I was a tomboy growing up. The only difference between me and some many other children is that I didn’t grow out of that phase. I abhor wearing dresses, and skirts, the color pink and any combination of those colors. Even though I enjoyed sports more and than shopping, and didn’t fawn over boys in the same way my friends did I never thought I might be gay. I had crushes on boys: ergo straight.
I didn’t have any female gay friends and only a couple male gay friends. “Gay” didn’t hold a place in my world. I didn’t even think about it too much, until my boyfriend in 10th grade broke up with me. Many others told me he was gay, but the thought of someone dating a girl and being gay did not compute. When he confirmed these suspicions two years later, it unnerved me a bit.
After growing up North, I felt it my duty to be a staunch liberal at my tiny Southern college. My views helped me become friends with most of the gay individuals on campus, including lesbians and gay men. I joined the supportive gay group on campus, even becoming an officer for a short while. Even still I held tightly to my straight-ness, even so much as to call my mother on Coming Out Day freshmen year and come out as straight.
Something that turned my world upside down happened the summer after my freshmen year. My mother, an alcoholic, had been drinking and soon my family was embroiled in a deep discussion. My mother blamed all her problems on my father. I had been hearing this all my life, but never given any reason why, though when asked my father agreed. My mother forced him to finally admit his transgression. He cheated on my mother. This was shocking enough as my father is highly principled and loving, but then he went on to repeat the two words I never thought he’d say: “with men”. I did a double-take. Surely, my father who had three kids and a wife couldn’t be gay. Then I realized the atmosphere he grew up in and how perhaps he thought he could deny the truth to himself. That night still stings in my memory.
That upcoming year was the beginning of some doubts of my sexuality. The crush I had all of freshmen year fizzled out soon in my sophomore year when I found out how dumb the guy was. Combine that with another failed relationship with my best friend, J, which failed because I wasn’t attracted to J physically, and I was getting slightly nervous. This was only made worse when in the sorority I joined I noticed I really enjoyed the company of a couple women over all others for no reason whatsoever. I made every attempt to be in their company, but I simply thought I was acting this way because they were the older sisters I never had.
Junior year was much of the same, though I found myself less intrigued by men. I still enjoyed looking at the muscular figure of some men, but it didn’t excite me. I found myself looking more at the women in my life, but I thought I was simply appraising their fitness and muscles in jealousy.
Senior year is when it really struck me that I might be attracted to women. I had been good friends with this woman, M, for about a year and a half. We hung out and I loved hanging out with her, more so than with many of my other good friends. I didn’t think anything of it though until our senior years started and I began constantly thinking of her. I wanted her advice and approval on everything. I spent hours hanging out with her and when I couldn’t, I got sullen. I would look for her in the dining hall, knowing the color of her jackets and her other friends’ faces. Shockingly, I wondered what it might be like to kiss her and wondering what I would feel if I saw her naked body. These thoughts deeply troubled me. I was so convinced I was straight, that surely this couldn’t mean anything.
As I pushed to become better friends with her, she pushed away. We disagreed on what we each were putting into the friendship. I felt I was trying and she wasn’t. Other issues were brought up and soon after a blow out over email, we were no longer friends. I was heart broken. I found I couldn’t talk about anyone else. I felt more pain from this break up than from not getting into medical school. I chalked it up to the fact that I wanted everyone to like me and that losing a good friend is always hard. A month after the break up I tried to make things better, but she was stubborn and it was clear we were done. I thought she couldn’t feel the same way as I; she was engaged to a very nice man. Even if she did feel anything, I liked her future husband too much to do that to him. So I moved on.
After years of doing little adventurous I decided to break out of my shell. I went to a bonfire party with friends and started talking with this attractive man, G. Soon we were in his tent and he was reading my future with tarot cards. I really liked him. He was funny and strong. Heck he could even sing. So even though we didn’t do anything in the tent, I gave him my phone number. We texted back and forth and it was nice having someone care about me that way. When we finally went on a date I was extremely nervous. I wanted to flee, especially when we parted ways and he wouldn’t leave without kissing me goodbye. He was in my opinion a good kisser, but I found myself vastly uninterested in the kiss. I wondered to myself when it would be over. Knowing this and that we were in different stages in our lives I broke things off with him quickly. This chalked up another failure to be attracted to a guy.
I still wasn’t convinced however. I clung to my last vestiges of straight-ness. I didn’t want to be gay. I have wanted to join the military as a doctor since I was 15, and with ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ it was easier for me to abbreviate that to ‘Don’t’. My best friend, J, and I had been flirting all summer and when he would visit me the tension was palpable. I sunk into the familiarity and the comfort he offered, and when he visited for Thanksgiving I agreed to give the relationship an honest try. This worked pretty well. Until he who want to kiss me, then I simply played along.
I had never made out with a boy though, and I thought maybe this was my problem. So I let J drag me onto the bed and we made out for about three hours. I tried to get into the kissing in almost desperation, but the only time I felt comfortable was when I closed my eyes. I knew then this relationship was doomed. I broke things off with him two weeks later, and because he was so in love with me and probably had been since my freshmen year, we said we couldn’t be friends anymore. So due to my instance I wasn’t gay, I lost my best friend.
At least now however I have accepted the fact that I am a lesbian. I now acknowledge that I have had mostly female celebrity crushes in the past few years and that the thought of having sex with a man disgusts me. After getting turned on often by episodes of Xena and The L word, I have accepted I am sexually more attracted to females. Or so it seems. I have yet to find another woman that I am attracted to. I certainly haven’t found any men, so for now I wait, to see who I might I fall in love with next. I do not care what the gender is the person I fall in love with; I just want to be able to be happy and comfortable in a relationship. But then I guess that’s what we all want, isn’t it?
Only my closest friends know about my thoughts about my sexuality, and until I can figure it out more that’s how it’s going to be, especially since I still plan on joining the military. But who knows? ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ might be repealed by the time I join. Well one can hope.
QBP: "Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." -Dr. Seuss