The joy of giving and giving yourself permission is the greatest gift of all.

When I look back this holiday season I reflect upon the most poignant experiences in my life and one of the very best gifts I’ve ever received aside from my beautiful family. It was a present that I had given to myself—the gift of finally being able to love another woman freely without feeling guilt and shame.

I would secretly fantasize about making love to another woman while I was pretending to be straight to the outside world. I tried so very hard to be straight, and felt so terrible about the string of men’s broken hearts that I’d left behind. But I just knew that there was something missing in my life and I just had to find out what that was. Although, I had a pretty good idea.

It felt as if I had a ticking time bomb inside me that was about to explode if I didn’t touch, kiss or caress another women soon. And so I did, which happily diffused my bomb—forever. I had no idea how much of me was absent, and that it was indeed the missing link to my soul and very existence. The key to me not only finding my passion—but true love.

My first same-sex experience was better than I’d ever imagined. All my fears and concerns seemed to turn into a fiery ball of passion when I was finally able to touch another woman’s tender flesh. All those years of wanting, the years of dreaming of what it would be like to simply kiss another woman’s full, satiny lips were finally realized. I was home.

My fate was indeed sealed with that very first kiss. But, unfortunately, that elation came with a big price.  The very next morning I was overwhelmed with guilt and shame for being, well, gay. I was busted by my own self—my heart had finally won its long battle against all my false pretenses.

I simply discovered that our hearts aren’t driven by what we think is right but by what we feel is right. No matter how hard we try to fight our hearts with our minds, our minds simply don’t stand a chance. It was time that they both met as one, and to finally be able to love without fear, and have my soul thrive without boundaries. I learned that we should never be concerned with other people’s definition of love—only our own.

This missing key to my life has made me want to reflect on all the beautiful nuances, tender moments and passionate embraces that naturally transpire when two women spontaneously combust. So let us take a moment to revel in the myriad of reasons we love to love women so much.

First of all, we love women for much more than just their obvious physical attributes. It’s the tender, nurturing side—yet, that incredible resilience a woman always seems to find through her toughest times. It’s the fact that a woman does look so darn adorable even when she’s angry!

A woman’s physical beauty has always been highly celebrated throughout history, from the ample, fair maidens in Romanesque paintings and sculptures— to the handsomely dressed lesbians looking all dapper and cavalier languishing in their 19th century Parisian cafes and salons.

The deep longings and love we share for each other have been expressed in countless essays and poems, like in the beautiful works of lesbians greats like Sappho, Virginia Woolf and Audre Lorde—to name only a few of the many. The female form and essence is indeed a classic work of art to thoroughly appreciate, celebrate and enjoy. And we certainly do.

Our generation of lady lovers still gets just as turned on by women as they did in the past. Only today it may be a hottie with a cute buzz cut and tattoos in a torn t-shirt that makes us swoon—or perhaps the mere sight of a beautiful women in a flowing, floral sundress enjoying a cool summer breeze that makes us simply melt.

We can all attest that making love to another women is so much more mental than it is physical and it’s nothing short of intense. When our lips join another woman’s lips it feels like a lightning bolt strikes straight through our veins! And when we make love it’s as if our worlds have collided—leaving us magnetically charged, and deeply bound together as one.

If I had to sum it up in just one word it would be: blissful. The pure joy, freedom and acceptance of loving another woman is the very best gift any lesbian could ever give to themselves. The precious gift that keeps on giving and one that never fades—only growing stronger with each passing year!

Regardless of our lack of gay rights or any of the negative opinions of others—the one thing that no one can ever take away from us is the extreme joy and happiness that we women have found within each other. We found our other halves, our passions, our soulmates—our true loves. Yes, we truly are so very lucky to be lesbians.

Happy Holidays!  And always be grateful for the beautiful gift of loving another woman.