In Transition

Three years ago I came out as bisexual, which was my first attempt to express that I like women. But this year I came out as gay, realizing that so much of my previous “attraction” to men was for the security and validation of their male privilege and not to them as partners. I grew up in a household with so much toxic masculinity that I literally believed my wellness, success in the world, ability to be loved, and self worth were all attached to my ability to “catch” a man, or to otherwise be pleasing to them–pleasing to look at, to be around… which to toxic masculinity means meeting the societal standards of beauty, being silent, compliant and agreeable, and super validating to men (none of which came easy or natural to me).

Men have more power than women in the world I come from, and they do in more spaces than not in the world in which we all live. I thought the only way I could get that power, which I believed was necessary for my survival, was through dating men–so I lied to myself to survive in a harsh environment. I needed male attention and validation to feel like I was valid–my entire self worth was placed on it and I couldn’t help it because I couldn’t see it.
The environment is still harsh, even though some things have changed and I have moved to a more diverse city. Nowadays I find a lot of comfort in just my new-found identity as a lesbian. Even if I’m not dating, even if I never have another lover in my entire life this is a truth I have fought so hard to find in myself and nobody can take it from me. This is a truth that validates me, my past loves, my life joys, my feelings about the world and myself in it. My feelings about love and my knowledge and awareness of love are validated by my identity. Even the unexplainable mysteries of “why” in my life have an explanation through this truth, and that is how I know it is mine.
As I get to know more members of the queer community I find comfort and welcome and a space to exist as myself in their presence. I’m finding myself more and more. I’m learning about myself in the most basic of ways.
Here are some of the things I’ve learned about myself lately:
I’m finding that I don’t like being in a lot of very male dominant spaces. I’m not comfortable in them. I feel almost non-existent compared to masculinity, especially toxic, hyper masculinity. I’m feminine. I’m not a lady in the traditional sense. I burp loudly, I sit with my knees apart, I say “fuck” a lot, and I sure as hell don’t know how to properly place the utensils of a fancy dinner table. I’m not the most “femme” of lesbians either on the strange binary-spectrum of femme and butch that is sometimes thought of as the only possible expression of lesbians. Still, my energy is one of feminine strength. I can’t describe how I mean that. Its one thing I can feel but cannot yet properly describe.
Many spaces put me back into a mind space that is terrifying to me–the one that once led me to contemplating suicide and desperately fighting for reasons not to turn my car into the center divider on the freeway at 70 mph almost constantly.
Straight bars (otherwise known as “Bars” to the hetero-norm) either put me in that space or frustrate me to no end. It is incredible that a group of women can’t go out and have a good time without it either being about men or being interrupted by men.
Drinking was something I did to lose myself and get male attention, so drinking and the culture behind it is not interesting to me. In fact, alcohol just gives me a headache. It used to be that I’d have a headache the next day in the form of a hangover, but now I get one almost as soon as I have a drink.
I see more and more that I am an introvert. I connect with people one-on-one. It is difficult for me to express my truth to large groups, or to feel like I have a space to speak or that my words are even welcome in a large crowd. I can speak to a large audience, but I don’t do well with the social cues of group interaction. It gets difficult for me to focus, to follow thoughts, to be honest to myself and my humor and my nature. I see from a perspective so very different from many people that when they don’t know where I am coming from it is easy for them to misunderstand me, and that misunderstanding is an emotional distance, and emotional distance is something that I feel very deeply and hurts me very much.
I enjoy diversity and differences. I like to see what makes people who they are and often that is best explored through the things we do not have in common or agree on. Most people don’t like this though. I make a lot of people uncomfortable because I make comparisons and they are perceived as judgements. I don’t mean them as judgements. I am simply pointing out differences most of the time. Still, it is one of those things that gets me into trouble in groups.
I’d rather talk about myself and let others talk about themselves than talk about others. I grew up being taught that it was selfish to talk about yourself. I understand that doing it excessively or without any reciprocation on listening can be a little much, but why would we shy away from talking about ourselves? If we don’t talk about ourselves, how will anyone know us? I know some things can be learned through basic interaction, but other things we literally can’t know without someone telling us. Like, what you feel and how you cope and what you think. The things that happen when you are alone with yourself, those are things that are sacred and special, but they can also be a point of connection tot talk about with others at a later time. I enjoy learning these things about others and I enjoy sharing these things about myself. I enjoy finding that some of these things are shared by many, if not all people, and other things are very specific and different from person to person.
Most importantly I am learning that connectivity is a vital piece of my existence, and learning to have healthy connections is a part of love.
There are many things I am still unsure about. There are many pieces of my identity, style, life choices, career path, etc. that I do not yet know or understand. I have been seeking those larger answers for years and am only a little clearer, but still very lost all the time. However, these smaller self revelations are almost more important, and definitely contribute to clearly seeing the bigger picture. In fact, many of those other pieces of myself won’t be clear until I find myself and my truths. Perhaps my purpose is Self Discovery and everything else is an adventurous byproduct (or bi-product, if you’re so inclined).
The transitional phase is coming at me in waves of grief and ecstasy. I cannot hide from it or control it. I cannot rush or slow the timing of the waves’ crashes. I cannot hide. I cannot cease existence in the hopes it’ll all blow over. I cannot fear away from the journey that lies before me. I’ve done that in the past and it almost cost me my life. There’s no more hiding.
I’m in transition.

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