Feeling a Little Low

The 2019 Fall semester is finally over. I ended the year with 2 As, 2 Bs, and 1 C. I realized too late- with the help of people who care about me- that I started the school year with too much on my plate. I was able to drop one of my classes, but, in reality, I should have never taken 6 to begin with; I think 3 or 4 would have been more reasonable considering I’d been away from college for almost 2 years.

2 of my friends recently graduated. I suppose that 1 of them should be considered more of an acquaintance now because we haven’t hung out regularly since 2016. There were others that I went to high school with that graduated this May, too. While I’ve come slowly come to the decision to let myself run only on my timeline, I still find it difficult to look at photos of people who started college at the same time as I did, but only one of us is done. I don’t doubt my capabilities of finishing school and I don’t regret my choice to take a break from it, but my desire to be done with my degree is still very strong.

This was the first semester that I finally got a professor I felt was worth my time and money. She made class interactive, educational, and overall enjoyable. The topics were applicable to both school and work. She gave real-life examples and encouraged questions and discussions. I’m glad I had her because, in short, I hate school and that hasn’t changed. She made the first semester back a better experience and she made the decision to sign up for more classes just a tad easier, too.

I’ve had a lot of family stuff go on this year- more than usual, it seems. As always, I am never really in the conflict/situation, but I am the neutral party, the middleman, you get it. The most pressing “thing” is currently my youngest sister and my family expects me to “talk some sense into her” when I see her on Monday. We’ll see how that goes. I’ve given my two cents, but I try not to be too overbearing.

Work has been fine. I felt that they hinted at a promotion a few months back, but I feel that I misunderstood. I also gave a co-worker (on behalf of my boss’) a $1400 bonus. The co-worker is moving to California, and I’m sure they just wanted to thank her for her time and wish her the best. I feel the same, of course, but I’d be lying if I said I wan’t expecting the rest of us to get something. The last payroll was already run (by yours truly) last Wednesday, so there is little chance of the situation changing.

On to my teeth. Braces, braces, braces. The usual pain of braces came and went in a matter of days. However, the pain inside of my jaw and into my head has not left. I believe it is because the braces are trying to straighten teeth when there is no room to straighten them to. I am getting 4 teeth pulled on January 6th, but until then, they’re just pushing on each other and causing me daily and nightly pain. It’s great.

I am currently dog-sitting. I’ve dog-sat for this family for several years and they’ve been in 3 different houses. Normally, there is a note with an envelope of cash. This time, there was just a note. I won’t say anything until they return because there has been a previous occasion where I was paid after the fact.

The other family I am dog-sitting for on the 26th just texted me asking if $25/night was good. In the past, I charged $40. I said $25 was fine because the too-nice-person-that-lives-inside-of-me was saying, “it’s the holidays, what if they can’t afford more?” Obviously, this was the wrong answer, but here we are.

This post is just a big complaining session and I am aware of that. I am usually quite vocal about my appreciation of my friends, family, and other joys in my life, but this semester has been hard. It’s also not been fun being apart from my girlfriend; she’s visiting her family in California until the 27th, so I’m flying solo down here.

I’m sure it’s just going to be one of those days for me. It’ll get better once I’m with my family, I’m sure.

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.