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.