Friday, 6 July 2018

Maybe she's born with it


Well hey there, this is going to be a very unedited post. I have tried countless times to sit down and articulate this story. Often, I have found that I haven't been able to because it's never seemed relevant. However, I am currently one-year post-university, two months self-harm free, three months of therapy free and one-week medication free. Suffice to say, I have come a long way in a year. So, this Pride month, I have been spreading all the gay happiness I could, but I also took a step back to reflect a bit. I have never been someone who enjoys labelling themselves, but what has inspired me to finally put pen to paper, is this weekend my friends referred to me as a lesbian and I did not correct them.

Before we get to that, however, I think let's go back to the beginning. I 'came out' as bisexual to my best friend when I was 17; it was when we were in Camden and I simply said, "I think I am bisexual," she went "cool, figured," and that was that. No grand fanfare, no tears, just two simple sentences.  Fast forward to the December of my final year and I am 18 sat in a hotel room in New York City with my friends, we were discussing threesomes (as you do) and when the question arose if we would sleep with a woman, I said yes. There was no great intake of breath, no horror or shock, just the question "are you bisexual?" At the time, I remember murmuring yes but it never sat right with me, it was not until the end of my final year that I started to wonder if I was not bisexual but just a fully-fledged homosexual.

At the time I was terrified, I wrote in my diary that I was so scared and ashamed that I had these feelings, but I was also bursting to tell someone...so I did.  I told my three best friends, that's it, I texted them saying "I want you to know I am a lesbian," again the response was great, they told me I was loved and while one of them did not totally understand it, it was not condemned. So, the next week rolls around and after drama class one day, a friend comes up to me and says, "we (the popular clique) found you on the HER dating app and it says that you're a lesbian." At that moment I remember all the blood leaving my body and this abject terror setting in-I had been found out. Going home that night, I deleted the app and my profile sent a worried message to these girls asking them to not say anything and cried myself to sleep.

In all my life living as a gay woman, I have never felt as lonely and terrified as I did at that moment. Something that was so intimate had been taken out of my control and I wasn't allowed to come out how I wanted. However, it was not the fault of these girls and to give them their due, bar a few questionable comments it was never spoken of again. This was sadly not the end.

A few weeks later the gossip in the year got wind that there was a lesbian in their midst, and she started a 'hunt the lesbian' brigade where her and her friends (bearing in mind I was in her friendship group) would sit around at lunchtime and try to work out who the gay was and how they would get them to reveal themselves. Now fun fact about me, I am an incredibly anxious person so as you can imagine, it was a shitty experience. Once this girl found out it was me, it was spread around like wildfire; one day I was Annabel, the next I was Annabel the Gay. Not quite the superhero name I always wanted.

The girl never apologised, we lost touch after school and while I have no desire to ever speak to her again, I don’t think she truly understands what she took away and how isolated I felt.

This is the end of my coming out story, or rather the beginning. I went to university and had a girlfriend in days; I would tell people I was dating a woman, and nobody even blinked. Leaving behind the fishbowl existence of school and I realised most people don’t care, and the people who do, are a bunch of ignorant arseholes.

I came out to my mum about two years ago and she’s coming to terms with it, not because she disproves but I think she needs time to get used to it and I have time. Today my sexuality is not something I am ashamed of or feel isolated by, I have a whole community of people and I’m dating an awesome girl. I hope coming out will soon be a thing of the past because nobody should feel that their love is weird or unnatural.

So, hey, I’m Annabel, I’m pretty gay and I couldn’t be happier.

Belle is the editor behind The Hairy Potato; she describes herself as a Pinup Potato and proud Intersectional Feminist. Although by day she works in social media, her passions include writing, reading and finding fashion that will make her stand out. Rarely seen without her red lipstick, this mid-century maven is always ready for a debate with a glass of whiskey and a slice of pizza!

2 comments:

  1. Love this post so much, well done for writing it and being an inspiration. xxx

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    1. Thank you! You have no idea how much that means to me xxx

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