December 17, 2010

Beating around the bush...

Sometimes this whole lesbian thing is confusing and exhausting. And complicated.

Did you know that there are categories, not only of types of lesbians (butch, boi, femme, soft butch, high nauseum), but categories of sexual roles and behavior?  Sigh.  I have so much to fucking learn.

You have what they call a top (the sexual initiator), a bottom (, receiver), a femme top, bossy bottom (very directive!), stone butch.

Ladies, heterosexuals do not do this.  We try so hard to break free from the tradional roles and labels, why would we create new ones? 

And why are we hostile towards others who don't fit into our particular category? 

I was recently in a lesbian bar in Seattle shaking my groove thing on the dance floor, and a fellow gay woman walked up to me, tapped me on the shoulder and leaned to say something in my ear.  I thought she was being flirty and flashed her my best smile as I tried to smell her.  (I am obsessed with smelling women, have I mentioned this before?  I want to put my face right in the space between her neck and her shoulder and see what she smells like.  I fantasize about this.) 

Anyway, this lady leaned in and said, "I didn't think purses were allowed in here."

Not flirty.  She was just being bitchy.  And telling me that I didn't "belong" there because I don't look gay. 

I wish I could say that I responded with a witty and biting remark.  Something like, "Well, I have to carry a else can I travel with my strap-on?" 

But honestly, I was too stunned to even reply. Who the hell did she think she was?

What pissed me off the most is that if I was at that bar with my girlfriend (who's obviously gay), that chick would have never said that to me because I would have been recognized as one of the "family."  Plus my girlfriend could kick her ass.  Heh.

As for sex, I like to say I am ambisextrous: top, bottom, sideways, upsidedown, backwards, I like it all. 

Why the hell would I limit myself?

November 22, 2010

Thanks for your faithful service...

I recently went to a friend's military retirement ceremony. As I sat in the back row and watched my (soon-to-be ex) husband give a speech, I blinked back tears. I realized that when MY (soon-to-be ex) husband has his retirement ceremony, there will be some other beautiful woman sitting in the front row in a pretty little dress, and he will thank her for all of her love and support.

That was supposed to be me, dammit. Divorcing him means erasing the ten years of support I gave him. Divorcing him means that all the sacrifices that I made were all for nothing.  Moving all around the world.  Never having my own support system of friends who become your family.  Starting over every two years.  Being defined as a military wife.

Even though I told my husband I was gay months ago, I am still haunted by questions.  Am I really gay, or did I just fall in love with this woman? If she and I were not together, could I be with a man again?  (Can you ever overcome that ick factor?)

Mostly, I struggle with the loss of the dream. The dream of the "perfect" family. The dream of two parents for my children.

I struggle with the loss of most of my friends who couldn't see me through my journey from married mother to single (gasp!) lesbian.

I know I can justify it. I'm now living my authentic self, sexual orientation isn't a choice, a happy mother means happy children, blah, blah, blah.  But sometimes I just want to stomp my foot and have a tantrum.  This wasn't the way it was supposed to be.

For most of my marriage I wasn't particulary unhappy. Luckily, I chose a partner who is a wonderful person, and he gave me enough freedom to not feel trapped and yet still feel loved unconditionally.  I could have lived like that forever.

Certainly, other women looked at my "perfect" marriage and were envious.  They told me so.  One time, a friend of mine said how pretty she thought a mutual friend of ours was.  I asked her, "Do you think I'm pretty?"

"Shit, girl, you have the hottest husband out of all of us!" she laughed.  I smiled smugly because it was true.

In the meantime, what no one could see from the outside was my authentic self, my gay self, knocking on the door and tapping me on the shoulder.

"I'm still here," my gay self said, "and I'm not going away. Please open the door. We have fun over here. You can be yourself. Rainbows! And great sex, too!"

Such contradictory emotions, and trying to stop them is like trying to stop ocean waves.  Grief combined with bliss.  Disgust mixed with yearning.  Contentment and disappointment.

I'm just going to hold onto my little life raft and ride this one out.

November 8, 2010

Book Review: Dear John, I Love Jane

Dear John, I Love Jane is a collection of 27 stories by women who all have one thing in common: they left men for women. Just like I did.

I struggled with my own feelings of attraction to women over the course of my ten year marriage. I have described the struggle as trying to hold a beach ball underwater. From the surface, everything looked fine and if I kept my position just right, no one could see me holding that ball still. I lived in fear of making even the smallest change in my footing which would result in the beach ball shooting up through the surface of the water and then everyone would see. And everyone would get wet.

It didn't mean I was unhappy. Sure, I could have lived like that forever. Sometimes I held my breath but sometimes I was fine. Overall, I just felt numb.

You can imagine the relief and camaraderie I felt when reading these stories. I saw myself in every one of them. Finally, I was understood! I’m not a freak! There are (many!) other women who felt the same way.

These women put all their cards on the table, knowing they might win big but could also lose everything, and were brave enough to play that hand anyway.

In addition to the foreword by Dr. Lisa M. Diamond, each story speaks to the concept of sexual fluidity, something women have known for ages but society is just catching on to. The women also describe being looked at with a suspicious eye by the larger gay community, as if we are simply 'trying on' our gayness.

These stories are fascinating, heartbreaking and ultimately hopeful. I highly recommend this book. Go buy it today.

November 5, 2010

Head vs. heart: who wins?

After I ended things with my crush, we didn't talk for a little bit.  We were, thankfully, on a break from school so we didn't have to see each other.

Still, I felt like I couldn't breathe.  I just wanted to make sure she was okay. 

A fight broke out between my head and my heart:

Head:    You put your foot down, now you need to stick to it.

Heart:    But I'm afraid I can't breathe without her.

Head:    Don't you even fucking think of picking up the phone.

Heart:    But today I cried in my Subway sandwich...this hurts too much.

In my previous relationships with men, and especially in my marriage, I could have walked away at any time. I made sure my husband knew this too.  I was stubborn and indignant, and I never said I was sorry for anything.  There's the door buddy, I would think.  I meant it.

But this "break" we were on turned me into a sobbing mess.  (As if I needed more proof that I am gay!)  What the hell was happening to me?  I spent the whole week worrying, thinking and being generally miserable at the thought that I asked her to leave my life.  I put up a wall but I didn't want it there.

Via girlsbravo
Les Femmes

I caved and sent her an email asking her if we could go out to dinner and talk.  My heart pounded until I received a reply.  It said:

"You are a forever girl, you are not a rebound girl."

My heart and my loins ached for her in a primal, visceral way.

We met for dinner the next night and as she held my face and kissed me, I whispered in her ear that I can't live without her.

October 22, 2010

Oh, the eye candy!

So, since my "awakening" (ahem), it seems as if my eyes have gone through some changes.  I never used to notice women in my everyday life...just went on about my business with my head down.

Well, I finally looked up.

The Seattle area is filled with dykes.  Oh. My. God.  The lady at the seafood counter at the market--so obviously gay.  I strut back and forth in front of her, wearing my cutest outfits and pushing my little cart.  Sometimes I stop and ask her a dumb question about Dungeness crab.  (Sandy, if you are reading this, call me!)

Gay girls, all tattooed and angsty, making my coffee.  I want to say, "Yes, I'll have my vanilla latte with a side of you, please."

My obsession has even spread to internet admiration of the female form.  Not trashy, fake stuff like Playboy or Penthouse, but real classy stuff. 

There's this website called Les Femmes and they have pictures like this:

Christ on a cracker, I feel like a thirteen year old boy.  How is a baby dyke supposed to get any work done?

October 15, 2010

Coming out to my daughter...

I decided tonight was the night I was going to tell my older daughter(she's 14) that I am gay.  I put the little one to bed, called her  downstairs and softened the blow by offering her cookies and milk.  Cookies and milk!  Who can resist that?!

We stood in the kitchen eating our cookies.  My voice shook as I explained that I've always questioned my sexuality, and that I dated a woman before I got married. I told her that recently these feelings came back to the point where I'm sure now that I am gay.

She was a little amused, at this point I think, smiling because she was nervous and it was surreal.

She asked me what this means for our family.

"I can't stay married to a man if I'm gay, honey," I said.

She cried on my shoulder so much that the sleeve of my sweater was soaked.  She and my husband are so very close and she wanted to know how he was dealing with it. I explained that he supports me fully and that we are committed to maintaining a peaceful home and continuing to be best friends. 

It was the most difficult thing I have ever done.

At the end, she said, "Mom, I get it. It's who you are and you can't change that. It's just a lot of information to take in at one time."

"By the way," she said on her way up the stairs, "Those cookies will forever be known as the gay cookies."

For more information about coming out to your children, please visit the COLAGE website at

October 8, 2010

A kiss and a crash...

I invited my new crush over to my house and then out for lunch.  After she met my kids and I gave her a tour of the house, we walked over to a Mexican restaurant where she spoke Spanish to the waitress.  (Did I mention that she's trilingual?  OMG so sexy.)

After lunch we walked down to the beach.  She took off her jacket and laid it down on the rocks so we would have something to sit on.  We held hands and cuddled, and she kissed my hands and rubbed my back.  I heard the waves in the background but everything else was absolutely still.  Eventually, our faces turned towards each other and we kissed.

It was like the whole world stood still for a moment.  This is what people write love songs about, I thought.  I saw angels and heard trumpets and my heart was exploding.  It was the most perfect kiss ever.

Marred only by reality....

My new crush was sleeping on a twin bed in her son's room until her ex-girlfriend moved out, but things there seemed a little weird to me.  I had always heard about the never-ending lesbian breakup but I never witnessed it for myself.  Until now.

They still went out to dinner, watched movies and had beers together.  When her ex had car trouble, M ran right over to figure out what was wrong. 

She would text her ex when she was having dinner with me.  (Behavior I would NEVER have tolerated from a man.  If a guy texted his ex while on a date with me, I would have picked up my purse, all classy-like and walked right out.)

I was starting to feel like the other woman, the rebound girl.  I worried that there was still a chance they would get back together and if I was wondering, surely her ex was hoping.

Things got worse...

I saw her in class and she looked at me with tired, bloodshot eyes.

"What's wrong?" I asked.

"I'm tired of crying.  I was up all night," she said.  "She stole my phone in the middle of the night and read all of our text messages."

"So she's got my phone number now?"

"Yes, but I don't think she will call you."

 I really had to weigh my options here.  How much do I want this?  I could walk down the street and hold her hand, but she refused, saying she wanted to "respect" her ex.

Finally, it hit me. 

I'm the third person in that crumbling relationship.  I realized I had to back out, if only for the sake of my own dignity.

"If you are crying over her," I said, "Then you still have unresolved issues with that relationship.  I cannot be the one to heal you. 

I want you to contact me when and if your relationship is truly over, and you can be with me for real."

Now I can't breathe.  Love like this just doesn't go away, right?

October 1, 2010

Signs that I was gay...before I even knew

I'm finding it humorous that now that I've come out, I've discovered many signs that should have clued me in to my gayness SO much earlier.

Here's my list:
  • I always brought up the gay topic to gauge someone's reaction. For example, I would mention at a large family dinner that I went to a gay bar and got hit on by other women. (True, by the way.) But I would bring up the subject specifically to see if they were gay-friendly or not.

  • I used to go to gay bars alone. (Um, hello? What straight, married, soccer mom does this?!)
  • I have a painting of a naked woman sitting on the edge of a bathtub...I always thought it was so beautiful: her long hair, the curve of her back.  

  • One of my favorite things in my house is my statue of Artemis, Greek goddess of the new friends tell me this is SO gay.

  • I had a huge crush on my college math teacher.  She was also the coach of the girl's volleyball team.  Straight, but very butch.  I used to hang around after class and offer to carry things back to her office with her.

  • I love all the typical lesbian music: Indigo Girls, k.d. lang, etc. But I was so obsessed with Melissa Etheridge that a few years ago, my mother asked me if I was gay.  Of course, I quickly said no.

  • I always avoided touching other women. 

Since I've come out, no one has been shocked when I tell them I'm gay.  I suppose if they knew me well, they knew that I always liked girls.  But if it was so bloody obvious, why didn't they tell me?

What about you? What were the signs you were gay before you knew??

September 23, 2010

Maria, Maria...she reminds me of a west side story...

During my first graduate school class last fall, we went around the room and introduced ourselves.  One of my classmates began to speak, and something inside me snapped to attention.  I couldn't stop watching her from across the room.  She was so beautiful and her voice was captivating. She had a smile that warmed me inside, and skin the color of a perfect cappucino. 

Have I mentioned before how much I love coffee?

Our university is in a not-so-safe area and our classes are at night, so we began walking to our cars together after class.  I learned that she was in the middle of a break-up with her girlfriend of five years.  She learned that I was at the beginning of a divorce.  Pretty soon, we were talking everyday and meeting for dinner before class.

Not knowing how to flirt with a woman, I was at a loss of what to do.  One night, fueled by a few of glasses of wine, I sent her a text and told her that I think she is incredibly sexy. (Which, by the way, I feel strongly that cell phones should have a breathalyzer attached to them that automatically disables the phone if you're drunk.  This would have saved my ass many, many times.) 

 After class one night I drove her to her car, she gathered her things and got out.  She startled me when she opened the door to my car and got back in. 

"I just came back to give you a hug," she said. 

When she put her arms around me, I swear I got struck by lightning. 

I was overwhelmed by the feel of her hair in my face and my hands on her back.  I knew that I could never live without that feeling in my life anymore.

But what did I say in that moment? The moment that my soul finally found what it was searching for my whole life?  The moment that I felt complete and perfect and emotional and ecstatic??

"You smell GREAT," I said.

The dumbest thing ever.

I hope she still likes me.

September 7, 2010

The first cut is the deepest...

One night I was out walking my dog and I felt like I was going crazy, crying and walking.  I knew that I was gay, and my husband knew I was gay, but no one else knew.    Always a believer that secrets are like poison, I just knew I had to tell someone. Right then. Right that very second.

I called my friend who lives around the block, and asked her if I could come over to talk. When I got to her house, her husband took one look at the box of Kleenex in my hand and hightailed it right out of there.

She poured us each a glass of wine and asked me what was going on.  I blurted out, "We're getting divorced." She asked why and I said,

"Because I'm gay."


Then she walked over to me, gave me the tightest hug and cried right along with me.

I live within shouting distance of my very closest friends. We have parties, spend holidays together and our kids are all friends.  Whether I need a cup of sugar or a bottle of tequila, my friends are there for me. 

My friend and I discussed which of our friends would be okay with me being gay, and which ones I should absolutely not tell.  One of my friends gives her son Playboys so he won't "turn out gay."  Yeah, probably shouldn't break the news to her.  But we agreed everyone else should be okay with it.  I mean, we're young, we're liberals and we live in Seattle, for God's sake.  They will all still love me anyway, right?

Except one:  my friend's husband Robbie is a midwestern, corn-fed, football loving conservative.  I had no idea how he would take the news.  My best guess was that he wouldn't speak to me and wouldn't allow our kids to play together anymore.

As I slowly began telling my friends that I am gay, I became more and more anxious about what Robbie would do.  The last thing I wanted was for my kids to suffer any negative consequences because of me.  I also wondered if my friends would begin to take sides, choosing between supporting my husband or me.  Word was spreading fast among my friends (no matter how much someone promises they won't tell, they always do...bitches!)

One night, there was a knock at the door.  It was Robbie.  He wrapped me up in a huge bear hug.  He told me that he would support me no matter what, and that they would always be my friends.

I sure hope he means it.

August 30, 2010

Wait...I'm what?

About six months ago, I climbed into bed with my husband.  Having just celebrated our tenth anniversary, I had no idea how he was going to react to what I was about to tell him. I explained to him that I was having these feelings and they wouldn’t go away. Feelings of attraction to women. Again. 

He put down his book, looked at me and said,

“Babe, you’re gay.”

Er, what?  (He was always blessed with spectacular gaydar.)

You see, I’ve always known that I wasn’t, shall we say, 100 percent straight, but I thought it was something I could control. Something that if I tried really hard, I could forget about and live without.  A few times during the course of our marriage I had sought out women and tried to start relationships, but it was never the right girl or the right time.

I didn’t even really consider myself bisexual, even though I had been with a woman before I got married. Everyone experiments, right?

I guess it took me a long time to realize that when being with a woman becomes a part of your soul, it’s more than experimentation. And when that craving makes you see into the future a life you never imagined, that’s more than experimentation.

But how could I be gay? GAY?! I always dated men and even married two of them. I was boy crazy for most of my life.

But...I never felt that 'can’t eat, can’t sleep, can’t-live-without-you' love and attraction that my friends felt for men. My best friend asked me once, “You know, that feeling during sex when you feel drunk on him and your eyes roll back into your head?”

Um, no.  I didn’t know that feeling because that didn’t happen to me when I was with men. I had no desire for men at all, even to the point of begging my doctor to find something hormonally wrong with me that would explain my low libido.  I didn't make the connection that what was hormonally wrong was that I was sleeping with the wrong gender.   

But could I really transform every aspect of my life just to satisfy myself?  Aren't mothers supposed to sacrifice themselves for the best interests of the family?  Could I really come out to my parents and my children?  Could I look at my comfortable surburban lifestyle complete with a great man, cute kids, huge house and still walk away?  What about the collateral damage...would my kids hate me?  Would my parents disown me?

My husband moved all of his stuff into our guest room and said he'd always be my best friend.  I settled in to sleep alone...

and so begins my journey.