To say I wear my heart on my sleeve is an understatement. I am stubborn, emotional, opinionated yet liberal and I have this unique ability it seems, to keep everyone else’s secrets but my own.
I’m not sure how long I had been writing in my online diary and talking to Dani for when I decided to tell my friends. It seemed like a number of things had happened all at once that I wasn’t really prepared for…
Firstly I knew, I had admitted to myself if not anyone else, that I am attracted to women, that all throughout my life the signs had been there, even though at times I had almost gone too far the other way to hide it from myself.
Secondly there was a house party. One of the girls in our year was lucky enough to have the family home to herself for the weekend while her parents were out of town. Almost everyone in the sixth form was invited, my older brother and his best friend included. Then of course, friends bring friends and the party gets bigger and bigger. I’m from a relatively small town and I was possibly the only teenager at our college that didn’t drink at the time. I got bored of the party and wanted to go home, though being outranked by birth order, I had to stay and wait until my brother and his friends were bored of the party too.
I found a quiet room and started chatting to the people there to pass the time, eventually one by one people were leaving and it left me and just one other girl who I’d never met before. I can’t even remember what she looked like but I knew she was younger than me. We’d continued talking for a while and right out of the blue she just asked me… ‘Are you gay?’ I was stumped, defensive, how could she know, why did she want to know? I took too long to reply, she knew and in that moment I understood why she was asking, so I ran away.
I found my brother and informed him that I wanted to leave, he could see I was a little anxious and didn’t ask any questions right away, when we were in the safety of the car heading home I told him in stupid honesty that I got weirded out because I thought a girl hit on me at the party.
Family can be so cruel, it was open season for lesbian jokes in our household after that, of which I was almost certainly the punchline. It stilled into silence after a week or so, but I hadn’t forgotten.
My outlook changed pretty quickly after these events, it was amazing how easily I could accept this massive revelation about myself. It was like a huge weight off my mind. I talked to Dani more, about wanting to experience it all, kissing a girl for the first time, being loved by another woman… we talked often, it was intense at times we had never met and nor were we likely to, but it felt like ‘something’ some sort of connection that I could claim as love, even though it certainly wasn’t. Eventually my friends noticed I was glued to my phone texting all the time, they asked who it was. I just said Dani, too cowardly to reveal that she was a woman or how we’d come to know each other.
The intensity seemed to be growing at an exponential rate… there were love letters, phone calls, poems, mix tapes (well mini-discs for anyone that remembers them). Yet in all this time I had still never met her, we’d talked about it like it was going to happen, but I knew deep down it never would. I don’t think I wanted to, I was still too scared.
Outside of my little lesbian bubble life was great. I had the most amazing friends anyone could hope for, there were six of us and we had an amazing time, we went clubbing regularly, ate out about once a month at the George, gossiped, had sleep-overs, laughed lots and we all accepted each other completely. One by one over about the course of a month I started telling them, confessing that Dani was a girl and that I was gay… I like to think I’d surprised them, but I think over the preceding weeks with the intensity rising with my non-present lover they’d all been catching on anyway. I think it was only a shock to my friend Kirstie, but we’ll cover that in the next post.
I don’t do things by halves, so everything that happened afterwards happened pretty quickly. I knew my friends well enough to know that what I had just confided in them was news, it would be talked about among themselves when I wasn’t there and perhaps even confided in people I hadn’t yet chose to tell. That’s just human nature, I didn’t expect any less or hope for any more and I was OK with that.
What I hadn’t thought about yet were my parents.