Gay is OK
We all have letters we'd like to send, but know that we can't. A letter to someone we no longer have a relationship with, a letter to a family member or friend who has died, a letter to reclaim our power or our voice from an abuser.
Letters where actual contact is just not possible.
Do you have a letter you can't send?
Why not send it to The Band?
Dear, Dear Daddy:
I love you. You know that I do. I was always a Daddy's Girl, and although that has changed in the last eight or so years, it doesn't mean I love you any less.
You came to visit me a few weeks ago, and you did something horrible. For the first time in my life, I heard that you thought I was a "major disappointment."
And WHY was I a disappointment? For not following your life path? For not becoming the same self-righteous judgmental person you are?
I know that you're Christian, and I don't judge you for that, although you judge me for choosing NOT to be a part of your religion. What I DO judge you for is how irrational you are when it comes to your own life.
You are gay, and I love that about you. What I can't STAND is that you're ashamed of it. Oh no, you're not in the closet anymore, but your religious beliefs make you a self-loathing person, and I hate that. And since I'm queer, I also have to assume that you can't stand that about ME, either.
Religion is just the tip of the iceberg, though. I know you are a staunch Republican, and I would never try and change your beliefs. What I would like, however, is a chance to discuss politics with you, like a reasonable human being, without you immediately attacking me in the most vicious way you can come up with. I can't have any sort of political conversation with you because any time I try to make a point, you just say something to the effect of, "Well, you don't know, you're just ignorant."
Excuse me? I'm sorry, but of the two of us, I'm the one who went to college and took politically charged classes. I may not have all the answers, but I'm certainly informed. And saying I'm ignorant will not hide that you are TERRIFIED to hear anyone's opinion but your own. Are you afraid that if you listen, we might make sense?
But let's touch on something else, Dad: I know you don't think you are, but you are RACIST. Not horribly so, not "burn all the non-white people" crazy, but you ARE racist. Sometimes, you say things that make me want to curl up and die. That you have black friends does not excuse the ignorance that comes out of your mouth sometimes. Please. Think about what you say.
You said I was a major disappointment to you?
Well, you've been a major disappointment to me. You're a great friend, but you are one shitty father. I might as well been raised by mom alone, for all you were around when I was a kid. You hardly ever went to any of the band, dance, cheer-leading, gymnastics, or other events. And when I graduated college, you thought a trip to Europe was more important than coming to my graduation. You didn't bother to remember my current boyfriend's name, for the first two years we dated. You never even ask about my life.
I'm bipolar, and you don't give a shit what that's like. My brother's bipolar too, and you don't have any fucking clue. You don't try to understand, and then you wonder why my brother doesn't want to talk to you, when you then say stupid shit like "well I just don't understand how someone could be depressed," as if we could MAGICALLY wish it away.
You might be disappointed in me for one thing; I have a lifetime of disappointment from you. And I couldn't possibly say any of this to you - say that I would really appreciate that when I try to say something, you let me get it OUT OF MY DAMN MOUTH instead of cutting me off constantly. Say to you that when you treat my bipolar like it's nothing, you make me feel completely invalid.
I wish you could understand what it's like - that what you did, how you made me feel a few weeks ago, put me in bed for days - crippled with depression. The past few weeks have been a slow, steady attempt to claw out of the emotional pit you put me in.
If it's always going to be like this between us, I'm not sure it's worth it to have a relationship with you. What's more important to you - your children, or your preconceived notions?
Think about it.
I am gay.
As in, I am a girl who falls in love with other girls.
Recently, I've had my heart broken. More accurately, I've let my heart get pulverized into a hot mush of sad, bitter tears and angry, jealous, hateful, crushing thoughts.
You see, I fell in love with a broken girl; my quickly-made best friend. A beautiful, intelligent, jumbled-up, heartbroken girl who began to view me as her own personal god - a source of unconditional love, protection, and all things good.
I am not a god.
In a letter she typed me - her second or third attempt to try to convince me (and herself) she did not feel love for me - a line hinted at her growing godly opinion of me: "I'm afraid I will start worshiping you instead of God."
In disbelief, I dismiss the possibility: "How could I be worshiped when I am so flawed? A gay, overweight, irresponsible, adventurously reckless girl who feels too much. A person hated by individuals who only see gay and not me."
I am not a god.
After this attempt, I finally accept that this girl I love does not love me as I want her to.
Then, she hits me with a mighty curve ball, "I like you. I thought you deserved to know." I'm hit so hard that I cannot feel elated that this girl, my beautiful best friend, likes me the way I'd hoped she would since that spring break night when I realized I had fallen in love with her.
Not too long afterward, I find myself holding her hands, pulling her close, stroking her hair and soft cheek, laying next to her, and finally declaring aloud, "You are so beautiful."
Next thing I know, she is telling me, "I love you."
I, with a happy, whole heart, tell her that I love her too.
Her next attempt at trying to convince me - and herself - she does not love me is more drawn-out than previous ones, "How could she love a girl when she's always been attracted to boys? How could she, her parent's little girl, disappoint them by doing something they could not fathom? How could she be with a non-believer? How could she handle being disowned by certain family members? How could she deal with people hating her?"
This is when the shame seeps into my mind and heart: "I am causing the person I love so much pain."
I am not a god.
Why did I have to be a girl? Why do I not believe in the Gods religions speak of? Why did I make her fall in love with me?
The shame quickly begins to crush my self-confidence: "She doesn't really love me. I could never make her happy. She will end up leaving me for a man. I am not enough."
After a month of separation - so she could determine if she can't live without me; if she really loves me - this girl I've been loving, missing, and waiting for tells me, "I am naturally heterosexual so I can't be with you."
I plea, "You know that doesn't matter; If you love someone, you love them. That's it."
She tells me that she's been lying to herself and to me. She's addicted to romantic love. She said, did, and felt everything based on expectations she thought existed. She says she did not miss me, can live without me, and does not need me.
She tells me that she was dependent on me, and when she began to talk to me again after that month of silence, she felt that feeling of dependence creep on her again.
She tells me I was there for her during a time she needed someone most. She was emotionally entangled. She says she's been selfish; she doesn't love me as I want her to.
My once whole and happy heart, already cracked from the weight of the shame, worry, and longing I felt while we were out of contact, freezes and shatters along with my brain.
For the next two months, I fail to fall asleep. I find myself watching the sun come up almost every day before my eyes rest.
I am broken.
I am not a god.
I wake up every day remembering that this girl does not love me; is not my friend anymore. Eventually, I learn how to sleep before the sun comes up, learn to wake up not thinking about what I have lost.
A therapist I begin seeing asks, "Did you really cause her all this pain, or did other people cause her pain?"
Reluctantly I say, "Other people did."
I try to realize; believe this. I try to be strong when school begins, and I start seeing her everyday. I try my best not to call her and ask, "Can we please stop this? Can you please change your mind?"
A chain of events finds me talking to her for five hours, laughing, teasing, joking, and smiling at each other.
Another day finds me watching her as a smooth-talking, fake boy offers his hand twice as she takes it the second time.
I'm watching as she holds his hand.
I hold her hand briefly.
I find myself glancing over to see her sitting closer to this shady, less attractive, smelly, showy guy.
I ask if she will be all right as she stands close to this guy under an umbrella. I'm walking, then running, in the rain back to my dorm.
I feel an overwhelming sense of "Really?!"
I begin feeling better.
I look at myself in the mirror in my room - looking, seeing, and thinking, "I am so much more attractive, better smelling, funnier, wittier, smarter, stronger, better, than both of those guys who were with us - especially that prick."
I remember a quote: "We accept the love we think we deserve."
She does not believe she deserves my love.
I tell my heart and brain, "No, she really doesn't." Even while thinking this, I still find myself loving her; considering I may never stop loving her. I tell myself it is okay to let myself feel it instead of fight it, to send my love to her and leave it at that.
I remember the guy, becoming angry and jealous until I recall my own reflection, the words of strangers, friends, and family. I say: "I am way better than this guy."
I sleep fitfully, waking several times, replaying the jealousy and anger, then relief-bringing realization. I greet a new day with a walk, a friend, a run, some lab work, a few phone calls, a scary movie, a book, some guitar playing, and writing.
I remind myself: "I am way better than that guy. She does not deserve my love. I did not inflict that pain on her. I have nothing to be ashamed of. I am not a god."
Many people struggle with social anxiety.
This is her story:
Apparently, some people actually can make new friends!
I am not one of those people.
I have three real friends, but unfortunately, we're not all at the same points in our life. We don't have the same things going on nor are we interested in the same things. One is a married stay-at-home mom with two kids; one is married with one child and a fellow teacher; one is married with no kids and also a fellow teacher.
Then there's me.
I'm single, gay, I have no kids, I'm a teacher and I'm lonely. And that's it. Those are my only "real" friends. They are the people I hang out with when I am forced from the comfort of my own home.
I go through phases where I wish I had more friends, had people with more things in common outside of teaching. The problem is that even during those phases I am petrified of making new friends. Or the of possibly beginning a relationship.
I'm on medication for anxiety - I know this is partially why it's hard for me to make friends. I don't know how to let people in and be there for people - I like to keep the two things separate. Either I need people or people need me; they simply aren't allowed to be the same people. I'm trying to figure out how to allow myself to let any of these people be both. I've heard that relationships work better that way.
Unfortunately I don't know how.
When faced with new people, I don't know how to deal with them. I'd just as happily not deal with new people. I'd prefer to sit in my house with a book and ignore the possibility of being hurt. But I am lonely. I miss having friends to do things with. I miss the ability to have a relationship.
I miss having a life.
I love the friends I do have. They're wonderful people and I love them dearly. I also appreciate; love those I allow to be my support. If I could find a way to mesh these together I might be able to meet people. I might be able to get over myself. Who knows, maybe I could even be happy. Or, at least, less unhappy and less anxious.
I don't know. I'm just tired of the way things are right now.
I'm just tired.
Any advice for your Bandmate? Have you dealt with social anxiety and making friends? Do you have any suggestions for her?
About a month ago, I got a very unpleasant surprise. I was walking my new boyfriend out of my residence hall (guests must be escorted) when I ran into my RA. My RA proceeded to inform me that I was getting a new roommate.
I knew the girl. She lived near me, and, based upon what I knew, I was scared. She was anti-gay, racist, and not particularly nice. As I'm bisexual, living with a homophobic person did not sound like much fun.
So I took the only logical route I could think of: I appealed to Res Life and begged them to give me a different roommate. To let me move. Anything but live with her. I was told that I had to give her two weeks or wait for her to call me a dyke - whatever came first.
They encouraged me to think of her as "a new friend;" welcome her into my room.
I have an anxiety disorder, so the wait felt like decades. I cried myself to sleep every night. My room felt like home, the only home I'd ever known (I had a tough home life). My best friend lived next door. I was happy there. But I avoided my former home at all costs. No one seemed to care as my mental health went down the tubes.
She never said anything mean to my face, but other things happened. Some of my things disappeared. She got me written up for things I didn't do. Posters I'd put up of Lady Gaga mysteriously disappeared, or fell down everyday. My prized giraffe (a gift from my sister) suddenly had an unexplained stain on it. Things were moved or broken. She used my things without asking.
But I couldn't prove anything, so I had to keep waiting.
Thankfully, I was rescued by a sympathetic Res Life employee who allowed me to move. While it felt like a victory, it was bittersweet. I had to move across campus, far away from my friends and the place that felt like home.
In the end, she won.
Perhaps worst of all, she posted mean and hateful comments about me on Facebook whenever she could. They are still there.
I'm hurt and I don't know how to process what happened. I feel like Res Life stole my home and my happiness. I don't know to blame. Maybe that's why it hurts so much.
I'm trying to make new friends in my new building as I adjust to a new place. I'm trying to make this new room, my new roommate, feel like home.
It's still a work in progress, but I believe I'll get there.
It's estimated that between 5-10% of the female population is affected in some way by Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome.
This is her infertility story.
I'm a lesbian. Ordinarily that isn't super-important, but I'm at the point that I want kids, so it becomes very important.
Once people find out that I'm gay and want kids, I get asked, "So you're planning to adopt, right?" There seems to be a socially-held expectation that being gay means you must adopt. Once, someone told me that adopting was "my social responsibility."
However, my response is always, no, I want to carry my child. I want to experience pregnancy, with all its ups and downs. I want to feel my child grow. It's my experience, and no one should try and take that away.
While I was never big into kids, I've dreamed about being pregnant since I was a teenager. I always vaguely knew it was something I had to do at some point.
Then, about two years ago, suddenly a switch flipped and it was all I could think about. I started reading about it, talking about it, doing everything I could to get near it.
And one day, my partner and I decided to start trying.
My partner and I have tried to get pregnant for a year and a half. We tried to get her pregnant because her cycle was regular. Since I cycled irregularly, and we didn't know what it would take to get me regular enough to become pregnant, it seemed the easy choice. We started tracking her cycle, found a donor, went through a contractual process that took months, and finally started trying.
Every month we'd try, watch her symptoms, get excited, take the test... and it would be negative. Twice we got hopeful. But eighteen months and two miscarriages later, we're back at square one.
During those eighteen months, I ran through every emotion imaginable. The worst of which was the jealousy; jealousy that I wasn't able to carry our child. I consoled myself by saying I'd carry number two. However, by the end, we both felt defeated, deflated, and devastated. I also felt a fierce determination; a determination that I wanted this so badly, I'd do anything I needed to do.
After 18 months of failure to get pregnant, I decided to see an endocrinologist. I've always had a really irregular cycle, so I knew something was wrong. However, it took me a long time to be ready to face the possibilities of what that might mean.
After meeting with the endocrinologist, I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, or PCOS. PCOS has major fertility implications - PCOS means that I don't ovulate. No ovulation = no baby.
I've started a treatment regime including medication and weight loss, that so far has been unsuccessful in booting my system - no easy task. Next month I start an ovulation drug that will allow me to ovulate regularly.
All of a sudden, this got very, very real. My coping strategy involves researching the hell out of my options. I've been sensitive to my options for a while, because, by now, we're up $2,000 in to plane tickets, doctor visits, and everything associated with a bootleg-approach to getting pregnant.
We tried working directly with our donor. We had him tested for fertility. We got ourselves prepped. It costs a lot of money. Starting our adventure with the endo and getting my cycle regulated meant we had to consider some options.
My options are to start fertility drugs.
Once I do this, I can try either a home insemination, or an Interuterine Insemination, or IUI. This whole TTC thing gets complicated, overwhelming and expensive really quickly. My understanding is that IUI, in which a tube is placed in my uterus to flush sperm in to the area as I ovulate, is my best option.
Of course I know how baby-making works, but damn.
I hate that it has to be so clinical. I hate that there is always someone else in my bedroom. I hate that this can't just be mine. I hate that I can't be surprise. I hate that we will pay an $800 price tag for an 18% chance of success. It's just not fair.
Despite all of this, I'm optimistic. Still looking forward to the future. I know it will happen, and I can't wait until it does.
As long as there is that tiny pinprick of light, I'll keep the sputtering flame of hope alive.
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