Writer’s block has hit me like a ton of bricks this evening. I fully intended on writing something outspoken and rational about body positivity (as per my usual style) but my brain simply isn’t connecting…
So I’ve done what every self-respecting British blogger does when inspiration doesn’t strike: I’ve had a cup of tea (glass of wine), relaxed (bothered the cat) and planned something for my lovely readers (I’m winging it, basically). A multitude of my blog posts speak about body positivity and preach self-love, but aside from being outspoken and bold about my views, there’s something that I don’t speak about very often that is actually a very big part of my life. It’s something that shouldn’t make a difference but I’m aware that to some people it might, so I thought that I should be open and honest – especially as a huge number of my posts on here and social media sites profess integrity and self-respect. So here goes…
Still there? Phew.
Why, why was that so hard for me? I came out so many years ago that you’d think I’d be a dab-hand at it by now, but it feels like coming out to my family all over again. Although I suppose that many of you find my blog through social media connections, and the communities that I have found myself in as a result of these avenues have almost morphed into some kind of extended-dysfunctional family, right? So I thought that it was about time that I shared this part of my life with you all so that you didn’t think I was being disingenuous. I dithered over posting this for some time. Up until now, there have been a few things holding me back – and I thought that I’d share those with you and hope (hopehopehope) that you still want to be a part of my (virtual) life.
In real life situations, I find that there isn’t a day that goes by where I don’t have to reveal this part of myself – and I suppose that because being a lesbian is something so innate to me, that I see it as something that I happen to be, not all that I am. But almost every day something propels me into that sphere of uncertainy, whether it’s the “do you have a boyfriend” question, or having to refer to my girlfriend as “partner” when I’m unsure of someone’s reaction or don’t feel that I know them well enough to impart that segment of myself onto them. You see, I can count on one hand the number of people who have glossed over my ‘coming out’ to them (with spectacular tact, I hasten to add) and have appeared unaffected by my declaration, as if I’d just told them that I fancied pizza for dinner that night. Brilliant reaction, the best. But there are others who, when I’ve come out to them, have received the news with delight. Ooh, they think, I can pick her brains, I can ask a whole plethora of questions about lesbians (NB: lesbian sex) and she’ll be completely okay with that – don’t get me wrong, I’m completely open about sex and don’t mind answering the odd question, but there is a point when these questions become inappropriate. So when you have a whole family of people, people who, via Instagram especially, you have come to know, admire and relate to, who are unaware of an integral part of you – it becomes a bit worrying when communicating that knowledge with them.
Another aspect of, well, of life I guess, that made me a bit nervy about posting this is my utter dedication to the body positive community that I’ve found myself in over the last year. I remember when I came out at school (an all girls’ school – cliché, I know) I lost a lot of friends because they thought that I was going to fancy them, or worse actually come on to them. Sorry – but just because I’m gay doesn’t mean that I’m going to want to try and get into the knickers of every woman I meet: don’t flatter yourself. But sustaining my online bopo family requires making connections with people, largely relying on likes and comments on photos – also, paying compliments. Picture this – you’ve posted a photo of you in your underwear and have received reams upon reams of comments and likes, among these comments is one from a guy stating something along the lines of “you look amazing, great boobs”. You probably wouldn’t reply and you’d more than likely be a little put out by his (slightly) creepy boob comment. Imagine if a (perceived) straight woman commented the same thing, you’d probably comment back thanking her and in turn, pay her a compliment. But what about a lesbian? I don’t know if I’m over analysing this and I’m just being overly cautious (I’m a worrier, what can I say) but as a lesbian I worry that my comments might come across akin to those of the creepy man’s. Not what I want. I don’t want these to be confused with flirting, or coming on to someone. Christ, what would my girlfriend think about that? I’m aware of people’s views and everyone’s are different where lesbians are concerned so I try to toe the line between saying what I feel about a woman’s body (in a body positive sense) and not making her feel uncomfortable.
So there you have it. This has probably been an enormous rambling epic (blame the writer’s block) and you probably couldn’t care one way or another, but I wanted to step away from my bopo roots for just a second and just say hey, if you didn’t know I’m a lesbian. It’s quite therapeutic to expose this vulnerability; having suffered at the hands of bullies for both being fat and gay I can now safely say that I am so very comfortable being gay. Much like being fat it’s something that I love, something that I (occasionally) have to stand up for, but mostly it doesn’t matter. It’s just something that is a part of me, and if you have stuck with me, I hope that you respect that.