Coming Out Day
I’ve been blogging publicly now for three months. Three months of sharing little blips of my life, of speaking truth, on perspective and being present, and the beauty and value of women empowering each other. All of this meant to share, maybe even inspire a fellow traveler to come out of their shell and fully realize their potential, as we walk along together. But there is a categorical chunk of my personal life which I have mostly, purposefully, omitted.
All this honesty and here I am carrying a big stick and balancing on this high wire of what parts of my private life I share with you readers who have never met me and yet somehow I allow into a little of who I am, one blog at a time. You know in my searching for meaning and peace I must have gone through some kind of trauma or drama right? People don’t tend to search for the light until they’re tired of living in darkness. How else could we recognize the difference?
I live a pretty quiet life. I mind my own business. I do my job and I think I do it fairly well. I raise my children in a loving and supportive environment. In short, I feel I do my best and that’s an agreement I’m comfortable with. I’m stalling and I can already see this could be the first blog of many to come in order to more accurately tell my story. At this point maybe I should consider writing a book!
But here’s the thing. I’m a lesbian.
Tada! Ugh..even typing the word makes me cringe a little knowing the ramifications it could have. It’s such a weird word. I am “out” to my friends and close family but not at work. It is not that I am ashamed of who I am, but by writing this I know there are no legal protections for me that I couldn’t be fired simply for allowing the label. It is the repercussions of a public announcement that I back away from. That is the world we live in at the moment. So, you may ask; why now?
My partner and I have been together for seven years and love each other fully and are completely dedicated to spending our lives together in support, walking not in front or behind, but beside, as equals. I had never known relationships could be like that! She is the only person I have ever met in my entire life that rather than tell me I wasn’t “allowed” to do something..to just do it. She taught me to disregard fear. She taught me to find me. She saw me, all the way to the core and loves me anyway. Jen, “just BE”.
Ok..well enough with the tip toeing and tap dancing…here I am BEING.
Also, you should know I am not one to loudly go to PRIDE events, you will not find a rainbow sticker on my car or see me acting crazy in some sort of parade. I’m sorry if I offend any readers but this is my blog so it is my place to share my opinion. The gay community is misunderstood and feared by so many in part I think because of these lavish events. If all that the general community sees of us is this wild and crazy behavior, of course they think we’re crazy. We’re not, well, at least no more crazy than everyone else, which I appreciate is not really saying much. What most of us are, in truth, is the same as everyone else.
We go to school, to work, to church. We raise our children and teach them good values, want them to be productive, happy members of society. But a good many of us are “in the closet.” Mostly, I rationalize that this shouldn’t matter at all because it isn’t anyone’s business who I love or how I live. And that’s true, but here is why it IS an issue I raise here.
I am on these blogs posting and praising being fearless and yet every legal form I fill out I have to put “single” in the marital status box. If I am in a group of people who don’t know me I am very private about my private life. But for one who abhors lying ever..I am forever changing pronouns when I speak of my partner. If a patient asks me if I’m married I say yes and he is this or that, because it’s easier to lie than to risk the ramifications of being truthful.
I am not going to get into the gay marriage issue in this blog. I’ve probably said too much already and many or you are ready to stop reading and may be emailing me terrible hateful things. It’s a risk I realize I am taking here. But I bring it up in this blog because an interesting thing has happened recently that has me questioning the rationale for keeping quiet. And it’s a small thing really, but my quiet decision means a lot.
I am having a minor surgical procedure tomorrow, which means I have to answer what seems like ten million questions about my life, my habits, past medical history etc. Do you have a living will? Yes. Do you have a health care surrogate? Yes. And then it wants this person’s name, which I dutifully write down. Then under that it says “relationship” with a blank line which is where I usually write “friend”, but this surgery center has a list of relationships and it is expected you simply circle the appropriate title. To my surprise, “domestic partner” is listed. This causes me to pause.
So when I actually physically circle the domestic partner relationship status on these medical forms, I am in essence coming out publicly to real people whom I will be dealing with and risk being judged. By labeling my relationship, I risk being treated differently. How sad is that? But if I circle “friend” on the form that doesn’t really describe the value or importance of my relationship with my partner. So, I pause and I circle domestic partner. Not once, mind you, but the three times it is required on these forms and each time I circle it, it takes a significant amount of courage.
I don’t advocate being gay. Its not easy being rejected and unfairly judged because of who you love. I can’t imagine anyone would purposefully “choose” that lifestyle. It just is. And regardless of what your personal and religious beliefs are, this blog is and has only ever been about one thing for me..love.
I think that’s all I’m going to say on the subject for now. For some of you readers I am already being labeled and unfairly judged. I have no control over that. We each have to live our own lives the best that we can and for the highest good as we see it. But what you should also know is that I am so much more than a lesbian. My sexuality is one small part of this identity in this life situation. And if you don’t summarily reject me but can accept this one small part of me as inconsequential, I promise I have some really funny stories to share later on.
In the end, I figured if I was going to be strong enough to circle domestic partner on a medical form than surely I should stop being coy with my readers who are beginning to get to know me and all other aspects of my “being” from my blogs.
I am writing this paragraph three days after my surgery. I’d like to tell you how the surgery went, but I don’t know because I have no memory of the surgeon talking to me in the recovery room and he never came out to the waiting room to give a report to my partner. Despite writing her name on my paperwork and listing her as health care surrogate and domestic partner and introducing her to my surgeon in pre-op, no one came out to speak with her afterwards. When I was awake enough to realize this, we asked to speak with him, but he had already left the surgery center for the day. I assume all went well, but I don’t understand why he didn’t talk to her about what he found or how it went.
Maybe it was an oversight.
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Please do! Just be sure to include this complete blurb with it:
I am a 42 year old mother of 3, living in Florida with my partner and youngest child. Like the mythological phoenix, I have been reborn out of the ashes of my former way of life and have, for the last several years, set out on an exploration of self expression through visual art and creative writing. I am immensely grateful to feel a part of every living thing in existence and the emergence of a growing evolution of consciousness within and throughout. I am interested in all aspects of energy healing and spiritual transformation and have just recently become a student of Reiki. I understand there is always a choice and I try to choose love over fear at every turn. I am grateful for all of the other women in this group and for their ever present support and guidance. Jennifer Bothast