Lessons From Three Years Of Being Proud And Out
Just over three years ago I came out as a lesbian.
Fresh out of the closet...I mean oven.
Photo by Taylor Grote on Unsplash
Outwardly, very little has changed. I still look the same, work in the same field, have the same friendship group and live in the same house. But inside I’m a different person. Here are 4 ways my life has been transformed by coming out.
I’m intellectually nourished. When you realise you don’t fit the status quo you become curious about who created the status quo – and why. I did a postgraduate diploma in gender and sexuality because I wanted to understand the social structures and cultural stimuli that kept me from myself for so long. Straight love may be some women’s choices, but somehow it became all women’s choices, it became my choice – and not grudgingly, but in a way that felt active and heartfelt. I wanted to understand those influences, both to help me come to terms with my past and to ensure I wear them lightly and knowingly in the future.
I understand my body. After I came out, I learnt everything they never taught you in sex education. Not just how to get pregnant (ha) but what it is to feel pleasure – to lust, desire, climax and want to hurl your knickers off the roof with delirious gratitude. I threw away my vibrator and had natural orgasms for the first time in my life: full, long, lush, rich, dizzy, mind-blowing, body-blowing orgasms just the way nature intended.
I lovebathe in the LGBT+ community. After a lifetime raised on straight love stories, I felt romantically emaciated. I hungered for alternative perspectives that proved there was a path less travelled to a happy ending. I found it on social media. Here were 1000 queer love stories: couples happily going about their lives, falling in love, having families, getting in a strop, spilling egg on the carpet. Feeling that reverberate around me every day is an important counterpoint to living in a largely heterosexual culture.
I’ve rediscovered my creativity. After years of creative sterility, coming out helped me find my voice again. All the years I hadn’t spoken came tumbling out in a wellspring of emotion and honesty. At first, I wrote for myself to gather my thoughts and let them breathe. Then, I started inviting others in, in case my experiences were helpful. Coming out was my literary panacea. It gave me my story and the confidence to tell it with truth and vulnerability – I haven’t stopped writing since.
Ironically, dating women is probably the smallest change in my life since coming out. Whether you date women or men, the search for love, as I document in my blog girlmeetsgirl.co.uk, is always fraught.
The real difference is that three years ago I was a woman making choices that were laid out in front of me like macarons. Now, I’m riffling around in the backroom for recipes and experimenting to find the most delectable flavours I can conjure. I’ve stopped living other people’s mass-produced idea of happiness and started finding my own. For me, there’s no greater gift of coming out than that.