Archive for February, 2014|Monthly archive page

10 Dates That Live In Infamy…at Least For Me

Everyone has a list of special days, occasions that have special significance on a personal level. Some lists are longer than others. But everyone keeps track of at least one day that has meaning to them, if to no one else.

Until today, my list consisted of nine dates that help tell the story of me. Today, the tenth date was added to my list:

March 1, 1969 – the day I was born
March 1, 1986 – the day my dad died
May 15, 1997 – the day I was sworn in for the first time and received my license to practice law
April 17, 2000 – the day I started work for my current employer, where I’ve earned the most professional success in my career
May 19, 2000 – the day my mom died
October 25, 2002 – the day I bought my first house
March 1, 2013 – the day I finally came out to myself
April 25, 2013 – the day Lulu & I began dating exclusively
October 2, 2013 – the day Lulu & I first met in real life

And:

February 17, 2014 – the day my family acknowledged that I’m gay & that they still love me

There’s so much more to it. So much that I have to wrap my head around before I can share it. All I can say is that Lulu, my beloved and the fiercest, most amazing femme on the planet, is the means of my liberation. One more reason she is my greatest blessing. She deserves a medal for making this happen.

And, though there is a lot of hard stuff left to get through, it is still a day of triumph. This date marks a new phase of my life, one in which I will no longer fear to be myself.

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This is it…

…the last Friday I have to spend separated from my beloved (at least for a few weeks).

…the last week I have to live with an essential part of my life hidden.

…the end of a critical and painful division of my in-real-life world: the world centered on her and the world that only acknowledges her in passing as an abstract idea.

This time next week those worlds will be united when my Faraway Love is here, live and in person, living in my home for a few precious weeks. The family with whom I spend my day-to-day time will finally meet my love, the part of my family with whom I spend countless hours on Skype and who occupies my every thought and dream.

I have no words to adequately describe how exciting! thrilling! breathtaking! this is. Every particle of me is leaning forward, reaching, longing for that moment when the people I love most in the world are finally all a part of the same world, in the same space.

No, I haven’t come out to my family yet. (I would’ve told you all!) Instead, Lulu and I have agreed that she will come here as my friend (absolute truth, since she’s my best friend) and let my family get to know her as a person first, without the complexities of labels like “gay girlfriend”. We agreed that this measured approach provides the best chance for a smooth transition, once we’re both ready to take the next step.

That’s all a very clinical and polite way to say that Lulu is incredibly patient and understanding and is giving me a pass for my irrational fear in order for us to get a chance to enjoy our visit together without my having to come out first.

My gratitude for her loving patience is inexpressible. I have an enormous amount of respect for her kindness and understanding. Thankful is too small a word for how I feel toward her for that. I’m one lucky butch, that’s certain.

At the same time, though, I struggle with a deep sense of failure at my inability to overcome this fear-induced paralysis. Lulu and I have talked about it and I know, intellectually, what the problem and the solution is. But those facts, divorced from emotional context and viewed from arm’s length, mask a more complex human story inside of which I live every day.

Of course, it is no different from the fear and pain and struggle that everyone who has had to come out to a potentially hostile family has had to endure. Likely, my little story is far less traumatic and dramatic than many others’ stories, especially those who live in places where it is unlawful to exist as nature made me: butch…gay…queer…different.

But all comparisons aside, my story is real, it’s mine, I live it, and my fear persists. So my story has hit an infinite loop of pressure to be authentic followed by fear of rejection and abuse followed by avoidance. Rinse and repeat.

But this repeating cycle is about to encounter a new variable, approaching at high velocity, and collision is imminent. My hidden reality is about to meet my acknowledged reality and I have no idea what outcome to expect.

I have zero desire to avoid this meeting of worlds, though. It is necessary. And it is welcome, even if it is fraught with emotion. It is my best opportunity to breach this wall of fear and emerge on the other side into a single, united world where there is no division between the identity I know inside and the identity I live on the outside.

So, here I go: hurtling into the unknown, excited and terrified at once, and thrilled to get started. The next four weeks are packed to overflowing with exciting things. In the next month, I will:

– welcome my girlfriend to the US and into my home to stay with me and my family
– introduce my Faraway Love to my friends and work colleagues
– show my day to day world to the one person who matters most to me
– travel with my beloved to NYC to meet Twitter friends in person, witness the wedding of two of them, and see a Broadway show featuring k.d. Lang
– celebrate my first Valentine’s Day with a girlfriend
– celebrate both Lulu’s and my birthdays, as well as our 11th month together as a couple
– travel with Lulu to California to meet more Twitter friends in person, some for the first time; and
– reluctantly say goodbye-for-now to my beloved as she wings her way back to Australia

It’s gonna be a wild ride. Come along for the giggles!

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