The Loneliest Little Lesbian: Being a minority
The Loneliest Little Lesbian
Being straight was easy for me. Simple. I didn’t have to think about who I was or how others might perceive me. I was straight. I belonged. I could walk outside my front door in any city in any country and feel like I was a part of the majority. I didn’t have to find a community to feel accepted. I was already a member of the largest pool of demographics, the straights. The popular club. Until I wasn’t.
Coming out meant emotional freedom. A hallway pass to dress and look the way I felt. To stop caring about what other women, particularly moms, thought about me. I was done being a fake. I was ready to look at my fellow gender head one with our eyes locked and declare that this is me. I’m me. I love being with women. My soul needs the company of another female. I don't desire men. My body does not respond to the touch of a man. It craves the closeness of a woman, and that doesn’t change the size of my heart, the integrity of my soul, nor does it alter the nature of my motherhood. But I was terrified that others might think it did. But not anymore. I’ve learned to love and accept myself and with that came liberation.
But with all declarations comes a price. My payment is the loneliness of being an island of one. In order to feel connected to other like-minded individuals, I go in search of LGBTQIA groups. I must take a metro, hire an uber or drive into Dupont Circle in DC to find a strip inside the city where I can blend in. Belong. It’s the only area I know of in my world right now where I don’t have to guess if other women are like me. “Is she looking at me because she finds me attractive, or is she looking at me because she likes my outfit and thinks I might be a nice mom friend to talk to?” Those turmoil questions are hushed when I step foot inside the circle, the community. As a straight woman, all I had to do was walk out my front door and I belonged. Men liked me. I was a woman. What else was there to know? That’s the social norm, the law of living in a majority. Men like women and women like men. Although that wasn’t my truth, that was my lie. People assume I am a straight woman seeking a male partner when they see me out for a run, attending a class, or holding the door open for a man. Even though my vibes, heart and attitude say something opposite. Men still think I’m straight until I declare my sexual identity to them. “I’m a divorced, single lesbian mom. I’m not straight.” It’s the same for women too. And I often find that they act more surprised at my truth than men.
I’m lucky if the universe throws another lesbian into my path. A woman to connect with, be friends with. Someone who looks at me and just knows I’m like her without having to declare it. It doesn’t happen often, but when it does, I feel an electric charge rush through me. As if our energies are exchanging a hug. A way of saying, you’re not alone and I’m like you. And the loneliness isn’t about finding a romantic partner, this has nothing to do with sex, intimacy, or finding a romantic companion. That is not where the loneliness comes from. Being single and taking a pause from dating isn't the issue. Dating is a whole other topic I’m not ready to discuss yet, but it’s coming, someday soon. The loneliness I’m referring to is belonging. I believe my age plays a significant role in my coming out. Maybe it would be easier if I were younger. Not in my mid-forties with two teenagers. But maybe not. I can only go by own personal experience. I haven’t walked in anyone’s shoes but my own. And I believe that everyone’s coming out journey is equally important. Finding you, isn’t a competition. There’s no heavy weight or light weight. Everyone matters. All our stories and experiences equally count. It takes strength and bravery to be your authentic self in a world where you are a minority.
I’ve been trying to find a balance in my new life. A way to live openly, but also understand that my sexual identity is confusing to some people around me. I often get asked these questions, “when did you know? How did you know? How are you a lesbian if you liked men before?” I understand the need for answers, and I never take offense to anyone asking. It’s perplexing. It’s even more baffling to me. But I believe it’s confusing because social norms have programmed us to fit inside a box. A label. Packed and sealed. This is who you are and how you will be.
But that’s not who I am and never was. Truth is, I don’t need to figure out my sexuality to be a lesbian. I don’t have to have all the answers. I don’t need to understand why I am the way I am and link it to a trauma, situation, a moment, or a biological explanation to know that I am queer. I am, at this moment, in this lifetime, a lesbian. Maybe someday more pieces of the puzzle will fit in the picture of my life, but maybe not, and that’s okay. I’m too focused on living in the moment, being me and expressing my veracity to worry about yesterday or tomorrow. Today is too important. And if today means being a minority and having to commute across town to a safe space to find others like me, then that is what my today looks like. Even if it means that some days, most days, I feel like the loneliest little lesbian. But I'd rather have these emotions then deny my truth ever again.
I often wonder what the world would be like without social norms on sexuality. To live without a commute.
No going back, no regrets.
Much love! xo