How did you know you were gay?

Even though I’ve been out for a few years now, I’ve never really had anyone ask me “How did you know you were gay?” until a few weeks ago. One of my lab partners (who’s also gay) asked me this kind of out of the blue while we were working on our lab report after class. Honestly, I didn’t have a great answer prepared.

I told her about an experience I had sophomore year of high school, where I randomly had a huge crush on this girl I didn’t really know in my Chemistry class. I wrote about that crush a long time ago, but I’ve since come to some other realizations. I think she could have been replaced with a thousand different people and it wouldn’t have made a difference. It’s not that I don’t have standards, or that I’m attracted to every girl I come in contact with – that’s far from the truth. It was just a period of time where I was questioning and figuring everything out, and she just so happened to be in the same class as me.

Now, my lab partner wasn’t exactly satisfied with this story. “But how do you know it wasn’t just her?” That question threw me for a loop a little bit. There’s no good answer, I just do. It’s a feeling that, I don’t feel the need to question anymore. For me, sexuality isn’t a complicated part of my life. I know how I feel, and who I like. It’s just that simple. It wasn’t that easy in the beginning, but over time the doubts left and I feel perfectly content with the conclusion. I don’t have some great story about being swept off my feet by the love of my life, and I don’t think having that kind of story is necessary. I wanted the experience to be casual and simple, and it was.

Her questions came from a place of curiosity, but they definitely made me think about a few things. Why are people so obsessed with knowing every thought that goes through queer people’s minds when questioning their sexuality or gender? Also, why do they feel the need to question it’s authenticity? One of my favorite qutoes from Denice Frohman’s poem “Dear Straight People” is:

” Dear Straight People, I’m tired of proving my love is authentic, so I’m calling the reparations on your ass. When did you realize you were straight? Who taught you?Did it happen because your parents are divorced? Did it happen because your parents are not divorced? Did it happen because you sniffed too much glue in fifth grade? Dear Straight People, why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic? Why do I have to prove my love is authentic?”

I get a whole lot of “I would have never known” and “Really???” This has to do with the fact that I don’t look queer enough in straight people’s eyes. I wear makeup, have shoulder length hair, and generally act feminine enough to be shoved (forcefully) into the straight box. I can look in the mirror and think, “wow I look really gay today” (in a proud way) and still no one suspects a damn thing. The authenticity of my gayness is questioned because I don’t look the part or fit perfectly into the tiny box created for the stereotypical lesbian.

I don’t mind answering these questions, or most questions for that matter. However, I am tired of both people in my day to day life as well as society as a whole questioning who I am because I don’t fit the mold. So, how did I know I was gay? I trusted myself, and through lots of introspection discovered the answer to this aspect of my life. Maybe it’s not the best answer, or the answer people want to hear, but it’s the most honest one.

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Ragged Doll

I am a ragged doll

Dropped in the mud too many times

Beaten, broken, and stained

 

I am a ragged doll

Cast aside

Sprawled out in the bottom of the toy chest

Bending beneath the weight of better newer toys

 

Toys that haven’t been stained

Haven’t been dropped in the mud

Haven’t been broken

 

I spend my nights awake

Wondering if someone will ever want this ragged doll

This ragged, broken doll

 

Some days I appear to be new

My porcelain skin has yet to start crazing

When I shatter will you still pick me over the other toys?

 

I’d want a shiny new doll if I were you

These stains are off putting

And these chips are more trouble than they’re worth

 

In a sea of shiny toys

Who would pick this ragged doll

This ragged, broken doll

When The Happiness Breaks Through

When the happiness breaks through

And the weight of heartache is lifted from my shoulders

My spirit begins to flutter

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I lay down my burdens

And for the first time in too long I’ve let you take them

This sensation is distantly familiar

Oh my does it feel good

You’ve been waiting here all along

but I just come to visit

and I know that should change

I’m tired of making myself feel unwelcome

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My spirit awoke, as cliché as that sounds

My soul feels light

And my inner most being has been lifted

For too long I’ve been trapped

Stuck under neath the weight of it all

And I shut down

Shut you out

The rain poured and I tried to make myself comfortable in these wet clothes

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But you’re my umbrella

In that one shade of yellow that I’ve always felt was too happy

Maybe that’s it

I’m afraid of being happy

Because happy means things could go wrong

Happy means I could crash

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But I already crashed

and never really got up

I only fell further and further into a hole of despair

Reaching for a hand I was not ready to take

Occasionally I’d crawl out only to fall back in

From the unbalanced weight of the boulder on my back

The boulder I let sit there, grasping tightly as you pulled, signaling for me to let go

All my life i’ve been told I’m too stubborn

But I don’t want to be stubborn with you

s

This isn’t the first time I’ve been here

I want to say it’s different now

My breaking point was long ago

Yet I’ve continued to shatter

I don’t know how much further I can break

Before the pieces are too hard to put back together

s

I hide under a mask of cynicism and small talk

This used to be a character I’d play

But we morphed into one on a dark day long ago

s

Part of me always feels silly when we get here

Why hadn’t I done this sooner?

I know the truth but I let the pain over take me

I’ve been running on sarcasm and anger for far too long

Contemplating things that aren’t what I want, aren’t who I am

s

Now I rejoice

Praise you till my throat dries and my tears run empty

For the first time in a long time happiness is appealing

Loving and being loved is desired, no needed

s

I want to say this will last forever

I want to believe I’ll continue to show up

I’m tired of being a guest within my own soul

There’s some cobwebs to clear sure, I won’t pretend like there isn’t

But when you break through

I want to delight in your name

Being on Your Own Timeline

In the U.S. and especially in the suburbs there’s a pattern to life that your assumed to follow.

Graduate high school, go straight away to a University, graduate college in four years, get your first job, get married, have kids, etc.

I was raised to believe this is the only way to be successful in life, but after having my life interrupted by chronic illness and having to pave a different path for myself I’ve learned just how wrong that is. Everyone does things at their own pace; some people aren’t mature enough to go to college straight out of high school or can’t financially make ends meet so they have to work before going to school. For other people college just isn’t the right choice for them, or they choose to go back to school later in life.

While I am definitely pro-education and believe, given the opportunity, you should obtain as much education as possible, I can see that there are situations that can make that difficult or near impossible. You don’t have to have life figured out at 22, or even your own life figured out.

While there’s always going to be a lot of external pressure to follow a certain timeline, only you can know what’s best for yourself. Right now it’s best for me to be out of high school while I pursue my GED and get my health on track, to other people the decisions I’ve made may not be what they think is right, but I don’t believe you can speak to experiences you haven’t had.

Every time I meet someone new there’s always a million questions about school and extra curricular’s. I don’t feel the need to tell my sob story to everyone I meet so I often tell them the town I live in and let them make their own assumptions. Occasionally I’ll tell people the things I used to do when I was in school without mentioning I don’t go there anymore, but that’s normally when I’m uncomfortable with all the questions and feel like I’m being judged.

It’s crazy how narrow minded people can be. I try to put myself in other peoples shoes and examine situations from all aspects the best that I can. There isn’t one correct way to live life and I think this plan we’ve created as a society and seem to believe everyone should follow to a T can be really detrimental. You’re not a failure if your life doesn’t look like the majority of your peers, friends, or family members. You also don’t have to have the same dreams and goals as everyone around you.

Be yourself and do things on your own timeline!

Alyssa

Unconditional

Unconditional love is something that I find hard to wrap my head around.

I don’t think most people truly love each other unconditionally. I wouldn’t fault someone for “conditional love,” it isn’t easy to love someone no matter what they do.

In church we use the phrase “God’s unconditional love” a lot. I believe he is truly the only one who can have unconditional love. In Sunday school over the summer we discussed this subject and we were told to come up with words that we believe unconditional love should be. One of mine was tenacious. I threw it out there not thinking much about it, but now I keep coming back to that word. Love should be tenacious. It should be unwavering and we should persevere through the hardships.

The easy thing to do is give up, except when it’s the hard thing. I don’t believe you should have to have unconditional love for someone who is abusive, and although I’ve never been in that type of situation from what I understand it isn’t always easy to walk away. I have a door-slam mentality when it comes to relationships sometimes. When things begin to go awry and people hurt me I want to get them out of my life as soon as possible. That isn’t the healthy or mature thing to do though. That kind of love is conditional. That love isn’t unwavering or preserving.

I think I have a fascination with unconditional love because it’s so rare. The closest thing to unrestricted love is some parent-child relationships. I say some because there are always those awful parents who kick their kids out for being LGBTQ+, getting pregnant, or are abusive.

Parents who whole-heartedly love their children no matter what are so beautiful to me. I hope I can be that open and loving towards any future children I have. I honestly think my parents would love me no matter what. I have a sibling who has tested that belief time and time again over the past few years and they have continued to stick by their side. As frustrating and painful as it can be, it has taught me a lot of lessons about relationships.

Unconditional love is something I will continue to strive for in all my relationships. Continue to love boldly, whole-heartedly, and unconditionally!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

P.S. The whole time I wrote this, I couldn’t help but sing “Unconditionally” by Katy Perry😉

 

“Unconditional, unconditionally
I will love you unconditionally
There is no fear now
Let go and just be free
I will love you unconditionally

Come just as you are to me
Don’t need apologies
Know that you are worthy
I’ll take your bad days with your good
Walk through the storm I would
I do it all because I love you, I love you”

Six Days

We are six days into the nightmare that is a Tr*mp presidency.

Here’s some of what has happened:

  1. He began to repeal the ACA which will lead to an estimated 43,000 deaths annually
  2. He overturned the progress Obama made with the Standing Rock pipeline – in other words he doesn’t care about indigenous people or the basic human right of access to clean water
  3. Stated he is not going to release his tax returns
  4. Attacked the National Parks for their tweets and told them to stop tweeting – or censoring what he doesn’t want to hear
  5. Moved forward with his plan to build a wall between the US and Mexico

 

Unfortunately there’s been more and probably will be more before I even post this. My go-to emotion isn’t sadness, but I am sad, so very sad. I’m sad for myself, I’m sad for my family and neighbors, I’m sad for America. Currently I am not proud to be an American, and the terrible thing is, that statement offends more people than anything he has done so far as President or has said/done in the past.

I’m horrified at what our government has done in the days since the inauguration. On the other hand, I am extremely happy to see the response from some of our fellow Americans. The Women’s march was amazing to say the least, and so inspiring. So many celebrities are taking a stance and encouraging others to do the same. I wanted to go so bad, but I had a doctors appointment that took over a month to schedule so I couldn’t miss it. Even here in conservative Texas we had some large marches, which made me so happy. The march obviously wasn’t enough, but it was a good start. It’s okay to be upset, I know I am, but doing nothing is not okay.

You can go here to let your senators know that the secretary of education pick isn’t okay, because someone who has never been to public school and didn’t send her kids to public school, shouldn’t be in charge of our education system. You can call your senators and let them know on the phone or show up in person, which here in Texas, that is making Senator Ted Cruz very angry.

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If you’re scared, angry, or upset, so am I. He’s gonna do some bad things, I mean he’s already done some bad things, but the only response you can control is your own. Be kind and loving to other people. Stand up for not only your rights, but also those who’s voice isn’t as loud as yours. Giving up is not an option; stand strong!

Lots of Love,

Alyssa

 

P.S. Here are some places you can donate to if you feel so inclined

Planned Parenthood

The Trevor Project

GLSEN

Standing Rock

ACLU

 

Hope Amongst the Chaos

I have hope among the chaos.

The American people may have voted for racism, homophobia, sexism, xenophobia, transphobia, and general bigotry, but I still have hope.

I have  hope in those who have responded with civil disobedience, strength and love. I have faith in those who led protests, and marches, and used their voices to speak up against injustice. Together we are strong, but contrary to popular belief you can be strong on your own.

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You can live in a red state, in the south, or in conservative family and still hold your progressive values. You are allowed to speak up amongst family, friends, and peers to let them know their choices have consequences. Those people will never see their wrong-doings if no one points them out. Be kind, loving, and educate rather than reprimand.

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Giving up will not fix anything. This situation may make us feel like the end is near, but it’s only near if we don’t do anything. I will not give up. I will not stop being loud and opinionated. I will not stand by and let myself or my fellow human beings be assaulted with words or violence. Do something, anything, but I beg you please don’t stand still.

I have hope in God that he will lead me to the right opportunities and people to be able to make a difference and help others. I have hope that God will continue to love and accept all people, no matter how his followers respond to others in this world. I think we should look at this as a wake up call rather than a curse. I knew hate and bigotry was alive and well in America,but I had no idea just how many people would be driven by the irrational fear of people who are different from them.

In the words of Michelle Obama, “When they go low, we go high.” Respond to others with love, compassion, and respect. Stand up for yourself and others who are discriminated against. I’m not going to tell you everything is going to be okay or it isn’t going to be that bad, because I don’t know that and definitely wouldn’t assume that, but I still have hope.

Have hope amongst the chaos,

Alyssa