To really tell this story, I have to give a bit of background. Because when you come out at 30 years old, there’s got to be some back story. I’m not one of those people that knew since puberty.

But here is where I want to debunk a few falsehoods about being gay. I was not abused. I was never into sex as a teenager, let alone pornography. What else do people blame this on? I have a very normal relationship with both of my parents. I was in high school when my parents separated and college when they divorced, but if that makes people gay, there’d be a whole lot more of us out there.

I dated a handful of guys during high school and college. Less than that, really. The first guy I kissed was also the guy I was with for the longest time – we dated on and off from my freshman year in high school through maybe my freshman year in college. To protect the innocent, I’ll call him Guy 1. And during that time, we kissed once, after our first real date, when he took me to the Homecoming dance at our high school. And it was a fine kiss. If he should ever read this, I wouldn’t want to give him a complex. He’s someone I still consider a good friend and who I still care about very much.

But, being raised in quite a sheltered environment, with friends who weren’t having sex and didn’t talk about sex or sexual feelings, I really had no idea at all that what I felt, which was next to nothing, was not how other girls felt when kissing a guy they thought they were really into. I felt as normal as anyone, and didn’t ever dwell on the fact that we didn’t kiss or make out, like I heard other teens did.

As I grew up, there were probably 2 other guys that I really thought I liked. I dated the first in college, and wrote to him while he was on his mission. Let’s call him Guy 2. When he came back, it seemed like a natural progression for things to get more serious. And they did, a little bit. But the first time he leaned in to kiss me, I panicked and dodged back into a hug. And slowly from there, the relationship cooled and ended.

And again, I didn’t really dwell on it or think about my reaction, except to feel a bit sheepish. My gut reaction in the moment was to avoid that level of intimacy, so that’s what I did.

The last guy (Guy 3) I dated while living out of state, although he was also LDS. We had a very chaste relationship as well, without even much hand holding. It ran it’s course, and that was that. It was at that point, at maybe 28 years old, that I felt quite certain that it wouldn’t happen for me – this whole falling in love and getting married thing.

But at the time, I blamed it on my own appearance. I am tall and a bit overweight (probably more than a bit, but let’s leave it at that) and I had convinced myself that men were shallow and that they weren’t attracted to me. If only THEY would be attracted to ME, then I thought all the feelings I was supposed to feel would just be there. See, at this point, I realized that I was supposed to be feeling more than I was. But it was easier to blame the guys rather than look a bit deeper and admit that maybe I was the one that was not attracted to them.

Later, in therapy (everyone should go to therapy at least once in their lives), when I really thought about it and tried to make myself remember accurately, I realized it wasn’t true. I’m still not sure about Guy 3…I think the lack of attraction in that case was mutual. But I realize, thinking back on it, that Guy 1 was attracted to me, and tried to advance the relationship more than once. I had a convenient excuse (Church morals) at the time, but the truth is, I didn’t want to do anything. I wasn’t filled with longing, didn’t lie in bed thinking about what it would be like to kiss him or more. And Guy 2 was much more active in the church than Guy 1, so he was less pushy about it, but I remember a couple of times when I really knew he was into me. Once we were going to a dance, and I’d spent a lot of time looking for the perfect dress, and I remember walking down the stairs at my friend’s house to find him waiting for us, and thinking that I could tell his knees had gone a little weak.

So after Guy 3, I pretty much gave up trying to date guys, but I was not yet ready to let myself ponder any other possibilities. I decided I would be alone, and that would be fine. I had good friends and was close to my family, and that should be enough, right?

I was very religious throughout this period of my life. I had been involved in an LDS sorority in college and made some really wonderful friendships. I loved the service aspect of our sorority and felt very close to God serving in various leadership positions there.

I also went on a mission to Japan, which was an incredible experience. I really loved it there, and was one of the few missionaries in my area who had baptisms among those I taught. I never broke any rules, except for occasionally sleeping late. I was a favorite of my mission president, and I think I was looked up to by the younger missionaries.

I add that, not to sound like I’m patting myself on the back, but mainly to illustrate that I did everything I was supposed to do, as a young LDS woman. I was faithful and righteous and close to God. I know there are people who would preach that through righteousness, a person can overcome being gay. But I believe very strongly that this is part of the path God made for me. That if righteousness could have cured me, I’d be married to at least Guy 2 or Guy 3 right now. Maybe there would have been a Guy 4, who knows? That was the path I was on. That’s where I should have ended up. But it wasn’t right for me, and it took me quite a bit longer to come to terms with that.

more later…

Advertisements