A little shake up from what I have been posting about recently, but in honor of National Coming Out Day yesterday I thought I would share my truth.
I haven’t thought about this in years. It’s been 9 years since I came out to my friends and maybe 6 since I came out publicly. I was 16 when I came out to my closest friends, it was the scariest thing I have ever felt that I had to do. Let me back up a little bit, I’ll tell you about my first coming out, not the nice pretty one I had when I was 16.
I first tried to come out to my parents when I was about 12. They told me no. Quite literally they both told me that no I wasn’t gay, I just hadn’t met the right person yet and I wasn’t able to make that decision so young. Let me explain something from a psychology background. Sexual orientation and gender identity or innate, you are born that way. You don’t choose anything. The only thing you decide or choose to do is share your truth. When I was 12 I didn’t have that understanding yet, DOMA was still a thing, LGBTQ hate crimes, not being able to marry, being cast aside, increased suicides amongst LGBTQ teens, and a whole host of other things that made LGBTQ persons seconds class citizens. I buried who I was, for years I pretended that I was someone I’m not. My parents didn’t kick me out, they didn’t tell me they didn’t love me, all in all my first coming out was not as bad as it could have been, but it still wasn’t what I needed. At 12 I had no understanding of psychology, I had no really understanding of biology, I had no really understanding of what it was that I was deciding to share other than it was my truth.
At 14 while living my lie, I did what any girl trying to be straight does; I got a boyfriend. Actually I had 3 in total until I came out. What I leave out is that I was sexually assaulted during this time period. That’s only important because while I was being treated for the PTSD that followed, many of the doctors tried to claim that I wasn’t gay. No they tried to claim that my assault made me think that I was, but I was really straight. Keep in mind I’ve understood that I was different since I was a little girl trying to fit in with all the boys.
At 16 I told my closest friends, they could not have cared less, only joking as long as I wasn’t interested in them, they still loved me for who I was then. I didn’t tell my parents this time. At 16 I was being harassed by schoolmates, I almost moved to a new part of the states because of it. I missed over 100 days of school between my junior and senior year, I still graduated an honors student, with IB certificates in 3 classes, as a varsity athlete. I was fortunate.
At 19 I had my first girlfriend, my father said that I might still find a nice man to settle down with. My mother went to pride that year.
At 25 I got engaged to the woman I loved more than anything in this world. My mother still goes to pride, my father joined her this year and helped coordinate an area wide group to march under his company’s banner. My aunt agreed to officiate the wedding, my dad was to give me away, my cousins were to be my best men, my mother in law helped us plan the whole thing. I bought us a honeymoon to Mexico, with plans for a second one to go to Harry Potter World, we picked a venue, color scheme, music and were working on menus. On July 8, 2018 we celebrated two years together, with plans to marry on March 1, 2019.
At 25 my fiancée died.
I never came out to my parents again officially after age 12. I think they and my whole family have finally come to the conclusion that as long as I am happy they are happy. I’ve never brought it up again. If they knew their rejection still crept into my mind they would hate themselves.
I don’t blame my parents. Looking back I think part of them reacted out of fear. That doesn’t excuse their behavior, but it explains it. Their actions since then work to smooth it over. They prove every day that they love and support me.
I never really new what I had until it was (temporarily) taken from me. I’m in somewhat of a unique situation where I am considered disabled, but I have a light at the end of the tunnel that so many people I have met in these last 3 months don’t have. Let me explain. The rehabilitation center that I go to specializes in helping persons who have suffered from a stroke or being paralyzed due to one reason or another. These people don’t have the same light at the end of their tunnel as I do. Maybe one day they will get 80% function back into the effected body part(s), me I know that in a few months my arm will be back to near 100%, my leg the same if not better than before, and my brain well my brain who knows that could take years. I think it’s easy to look on it now and realize just how much I took for granted with my ableism. I mean I could drive, I could do mundane tasks, I didn’t have to worry about anything.
I really started thinking about this the other day; I was finally able to wash my hair, like for real with both hands instead of a modified one handed attempt. I can now get myself dressed, in clothes that fit, by myself. So many things that up to this point I was able to do without thinking twice. Now it takes more effort than I care to admit to, to complete any activity of daily living, complicated even more by the fact that I do not have an in home care giver.
I can look at this a hundred different ways and still recognize that I took my ableism for granted, but that doesn’t mean that I overlooked the difficulties that others face. Now though, I can empathize and sympathize because I feel it and it sucks. If this was my permanent new normal I’m sure that, like many of the people I have met in the last three months, I would adapt. I just don’t have to adapt long term. I’ve learned how to put my socks on, to pull up my pants, to button them one handed, to clasp my bra, to brush my teeth, to finally be able to shave, to wash my hair, drive a car, walk my dog, attempt to cook. I’ve relearned all of these things and the inner strength it took to do so surprised even me.
I think, I know, we take our ableism for granted every single day in even the most mundane tasks, but I also think that our society has such a stigma surrounding those that are impacted in various ways around their disabilities. We often only focus on the physical impacts or differences, we overlook the emotional or mental differences. We overlook the perseverance or resilience it takes some one to work towards overcoming these hurdles and make a new normal for themselves.
Did anyone else ever stop to think, maybe those who are perceived as disabled are actually the more abled. The ingenuity, the abstract thinking the grit and determination it takes to complete a task, it would put an able bodied person to shame, but that is simply because they don’t have to think about completing a task, they don’t have to think about doing a different way, or coming up with a new way to get something done.
My accident may have left it’s permanent scars, but the strength and resilience it has helped me develop is second to none. I never want to go through this pain again, but now I know that I can, and I will come out stronger on the other side because of it.
Not being able to work, because of the injuries I sustained in the car accident, has been both a blessing and curse. It’s been nearly 3 months and I estimate another 3 before I can return to work. This gives me almost too much time to think, to reflect and ponder aimlessly on every detail of my life that I can remember from the last few years.
There is some quote about how words cut deeper than sticks or stones ever could and leave more painful scars. Right now, in this moment, with all that I have gone through, I think that I finally understand what that means. A little perspective, in my life I have had two knee surgeries as a result of playing soccer and now 4ish years later it’s not even something that I think about. More recently, the car accident, I broke my nose, my orbit, a rib, my leg, and shattered my humerus and elbow. Fighting through this is cake, it’s what I was raised to do; fight until it’s over and not a moment sooner. My right arm is little more than a glorified paperweight at this point, it’s held together by screws, plates and nothing short of a thousand prayers that I get function back again. I’ll always have a 12 inch scar running down my arm, but one day I’ll barely remember that my arm was shattered. The physical scars will almost always fade away in one way or another.
Let’s talk about the emotional scars I carry. My fiancée was killed immediately in the accident, I have no memory of the 10 days after, the thoughts, the feelings and the most recent memories that I have of Kelsie. Not without having to strain my memory to think of any bit I can get to. I can feel how much she loved me, how much she wanted a life with me, the kids we will never have, the life we had roughly planned out. I know all of these things, I will carry them with me forever, because it’s all that I have left.
What has been bothering me the most is that through all of this no one has seen me cry, no one has seen me break down, no one has been on the receiving end of my rage that I keep bottled up inside always on the verge of coming out. And yet my brain can only remember being told that I’m not a good person, that I’m too negative and a whole host of other things attacking my character. I get up every morning and I fight to take my next breath, I fight to keep going, and if I didn’t still wear my engagement ring no one would ever know that my other half, my better half, died before we could have a life.
Life is about more than just surviving
But sometimes you have to learn how to survive again before you can live.
It almost shames me that that attack on who I am clouds my mind when all I should be doing is grieving and focusing on healing physically. Do I get sad sometimes, of course, the human who was to be my wife 7 months after her funeral is gone, but no one will ever know how I really feel, no one will ever see me break unless I want them to. No one is 100% all the time, I’m no exception, but what I can tell you is that now no one sees anything but the mask of my being 100%. That’s not fair to me.
It’s okay to not be okay
Kelsie taught me that, after working for months to break through and repair the damage done by your words. It’s not healthy to perfectly okay all the time.
I love you and miss you everyday little penguin. It’s been 2.5 months and it still hasn’t gotten any easier to not have you by my side.
Hey Little Pengüino,
I don’t know why today is so much harder than all the others, maybe because I’m starting to feel everything again. My arm fucking hurts and my leg feels like it’s going to give out, but all I keep thinking about is the support, love and unwavering devotion you would have given me if you were still here.
I’m sitting on our deck, drinking my first cup of coffee in 5 weeks and all I can think about is all the times we used to do the same on our mornings off, or the dinners we would eat when it was nice enough. Atlas I don’t think knows what to do, she keeps going to her spot to look out, but she is just so lost; she misses you and Juneau, she misses her momma.
Everyday I think about how I am supposed to move forward, not the actual moving forward, but like how am I even supposed to comprehend the possibility of even doing that? We never really thought we had that many friends, but let me tell you in times of need those who think the most of you show up and holy shit have they. I don’t know how you would feel about Jack Jack coming back into my life since he left, but surprisingly he’s the one I can count on most. He understands in a way my parents and our co-workers can’t. He doesn’t sympathize with my loss, but like your mom he gets it and is perfectly content just letting me talk about you as we knew you and as I knew you, to let me talk about religion and how I don’t know how I am ever going to be able to move forward without you, to have the future we planned. He understands that I lost sight of my future, but doesn’t try to force me to find it again. With my luck I will live a very long life and not see you again until I’m old, you took the white lighter from me, you weren’t supposed to do that, we were supposed to throw it over a cliff together and live another 50 birthdays together surrounded by Isaac and Riley’s children, our grandchildren.
You were it for me LP, you showed me a love I never thought I was worthy of, you showed me a future I could never have dreamed for myself, and you gave me a life I never want to let go of. How do I move forward, not on, but forward from that? Maybe time will tell, maybe it won’t. Just know that I still love you with all that I have and all that I am. You are my sun, my moon, and my stars. When I am called home I hope that you are the one to meet me at the door.
Until I hold you again,
Hey Little Penguin-I’ve been thinking a lot since I woke up and just knew you were no longer with me, that our future was just dreams and fantasy, and I would never get to tell you another cheesy pick up line just to hear you laugh. I’m not sure how long it’s going to take me to write this or how many parts it’s going to be, but there is just so much I need to say, and if God works the way we always thought, you will hear every single word.
I think a lot of people have learned a lot these last nearly 3 weeks. I don’t think as many people who showed up to your rosary and funeral knew just how big of a role church played in your life. So I’ll start there. Thank you. Thank you for walking the path with me to bring the Lord back into my life, I think it’s been almost a year now since I started attending mass regularly with your family and just because you are no longer there to show me the way, it doesn’t mean I will stop. You know I woke up a week after the accident and I just remember feeling more sad and angry than I think I ever have before. I remember something you said to me once “God doesn’t give us anything more than we can handle” I don’t think you’re wrong but since waking up and not remembering a damn thing and having too much time to think, not to mention the three different chaplains coming to see me every day, I’d like to make a small change to that. “God does not give us anything more than he can handle the repercussions of” let me explain. He knows a lot of us are hurt, are sad, are angry, and just don’t understand, but He knows we will come back to him, be it in hopes of finding answers or to seek comfort. Let me tell you, I know your family is struggling with losing you and me well, I get to permanently miss you for the rest of my mortal life. But I, we, will always love you.
I know that you knew I loved you and I know that you loved me. I find peace in that. Thank you for teaching me how to love and be loved.
Thank you for being the Little Dipper to my Big Dipper, the Robin to my Batman, the Batman to my Joker, the belt to my Orion, the moon to my nights, Atlas’ momma, but most of all thank you for being mine and letting me be yours.
Just know how much we all miss you, for a variety of different reasons unique to each of us, and while we have yet to find comfort in our loss of you we know you are still with us each and every day.
Over the past year, actually even longer, this past year is just what sticks out the most, I’ve been through a roller coaster of emotions when it comes to the feelings I have for the country I have called home for my entire life. In light of terrorist attacks, both foreign and domestic I have always felt some semblance of safety. Sure with every additional shooting, bomb etc I’ve grown a little more weary and cautious of my surroundings, but ultimately I have felt that my home, my country would do all it could to keep me, my family, and my friends safe. With each passing day I feel a little less safe. I feel a little less secure. I feel a little more scared and fearful for my safety. I’m not just talking about terrorism anymore. I’m legitimately growing fearful of this country, of the turn it’s taking.
In school we whitewash history. In school we learn about patriarchy and how patriarchy built this country and made it great. Patriarchy and putting all value on the shoulders of men is what will be the downfall of this country. We have a too deep and truly hurtful view of what it takes to be a man in this world, all of which seems to lead to violence, hate, fear and an inability to show compassion, empathy and most of all love. Love will always prevail, but just the same it will always be overshadowed by hatred and violence that usually stems from fear. This world is in an honest to goodness downward spiral and just like all of history it will take a huge push, a coming together for a common cause, to cause this spiral to reverse or at the very least flatten out. Ever the realist I don’t honestly expect to see this in my life time. I see genocide, I see pointless wars and I see so much fear and hate. I see lives lost unnecessarily, families torn apart and really I see people losing hope and faith.
Ill be blunt, I’m gay, like really freaking gay. I used to be proud that I could straight pass, that I could blend in and it wasn’t as noticeable that I was different, that I deviated from the norm, that I was a target for hate, for bullying and for violence. Growing up I got a lot of shit for being different, there were rumors spread, people said horrible things about me and to me. I was ashamed of myself, I was ashamed of not understanding why so many people could hate me for something I didn’t full understand yet. I’m not ashamed anymore. I’m open, I’m proud and even in light of everything that is going on in this world, in this country, I’m proud to be who I am, I am proud to be able to call myself a member of the queer community. For once in my life I feel free, I don’t feel suffocated by secrets, I don’t feel like I need to hide in order to be accepted by my friends, my family or even my coworkers. I’m accepted, not just by them, but by myself.
Enough about me. Being queer, being “different” has always and I mean always made you a target for hate, for violence and a more difficult life path. In the past years I’ve watched, I’ve read and I’ve listened to the steps (no matter how small) this country has made both progressively and more often than not sprinting backwards. We passed marriage equality at a federal level. We repealed don’t ask don’t tell, we are working to end workplace discrimination. But that isn’t enough. I’m lucky to work in two environments where my bosses could honestly not care less whether I’m gay straight or even an alien, so long as I come into work and do my job. I know there are plenty of others who aren’t as lucky as I am. I know there are plenty of others who are discriminated against for simply looking or coming across as gay, regardless of how they identify. This country, my homeland, it’s supposed to be a melting pot, it’s supposed to be a symbol of refuge and safety from oppression. For me it is nothing but a disappointment. We are no longer a melting pot, we are no longer a place others can look to when they seek safe harbor, we are no longer a land of opportunity. We are a country filled with systematic oppression, crippling debt, intense fear and hate. Please do not get me wrong I recognize the incredible ability this country has to come together following tragedy. It is painfully evident after every shooting, every bombing, after every horrible act that occurs on US soil. But why does it take a tragedy to bring us together? Is anyone else sick and tired of holding vigils after mass shootings? Is anyone else afraid of going in public for fear of being the next victim?
If you’re reading this know that I don’t miss you. Know that I don’t think about you or even wonder what you have been up to. Know that when I do even come across you in my mind I remember the pain of being left when I was my most vulnerable. Know that I’m grateful for all that you taught me about myself after you were gone, because without you I would have never learned so much about my own strength, my true self and what I needed to do to grow and finally be happy. Yes, happy. I’m so I fucking happy now it’s almost sickening. I don’t even recognize myself and those who know me and have gotten to know me can see it too. Sure we “were sickengly cute” but now, now it’s different. I’m in love with someone who sees me. Not just how happy I can be, how much love I have to give, how cute, sweet, kind, adorable and silly I can be, but that when I get sad, when I can’t get out of bed, when I get angry or upset for no reason she loves me anyway. She accepts me for me and knows that even though my emotions can get difficult that’s not all that I am. I am not negative, I am not angry, I am not defined by the emotions that make up less than five percent of my being.
I’m not writing this to brag about how amazing my relationship is. If you ask me it doesn’t even feel like almost 8 months have gone by. I don’t even remember what it feels like to be angry with someone that I love with my entire being. Why? That’s easy, we communicate because if we ever are upset it’s a misunderstanding. One that is corrected with patience, explanations and a fucking hug to let each other know that it’s not the end of the world, we are safe and secure in what we have and the other is going to bolt at the first sign of a problem.
I have so many other things I could say about how happy I am and why. I could probably go on forever about the love and acceptance I have found not just in myself, but from someone else. I could go on and on about how much I have grown in the last year, but I won’t. I will say this: I have no room in my heart or life for hate or negative energy. I don’t forgive anyone to make them feel better, nor do I do things to please other people. I do it for me. I forgive to lighten my own heart, I do things for my own happiness.
So know this. If I’ve cut you out it’s for good reason. I no longer have room for the detrimental energy you brought to my life. I will however thank you for all that you taught me about life and about myself, but you are no longer welcome here.
We have life changing realizations every day. Some little, some small. The fact is that they change the path you were on and put you on a new one-good or bad, realizations and subsequent decisions change you.
I knew I was different from a young age. I can’t give you an exact answer as to when that was, but at the very least I knew I wasn’t attracted to just boys by 4th grade. Sure I had boyfriends from 5th-11th grade, but I also knew that I cared more for girls than I cared or was allowed to admit. To be honest I just don’t think I understood what was going on. Mainstream media, my family, my community, didn’t talk about the Queer community. I don’t think it was intentional, we had a lesbian couple and their son living up the street from us when I was a kid and could freely interact and be watched by them- in no way were we taught negative things, but that’s also because we just weren’t taught anything. I don’t think it’s because it was mainstream or normal, more that they were seen as friends living together and if nobody talked about it, no one would ask questions. It honestly wasn’t until many years later, when my mom accepted that I was and am very much gay, that she even told me or reminded me.
After I began cutting and burning myself, prettily relentlessly, my parents had their own realization:the help that I was asking for, I actually needed it. Sure it took an emergency trip to the doctor a few days after Christmas for a variety of shots, among other things for them to give in, but I think it finally dawned on them that I wasn’t and am not okay.
One thing I will never, ever be caught saying is that my parents don’t love me. I know they do. I know how fiercely and deeply my mother loves me. I know how much my father cares for my well being and image, and in his own way, and in our own fucked up understanding of each other he would turn the world inside out for me. I will not ever question that they love me. How they show that love, I will always, always have issue with.
Realizations: a part of me will always be suicidal, a part of me will always battle agains self-mutilation, a part of me will always struggle against my hate-filled relationship with food, my father may never accept all of me, my mother will never know how to help me the way that I need her to, I will never be societies definition of normal. But the biggest realization of all, these things are all okay. I understand them, I accept them, I battle with them every day, but none of these things define who I am, who I will become and who I strive to be. They are each a very small part of my bigger picture.
Psychologically speaking Adolescense starts at around the same time as puberty, though not always. Since every human is different it’s something like age 12-18. For me, I have no idea when it started, i was always so far emotionally ahead than many of my peers that it was truly different for me. I noticed a difference though towards the end of elementary (primary) school. I could no longer control what I was feeling, I constantly felt lost, like I wasn’t normal and that maybe, just maybe I wasn’t built to survive this world.
I don’t know what it was, I didn’t have a bad life; I had and have two parents that love me so fiercely it’s crazy, I had a home, I played sports, like a lot of them, I got good grades, I even had tons of friends and my share of boyfriends, yes boyfriends. Really there was no reason for me to feel like this. Not yet at least.
I’m sure everyone can remember their transition from primary school to middle or high school. It fucking sucked. I went from being one of the most popular kids in school to a nobody and lost most of my friends along the way. I just didn’t fit in anymore. Sure, I made enough new friends and did okay in my classes-honor roll and all that stupid stuff-but I just didn’t feel like i belonged. If I really analyze it, it had nothing to do with knowing I was gay. I have had plenty of therapists go down this line, but that’s not what it was. My mind wasn’t on boys or well girls either, or drinking and doing whatever was cool. No, my mind was on school, playing soccer and enjoying myself. Unfortunately for me that didn’t include illegal activities so I ended up isolating myself albeit unintentionally.
It’s probably no coincidence that that year I began cutting and burning. I was big into skating so it wasn’t that big of a stretch if my parents noticed a ridiculous amount of cuts going up my arms. I think they knew though, maybe not the full extent or my feelings, but they knew something wasn’t right. I’m crazy private though.
That’s one thing I know for certain about myself. You know what I want you to know. You see what I want you to see and I tell you what I want you to hear. So my parents heard and saw what I wanted them to see: a daughter that was fine, that loved her life and was enjoying being in said life. I’ve gotten better about it. I’ve let my walls down some, I’ve built them back up but I included some windows this time. Some people are (un)lucky enough to know how to get though and see what’s behind. My face has and will always give me away, but if you can’t read me, well I’m just your every day girl with some serious rbf and slightly monotone voice that really doesn’t talk more than necessary.
It was always this way, I used to be really outgoing. The world, humans and the human brain has a funny way of breaking people.
As I feel up to the task in going to be writing my story. It’s in a particular order that isn’t necessary chronological, but it maps out me now. It’s not a pretty story, it’s not always a happy story, and I have no guarantee that the ending is a happy one. It’s my story though so it is what it is. Believe it or not, this is a lighter look, it was the easiest piece to write. My story it’s not a pretty one for about 6-8 years following the end of this part.
Anyway. Everything is connected. Everything has a purpose, and nothing is meaningless. From the bottom of my heart I know this to be true.