I’ve been in that hollowed out place in the earth this past week or so.
If you’ve ever suffered from depression, you know all too well the place I’m talking about. It’s filled with shadows and spider webs and bone gray nothingness. It’s the land of fatigue and apathy and why-the-hell-should-I-bother-anyway?
I just finished up my coming out chapter for my memoir, and my awakening came from a very serious bout of depression. So, I’ve been slogging through the past. Thanks, memoir.
Naïve me: Oh, why can’t I be a fiction writer like all of my friends?
Blunt me: Because your ego is the size Dolly Parton’s breasts. Not just one, but both of ’em.
Now, most lesbians realize that they’re lesbians in a more organic way. Girl falls in love with girl. See Ellen and Portia. Or, Ellen and Ann Heche. Ok, skip that example. But most of the women that I know who came out later in life fell in love with a female friend or a co-worker or a neighbor. And there they were — head over hiking boot heels — dissecting diagrams on scissoring, becoming vegans, ordering flannel shirts by the dozen, following around a Melissa Etheridge tour, organizing potlucks for community events.
But Middle-Age Butch? Yes, I was attracted to women over the years. I sold myself on the concept that I was just admiring the beauty of the female form. Because, damn, that soft flesh and those curves that seemed to roll for days. And anyway, didn’t all girls prefer the company of other girls? And didn’t all wives at one time or another daydream about having a threesome with a hot blonde that was really a twosome because their husbands weren’t included in this fantasy?
I never really put it all together until I was in my 30s. I was depressed. Out. Of. My. Mind. What did that look like? I wanted to hide in a tiny, dark, enclosed space like a closet. Yes, for real, in a closet or under a desk or in some other place that would shield me from the rest of the world.
I had been dealing with depression for the better part of a decade, so I knew the slippery slope that I was sliding down.
And that’s when I started to pray.
Now mind you, I’m not a religious person. I wasn’t brought up going to church or indoctrinated in any faith.
So, basically, I just cobbled together what I knew: the Serenity Prayer that I had memorized from tagging along with a friend to AA meetings and the Lord’s Prayer from Prince’s song Controversy. I asked God to show me who he intended me to be.
I kept this up for several weeks and then one day it hit me like a ton of rainbow bricks or a boat load of flannel shirts or a truckload of Dr. Marten’s or …. I could keep this up all day, folks. I was a lesbian. It just popped into my head as if I was Horton and the word “lesbian” had been whispered into my ear by a very intuitive Who.
Me. A lesbian. Who would’ve thunk it?
And the rest is history. But not herstory, because I hate when womyn do that. D’oh! (Note to angry feminists: You cannot just change the English language.)
So, the moral of this story is:
Be careful what you pray for.
Or maybe, God’s okay with gay. In fact, he actually encourages it when you’re …. um, gay.
Rainbows can come from mud puddles?
Or maybe it’s that we all need to get really still sometimes and listen for that small, quiet voice that tells us what we already know.
* * *
So, let’s open this bad boy up. Coming out … tell your story.