Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Towards greater acceptance

When I was a teen and exploring my attraction to women, my father would spit out the word 'lesbian' with such venom that, to this day, I feel afraid of claiming the word. I can passively elect to identify as a lesbian, particularly if someone else is leading the conversation, but I think I need therapy on this point, because using the term to describe myself fills me with dread.
I feel much safer identifying as gay, queer or non-heterosexual. These words were never demonised, since they had evaded my heteronormative, non-native English speaking parents. Things have changed significantly at home, particularly with my dad. But old fears still lurk and threaten to ruin the party.
I suppose I need positive reinforcement. To find a queer therapist who can help me find the inner safety within, and help me tackle my fears head-on.
My ex-girlfriend (let's call her Z) had no such fear. She proudly made her lesbianism a focal point of many a conversation. I enjoyed it, even though I knew I wasn't prepared to 'come out' in this most basic of ways.
(At this point I can assure you that everyone I know knows about my attraction to women - my online identities on Facebook, Twitter and OKC carry this knowledge, and are one of the main ways I meet like-minded people. But...)
I'm afraid to flirt with cute women when I meet them around Sydney and I don't know that they're clearly attracted to women. I've experienced enough prejudice over flirting with the same sex to feel incredibly possessive about the wonderful thing that is being lesbian-esque.
I have other issues with flirting as well, but I'm not going to get into them here.
I suppose I'm self-counseling because I've known for some time that this issue must be dealt with at some point, and I've been putting it off. I still feel young, and maybe I'm even hoping that I'll meet a monogamous guy who will deliver me from having to deal with all this disturbing stuff (that society has made disturbing - homosexual attraction is in itself just another thing we do).
And yes, I realise that I've verbalised some problematic narratives, because I've chosen a poly lifestyle which, on better days, I am quite committed to having women be part of (to name just one example). I worry that it's weakness to admit to all these insecurities, but I wouldn't be writing this if I didn't know that exploring vulnerability is also strength.
I have hope for my ability to adapt to a world which may not be changing fast enough for my liking, but is still capable of providing me with nurturance and love, especially if I'm proactive in seeking it out. And even if I'm single for the rest of my life, that won't be such a bad thing, because I'll be working on loving me, the single most meaningful and important relationship I'll have. 

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