In life there are few moments of clarity and frequent moments of ambiguity. This week somebody asked me
“So…when did you know?”
They were inquiring about when I knew I was gay. This got me thinking about knowing… and decision making and those moments in life when you seem to step from one identity into another like crossing an invisible line, going to the other side in a concrete way. Sometimes it’s a diploma or degree that you earn, a title or status acquired, or perhaps a decision that we make. I remember finally making the decision to publish The Butterfly Trap. I was feeling unhinged because I was losing an important mentor who had become a friend and was seeking to make some kind of meaningful change to cope. I made a swift decision to take action.
You know when you know
I recall knowing that I wanted to finally publish my manuscript after sitting on it for 15 + years. It was both exciting and scary but once I crossed over to the other side of this process I was so relieved to have finally followed my heart’s desire.
Back to the question I was asked, When did I know I was gay?
Well, I certainly started questioning my sexuality when I began noticing what I can only describe as a preoccupation with my new friendship with Kuki around eight years ago. It was both scary and confusing because I didn’t recognize these thoughts and feelings. It was also not exactly the ideal time to have feelings for someone considering I was in a well established, committed relationship with a man. To further complicate things, these feelings weren’t like any I had ever had before. I didn’t recognize them and I didn’t recognize myself. I had never had a romantic relationship with a woman and had only ever been with men including a long term domestic partnerships and a husband. Even some of my closest friends were men. So this was uncharted territory and I felt terribly lost and alone.
But when did I know? Like when did I know -know….
When did I know that these feelings translated to something more fundamental about me, like related to my sexual identity?
I knew when she put her arm around me.
Just like that.
I knew as I sat on the couch and she put her arm around me, that I would never be the same.
It was like those moments in fairy tales when the character is transformed in an instant, like Snow White being awoken by a kiss.
I knew that I would never be the same as a result of that arm on my shoulder in that moment. Something changed in me. I went from being my former self to my new self. I was indeed, changed. And it was both elating and terrifying because on some level I knew that it meant I would have to lose my former self but I could do nothing about it because there was no going back. When I share this some have speculated that perhaps I experienced safety for the first time.
Maybe yes. Perhaps that too….
Did I go from being straight to gay? Is that when I knew? I did know that my life would never be the same.
The weight of it
The sensation …
It changed me
And There was simply no going back.
Maybe that’s when I knew or maybe I always knew…
Sometimes I wonder if we already know everything but we only realize things when we are ready.
Since I was a teen ager I was drawn to women who presented in a very masculine way and openly, however jokingly, would say that I was either so straight that I was only attracted to women who present as masculine or so gay that I only like “butch” women.
By the way, that arm, the weight of it, holding me every night, still changes me. I fall deeper in love with her every day. I have never known the safety, trust, tenderness, kindness and stability of a love that is as constant and true as this. In fact, just yesterday following a harrowing commute home from work, I was in an awful mood and she pulled me in and held me close and I felt transformed by her arm once again…
I guess fairy tales can be real. Because she woke something up in me that has proven to be the purest and most genuine thing I have ever known. My knight in shining armour just happens to be a dragon with a heart of gold.