Tag Archives: LGBTQ

The Art of Rejection

22 Dec

garylawrencelive.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/garylawrence20.png

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.

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.

I Hope I Have A (Longterm) Lesbian Co-Worker One Day

12 Aug

Adulthood.  What an intimidating word.  Images of bills, endless responsibility, distancing friendships, and full-time+ work.  Eventually your coworkers become a family of sorts  because you spend the majority of your time with them.  I genuinely consider many of my coworkers (past and present) a part of my family.  They make me feel safe, they give me confidence, confide in me, share things with me, and make me laugh.  These things are great, but there always feels like something is missing.  Like I can’t be myself completely because they just won’t understand an important part of me, and that is no fault of theirs.

I’ve held a job since I was old enough to drive myself back and fourth to work during the summers.  Out of those 7 years I’ve only had one open-ish LGBTQ coworker, and the experience was unlike any other I’ve had.  We only worked together for a few months before she left, but I cherished our time together.  We could talk freely and openly about our lady experiences together.  I know it’s possible to have that conversation with heterosexual coworkers, but the same connection and understanding would be impossible to have.

For all my heterosexual readers: Imagine that you worked in an environment where you were the only heterosexual identifying employee.  How would that make you feel?  How would you feel listening to two men talk about their night at a gay club, or girlfriends talking about where (or what… hehe) they ate the previous night?  Maybe they share stories about being discriminated against because they held hands walking down the street or the people they’re attracted to.  Maybe you wouldn’t feel so out of place the first time.  But imagine that happening repeatedly five days a week for 3 decades.  You possibly start longing for an acquaintance.  Someone who can uniquely relate to your experiences.

I dream of working in a corporation where my boss identifies as LGBT or at least a handful of coworkers.  I’m sure their sexuality would be non-factor in business operations, but I would feel an unspoken connection and pride working for/with them.  My heart would swell with joy knowing I could be wholly myself and talk about my troubles without worrying about the consequences or unsolicited and inappropriate commentary.  I dream of working with professional lesbians because I don’t know any.  Everyone likes a role model, and I am no different.  I’d love nothing more than Bette Porter ordering me around the office or Ellen Degeneres critiquing me on what I could improve upon, while Lena and Stef have lunch with me.  Hell, I’d even take out J. Crew president Jenna Lyons telling me how disgusting my style is.  I think you get my point by now.

Now… I’m sure my chances of ever working with a lesbian in a workplace resembling corporate America ( not as dusty or traditional) is very slim.  Until then I’ll just continue my journey of finding some really good lesbian girlfriends.  Still don’t have any of those either.  Actually there is one girl and she’s awesome and understands the way my brain works and she’s currently dating a girl so we share things.  Baby steps people.  Keep hope alive.

Love who you love.

Where are the Lesbians Between the Pages?

26 Mar

In the waning era (Hallelujah/hopefully) of Twilight and Fifty Shades of Grey, my inner-lesbian-spirit has been indefinitely vomiting all over the place.  As I wrote in an earlier entry (Read Here), all of my friends are hot blooded heterosexual women and some of them have read and even thoroughly enjoyed reading these series of… novels?  Imagine myself as I sit trying to comprehend the appeal and want to find a charming, dominating, heroic, type of man.  I can’t, because I don’t want that obviously.  Not all heterosexual women want that either of course.  What I’m gathering at is that in 2013, it is like searching for a needle in a haystack trying to find any inkling of a lesbian romance in a novel.  In fact, finding a lesbian romance between women over the age of 17 seems to be a made up concept not available on mainstream bookstore shelves.  Although, some material may be available in smaller, more independent book stores.  Or maybe a feminist book store like Women & Women First.

If you don’t watch Portlandia then you probably have no clue about this. You should watch this show though because it’s hilarious.

The first time I sought out a story that my lesbian spirit could relate to, I thought Barnes & Noble would be a great place to start because they seem to have everything and if they don’t they can find it for you.  I eagerly walked in and headed straight to the desk where I asked the attendant where I could find the LGBT section in the store.  He then proceded to tell me that they were in the process of eliminating that section because people have been arguing that segregating the books into their own category is not conducive to progression… Or something like that.  Basically, treating the books as something different than other books is not ideal.  Personally, I’m okay with the section because it makes it easier for me to find the things I want!  Nonetheless, there was one book case that had a shelf labeled “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgendered” nestled between I believe African American and some other marginalized culture.  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised to find half a shelf of material for me to pick from.  None of the choices were fiction, and there was some erotica, personal accounts, and short stories.  The book I was looking for was located in the Young Adult section, which makes sense but I was hoping to find more than what I did.  I’ve read two books so far that explore young girls discovering their sexuality while unsuspectedly falling in love with another girl.

I think both books are proficient in describing the pain, fear, and sometimes denial from loved ones, that comes with acknowledging one’s sexuality for the first time.  I completed  Annie on my Mind today.  While the book’s 1982 publishing date is a bit dated, I thoroughly enjoyed the story of Liza and Annie.  It’s nice to get a perspective of obstacles faced by the LGBT community growing up in a time before the Internet and explosion of user created content.  Your information either came from small entries in Encyclopedias, or if you were brave enough, you checked out books about homosexuality in the library.  Keeping You a Secret was published in 2003 and does a better job illustrating a more modern day homophobia.  The type where people have the opportunity to be appropriately informed about homosexuality, but choose to remain ignorant about it.

2003 was a decade ago and I think it’s time for more romance plots to be between two girls (or women).  There’s been a clear increase of lesbian visibility on television so I’m hopeful there will be a change in the literature department soon.  Obviously this will require more lesbian authors to emerge or those willing to attack such a controversial subject with accuracy and passion (also publishers and whatever else comes with publishing).  I know there is an infinite number of lesbian short stories and fan fiction available online, but it’s not the same as holding a physical book in hand, knowing that someone thought your story was important enough to print and publish to the world.  Young girls struggling with their sexuality deserve to see themselves in the books they read.  If anything, they deserve to escape to a world where they can feel comfortable and safe inside the pages of a book.  If I don’t see anything soon maybe I should try writing something like my story.

All Your Friends Are Heterosexual But You’re Not…

20 Feb

Hot Damn

You know what’s so great about this photo of lovely women above?  Not only are they sexy and seemingly fun-loving people, but they’re friends… And they’re all lesbians.  Having a group of female friends who adore and loathe women in the same way you do is pretty much a distant fantasy for me at the moment.  That’s why I tend to search high and low for any type of media that depicts close knit lesbian friendships so I can get a small taste of what it might be like.

My lack of lesbian friends could possibly be blamed on the fact that I was born, raised, went to school, and still live in the midwest.  The midwest being southwestern Ohio.  Cincinnati isn’t the smallest city, but I do not reside in any of the “progressive” areas.  Part of the blame could also be that I never really put any extra effort into making some lesbian friends.  While I attended University I did participate in the campuses LGBTQ organization (Spectrum).  But I never really found anyone I clicked with in the group.  It wasn’t until senior year that I finally found a “secret” group of lesbians.  I guess they weren’t exactly secret but I had never seen any of them doing things with Spectrum.  Anyhow, I didn’t have enough time to get to really know any of them and thus I graduated with one lesbian friend.  Luckily, my heterosexual friends are some of the greatest gifts that have ever been bestowed upon me.

All of my friends that I put into the “best friend” category all self identify (to my knowledge) as heterosexual.  They have been the most supporting and uplifting bunch of people I could’ve asked for.  From the moment I came out officially six years ago, to typing right here right now, not one of them has left me because of my sexuality.  I know there are kids out there who cannot say the same and I am forever grateful.  They listen to me complain about girls and cry over all the heterosexual girls I’ve fallen for (more on that later.  I could write a saga).  Even though they can’t specifically relate, they still do their best to console me and give me great bits of advice.  While I am appreciative of this, there’s an odd lingering feeling when all your friends are talking about their boyfriends and you kind of feel like an outlier.  Well technically I am an outlier I suppose.  I am infinitely surrounded by heteronormative music, television, film, friends, and sometimes you just want a small sense of complete belonging.

So what do you do when you can’t find your community in person?  You find that community elsewhere.  The easiest way to go about this is obviously the online world.  Tumblr is pretty much rainbows puking up rainbows and it’s fantastic because for a moment you feel like everyone finally understands you.  They talk about LGBTQ issues, share images they find attractive and why, talk about lesbian sex without any awkwardness, and truly embrace their identities as women who love women.  There are also websites like AfterEllen, which I lived and breathed on when I first came out.  They eloquently share lesbian news, music, film, tv, etc, while providing a safe space for lesbians to discuss various topics.  There’s also Cherry Grrl, which is “a little website with the goal of bringing more visibility to lesbian projects.”  Autostraddle is another good one.  These are just some of the main sites I wander to when I need some real lesbian content in my life.  In addition to the online Universe, you can also go out into the real world and scope out some known lesbian hot spots in your city.  I know there’s a stereotype in the lesbian community that every girl either has slept with or knows every other lesbian in a 100 mile radius.   So far from what I’ve read of some cities, this seems true.  From what I’ve experienced/seen of the seemingly smallish lesbian community in my city, it’s not really my cup of tea.  I know I just haven’t found the right lesbian scene yet and I’m hopeful I’ll find it in the future preferably in a different zipcode.  It takes patience to be gay if you haven’t figured that out already.

So if you’re like me in this situation, don’t fret!  Remind your heterosexual friends that you’re appreciative of them while seeking out a community that will fit your needs.  Also don’t feel pressured to befriend the first lesbian you meet just because you’ve never had a lesbian friend.  You can’t force a close friendship.  Just go with the flow baby.  Although I know how that sense of urgency feels and how hard it can be to resist something you’re desperately seeking.  But try to be patient.

-The Lyrical Lesbian

So… How Do You Know If You’re Attracted To Ladies?

11 Feb
Image

From the short film “Empty Sky”

Most things generally make sense in hindsight.

When I was in 4th grade there was one specific girl that captured my attention.  To this day I can still tell you every single thing that kept my attention.  From her freckled face smile to her boyish haircut just long enough to blow in the wind, there wasn’t a thing I didn’t like about her.  I wanted to chase her around the playground and I wanted to hold her hand until the bell rang.  The day she moved away I remember feeling an emptiness I had never felt before because I thought I’d never see her again.  I never did see her again.

From 4th grade on I noticed the only human beings who moved me were girls.  However, I do remember leaving a special valentines in a boys locker during the 6th grade.  I don’t think I liked him but he liked me so I thought I was being nice?  He did have unusually large muscles for an 11 year old so maybe I was attracted to his physique.  Who knows…

It was in the 7th grade when a lightbulb finally licked for me and I realized ‘holy shit I am completely different from everyone else around me, what the hell am I supposed to do?!’  I hardly spent any period of time denying my feelings for girls because they were just too strong to pretend like they didn’t exist.  Although I have been told by my lovely friends that I identified as bisexual at one point, which is probably true because committing yourself to one side of the spectrum is scary especially when it’s just expected that as a girl you’re supposed to love the D.

But I loved the V.

Attraction is universal for all sexualities.  You know when you like someone because they make you feel insane and you live on the fringes outside of your mind and body.  They’re the only person who can make you feel nervous, crazy, happy, depressed, and every other emotion AT THE EXACT SAME TIME.  Basically a mixture for an atomic meltdown.  You have to force yourself to think about something else other than them for just one minute of relief.  It’s pretty simple… If they make your entire being vibrate, you might be attracted in that romantic way.  A man has never even come close to making me feel anything like that.  I’m laughing while typing this because it’s just so hysterical how not attracted I am to men.  Sure I find some physically attractive at times, but that’s about it.   I don’t want to write poems about you or spend ridiculous amounts of time hanging out doing nothing with wandering hands.  But for a beautiful woman sign me up!  You don’t move me fellas and that’s perfectly fine.

Attraction can be scary especially if you find yourself falling for someone who maybe doesn’t fit into your list of past mates.  That’s when you have to make grown up choices and address the situation because everyone knows avoiding feelings does nothing more than slowly kill you from the inside out.  Unbelievable amounts of bravery will be needed.

Why The Lyrical Lesbian?

8 Feb

Let me just start off in the most cliché way I know how:  A DEFINITION!

Search "lyrical" find this

Lyrical:  Expressing the writer’s emotions in an imaginative and beautiful way.

If you know me or get to know me you will discover that my emotions control a lot of what I do.  I’m the kind of person who needs to let someone know how I feel about them or else it consumes my thoughts and plays on repeat inside my head causing deep exhaustion.  This goes for platonic friends, unrequited lovers, random people I pass in public, people who make me feel something, etc.  It even goes for music, which is a whole other blog entry.  Basically, if I feel something about anything there will be a sentence scribbled, song played, poem typed, or entry written about it somewhere.  While my writing is far from being technically sound I hope it makes up in the ability to touch someone… In the comforting way like when the weather is perfect and still in the spring.  My brain operates similarly to a blender except when ingredients begin overflowing down the sides no one is there to turn it off, and things just keep getting added.  It’s all very confusing.

As for the second title of my name:  Lesbian.  At the moment in the month of February 2013 I self-identify as a lady lover.  I’ll tell the whole story in a later entry.  Later entry as in the next one because it’s something that means a lot to me.  I know sexuality is just a portion of who I am but it’s a significant one and I love to talk about it!  So talk about it I will.

Thank You for reading your introduction 101 to The Lyrical Lesbian.