On becoming a lesbian

This one written by moi.

I still think, is this plausible? Will women tell me, no. You are mistaken.

But people are always telling each other they are mistaken about themselves.

This doesn’t feel like an identity. This feels like all the little pieces falling into place. The aberrations from what I thought was my path are now part of my path.

That’s what really strikes me, how well it all fits together, all these little things.

The friendships with heterosexual women that always ended when I felt like I was being used. The dodging around and through men, working to ally with sexually unavailable ones, and occasionally driving myself into bed with those who were available, to no avail.

Always drawing away to the men, women were too scary. Always too scary. Tormenting me on playgrounds as a child, later in high school, because I did not do the work required. I did not center the boys when with girls. I wondered at the girls, I tried to follow. But the boys were always an abstraction when I was around girls.

Other times the boys seemed like potential brothers, older brothers, and I would have liked to have older brothers, protectors. And I spent many years looking for older brothers, protectors. I am the oldest in all my family lines of my generation, and my fathers did not protect. I could have used some help.

But they always wanted sex, or if they did not, they suggested me to their friends. So I learned to dodge, to form attachments to unavailable men, sometimes painful ones. Often painful ones. All this not-knowing, while also yes-knowing, that I was engaging in an elaborate dance of avoidance of women.

Because women, I was groomed to believe, are all about sex. Sex sex mandatory sex, this is not optional, no matter with whom you do it.

It was like trying to hike through this endless labyrinth of canyons and mountains in the desert, looking for a path to somewhere, maybe somewhere in these mountains a home, maybe at least an occasional oasis, a spring. Someone to maybe help explain all this to me, because surely this is not all there is? This ongoing alienation and searching and wondering and it never being right and always blowing up in my face sooner or later, this caldera of my emotional life.

In the early 1980’s, I worked with a young woman, an out lesbian woman. She was great. We should have been friends. But I didn’t know how, because sex sex sex everything sex and no no no.

I think of Leslie a lot these days. I hope she made it. I hope she’s still around, aging like me, and thinking of her past. I hope she found love, and joy and purpose in her life. I hope she still has that. I hope she didn’t get eaten. I wish I could remember her surname. If I could paint with my eyes, I could draw her for you.

I am not very good at ending things. I always want to keep going with the story, new chapters, new beginnings, new becomings. But this is just a blog post, so here it ends, for now. Just for now.




  1. They say if you keep listening, eventually you’ll hear your own story. I think I’ve just read mine. Thank you so much for posting. Bravery.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Susan Smyth says:

    Poignant… I bet Leslie remembers you too

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Thank you for sharing your story. They are such an important part of our shared her story. They all seem to in various ways reflect our paths moving through patriarchal heterosexuality to claim ourselves. And yes, wouldn’t Leslie’s story make a wonderful counterbalance here?

    Liked by 1 person

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