It all started with an episode of The OC. No seriously, it did. Let me give you a little background to this story: I was obsessed with The OC and horribly infatuated with Seth Cohen, played by Adam Brody. Season One was great, the characters and storylines were very alluring to me, so of course, I came back to watch when Season Two aired. Enter Olivia Wilde, playing nightclub manager Alex Kelly. Lezbehonest, I had a total "girl crush" on her. A few episodes later, we find out Alex is bisexual, and a few episodes after that, she starts dating the show's leading lady, Marissa Cooper.
Holy hell, that was almost too much for 15-year old me to handle (okay, I kind of just gave my age away – oops). But let's put it this way: after seeing Olivia Wilde kissing a girl on screen, I came to the realization that I was at least bisexual.
Like many people of my generation, I went to the internet as a source to "find myself." I made a few friends along the way, one in particular who is still one of my biggest confidants. I was part of message boards, forums, chat rooms – anything and everything that I could find to help myself be comfortable enough to face people in my real, everyday life. A few months passed by before I told my closest friends and some cousins, who are like siblings to me. These are the two first responses I received:
1) "Really? There are a few girls on my softball team that are gay too, maybe I can introduce you."
2) "Really? Well since you told me, I guess it's fair to tell you. I'm gay too."
Boom. I thought I had it so easy because of this. Keep in mind, these were my two best friends at the time – still two people I consider to be my nearest and dearest. I slowly told other friends and cousins, and it all went just as well. I really thought I was in the clear. High school was a breeze – surprisingly, being an "out" bisexual/lesbian at a Catholic all girls' school was not a bad experience. Maybe it's because the girls I went to school with were awesome as hell, or maybe they just wanted to stay in my good graces. I'm not sure, but I'm just thankful I never received any negativity from my peers during this process.
After high school came college. Here I was, a student at a university in Manhattan. I found myself in a relationship with my college orientation leader before my freshman year even began. We met over the summer and clicked instantly. A few months into the relationship and my first year at school, I received a very troubled call from my mother:
"Are you gay?" she asked.
"What are you talking about mom? No, of course not." I panicked. I didn't want her to find out this way. I was already living a hectic life in the city and didn't have any room for added stress.
"Don't lie to me. Your aunt just called and told me she saw you kissing a girl."
Long story short, over the course of about a week of "he said, she said" with my mother, I finally came clean about my sexuality and my relationship status. At this time, I did identify as a lesbian, but I told her I was bisexual. I guess I figured she would be less mad.
Wrong! She came at me with "I'd rather be dead than have a gay daughter," and left the restaurant in tears. My younger brother, who had already known, patted me on the back and went after my mom. My dad, who I had told on the phone a few days prior, handed me a $100 bill and told me not to sleep around.
My mother and I barely spoke after that. This was probably the hardest part for me, since my family is very, very close. My mother has quite a few siblings and I have many, many cousins. Really, to say my family is close is an understatement. To have such a strong sense of family and feel abandoned by my mom was the most heart-wrenching thing I could have ever endured. I didn't know if we were going to get past it, and I didn't know if our relationship would ever be the same.
I stayed away from my dorm room and started staying at my girlfriend's apartment more often. She was two years older, so in a way, I kind of used her and her experiences as a guide for how I should go about the process I was going through. I noticed that I was pulling away from my friends and spending most of my time with my girlfriend. I think I was trying to escape my own reality and live vicariously through people who were all out to their entire families.
The months passed and my mom and I just never talked about my sexuality again. Her calls were brief and she was only concerned with my grades and my health, and I was okay with that. I was still very bitter about her words toward me.
A few more months passed and I finally got the courage to tell my mom that I needed her to be a mother to me again; that I needed the love and compassion a mother should be giving her daughter. She agreed that she needed me to be a daughter to her again. After that we rarely talked of my sexuality, but whenever it was brought up I could tell she was trying to be okay with the situation.
The months turned into years, and now we are in 2013. My current girlfriend, who I've been falling in love with for 17 months now, is very close with my whole family. My parents love her, have no problem with her staying in their home when we visit, and my cousins, aunts, uncles and brother all adore her. This whole process has been going on for about eight or nine years now, and I can honestly say that my coming out has made a full circle. Some parts were good, some were okay, some were so difficult I wouldn't get out of bed for days. But you know what? This was the hardest thing I've ever had to do in my life, and I am so happy about where I am today.
Visit the blog at thingslesbiansthink.com