11 MINUTE READ
Yesterday was one of the most intense days I’ve had in a long time. It started with an 8 a.m. therapy session, generally at 8 a.m. I’m writing these journal posts and trying to get them done before my 9 a.m. appointments, but my therapist only had an 8 a.m. open yesterday.
I’ve been going to therapy twice a week for a few weeks now because going once a week wasn’t enough time to talk about the things that were currently going on, along with some deeper stuff in my past. So going twice a week allows me to dig deeper into more complex issues. I have a running list of things I want to bring into therapy, and the list seems to get longer each week. Thankfully, switching to twice a week has allowed this list to be whittled down slowly.
One of the things I had on my list for a while that we got to get to yesterday was that my grandfather survived the Holocaust. I knew nothing more than that and wanted to talk about how this could have affected me and my life. After digesting it, my therapist asked me how my relationship with my father influenced my relationship with men.
I’ve been very open with myself, the public, and my therapist about my sexuality. My entire life, I’ve identified as queer or, more specifically, pansexual. The last time I mentioned the word queer to a straight person, he asked me to explain what I meant. I said most people refer to queer as anything other than straight. I was using the term pansexual because pansexual means being attracted to people: any type of person – gay, straight, male, female, non-binary, Two-Spirit, transgender – all people.
So when my therapist asked the question about how my relationship with my father affected my relationships with men, I went through a quick timeline of relating to men in my past. I’ve also dated women, but the question was about men.
My sexual orientation is something that I’ve given plenty of thought to in my life; however, this past year of healing, purposefully not dating, has offered an opportunity for deeper consideration on the topic. In the past, when my queerness has come up in conversation, I explain to people that I’ve dated women, but I’ve mostly been with men. The way I would describe it was, “I like both men and women. I don’t know why, but men are the ones who just seem to get me.” When I said this statement to my therapist a while ago, I was more aware of the energy behind the “get me.” I meet with my therapist over Zoom, and when I said those words to her, I almost had this Cruella Deville energy. My hands turned into claws and creepily motioned toward the screen. After I said it that way and reviewed that many but not all of the men I dated were narcissists, my therapist and I were shocked by the meaning implied by the gesture and energy behind the statement. She said the motion says a lot. Suddenly it seemed clear that these past romantic relationship dynamics were not what I thought they were.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve been using the “Real Life Dating App.” The “Real Life Dating App.” is not an app but me telling people in my life, especially locally, that I am open to dating, followed up with who I’m looking for and their qualities. Lastly, I tell them, “If you know anyone who’d be a good match, please keep me in mind.” That’s, in essence, the “Real Life Dating App.” When employing this, I would say to people, “I’m 90% sure the person I’m looking for was born female (it doesn’t matter if they are trans or nonbinary).” I also shared this 90% statement with my therapist a few times. But after I shared my relationship history of men with my therapist, I was hit with a sudden realization.
As I said, my sexual orientation is something I have been actively exploring within myself over the past couple of months and have talked about in therapy. Other themes I’ve been working on in and out of treatment are boundaries and accepting and celebrating my preferences in all areas of life. Of course, this has increased my self-confidence as I’ve grown. I tend to say that I am a recovered people-pleaser. But, if I’m honest, I think it’s more like alcoholism, where maybe you’re always recovering.
This time when I restated the 90% statement in therapy, it hit me in a new way. Things seemed to click, and I exclaimed, “Why would I say 90%? I don’t think I’m actually queer. I think I’m gay!” My therapist warmly agreed. She said she had been thinking about this based on what I shared. The truth is is it I don’t like penises, penetration, or straight men, and I never really wanted them. In that session, I told her that when I’m intimate with a man, “I can get to a place where I want it.” I had never processed it on this level before. When I heard myself say, “I can get to a place where I want it.” I realized how messed up it was. She repeated the words to me, “I can get to a place where I want it. It sounds like you’re gaslighting yourself”, telling yourself that this is something that you should want, and she was utterly right. Tears are welling up in me as I write this. I have deep compassion for myself in the past and the present. I feel a bit of sorrow for all the iterations of myself before this moment and even now. Because I was someone who had been so sorely mistreated that I felt I couldn’t express my lack of desire for men because it might upset them (men). I know reading this might make complete sense to some people, and to others, it might sound wack.
Discovering the truth inside of me felt so freeing, liberating, and authentic. I felt lit up from within. When I got out of my therapy session, I went for a walk instead of journaling and found the perfect little wooden stand for my jade egg in a free pile. I did some slightly frustrating work because I went to fix one thing and broke a whole bunch of other stuff in the process. Luckily my collaborator reached out and let me know what was going on. Still, especially since I was collaborating, I was more frustrated and a little disappointed, although grateful for the second set of eyes.
Earlier in that same therapy session, my therapist mentioned this time of year being a time for extra rest and inward focus, and I wholeheartedly agree. I was happy she shared that. So in the late afternoon, after I had already had my regular half-hour nap and found myself tired, seemingly out of nowhere, I took a second one-and-a-half-hour nap. I didn’t know why I was so tired but seeing that it was the darkest week of the year, I just let it happen. When I woke from that nap feeling better, I also realized, “Hey, you just had a ginormous realization about yourself and your life. Although it felt good to come to that conclusion, it took a lot out of you.” and that felt right to me.
It was around 5:30 when my intuition said hey, why don’t you go out and have a drink at your favorite place down the street. I wasn’t sure if this was a good idea, but I tuned in deeper using my intuitive tools, and despite logic, I went with my intuition. When I got to the coffee shop, I saw many regulars and a group of about nine people in a circle at the bar. I couldn’t tell exactly what was so intriguing about these people, except one of the guys had a fabulous pair of shoes, but their very existence piqued my interest. Nevertheless, I grabbed a drink and sat on a couch on the other side of some bookshelves. After a few minutes of seeing some hilarious things online, all of a sudden, I started to hear singing. Choruses, especially really good acapella choruses, are something that I love and have always made me cry. It turns out this group by the bar was an acapella group, and they were singing “Don’t Dream It’s Over” by the band Crowded House. I had never heard an acapella version of this, and it was beautiful! I got up from the couch, moved closer, and watched with joy and awe. When they finished their song, I went up to them, thanked them, and asked them what the heck was going on, who are they, and how I could see them again. As luck would have it, this group of singers was a local queer acapella chorus group. Not only that, but they are holding auditions next month. I went out to celebrate my coming out to myself from queer to gay. So this was a perfect opportunity to share and celebrate my new realization with others. “Oh, that’s amazing. You guys were great.” I said. Then I took a deep breath, swallowed, and said, “I’ve always known I was queer, but today I discovered I’m gay!” at which point they all raised their glasses and cheered me with such love and support. I followed up by saying “Yep a real productive therapy session!” and got supportive replies.
Before the night was over, they sang a few more Christmas songs and the theme to the amazing queer show Steven Universe. What a joy! I was sitting at the bar amongst the locals and sharing my new revelation. As synchronicity would have it, the mad I shared the news with was straight. In response, he expressed his disappointment that he and other men would no longer have a chance with me. It was tongue-in-cheek, and I’m sure he saw it as a joke; however, I know there was some truth to it. I did laugh, finding it funny, but mainly because of his answer, without him knowing it, was the Universe winking and being cheeky with me since it pointed directly to what kept me from admitting I was gay all along. Lol!
When the night was done, I decided to take a long way home, and on the way home, I received three amazing Christmas gifts! Remember, earlier in the day, I had already received the perfect stand for my jade egg for free, and on my walk home, I gathered three more remarkable gifts. The first was a green Christmas garland, the exact size, and shape I needed for decorating my porch. The second was a brand-new Bananagrams game. I love Bananagrams and am looking forward to manifesting people to play with. The third was a six-pack of fancy IPA beer (I only like IPAs) with one beer missing. The green garland was in a free pile. The Bananagrams were in a bag hanging from the free library box. The beer was sitting on a bench on my way home with no one around to claim it. Walking home, I felt like I claimed myself and the Universe, and was happy to celebrate with me by giving me the perfect gifts! As I walked home with my lot, I shouted into the streets, “Merry Christmas to me!” and looked up into a third-story window to see a big lit-up sign with one word: Joy!