Her name was Jasmine. Oh Jasmine. I was 7 or 8 years old and we were on the same cheer team. I didn’t know what “gay” or “lesbian” was. All I knew was that Jasmine made my heart flutter. She would come over for sleepovers, innocently at first. Soon we were cuddling and one day she kissed me. Holy hell, what was that?! It didn’t feel weird. I didn’t think it was wrong, I just liked her and that was that.
It wasn’t until I was about 12 or 13 that I knew what “gay” was. I knew I liked girls on more than a besties level, but I could never say that. I come from a Southern Baptist, African American family. No freaking way. “Gay” was not a term allowed in our home. In fact, I can distinctly remember it being called “disgusting” and “it’s just being slutty because you just want to f*** anything.” That was my mom.
I was terrified to be myself. It was impossible. I didn’t want to disappoint anyone. So I loved a straight life. I never dated though, not in school. I had huge crushed on girls all the time. Fast-forward to 18 years old, my friend since the 6th grade wanted to go out. We had always been friends. He was a guy and I thought he was cool, so I said yes. It wasn’t horrible. It was just like awesome friends doing cool stiff together. I didn’t feel like I was technical lying to him, and at the same time my family was SO happy for me.
Everything was great until sex. I remember crying, so much. And then I remember my mom saying how great he was for me. He was in the military so we hardly ever saw each other, which was perfect. What’s next? We got married. I don’t think either one of us were ever in love. Yes, we had love for each other, but we were friends. We played video games and went bowling, and like once a month, had sex.
I didn’t want to disappoint my family and selfishly enough, I wanted one of my own. I ended up having 2 children and stayed with him for nine years. The entire time feeling so lost, alone, and dishonest.
Fast-forward to the end, I couldn’t do it anymore. I left and started coming to terms with myself. I met a woman and it was natural, more than natural. It was perfect. I didn’t feel out of place. One night, my mom was over and the woman I was seeing wanted to come by. So I told my mom “I know you know I’ve been on a couple of dates with someone. Well, they are coming over and it’s a girl.” She looked at me and said “really?” And that was it.
I never felt a need to broadcast it to the world. I had a cousin text me and say “I see a lot of pictures with your new friend, she looks gay. You are still straight, right?” I told her that we were dating and she didn’t believe me. I honestly have lost a ton of family now because of it, my mom included. She thought it was just a phase and now that I am happily married to the woman of my dreams, she couldn’t handle it. It took me 26 years to be who I want to be. I would never ever change that to try and please someone else ever again. It’s not worth it.