As a little girl growing up, I loved stories and the escape of a good book, the whole new world that opened up with the turn of a page.
I was a beautiful Princess and there was always a handsome Prince. The Prince would rescue the Princess, and we would live happily ever after.
Little did I know how different my life would turn out.
Like all of us, I’d made mistakes and was pretty sure I was doomed as far as relationships went. Maybe I seriously had no idea? Maybe I was just really good at stuffing them up? Maybe a witch put a spell on me at birth and I should have just given up and become a spinster? I’m not saying they were all bad—they weren’t—but my track record wasn’t great.
The truth? Life’s a journey, a work in progress, trial and error—everything is for a reason. Some things I honestly still struggle to find reason for, but I guess some lessons are harder than others.
I still remember the day it happened. She had to be somewhere else, and so did I, but I didn’t want to leave. Something was drawing me to her—her smile, her cheekiness, her genuine warmth, her straightforward “tell it like it is” attitude, and that laugh—the best laugh I’ve ever heard.
I still didn’t know what it meant or even that I had romantic feelings. I didn’t recognize them as that at the time. I just knew being around her made me feel really happy, and I hadn’t felt that for a long time.
Later that day, she sent me a text and my heart skipped a beat. It was just an innocent text like you would send to a friend, but for some reason I instantly felt happy and giggly. I was somehow lighter and unable to stop smiling, but I wasn’t quite sure why.
On the drive home from work that night, music blasting and singing loudly, I was flooded with a feeling I hadn’t had in a long time—a feeling that anything was possible. It was as if something within me had been unlocked. I felt like me again.
Still, I told no one. I really wasn’t sure what it meant, so being the introvert that I am, I needed to work this out in my own mind first. The reality was, I had fallen in love. With a girl.
It wasn’t all easy. There were the butterflies, the excitement, the joy and all the feelings you get when a new relationship begins. But I questioned my feelings a lot. I wondered if telling her what I was feeling would backfire and ruin our friendship. I tormented myself, convincing myself that I’d be judged by others. I wondered how my kids would feel—they already knew and loved her naughty, cheeky nature, but this was different.
I finally found the courage to tell her how I felt, and then nearly drove her mad with my back and forth.
”No, I can’t do this.”
“Yes, I can do this.”
“Oh my god, what am I doing?”
Luckily, she hung around while I got my shit together.
I worried about people’s reactions and continually questioned myself. I’d dated more than one frog in my time and imagined people saying things like, “Here she goes again” and “Oh my god, this time she’s jumped the fence thinking that might work for her” while quietly shaking their heads.
I wished that we could hide in a bubble forever, all the while wondering why society’s expectations had such a huge impact on my relationship and how happy I was allowed to feel.
In my books, love is a connection with another person, regardless of their gender. It’s a connection with their heart and soul and the feeling that creates inside you. Regardless, I still found myself continually pulled by thoughts of what society generally considered normal. Did this mean that, to society, I was no longer normal?
Rationally, I knew this wasn’t the case at all, but seeing what others go through because of their gender, their identity, or who they choose to love, I knew it wasn’t going to be all smooth sailing.
The next few months were a mix of highs and lows, new experiences, unknowns, and questions. I fell into the trap of doing what was expected of me, of trying not to rock the boat, of trying to be the good girl, until I finally proclaimed, “I don’t care what you think, this is my life and this is who I love.”
Telling other people I was in a same-sex relationship after being with the opposite sex for all my previous years was good and bad and emotional and awful and freeing and scary and all the words in between.
I found it really hard, but I felt guilty that I found it so hard. I felt anger for finding it so hard. I felt injustice that I had to explain myself over and over again and feel that same sense of anxiety each time. How should I broach it? Should I announce that I have something to tell them or should I try to slip it casually into the conversation? Should I do it one-on-one via text, a lunch date, or a group get together? All the while, I concerned myself with their reactions—what they would think, what they would say, and how I should respond.
In reality, it should be easy—it shouldn’t be the “coming out,” it should just be,”Hey, I met someone new, we clicked, I’m really happy.” After all, wouldn’t people who truly care about you just want you to be happy?
Instead, I got varied responses.
“Oh, it might just be a phase.”
“The grass isn’t always greener.”
“You know what you’re like with relationships.”
“You’re just experimenting.”
Even “I’m not comfortable with that.”
The list goes on, but my point is that very few responses were, “That’s great, I’m so happy for you.”
Friends unfriended me and talked behind my back. At first I was hurt, but now I simply think that if people don’t accept you for who you are, then that’s on them, not on you.
Whatever the reason, I didn’t try to justify myself for long. I stopped telling people—when they found out, they found out. New relationships should be happy. You shouldn’t have to justify them over and over again and be made to feel lesser than anyone else.
Even now, a few years in, I notice the reactions when we hold hands in public. Or, God forbid, we kiss! My friends and family and actually most people I know are supportive. It’s other people who judge. Maybe they’re curious? Maybe they disapprove? Whatever the reason, I wish they’d realize how much their looks and comments can hurt.
I’m not sharing this because I think people should feel sorry for me—I don’t. I have the most beautiful, supportive relationship I could ever have wished for. I have the support of my friends and family who I love dearly.
I’m sharing this because there are others out there who’ve lived with this and much worse their whole lives, who are continually made to feel less, to feel different or strange or made to feel they’re not really part of “normal” society. The people who are given strange looks when they walk down the street or feel they can’t safely go out and be themselves.
And that’s not okay. They are real people with real feelings, just like me and just like you. I want them to know they are not alone.
If someone had told me all those years ago, when I imagined my Prince Charming, that she would be a girl, I would’ve said they were crazy. But now it feels the most natural thing in the world.
I’m in love with my Prince—the girl with the biggest, most open and honest heart I’ve ever known. The strongest advocate for human and animal rights and someone who, if you have her in your corner, will defend you until the ends of the earth. She’s got my back and I’ve got hers.
And for the record I never needed a Prince to rescue me. I just needed to find myself. In the words of Vanessa Amorosi, “This is who I am.”
People leave this earth every single second of every single day. None of us know when our time will be up.
Don’t waste the time you have left judging others or worrying that you’ll be judged. Live a life that’s true to you. Live a life you love. You only get one shot.