I’m Coming Out

It’s time. After almost 49 years you’d think I would have done this by now – but I wasn’t ready.

I am now.

I am straight.

You’re probably wondering why I chose now, of all times, to make this announcement. You probably think I’m doing it to somehow make myself relevant, or because I think I’m special.

Damn right. I am special. And that’s not up for you to decide.

You’re probably also assuming that I’m making this announcement just to be able to shove my sexuality in your face. You’re right, again, because I have nothing better to do with my time.

Let’s be honest. I came out because I had to. Aside from the fact that I was tired of feeling ashamed for who I am, and getting angrier at myself for my own self-denial, at that each day of feeling like that chipped away at the very essence of me, my spirit, my soul – you don’t care about that, I know – I had  to because you insisted  that I do. You wanted – no, needed to know. You asked with every comment you made about me singing in choir, dressing a certain way, and not having a girlfriend. It was in the whispers I’d hear about me behind my back, or in finding out that when you mentioned me to someone you’d always say, “I think she’s straight.” Then there were those sideways looks I’d get when I was out with my boyfriend. The snide comments when we held hands – and when we kissed? You were mortified.

You also needed to know so that you could determine if I was allowed to be in your group, play on your team, join the military, attend your church, be friends with your children, or even be a part of your family.

Do you really think I wanted to announce my sexuality to you? It’s none of your business, but I had to because you just had to know – I was frozen in your mind under the question, “Is she or isn’t she?” You couldn’t decide if I was to be included, otherwise.

Now we have a new word in the dictionary. Heterophobic. Because people are afraid of me. They assume that my heterosexuality can hurt them in some way.

(You really do give me too much credit. You’ll mess up your own life faster than I can.)

You did let me help plan parties, though. Thank you. That was fun. And I love doing your hair. And you never got jealous when I hung around with your girlfriend. (I wasn’t a threat then, was I?)

You made me part of a separate community made up of other people like me, while the rest of you ‘normal’ people got to decide if we were allowed to live as you do, marry as you do, do business as you do.

Then you got angry when we all banded together and began to support each other, and even fight for the right to make our own decisions – acting like a true community­. You say we are segregative when we have hetero functions, hetero businesses, hetero marriages – but you are the ones who labelled them as such by your exclusion of us from yours.

We would have had no need at all to band together on our own if you didn’t separate us from the pack.

You aren’t fair to us; you pretend to be, when you say it’s okay for us to live our own lives (thank you so much for that, by the way; your permission means a lot), but then you still react in horror when you see my boyfriend and I doing the same things in public that you do with your girlfriend.

You can be you, but don’t let me see it?

Then there are those of you that are angry that I’m straight. It’s not normal, you say. And you look for ways to force me to be your normal, or to eliminate me altogether.

Nothing is ‘normal’. Normal implies constancy, and the only constant is change.

Take a look back. Change is the only thing close to being normal. There is also nothing about me that hasn’t been around since the human race began. You’re only hearing of it more because of our normal technological progression, and if you understand that, then I actually fall under your definition of what is ‘normal’, because we’ve been here just as long as you have. If you hadn’t been so busy for generations trying to get everyone to conform to one idea, this would not be an issue.

I am now openly admitting my sexuality to you, because you forced me to. And I am now going to be under attack for doing so, because I’ve upset the apple cart you told me to tip over. You’ll hate me because I support my fellow heteros. Because I’m proud of them. I’m proud of me. I’m proud of us.

***

How ridiculous is that when we turn it around? And we think we are right? Who are any of us to think we have the authority to tell someone else who they should be?

I’ll tell you the real truth, now:

I am straight. I decided I was going to be straight when I was a kid, because of what I learned in schools and churches, from books, movies, television and music, and from my parents. (Yes, the fact that they are divorced now does send some mixed signals, I admit.) I was too afraid to go against what everyone told me I had to be. I didn’t have that kind of courage. Like most children, I was told I was allowed to be different … just not that different. 

So, I conformed.

(That is the way it works, right?)

Of course, now that you know about me it would be wise to keep me away from your loved ones – I may try to convert them.  Or, I could be the doctor that helps them beat cancer, the teacher who believes in them, the stranger who saves them when they are being attacked …

I could even be the one to hand them toilet paper under a bathroom stall when their roll is empty.

God forbid?

Fine. It’s still not your call to make.

I will not be ashamed of my sexuality and who I love (except my exes), and I will love you and support you in you being true to yourself. Love is Love is Love. And Love is never wrong.

Unless we are talking about anchovies. BLECH!


*In a funny moment of synchronicity, I’d written that part about the anchovies not five minutes before a friend of mine posted on Facebook about how much he loved them. When I mentioned that to him, he reminded me that I couldn’t love a Caesar Salad without them. He’s right; even if they’re not in the salad itself, they are an unseen ingredient in the dressing.  HOW RELEVANT IS THAT?

I don’t care if he’s right. I may have to unfriend him. 🙂


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My "Honor" is at Stake

For the second time in three years I have been engaged – or attempted to be engaged – in battle. The first time, my friends were dragged into something that should have only been between me and another, and many attempts were made to paint an ugly picture of me. I remember saying I was surprised that I had my first high school “he said/she said” almost 30 years after I graduated.
I should point out here, that I’m entirely capable (and apparently willing) to make myself look bad on my own. Ask anyone who knows me. Better yet, go back and read through my blog; it’s not all sunshine.
This time, the attack was even more vicious and more personal, and very detailed; it will affect my whole family, too. War was officially declared (in writing), along with a threat of “My mind, my time, my wealth aimed at YOU. Get ready!”
Because I’m an idiot, my first thought was to be flattered that little old me could ever deserve such attention. (Of course, I would probably appreciate a promise like that more if it came from a significant other.)
Then, I thought, Wow. That’s a real threat. I don’t think I ever expected to get one in my life. At least, not since high school.
I guess I’m a late bloomer.
Could this person hurt me and my family?
I suppose. Maybe. Yes. No. All of the above. That person has enough free time and considerable resources, so I guess if the desire is there it is possible to cause some trouble, at the very least.
What could happen to me?
·         My reputation could be ruined? Been there; done that.
·         Could I be financially ruined? It’d be hard to break down something that was never there.
·         Would another wedge be driven into my family? I’m Sicilian; we do wedges better than lettuce and Dr. Scholl’s combined.  
·         Is it possible that this person could ruin my attempts at fulfilling my dreams? There is the possibility of certain blockages, due to this person’s resources; however, I write (basically) because I like to talk – and no one can shut me up. Ask anyone who knows me.

I guess all that’s left is my honor. So, I guess that is what is at stake.
That’s a funny line, isn’t it? “My honor is at stake.”  What is honor? High respect? Esteem?
What it boils down to is that someone could say something about me in an attempt to make others lose respect for me. What THAT boils down to is whether or not someone else’s opinion of me matters. I don’t say that in belligerence, and I certainly don’t deny that my feelings could get hurt; what I am saying is that I have the right to only be concerned with what I think of myself. Everyone has that right.
What do I think of me?
For answers, I went to the family closet and danced with a few of the skeletons kept there. I found quite a few that I would probably be happier if they stayed where they were, and not publicized in gory, Technicolor detail.
Wow. There are more than I thought.

(No. I didn’t murder anyone, nor do I have any plans to.)
But, boy! Did I do some stupid shit! Of course, I don’t believe I could have gone a full 48 and a half years without amassing a pile, right?
This particular theme of worrying what others think/judgment had already been half-formed in my head this past month. It’s actually one of my ongoing themes that I’ve touched on a few times.  My original title was going to be “Mary Poppins or Phil Collins?” Mary Poppins (in Disney’s movie) had a great line that she delivered in a no-nonsense and friendly manner in response to her actions being questioned: “I never explain anything.” That stuck with me; I always wished I could be like that. Phil Collins sang, “I don’t care what you say.” We can all relate to that.
I’m not Mary Poppins, but I’m not Phil Collins; I’m somewhere in between. I don’t yet have Mary Poppins’ self-empowered confidence, and Phil’s not caring was too extreme in the other direction, because I hear defeat in that song. I can relate to the in-your-face not caring, in the surrender of leaving others to their own thoughts, opinions, and actions – not in defeat, but in the letting go of what truly doesn’t matter. What others say and think about me does not prevent me from getting up in the morning and going about my life and trying to do the best I can with what I have.
So, what do I think about me? Oh, I’m an idiot. I’ve been childish, selfish, mean, pathetic, stupid, ridiculous, hurtful, snide, lazy, messy … I could probably go through the alphabet at least three times (and all of the seven dwarfs).
I’m also not as insecure as I used to be. I’m happier than I used to be. I’m learning more than ever, and that’s allowed me to appreciate more. I even get proud of myself once in a while. (Yay, me.)
Would a smear campaign take any of that away? No.
I would probably be embarrassed, though.

Why?
Why, indeed? Because I’ve done things people wouldn’t have expected me to do? Because I’ve surprised someone else – or, better yet, because I’ve disappointed someone?
Humiliation needs to be accepted. If I feel ashamed for something I’ve done, that is on me. Am I proud of everything I’ve done? Of course not. (Sometimes, I even try not to repeat the same mistakes over and over.)  If I let someone make me feel humiliated, that is on me, too.  For me to accept humiliation, I would have to believe that another person has more value than I do, and if I’ve learned one thing, it is that I am just as wonderful as you are – and in the funny vein of paradox, I probably learned that by doing something wrong or stupid.
A while back I wrote about feeling like a fraud here. I’d received some very nice feedback on some of the things I’d written and it made me uncomfortable because I don’t have my shit together. But then I realized that I write about what I feel and what I am learning and what is of value to me. I write for me first. If by my example – good or bad – someone else finds benefit, support, or an idea of what not to do, then that is a bonus, but not the prime objective. I’m not here to tell anyone what to do.  I was never good at measuring up to anyone else’s yardstick, and I realized it’s a waste of time to try. If each day I can do one thing better, nicer, or smarter than I did the day before, then I can be happy with myself, no matter what anyone thinks. We all can.
I’m not trying to be brave. I’m not trying to amass an army in my defense. Everything I’ve done, I’ve done. Good, bad, or otherwise.  I’m being real. I try to be better each day. I voice my opinions, relevant or not.  I talk about sunshine, love, connections – about what I would like to achieve, what I aspire to.
And I still do stupid shit. You’ll probably hear about that, too (or see it on Facebook).
Do I argue? Some would say incessantly. (Again, ask anyone who knows me.)
Will I go to war?
No.
I have other things in life more valuable than my honor. I’m not always right, but I’m learning to be right with me.
Who knows? I might even learn more from this.
Then,

I win.

All Truths are True

I know this much is true (you’re singing that now, aren’t you?):

All of it.

It’s all true, every last bit of it.

What is Truth?

Truth is what is real and accurate for a person. The truth is our beliefs based on how we feel about something. We learn what we believe by how we feel about something. Emotions are the biggest indicators of our own beliefs. A negative emotion shows us what is in discord with how we believe, and positive emotions reveal what resonates with us.

What is true for one person is not always the same as what is true for another. There is more than one way to skin a cat. There is also more than one way to make a soup, express emotion, write a song, paint a picture … live a life.

Some writers swear by writing out their thoughts in pen and paper, other writers say they organize their thoughts better on a computer, and still others get inspired only when using a typewriter. A person can believe his or her life is worthless even while others see value and potential – but whose beliefs will that person react on, ultimately, when they feel a decision needs to be made? A jealous spouse can ruin a marriage even if his or her partner is faithful; a woman who believes her man is cheating or will cheat will treat him with distrust – if she believes he’s a cheater,  even if he’s not it will still be true for her (and vice versa). Catholicism is divided on gender issues, yet all Catholics believe in the same God. Look at how many other religions there are, worshipping different Gods, with different rituals.

The common denominator is the human factor. In that, we are all the same. We all came from the same place, whether you believe God, Allah, or Darwin. We started the same but live in different expressions of what is true for ourselves.

Our biggest problem is that we feel the need to enforce what is true for us on others as if it should be true for them as well.

Our allowances and tolerances for other’s truths are incomplete; we only allow another person his or her own Truth only so far. True allowance and tolerance need to extend as far out as the possibility of something. Anything that can be thought of can be true. Anything that gives us that inner feeling of “YES!” or “NO!” is what determines our Truth, and our actions in accordance with it.

Yet we still feel the need to tell people what the Truth is. We allow others little opinions but assume we have the right to make their bigger decisions. We encourage “thinking outside of the box” in problem-solving. We are allowed to think outside of the box, but not live outside of the box? Where’s the sense there? At the same time, we resent those who try to enforce their truths on us.

Every coin has two sides, and it’s the combination of both sides that make the coin. There is no coin if there is only one side; this validates the existence of both sides. Both sides are ‘right’. All Truths are true because they are the basis for our actions.

We act as if we are afraid to let people be themselves, thinking that harmony can only be achieved if we are all thinking, doing, and being the same. Then, we criticize schools for their standardized testing methods that supposedly judge intelligence and aptitude but don’t account for differences in people. Then we preach of Creators who would build a world of polarity and ‘test’ all of it the same?

Yes.

However you believe we were created, we were created with differences, and we know what works best for us. Let your emotions guide you to your beliefs and see what you follow/react to. If you don’t like something you find, you can change it, but be only who you know you are. Search for the “YES!” in your soul. That is what is true.
What makes a street a one-way street?

The sign.

Everyone knows it is possible to drive the other way; and it’s the possibility/reality of another way that makes that other way the Truth, also, despite the sign that someone else put up.

You can go your own way.

(You’re singing that now, too, aren’t you?)