I skipped class the day The Birds & The Bees Speech was given, but I have always understood my sexual preference and known exactly Who I Am. I was not raised by wolves, nor by a gay community, and I’m not fully convinced I am entirely human, so I rarely know how to act in any situation but somehow always manage to pull off the balancing act between the rituals of social conformity and being uniquely ME.
It wasn’t until I was in my early thirties that I was asked for the first time in my life, “How do you identify?”, and I had no idea how to answer. I knew what was being asked of me, I simply did not know how to respond other than, “I have no label/title”. Even though I don’t abide by personal labels and I don’t fall within any singularly titled “group” my response felt like a cope out, such an insignificant answer. The urge to unload my own personal story of where’s, how’s and why’s was strong. I wanted to explain that I was raised by a straight man who appreciated beauty in a feminine way, and a straight woman who dressed and behaved in masculine ways, and that I grew up loving men, kissing girls, wearing what I pleased, and respecting everyone around me whether I understood them or not. People are just people to me, beautiful humans, all of them. I come from a womb and a world where we are all everything at any given moment. I got it from my Mama. Be whoever the hell you want to be baby girl, to hell with what anyone thinks or says. She could fluctuate flawlessly between a pant suit and stiletto stockings, drink wine or whiskey, and always knew the proper moment to either lash out with witty sarcasm or caress gently with honey dripping from her tongue. I idolized her ability to be Everything all at once and molded my own individual character off of her sense of fluidity. I am a gay woman and I’m not interested in hiding that fact, but I also am not interested in doing anything to help others figure me out. I have not lived through an identity struggle as others have so I do not feel it is not my place to “educate” others in any way, but I am so proud of those out there brave and bold enough to do their part to respectfully share their story with others and bring enlightenment and change within the community.
As I sat back and listened to others answer the same identity question I was amazed at how everyone had such different responses and stories. I have always been fascinated with the different journeys that each individual experiences and how those experiences can instill personal growth. I love learning about other people’s Why’s, tell me all the things! Gay, lesbian, queer, intersex, high femme, low femme, dyke, butch, transgender, trans man, trans woman, transsexual, transvestite, genderqueer, genderfluid, non-binary, androgynous, non-gendered, third gender, cisgender, two-spirit…..I could go on, but I might miss something and somehow offend some sensitive someone. You get the point. Everyone literally can be Anyone or Anything they choose to be these days. It’s all so beautifully confusing I could scream, laugh and cry all at the same time. Now that my eyes have been opened I have to constantly remember who to address as what and what to say around who so as not to displease anyone, and I’m sitting here mind boggled with all this new information and wondering, how did we get here? I still fluctuate between wanting to educate myself further on others individual outlooks and throwing my hands up and shouting But Why Why WHY can’t we all just Live & Be and why are we still using labels if the labels being misused are what is offending, hurting and segregating us?! We have been stuck in a place of marching, educating, and crying out for equality all the while segregating ourselves into boxy cliques and groups for quite some time. I don’t know when the lines blurred from being raised to lovingly accept and embrace exactly who we are and to feel blessed with what we are given, into a world where we can chuck our initial design out the window, shove our hand into a magic hat, draw a card and become anything else we choose to dream up.
Then I think of Science. Molecules, atoms, and matter all here to remind me, that it is all possible and that anything is everything. My brain and heart connect, everything that could be makes sense, and I find peace in the beauty of this time, space and place of universal understanding that we are in right now. We are blessed with the ability to see in black, white, grey tones, and rainbow colors if we choose to. I do not understand the labels, but the journeys, growth and strength that springs from the individual struggles being overcome are absolutely beautifully inspiring to me. Gender and sexuality are not the same thing and are expressed in all manner of complicated and nuanced ways. None of us should have to worry that one part of our identities will negate another. We should be able to exist visibly in all our complex and fascinating glory. This is a New Age World that we live in. We need to be able to approach each other as entirely new and unique people, making no assumptions but remaining open to whatever interesting and awesome things we might find out.
There is a fine glittery line between sharing your story for the strength of others, and campaigning for supporters of your cause. What is more important to you, the journey or the outcome? There is no right or wrong answer. We are all Right. Your personal truth is revealed in the energy of your actions. In every case, who you believe yourself to be at your core is what you will seek to validate from your experiences in the world. A key to a life filled with peace and happiness is to avoid becoming too attached to your current identity, while simultaneously enjoying the experience of it.
I have been reading, I Am: The Power of Discovering Who You Really Are written by Howard Falco, and it has been giving me loads of inspiration and insight. Self Discovery always gives me an even greater appetite for knowledge! If you have an article or blog post that shares yours or someone else’s journey through self-discovery of any sort, with or without the support of a gay community, and would like comment with the link below I would love to read the experiences of others!
“I have inside me the winds, the deserts, the stars, and everything created in the universe. We were all made by the same hand, and we have the same soul.” – The Alchemist