September 14, 2020
Being Lesbian is New to Me
I like boys, I always have. I’ve dated boys. Boys are cute. I even dated a boy in university who was abusive, controlling, and stalked me. I’ve dated boys since moving here to Calgary in 2000.
In 2018 I started remembering my dreams. They were strange. Weird colours and symbols mostly. I shared these dreams with my friend who is a Shaman. She specializes in dream work. After telling her, she thought for a moment and then asked me gently, “Aime, do you think or consider that you might be attracted to women?”
I took a sharp breath in. It was a hard stop. Knee jerk reaction NO! I can’t be! I’m not allowed to be! My Shaman friend said she would leave that with me to figure out.
Weeks passed and I went walking by the river and sat under my favorite tree by the Elbow River. It was a sunny day and the sun felt warm on my skin. Taking a full deep breath, I opened my journal, looked up at the heavens and said “Okay Goddess, who was I attracted to growing up?” Then I sat quiet, put my hand to my heart and breathed. Then one by one names fell onto the paper. This girl’s name in elementary school, that girl’s name from high school, that woman I worked with as a lifeguard, this woman from university, and OMG that woman’s name from here in Calgary. I dropped the pen and I cried.
The battle within my head and heart was daily. Who can I tell? Who can I trust? Who will keep my story safe? Slowly I started telling friends that I knew I was safe with. They all promised to keep my secret until I was ready to share it publicly.
Fast forward to March 2019. I was in the middle of a 6-week course with my coach all on overcoming fear. One day on our group call, I blurted out that I’m tired of hiding that I am bisexual. Everyone was super supportive. My coach gently asked me, coming from a place of love, when was I going to tell my parents. Because if I work to empower girls and their leaders to live their real brave selves and I’m not, then there is a disconnect.
Now remember my reaction to my Shaman friend that I can’t be who I am? I was frozen in fear. Fear that they will disown me, fear of not being supported, fear of not being loved and much more.
I also had found an email with my name in the subject line. It was about me, not too me. This was in the late 1990’s, and a friend of my sisters had just come out as gay. The letter I found asked if he thought I was gay, or lesbian too because I wore flannel plaid shirts, doc martin hiking boots, and bandannas on my head.
The response I read was how should he know, and the bigger picture was could my family still love me if I was. The answer I read back was ‘No’. I don’t know if that ‘No’ was just from my sister or the family as a whole though.
With my coach’s support I wrote an email. 10pm on April 9 through a bunch of snot and tears streaming down my face, the overall uncontrollable body shaking and the feeling like any moment I’m going to puke all over my laptop I hit send.
Luckily, I didn’t puke, and lucky and grateful that the next morning I received a positive email back. Mum saying they still love me. And they had a feeling something was up, and I would tell them when I was ready.
This year 2020 I came to realize that I am attracted only to women. I am currently working through this new realization. I remember saying it first to my coach in June and crying.
Throughout this journey, though there are three things I have continually learned. One is to be 100% comfortable in who I am at my core. I was okay feeling I was bisexual. Now working on being lesbian is new to me. I feel confident, yet like a new butterfly. There is something I am learning, and that is internal homophobia. It comes from core beliefs I grew up with for example that only 1 man and 1 woman can marry each other. Second is to ask for help, then receive help. I have found a counselor/therapist that is helping me with this, and a few other things that have been dormant or blocked for example feeling like I am not deserving of love. And the third thing I have learned is to speak my truth even when my voice shakes, and I want to puke. Writing to my family last spring in 2019 was hard. I remember shaking all over and shaking from head to toe. Yet I knew by speaking my truth I would be releasing that which was holding me back. This is my wish for you. That you have the courage and confidence to speak your truth. By sharing your story and your truth, you never know who you will help. And always remember to be brave, be bold, and be YOU!