Most of my posts lately have been more humorous and while I love making people laugh, I really want to inspire others. I find passion in motivating people to be who they are and stop conforming to the ill conceived notion that we all must act one way or the other. For those that don't know, I am a 33 year old Southern woman who is in a same sex relationship with the woman of my dreams. Let me point this out for you again in case you missed it, I was born and raised in the SOUTH. This plays a BIG part of my story and for the stories of SOOOO many people I know who find LOVE is not based on sex or color or any other genetic factors. While I am not here to create a debate on what YOU feel is right or wrong, I am here to tell you how I overcame the STIGMA and refused being something other than MYSELF.
When I was a teenager (many moons ago) I came to the realization that I found BOTH sexes equally attractive. There were beautiful men AND women that I encountered. Now I didn't find every woman attractive NOR every man, that is NOT quite how it works. One of the questions I asked myself all the time was "why??" Why am I attracted to both sexes? The Bible tells me it is wrong to be drawn physically to a member of the same sex. Society says it is unacceptable for two men or two women to be in a relationship. Society says it is WRONG to do anything that has NOT been done the same damn way for the past 60 years. If you think that learning to tie your shoes is difficult when you are 5, then try sorting through all of these crazy and irrational thoughts in your own head when you are 17. There is no referee in the brain. We do not have a rule book that is highlighted in green and yellow, pointing out the do's and don'ts. A teenager's brain is a fickle beast on it's own and then you add these notions and there is no surprise why so many of today's YOUTH end their lives before they even get started.
While I am not here to go into the timeline of my sexuality, I do want to discuss the past 2 years of my life. This is when I made the conscious decision that I MATTER AND I AM IMPORTANT. After what I would call a disaster of a break up, I decided that it was time for me to pack my bags and hit the road as a GYPSY SOUL. I took my skills as a labor and delivery RN on the road and started my career as a TRAVEL NURSE. One of the greatest things about my story is that during my time as a traveler, I was able to HAVE FUN! I shopped, I visited my family, I got to see parts of the country that I was not able to before.... I LIVED. I made new friends and memories. During my "hiatus" I did date a man. It was during this relationship that I came to the realization that I was TIRED of giving up my personal WANTS and NEEDS. I was DONE sacrificing the "nitty gritty" of my relationship basics. Now, I am not talking about selfishness here. I am talking about the parts of a relationship that you build on. I was DONE giving in for others gains. During my time away I was able to FIND MYSELF again. I was able to find my VOICE.
It was when I came home for the holidays that I was reconnected with an old friend. When I say old friend, I mean that we have known each other over a decade. Not that she is, in fact, OLD. She was experiencing a rather difficult time in her life and I could tell she needed a true friend to lean on. Let me digress for just a moment. When I first met this woman, I was instantly attracted to her but let's say she was not exactly OUT herself and I am not one to push myself onto somebody. So, our friendship remained exactly that, a FRIENDSHIP. Here we are, 2 crazy thirty something year old friends living life and having fun. We went to concerts together and took afternoon drives in the Jeep. We watched sunsets and discussed the meaning of LIFE. We talked of our memories and where we want to end up one day. It DAWNED on me one afternoon that this friendship was taking a different turn. I was developing feelings for her that no person could ever articulate. I was falling in LOVE with my best friend. It was then that we decided to start dating each other. She picked me up for dates and opened my door. She held my hand and made sure I felt appreciated. While I may be PROGRESSIVE in my relationship, I am very "old school" when it comes to manners and treating a lady like a lady. Now, the Love Bug is an integral part of my LIFE and I would not give ANYTHING to go a day without her.
There is one thing I want to discuss here. I have never been one to see LOVE as a clear cut or tangible "thing". Love is not defined as a YES or NO, a BLACK or WHITE, a FINITE concept, love is everything. I was raised in the church and was taught that we should love one another as Christ loves us. What my heart always took away from every lesson or sermon was that LOVE was a gift from God. Once we learn to love as God loves, we love without fault. We do not see the darkness. I love the concept of love. Love makes our days brighter and our nights better. Love strengthens our hearts and mesmerizes our souls. We have such a beautiful GIFT with LOVE. Now, I am not here to create a Biblical war with you on what is right and what is wrong. This is not the place for that. If you have negativity about my story, please move on and click that little X at the top and take your darkness elsewhere. What I can say is that I refuse to believe that other people have ANY right to judge people. People in glass houses should never throw stones. Right?
Back to the story of us... I was beginning to feel like a young teenager in love. You know, the ones they sing about in the songs from the 1950's. A giddy school girl experiencing her first love. Matter of fact, this is how we both felt. It is a beautiful thing to LOVE like this. We were THE couple from one of those Malt Shop Oldies. I finally found my fairy tale. Now, The Love Bug always told me that she would NEVER pressure me into telling my family about us until I was ready. She had experienced that before and VOWED to never put me through the torment. One day, in my own time, I decided it was time to COME OUT to the family. Now, I wasn't exactly sure what their response would be but I was pretty sure the world was ending. Nervous does not even come close to describing the fears I let the devil place inside my head. I mean, I was pretty certain I was NOT going to be disowned or kicked out of the Dirty Santa game at Christmas, but I still let the uncertainty run wild. "We love you. We just want you happy and if this is what you want, that makes us happy." That is the summary of what each member of my family told me. Whew, talk about a relief right?
So, here we are several months later and the Love Bug and I are 39 days from getting hitched. My family absolutely adores her and they swear there is nobody else they could imagine me being with. I gotta say that I am pretty partial to her. She and I click. I am her funny, crazy, spastic shopaholic and she is my cool, calm, collected head of the house. We just FIT.
To the ones who are finding YOUR voice, keep searching until you FIND IT. To the ones afraid of being YOURSELF, stop... breathe... it will be alright. The ones in your life that mean the most to you will be the most difficult to talk to but because they love you, they will HEAR YOU. You are IMPORTANT and your happiness is important. Be YOU. Be Strong. Be WONDERFUL. Let go of the idea of conformity and create your own life for which you find HAPPINESS. When I let go of every concept out there that pertained to love and relationships, I fell in LOVE with myself again.
There are stories of coming out that don't end with the support and LOVE that mine does. I am not under the illusion that it will be easy for each and every one of you. Take the time to evaluate the ones who CHEER for you and the ones that DO NOT, remove the naysayers from your LIFE. You do NOT need them.
John 15:12 This is my commandment: that you love one another just as I have loved you.