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Sunday, April 3, 2011

Coming out in 3 easy steps (part 1)

Despite what you may have heard, coming out of the closet can be a fun experience for the whole family! This is the story of how I went from a naive young girl to a raging bull dyke in 3 easy steps.

Step 1 - Admitting you're a homosexual

The most important part of coming out is, strangely, the least talked about. Before telling friends and family you must first tell yourself. This is not as obvious as it seems. Up until my freshman year of high school I didn't suspect a thing. My friends got boyfriends, so I got boyfriends. I always seemed puzzled by the fact that my friends seemed to initiate physical contact with their boyfriends, as I always figured the physical parts of a relationship were for the benefit of guys and the emotional part for the girls, but I didn't stress about it.

Halfway through freshman year of high school (year 9, for my non-American readers) my parents signed me up for fencing lessons at the local club. I was ecstatic, since my childhood heros were Zorro and Inigo Montoya, thus fencing had been a life long interest of mine. On my first day I was quietly taking in my new environment when a small group of girls approached me. (See, most people who are involved in a fencing club are men, so it is customary for girls to seek strength in numbers.) The first two to approach, Lisa and Lee, were the most outgoing (and still close friends today). As they were introducing themselves I glanced behind them and was struck by the elven beauty that was gliding up to me. She was tall, with waist-lenth blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. (She looked just like Galadriel from Lord of the Rings). I was mesmerized, and couldn't have told you what anyone else was saying to me if my life depended on it. Her name was Amy, and in that moment she was magnificent. Luckily for me, that was the moment the lesson started, so in all the commotion of getting into our gear and out on the floor no one noticed my sudden paralysis. My only takeaway from that moment: "well, that was odd."

Soon afterward I met a guy at the fencing club who went to my high school. He was nice, and funny, and I got to see him on weekends without having to make an effort, so we started dating. Once lessons were done, however, I followed my new female friends back to their houses in the suburbs, leaving him far behind without a second thought. I know it sounds cruel, but I didn't give it a second thought. To me, this was normal. The four of us were inseparable. They were all the nerdy friends I had always wished for, and more. One afternoon, after going to see Titanic in the theaters we were discussing romance and "the perfect man" when Amy declared she had "given up on men." I stopped dead in my tracks. I had no idea what that even meant. It took three tries to get me to understand that she was interested in girls, but when it dawned on me the first thought that popped into my head was, "she's available!" followed immediately by, "what a silly thought." It wasn't that I was afraid or repulsed by this thought, simply baffled. I put it away in the back of my brain and forgot all about it...

Until one day when we were all hanging out at Lee's house. Amy was outside playing with the dogs, and I was in the kitchen looking longingly out the window at her. Lee, who was sitting across the table from me likely trying to have a conversation, asked me if I would like her to hook us up. "Yes." I don't know why I said it, but the answer was as natural as anything. Yes, I would very much like that.

And that was the end of that. There was, of course, a much longer period of self-definition to come, but the hard part was over: I knew I was interested in dating girls. And who wouldn't be, right? But now I had to face the fact that my relationship status was no longer going to be implied in the eyes of society. There are expectations in society of what behavior is expected of young girls, and I was now going to have to either hide who I was or fight against the tide. Not much of a choice for me now, but attending a Catholic school and having never talked to my parents about dating or sexuality I was understandably cautious in how I was going to move forward. My time in the closet, however, was exceedingly brief in comparison to most.

Step 2 - COMING SOON...