Fighting my Own Gay Revolution: Adventures of a First-Time Lesbian in a Sexually Fluid World.

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I left her apartment overwhelmed with excitement.

Not just the normal, giggly excitement I’m used to after spending the night with a guy. There was this quality of lightness, of full-heartedness. Normally this sexual excitement is paired with a subtle voice of shame, a light trickle of anxiety.

Not this time. This time the only voice I could hear was a strong declaration of “Yes! Yes! Yes!”

I get in the car and text my roommates: “Guys, vaginas are awesome!”

awe·some /ˈôsəm/

adjective

1.      extremely impressive or daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, or fear.

Adding an “and” felt like a more accurate description though:

“extremely impressive and daunting; inspiring great admiration, apprehension, and fear.

It’s like when you show up for the first day of class and as the teacher begins, you feel a creeping anxiety and confusion. Like this class is totally different than what you thought and you don’t know what anyone is talking about. And then you realize that you were just in the wrong classroom—and you feel a sense of relief that you don’t have to deal with this confusion all semester.

Dating had always felt like walking into that first class. My sexual experience existed on a spectrum where being straight wasn’t uncomfortable enough for me to cast it away, so I cast myself as someone who didn’t do relationships well. I came off very empowered in dating, but it always felt like an active effort to appear that way. I engaged in a lot of self help, counseling and journaling. I never considered that the problem might not be me, but my orientation, the power dynamics of heterosexuality and the isolation of heteronormative culture.

I was just in the wrong class. And now I want a f*cking coming out parade.

Instead of remaining empowered, I’ve watched myself shift into closeted-ness, excusing my new gayness as lame in comparison to real lesbians. The other night, I came home from a really good date with a hot guy and couldn’t stop crying. It had felt so empowering to find that I like women, but it was restrictive and scary to find that I no longer liked men.

I was grieving the loss of my straight self, without having yet sunk into my gay skin.

“Well this doesn’t have to be forever. Your sexual identity is fluid and you can change your mind whenever you want.” This consolation is the opposite of what I want to hear. I don’t want the openness to change my mind. I want to be completely, conformingly gay. I want to dive head-first into the Gay Box, lock myself in it, make a little nest of it, cuddle up in the restrictive warmth of Category.

In our beautifully progressive world of spectrum, open-ended, nonconforming, fluid sexuality and gender, I feel my gay internal revolution falling a bit flat.

I’ve had sex with one woman, been on dates with a few and I do not feel worthy. Coming out, to gay women in particular, is the most vulnerable. I do not feel good enough for entrance into the amorphous Lesbian Community. This Association of Lesbians, in my mind, sit around the Lesbian Round Table with a large stack of Lesbian applicants, idly chatting and casting “yea” or “nay” votes upon young, eager Lesbian wannabes. My application falls lightly to the ground, trampled and forgotten. It is accidentally recycled by the janitor, never to be read by the Lesbian Elders.

I’ve read a lot of coming out articles in the last couple of months. It’s reassuring to see that I’m not the only one whose coming out is a slow, creeping thing. It’s like a case of orientation amnesia—I’m walking down the street and suddenly remember that my first kiss was with a girl. I’m sipping my coffee and it registers that I could never fantasize about guys, only women. These are just some examples from a super-long list of times my gayness was inviting me to open my eyes, and I continued to fumble blindly through heteronormativity.

It has been there the whole time, waiting for me.

Even though I feel dumb writing this, I do it because of a desperate need for community, belonging, validation. Even now, I don’t feel empowered. I feel a double-dose of nervousness about coming out, about not being “lesbian enough.”

So I turn to the internet to let others who feel this way know that I hear them. If they’re not quite brave enough to speak up and approach the cute gay chick at the party, maybe they’ll be brave enough to google “first time lesbian,” weed through the porn and find this post.

And maybe we can gently push through the fear and doubt and be who we want to be—together.

Author: Emma Craig

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Julia Manzerova/Flickr

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Emma Craig

Emma’s diverse professional experiences hold a common thread. She lives to empower people, particularly women and gender non-conforming individuals, through community building work. She believes creating spaces for support and connection in our communities is integral to healing the world and creating richness for all. Emma is currently living and loving in Oakland, CA, and is the founder of Its A Group Effort.

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Agi Cabel Feb 6, 2018 6:15pm

Ah, so resonant, this one! Thanks, Emma! The struggle is a bitch, to be sure but don’t be discouraged! I know it can feel as if you’ve suddenly grown a tail, but take heart! What I continue to hear in other women's coming out stories is that this uncomfortability, this strange newness gives us the divine opportunity to question every little shred bullshit in our lives and come to some profound answers about who we really are, what we want and how to get there. This is an opportunity forced upon us, maybe a type of accelerated evolution but what a fucking blessing! Despite the pain of for the first time feeling like outsider with regard to your sexuality, or maybe because of it, you have an honest chance to walk around this world awake, and aware and inquisitive. And ‘those lesbians’ you’re worried about... remember that each of them has gone through something much like the shit you’re feeling. For the most part, these are your people! go to them! Big love and best of luck to you on your journey... it's a long process but you're up for the challenge!

Jo Walters Sep 17, 2016 9:15pm

Thank you Emma, this article is so refreshing and expresses my feelings and experience. Thank you for sharing xx

Lillah Talks Jul 2, 2016 12:23pm

Well written, thank you for this! You put words to thoughts of mine that weren't quite fully formed.

Emma Craig May 5, 2016 4:57pm

Thank you so much Dottie! Very good advice :)

Dottie Fuller Apr 30, 2016 2:05am

I loved this! I remember asking my best friend on the treadmill after my first lesbian excursion as I was entering the gay dating scene, "At what point do I get to call myself a lesbian?" This resonated with me so much! Labels are over-rated, enjoy the experience/transition. Good luck!

Emma Craig Apr 29, 2016 5:20pm

You are so welcome, Allie. Thank you!

Emma Craig Apr 29, 2016 5:20pm

Thank you for your kind words, Marco! :)

Allie Katherine Apr 29, 2016 3:56pm

Love this, thank you for speaking up, Emma. I can definitely relate.

Marco Sebastiani Yoga Apr 29, 2016 10:51am

we have built a horrible world where being yourself generates a series of enormous psychological problems. Go, do what you like now and rejoice in what you do: -D:-D