It’s Just Such A Shock!

I don’t know if any of you have experienced this but when I came out to my Mum, she said it was the biggest shock. This has always baffled me for many reasons! I mean, I literally grew up in my football kit, attached to a football, wearing baseball caps backwards or in my teenage years, attached to my skateboard with a big chain hanging at my hip. Not trying to be stereotypical here and obviously there are lots of folk who don’t fit the stereotypes but you can’t argue that it doesn’t swing in my favour? She also asked me about four times in the months leading up to me coming out ‘you’re not gay, are you?’ (once at the dinner table in front of my Grandma – awkwaaaard!) This question alone means it was surely on the brain? But it’s understandable…

I was really worried about coming out for a long ole time. I knew my family weren’t going to love it as I’m from a family that are very aware and wary of other people’s opinions and I knew they’d assume the worst. I knew I wouldn’t be thrown out or disowned but I knew they would feel very upset. Looking back now, it really was an awful time and I don’t envy any of you that may be reading this, that are going through it at the moment. We are here for you! There are positives though and we must not forget those. It often brings you much closer to those family / friends in the long run as they really know you and who you are. It also is an amazing thing to go through in terms of building self-confidence and resilience. Looking back at my 29 years of life, that is the standout biggest accomplishment and maker of who I am today, that I can think of. It literally defines the rest of our lives!

Some excellent advice I received before I came out was to not expect the people around us to understand and accept it from the first second of them finding out. I know it’s what we all wish and hope for but realistically, when it took me four years to admit it out loud, why should I expect my family to hide their shock/ emotions from minute 1? It wouldn’t be fair.

This week, I received a message on twitter from someone who expressed feeling ‘lost’. They knew they weren’t straight but weren’t exactly sure what they were and were worried about the impact that this would have on friendships and relationships. It just reminded me how difficult it can be when you just want to have the answers and you want them now! I remember feeling desperate to just fully know who I am, what I want and what I was going to do about it. My key advice was to try and avoid labels if possible. I fully relate to wanting to know exactly where you fit in the world but as I’ve grown up, I’ve realised how unimportant it is. Sexuality really is fluid. I have a friend who labelled themselves as a lesbian in their teens but ended up with a man and another who was married with kids and then came out in their 60s! It isn’t essential to know your ‘label’ at this moment in time as it can all change tomorrow.

For those who are wondering, my mum was great when I came out. She struggled for a few days until we had a good talk. I explained that being gay is something that is natural to you from birth and to be happy in life you should admit it and live it. My sister struggled surprisingly (she is two years older than me). She refused to meet my girlfriend at the time for over a year. One day, we were out for dinner and she spoke about how she disagreed with gay people having children. This (obviously) really upset me and I cried at the dinner table. She also felt real guilt after this chat and hid away for the rest of the evening. The next day, she sent me an article on whatsapp about how gay parents are just as good as straight parents and she admitted that she isn’t always right about everything! She then invited my girlfriend at the time and I over for dinner and she apologised to us both. I instantly forgave her as I know it will have been hard to admit that she was wrong and again – these things are not instant and take time to sink in. She is now incredible and both she and my mum colluded with my fiancé on when and how to propose. It gives me such happiness to know that it was a joint plan and that my family really do give us their ‘blessing’.

No matter where you are on this journey now, I promise you it does get better!

“I love you a latte”

I bloody love a pun. For valentine’s day this year, my fiancé got me a card with some cute little coffee cups saying, “I love you a latte” and “words cannot expresso what you mean to me”. So cute. Lame. But cute. I got her one with some little avocados saying “You avo stolen my heart” HA! We deserve each other, right?

Those lame ass cards are a prime example of how I have met my match. Someone equally as cheesy as I; who appreciates a terrible pun but is loving in all the right ways. We were introduced through a mutual friend in 2016 and are engaged to be #wifes4life (ha) in July 2019. I can’t bloomin wait!

As I’ve mentioned before somewhere on this ‘ere website, I was seriously worried about coming out. This was for lots of reasons but one biggie was that I thought there was no way in hell I’d ever meet anyone and be happy. At some points, I thought I was more likely to meet a nice man who could be my best friend and I’d just fake the rest of it – the ‘love’ bit. It seems like such a daunting task, doesn’t it?

Someone told me once, just 1.7% of people identified as LGBT in 2015. This doesn’t put the odds in our favour does it? Of that 1.7% you have to find the ones that are of your desired gender, your desired age, THEN you have to actually fancy them. THEN they have to be available and in to you as well! BLOWS the mind. It seems scary and can lead to all sorts of poor decision making.

My first relationship came when I was 16. I met someone online. She lived a long way away (4 hours) but for some reason, we met and thought we’d give it a go. It didn’t seem likely to work but it also felt like a sort of ‘easing in’ to the lesbian lifestyle for me. After all, I was new and nervous. This easy going, take or leave relationship became a seven-year emotional rollercoaster! As all lesbos do, we grew closer very quickly and she made the move to my local area after a pretty short period of time. We were up against it in every way – young, poor, living with parents, highly dependent on me and my social life (as she didn’t know anyone else). Apart from a 2-month split, we managed to drag it out for seven years. I don’t mean that disrespectfully but had we been any older or more experienced in life, we may have realised our fate a little sooner. I remember us even having discussions like “well maybe it’s meant to be like this after 5/6/7 years. All couples must lose their spark eventually”……

That inevitably got a lot worse before it got better. We developed huge trust issues and eventually, the end of 2013 saw the end of our relationship. Cue those original 15-year-old me fears of ‘I will be alone forever’ which came rushing back with vengeance! I found myself filling every spare second of time with friends and activities just so I could avoid the bleak and honest truth that was my new and single life. If I gave myself a second to contemplate it, I spiralled in to a very ugly space of self-pity and such a lack of self-confidence. Of course, this in turn leads to more poor decision making. I ended up seeing someone who was the polar opposite of what I thought I wanted in a person. Not to say she wasn’t a brilliant human and she will inevitably make someone incredibly happy but we just weren’t compatible. A quick trip around the world with her gave me all the clarity I needed. I remember, while driving through the wilderness of the Pacific Coast of Australia, I was struck by a moment of absolutely lucidity! I knew what I had to do. To ever be truly happy, I had to face this fear of being alone head on. It was a scary prospect but I knew I just had to do it.

I came home and swiftly ended the relationship I was in. I bought a new flat for me to live in, totally alone. I also booked in to see a counsellor. This man ‘Rob’ is an absolute hero to me. We love Rob! He helped me tap in to my feelings of worry and anxiety. One day I was declaring to him how comfortable I am in my sexuality and I caught myself saying the sentence “You know, if I could take a pill to change it I would”…. what!?! This wasn’t me! I shocked myself and I shocked him. It took a lot of self-reflection and a lot of thinking time but he helped me to grow in confidence, to love time alone and to be ultimately and outwardly proud of who I am.

Funnily enough, very soon after I finished my time with Rob, life kinda fell in to place. A friend at work who had known about the journey I had been on decided it was time to introduce me to a good friend of hers. She said I was finally in the mental space and this other lass was equally in a good space, following a bit of turmoil in her own life. The stars aligned! This was another long distance set up as she lived about 1.5 hours away. But a recommendation from a trusted friend and a picture of this pretty lady was more than enough to entice me. An awkward introduction through Facebook and a few weeks of chatting led to our first date. The excitement I had about meeting this girl was intense. I had such a good feeling. We had already established that we make each other laugh and have lots of the same values. I felt like she was way out of my league but she seemed interested so I had to try. She was my dream woman – sporty, intelligent, funny but above all else she is extremely kind and trustworthy. We met for a drink at 4.30pm and we talked the night away. More drinks, a walk and dinner later, I knew I’d met her. I know it sounds as lame as those valentine’s day cards but I 100% honestly knew I’d done it. I even messaged my friends that night declaring “I’ve just had dinner with my future wife” – and here I am. Sat here on the carpet of the living room in the house that we bought together last year. Planning our wedding for next year.

Ooo, sorry about that – I totally went off on a hugely self-indulgent rant there. What I’m trying to get across is the importance of self-care, self-confidence and belief. Put those stats aside for a second, I am now 29 years old and I have many a gay friend – all of whom are in happy relationships. Some met their partners young, some have been in long term relationships, only to find that they were destined for somebody else all along. Others hadn’t met their soulmates until they were in their 50s/60s. Every one of you has your own path. The thing that is in your control is YOUR happiness. So, stay confident, stay positive and enjoy living! 🙂