Welcome to Corpus Christi

I went to Corpus Christi with my girlfriend last weekend. Just a quick overnight trip. The plan was to hang out with some friends, sleep, have breakfast and head home. I was excited.

We went to a dive bar called Cheers. Not like the TV show, at all. But a friendly, laid back place where everyone was welcome.

Or so it would seem.

Let me preface this by saying two things:

1) I am an affectionate person. Touch is my love language. I love touching the person I love. I literally cannot stop myself. I just really love touch. I am tactile. I like to touch and be touched. I also suffer from Basorexia…the overwhelming desire to kiss.

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2) I have spent most of my life living as a heterosexual. The lesbians I know tell me that I am bit unusual in my willingness to show affection for my lover in public. They tell me that it’s new for them. They tell me they are careful in public because people can be offended by two women showing affection for each other. I think this is bullshit and I have often said I won’t live by those silly rules. I have also been told that it’s common for women who come out later in life to struggle with accepting the “new rules” of public affection. If you suddenly join a “fringe” group, it can be difficult to accept the rules. The rules are dumb, why should I accept them?

So we went out to Cheers.

We sang. We were silly. Talking. Laughing.
At some point I noticed my lady and I were getting a lot of attention. She pointed it out, that it was making her uncomfortable. I ignored it.

But as the night wore on, I found myself getting uncomfortable too. We were getting a lot of attention. And not the good kind, not the kind that says,

“Oh look, two people in love, that’s so sweet.”

But the other kind. The kind of surprised looks, double takes, negative glances.

What? We are in a dive bar in Corpus. Who cares? This is a place filled with tattoos and oddballs. The gays must be welcomed here, right?

And then this:

My lady and I were dancing. Two men approach and ask to join us.

Who does that? Who approaches a couple and asks to join them? Are we in a swingers club?

We say no thank you.

They push harder.

We say no thank you, three more times. It was like they just couldn’t understand it.

“Guys, we are together, we are a couple, monogamous. In other words, fuck off.”

I couldn’t figure out what was happening.

And then this:

“Did you two just kiss? Like kiss, kiss?” -says highly intoxicated barely dressed girl

“Yes?” – I respond

“OMG, that’s so hot. I think that’s so hot.”

Wait, what?

And then I wondered…why is this happening right now?

What is it about this moment, this couple that’s drawing this level of attention. This isn’t my first girlfriend. I have never had this reaction before to showing affection in public.

I asked the rest of the group what was happening.

“It’s because you are both hot.”

But I have dated attractive women before.

“It’s because you are both hot and you don’t look gay.”

Oh, we don’t look gay. What does gay look like?

Short haired butch women?

Feminine petite men?

Gay comes in all shapes and sizes. It’s an equal opportunity thing, gay.

And then I knew I wanted to get the hell out of there and go to a place where we weren’t on display, where our kissing didn’t appear to be an invitation to join; as though our love were simply a porno the viewer was getting the pleasure of seeing live.

Gross.

As we stood up to leave, I kissed my beautiful, amazing, perfectly wonderful girlfriend on the lips one last time. And as I did so a man brushed past us and said loudly.

“Holy shit, lesbians. I am so glad I came downtown so I could see all the weirdos.”

I am a weirdo. Like I am an actual weirdo.

Wow.

For the first time since I came out two years ago, I understood why my lesbian friends shy away from public affection. It’s not just that it can be dangerous. With actual hate crimes happening, still happening in our world. It can be taken away from you and turned into something weird, or ugly, or pornographic.

And I am not ok with that.

I don’t want to be anyone’s entertainment.

I imagine a world where no one gives a shit who you love. Men with men, women and men, women and women…who cares? I want to live in a world where we are judged by our character and not by our sexual orientation…the tiniest piece of who we are. Yeah, I am getting all Martin Luther King Jr.

So we got the hell out of there and headed to the one place where everyone is welcome in Corpus Christi:

Whataburger

Yum

PS: This blog post could have been titled: Welcome to  Anywhere in the United States. It just happened to be in Corpus. Which is a great town. I am not dissing Corpus. Just humans, I am dissing some of the humans in the world. Stop being jerks, humans.

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Loneliness

I offhandedly said in therapy the other day,

“I don’t get lonely. I am not sure what it even means to be lonely.”

and then I kept talking.

She stopped me and asked what I meant when I said I didn’t get lonely.

“I don’t get lonely. I like being alone. There are a lot of times when I prefer it.”

and then I kept talking.

She stopped me again and wanted to talk more about it. She asked if I didn’t feel lonely as a child. Ever?

“Nope. I always liked being alone. I always felt comfortable alone. I don’t remember feeling lonely. I was alone a lot. I loved it. I guess I got bored sometimes but I don’t think I was lonely.”

This time, because it was clearly an issue, I waited to hear what it was about this statement that had stopped my therapist in her tracks.

She said it was unusual. Most people get lonely. Particularly people who have suffered from depression. Depression and loneliness are related.

“Really? Huh. I didn’t know that. I know I always liked being alone. I guess I just feel like myself when I am alone. No one to please. No one to judge. I can just be myself.”

She sat and watched me as I processed what I was saying. She watched as the realization came on in my brain. She raised her eyebrows a bit. She knows me well. I know her well. I could feel the lightbulb turn on. My need to please. My need for affirmation of my “okness” from others. It actually makes perfect sense that I am happiest alone. I am. It doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy the company of others. I definitely do. But alone, I do not feel the need to please, to be liked, to be approved of. Oye. Not a realization I was really in the mood for.

I miss people I love. I miss my kids so much when they are staying at their dad’s. I miss them hard. I miss my love when she isn’t around. But lonely? I have absolutely no idea what that word even means.

So I looked it up.

lone·ly [lohn-lee]
adjective, lone·li·er, lone·li·est.
1.affected with, characterized by, or causing a depressing feeling of being alone; lonesome.
2.destitute of sympathetic or friendly companionship, intercourse, support, etc.: a lonely exile.
3.lone; solitary; without company; companionless.
4.remote from places of human habitation; desolate; unfrequented; bleak: a lonely road.
5.standing apart; isolated: a lonely tower.

Ok, well. Maybe I am super lucky that I have always had good friends who I could call on if I needed them. That’s kept me from feeling lonely.

In the past several days, since having this conversation, this concept has been nagging at me. Lonely, alone, depression, do I feel that? Do I feel alone? Have I been depressed because I was lonely? What was my depression, (which I no longer feel at all) coming from if it had nothing to do with being lonely?

I did some more google searches on the subject. I like figuring shit out. So I started typing… Is it normal to like…

As I finished typing “Like”…google finished it up for me.

Is it normal to like being alone? 56 million results.

Alright then. Nice. I am not the first person to think about this. That’s good. That’s normal. There was a lot of information about being an introvert. I think I have a streak of introversion but I am not really an introvert. I like being in gatherings, I love meeting new people. I don’t think that’s it. Not entirely anyway.

I also found this quote from Charles Bukowski:

“I’ve never been lonely. I’ve been in a room — I’ve felt suicidal. I’ve been depressed. I’ve felt awful — awful beyond all — but I never felt that one other person could enter that room and cure what was bothering me…or that any number of people could enter that room. In other words, loneliness is something I’ve never been bothered with because I’ve always had this terrible itch for solitude.”

I think that’s it. I think I have a strong need for solitude. I love quiet. I really, really love quiet. I crave alone time. I always have. I think this is why being a mom was so hard for me at first. Mom’s are never alone. Never. Not even in the bathroom. Nope, even that becomes a shared experience. I did not enjoy that part of being a mom.

The google search also brought up this poem:

“Alone”
BY EDGAR ALLAN POE
From childhood’s hour I have not been
As others were—I have not seen
As others saw—I could not bring
My passions from a common spring—
From the same source I have not taken
My sorrow—I could not awaken
My heart to joy at the same tone—
And all I lov’d—I lov’d alone—
Then—in my childhood—in the dawn
Of a most stormy life—was drawn
From ev’ry depth of good and ill
The mystery which binds me still—
From the torrent, or the fountain—
From the red cliff of the mountain—
From the sun that ’round me roll’d
In its autumn tint of gold—
From the lightning in the sky
As it pass’d me flying by—
From the thunder, and the storm—
And the cloud that took the form
(When the rest of Heaven was blue)
Of a demon in my view—

I was a little shocked to see that poem. Because I discovered it in high school and fell in love with it. It spoke to me of my feelings of being different, unusual, not like everyone else. I remember copying it and taping it up in my closet, where I had a wall filled with things I loved, poetry and magazine clippings, and photographs. I even recited it in a speech contest once. But today, during my google search, I learned it was about loneliness. I was like, what? That poem isn’t about feeling lonely! It’s about feeling different. It’s about feeling like you don’t fit in. I couldn’t believe it was about being lonely. Well, that’s what the experts say. I don’t see lonely in that poem. The demon isn’t loneliness. It’s feeling separate. Is that what loneliness is, feeling separate?

Back to the thought, is it normal that I don’t get lonely? So much so that I don’t even recognize lonely in a poem that I love so much. I still don’t see loneliness in it. Even now.

So an hour later, a blog later, an hour of complete aloneness in which I felt entirely comfortable and happy and at peace I decided something.

I don’t really give a damn if it’s normal or not. I don’t know what it means.

And I can’t muster the energy to care much. I don’t want to waste anymore beautiful alone time worrying about it. I am sure there’s some good self discovery in there…the fear of not pleasing people, of having people feel disappointed in me causing me to prefer being alone, to feel completely relaxed when I am alone. I think I could probably be aware of that tendency. For my own sake and for my relationships. I should definitely put that in the back of my mind and remember it when I feel a strong need to disengage and I can’t because people need me to be present, people I love, particularly my kids.

But yeah, I don’t get lonely.

Number 4 million in the list of things I love about being past 40. The ability to just be ok with myself. That’s good stuff.

Peace and Happy Sunday.

Lesbians

I was invited to a lesbian 4th of July party last weekend. I didn’t have plans and my love was working so I thought…what the heck…lesbians…just like me. Perfect.

Aside: I hate stereotypes. I think they are dumb. Lesbians come in all shapes and sizes. They aren’t types. You cannot break them down into butch, fem, lipstick, chapstick. Dumb people try to fit others into neat little categories. I am, for example, classified as “fem”. I like dresses and make-up and high heels. I also run 30 miles a week and lift weights. I am fiercely independent and I can change my own damn tire. Am I fem? I don’t think so. I am me.

SO I know stereotypes and I am opposed to them.

But I actually imagined myself in a room full of lesbians and assumed I would fit right in. I mean, really, lesbians…awesome.

What a dumbass.

As it turned out, the room was, in fact, filed with lesbians. Uber-smart, educated, professional, successful lesbians. They were all grounded and normal and nice. I enjoyed the party. I loved getting to know them and chatting with them.

I also had absolutely nothing in common with them. Nothing. Well one woman and I had some common interests. We both had kids. Not a lot of moms in this party.

Almost all of them were in the military, colonel and above. Successful people. Hard working.

Almost all of them were either nurses or doctors or PA’s. There wasn’t a person in the room who didn’t have at least three degrees. I mean these ladies were smart as hell.

I am smart as hell too. I can hold my own in a room full of highly educated women. I wasn’t insecure.

But as the night wore on I realized my mistake. Because in thinking I would enjoy a lesbian party simply because the people in the room shared my sexual preference was completely silly and it was also stereotyping.

Our sexuality has so little to do with who we are.

It’s just a tiny thing.

People who want to oppress homosexuals want to make it everything, the most important thing.

In response, some of the gays have made it into a much bigger deal than it is or should be. I knew a woman once who had to announce her gayness the moment she walked into the room. I hated it. I was like, shut up…no one cares. She couldn’t help herself. She had fallen into the trap of believing our sexual preference defines us.

But it doesn’t. What you do for work, your passions, your values, your ideals, your personality, your lifestyle is a much bigger part of who you are than who you want to love. It’s so insignificant.

Had a heterosexual been invited to a party of heterosexuals they would never assume a commonality with the other people attending the party. They would want to know what the people were like, where they worked, what they did for fun, you know…important stuff. I just said, YAY LESBIANS and signed right up.

When I realized my mistake, the fact that I had done my own version of stereotyping by assuming Lesbian meant people like me, I laughed.

Cause I know better.

I still had a great time. I still met some really fantastic women. I am so glad I went.

But I won’t make the same mistake again.