This is my unexciting story

This is my story. It’s not very exciting, but it’s something about me.

Yes, I am a lesbian. But I am more than just my sexual orientation. To me, my sexuality is just a part of me just like the colour of my skin or the size of my feet. It’s just one thing that makes the entire me. And it’s an integral part of me too, because without it, I wouldn’t be who I am or what I am. I’d be a completely different person with different perception and life experiences.

I’ve known I was different since I was 7 or 8. I didn’t know exactly what it was, but I knew I was always attracted to women. My first celebrity crush was actually Morgan Fairchild. And then, by 13, I was told those feelings I’d been having for women were unnatural and forbidden; punishable by death.

I was shocked and confused. It wasn’t so much “confused” as in “confused”, but more like “baffled”. How is possible to have those feelings come to me very naturally, not driven by anything, and be condemned for having them? What was wrong me? Is it some kind of sickness I was having?

I grew up as a lonely child. Sure, I have so many siblings and friendly neighbours. There was never a dull moment. But inside, I felt alone. I had a lot of anger. I remember being angry a lot. I always felt like running away from home. I was being punished for something I didn’t deliberately do; something I didn’t choose to be. I came from a very normal and loving family. So, what could possibly have gone wrong? I was angry at everyone, including God.

Eventually, after a few years, I made peace with God. I made peace with God after I made peace with myself. I learned to accept myself completely. The logic side of me assured me that I would have never become the person I was if it wasn’t for my sexuality. And that, somehow, was very reassuring. I looked deep in me to look for comfort. And I found enough to keep me afloat in this ocean of life.

After I made peace with God and myself, I never really gave my sexuality a lot of thought. I went through secondary school OK – I wasn’t attracted to anyone. I had crushes on female teachers, naturally, but managed to stay out of trouble. So, there were never emotional issues back then.

But come college, I fell in love. It was the first time that I experienced the need to be able to express myself truly; to be completely true to myself and to others. The need to be understood and known as a lesbian in a relationship was very strong. But I managed to quell it. It helped that I was “the affair”. The relationship was closeted for two reasons.

Almost 2 years after that ended, I fell in love again. This time, a real, true and loving relationship; one which I’d given my all. I wanted to tell the world I love her. I wanted to marry her. I felt the need for the relationship to be out and known was very strong. But our circumstances didn’t allow for it. It was heartbreaking. I was grieving on the inside, even when my heart was elated that she was in my life. It was hard. No one understood it. No one wanted to understand it.

This most recent heartbreak has been painful. Some days are bearable, while some are drowning. Never underestimate the loneliness. The pain changed me. Not just on-the-surface type of change, but it changed me at the core. No one could see how it changed me, but I know myself and I can say unquestionably that it has. Not a lot, but enough for me to notice.

I’m tired. I’m tired of not being able to be true to myself. We’d think after being on this planet for so long, living in this day and age, it’d be so much easier to be true to ourselves. I’m disturbed by how easily my tongue has become accustomed to lying in order to hide an important part of myself.

I am in the process of coming out to more and more people. I’m losing and making friends along the way. I want people to know an integral part of me if the situation calls for it. I’m not going to put “I’m a Lesbian” on neon above my head, of course, but no more lying just to comfort someone’s ignorance. Honesty has always driven me. There’s no reason to hold it back anymore.

I fell in love and had my heart broken. I truly believe that despite all the surfacey reasons, at the core, the relationships failed because we were closeted. Perpetually living in a state of anxiety and fear is an awfully heavy burden to carry and a diminished way of experiencing the world, even for two people in love. Over time, it eats away at your happiness and joy, no matter how much in love you think you are. Think about it: do you know of any happy and OLD gay/lesbian couples who have been in a long-term relationship who are closeted? None. Of course, being out doesn’t mean you’d have a great, long-term relationship, but no long-term relationship could survive being in a closet. We must learn this lesson for our relationships to work. I will not ignore life lessons anymore. I don’t want to be hit with boulders or sledgehammers again.

Wise words from Rachel Maddow:

I think the responsibility that we have as gay Americans to the extent that we can — and we ought to be really ambitious about the extent to which we can — we have to be out. That’s the thing that we owe the people who came before us who are the pioneers, and that’s the thing we owe the next generation of gay people in terms of clearing the way and making life easier for them. I think that there is a moral imperative to be out, and I think that if you’re not out, you have to come to an ethical understanding with yourself why you are not.” – Rachel Maddow

I want to play that role – making life easier for the next generation of gay people. Down the road, I do see myself actively participating in LGBT events, gatherings and parades. I want to be a positive role model for younger LGBT generation. All they see in mass media are all negative images of LGBT – in clubs, raves, orgies, drinking, doing drugs, changing partners like changing socks, pornography, and all those. They should able to see someone in hijab, understanding their struggle at a deeper level. There is someone like them – a lesbian believing in God, and leading a “normal” life, all at the same time. We need to show them that we can contribute positively to our community and society at large while being true to ourselves. We don’t need to isolate ourselves.

God is Most Merciful and Beneficent. There must be a place in the world for people like you and me. God made Adam and Eve. And He also made you and me. People like us are not going to go away. We should have never been made to feel the need to hide, at the expense of our own happiness, sanity and well-being. It must end. We must be the change we want to see in the world.

muddy the water

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Posted on 2015/04/28, in Thoughts and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. my thoughts exactly. you’re not alone. a lot of us come out again and again, and for the reasons you mentioned above. repressing a core aspect of ourselves is toxic and unjust. if being gay is as natural as having brown skin and black hair, isn’t it a gift from god, too?

    you have my support. i know it’s not easy, but it’s something we have to do.

    • thanks, zhu! it is indeed not easy. i’ve been thinking about coming out to my mom, because she’s seen me sad and depressed (due to the heartbreak), and is obviously concerned. how did you do with your mom? did she cry and pray that you’d turn straight? i’m concerned about causing my mom to cry,… because you know, no one wants to be anak derhaka! the rest of my family/relatives, i don’t really care, but i do care about how my mom would feel if relatives know i’m gay. would she be embarrassed like menconteng-arang-di-muka kind of thing?

  2. unfortunately my experience coming out to my mom is not great. she’s disgusted with it, cried, and have, in many ways and times, told me she will never give her restu to me and that i’m going to hell. she is embarrassed that i’m gay and hide that from my relatives. my relationship with my mum is very rocky due to her inability to accept my sexuality. having said all that, i don’t regret coming out to her and my family despite their negative reaction to it. i guess i did it for my own good and as a way to reclaim my freedom, regardless of what they think of it.

    in a lot of ways it teaches me that respect and love between adult child and parents is 2 ways, which is a very difficult process for my parents who expects me to toe the line. and this will take time. I’ve been out to my mom for more than 5 years, the understanding is not there yet.

    • *sigh…!
      i’m sorry you went through that and are still going through it somehow. it does worry me to even think that my mom would cry if i tell her. but i dunno….! a lot to pray about!

      but i do want to get there — to reclaim my freedom to be honest about who and what i truly am. we don’t really want to go out and paint our body in rainbow; we just want to be able to be honest about that part of ourselves.

  3. it should be as simple as that – alas – it’s hard for people close to us who are heterosexuals to agree to disagree and cast away what they’ve been taught since little that homosexuality is the biggest of all sins (mana dapat ni i pun tak tahu). but it’s harder for us to constantly present a different front – i guess this is the part that a lot of heterosexuals can’t empathize with since they never had to go through this.

    your mum and family’s reactions could be different from what I’ve experienced – you know them better and how to approach them about this. i wish you all the best and i hope your mum shows love and compassion – different is not wrong, love means accepting differences because you are more than your sexuality.

    • thanks, zhu. i can say now that most of my friends know that i’m a lesbian now, because most of the friends i have are from school and university. i think if i can just come out to my mom, i can pretty much tell the whole world. if my mom accepts me completely, i actually really don’t care about what the world thinks of me — i will actually announce it on my facebook wall!

      but that’s the thing: because i know my mom, i know in my heart she will have a tough time processing it. she had asked the question, “are you a lesbian?” once or twice (but i just laughed and didn’t directly answer ‘yes’ or ‘no’) with a concerned look on her face, when a friend showed too much care. perhaps, in her heart too, she has suspected; what with my tomboyish demeanor and very short hair, and the fact that i’ve never been interested in boys.

      i’m actually also afraid that she’d pray that i be straight. dude, not good!

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