“Anybody can make up past lives, she said. The real trick is to make up future lives & not forget you did it.”
— Brian Andreas
Here’s to possibility.
💙, Queer Girl
I never hated other queer people. But I was scared shitless, and that fear was a mean old voice inside my head.
Work craziness is eating up all my spare time this week. I’ll be back with regular posts next week; in the meantime, here’s something I wrote a couple of years ago, just as I was starting with my LGBT therapist, back when I was scared as could be. Oh my, how things can change!
I go to a party at a ranch out past the orchards. There are lesbians everywhere. The hosts (I don’t know them personally) are a married lesbian couple. Their property is beyond kitsch. It illustrates their love in ways that are almost too obvious. Like the giant iron sculpture, a heart, with “she said yes” etched onto it. There is a DJ. A single beat seems to thread the songs. As darkness falls, people start to dance. I watch them from my seat, hand on my beer, mosquitoes flocking to the meat of my left ankle like it’s Mecca.
We are all born knowing who we are. But far too often, the first bullies to teach us that we must keep parts of ourselves hidden are the adults we trust.
In pre-Kindergarten, I was that girl who loved to dance.
Lots of children move to music. It’s a natural human impulse. But tell that to my vile teacher, Mrs. Black. She ruled her pre-K classroom with an iron fist.
From day one, Mrs. Black and I had differing opinions. She thought that four and five year-olds should clean up the classroom by the count of five; to me, this seemed downright draconian. She sent home a note in my lunchbox, suggesting that I might have learning differences because I did not yet tie my shoes; as my mother explained to her, this was because no other lefty had ever shown me how. And I was already reading and writing, for god’s sake. How many accomplishments must a four year old have under her belt?
How do you tell a perfectly nice girl that it’s not going to happen? Definitely not the way I did it.
She was so pretty. Her blonde hair curled gently against her shoulders. Her glasses framed her green eyes nicely. She was thin as a whisper, kind of twitchy and serious, adorably self-conscious when she made a joke. Her eyes lit up when she spoke about her work. We flirted gently, then more urgently as the night progressed. We sat in the restaurant nearly until it closed, talking and laughing, touching hands.
Outside the restaurant, I leaned in and we kissed.
It was…well. Imagine a kiss where you’re getting all of the mechanics right, all of the movements are perfectly choreographed, but with all the sensuality of going to the dentist. Imagine a kiss that makes you feel…nothing.
Dear Beautiful Girl,
We love you and we’re thinking of you. So many of us around the world. There are no words. I hope to god there is some sort of consciousness after life so you can feel safe and know that everything is all right for you now. It’s not enough, and it’s not right, but I do believe that the good energy in the world is worth something, and I am sending it your way.
This morning, the Daily Post’s writing prompt is “Kick the Bucket.” They’re asking: what’s on your anti-bucket list? What don’t you want to do in the new year? I sat down to answer that question, and found my strength.
I don’t want to feel small.
I don’t want to be boxed up by anyone’s expectations. I don’t want to be colorless, a series of outlines that people can fill in as they may. I don’t want to let people assume that I am whomever I imagine they might like me to be.
I don’t want to do things out of fear, but since I’m a person who will always have fear inside of her, patient, urgent, waiting, I want to be bigger than it is. I want to draw myself up to full height and tell fear to fuck off and feel it, feel it deep in my bones when, just for a minute, fear listens.
How to find yourself:
1. Get lost.
This is why I used to move a lot. “It’s important to go somewhere big enough and strange enough that you’ll feel lost,” I wrote in my journal when I took myself, sight unseen, with no promise of a job, up to the Pacific Northwest.
I’m wearing a dress to a Christmas party tomorrow, and I feel super weird about it.
Remember back when I wore dresses?
Of course you do. It was just last year, and all the years before that too. The tights always worked with the belt always worked with the boots always worked with the sweater. I swished, I swirled, I planned out my necklaces. I got a lot of compliments from my very girly boss.
I went out and got myself some nice tall boots. I got them to wear with my skirts. And they looked lovely.
But then I also got a magic pair of jeans — my first pair of skinny ankle zips. Their close cuffs slid smoothly into my boots. And with those jeans…my whole world changed.
There’s nothing like the first girl to ever break your heart.
I was on a date once with a girl and she asked me about my coming out story. I paused, blushed, took a sip of wine. She continued: “I mean, what was the first girl you dated? How did you get to that place in your life? I know it’s personal,” she said, “but I’d love to hear your story, if you want to tell it.”
I didn’t know what to say. She was my coming out story. She was the first girl I’d dated. If I told her that, would it all dissolve, would it be for nothing? I knew, from The Internet, that lesbians hated bicurious girls. What if I told her, and she thought that was all I was? “I haven’t really…put it into a narrative for myself yet,” I answered. She smiled, and we moved on.
In which I use too many metaphors. (NSFW)
I ate up my last girlfriend piece by piece.
She was only the second girl I’d slept with; the first was gentle, anemic, hadn’t even liked to tongue kiss. I ran my hands up and down her back like we were in a PG-13 novel. But Polly —