When I was 3 years old, my best friend was a freckled little girl who brought colour to my world. School was better because she was there. Games were more fun. The teacher seemed less intimidating. I played with her. I gave her my snacks and shared everything with her.
We never fought because I didn’t want to be without her for any length of time — even at that age, I understood and acknowledged her importance to me. I have never forgotten her name and I doubt I ever will.
When I was in secondary school, I had a type. Tall, dark, slim, delicate and female. It was a daily source of worry. One day, I met a tall, dark, slim and delicate boy that I liked. He would do, I thought to myself. I was relieved; things were finally right with my world.
Every once in a while, I would find myself following a girl too closely and call myself back to order — the feelings were wild but I was ruthless in containing every single one of them. First by never acknowledging or examining them, and then by never allowing them to thrive.
One day in my first year in University, I found myself sharing a bed with a roommate in the hostel. The room was empty save for us and we decided to while away the boring day watching a music video. It was a rap video with the usual display of beautiful women in all shades rubbing up on the rapper and signalling sexual availability.
It was explicit and had the expected effect on us. What was unexpected was that we would consider each other enough of a solution to the heavy arousal. Without a single rational thought — and with a whole lot of reckless abandon — I found myself rubbing up on her and doing things I had never allowed myself to imagine even in my most private thoughts.
When it was all over, I got off the bed without saying a word to her and went for a long walk to get some air. The following day, I moved out of the room, having reached the logical conclusion that there was a spirit in there that was not of God.
After that incident, I promptly enrolled myself in an acceptable heterosexual relationship and stayed in it till my final year. I also engaged in perfectly acceptable hetero ‘we-are-on-a-break’ cheating in the period in between. It was good enough to ensure I forgot my ‘sordid’ past, so that when I found myself in bed with another girl in another hostel room in my final year, I made sure to keep my hands to myself and ride out the uncomfortable, tension-filled silence of attraction.
I moved on with my life. I had several relationships – good and bad, but always heterosexual. Eventually, I found one good enough for marriage. I gave birth to a child. Then one day, I was no longer married. The process gave me perspective and clarity, and I felt strongly pressed to live my life to the fullest. To know every aspect of myself. To explore every thought and feeling to the fullest.
I felt like I had paid my dues and my time had come. I accepted my appreciation of women and started to assure myself that it was okay. The world was accepting of things I considered dark, dirty secrets and it was time to let my lust loose.
So I seduced a friend. One that was friendly enough to make me feel certain she wouldn’t beat me up for the effort. I figured that the worst that could happen was a scolding or/and a strained friendship. It was worth it to me. I was either going to relieve the tension from the attraction or die, it seemed. Dying was not an option. Thankfully, the friendship survived and my feet were firmly planted on a destined path.
At 35, I’m toddling around trying to figure out who I am because I spent my early youth fighting myself. I’m starting all over again with relationships, networks and friendships while juggling the worry of judgement by those closest to me, because they might one day find out there are parts of me they don’t find acceptable.
I’m setting new boundaries daily so I don’t end up tearing down my life accomplishments because of new excesses. I’m learning new words/terms in a new world. I have a lot of fears in between bursts of confusion, but I am certain that at the end of the day, I will do right by myself.
This Pride Month 2020, I choose to share my story, to put my thoughts into words and make my emotions more real. To show myself acceptance. To lift some burden off other ladies experiencing late onset homosexuality due to lack of awareness or self acceptance. It’s okay, you are fine. You are valid and there is no pressure to ‘be’ – whatever you choose to do or not do about it is your choice and will be the perfect decision for you.
To find out how you can share your story with the Quietly Queer Collective, please send an email to forcolourfulgirls(at)gmail(dot)com.
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