This article was written by Kerry of The Other Team.
I wish I could tell you the kind of story where I just always knew I was “different” (read: gay) and both myself and everyone else around me just KNEW I was gay, and I never had any confusion, denial, or general consequences of admitting the discovery that I am, in fact, a lesbian.
I wish I could tell you this story, and, well- I guess I could, but it’d be pure fiction. The truth is that I didn’t even THINK about attraction to the entire female sex until I was in high school, my junior year to be exact. I went to a very small and….well, redneck school where no one was out, and anytime anyone did come out their lives were made considerably harder than the average student’s. Being the stubborn and naïve person that I now accept myself to be, I ignored precedent and came out to my close friends during the summer between junior and senior year or in early fall of my senior year. Apparently everyone already “knew” I was gay (*cough* BULLSHIT. *cough*) even though I, myself, lacked even an inkling in the lesbian direction.
How I Found Out
I’m betting that a lot of you can remember your first same-sex crush, whether it’s with fondness or with sadness. I happen to also remember my first “crush”. I’ll spare you guys the long version and stick to as clean a summary as I can muster. I met, through mutual friends, a girl. This girl was beautiful, funny, smart, had a great taste in music, and had similar interests as myself. As I was considering these similarities and attractive aspects of this girl, I began to realize that I was CONSIDERING the similarities almost as if I was….attracted to her. It was a very strange and confusing time for me and I had a hard time pinpointing exactly who/what I was . This girl for whom I eventually accepted my attraction was openly gay, while I was very much the confused and awkward noob that I have always known myself to be. I talked to her about my confusion and admitted that I liked her and shit was good for a while: she admitted she liked me too. However, this girl was not (at the time) known for her consistency in day-to-day feelings and soon quickly lost the attraction to me. I, however, did not escape unscathed and fell HARD in love with her. We grew apart, she got another girlfriend, and I actually GOT OVER her after a while. It was excruciating watching some other girl (it was hard not to call names there, but just look at me go! Haha) make her sad and then cheat on her before breaking up for a fat beardy dude when I just KNEW we were perfect together. Regardless, “my” girl and the “not me” girl were together for about 8 months, in which I slowly pulled myself together and got over “my” girl and somehow realized that we made awesome best friends. We became inseparable and basically lived together through my senior year (Wooo! Class of ’09!) and I lost all inklings of love toward her. Guess what happened next…Yeah, she started liking me again. Figures, huh? Well, we got back into our awkward limbo a few months after her break-up and a couple of months later we started dating (November 17, 2009 actually). I sincerely hope you’re wondering how I know all of these dates off the top of my head and why I remember this girl so well. If you are wondering this, it’s because we’ve now been together for over 3 years and are engaged, living together, and have a kid. Okay, fine, our “kid” is a dog named Kitty, but WHATEVER. Basically, I like to brag to her that I was always right and we laugh now about it, though at the time I was in a very dark place. I slept all the time, starting doing terribly in my classes, and gave up on all of the things I’d always loved. My friends began to get tired of my depressing conversations and I grew into somewhat of an introvert for a while. I almost didn’t graduate high school also. Yeah, it’s pretty pathetic, right? I think so too. Anyway, years later I’d find out that I also have a rare sleep disorder known as Idiopathic Hypersomnia (IH) – basically it’s Narcolepsy’s bitch of a little sister, plus am ridiculously anemic meaning that with these conditions in combination – I sleep constantly. Depression just hit me at a weird time since IH onset tends to be in the teenage/young adult years. Even though, at the time, my life was one humongous clusterfuck of disappointment, sadness, and a lack of acceptance, I feel like I possess superhuman strength for having made it out of that time in my life and for making it thus far into the newer and happier part of my life that is now.
If you didn’t already know this about me, I was raised in Tennessee and though the official stereotype of the general south is “EWWW, QUEERS! I PREFER SKYNYRD, BEER, JESUS, AND GUNS. YEE-HAW, YA’LL.” I’d have to say that though there are very hateful people here, I have never been threatened or hurt based on my sexuality, though I have been occasionally banned from the reindeer games of my comrades or made to feel extremely unwelcome or uncomfortable, though I am exceptionally awkward and some of the perceived discomfort may honestly be due to my perception and overall discomfort in social situations. Actually when people from other places discover that I am from Tennessee and am obviously gay, some have said things like “And they really haven’t hung you yet?” to which I want to reply “Well, I was hung last week, but gays are impermeable to redneck witchcraft.” but feel that the overwhelming sarcasm would probably be lost on them. I’ve actually met quite a few “rednecks” who have been especially accepting and kind-hearted people who accept friends of any gender, race, creed, sexuality, or what have you. The main allies I immediately had when coming out were my brother, a few “out” friends, and a few other supportive friends. I have since lost or grown apart from a few of these old friends, but have retained some and gathered new ones as well. My parents were mostly worried for my safety, though they now love my fiancée and are becoming more comfortable with me, especially since my fiancée makes me ridiculously stupidly happy.
No, I have not only been attracted to one woman (being my now fiancée), I have also been attracted to other women. However, Brandi (seem familiar?) was the first woman who I crushed on, and I did gain my “happy ever after” for the most part with my first girl-crush/love. I never claimed to have a “typical” story, either in discovery or in coming out, but I know that I really had never considered women as an option pre-Brandi, and had never felt an attraction to the same sex. For a long time, I felt that I may be asexual, because I did not feel attracted to any person of either gender, but I was not fully open to the “taboo” lesbian that was living inside of my brain and also had beachfront property in my heart. Being gay was simply something I had never thought about. I’ll admit that I think some males are attractive, but I cannot picture myself in a relationship or having…physical stuff with a dude. It’s just not something I see ever happening, especially now that I have discovered a lasting and deep love and connection with Brandi, my first and only love- girl or otherwise. I know some of you “hardened” ladies out there will think “Well, Kerry’s young. I thought my relationship was forever back then too.” to which I say, that’s easy to say from reading a story, but if you met us and actually saw us together, I think you’d recognize the real connection we have. We’ve been best friends, been through awkward teenage heartache, been through the unrequited stuff, been each other’s counselors, roommates, and who knows what else, and it’s clear that “together” is what we’re just supposed to be. I know that I got lucky and found my “one and only” early on. This is not to say that our relationship is perfect, because the “perfect” relationship is a superficial myth, but I think that ours is pretty damn great.
Now That I’ve Spilled My Biographical Guts…
If you feel comfortable enough to do so, I would love to hear your stories on when you realized that you’re LGBTQ or your coming out story, or whatever you feel like sharing. I’d love to hear your stories, questions, and comments!
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