Sunday, March 21, 2004

Some Stuff About Me

I've always thought I was a pretty simple person. That's probably because I am fundamentally happy. But I had the brilliant realization a few months ago that I am far from simple. In fact, I am one damn complex woman.

I've always been someone who can swim in many crowds. Not because I am two-faced, or fake, but because I am comfortable with many sides of myself. I am a military wife. I am completely involved with the officers' spouses group. I bake cookies for airmen and bring casseroles to new moms. I'm even a stay-at-home mom. Hell, I'm even a preschool room mother and soccer mom. All of that paints such a quaint picture. If any of the people who knew me in that capacity also knew what kind of life I lead apart from that, they probably wouldn't believe it.

The two best friends I have ever had were (and of course, still are) gay. Actually, they're lesbian, because they're female, but they always say "gay" so I will too. Unfortunately, I've lost touch with them in the last few years. We still e-mail and send cards occasionally, but we've all moved around so much

Erin was the first person to walk into my dorm room our freshmen year in college and introduce herself. We became friends that very first day, and fourteen years later, she's still one of the best friends I ever had. She came out our junior year (I think). I wasn't surprised. I was actually the last person she talked to about it because she was afraid of my reaction. We ended up being in a Tolerance for Gay and Lesbian leadership workshop where I was one of the only straight people in the room. So the leader asked me how I'd feel if my best friend came out to me. I sort of laughed and said, "Well, she's out to everyone else. I'd love it if she'd feel comfortable enough to talk with me about it." At which point Erin stood up and started sobbing. She came bounding across the room and hugged me and said that she was stupid to think I wouldn't still love her. She said a bunch of stuff I don't remember and everyone started crying. The leader said, "This has never happened before. You know I'll be telling this story every time I do this workshop from now on." Erin was one of my bridesmaids when I got married. That's a whole other story!

Christine was my other best friend. And her story is much different. I knew her, and was fairly good friends for about a year or so before we got really close. She was on my college softball team, and we really bonded by my sophomore year. She struggled quite a bit with her sexuality. She would cry to me, asking why everyone thought she was gay. She said that she wasn't, and that she wanted to get married and have a family. I took her at her word, but I think I always knew deep down that she was fighting against something huge. In our last two years of college, she even had a girlfriend. At the time she would deny it with her last breath, but of course it all came to light later. I was closer to her than I've ever been to any other woman, besides my mom. It hurt so much to watch her hurt. And again, it was another of those stupid leadership workshops that outed her.

This one wasn't even about tolerance or diversity. I have no idea what it was about. But we did this exercise where you stand in two lines, split up by opposite labels. For example, the labels would be "tall" and "short" and you had to choose a side. There was no standing in the middle. After about five of these, came the labels "gay" or "straight". I think about six girls outed themselves on that one. Including Christine. At a small all-women college like mine, the gossip flew. She had a long talk with her three roommates about it. And they suggested that she talk to me. She said that she really wanted to talk to me about it. She never did. Never ever. A few days later a told her that if she wanted to talk, I would understand, but that I didn't want to force her to talk if she didn't want to. She pretty much said, "Thanks," and that was it.

Wow, did I ramble on. point is that after a few years as being introduced as "our straight friend" I got to feel very comfortable in the gay and lesbian community. As I moved around with my husband and the military it has been rare that I meet people who are out. Although when I worked in retail for a short while, I made a couple of very good gay friends. I have a funny story about my military friends and my gay friends meeting up that I'll tell soon.

I guess I've only scratched the surface of me here. I started a blog to blather on about the things that nobody in my real life would understand. And I guess I've started to do just that. I don't have any actual readers just yet. Probably because I haven't told anyone about my blog. But it's nice to write these things out. And reflect.

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