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How You Define Me

Updated: Apr 24

Whether we want it to or not, your sexuality will define you. It will label you as straight, gay, bi, etc. Some people choose this definition, while others allow society to do this. There are those that proudly scream from the rooftops their sexuality, letting the world know they are a part of the LGBTQ community, or they are happily married to a person of the opposite sex. Some people do not need to announce this, but their environment does it for them. This comes down to how you might describe a friend… ‘the one that is married to a woman’. Or assume that because two people from two separate worlds are both gay, they must know one another... ‘You must know my niece, she’s a lesbian too!’


I didn’t realize this label, or the importance of the definition, until I broke my pattern of sexuality and decided to be with a woman, after many years of being with men.


Being with men, and married to one for 10 years, defined me as a straight woman. I wasn’t for this or against this, but it was the way society looked at me, and the way I looked at myself.


When I met the person that I knew I should be with, it wasn’t within my defined walls. I had met a woman. A woman who challenged me, made me believe in myself, and was proud of who I was. For the first time in my life, I didn’t feel as though I had to change who I was to make others approve of me. I was exactly what I should be.


When I knew that Sarah was someone I wouldn’t be without, the first person, and most important that I had to face, was myself. For many months I struggled, working through the many questions that I knew friends, family, and my environment would have, trying to wrap my head around this. Was I now gay? Was I always gay? Should I always have been with women? Why now? Why Sarah? Would my parents and family accept this? What would my kids think? Out of all the questions, the consistent feeling was fear. So, the biggest question…. Why was I so afraid? For someone who had prided themselves on being who you are, chanting to my kids as they grew up to always be true to yourself, being proud of having different friends with different backgrounds and cultures… why was I so afraid?


What I came to realize, as I climbed through my own emotions, is that the fear was the unknown. This was a territory I had never embarked on. Not just being with a woman but changing the way society defined me. I didn’t know how people would react or how I would be treated, and that was scary. I had to remind myself that the most important people in my life would stand by my side, no matter what. Others would be weeded out.


When I began the journey of telling people and announcing my relationship with Sarah, there were three types of reactions… First, totally acceptance and love. This, thankfully, came from much of my family and friends, and most importantly, my kids. Second, there were the ‘I will accept and love you to your face’ people. Unfortunately, communication dwindles with these folks, as they don’t really know what to talk about with you. Many of them keep you as a ‘friend’ because, let’s face it, diversity gives you street credit, and there are those folks that want the world to know they are friends with a lesbian. Whatever helps you sleep at night…. Lastly, and the most bizarre of behaviors, acceptance to a point of lack of social barriers. These people love you with all their being and see this as an entrance to ask questions and state things that may not be something they felt comfortable with prior.


We all have instincts that tell us when to maybe keep that thought in your head instead of letting it out for the world to hear. This is a social rule that most of us follow. When you are changing the way society sees you, and how you are defined, somehow this social rule seems to disappear. Somehow those that are close to you feel the walls break down and this newfound ability to go past the social barriers.


When people are a part of your life, they feel entitled to know your feelings, space, emotions, etc. When you change how you are defined, this becomes a green light to break all social barriers. I mean ALL! Initially this felt like judgement, and it hurt. But then I realized it comes from a place of wanting to accept my new lifestyle and support it, and it was their way of showing this. So, there were questions… private questions… about sex and what happens in the bedroom. All I kept thinking about was, ‘why are you asking me now? Why not when I was married to a man?”. There were also statements that felt hurtful at the time, but I knew was just those loved ones trying to navigate the ‘right’ things to say. So, when I’m told I am no longer a couple that someone wants to vacation with because the other husband needs a guy to pal around with, it was difficult to hear. But with subconscious permission to speak freely, this person that I knew loved and supported me, was able to state it. The simple answer…. I’ve come out with a change that they’re trying to define, giving them permission to break down those social barriers.


Redefining yourself to your world at the age of 40 was not the easiest… honestly, was probably one of the biggest challenges I have been through. However, it taught me so much about myself and the people around me. It taught me how to accept those that can’t quite accept me, and to build a tolerance to those that feel the need to say things that make you tilt your head and wonder…


This valuable insight was generously provided by one of our community members and followers. Want your story to be heard? Email us at jackie@inspiritforher.com.

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