My Strange Coming-Out Story
How I came about discovering that I was gay was a bit strange. Most people I know that are part of the Lgbtq+ community had recognized their sexuality early on. I was one of the late bloomers, I only really came out to myself at the age of 28. I like to tell my story because it may help people understand that sexuality really is on a spectrum and how the idea of you either are gay or you’re not gay or you either look a certain way or you don’t look a certain way only got in the way of my own self-discovery.
I grew up in a small town where we didn’t talk about homosexuality, let alone see people who were clearly out of the closet. By the time I had access to that, I had already been in relationships with men, I had fallen in love with men but I always thought that there was a little something that wasn’t entirely right. A piece that hadn’t fallen into place yet. There was a little piece missing but I was never repulsed by men or confused about my sexuality. My sex life with men was so good I just assumed that maybe, the thing that I was looking for to complete myself wasn’t associated with that at all. It was only later in life, after almost being married to a man and separating from him which was followed with moving to London and experimenting with men and women that it became a possibility that I might not be straight.
I didn’t really feel any particular inclination towards the gay community so I just thought that perhaps I was simply weird. I was not unhappy in my sex life so I decided to just let it be. But being an avid investigator of the human soul, soon led me to want to dig deeper and investigate myself further and know myself as deeply as I could. I searched and I searched and I had experiences with women and still… nothing made sense, so I figured that’s not the thing that I feel is missing and makes me feel different in my sexuality and in my sex life. It’s not that I’m a lesbian. So what is it?
There was something that I couldn’t quite pin-point and I associated that gap in self knowledge to my history of sexual abuse and decided it was very likely due to that trauma. I understood, at the time, that a part of me had been broken, violated and trespassed to the point where it would take years to discover a way out of the uneasy feeling concerning my sexual endeavors and relationships. I needed to make peace with the fact that I would live with the feeling that I was two percent short of completely understanding myself in my sex life forever.
It was later when I had moved to Paris that I came across someone that pushed me that extra mile and then a woman that changed me deeply and unintentionally uncovered my sexuality. We were both scared about what we were experiencing with each other at the time and it became a safe space for us both to explore and enjoy. It was at this point that I realized I was completely gay and holy crap what had I been missing out on!
It seemed so obvious to me suddenly. So many people throughout my lifetime had mistaken me for a lesbian. I guess in my case, “Where there’s smoke there’s fire.” What I now know, is that it doesn’t really matter if you go out somewhere and just try to kiss someone of the same sex or something to that effect. You can’t just walk into a gay bar and give it a go… it’s not like “do I like tuna sandwiches?” That’s not how it goes. I should know. I went and I felt awkward and some older lady grabbed my ass which made me feel so uncomfortable. By the end of my experimentation night, I was certain that I did not belong to that community. I wasn’t ready, inside my own mind and in my heart and soul. The problem about coming out to yourself is that you really do need to face yourself. You must be comfortable with the knowledge of your own particular preference in sexual attraction. It took some time for me, especially because of where I grew up and the abuse I went through as an adolescent. It had warped the idea of sex for me.
It’s safe to say that I was pretty pissed off I hadn’t discovered it earlier. All this time, had been eating McDonald’s when I could have been having caviar, pun absolutely intended.
To know myself in this new way, I can only describe as finding a room inside my head. If my brain were a house there was this room that I had never known about so I didn’t think to open the door because I didn’t know there was an extra room in the house at all. I’d never noticed it somehow. I walked past the door again and again without knowing that it was there and that it led to another room which is to say, another facet of my personality. Suddenly my eyes opened up to this whole other side of me and surely enough I started to puzzle together all my preferences in all the other aspects of my life. It suddenly made sense. I could “admit” to myself that I was in fact attracted to women. I have to say that it was one of the most freeing experiences of my life. Which is why I wanted to know what had held me back for so long. Why wasn’t I able to accept this about myself before?
This next step required an even more in-depth look at my psyche to try to understand why I had kept my lesbianism hidden from myself for so long. I went on holiday to Porto for two weeks and I decided that this was the perfect moment. I took a notepad on holiday with me and I wrote things down on potential reasons for what had kept me from discovering this. Ultimately, it came down to admitting or confessing to myself what my sexual inclination was. Was I homophobic within myself without knowing? I think so. Because of societal standards and education yes, but mostly because there was a notion that because I had been sexually abused, I’d grow up to be a man-hater and afraid of men which would then push me to become a lesbian. This possibility of seeking refuge in women because of fear and trauma, was a constant back drop to my investigative surges. I didn’t want to become that woman because it sounded like an incredibly unhealthy path to follow.
Alas, I understood that in spite of that cliche I had always been attracted to women. Then my sexual development was interrupted by abuse. But it wasn’t because of the abuse that I became a lesbian, it wasn’t because men scared me. I was quite simply already a lesbian because I was born that way. Afterwards the sexual abuse complicated my idea of what sex and attraction meant and how it felt. I had got it all wrong. I had tried to be as normal as possible and of course I didn’t even consider homosexuality at the time of the trauma because it was just too far away, too foreign a thing from where I was standing.
Basically, traumas don’t cause you to turn lesbian I guess is what I’m trying to say. If I had known this, it wouldn’t have taken me this long to heal. I was convinced that because I had suffered sexual abuse, I had a preference to be with the ladies. As it turns out, I wanted to dabble with the ladies because that’s the gender I’m attracted to. It was a beautiful thing to accept and one of the purest things about me to manifest. Liking women doesn’t need a reason to be. It’s not a disease, it’s not a consequence of anything. Being sexually abused was something that truly messed me up, to the point where I couldn’t tell that I was gay until the age of 28. Now that is a true sin. The gayness, on the other hand, was the purest most authentic thing thing.