I’m From Rocky Mount, VA.

by K. W.

Satellite overhead image of Virginia from Google Earth 2022

I’m 21 now but when I was 9, my mom enrolled me in the YMCA Summer Program. I found that my best friend ‘R’ from school was going to be there too and I was so excited. Our moms were really close friends as well. R and I noticed that all the girls had boyfriends so we decided we would be girlfriends. We kissed and held hands and lived happily ever after…that is until 3 days later when all the kids started throwing things at us and calling us lesbians. We were 9. We didn’t even know what that word was! The counselors ended up calling our parents and I got into a lot of trouble. Living in the bible belt and my mom being Southern Baptist, she did not like that at all. She told me it’s gross and it’s wrong to feel that way and I had better forget about it. So I did for 8 years. I tucked that memory deep down inside and forgot all about R. I kept my feelings secret, even from myself.

Then at 16, it all came together and it hit me like a brick. Other women look at each other all the time. But not the same way I do. The things my girl friends feel when they look at guys are the things I feel when I look at girls. I thought “Oh sh** I’m gay!” My mom’s speech found me again. “Gross…wrong…” I forced myself to look at men. That didn’t work. I even tried to “Jesus the gay out.” I revoked my Wiccan ways. Maybe if I prayed the right way to the right god I could be straight. That definitely didn’t work. I’ve always been tomboyish preferring jeans and Chucks to dresses and heels. But I went out and bought heels and started wearing makeup every day. But those feelings just wouldn’t go away. So I just decided to go with bisexual although I only dated and slept with men. I was too afraid to do anything like that with a girl. What if I never wanted to be with a man again and be “normal”?

In my later teen years and early adulthood, I got into some really bad relationships with men but I finally found one that was perfect. Gentle, caring, sweet, but something was missing. I realized I was living a lie and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I called him in tears, wailing “I’m gay! I’m a lesbian! I’m so sorry!” He said that was just fine and he loved me anyways. I was flabbergasted! He was the first person I came out to AND he still loves me? I’m not disgusting? Cool! We’re still best friends. I told all my friends and they were so supportive and awesome. I wanted to tell my mom but I didn’t know how. So I didn’t. I told her my boyfriend and I broke up and I didn’t really give her a reason why. Life went on and she kept trying to set me up with guys. I politely turned her down every time but then one night at dinner I just replied “I don’t like men.” She asked if I was a lesbian. I worked up the nerve and said “Yes. I am. I’m a lesbian.” And it felt so good to say it. As I got up to leave, I told her I loved her. She said she couldn’t say it back. Needless to say I was heartbroken. Over the next week, we argued furiously. It was so terrible I left home. I moved out and in with a close friend. It was painful and it sucked but I would do it all again.

We’re still very close and she’s sort of came around but not as much as I’d like. She doesn’t want to hear about any girls I’m seeing or anything of the sort. But I tell her anyways because I love her and I want her to know about these amazing things going on in my life. I want her to know who I am. Even if she pretends she’s not listening, she still is.

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