.  After being out for almost 7 years now, there have been utterances resembling “I don’t want to be gay,” mostly in the context of dating and social life.

The discouraging reality is that if you don’t live in a major metropolis area such as L.A., Chicago, NYC, D.C., and the like, your pool of potential mates probably resembles the number of Blockbuster stores left.  The  selection of bars and clubs are most likely teeming with heterosexual clients making it doubly difficult for your gaydar to be perfectly calibrated and detect true lady lovers and not “strategic lesbian seekers” (no seriously, strategic lesbianism is a thing according to this Vogue article).  Visibility is such an annoying barrier when it comes to dating.  Your city probably doesn’t have a designated gayborhood like West Hollywood, Boystown, Dupont Circle, etc, for you to stroll the sidewalks and shops looking for a reliable pack of queer friends.  Luckily for me I’ve recently become closer to a couple of queer folk and it has done wonders for my comprehensive outlook on life.  It’s really quite nice to express your fears, happiness, concerns, and problems to someone who is looking at life through a similar lens as you.

In addition to dating being a herculean task, watching television and film  repeat the same heterosexual story lines and stereotypical “queer” story lines is just plain exhausting and again, discouraging.  I don’t have to go into detail about this because you all know… we just want to see something we can relate to every once in a while damn it.  There’s also the whole thing regarding laws and regulations that don’t protect us against discrimination when it comes to housing, employment, marriage, and benefits (making strides though).  Walking down the street holding your significant others hand might be a trying experience especially if you’re not in a progressive city.  The process of trying to have your own child appears daunting while adoption still has it’s hurdles as a same-sex couple.  Concluding findings:  of course it’s difficult being gay.  So how do you deal with your conflicting feelings?

The first step is embracing yourself.  You can’t be something you’re not, so why try to be anything else?  The faster you do this the more quickly you can use your experiences to your advantage. You acknowledged a nagging feeling within yourself and made the conscious effort to address it instead of running away from yourself.  That takes strength and you deserve all the credit in the world especially if you partook in the journey alone.  As a member in a marginalized group you have a perspective that is unique and valuable.  You have a special community spanning the globe that would most likely welcome you with open arms (that is if you don’t have to deal with racism, which is a whole other topic on intersectionality).  Your sexuality is not the defining characteristic of your being, but you should be proud of it.  You don’t have to ride with the Dykes on Bikes at the pride parade or sport rainbow colored everything.  Just love yourself for the progress you’ve made, love your significant other in a way that shows you’re proud of her, love your family and friends for supporting you and making efforts to move society’s acceptance along, and finally accept that none of us ever wanted to be gay… we just got lucky.

You Got Your Orientation Wrong

11 Nov

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Exhalation of relief…  You’re feeling weightless and naked.  After all of these months, years, you’ve finally come to terms with yourself that you are indeed sexually and/or romantically attracted to people of the same gender.  With such bravery and confidence you bare your soul and come out to the people in your life who mean the most.  They accept and support you more than you could have ever asked.  The road before you is paved and ready to discover life as you’ve always imagined it could  be.  Bright, colorful, vibrant, exciting. Exhalation.

A couple of years have passed since your revelation and you’ve bloomed ever so beautifully into your being.  Girls have come and gone, which is fine because you’re exploring what you like and don’t like.  You mostly frequent heterosexual establishments (because there are no gay bars around) and have no trouble catching the attention of male admirers (No offense to the male population, but all a woman has to do is exist and you swarm.  This is also my discontent with women not approaching me with such ease, manifesting).  With all of this male attention your mind starts to wander back over to the land of heterosexual, one that you’ve actually never visited.  A sort of panic rushes over you.

These thoughts of being with men start to intrigue you and your curiosity grows.  You become confused because you can’t figure out if your curiosity for men stems from your lack of attention and relationships with women or if you’re genuinely curious.  In reality, experimenting with a man for the first time after many women is not that big of a deal.  But in your head and your heart it goes against everything you’ve been piecing together about yourself since childhood.  What does it all mean?  After all, you are a red blooded woman and your biological urges still exist despite your declared sexuality.  I’m talking about sex.  You get urges and maybe you start to realize that for you, it doesn’t matter what gender the person satisfying you in that arena is.  Does this mean you’re not gay then?

This brings up the whole complex web/umbrella/scale of sexuality of which I claim to be no expert about at all.  Sometimes you can be sexually attracted to both genders and only romantically attracted to one or the other.  How do you deal with that?  Mention having a fling with a man and your friends will respond  “Told you!  We knew you were straight.”  Or maybe your parents will clasp their hands together thankful that your “phase” is finally over.  Obviously both responses are irrational because sexuality is not  black and white, but most people find it difficult to grasp that concept.  How does that affect you emotionally?  I imagine  the emotions are similar to coming out as something other than heterosexual.  It must be even more difficult especially if you’re a “Goldstar Lesbian” because it’s like My Whole Life has Been a Lie: Part II.  All of this could be avoided if our culture wasn’t sustained on a three choice orientation system.

You’re either gay, straight, or bisexual (but they get a lot of shit).  If orientation was taught, discussed, and accepted more widely on the scale system like it really is, we wouldn’t have such a need to declare a sexuality.  We  would also be less fearful to admit to ourselves and others when our desires and attractions change. We are human beings.  We are meant to grow, evolve, and discover ourselves.  Discovering who you are is both frightening and rewarding I know.  It takes practice, but eventually you’ll make all the decisions that correlate to your happiness.  I’m still working on that too.  We’re all getting there.  We’ll get there someday.  You didn’t get your orientation wrong, you just found something else that also floats your boat.

My Coming Out Story.

18 Oct

At 23 posts I suppose it’s about that time I share my “coming out” story with my readers.  My apologies for my lack of posting (if anyone cares).  I’ve been a tad busy trying to be a real adult, which is rather challenging…  And my apologies for how wordy and unnecessary the following stories will seem:

I consider myself quite fortunate to be one of those lesbians who subconsciously knew she was different at about age 10.  I recall chasing girls around the playground and wanting to hold their hands much more than the boys; and that didn’t seem strange or abnormal to me at all.  I just knew that it was girls who made my stomach do backflips, and it felt good, and I wanted more.  To this day I still remember the girl that stole my heart at the jungle gym.  She’s married now (holy shit I must be old.  23 isn’t old), but even still when people ask me when did I know I was gay, I always mention her and my heart flickers a bit because she’s the one that started it all.

In 8th grade when girls started to experiment with boys and talk about them all the time I remember participating in conversations but I felt disconnected.  But like every year of my life it seems, there was a girl I had a crush on and we had this (what I thought) was an unspoken attraction.  I didn’t know what we had and I was probably misinterpreting everything per usual, but there was a reason I cried the day she moved and I never saw her again.  Such a sap I am.  In between her was another crush on someone who used to be my best friend (I know we were 2 way crushin’ on the first girl) and we played softball together.  GO FIGURE.  All the attractive and cool guys wanted her and she eventually picked one of them to be her long term boyfriend.  I was devastated especially because I thought we had some weird unspoken attraction as well.  I’m hardly wrong about those unspoken attractions.  Fast forward a few years and what do you know she’s dating a woman and they’re still together to this day!  All the while with these crushes, my ultimate crush was on this “gothic” beauty Amy Lee from Evanescence.

If you took a peep at all of my notebooks and binders from 7th grade though High School there was a 96% chance that Evanescence symbol would be scribbled somewhere.  This woman was the first significant female celebrity crush I had.  I owned every poster, magazine cover and article, CD, saw her in concert, and even had some autographed concert tickets and a belt buckle she apparently wore during one of her concerts.  Needless to say I was completely obsessed.  Fast forward to the latter days of High School and I was ready to come out to my friends.

The great thing about my High School friends (who are still my good friends) is that they were and still are the forward thinkers, the intellectuals, and the “hippies” so to speak.  I couldn’t ask for better friends.  I told different groups of friends at different times and they all had the same reaction: Explosive laughter and a bunch of “we’ve always knowns.”  What a relief. I  knew they would react that way but your first time coming out to meaningful people is difficult.  Fast forward to my freshman year of University and I was ready to come out to my parents.  *cue foreboding music*

Ah yes, the dreaded coming out to your parents.  What a stressful and anxiety ridden period.  Before I came out I bought Chaz Bono’s (then Chastity) book Family Outing: A GUIDE TO THE COMING-OUT PROCESS FOR GAYS, LESBIANS AND THEIR FAMILIES and studied the pages as if I had finals that week.  Once I felt confident enough in myself with the backing up friends and my roommates, I plotted my plan (I’m so grateful for the friends I made at University because they really helped me through a lot and I truly could not ask for better confidants).  I decided the best way to communicate with my parents would be to write two heartfelt letters because I wanted to make sure I was as thorough and clear as possible.  My parents are divorced so I had to do this twice.  I strategically gave my dad his letter a couple hours before he left for a week long vacation.  Mind you it took me at least an hour to build up the courage and hand it to him before I ran away and buried my head under pillows.  He read it, cried, hugged me, and apologized for making gay jokes in the past and proceeded to explain to me the kind of environment he grew up in and their opinions on gay people.  I eventually gave him the Chaz Bono book and he still has it in his desk drawer.  I’m unsure if he ever read it or not.  Overall I think it was a pretty successful coming out.  Although I was told a year or so down the road that he thought I was going through a phase.  That was about five years ago and surprise I’m still falling in love with ladies.  Giving my mom the letter was much easier.  I stopped by her house when she wasn’t there and left the letter in one of her drawers.  I called her and asked if she got it and of course she didn’t because I put it in the one drawer she never looks in.  After she read it she called  and laughed at me saying she’s known since I was in 6th grade.  Who knew?!  She then called the local PFLAG organization and had a conversation for whatever reason.  Coming out to my mom was a success as well.  I’m sure there were some feelings of sadness because I am her only daughter and you guys know how moms are.

At 23 years old I have the joy of saying I’ve never been rejected by any family members or friends.  At least not explicitly rejected.  My parents and I have never talked about my sexual orientation since I gave them the letters, which is understandable.  My family doesn’t really talk about dating or people we’re interested in because we’re all very much our own  private entities.  Whenever I do have the pleasure of finding a girlfriend I will not hesitate to introduce her to my family.

One thing I didn’t talk about in my story was the  depression and void I felt before coming out.  I think I touched based on it in my previous post, but if you can imagine it was horrendous.  I didn’t even feel like a real person.  It was more as if I was watching someone else on a little television with bad reception in a dark room.  The closet is truly suffocating and you’ll never be able to start your life until you acknowledge those feelings.  It’s one of those clichés that are overwhelmingly truthful.  So for anyone that has yet to come out, I highly encourage you to.  Seek the right people out if you need help whether it’s a friend or a stranger online.  Seek me out.  Life is much better on the outside, I promise.

The (Lesbian) Hopeless Romantic

21 Sep

IMG_4037I always feel so very cliché when I write about love or “love” or romance.  Why would I know what it is or means anyway?  There is no one true definition I’m sure.  I’ve always thought it was a special moment when you encountered someone who made you feel differently than the other hundreds of people you’ve encountered, even if it wasn’t love.  Is that feeling called infatuation?  Infatuation is known as “foolish love.”  What a shame that it’s foolish.  We all must be fools then because everyone has experienced this.  But I feel like I experience this more often than the average person.  I’ve heard many times that I’m always “in love” with someone, and I cannot disagree with them.  I don’t want to undo this characteristic of mine, but I do wonder what it’s like to hardly ever be in love with anyone.  I wonder if it’s better or worse.  I’m sure both have their distinct frustrations.  However, we all know the words of Lord Tennyson, “Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”  He may be right because I’ve lost mostly and yet I think the current version of me is the best so far.  Everyone made me a better me.  Have I always been this hopeless romantic type?  Yes ma’am.

In 6th grade I had a crush on a boy (yes a boy) and I left him those disgusting candy-heart-chalk-things in his locker along with a note for Valentines Day.  I don’t think he appreciated my gifts and I remember feeling weird about the situation.  Needless to say that was the last romantic gesture I ever did for a boy and found out I rather be doing them for girls.  Since then, all of the gestures I do for the girls I like like have kept steady and meaningful.  My favorite thing to do when I feel myself falling for a lady is listen to every word she says.  Her inflections.  Watch her expressions.  When I feel like I’ve learned enough about her I plan .  I create, I write, I draw, I play, I buy sometimes…  Whatever combination feels right, I put it together and I present it to her.  Because that’s just who I am.  I do this to show her my efforts to know her.  There doesn’t have to be a label on our relationship for me to do these things because that’s who I am.  When I am fearless I do what feels right in the moment.
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Am I a hopeless romantic because despite my efforts and gestures, none of them have resulted in a significant other?  That would be selfish to expect a relationship just because they accepted my gestures with glowing eyes and fluttering hearts.  I should be left without hope because I keep doing the same romantic gestures and nothing has changed.  I should be a hopeless lesbian because for some ridiculous reason I still believe the person who will respond to my gestures won’t come from the Internet but rather a coffee shop or park (I’m not knocking people who’ve found their partners on the Internet…That’ll probably be me eventually).  Is it a sign of weakness to be a hopeless romantic?  Is it a weakness because we need to realize that our feelings of love were created by the movies and nothing more?  I know my friends might tell me I should stop being a hopeless romantic to prevent myself from being hurt.  That’s probably a great strategy but I’m terrible at stopping myself from expressing my love.

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To me, my gestures and hopes parallel the photographs of the sun setting I took in Santorini.  Even as the light dims, the beauty of the sunset does not lessen.  From every angle I am chasing something that looks so far away but feels quite close to me.  Eventually the light disappears.   I know this scene will appear 1000 times over in Santorini for countless people even if I’m not there to see it.  Luckily for me I remember it and tomorrow at sunset the light will disappear again.  And the next day.  And the next.  You see… the light always comes back.

Anatomy of this Personality

8 Sep

E: 33% N: 50% F: 50% P: 11%

I haven’t taken the MBTI  since my sophomore year in college. One of my best friends and I took a course designed for students who were trying to find any sign of their life-path hidden under residual debris left by the shit storm known as Life.  We had recently switched our major from the soul-sucking field of Chemistry (I still love science) and were hoping that a series of questions followed by some guidance could help us.  I know some people are hesitant to trust a test that details your personality, but I guarantee Myers-Briggs will describe you quite accurately.  My memory evades me of my first results but I’m confident they resembled the ones above, which is what I got after taking the MBTI a few weeks ago.

According to the Myers Briggs, I have the personality type ENFP: Extraversion, Intuition, Feeling, Perception.  How does Myers Briggs describe this?

  • ENFPs are initiators of change, keenly perceptive of possibilities. They energize and stimulate others through their contagious enthusiasm. They prefer the start-up phase of a project or relationship, and are tireless in the pursuit of new-found interests. ENFPs are able to anticipate the needs of others and to offer them needed help and appreciation. They bring zest, joy, liveliness, and fun to all aspects of their lives. They are at their best in fluid situations that allow them to express their creativity and use their charisma. They tend to idealize people, and can be disappointed when reality fails to fulfill their expectations. They are easily frustrated if a project requires a great deal of follow-up or attention to detail.

I can’t express how precise this description is… of me.  This also partially explains why my “coming out” period was especially difficult,  why I fall so hard from such great heights for ladies, and why (I think) my never-wrong Gaydar is modified to curious “straight” ladies.

Lets briefly discuss Extraversion and my coming out.  Imagine being the most boisterous and obnoxious kid in every classroom.  You always shouted answers, said hi to everyone, were probably classified as crazy, and were mostly full of enthusiasm that you wanted to share with friends and strangers.  Next, picture the exact moment in time  you discover the word defining your feelings for women, and that it isn’t normal.  Your internal sun burns out indefinitely and you crawl inside yourself only to fall to the darkest depths of your being. Depths so devoid of light that you pray (even if you’re not religious) no one else has to feel their way through it.  I’m sure closeted-introverts  have found themselves in similar darkness, but as a notorious extrovert it really took a toll on me.  Thankfully my internal sun has been burning brighter than ever for a while and I’m back to regularly scheduled enthusiasm.  People call me the life of the party and generally look in my direction to reassure themselves that it’s ok to start dancing in a bar where no one else is dancing.

I had to mention my habit of falling from such great heights because honestly, how the hell could this test know that my personality is the type to idealize people and be highly disappointed when expectation does not meet reality?  How the hell?  My friends will be the first to tell you how devastated I am when someone doesn’t meet my vision of them. I don’t know why I do this and I wish I didn’t because it steals so much energy from me.  However, I feel a bit better knowing that it’s a personality trait that is natural to me and it’s something I can work on.

Finally, lets chat about my magnificent Gaydar that needs re-callibrating.  Having a working Gaydar can be the most helpful tool a lesbian can have especially if you’re more of feminine-ish lesbian attracted to mostly other feminine lesbians.  Really there should be awards handed out to fem lezzies who find other fem lezzies because it’s thee most frustrating activity ever and I wish there was an easier way.  There isn’t one so we rely on Gaydar, or in my case Bi-dar or curious-dar.  As an ENFP I am keenly perceptive of change, able to anticipate the needs of others, and work best in fluid situations where I am able to use my charisma.  I’m thinking that this is a deadly combination for reeling in all the curious, feminine straight girls.  I can perceive which ladies are feeling me, anticipate what they might be missing from boys (and fill it in), and then I use my charm in situations to catch them.  This cycle continues for a while until they get freaked out and run away or push and pull me until I’m done.  Nonetheless, thank you Myers Briggs for helping shed some light on my tendencies.  Maybe one day I will stop this vicious cycle.  Or maybe I’m addicted to it in some sick way.

I hope this didn’t make me sound like some cocky asshole tootin’ her own horn.  I’m just reporting results.  ENFP’s are known as “Champions,” which means that when they “speak or write,  they are often hoping to use their convictions to motivate others to participate in advocacy or they hope to reveal a hidden truth about the human experience.”  What a coincidence, that is precisely the reason I started this blog.

What’s your type?