Playing this game of reality took on a new meaning when I realized I couldn’t completely share my identity with the people in my life. That reality check opened door #3, and dropped me in the middle of a seesaw that rocked as the scenery and people changed from one life to the other. The old switching of pronouns at the ready. You know, “he” for “she”, my “boyfriend” for my “girlfriend” and such. My straight friends wouldn’t know about my girlfriends and the joys of my life I lead with them. My job wouldn’t know about my “gay” side, because I needed the money and society just wasn’t advanced enough to risk loosing it all.

Sitting at lunch with my friends in school, I would hear how so and so was cute and how much she wanted to be with him. I would look over at the guy and think, “I played flag football with him yesterday and stopped him twice, heh heh.” but, kept my silence. I also thought that the girl sitting next to me was rather groovy and I loved to sit by her. They were in this teenage girl phase of being smitten by muscles and cuteness, I was just into their cuteness. I would never say a word about my true feelings. I knew how to play along. Oh, and the make up and “Aren’t you going to do something to your eyes?”

The first time I was given a clue that I was different came when I played house with a neighbor girl. We both were about 7 years old and we loved to play house and games in the laundry room of the apartment complex. Nothing sexual, of course, just the kissing thing as we played. One day, my friend said, “Mommy and I talked and she said that we can’t kiss any more. That isn’t what girls should do.” I looked at her and thought, “they don’t?” Out loud I said, “OK, let’s play outside.” I acted as though what she said didn’t effect me at all. I thought about it at night and I carried the clue with me for some time. I never crossed the line with her again. But, in one way it changed me, in another it didn’t.

I live in a world that is so focused through a sexual lens that it didn’t really matter what other contributions I have to give.  It seemed, for a very long time, that I was the only one that had crushes on girls, older girls and never over the boys. I found myself having crushes on women while my friends had crushes on guys. I resigned myself to enjoying the company of my friends to learn about what girls wanted in relationships. I listened. I counseled. And I supported.  You know, the other contributions to relationships? I had a few crushes on them and they never knew it.

I would take a boyfriend, just for show so that my sexual identity was safely hidden from detection. I had heard the jokes and stories about other people like me and I couldn’t bring myself to speak up. In mixed company, I would really be challenged to keep up with the pronouns. I was floored how much everyone just assumed they were in straight company. It was all about being laid and how many times with so and so. And, how many dates and “Oh, don’t you think that guy is a fag?” I would not say one word. I would think, “a fag? do you mean a cigarette? Makes no sense to me. Once I asked a friend what was meant by “fag” and when she told me, I was rooted to the spot with anger on the inside and a smile on the outside. This was the expected behavior.

I went to bars that had a wall barrier. Times past there had been stuff thrown into the bar from the outside and injured the ladies. I would perch myself at the end of the bar, drink in hand, and observe the scenery. I wasn’t attracted to the outer beauty as much as the inner beauty.  A lady that didn’t know how to converse or dance didn’t have a prayer with me. I am one who loves an inner elegance and grace with a keen mind and open fun communication. Of course I will tell you more in other posts.

The last part of my work life brought a new saying to my ears. The person laughing said, “That’s so gay.” I stopped. I looked at her and asked, “what does that mean?” I had taken a step forward and now opened my mouth and asked right in the moment. I didn’t think they said things like this anymore. Apparently, I was wrong. Anyone laughing? Just because I don’t match you in relationship choices doesn’t mean its right to slur another being. We can be better than this.

Medicine Band Tattoo
Medicine Band Tattoo

I just read this line from “Aegis Rising” by S.S. Segran and it so true for me and my rainbow-feathered phoenix tribe. “The battle between the bearers of light and the forces of darkness is intensifying, and your role will always be to raise the torch and diffuse this light…and remember, it is essential that you always, always do the right thing as prompted by your spirit–though doing the right thing may not always be the easiest.” -Elder Nageau- I take this to heart, as I know it to be the truth of my life.

I have learned that to live in balance is to speak the truth of your spirit in the now and do the right thing. Speak up to the bullies and to the naive to open the door to understanding. I have also learned to not let my silence speak for me. I have been disowned by my adopted father; but, I forgive him too. I don’t want to carry that darkness anymore.

From the ashes I rise once more, reborn.