Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Sarah McLachlan

"The night is my companion
And solitude my guide
Would I spend forever here
And not be satisfied?"

Sarah McLachlan.  We'll start there.  I remember hearing that song, Possession, feeling it fill me.  I was very nearly obsessed.  I felt such a raw passion coursing through me, an animalistic hormonal driving need.  It was like nothing I had ever felt for my husband, and the hearing that song put my lustful infatuation to music, spoke it in words, set it to a beat.  I knew what she meant, I understood what she was saying.  Too late in life I finally could relate to what everyone had been trying to prepare me for when I hit puberty, the raging hormones and fits of passion.  That heady rush of senseless impulsive giddiness.  Attraction.  Lust.  I always thought there was something wrong with me, but sitting in my car this night, singing it with Sarah, I felt it.  So strong, so uncontrollable, that it was pretty scary.  Of course, that was Juliea.  I fell in love with her, which was a mistake -- she had told me from the beginning that although she liked to sleep with women, she couldn't imagine ever falling in love with one.  I hadn't meant to.  I had a husband, after all.  She had a boyfriend.  I think she may have sensed that I had developed an emotional bond, and she began to distance herself from me.  She started spending more time with another woman, which had the effect of breaking my heart.  I can't explain why.  Later on, I ended up leaving my husband.  I just wasn't in love with him.

I found another boyfriend, and later a girlfriend also.  (I never had any problem admitting I was bisexual -- even to my family.  I think it's because it is more socially acceptable, I can feel like I am "open" and my family can feel like they are "accepting", but as long as my main relationship is with a guy and I am not shoving my girl on girl sexuality in their face, everyone is happy.)  The boyfriend and I didn't work out, and the girlfriend and I were still living together.  I did love her, but I was scared to death -- because all of a sudden, this changed the dynamic.  I was okay with saying "I'm okay with people being gay and you better accept that about me" and my family would say "Okay honey" and I'd marry a guy and they'd pretend if I had married a woman that they'd have accepted me all the same, but really I never wanted to test how far that acceptance really went.  Because I knew deep down it was all a farce.  I wasn't REALLY brave and they weren't REALLY accepting.  If the boyfriend was gone, and that left only the girlfriend and me, sooner or later someone would wonder.  How would I explain that?  Was I ready for that?  I decided I wasn't, and ran as far and fast from her as I could. 

It has been five years and I am married now.  I had this dream a few weeks ago about her.  At first, I mistakenly interpreted that dream to mean that I was still in love with her.  In fact, under the influence a few months ago, I thought that I was still in love with her.  I realized, though, that I missed a part of myself that she REPRESENTED.  Just as I used to have dreams about this boy I dated in high school.  I tried to reconnect with him when I was 23 and it was a horrible disaster.  The dreams did not mean that we were destined for one another -- it meant that I missed a part of me that he represented.  The carefree, fun-loving, no responsibilities, 17 year old me.  I loved being 17.  I really missed that part of my life, and he was a part of it.  Well, when I was with her, I was being true to myself.  The funny thing is, it may have taken me much longer to come to these realizations if not for my husband.  He said, as we were arguing, that I was gay -- and in that moment, suddenly I realized that he was right.  Secretly inside I had been wondering for a long time, but had never said anything to him about it.  Suddenly everything came flooding over me, and for the next few days I had nothing but questions.  It was overwhelming.  I cried myself to sleep that night -- I thought it would be a relief, but it created more internal chaos than it mended.  I thought a big weight would be lifted off me, but instead it was like a big burden was set squarely on my shoulders.

How could I NOT have known?  All of a sudden, I started seeing all these "signs" that had been there all along.  Did anyone else know?  Suspect?  What do I do now?  Do we get a divorce?  Do we stay together?  Do I tell my family?  Do I tell anyone? 

I must have just assumed that I could not be a lesbian, because I thought of lesbianism as some kind of penis allergy.  I have successfully inserted a penis into my vagina and not had an adverse reaction, therefore I must not be a lesbian!  I had the impression that if I were gay, I would have known beyond a shadow of a doubt, and I never had that absolute certainty.  Men didn't REPULSE me.  It was much more subtle than that for me, which is why I think it took so long to click.  Men didn't turn me OFF -- they just didn't turn me ON.  For me, to look at a man -- even the HOTTEST man -- is like, ehhhhhhh.  I never get that tingle.  That "oooooh", that "ahhhhh".  Oh baby, oh baby.  I guess I must have just thought I hadn't looked at the right guy yet, or I'm not easily excitable.  Women, on the other hand?  Yes, plenty of them can get me all hot and bothered.  Did I ever question why looking at a woman can turn me on, and looking at a man never does?  I guess I thought maybe women were just made to be more visually stimulating.  That it was normal.  I also rationalized why I had never had an orgasm during sex with a man, because many women don't.  To be fair, that IS true.  I'm not the ONLY one who doesn't orgasm from penetration, AND there are lesbians who ENJOY penetration.  Not a matter of orientation there.  It insults my husband a little that looking at his penis is no more exciting to me than looking at his arm or his knee, but hey, I'm honest.  Another thing that complicates things, though -- I DO love him.

So what now?  What about THAT?  I'm not just going to say, "Oh, sorry, honey.  I'm gay, so good luck with life."  I'm not going to pack up and leave, after we have made a life together, and live in a house together.  My son and daughter know him as their stepfather, and his son accepts me as his stepmother.  We are a family, and we love eachother, despite everything.  So, okay, I can accept it now, I'm gay.  I know this.  It's so much more complicated that just moving to Saugatuck and meeting a nice girl to settle down with, you know.  He supports me, but really, what IS there to do?  I feel so trapped and hopeless.  This is the life I chose for myself, and it is the WRONG life.

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