There are certain things or subjects we all consider but we don’t really talk about them, especially if you’re a self-conscious tween. I was that awkward girl for sure, scrawny, with a flat chest, long limbed, short torso, and a bubble butt that always followed behind. I coveted the curvier shapes and rising breasts of other girls, I admired knotted calves on more compact legs, and wondered what it must have been like to be them. I noticed other girls, and the way they moved, laughed, and at what angle the sun hit their hair. I thought everyone else observed those qualities about each other too but didn’t talk about it. My curiosity didn’t extend out like probing tentacles of an octopus, I was slight and selective about the girls I secretly wanted to be friends with and wasn’t; and which friendships I wanted to deepen, (those were always with girls that weren’t interested in developing anything closer with me.) I don’t mean anything sexual, I’m referring to childhood innocence-the knowing before you know, or maybe after you think you know, you really don’t.
I was searching for a connection that swelled in comparison to my other friendships, and it just so happened I wanted it to be with a girl I fancied as pretty. I didn’t know what it meant; I was youthfully ignorant and unable to conceptualize same sex relationships. Who knows, maybe that longing had nothing do to with sex, maybe other people had the same thoughts, or perhaps mine were just a little more pronounced than others, yet not as intense as some. It never seemed appropriate to ask my other friends if they felt the same way, just as it wasn’t appropriate to ask my friends if they picked their noses. Those and other subjects were just off limits, and still are for some people, but not me. I can’t think of a subject I wont discuss, and I’m always up for a challenge. Got anything?
Oh, here’s one I get a lot: people often ask me why I didn’t know sooner that I wanted to date women. That’s a great question, one I asked myself many times. I was completely shocked too to learn that at 36 I could throw in the flag, strip off my uniform, and stop hitting balls coming my way. And then to my surprise, there wasn’t even a learning curve to the new rules of the game. I pulled that suit on and it fit like the casing of a sausage. (Side note: Dontcha just hate it when your turkey sausages are wrapped in pork casings?) Back to my game, I mean for real people, I didn’t even miss a beat! It wasn’t until that moment did I see all the blurry signs come in to focus, its not like I added them up and then found the whole, I found the whole and then worked my way backwards. It was like finding a one hundred dollar bill, and then counting backwards a hundred steps picking up dollar bills along the way. The small parts didn’t add up to the sum, the sum was realized, and only then did the pieces come together. Does that make sense? I hope so, because it does to me and that’s how everything else in my life usually works.
So where I’m going with all this is to say that there were little hints along the way, I just chose to ignore them and take the easier, more acceptable way; and also the path I thought (unconsciously) was the most stable for me. As a child, pre-teen, teen, and young adult, I felt unloved, insecure, and vulnerable. Who knows, but maybe those reasons caused me to go against my own grain in order to find security, which seemed easier to do in straight land. Or, sometimes I wonder if the only reason why I dated men was because I didn’t have an opportunity to bond with my father. I habitually sought out men who could take care of me in some way or another. (This is true of many women; I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with doing so, as it makes sense in the evolutionary process-its what we know.)
However, over the years my dad and I have built a solid relationship, and maybe mending that deficiency instilled a sense of worthiness I didn’t have before, which in turn gave me the freedom to love based on real love, not needy love. (Great, if that’s true, now my dad’s going to pull away from me just to set me straight again. I’m teasing; he’s not that kind of guy.)
Obviously I have it all figure out right? Wrong, but what I do know is that I know nothing for sure other than I’m here right now, and I’m in a same sex relationship. In addition, I don’t blame my parents or my childhood completely for the lifestyle that feels more authentic to me. Like I mentioned in “ True That, Nature versus Nurture,” It is my opinion that even if certain triggers were pulled, there still has to be a predetermined attraction for the same, or more fluidity in my sexuality. My basic premise is this: there are at least two components for me that shape my vantage point, one, being my childhood, and two, being my willingness to move about the sexual cock-pit. (Don’t keep me down.)
In addition, my past tells a story and there are clues to be taken from it, but it’s only now, the present, that I am really able to see them. For starters, as mentioned above, I coveted other the form of other girl’s, but at the same time I wanted to be good friends with them, and there were always girls whom I wanted to be closer with than others. In fact, the friends I had were never the girls I thought about in that way, it was always the few that weren’t my friends that I felt awkward around, and unable to be myself. (AH, The woes of a drama-teen.) Some of these qualities may be universal to females in general, but I recall being very invested in the way other girls looked.
I always dated boys; that’s just what you did. It never occurred to me that I could actually have a relationship with another girl. If I ever did think about it, I probably disposed of the thought immediately by projecting it or something similar on to someone else, or I just repressed it. I grew up in Atlanta, although it isn’t the sticks, its still considered the deep south and our city was not as progressive during the 1980’s and 1990’s as it is today. And, even though my mother was in and out of her religion all the time, I was mainly raised Southern Baptist. My dad’s family was Southern Baptist, and my mother became a born again when I was a tween, and (Boy was that fun!) My great-grandmother on my mother’s side is a Southern Baptist too. So as you can see, at times I was knee deep in a lot of scripture, and you know how those sermons go, and on and on. They’d have me repenting for things I hadn’t even done yet, but they also sparked a lot of curiosity. They were just feeding my healthy fire of defiance! “Oh, don’t do that, OK, I’ll go do it, and more right now!” They gave me more reasons to long for sex than any prime time made for TV movie.
Which reminds me of my first tween sexual experience with another girl. We were in her room listening to Adam Ant’s “Goodie Two Shoes,” and his “If you strip for me, I’ll strip for you.” Come to think of it, she couldn’t have picked a more ironic record for our background music. I was the instigator, and she was straight laced, she innocently played the record as my mind went to sinning.
To be continued.
I do apologize but I actually have my first paid writing assignment to finish. But don’t worry; you know I’ll tell you the rest next time on Monocurious. Have a great Turkey Day and just remember, “Don’t drink, don’t smoke, what do ya do?”