21 October 2015

My story is true for me

I have been called a liar.

I have shared my coming out story to people, and been told it can't possibly be true. That I must be leaving something out or skewing it to make myself look better.Or that I knew all along and was a liar because I married Monty anyway.

But whatever anyone says, my story is true for me.

And it is that truth that I tell.

Now, I'm not saying "my story is true for me" in a way that says I've deluded myself into thinking that the story I tell is true even though it's not. What I mean is that regardless of what people think, assumptions they make, or how they react to what I tell them, my story is true. And for me, that's enough. My story is true for me.

When I made the decision to come out and divorce Monty, there were people who claimed that I knew all along that I am gay. There were people who said I'd married Monty just to get kids, or to get money from him, or whatever else they thought about me. That I'd planned what happened for a long time before I made it happen. But that's not true.

This came up again recently when I was participating in a conversation on Facebook. I shared my story and a stranger decided, based on the limited story I told in the conversation thread, that I was a liar. This person didn't believe that I really had no idea that I was gay until I realized it and came out.

But I didn't.

Here's the thing. My dad is a Baptist. A fundamental independent Baptist. So, growing up, being gay just wasn't really an option. My mom was always more open-minded and progressive, but we never talked about it. And, being raised Baptist, the expectation was that I would grow up, marry a good, Baptist man, and have babies. That was it. It never occurred to me that I might be gay because it never occurred to anyone in my life that there was anything other than being straight for Christians.

Looking back, I can see now that I have always been a lesbian. There were things in my life that I now see as indications of my sexual orientation that I didn't recognize at the time. Some of the things were small. For example, I didn't have a favorite male actor; when friends would talk about male actors they thought were attractive, I'd let others answer before me and pick a name they said. But in those moments, I didn't see those signs for what they were.

Now, of course, I look back and admonish myself for my blindness. How could I have not known? But I didn't.

Eventually, my life changed and was not so restrictive. And it was in this context that the edges of my mind crept toward the center, and I realized that the reason I always felt "wrong" was because I was a lesbian who'd just had a second child with a man I was married to.

That was a hard conversation.

I can't imagine how Monty felt at the time. I know how he reacted, but that was just the inadequate expression of his feelings. Things were very bad between us for quite a while when I came out and told him I wanted a divorce.

Things are better now. We're friends. He even went to my wedding!

No matter how many times I tell this story and am judged for elements that are perceived to be invented, my story is true. This is really and truly how it happened. No matter what anyone else says, this is and always will be the truth. And regardless of what they say, my story is true for me.

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