Who We Really Are

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While the terrorist/white supremacist attacks were taking place in my home town of Charlottesville, VA yesterday  I was enjoying a peaceful day in Richmond, VA of homemade waffles and cleaning the apartment with my girlfriend.

As the news of what was happening in Charlottesville blew up Facebook and my phone with notifications from NPR news, I was devastated to say the least. I cried then and I have cried today. I cannot imagine what Heather Heyer’s loved ones are experiencing right now. And I am sure that everyone who was injured, beaten or who witnessed what happened now has some form of PTSD to deal with.

I cannot speak a lot about what happened Saturday August 12th because I wasn’t there. I will never really know what it was like. And honestly, what can I say about bigoted terrorist that hasn’t already been said?

However, I am certain of a few things:

  1. My family and friends in Charlottesville and Ruckersville, where I lived for the past 16 years before relocating to Richmond, are the most loving and accepting people that I have ever known.
  2. Yes this was a terrorist attack. People do not beat up or kill other people when they are exercising their right as an American to protest.
  3. THIS ATTACK HAPPENED BECAUSE OF OUTSIDERS THAT HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH CHARLOTTESVILLE OR LOCAL POLITICS. Their terrorist actions do not reflect what is in the hearts of any of my loved ones or Charlottesville as a whole.

This is not who we are. It never was.

I have one more thing I would like to share with you.

I called my Mom to make sure she didn’t venture into Charlottesville on an errand yesterday. After these violent attacks that were based on hate occurred, I received the most beautiful gift from my Mother. During our conversation, she said: “You seem so happy and I really like Jo Ann. You’re doing so good something about it just seems so, right.” My Mother, who just found out I’m gay after knowing me my entire life, gave me the gift of acceptance.

This gives me hope. And it proves to me that love will always win.

Love is who we really are.  

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Lesbian Overnight

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My Mother recently prompted my ex-boyfriend to collect somethings that he had stored in and around her shed via certified mail from the sheriff’s office. He had left these things on her property after he and I broke up 16 months ago. She and I made repeated attempts to have him remove them.

He still felt that my Mother had done him a great wrong.

Which I guess is what prompted him to yell at my Mother: “About you’re daughter, NO ONE BECOMES A LESBIAN OVERNIGHT!

My Mother told him to go to hell and went back into her house. ( Yes she is pretty awesome!)

He may be sick & narrow minded but he is right about one thing: I did not become a lesbian overnight.

It took decades for me to be who I really am.

I identified as bisexual beginning at age 17.

I wasn’t sure I could be gay because I had been with boys.

The first time I had sex it was with a boy.

I always chose men because they chose me.

I never considered a single man that I was with until he paid attention to me. I never looked at a man and felt the things that I felt (and feel) when I looked at a woman.

I went through puberty in the age of day time talk shows in the 80’s. On several of these shows I often heard that women just didn’t feel the same level of sexual desire that men do. I heard women who were supposed to be experts saying that women were attracted to men after getting to know them. And these same so called experts said that women often needed cuddling more than sexual fulfillment.

I also heard “experts” saying on these talk shows that same sex attraction was very common in teenage girls but that they usually out grew it when they became adults.

As a young girl I thought that women just didn’t feel the same level of attraction that men did.

And I thought that it was normal for me to feel attracted to and develop deep emotional attachments to my female friends.

I struggled in relationships with the opposite sex for a multitude of reasons.

Among the reasons that I struggled was the fact that I sometimes wondered if I needed to end the relationship because I was actually a lesbian.

But I would talk myself out of it. I would “write off” my thoughts. I would tell myself I was creating a problem that wasn’t there. I was creating struggle when everything was going well.

I told myself it was normal to only have fantasies about women. I figured it was because I had a man. If I were with a woman then I would have fantasies about men right?

I always felt like I was hiding. I always felt like something was missing. I felt like something was wrong but I couldn’t ever figure out what that something was.

Iyanla Vanzant Authentic Self quote

When I am my true self, I allow others to truly love me

When I fell in love with my girlfriend a million puzzle pieces fell into place.

I knew who I was and what had been missing.

A million realizations fired off in my brain and in my heart.

It took me 30+ years to meet her and be my authentic self.

My ex-boyfriend was right: I didn’t become a lesbian overnight. I always was. It just took a very long time for me to live my truth.

 

To Damn Busy!

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My love is in the hospital again with pneumonia. She has officially been there for one week today.

She will get better.

In the week that she has been in the hospital none of her family has come to visit her.

One of her good friends is the only person to visit her besides me.

This has caused me to think about busyness.

Allow me to explain.

When we are busy we don’t have to stop and look at life. We don’t have to wonder if we are happy or if our relationships are good. We’re just to damn busy to think about it!

When we are busy, we gain our worth from how much we get done in a day (this is me in a nut shell by the way). And when we do finally have a day off or a vacation we can say we deserve it because of how busy we have been!

The cycle goes on and on. We wear ourselves out, our relationships grow weaker, and we stop showing up for people when they need us even when they are sick and in the hospital.

I am completely certain of one thing: THE RELATONSHIPS THAT WE HAVE WITH OUR LOVED ONES ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT PART OF THIS LIFE.

When we finally take the long dirt nap, the only thing that we will leave this world with is the love we created while we were here.

Showing up for someone means more than a thousand tasks completed in a day, a new car, or a promotion.

Today, I will go spend as much time as I can with my love.

I can’t make her well. But I can show up for her.

Whats Out &Whats In for 2017: The Year of Fruition

I DEEM 2017 THE YEAR OF FRUITION

2017

I deemed 2016 as The Year of Transition. 

I had no idea how right I was!

This year I: Came out as bisexual, met the love of my life (I honestly had no idea she would be so amazing!), realized that I am actually a lesbian and have always been and that that is a big reason my relationships with men never worked, let go of toxic people, adopted two adult daughters (they are such a blessing!), introduced my girlfriend to my Mom(!), changed sponsors twice, was privileged to watch my dear friend make progress with her health challenge, and started an internship that I enjoy.

And I remained open as I said I would last year. I let go of expectations as best as I could. And I faced my fear.

The results are obvious:

  • I found deep, profound, true love. Unconditional adoring, hot, connected at the soul level love! And my Mother is happy for me! And my other family members and friends are happy for me! I denied my true self for decades because I was afraid of rejection. When I decided to risk facing that fear what I found was acceptance.
  • I became a second Mother to two adult daughters. I never thought that I would be a Mother in at all because I thought it had to happen in a traditional way. But I let go of that expectation and found profound healing and a great blessing.
  • After years of struggle, I finally let intuition guide me and made some hard decisions that needed to be made. I was afraid of hurting some people’s feelings. However, what happened was I ended up having great peace of mind and guidance.

So, once again my plan for the New Year is to REMAIN OPEN. No expectations.

What’s Out and what’s In for 2017:

the-list

OUT

Tradition

Anger

Frustration

Speaking negatively

Taking on more than I can handle

Not asking for help

Eating bad food

Neglecting myself

IN

Taking care of myself

Saying no when I need to

Speaking positively

Boldness

Being authentic in all things

Getting more sleep

Peace

Spending a lot of time with the people I love

Making time to write

Travel

Eating well

I get that the current landscape of our world is uncertain going into 2017. But I believe life is what we make it. Remember: We are all in this together. This year will be as great as we choose for it to be!