I have always, since a very young age, been drawn and attracted to the souls of people. The inner world that makes up who they are and thus are reflected in how they walk, dress, talk and observe the world. Sure, that has probably shaped the fact that I became a therapist. But it translates into my most intimate relationships as well. For me, it’s not been about gender. It has been about the person. Something about their innate being-ness. Something felt when near. Something hard to describe with words or the typical definitions of attraction I was familiar with for most of my life. I didn’t have language for all of this, until I discovered my own queerness.
I have almost always struggled to fit into the heteronormative expectation, especially in the religious world I grew up in. Attraction was and has never been simple or clear cut for me. I mean, is it ever? But I was surrounded by individuals desiring to marry men if they were women, and women if they were men, and have kids (nothing wrong with that!) But I didn’t resonate with that choice. For a long time, I wondered “what was wrong with me? Why don’t I fit into this narrative? The one that I am told is what I should want as a woman? What would give me satisfaction?” The longer that narrative was the dominant one in my life, the longer I felt small and alone and misunderstood. The longer the feeling of being “defective” surfaced. Something that often came up for me around this area of my life. The thing is, that narrative became the dominant one because people decided that it was the dominant one. People made it up.
There are other narratives, and they can be the dominant one, your dominant one. Narratives can and do change. It is your choice. You don’t have to keep living in a narrative simply because it was the one you were told is the “right” one. Or the “normal” one. You get to choose the narratives that resonate with your lived experience. I will also add, I recognize how scary that “choosing” can be, especially if you have experienced religion or spiritual/religious trauma. That is a topic for a different time. However, reconnecting to one’s autonomy and choice is a huge part of the healing process – at least it was for me.
For many of my queer friends, I know the deep struggle that it was for them to “come out” while they were in some oppressive and non-affirming spaces and homes. This secret they had to keep inside them from a very young age, because they were born this way, felt heavy and scary, and I do not want to diminish that experience that took so much bravery and acceptance and healing. My friends in the LGBTQIA+ community have taught me so much about authenticity, freedom, courage, and inclusion.
For me, it has looked a bit different. It has been a slow and surprising journey of awakening. This may evolve and change, like most things do. I am fluid; sexuality is fluid, and there is no right or wrong way to be queer. No right or wrong way to be human. That is the beautiful thing about the queer experience – it is EXPANSIVE and grey, and colours outside all the lines you thought you were meant to stay in.
The last few years have been all about my own liberation, and thus a passion and conviction for the liberation of all. My spirituality has expanded and evolved, allowing, and opening me to experience Love and pleasure and delight in all sorts of things and people. I don’t think this connection is coincidence. The more expansive my spirituality became, the more liberated and expansive my sexuality became. The more my SELF I became.
Queerness means so much more to me than who I date or who I am romantically involved with. Though it does encompass that too. Queerness shapes how I do my friendships, my romantic relationships, who I decide is a priority to me, who I want to live near and travel with. How I see the world and the people in it. How I want to live out intimacy and connection. How I want to spend my time and resources.
Bell Hooks’ words deeply resonate for me,
“…queer as not about who you’re having sex with, that can be a dimension of it, but queer as being about the self that is at odds with everything around it and has to invent and create and find a place to speak and to thrive and to live.”
Queerness has given me a sense of home. A world that is big enough for my curiosity, my desires, my sexuality, my fluidity, and my imagination. A world that is welcoming and allowing for my experience, without it needing to fit anyone else’s. There are over SEVEN BILLION people on the planet…how on earth do we think we are all going to fit into the same category of experience, gender expression, sexual expression, spiritual tradition etc.? Queerness has helped me shed even more of the weight and power I put on the male gaze. It has given me the permission and freedom to dress how I want, and in what feels good to ME. It has allowed me to again reclaim my little tom-boy self and my femme self. Queerness makes room for it all.
I don’t have all the answers; in fact, I have more questions. But never have Rilke’s words “live your questions” felt more palpable than they have in this last season. Queerness is about possibility, and lovingly accepting the weirdness and mystery that still lives inside me, and you. It embraces the in-betweens and questions and unknowns. It invites me to evolve and love deeper and wider, and frankly, I just want more of that.
I share this because like so many who have shared before me, there is power in speaking your truth. There are others on the end of this conversation that need permission to live their truth too. And perhaps there are some small, subtle, or big resonances in my experience that you may feel. Or maybe not at all. And that is so okay. Not everyone needs to share their coming out story. You don’t owe anyone that unless it would be liberating and healing for you. This is the case for me. Integrating my internal expression with external expression.
I am so grateful to those in my life who have welcomed and celebrated the layers within me in this process. Thank you for being safe. Safe people and spaces are needed more than ever these days, and I do not take for granted this moment in time where I am able to share openly. Love expands us, and we all need a wider womb to grow in. May we continue to create safe spaces in ourselves, and in our communities, so that a more spacious love may be continually birthed through each of us.