Coming Out to Myself
Thru My IZ

It's been a long time coming, I suppose; I've been a tomboy ALL my life. I never liked wearing feminine clothing or make-up. I stuffed Barbie dolls in drawers and preferred playing with Legos or video games. Instead of gossiping at recess and trying to catch the attention of the boys, I played sports and was very competitive. During this time, my mom worked six days out of the week leaving me with my dad and two younger brothers on most weekends. I guess I was just one of the guys.

My self-outing gradually came to light starting some time in high school. One moment, in particular, sticks out to me: I was sitting at home watching a Janet Jackson Concert on HBO with my mom. Janet had on a skin-tight, black, latex body suit, then she brought some guy out of the audience, strapped him to this vertical table, and started dancing all kinds of sexy on him. I felt something tingly and adrenaline pumping deep down in my loins for the first time when she did that. Boy how I wish I could have been the one on that stage instead of that guy. The feeling was so strong, I felt as though my mom could read my mind. And boy am I glad that's not possible. I found myself reacting this way to Mariah Carey, Halle Berry, and even one of my high school basketball teammates. I'm sure there were others, but these are the ones that still stand out to me.

Despite these feelings, I wouldn't put a label on myself and my sexual orientation until I got to college. College, a critical transitory period in most young people's lives, and a time when I was over a thousand miles away from home and finally able to do some self exploration with more independence. My opportunity to fully explore my longing would come from a teammate on my university team. I began to hang out with this teammate and the gay and lesbian people they knew. After enough hanging out and getting to know each other, the chance to finally act on the feelings presented itself, and I took it.

Still, I didn't want to be that typical lesbian basketball player. I'm a virgin, but I've kissed a few guys; a woman's kiss is so much sweeter. A guy has grinded on me before; I got nothing out of that. A guy has also tried to go down on me; I wouldn't have it. I felt uncomfortable and unnatural with their touch and embraces. What they wanted to be to me; I wanted to be to another woman (minus actually being a man). I want to be the protector and bread-winner. I want to hold them and run my fingers through their hair. I yearned for a woman and her touch. After this sort of inner battle and trying to protect my parents' expectations, I refused to put a label on myself as lesbian, but I did know and understand that I liked women and found them attractive in a more than passive way.

As I came out to myself, I felt freer and more comfortable in my skin and in myself than I'd ever been before. Prior to this, I would wear feminine clothing. I felt so uncomfortable in the clothes: skirts, tight-fitting pants and shirts, heels, regular bras, uggghhh to all of these for me. I felt like I wasn't being me in those clothes. Dressing as a “stud” finally fit how I felt and saw myself. Things synced up and I embraced myself.

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