Moments of Clarity – Drinking

Choices

I write a lot about love and dating as you all know if you’ve read my other entries. I don’t really like to talk about myself in regards to other things, but I had a moment of clarity about drinking that I just can’t let go. I am 26, turning 27 in just about a month, and I don’t really drink. I never really have because I haven’t been interested. I was never a partier in high school or college. You may be thinking to yourself, “man that’s so lame” and it is to an extent, but it never kept me from having a good time.

I was an awkward kid. I don’t think you have an idea how awkward. We are talking like harry potter glasses, bangs and tie dye shirts. I had severe social anxiety to the point where, when I was 16, my parents didn’t think I would ever drive a car or go to college. I was afraid of practically everything and going to school every day was a struggle. When the bell rang at the end of the day I was literally the first person to leave the school and be in my car on the way home. Big crowds gave me anxiety. Pretty much anything I didn’t know gave me anxiety. I was in therapy and yes, it helped (I am a complete advocate for therapy for everyone at some point). Even with therapy day-to-day activities were a struggle.

I pushed through it. I went to college. I applied and I picked a school. I forced myself to go and face my fears. Because that’s what you do with most anxiety, at least mine. The more I exposed myself to things that made me nervous, the less I felt nervous about it. I joined a sorority my sophomore year. I know what you’re thinking. How did you go from severe social anxiety to joining a sorority? I did it because I refused to give into the things that make me uncomfortable. I also don’t want to tell anyone that every situation that made me uncomfortable then doesn’t make me uncomfortable now because that isn’t true. I still have my issues and my days where things get overwhelming, but I work through them.

I finished undergrad and I got my master’s degree in business. I currently have a job that requires me to build relationships throughout my organization and outside of it. I give presentations to large groups of people without feeling like I want to run away. I accomplished all of this by pushing through my anxiety because the less power you give it, the less it has power over you. People are shocked I’ve even had social anxiety because of it’s stigma. I am an example of how you can overcome issues that are seamingly daunting.

There are still a few things that make me uneasy. The main one is drinking and drugs. As a person with anxiety I don’t like to lose control around people that I don’t know or in situations where I don’t feel safe. My anxiety has to do with not knowing what will happen when you do something. It’s a fear type of anxiety. I don’t want to give the impression that I judge people who drink because that isn’t how I am. I may not particularly like something, but that doesn’t mean other people should feel the same way. I have friends that like to drink and have fun that way. I totally get it! I just don’t have fun that way. Sometimes being around people I don’t know that are drinking gives me anxiety because I don’t know how they’ll act. I also know I’ll have to explain why I’m not having a drink or stopping at one.

Up until now I haven’t cared what people think about my choices because they are my choices. But I’ve felt like a bummer recently. It sucks when people are like “oh, I didn’t invite her because she doesn’t really drink.” It’s like who the fuck cares. I mean really? Does it make a difference? I am fine hanging out with people when they are drinking (even if I am slightly uncomfortable) because if they get belligerent I just leave. It is as simple as that. You don’t like a situation or feel uncomfortable, leave. People will understand.

I don’t have to drink to dance, be stupid or just have fun. If someone has a problem with that or they feel judged because they drink, that’s there problem. I like having one beer. I’m such a lightweight it only takes one ha. I just don’t feel like I should have to have to have drink to feel comfortable like most people. That is a form of self medication and I have been through too much to let my mind get the best of me. Most of my close friends know this about me and they don’t care. Because this choice, in the entirety of life, doesn’t matter. I have fun working out at the gym – getting healthy and strong. I have fun playing madden or video games with my friends. I have fun roller blading and cooking and hanging out with my family. I have fun going bowling and dancing and going out to eat. I do all of these things without drinking and I will never again let someone make me feel bad about it. If you don’t drink or you don’t like to, don’t let anyone push you to drink or make you feel bad. You can have fun without being altered. That is one of the biggest gifts and biggest assets you possess. If someone doesn’t see it that way, they don’t belong in your life. If you do like to drink, more power to you because that is how 95% of people like to have fun. There is nothing wrong with drinking or not drinking. You DO you. This is by far the most attractive quality.

There is No Fear in Love

tumblr_navs2qxyrp1t1prrio1_500

When we are children we are innocent, carefree, and full of life. We haven’t encountered life’s trials and tribulations. Nor have we faced real failure. When we are children, adults emphasize making mistakes in order to learn. This is why children love and live life with no fear because there is no fear in love. They have no fear of getting their hearts broken or living up to their potential. Children dream and love without boundaires.The love of a child is the most pure, uninhibited, and loyal love in existence. Why can’t we love like we are 6 years old?

We as adults spend so much time worried about getting hurt and dwelling on the past that we have forgotten how to live in the moment. We have forgotten the simplicity of love. Love is supposed to be the easy part. The relationship is what’s complicated. You should never have to question your feelings for someone. If you do, then it probably isn’t right.

A friend of mine posed this question. She asked, “Would you pass someone up if you thought they loved you more than you have ever seen someone love another person?” My answer was very straightforward. I said, “I would if I didn’t feel the same way.” Love is a progression. It cannot be forced. No matter how great someone looks on paper or seems “perfect” for you. You can’t force someone to have feelings for you and vice versa.  The perfect person is not so easily defined because most of the time it’s the flaws coupled with the good in people that make you fall in love. A horrible laugh or snort, a barely noticeable lisp or clumsy beyond comprehension… these are things that make people fall in love when it’s the right person. Real love grows in time within two people. It’s earned and it’s not given away. Always remember it takes two to tango in every facet of relationships. Love is accepting every part of someone, mutually. It’s allowing yourself to feel vulnerable without fear or consequence.

Everyone eventually finds love because there really is someone for everyone. It takes longer for some people to find that great love, but it’s worth the wait. Those that wait and don’t settle find the most powerful and consuming type of love. That one great love story. Maybe I’m the last person that believes in the fairytale ending, but I don’t care. I will never settle because I want that ending. Everyone deserves that ending, so listen to yourself. The six year old in you will tell you when your feelings are right. Let yourself feel giddy and ridiculous. That is the best part of life. The beginnings.

Defining Hot in Lesbian Dating

lesbian dating We all have walls we put up to avoid being hurt. Some of us even set rules to keep from getting hurt again. What do I mean by rules? Well things like refusing to commit to someone for a certain period of time, saying you don’t want a relationship or even making excuses based on looks. I’ve even made the excuse that lesbian dating is harder because it’s hard to find beauty and brains in a femme woman that likes other femme women. Most of the time, these are just defense mechanisms. I’ve realized how many rules I’ve given myself for dating. I have talked about my extremely hard break up for way too long and how it seems to have caused me to be cynical. These are excuses. You are responsible for your own actions and no one can cause you to act or feel a certain way. That is all you.

I dated a ton of girls that I knew weren’t right for me because I wanted to see what was out there. The more not right for me, the more I seemed to be attracted to them. I used to blame it on the idea that crazy women were just attracted to me, but the truth is I was avoiding or ignoring the good ones. I wanted so badly to have the sparkly girl. Sounds stupid I know, but it’s that girl who when you walk in the room everyone looks and envies you. The girl that you almost feel like is too good-looking for you. It’s the thrill of the chase. Man did I used to love the chase.

At a certain point we grow up and other things become more important to us. Saying that all women are crazy is just an excuse and quite frankly, a little dramatic. I still feel that there are more legitimately crazy clingy women in the lesbian dating scene than straight people probably encounter, but it’s all about perspective. Personality is more sparkly to me than any hot girl. The problem with most super attractive women is that they know it and will use it to their advantage. They tend to be the high maintenance girls. I’m not saying there aren’t beautiful women out there that are nice, but most tend to be a little off-center.

It’s interesting how making one little adjustment to how you see people or even how you come off as a person can change the game. I have a guy friend that in our first conversation asked me  – “What’s the craziest thing you’ve ever done?” I had just met this guy and he just came right out with this question. I didn’t have an answer for him because I hadn’t done anything crazy. Well over the past year I dated like crazy. I know this seems like I am getting off subject, but this relates. Sometimes we need to do something different or “crazy” to appreciate the good in people. The down to earth – level-headed – bring home to mom types. If you’re like me you’ve always wanted this type of girl, but have always attracted the opposite. Some people automatically see the good people and don’t have the problem I have had. They already have the perspective of down to earth, smart and wifey material is the hottest thing ever.

I’m just figuring out my own definition of “hot”. To me hot is more synonymous with an amazing personality, which tends to have a certain charm and thoughtfulness attached to it. It’s not a certain look. Hot is the girl you can bring home to mom and dad. She’s the girl who will play video games with you or do what you love to do while also giving you shit and pushing you to try new things. The word “hot” is all relative and unique to your own preferences. No one else’s opinion matters.

Lesbian Dating Horror Stories Part 1 – The Asthma Attack

lesbian dating horror stories

I always have hilarious conversations with my friends about dating. Pretty much all of my friends (including me) are single and on the prowl, so to speak. We all exchange straight and lesbian dating horror stories and good stories when we see each other. It’s basically, “how’s work?” then “tell me about the love life.” I have to say I’ve had some of the funniest stories recently and I wanted to begin to share them with you. They are too good not to share or document HA!

The first story is about this bisexual girl I met on an online dating site. She had a kid, which was a little weird for me – but I thought what the heck. She could be awesome and why should that be the one thing holding me back, so I went out with her. We had a great time. Went mini-golfing like in high school then for frozen yogurt. It was really a blast. I think it was one of the first dates in a long time where someone didn’t want to get a drink at a bar. I feel like you learn so much more about dynamics during an activity and you still get to talk. Side note – a movie is never appropriate for a first date unless you plan on going to dinner before. You’re silent the whole time and you can’t get to know someone.

Anyway back to the story… We had an awesome first date and planned to hang out again, so the next date was none other than an eat pizza and watch Orange is the New Black marathon (season 2 just came out eeeeek). It was fun. We laughed a lot and I was like she’s cool. Same values and sense of humor. Then the first disaster happened.. she kissed me. It had to be one of the most awkward first kisses I’ve ever had, but I tried not to judge. Why might you ask? I read a stupid article saying that first kisses are sometimes bad because people are nervous and you should really go after the second or third kiss. So I continued talking to her. We texted quite a bit and I thought to myself she’s awesome. I should really give her another shot. We went on a third date. This was like the weirdest of dates.

We went to Pike Place Market in Seattle. Now this could have been the cutest and most romantic third date ever, but it just got plain uncomfortable. I went to this Russian Piroshky place and she waited in line at Starbucks. I got the food first, so I met her in Starbucks where she was still waiting in line. A little back story on me – I’m super friendly and like to talk to everyone. She on the other hand was acting really odd. She thought I was weird for talking to the cashier about her day. It was like oh boy, I hope this isn’t the start of red flags. This guy who was waiting in line had a daughter that was really young and he really wanted to get a Seattle mug, so he asked me if I could get him one since I was already in line. He would give me $20 to pay for it, so I said yes of course. She went to wait for the drinks and I went to give the guy his mug. It was extremely crowded and I had to push through people. I came back to her and made a joke about the asianic flu because of how claustrophobic it was. You know germs in a crowded room? I thought it was funny. Disclaimer: I am not racist or anything like that. It was simply a joke about a superbug because there were so many people around. My best friend is Filipino. This girl  totally flipped out and gave me this look of utter disdain.  Basically looked at me like I was the most horrible person in the world for saying that. I was completely joking. It wasn’t PC, but it didn’t deserve that reaction. She later apologized and said it was because she hadn’t had coffee. Talk about weird. My red flag indicator was beeping louder than ever.

We decide to go back to my place and finish watching Orange is the New Black again. So we’re sitting on the couch and she keeps staring at me like she wants to kiss me. I’m so turned off from earlier in the day and my last experience kissing her that I literally just kept pretending I didn’t see her. Eventually she jumped me and started making out with me. IT WAS STILL BAD. Only she kept stopping and making these weird faces. I was like no dice dude. This is weirddddd. There’s something wrong here! I walked her to the door after I got out of the situation and said to myself, “never again.”

She got home and texted me. She said, “Sorry if  I was kissing you weirdly, I was trying not to have an asthma attack.” An asthma attack from whattt do you ask? Apparently, according to her I am such a good kisser than she was getting too excited. Who admits that! I tried to dodge the whole thing. Like “Ohhhh that makes sense” then change the subject. She then starts sexting me! The girl has got problems. Whoever is reading this please do not sext people until you’ve had real life sex or done something! At least make sure the person is interested if you must go there. It’s tacky. These are just my feelings, but it’s uncomfortable and makes me respect someone less.

Long story short. I told her I felt way too uncomfortable and couldn’t come back from the weirdness. I wished her luck and that was that. She seemed so normal then boom! 180.

I talk about dating all the time because I still don’t understand it. It’s hilarious and confusing. I’ll always remember the girl who said I gave her an asthma attack and laugh. I could think of these dates as horrible experiences, but honestly they are some of the funniest moments of my entire life. You’ll never appreciate the good unless you’ve gone through all the bad. In theory, of course.

Here’s my best advice for successful dating… Remember what you want. We as lesbians tend to sacrifice the traits in a partner that are important to us just because we finally found someone who likes us back or is attractive. If we enter relationships for these reasons, they will no question fail. Listen to your gut. I can’t stress it enough. It’s one of my rules for an awesome life. What are your deal breakers? That’s what you need to remember.

Stay tuned for another dating horror story.. maybe I’ll bring one back from my early lesbian years ;)

 

 

My Life Rules for Living an Awesome Life

Life Rules

Life is a funny thing. It isn’t predictable and it’s never what we expect, yet it’s still incredible. Even the bad moments teach us something if we look hard enough. We as humans are constantly changing, growing and learning. It makes every day exciting and new. I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about life’s unpredictability and I thought to myself what have I learned so far? I’m not trying to say I hold the answers to living a gratifying and fulfilling life, but I feel like I have learned quite a bit in my young life.

My friend encouraged me to sit down and think about my rules (what’s important to me). What internal rules govern how I make decisions or live my life? It’s definitely more of a daunting task than I thought because you never consciously think about what values or pillars rule your life. You just live it. But here they are…. My life rules:

1. Find One Good Thing in Every Day

Let’s face it, we all have our shitty days. Those days when we don’t feel like anything will every go our way. Some people find the negatives in everything because they don’t know any other way. The glass half empty complex. I view life as whatever I want it to be. No matter what horrible thing happens in my day, I always take a step back and think about how lucky I am or what I have to look forward to. Dinner with a friend, going home to my dog or even the book I get to read when I get home. Life is really whatever you want it to be. You’ll also find that viewing at least one positive in life changes the way others view you and changes your overall happiness. I know it did for me. There is always one good thing in your life, trust me.

2.  Never Stop Learning and Growing

Never accept the status quo. Challenge yourself to be a better person and to expand your point of view. Learn new skills, go back to school or even have a controversial conversation. Allow yourself to be open to learning new things or maybe hearing a different point of view. Looking forward to learning something new helps me get up everyday. Personal growth is one of the most rewarding things in my opinion

3.  Love Yourself First

Loving yourself is the first step to a fulfilling life. You can’t give love without self-love. For example, identifying as gay or lesbian was extremely difficult, but I found the more comfortable I was with it – the more comfortable other people were. Take the steps to learn how to accept your weirdness, nerdiness and uniqueness. Own your awkwardness (which I can be at times) and other people will view it as confidence. There is nothing sexier than someone comfortable in their own skin.

4.  Make Mistakes

Don’t be afraid to make mistakes. Mistakes help you learn and grow and become better. The biggest lessons are those learned from our mistakes. Perfection doesn’t exist, so take risks and don’t be afraid to fail. The greatest minds in history failed at least once before they got it right. Life wouldn’t be nearly as exciting if we were all perfect all the time (picture the step ford wives eek!).

5. Love Others Unconditionally

This seems similar to number 3, but it’s different. Once you love yourself, love others unconditionally. Let your guard down (when it feels right) and put all your love into someone or something. Let yourself feel by giving love or receiving love. A life without the love of our friends, family or relationships would be unfulfilling. One of the most rewarding feelings is being able to give the gift of love to someone else and feel that love returned.

6.  Bros Before Hoes (Value Friendships)

In case you don’t know what this means – friends before the preferred sex. It could be friends before boys or vice versa. Put your friendships before that new crush or girl you’re dating because in the end, your friends will always be there for you. They will be the ones there for you if you break up or if you partner passes on. Friends are like family. There for you in any time of need.

7.  Trust Your Instincts

 Gut feelings are usually right. If you meet someone and feel like something is off, something probably is. The same thing goes for iffy situations. Don’t brush off any red flags whether it be related to a situation or a person. Something you may see as a small red flag in the beginning will most likely turn into a major problem. I see this a lot with my friends. They ignore the red flags in the beginning and the relationship fails. It’s never surprising, but it’s also hard to do in practice. Try to save yourself the heart attack and grumbles by paying attention to the red flags. Easier said than done I know.

 8.  Stand by Your Values

 Values are extremely important. They make you who you are and they guide your decisions. They are also play a major role in romantic and platonic compatibility. Values are the basis for any relationship. It’s also a similarity that forms the basis for a lasting relationship or even friendship. Remember what’s important to you and never lose sight of it.Savor the Moment

 9. Savor the Moment

My dad’s best friend had it right. The guy knew he wasn’t going to live a very long life and he lived his like every day was his last. He lived it like he would never have another identical moment in time. He made every moment count. We are constantly on our phones, instagramming or doing something on a social network. We constantly document our lives, but are we really living in the moment? We take pictures, but do we really remember what happened in the photo? I am trying to live my life like I won’t have another moment because we all don’t know how much time we really have. We always say there is plenty of time, but that’s not always true. Embrace every moment, take risks and don’t leave any questions. Savor every precious moment with those you love and make every moment count.

 10.  Follow Your Heart

 The brain and the heart tend to be in constant battle, but in the end the heart tends to always win. Decisions made with your heart won’t necessarily make sense to others, but all that matters is how you feel. You have to live with you and your decisions, so follow your heart to wherever makes you happy. Disclaimer: I’m not implying to take all logic out of the equation, but sometimes the things that don’t make the most sense end up making you the most happy. Visualize a scale and let your heart outweigh your head.

One last note.. Remember what’s important to you and put those things first. This is the swiss army knife of rules. My default.

Moments of Clarity – Coming Out 7 Years Later

7acfd88bf29b30d65c42f712488218db

Coming out for the first time was one of the scariest, most difficult and most memorable moments of my entire life. I still think back to how that one moment and those few words changed my life. I knew for awhile that I was gay before I came out, but it never hit me how things would change. It never hit me how I would have to come out to almost every person I came close to. When you come out for the first time you think “whewww.. it’s over”, but it’s never over. It gets easier because you get more comfortable with your sexuality, but you will – for the rest of your life – have to come out to anyone you get close to. I still wonder how people will react when I tell them. I’ve written in past posts about how I’m lucky I have never personally experienced hate, but it still worries me. Because everyone eventually experiences it. Some people experience it from their families, friends and even coworkers.

It deeply saddens me how often people choose to judge others based on how they live their life when the truth is that what other people do has no affect on you. I like this metaphor, “What you eat won’t make me fat.” Homosexuality isn’t a disease or an infection and it doesn’t cause lack of ambition. Being gay is a predisposition (my opinion). Why would I choose to be gay and make my life more difficult? Homesexuality isn’t contagious. I hate when people tell other people they can’t be around their kids because they don’t want it catching. Hello! If it was catching we wouldn’t want to be around your kids! You think that we want to make life harder for other people. I love my life and I am secure/happy with my sexuality, but I wouldn’t wish being gay upon anyone because of how harsh and cruel society can be. I wouldn’t want someone to experience the hate that I’ve seen and heard about. I wouldn’t want someone to be afraid to be who they are. Life is so short. Why do we spend the time we have judging other people?

I’m encountering a situation right now, at my new job, where as usual people assume I’m straight. I’ve been worried about correcting them honestly. I like to keep my personal life private because my work is important to me. I don’t want a view of my personal life to change how my performance is viewed. My work should speak for itself without any other governing factors. After 7 years of being out, you would think I would be more comfortable. I come out all the time right? It does get easier with every person, but every situation is different. There will always be people who don’t accept you. Just don’t get bogged down in the negative. Ultimately you have to live with you and your happiness is the priority. Take every situation as it comes and decide whether to tell people accordingly. I still have to decide whether to correct my coworkers. My manager asked me if I wanted a new hobby “to meet men.” I had to keep myself from busting out laughing. Hey, at least their misconception about my sexuality brings me some laughs. Remember the positive always :)

Feel free to share your advice or stories about coming out in the comments.

 

Moments of Clarity: Sexuality Doesn’t Have to be Labeled

issa-and-jamie-love-is-love

I used to view sexuality as black and white. There was no gray area for me – a feeling that isn’t unusual for other people as well. I never understood bisexuality even though I am gay. I always thought why can’t they choose? It was easy for me when I figured it out, but it’s not always so simple. I was like a lot of lesbians who viewed bisexuality as a non-decision. People told me you don’t want to date someone who isn’t gay because they might leave you for a man. The truth is.. a lesbian could just as easily break my heart for a woman. I was closing myself off because of a fear my environment had conditioned me to have. I’m gay and I even admit to being closed-minded.

The reality is sexuality is fluid. It’s a spectrum, but there are no rules. There are no rules as to where you must fall to be gay or straight. You write your own rules. It’s your choice whether you do or don’t label yourself. You are the one living your own life, so don’t let anyone else convince you that you have to choose a side or be someone society feels like you should be. Labels are a convention to make society feel more comfortable because we all know people love boxes.

We put limitations on our thoughts and feelings because of fear. Fear tends to hinder us from living fulfilling lives and taking risks. It limits our acceptance of other people and ideas. Fear is what makes us overthink and makes us less accepting. Most people don’t want to be open minded to things they don’t know. That’s why we’ve had this struggle with equality. I know I have had my own personal struggles understanding other sexualities. It’s natural, but it is not something we can’t change. You have to keep your mind open to other points-of-view and to understand things that are foreign to you. That’s how I’ve been able to expand my mind.

I think love is hard enough without putting labels on people and trying to explain your feelings. If you are able to feel a connection with someone regardless of their gender, more power to you. I wish I could look past the gender and fall for the person. I think the people who are able to open their minds to something they never thought was a possibility are brave. In a time where human rights is such a hot topic, we all need to start working towards listening and understanding things that are different to us. There is no shame in acceptance. There is only shame in judgment towards something you know nothing about or haven’t tried to understand.

We are constantly fighting for people to be more kind to one another. Why should I or anyone else judge someone based on who they love? Life is short and if you are able to find someone special that is of the same sex or the opposite sex, you are pretty damn lucky. Happiness is everyone’s ultimate goal. Who cares the gender of the partner that brings you that happiness. Leave yourself open to something new and different. Love is so much better than fear.

Moments of Clarity – Growing Up

It-takes-courage-cropped

I’m going through another big transition in my life and it’s scary. It’s exciting, but it’s still scary. I resigned from my job today. I’m taking another job that will better my career. Sounds awesome right? Well the resignation part was not fun. Think about sitting in front of a manager that had no idea you were even looking for a job. Talk about awkward, but it is what it is. It was time for me to move on.

I took my agency job right out of graduate school because it was a good start, but not a career. You could wear whatever you wanted and shoot nerf guns. I know. It sounds like a dream job, but it wasn’t. I was bored out of my mind and management was really hard to deal with. For 9 months, I just kept thinking I went to graduate school for this? I stuck it out too and it was worth it. I learned a lot and now I have a position that I can really build into a career. My dad positions this new job as “grown-up” because of the hours and business casual attire, but the truth is my agency job was grown-up even with it’s easy going nature. Why do I say that? I had to stick something out that I didn’t like and still give it 110%. I think that’s when you really grow up – when you have to do something you don’t like and you still give your all because you know it’s a stepping stone.

I’m also going through some other big changes. I’m in the process of looking for and buying a house. It’s a huge step and another thing that’s scary, yet exciting. I just think it’s funny how it is all happening at the same time. It just happened to fit perfectly. A new job and buying my first home. I feel so grown-up that sometime I forget I’m 26. I forget that I am still young and to go have fun. I’ve just always had a drive for success that I can’t ignore. I thrive on challenge. It’s why I think I have found some sort of success at an early age. It also makes it hard to date.

I’ve been told I come off “nerdy” and serious. I’ve been told I don’t have the personality that fills the room, but that’s because I’m busy watching and absorbing. One thing I am not is serious. I’m a total dork and goofball. I like to have fun. I have made some not so great decisions in my personal life. Haven’t we all though? My personal life is where I allow for these mistakes because my career is so important to me. I leave my mistakes for the part of my life with the smallest aftershock because I believe mistakes are what make us alive and human. Never feel bad for making mistakes as long as you learn from them.

Maybe I am settled for a 26 year old, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. I am single and incredibly happy. I’m going to enjoy life for awhile to get ready for the next steps. That’s the great part about life. The next steps.

Moments of Clarity – The First Date

ba14b70be5f7f6c2cd6a3c0cc6cec476

Dating really is a pain in the ass. I’m lucky because I don’t really get the nerves that most people get unless I really like someone, which happens very rarely. I like to think of the first date as a pre-screening, like an interview. You get to know the person’s basics and you see whether you want to know more. My view is the first date should never be nerve wracking. It should be exciting, new and different – but never scary. There is way too much emphasis in making a good first impression that people often times forget to be themselves.

I have taken the approach to being exactly who I am on a first date – weird jokes, awkward comments and all. Why do I do this? Because the truth is.. if someone truly likes you or wants to get to know you more, they know in the first 15 minutes. Everything after the first 15 minutes is just a value add. I can definitely say that I usually know whether I like someone within the first 15 minutes and whatever the person says after that really doesn’t matter (unless there is a deal breaker that happens to work it’s way into conversation). It’s kind of one of those things where once you like someone you’re enamored and that’s it. Sad, but true. We tend to ignore the things that annoy us or are less attractive in someone’s personality once we like them.

So what do you really have to lose by being yourself? Leading into a date or even a relationship as some weird version of yourself may lead to eventual incompatibility with the person you’re with. I like to call the best version of yourself the “representative.” The representative is the person you are when you are trying to impress someone. The version of yourself that doesn’t get cranky when you PMS, doesn’t get jealous and will try any food even though you dislike it. The representative is hard to maintain, which is why early break-ups usually occur between 3 and 6 months. You usually know within 6 months whether the person you’re with is going to be a long-term relationship.

Let’s not get off topic though. This post is about the illustrious first date. The first date that sets the tone for more dates or maybe even a relationship (gasp) and sometimes, the awkward “I’m just not feeling this” talk. I truly believe if you are yourself in every aspect of your life, including on first dates,  you will enjoy life a lot more. Being yourself is strength and true confidence. Confidence is probably the most attractive quality someone can possess. It doesn’t come easy, but allowing yourself to show the real you is the first step. Especially on a first a first date. So wear what you want to wear, make stupid jokes and make the first move if it feels right. Remember if someone doesn’t like you for you then they aren’t worth your time. A first date is only an audition. If you don’t get the part, guaranteed there will be more. As my dad has always said to me, “Date as many people as you need to date until you meet someone who makes you want to stop.”

My Coming Out Story

Unknown

I want to make sure to choose my words carefully. I came out when I was 19 after I realized I was attracted to my female best friend. Isn’t that always how it goes? Well for me, she was completely straight. Totally fine, but that didn’t lead to anything. The first person I came out to was a guy I had dated on and off for a couple years. I could barely get it out. Hell the only thing I could get out was that I was bi, which is what I thought I was for about 6 months. At that point I hadn’t even kissed a girl, I just knew that I felt something more. So what did I do to explore these feelings? You’re going to laugh just wait. I found out where the pride club was held on campus and targeted the president (a definite lesbian). I had no idea where else to find the elusive.. lesbian. Oh me at age 19. It still makes me laugh. Anyway, we went out on a date and she kissed me. It was like the skies parted and some little guardian angel lesbian hopped on my shoulder and was like.. you’re gay stupid – it all makes sense! Well that was kind of it for me. I never dated guys again.

Now the juicy part. How did I tell my parents? My parents are divorced, so I had to do that separately. I chose to tell my dad on the weekend my brother was getting married. Great timing I know. I sat down next to him on the other side of the couch freaked out to the point where I was scanning all the exits just in case I needed to run. I had no idea how I was going to tell him. I sat there going “umm, umm, umm.” The guy probably thought I was pregnant or something! When I finally could get the words out I said, “Dad I have something to tell you.. I play for both teams.” He gave this really quizzical look and said, “You’re a switch hitter!” Yes, I went the bi route. The transitional route, but it’s always the easiest. Gets people used to the idea. He had the funniest reaction looking back. At the time it wasn’t. He was so freaked out he even went to a bar, which he never does. My dad barely drinks and NEVER goes to bars. My dad’s girlfriend, at the time, had to meet him and calm him down. He treated me really differently for about a week. After about a year I told him “no more guys.” It was as easy as that. He never questioned any more about it. He got more and more comfortable as the years went on. Now we talk about everything. Who I’m dating and he gives me advice. I’m so lucky for how things ended up. We have an amazing relationship and I love him to death. I couldn’t ask for a better dad.

My mom was a different story. When I told her I was gay she said, “Oh honey.. it’s probably phase.” I was like, “No mom definitely not a phase.” I never even had to tell her when I was completely gay. I just never brought any more guys around and always dated girls. She asked once and I told her. She’s always been really funny about it. I just thought it was weird how she didn’t see it coming. Completely blows my mind honestly. I hated dresses and had more boy interests than my brother. She’s been great about it though. Extremely supportive and just awesome.

When I told my brother he said, “I knew!” He was completely unphased and basically said, “moving on.” The story that should have set everyone’s gaydar off happened when I was six years old and they left my brother and I, who was 13, at the hairdresser. The hairdresser asked what haircut I wanted and I said I wanted to look like my brother. The guys ACTUALLY cut my hair to look like my brother. My mom was furious. I will never forget her yelling at the guy saying, “You listened to a six year old!” I have no doubt that guy got fired. However, I loved my haircut until I got to school and everyone called me a boy. These six graders even tried to give me a swirly in the bathroom because they said boys weren’t allowed in the girls bathroom. I didn’t go to the bathroom at school until I was in middle school and I was teased until my hair grew out. I don’t think people should be made of fun for what makes them feel comfortable. Just because you don’t understand something, doesn’t mean it isn’t right. Honestly, if you’re happy and you stay true to yourself then nothing else matters.

Coming out is never easy. I wish I could say it was. I just know you should never let someone push you to come out. It should be done when you are ready. It will never be the right time and you will always be nervous. There are just better times when you reach a point where you feel some confidence and some comfort in yourself. I was very lucky with how accepting everyone is my life has been, but it doesn’t always go well. There isn’t any standard advice either. It all depends on your family and your circumstance, but what I will say is be true to your values and do what makes you happy. Everyone deserves a fulfilling life with freedom to be whoever they want to be.

Your sexual orientation does not define who you are as a person. What you do for those around you, your accomplishments and your values define who you are. You love who you love and it’s not a choice. Why would anyone make a choice that makes life more difficult?