Coming Out

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Just days after my roommate, Jamie, and I admitted our feelings to each other, I was on a flight back home for the Summer. It was going to be so tough being away now that we had finally blurted out how we really felt. It was all brand new to me. I was excited and scared and nervous all at the same time. It never occurred to me at that time that I’d have to tell my parents. I was only 19. We don’t think that far into the future at that age – I had all the time in the world. Little did I know, that conversation was only weeks away….

Jamie and I talked everyday. It was a challenge because this was just before cell phones became a must. I bought long-distance calling cards each week at the drug store so I wouldn’t get caught jacking up my parents’ phone bills. When I think back, I remember feeling so stealth. I thought there was no way that anyone in my family could possibly suspect something was going on between me and my college roommate. I mean, she wasn’t even in the same state!

Well, I guess when you’re really in love, it seeps out of you. There’s no way to hide it. And I guess that’s how I knew right away that it was real and that it wasn’t a college phase. My Mom calls it Twitterpated – like from Bambi. When two creatures are so in love, they can only see each other, and they don’t care about the rest of the world. Last night Jamie and I were looking through some boxes of old photos of us. I found a stack of letters we’d written back and forth. Reading the letters made me feel like a kid again. The giddy, love-stained words were so honest…and completely Twitterpated.

In July, my father took my sister and I camping at the same lake we camped every summer of our lives. One morning while we were sitting watching the boats on the lake, he asked to take a walk. We found a picnic bench in the shade and sat down. I was feeling a bit uneasy, but I never could have anticipated what he was going to say. My father simply looked me in the eye and said, “I’d like to talk to you about Jamie.” I nearly died. This wasn’t supposed to happen. I had time. I was supposed to have all the time in the world. I tried to play it off by responding with, “What do you mean?”, but I knew he knew. My father knows me better than anyone else in my family, and I just knew he knew.

I hear horror stories of people coming out to their parents. Some get yelled at. Some get disowned. Some are even attacked. Since I hadn’t even contemplated coming out to my father yet, I hadn’t considered his reaction – but I should have known how it would go. He asked me if I was truly happy. My answer was simple: I absolutely was. And that was it. My father told me he was there to support me in anything I did and he has always kept his promise. From that point on, I didn’t hide my relationship from my family. It was difficult to actually say it sometimes, for fear of even the slightest bit of rejection. But my father proved something to me that day on the picnic bench. He proved that even if the entire world did not accept our relationship, I had family that did. It made me feel like the luckiest girl on Earth.

I do not ever take that gift for granted and I thank my father as often as I can for being such amazing Dad.

 

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My Love Story

I think we all, from the time we’re little, imagine what our future will look like. I always pictured meeting a farm boy from the Midwest. We’d own an acre of land and raise babies that chased the geese along the lake. One can imagine my surprise when things didn’t quite work out like I’d planned.

I met the love of my life the day we moved into our college dorm as roommates. I’d never dated a girl, and quite honestly had never given it any thought. Many might think that’s a lie, but it’s the complete truth. I have often reflected on my earlier years, reaching for any part of my body that ever desired a woman, but there was nothing.

As I got to know my new roommate, I found out she was gay. I was fascinated. And curious. And intrigued. We became quick friends and by the end of the first semester of school, we told each other everything. It wasn’t until late Spring that I began to notice the change in the way I thought of her. I’d wake up in the morning and want to see her. I left for class and missed her. I was falling in love with her….but I wasn’t gay.

My first instinct was to recoil from the idea. It wasn’t in my plan – I was supposed to marry a boy. But the day she admitted to me that she had feelings for me, too, my plan went out the window. I let myself fall into the relationship head first. We didn’t date. We went from zero to in-love in the blink of an eye and it was fabulous. I began to recognize that the love we shared was the kind of love that so many search their whole lives for. Why throw that away just because it wasn’t how I saw my life playing out?

I guess that’s how life works. We can plan and prepare all we want, but at some point our hearts take over. The universe steps in and it all just falls into place.