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The Truth About the Fact: An International Journal of Literary Nonfiction

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Tuesday, April 23, 2013

My Coming Out Story, Part I: The Homo-Realization

What does it mean to “be in love?” What does it mean to simply love someone who may or may not love you back? Is that infatuation? Obsession? How do you define love?

In my opinion, “love” is mutual a phenomenon. Infatuation is a one-way street that leads to heartbreak and agony. That is the life of a lesbian, a gay man, any one questioning his or her sexual orientation.

Growing up in the seemingly "straight" town of Belmont, MA with a poorly functioning "gaydar," I felt like the only lesbian in town. I felt different. I tried to fit in with my friends who were obsessed with boys, but really, I didn’t fit in. So my sexual orientation defined me for years.

Starting in late middle school, I would sneak down to the basement to watch movies starring female actresses who I was infatuated with—from Alyssa Milano in the TV series Charmed to Catherine Zeta-Jones in High Fidelity, America’s Sweethearts, Mask of Zorro, and I could continue.

No wonder my mother had an inkling that I was gay. I claimed Antonio Bandares and John Cusack were my “beards.” The men I claimed to “adore,” while I was really lusting for the women on screen.

And then The L Word—a Showtime series based in Los Angeles—showed up on TV freshman year of high school. I can truly say that it made me realize what was going on in my body when I saw two women kiss. My stomach dropped. My eyes wide-open ready for tears to come out. An unfamiliar wetness below that I wasn't aware of until this very scene in The L Word—I was TURNED on!

Aside from the physical, emotional, and mental reaction to The L Word. It  also made me realize that gay people are normal human beings, just like everyone else in this country. We want families, we want to be out of the closet, we want to be accepted by our family and our friends. 

I feared my parents would know that I was going through a life-changing emotional process: the transition between assuming everyone (including myself) is straight to the ultimate reality that I am a full-fledged lesbian—loving, desiring, and wanting to kiss girls.

I kept my “secret” as long as I could hold it in, but my close friends (interestingly three of them are lesbians now), already knew. I was just the first to admit it.

And because these group of friends knew so much about me, I treated them terribly. In retrospect, I was a monster spewing my self-loathing homophobia everywhere—to my family, my friends, everyone. I don’t know what they think of me today, but I truly wish I could redo those troubling high school years. I wish I could make peace with my old friends, but I’ve only kept in touch with a few. All of which are gay. The rest of them, I get the feeling that they look down on me, but those may just be my insecurities. It’s almost been six years since I’ve graduated high school, and rather than agonizing over my past mistakes, I would be better off looking toward the future. Honestly, how many people keep in touch with their superficial high school friends? I would bet that there are very few. Still, I feel shame for treating those who were the most supportive with the cold shoulder, while trying to win over the guys in my grade that thought that lesbians were hot and had a chance to have a threesome with them. I never did have a threesome, but at the time, I felt that it was the only way to seek acceptance from the people that were least likely to grant it to me.

The “politics” or “nuances” of being an out lesbian in high school is complicated. Starting my junior year, I had never kissed a girl. I hooked up with plenty of sparks, no fluttering in my stomach. I was entirely unimpressed by how sloppy it was. The penis—to this day—terrifies me.

And then a girl Iseult—nicknamed Seulty—came back to Belmont over the summer. Two years older than me, she was at NYU, playing college basketball. She appeared to have her life in order, and she was exactly my type: a jockey, athletic lesbian with incredible calfs. I think I adored her simply because she was the only lesbian in Belmont—of which I knew.

And one drunken night, I wrote her a long confession through a Facebook message, mispelling every other word. But the message came across: “I’m gay. I heard you’re gay. Let’s hang out sometime this summer while you are back from school.”

This Facebook message started it all. My nearly perfect kiss with a girl, but there was all of this torture that comes along with knowing that Seulty didn’t have the same feelings for me that I did for her. She claimed it was just “sex” for her. I believed her at the time, but in retrospect, I think there was more to her feelings that she was letting on. My “relationship” with Seulty—if you can even call it that—was the most destructive thing to happen to me...

To be continued...

-Mikayla Galvin


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