When I say I think I’m gay, what I mean is that I’m 98% sure I am. But there is still 2 solid percent that isn’t sure.
As a recovering people pleaser, the last year and half has been weird as hell. The amount of times I've said I'm gay, jk I'm not, jk I love souls, I have absolutely no fucking idea.
Do I actually like him? Or do I just want him to see me?
Do you actually like her? Or are you trying to fit into a label for things to make sense?
My friends remind me that it’s not about a gender, or label. This is know.
I know. I know. I know. I know. I know. I KNOW.
My ex-girlfriend came out when she was 14. She met the discomfort and newness of this love that was different than the love we are told is ‘normal’, when she was a teenager. At 24, when I met her, it was an easy yes for me. I knew I loved her. It felt easy. For the first time in my life I didn’t feel like I was trying to be seen, I just knew I was.
With men everything felt hard. I was nervous if I was acting, dressing, and sounding right. I was living every action my body made in order to be seen in the male gaze.
So when my relationship ended this year, partially because we grew apart and partially because I was so confused and needed to be alone—I dated both men and women.
I had spent 24 years of my life wondering if I could be gay, but thinking “well, I’ll know when there's a big sign”.
I guess watching orange is the new black, and the L word both SIX times through (in private, because I was afraid my dad or husband would see) wasn’t a sign enough for me.
I guess not feeling excited to touch or be touched by a man wasn’t enough of a sign.
I guess that forcing yourself into like sex with a man, and never actually liking it, still wasn't a sign.
There were two men I actively saw once my relationship ended, and once the initial excitement wore off, I found myself in a feeling I hated so much. I was tired, and I was exhausted—once again, I was showing up in ways that didn’t feel authentic to me.
I couldn't figure out why. My dad doesn’t care who I Iove, and for the most part, my friends are super supportive of my love. Being gay isn’t something that scared me, but I guess that’s a lie. Because here I am writing this, slightly wanting to vomit.
One night I thought I could test myself, have sex with this guy, and know that you’re not gay. He wasn’t just some guy, he was a friend, but he didn’t know it was a test. That was an inside job, a personal mission, I suppose. When the time came, and it was about to happen, I had a mantra: you can do it, if you can do it, you’re not gay.
My body started to shake, and I collapsed onto his body. Full of tears. I couldn’t do it. In those moments, I was so afraid, relieved and proud.
I was proud of myself for not forcing a bullshit test, and relieved because I thought it gave me an answer, and, I was afraid of the unknown.
For some reason, this really painful and sad moment wasn’t enough for me. So I started dating the farmer (he’s not actually a farmer, but that’s what we call him now). I was excited, I felt seen, and it was fun. Until I realized that was it, I was seen. I liked being seen by him, but I didn’t want to be with him. It was a game for me. A game I didn’t even realize I was playing.
I never walked down the street and felt attracted to women. But when I was with my ex-girlfriend, I felt love for the very first time. Which doesn’t mean I couldn’t with a man, there is just an undeniable, vastly different feeling with both.
With her, lived a certain safety. I didn’t wonder who I was because being with her just made sense. Then it ended, which love does, and nothing made sense anymore.
Or perhaps it did.
Running a business online, and sharing my life with the world is easy when you fit into boxes. People relate when you talk about Channing Tatumn. My grandparents talked to me when I liked men.
It can be just as easy if I’m gay, which I think I am. And I say think because the very real 2% that gets confused every two months, is still unsure. I may be saying that as a crutch, and I may not, that, I truly don’t know.
What I do know is that when I date, dance with and talk to women, I’m not trying to be seen or show up as anything I’m not.
It’s different, to be different, and to have love look different than how you thought you did. And as a former people pleaser, the idea that this is my normal feels vulnerable.
This is the most honest thing I’ve ever written, which makes me want to throw up. Which means I definitely need to post it.
I wanted Glennon and Elizabeth gilbert to share their stories because I wanted to know I wasn’t alone. I wanted to see women I admire, women who looked like me, talk about this different love. I needed it to know that I would be okay. Logically knowing I’m never alone, but in matters of love, when you’ve felt broken for so so long and you just want something to make sense, you want to find home within other people's stories. You want connection. You want to not feel broken.
So that’s why I wrote this. If you’re confused, or lost, or scared, I know how you feel. I can’t say it will all be better because not everyone in this space is that lucky. But I do know how hard it feels to navigate love, and being different on your own.
I love love, and I think I need to stop denying what is real, waiting for a big gay welcoming committee, and allow myself to honor what is. Which is still ever evolving, because I’m 24, which is basically being an infant.
I’ve been afraid to say I’m one thing because I wanted to be able to change my mind. I love me enough to know that I belong everywhere. It isn’t within a label or spectrum that I will find home. I want to not post this because I don't want to close myself off from one space, what if I change my mind? Okay then Rachel, so you'll change your mind and life will continue to move on like it always has. This need to keep one foot in the hetero world to be 'okay', needs to as I tell my clients, be leaned into. The fear, the unknown—all of it .
But I think what this has made me do is cut myself off from the love I want to experience.
I am, open to love. In whatever form it chooses to show up in my life. Male, female, non-binary, whatever they/he/she are, I am open.
This was a letter to me, and not you. This was my permission to myself.