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.