Just go talk to her, I thought... No. I can't.

The city I live in has exactly one gay club and one gay-friendly restaurant/bar. Many moons ago during the year that I had a roommate, my roommate's aunt, who is gay, wanted to go to the club and didn't have anyone to go with her. My roommate and I agreed we would go with her. While my roommate was kind of reluctant, secretly, I was kind of excited.

I am convinced that my ex-roommate took years off of my life. She would go through spells where she wouldn't talk to me for weeks, she would bring home random guys (one of said guys burst into my room in the middle of the night and caused me to start locking my bedroom door), and sometimes, in the middle of not talking to me, she would go out, then call me at 3 a.m. to come pick her up from whatever bar she was at. She also constantly accused me of being gay. Her ex-husband had convinced her that I was in love with her and was trying to get into her pants. That was not true; she was never anything more than a friend to me, but she was convinced of what he said. As someone who knew she was attracted to girls but didn't fully understand what that meant (because I didn't fit the description of what I knew as "gay", which was ignorant) and constantly being hounded about it, I denied it every single time she said something.

The night we went to the club, was an amazing experience for me. I had never been around so many gay people in my life, and while it was a bit of a shock to my sheltered self, I also felt oddly like this was normal. But also, I was so scared that my roommate would see how much I was enjoying myself. I was so nervous I could hear my heart beat in my head. It's a wonder I didn't explode from having so many feelings.

At one point, I saw a girl who was my basketball teammate in high school. It didn't surprise me that she was there, and I found myself watching her for a long time. I felt some sort of pull towards her. I wasn't sure why, but I really wanted to talk to her. Instead, I tried to make sure she never saw me.

I've been thinking a lot about that night at the club and now I understand what that pull was. I wanted to go to her and say, "Help me. I'm having so many feelings that I don't understand, and I need to talk. Can I talk to you?" Or something like that. Instead I was a coward. Instead, I stood there and watched her, then an older lady wearing Wranglers and a leather vest stumbled up to me, handed me a beer, almost fell into me, and burned me with her cigarette.

I often joke how that night scared me all the way to the back of the closet for many more years. Seriously, what scared me was a number of things, but it's more fun to say it was that night.

I wonder how my life may have been different if I had been brave enough to talk to my old friend. Would I have found the courage to come out sooner? Would that have been better? I'm not certain. That time of my life was mostly lived in fear, so I'm not sure that accepting my sexuality was something that I could have handled. Survival was key during those years, and I did what I had to do to just survive.

Regardless, my friend from high school is one of my heroes. I remember her as being one of the shy ones (like me), and she always was one of my favorite teammates. I know through the magic that is facebook, that she has a very happy life with her girlfriend here in this city. That makes me happy for her and gives me hope that I can maybe have the same thing one day. (If I stay here, that is.) I would love to talk with her still, but again I find myself being a coward. I guess old habits die hard.

Yeah, she's totally one of my heroes. Maybe one day, I'll tell her so.

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6 comments:

Joanna said...

I know it's hard, but I say TALK TO HER!!! Who would probably know what you're going through better than her?

I know it's so much easier said than done, but this could be such ana amazing opportunity for you - and even if it isn't, you don't have to wonder anymore.

If you don't want to talk to her in person, just yet, use the power of Facebook...send her a little message, strike up a little converstion, start building a friendship.

It sounds to me that you need this - don't go on any more wondering.

Bacardi Mama said...

I agree with Joanna. Send your friend a message on Facebook and test the water. You'll never know it will turn out unless you take the first step. You could reconnect and be good friends again. What have you got to lose?

Bacardi Mama said...

Make that "how" it will turn out!

Bari said...

I hope you listen to Nancy and Joanna - they are very wise. If she was a good friend in high school, there is a good possibility she will continue to be a good friend now. Send her a message through FB. See if she'd like to get together for coffee.

Mel said...

I agree, you should totally talk to her! :)

Louise said...

Loved the post. I'm stuggling with these late in life things too; much later than you. You should totally reach out to your friend. I think she would be a GREAT help.

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I'm a walking contradiction. While I love to draw, paint and read, I also love all things gadgets, science and even science fiction (I know). My animals (two dogs and two birds) are my heart, and if I could figure out how to legally own a giraffe, I would. That all said, I have my BS in Mathematics. :o)

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