I have never been this forward with my feelings.

I decided to take a leap yesterday and tell Chelsea that I felt myself falling for her much quicker than I thought I would. I told her that I normally keep those more intense feelings to myself for at least 2-3 months, but that I couldn’t and just didn’t want to do that with her.

Luckily, her response was not a terrified one.

I met her friends on Saturday. They were great to be around. We went to one of their apartment complexes which had a pool. We floated, we ate, we mingled, and we left. Apparently, one friend referred to me as Chelsea’s girlfriend (a conversation we have not had) and I totally missed it, but Chelsea definitely heard it and internally freaked a little bit because of the fact that it hadn’t been discussed yet.

Chelsea and I spent over 30 hours together this weekend. That’s insane. I haven’t done that with someone since being in AmeriCorps and having to spend every waking hour with 7 other people.

We also had another important conversation. I told her that I was doing my best to see her for who she was presenting herself to be towards me instead of me seeing her through “rose colored lenses”. I have fallen so quickly and I want to be certain that the person I am falling for actually exists and is not this person I’ve created in my mind by ignoring certain parts of her.

I don’t think I’ve failed to see her as she is, but your brain can do some crazy things- especially in the first few months. So, I told her I really like her, but I am also keeping in mind the “honeymoon” phase of new relationships.

That is all.

An Important Conversation

Chelsea (the woman I have been dating for a month) came over after work yesterday. The traffic-filled drive from her place of work to my house is absolutely godawful, so I really appreciate her making the trek.

We had a very healthy and vulnerable conversation yesterday. It concerned something along the lines of investing everything into something that might blow up in our faces. In other words, she (and I) are taking personal risks by emotionally investing in each other and the relationship we are building as humans; there is a fear there of it not working out, obviously. Then, all the risk and vulnerability would be “for nothing”.

I don’t think it would be for nothing. I don’t know how she would feel about that. I think that all of my experiences, good and bad, resulted in me becoming somehow wiser, more informed, and a little richer in life experiences. So, at the end of the day (or at the end of a relationship), I don’t think anything was “for nothing”.

Anyway, I could see how difficult some of that conversation was for her, so I’m really grateful that we were able to have it.

After I confessed that I was surprised by how quickly I started to feel attracted towards her, she confessed a similar statement. We talked about how easy it felt to talk to one another.

While I thoroughly enjoyed this conversation with her, my own insecurities and fears occasionally crept through my mind: what if I feel like this is it for me, but this is just the beginning of her experiences? I think it’s too soon to think that way, but that’s my brain. You’re welcome.

I’m really happy with her.

Tomorrow I will have known her for 1 month. I’ve learned a lot since our first meeting. I can honestly and genuinely say that I enjoy her company and conversation. I really appreciate her efforts and I can tell that she is also serious about getting to know each other.

I made a previous post about how I felt overwhelmed with the strong emotions I’m having despite only having known her for a short time. I am still adjusting, but I’ve come to a conclusion:

I don’t want to date anymore. I don’t want to search anymore. i don’t want to “prove myself” via texts and dating apps anymore. I don’t want to be another person’s coming out story. I don’t want to help anyone deal with middle school issues. I don’t want to play therapist. I want a partner in life that I can trust and rely on. I want equality. I want open communication. I want compromise. I want unconditional love. I want healthy pushes to think about things differently. I want to feel supported. I want someone who’s got my back.

I feel like that’s asking a lot.

It doesn’t really matter, though. I have been through some very questionable things and I’m just so tired and exhausted. I let many past relationships preside over my own physical and mental wellbeing. While trying to be everything for my partners I was doing some serious damage to myself. Well, I’m taking care of myself now and it’s going really great.

Since meeting this woman (I know I created a name for her, but it escapes me), I want this to be it so badly. I don’t care that I’m young- I’m not even pushing for marriage or an immediate future together. I just want to be done with the bullshit. And she feels like the complete opposite of bullshit.

Edit: I have discovered that the name I gave her is Chelsea. Woohoo!

Miss Me More

If you don’t know this song, you should:

When this song came out, I was no longer in a toxic relationship, but the after effects were still very much with me. I was learning how to navigate making my own decisions again without having to consider how my partner would react or belittle me later because of them.

It took me 6-8 months longer than I would have liked to get out of that relationship. The ultimate reason I decided to leave was because I didn’t like who I had become.

I have always been confident and sure of myself when it comes to my academic ability and even my physical appearance. This partner made me feel stupid and like I couldn’t do anything right. There was so much manipulation and guilt-tripping and a loss of identity within myself.

I think to my friends and family I probably acted “normal”, but so did my partner. They never acted questionably around anyone but me. That’s why it was so hard to tell people how they had been treating me. My family genuinely liked them. They didn’t see what I saw. Even afterwards. It took a few years for them to stop referring to them. I made it clear that I didn’t want to hear their name or know about any run ins they had with them in town.

Kelsea Ballerini came out with this song and took the words right out of my heart. I missed myself and who I was before shit hit the fan. I forgot that I was capable of going places alone, making decisions alone, going to see MY friends, etc.

The song does trigger those memories, but it also makes me feel empowered.

I am fucking proud of myself.

I got off of work at 1pm. I drove home, changed, and walked right back out the door to head to the city my new girl lives in. She doesn’t get off of work until 6pm, but traffic is so bad if I leave anywhere after 2pm, I’ll be sitting for over an hour. So, I made it to the nearest Starbucks in about 30 minutes with minimal traffic.

Once at Starbucks, I ordered a venti decaf white peppermint mocha. Man, that’s a mouthful. I went to bathroom while they prepared it and when I came out, I grabbed my drink and headed for one of the couches. There were not many people in here at this time.

I started by going through my work email and responding to them. I checked my personal email as well. Then, I moved to my blog- the one you are currently on. I wrote 3 articles about topics that are at least somewhat emotionally charged. I went to the bathroom once more.

When I came back, I started to get the familiar unwelcome shortness of breath feeling. I thought that maybe my coffee was caffeinated after all. I tried to stay a little while longer, but eventually I had to pack up my things, pee one more time, and nervously head out the door. I still had about an hour to kill, though.

I walked to my car and breathed a small sigh of relief as I sat down. The simple thing of not being around other people is already enough to take a huge weight off. I drove to a nearby parking lot of a shopping center and parked. I pulled up some YouTube videos and wrote in my journal. I also talked to myself trying to rationalize the situation in my brain.

I was not able to completely shake that anxious, heavy feeling in my chest- even once I got to her apartment. It died down a little bit, but it was still very much present. I was nervous to drive home. Having a panic attack while on the road is a huge fear of mine.

Anyway, it did finally come time for me to drive home. I got in my car and drove away. It’s a 30 minute drive of nothing but highway. I got about 5 minutes in before I felt that feeling again. I started biting my nails and I hiked my left leg up on the seat- my go to position when I feel anxious in the car. Then, I decided to try and focus on my breathing.

I counted about 4-5 counts inhaling and 8-10 counts exhaling to counteract my hyperventilation. It was working. Then the feeling came back. I tried again to really focus on my breathing and the road. I felt myself calm down a little bit and I was able to get home quickly and safely with a lot less panic than if I had not focused so much on this breathing pattern.

This is big for me. I am rarely able to focus enough on my breathing to actually slow it down, but I did it. Practice makes better, I guess. I’m just proud that I made it home alright.

I’m in bed now. It’s late. I have work tomorrow. My roommates are both out of town and sleeping alone in this house makes me nervous. My neighborhood is not exactly the safest, but that’s Atlanta for you. My doors are all locked and I left one living room light on. We also have all 3 of our cars in the driveway, so it looks like their are plenty of people here. I’ve done this before, I think I can do it again.

Goodnight, all.

Overwhelming Thoughts

I don’t know if this post is going to come out making sense. I will do my best, but this could be a doozy.

Some people only fall in love with, date, and marry one person. Other people go through the same process with 20 different people. I haven’t met anyone who’s been married 20 times, but I’ve heard of 5-7 times, so that’s still a jump.

Many married people I know today (both old and young) got married in their mid to late 20s. I am approaching my mid 20s. This post is not about me feeling pressure to get married- that pressure isn’t there for me. What I am getting at is the thought that maybe I’ve met a person who I could be happy with for a long time.

I’ve been on a few dates that never went further than that first meeting. I’ve dated someone short term. I’ve dated several people long term (for me, this range is 8 months to 2 years). I’ve dated someone who was not very kind to me. I’ve dated people and imagined married life with them. There was one person who I considered to be someone I would have children with if we got there. My point is that I have experience. I have experienced enough variety of personality. I know what I want at this point. I also know what I don’t want.

The person I just started seeing 3 weeks ago is many of the things I want in a person. Obviously, there are no perfect people and she is not perfect, but there are so many seemingly great things about her, my body and mind are on edge because “what’s the catch?”

So, like I mentioned before, there are so many people who are married or at least dating the person they’re going to marry by the time they are my age or by the time they’ve experienced what I have. I’ve dated enough for my liking. I would like to just not anymore. The thought in my mind is “could this be it?”

Don’t panic, now, because marriage is something I don’t want for another 8ish years. I just wonder if she could be someone I want to travel with, someone to introduce to my family and friends, someone I want to come home to after work, etc.

Contemplate these things with me. Let’s overanalyze together. Let’s think about all the confusing things in life. I hope you all got through this one alright.

Feelings Scare Me

Our emotions and feelings are something we are rarely in control of. You can occasionally control how you react outwardly to experiencing feelings and emotions, but those true feelings and true reactions still live inside of your body and your mind.

In terms of romance, my feelings have always been strong. I fall for people quickly and hard. I don’t tell them, of course, but I am very aware of how my mind, body, and heart feel. Usually, my mind is in some sort of disagreement with itself about how I should be navigating the relationship, my body is very willing to comply with everything and anything, and my heart has already partially attached itself to whoever I’m talking to.

I felt like writing about how my feelings scare me because they are currently scaring me. I have only known this woman for 10 days and I have met her once; however, it feels like I’ve known her for years. I don’t know if she feels the same, so I speak only for myself.

She answers my questions without hesitation. She is interested in what I do and where I come from. She’s open to adventure and travel. She’s very blunt and straightforward, not unlike myself. I appreciate talking to someone who “speaks my language”. Oftentimes, I have to preface things I say with, “I don’t mean to be rude” or “I don’t want to offend you”, but I don’t have to do that with her and she is just as forward towards me. I love it.

There is also one thing she did when we met for the first time that I can’t stop thinking about: When I was telling an elaborate story, she leaned forward, elbows on knees, and looked me in my eyes while I talked. She was so attentive.

In the past, I had an emotionally abusive partner who told me more than once, “I don’t hear you when you talk.” With this in mind, her leaning forward and being so obviously interested in the words coming out of my mouth meant the world to me and it made her that much more attractive. She’s super cute, by the way. But she just got cuter.

So, anyway, I like this woman. I like her a lot for only having known her for 10 days. part of me is like, “get a fucking grip”, but the other part of me is saying to just fall into it, don’t resist, don’t overthink, just be. I’m going to try very hard to “just be”.

Update on My Date

My first date with this woman was this past Tuesday. We met at California Pizza Kitchen. We split the bill if anyone is curious about those things, although she did offer to pay.

Long story short is the date went well and we are seeing each other again.

We had so many things to talk about, so my worst fear was definitely avoided. I hate when you’re unable to bounce off of each other in conversation because at that point I’ve lost interest and am looking for an out. So, again, that was not the case; the conversation flowed and I had many questions that she answered without hesitation.

Our next “date” is going to be cooking a meal at her apartment. I say meal, but I actually just wanted to show her how amazing homemade banana pudding was. She lives about 30 minutes away from me without traffic, so it could be worse.

A peek inside my mind: I have commitment issues and I am well aware of them. In previous relationships, I always looked for an out or a convenient excuse for the relationship to end because I figured the relationship was going to end sooner or later anyway, so I might as well end it now. I’m trying to change that mindset a little bit and it will be something I discuss with my therapist in the near future. For now, I am trying to enjoy getting to know this woman and not worry so much about sabotaging something that doesn’t even exist.

Mommy Issues

I didn’t have the best luck in past relationships when it came to my partners’ mothers liking me. The first two relationships that I was in were by far the most disastrous in the mother category, but the ones after that didn’t always work out how I had planned either.

My first girlfriend’s mother liked me just fine right up until she discovered that we were a thing. This first girlfriend of mine is who I consider to be my first love and our relationship was a complicated one. We were both discovering our sexualities and navigating what it meant to be “in a relationship”. In many ways, I felt protective of her because she was battling other demons that had no connection to “coming out” and I would try my best to be there and show her that I loved her. So, when her mother transferred her to another school, I was devastated. Her mother also insisted that there would be no contact between us. No texting, no email, no Facebook Messenger, nothing. Obviously, we found ways to communicate and that went on for over a year, maybe closer to two years. Every now and again, her mother discovered that we were talking and I would receive a simple message saying that Maya would no longer be responding to me. I’d wait a few days, sometimes weeks, and then I’d get a message somewhere.

I think the hardest thing for me was that Maya’s mother never gave me a reason as to why she didn’t want me interacting with her daughter. I gathered that she wasn’t a fan of lesbians, but I couldn’t understand why she had to take such drastic measures to separate us. I’m sure she thought she was doing what was best for her daughter. I’m also sure that it was partially to maintain her image in the community. Now that I’m older, I can say that it was all done out of fear and homophobia. I don’t care about the details. What she did was wrong and it took younger me years to not feel like fucking shit about myself.

Alright. Girlfriend #2’s mom. Girlfriend’s name is Mary. Mary’s mother LOVED me. She even loved me after she found out we were dating. She bought me holiday and birthday gifts. She was interested in my schooling and what I wanted to do in life. She said I was welcome to come over any time.

*Mary’s mother was addicted to opioids and suffered from unaddressed and untreated mental health issues. She was also abusive and manipulative towards Mary and Mary’s brother.*

Mary’s mother loved me. Then Mary and I broke up. Obviously, abusive relationships between parents and children are complicated. While Mary’s mother abused her children, she also felt protective of them. After catching wind of the apparent distress Mary was feeling post breakup, I received a message. I received many messages, actually. In addition to text messages, I also received phone calls at my place of work. I have attached those messages below.

I want to expand on the things mentioned in the texts.

  • After breaking up, I did go on a trip to Key West with Mary per her request. For anyone who’s been in an abusive relationship, you can probably relate to the struggle of cutting ties 100%. Mary told me that I did not owe her anything.
  • Something that was confusing for me was her insistence that there would be no phone calls or anyone coming to her house. As the person who broke up with her daughter, I had zero interest in calling or visiting. I’m not sure why she thought I was contacting her daughter.
  • We drank at my mom’s house and we drank at her mom’s house. All of our parents always knew because I’ve never liked to hide things. If there was any alcohol that was stolen, I never knew anything about it or I was told that it was okay to take.
  • I also don’t know what money she’s referring to that I supposedly took. My best guess is that she figures I tricked Mary into spending whatever money was spent on the Key West trip and she wanted me to reimburse her for everything.

Obviously, Mary’s mother had no idea what dating her daughter was like for me. And I had no reason to tell her because I was 99% sure that Mary got most of her issues from the way her mother treated her. I know that within myself I am a good person. I don’t take advantage of people. I don’t wish feelings of worthlessness on people. I’m not mean. I can’t and don’t “turn people gay”. I know that I am good. I know these things. It’s just difficult to keep telling myself that when several adults have told me the exact opposite.

So, between Mary’s mom’s known mental instability, her abusive history, her drug issues, and her current hatred for the person who made her daughter upset (me), I was very concerned about my safety. I went to the police with my “evidence” and worries in hopes of a restraining order or just some advice. They had nothing for me. I changed my phone number and blocked the entire family. Shortly after, I went to study abroad in Germany. When I returned from that, I signed up for 11 months of service with Americorps NCCC. Upon returning home in May, I immediately started house hunting and found my current home in Atlanta. I have many reasons for wanting to get out of my hometown, but that family was in the top 3.

Girlfriendish #3/girl-I-casually-dated-for-3-months-or-so’s mom wasn’t even really in the picture. I was told by the girl I was seeing that her mom was in denial and that her gayness just didn’t exist. It didn’t come up. It wasn’t bashed, but it also wasn’t at all acknowledged. So that was a great experience in comparison to the previous 2.

Partner #4 is unique in the fact that they’re a man. I will talk more about that choice later, but let’s all pretend it’s not a huge deal and let me get on with my story. Partner #4’s name is Rick. Woohoo! My first not “M” name! Rick’s mother was an absolute gem, truly. She is a fantastic woman. However, everything she thought she knew about me was a lie and she’ll never know the truth and that’s the part that’s irritating to me. She liked someone who didn’t exist. Had I told her that I identified as a lesbian and that I didn’t believe in God, she would have politely told her son to please halt the courtship. Funny enough, Rick knew that I was a lesbian and that I didn’t believe in God. At the end of the day, that’s all that mattered, and I tried not to let the whole mom thing bother me.

The last woman I dated is a beautiful human being. So is her mother. Her mother is my favorite mother. She accepted me completely and I wish I got to know her more. Her mother is also not well; she has COPD and it’s not looking great. Obviously, this woman and I are no longer together and that’s the reason I’m sad about losing contact with the lovely mother who took me as 100% me. They also live in Massachusetts, so an attempt at keeping in touch isn’t as easy as it could be.

So, those are my experiences with previous partners’ mothers. It’s a mixed bag and while the first two really fucking sucked, it did get better in a sense. When I go to date women now, some of the first questions I ask is “Are you out to your parents?”, “Are they comfortable with the LGBTQIA community?” and “How important is religion to you and your family?”. They’re big questions, but they determine a lot for me.

I hope this was insightful and interesting. Thank you for stopping by!

Internalized Homophobia

I had my first “Aha!” moment when I was in 6th grade. At that time, I didn’t even know what “gay” was.

The story goes like this: I was playing soccer with my team and an older girl named Caitlin was playing with us. She was from a more experienced team called Lightening and she had played with us many times before. This time, however, I found her in my vicinity more than usual and as she ran past me, I stopped in my tracks. I stopped running, I forgot the ball, I was just standing there like an idiot.

It was her smell. She smelled like flowers and it was intoxicating. I had NO IDEA what the fuck was happening, but I got it together and continued to play the game.

I told my mom about it immediately and she said to worry about those feelings when I was a little older and not to stress about it now.

I didn’t seriously evaluate what I felt that day until about 4 years later when I fell in love for the first time. It was incredible.

This post is about my internalized homophobia, though. So, let’s jump in. Between 6th and 10th grade, I learned more about what some of my family and community and a great deal of society thought about those who experienced same sex attraction. I learned more about God and his apparent disapproval of the same behavior. I learned more about sexism and double standards.

I learned that gay was not good.

Fast forward 2 serious relationships with other females plus a 3 month adventure with another girl. I was now 19. I found myself in a position to explore a relationship with a man. I took it.

I dated him for 8 months. I put everything into the relationship, but to no use. I was gay.

I have wished for my “gayness” to disappear before. I remember feelings of disappointment and irritation for not being a good person. Because gay people aren’t right. There’s something wrong.

I remember feeling angry and confused when people said that I was choosing this “lifestyle”. I still get so angry when I’m told it’s a choice. Who in their right fucking mind would choose to be looked at so disgustingly?

I feel like to my more conservative family members, they see me and think, “if only she would date men, she would be the perfect person, granddaughter, daughter, etc.” I’ve always done well in school. I don’t enjoy drugs and I don’t drink often either. I visit my relatives, I volunteer, I’m always employed, I have friends. I even went to church on my own accord for a few years and even now, even though I am not religious anymore, I have no problem going to church with family if they want me to join them.

But I’m gay.

I’m almost the perfect package. I’m almost the perfect granddaughter. Almost. There’s just that one little flaw. “If only she’d just come to her senses, accept the Lord, and realize that it’s unnatural to date the same sex. It’s disgusting. It’s not right. It’s not Christian. It’s not decent.”

“You turned my daughter gay”

“She wasn’t like this before you”

“You took advantage of her good nature”

“You’re disgusting”

“You’re too young to know this is who you are”

“You can be gay, you just shouldn’t act on your desires”

“I understand that you’re gay, but I don’t want to see it”

“It’s okay to be gay, just don’t wave it in my face”

“It’s only okay for women to be gay, but two dudes is fucking nasty”

After being told these things, it should come as no surprise that I found myself absolutely hating my sexuality. Everyone around me, it seemed, was telling me how wrong it was and how I shouldn’t act on it, especially not in public.

The worst types of homophobia are the indirect moments of it. For example, 99% of my family NEVER asks me about who I’m seeing or if I’m interested in anyone. When I was presumed to be straight, there would always be questions about the current boy I was interested in.

I also recently went through a breakup. It sucked. The woman I was dating is an amazing person and our reasons for breaking up were primarily distance and conflicts in our future desires (children, mainly). There is no bad blood between us, so I had nothing to be angry at. I was just sad. My family knew that I had been seeing her. They even met her. When I returned back home without her or mention of her, there were no questions. There were no “how are you dealing with this” or “are you okay” questions. I was disappointed because I thought some of my family was more okay with my “lifestyle”, but apparently not interested enough in it to ask how I was handling something very emotional.

In the past 2 years, I have learned to truly love my sexuality and the community it allows me to have. Being around other people who are on the LGBTQIA+ spectrum makes me feel most loved and safe. I don’t have to act straight or omit information when telling a story or talking about my hopes and dreams. I don’t have to answer uncomfortable questions and I’m not gawked at when out with a partner. I am so thankful for that community.

It’s a daily obstacle to assure myself that I’m enough exactly how I am. I don’t have to pretend to be someone I’m not and I don’t have to change myself to make others more comfortable in their ignorance.

I’m learning to live my life with pride in myself and I hope you do, too.