When I look at myself on camera, I get flashbacks. They aren’t panicky. They induce rage at the woman I’ve become. I love my personality and my humor. I hate how I present it. If there is any lingering trauma from this whole experience, it is my voice and mannerisms; even my micro aggressions look the same or similar. I have every facial expression that she does in addition to mine because I’ve been doing it for over 32 years. I’ve talked this way since I was 13. I sound just like her, because I’ve spent more time with her than my own mother over the years. My presentation also says (to me, not others) that especially when we were young, I wanted to sound just like her. I craved it because she couldn’t be near me as much as I wanted, so I basically studied her every word so that she’d always sound like herself in my head.
The way that it helped was that I discovered I was a singer, and not a trumpet player who could fake it. She unlocked a piece of me that I didn’t know was there. She forced me to kill my imposter syndrome. I am a soprano. I am very good. I know it, so I don’t talk about it. My soprano attitude comes out in other areas of my life and oh my God… I’m just like her.
She and Dana are my two uploaded consciences, the one where my thinking divides into mine and theirs. We’re happy because we never disagree about anything and I am making up our relationship as I go along. Or at least, that was the case until I got angry. Dana and I are still over the moon about each other, but only in a best friend kind of way. Hearing her responses to everything for so many years helps me to predict what she would say about something else. The last time I really cried was picturing her meeting Daniel for the first time and what that would have been like for her… just how much I wanted to share him with her and to be buddies again. I am not worried that there would be any violence between us ever again.
There’s a reason for that. I wasn’t looking for the biggest motherfucker in skater shoes who is also trained to shoot the nuts off a gnat. He just showed up. I wanted him to be my companion, and then I wanted him to be my husband, because I couldn’t let him protect me without feeling the pull toward him in every single way you can possibly imagine. It’s a new experience, pining for a man and not a woman. I like it. It feels like every “straight” girl has ever felt when she realized “uh oh. These feelings are scary and I don’t know what to do with them.”
I’ve been with men before. It’s not a big deal. I think I’ve said it before, that I didn’t identify as a lesbian because of my sexual behavior in individual instances. It was thinking about who I connected with more emotionally and whether I could picture a relationship that lasted more than a few years. I couldn’t until I realized that I’d thought about Daniel off and on over the years and it was a reconnection, not meeting a stranger. I don’t think I would have been so quick to label myself as a lesbian if it hadn’t been the ‘90s. Lesbians aren’t particularly friendly towards bisexual women at the best of times even now, because there is some kind of dick measuring contest that I don’t understand or want to enter.
Lesbians who have never been with men tend to think they’re better than the rest of us. For every man we’ve been with, points are deducted. My street cred will go down immediately if I marry Daniel because my experiences with women will be put on the back burner, as if marrying him caused amnesia. Women who don’t know me will assume that I am closeted and don’t have a clue that I’m gay, because we’ve heard that story a million times. If this marriage does end up being a thing, I cannot wait for this because it will happen. Someone will try to tell me I’m gay and offer to help me leave because I’m just not being fair to that poor man. He should have someone that is capable of loving him the way he needs to be loved and don’t I understand what I’m doing to him?
I understand exactly what I’m doing to him and what I want to do to him later, okkkkkkkk.
I don’t know if you guys will remember this. Some of you might. When Kathleen and I were partners (common law yet not legally married at that point), we went to a conference on bisexuality. Dr. Fritz Klein and Dr. Carol Queen were the hosts, and they were so fabulous. I learned more about the science of sex than I could from any documentary, and especially not having to draw my own conclusions about large scientific works.
Dr. Klein was especially brilliant. He designed the Klein Grid of Sexual Orientation, which expanded the scale originally posited by Alfred Kinsey. The grid also has you rate how often you socialize and fantasize about each gender as well. Through it, I have come to the conclusion that homosexuality and heterosexuality are subsets of bisexuality. That the spectrum is very wide. For instance, I can think of one friend in particular that our relationship is all white hot fire.
We turn each other on intellectually and deep dive into all kinds of things. What we don’t do is fawn over each other. That package doesn’t come with a combo meal, but I’d rather have it than literally anything else. You can’t buy what’s in it, and if you break it, there’s no replacement.
She is a one on the Kinsey scale, perhaps a two in the Klein grid sense of not being bisexual but understanding how it is a thing that happens for reasons. She loves pictures of beautiful women, but they don’t turn her on. That’s fine. More for me. She is perfectly happy for that to be my department… and yet, if something happens to me that’s negative, she will release the fire of a thousand suns and point it right at the offender. I am her lamb, the one she will always search for if I am lost. It feels good to finally be going so hard for the right person when I’ve given so much to the wrong ones. I am perfectly happy to love her up like Oprah loves Gayle… especially now that we both have found our Stedmans.
What becomes problematic sometimes is my flowery expression vs. her strident, no bullshit personality. I am a gardener, and she is an architect. She’d rather have bullet points. I’d rather spend six pages on a rose bush (that was a joke about Nathaniel Hawthorne). I know she routinely rolls her eyes at the length of my letters while I struggle to understand the bread crumbs I’ve been given. It’s not a bad relationship because of it. She’s just like my sister, 50 times busier than me. It takes her time to read and absorb. What’s worth it are the letters after she’s done so. I recently figured out that she is crazy about me. Just loves me more than I do, and I’m hoping to catch up. It’s a tall order. Because you see, I didn’t understand how straight women love each other when we met. Now, I do.
I just had a flashback to a sweet memory of Dana and me. We used to get married every morning. One of us would lean over and say, “hey baby? I do.” And the other would say, “I do, too.”
So. Now I’m apparently Jay because Silent Bob over there just laid down the truth last week. She’s my hetero lifemate. She loves me. She just couldn’t tell me. Not that she didn’t want to. Words aren’t her love language. There’s no wrong way to be in a relationship, but if you expect someone to respond the way you would have, you’re setting yourself up for failure. I tell her I love her in words, or I did until I realized that her love language was action. So I stopped only telling her and started doing things for her.
Picking up her afternoon coffee on a whim is more important than telling her it broke me open to hear that she took piano lessons as a child. For me, love is hearing her think/emote. For her, love is supported by evidence. I get brownie points this way: when I tell her I love her, she can bank on it. The check will always cash because my words and behavior match. When she tells me she feels something, I listen and respond immediately. What she says goes, because what I say goes, too. It’s a balancing act as to which one of us is more right this time, because both of us are so damn smart that neither one of us are going to be wrong at any time. In fact, we might get to the exact same conclusion and argue over semantics.
It’s tricky, those semantics. Sometimes words get in the way of communication, especially when they’re painful.
Oh my God. My God. I just had a thought that hit me like a ton of bricks and I need to breathe through it. I have serious Internet relationships because when I communicate by typing, I don’t hear myself in my abuser’s voice. I hear myself the way I want to sound. I hear myself without her version of how things sound, because that’s what it is. I cultivated that sound. Now it’s a monster I avoid because it’s not an homage. It’s torture.
I speak by writing to avoid talking altogether. Bryn has no idea what she’s done in a good way. I’ve published vlogs without thinking about hating my voice several times now, and it’s because of her. Forcing me to use FaceTime helped me to Think Different (oh, wow… that was unintentionally clever. I mentioned an Apple product and then tied in Chiat/Day. I’m not impressed with my own writing. I am impressed that I recalled the connection.). This is important because as I’ve been talking to Bryn, more of my expressions and mannerisms that aren’t really mine have shown up and begged to be friends. I will go there with her only, because she was there. She knows that it hurts and why it should. She should know but doesn’t yet that another friend gave me a jump scare by sounding just like her- they’re from the same area of the world. Completely unintentional, and I still panicked. She’s never met any of my friends from Portland, so I can safely say that this friend would never in a million years figure out it’s her. Another person that I love their writing, could do without seeing them in person because it’s painful in a way that cannot be treated quickly or easily. It’s my trigger, it’s my deal. I just have to work through it so I can love her sound because it’s hers. I can love her voice as much as I love the rest of her.
It’s more complicated than it needs to be because I am way more complicated than I need to be. I was born as a visionary, in a traumatic birth experience and recovery, and then emotionally abused so badly that I didn’t have opinions for many years. I am rediscovering what it is like to date people while having them. Having emotions has also been problematic.
There’s no right or wrong answer in a relationship. For me, it seems to work to make one or two friends my primary partners so that if my romantic partner leaves, my entire world doesn’t go with them. It doesn’t make sense to make something that needs to be so permanent a pressure on dating. I have made the executive decision to divide my soul and let a few people have a part. To let more than one person all the way in so that more than one person has that level of understanding of me.
Some marriages aren’t built on romance. Some are built on wanting permanence during a tumultuous time in people’s lives. Some are built on confidentiality so that both people have the freedom to say whatever they want without judgment and get feedback. Some people are asexual but still need to have a person.
I’m still working on that “both people aren’t judgmental” thing.
People being concerned about the gender I marry is ridiculous, and yet the sentiment continues. My deal is that if you care whether it’s real or silicon, that’s fine. I don’t. What matters to me is our shared upbringing and our shared thought processes. They’re virtually identical except for the way we take in information. He’s all brain, I’m all heart…. Or I was, until my heart walked out of my body and back to Texas. I hope Cora and Daniel each get pieces. All they have to do is reach into the chords that run between us and grab them.
Geometry and music combine to make new sounds all the time. Different layers, different directions at which the intersection breaks your emotions out of their military grade prison. Military prison is accurate, because I feel like I have been Lord John Grey my entire life, starting a few months before I turned 13 and ending when I was 36. The unrequited love is over, but I have wondered many times how often John lingered over Jamie’s speech patterns, craving it because he couldn’t be near him as much as he wanted, studying his every word so that he’d always sound like himself in his head.
I wonder how long he cried when he realized that he and Jamie could never be close enough for him, that he was jumping into something the relationship couldn’t sustain……………. And yet, he still sounded just like him.