I grew up as an Air Force brat from divorced parents and knew by the age of 5 that I was different. I was your typical tomboy always playing outside and hanging out with the boys. Life was great until I started having hard crushes on both my babysitter and on my friend’s big sister who was eleven. I was living in the South and just knew there was something “wrong” with me. As I grew up I became a promiscuous “straight” girl to hide that side of me deep down and I had power and independence to do what I wanted. I played the games so no one else would know, except for a couple of girl friends along the way who liked to experiment too. During those times I was happy and playful and felt at home. During elementary school I had two sides to me, the good girl that tried to please everyone and the bad girl that got caught smoking, stealing and acting out. Living on Air Force Bases was a form of torture to me because I loved to watch all those Women in Uniform, and I had the freedom to go all over the Base on my bicycle. Now I really started having those funny feelings and the “warm fuzzies” inside. This was like a bomb going off and I knew I had to shut it down fast. I locked it away and became a model student for my escape.
By the time I reached junior high I was a total academic and a chameleon, depending on which group I hung with at the time. Since I moved so much it was easy to maintain and my new motto had become “adapt and overcome” just like the Marines. I joined band and then my world changed as I fell in hard core love/lust with my band teacher. For a year and a half, I had very vivid sexual dreams, I would get flushed being near her and used any excuse to hang out in the band room. Sometimes my friends and I would joke about being gay or else help to taunt others, as I protected MY secret. I was also from a Protestant background and use to church hop with my friends to explore different faiths, searching for answers. The war inside my head and body and soul had begun and I spiralled deeper into an abyss. I became apathetic about living and began taking risks. I even played Russian Roulette several times, sometimes loading two shells across from each other. Obviously, I was meant to live and then moved back to my Mom’s for high school.
This was both a blessing and a curse because my step-dad began to question me almost daily about if I was gay. I lied so much that it became my new truth. Again I shut that part of me down and played the high school dating game. In South Florida, I had begun to become suicidal again during my sophomore year and was researching a GLBT youth support group and trying to get up the guts to go. I also was blessed with meeting an older lesbian couple who gave me guidance as I tried to figure out who I really was inside. During this time, we got orders to Idaho, and hate crimes were still the norm there, as “Queers were being taken, beaten and burned up in their cars” and this was 1986. Needless to say, I was “scared” back into that deep closet and only my Mom and Lesbian friends knew of my confusion as I went back to playing the game. I was crushed and couldn’t handle being different. I wanted the straight marriage, career, house, white picket fence and 2.3 children. I wanted that safety net and being “normal” and accepted, by my family, friends and society. I became a binge alcoholic for my escape, always stayed in control at parties, and became terrified of any female contact that might betray my real self. I also turned away from my faith because I was a sinner now in so many ways. In my high school, we had a suicide epidemic and I knew for a fact that one was gay. I was lost and felt alone because I had shut my emotions down and pulled away from everyone. My first semester of college I lived in the girl’s dorm and that was pure torture as I was thrust into a lustful frenzy as half clothed, or less, women ran around our floor partying and such. I was on the verge of a nervous breakdown and transferred out.
Finally, by 1989 we moved back South and it was in Alabama that I finally came home. I found a gay bookstore and a community of people “Like Me.” My coming out process began and I flew out of that closet. I had my first Lesbian sexual experience and I was so nervous, I was stiff as a board, but that didn’t last long at all. I became a strong advocate for visibility, my Mom became a PFLAG chapter chair in support of us all and at my University I was a charter member to start a GSA group. My Mom and I were making history and yes, she was still married to my hateful step-dad. We were even featured in a story on the front page of the Birmingham News. The bottom line is that I had become free to be Me for the first time in my life and I’d also found my way back to my Faith by going to the MCC church. I was really beginning to be okay and feel accepted. Over twenty years have come and gone and I am still as out as ever. Only twice did I hide in the professional world and I did reach a point of just being proud and not shoving it down people’s throats. I have found more love and acceptance from friends and “family” by just being myself and being honest about my being a Lesbian. God had plans for me after all. 😉