So, when I started out this blog, I wrote this post about all the different things that came to me to describe myself. I had written this list, and then I randomized it, and wrote it out. I started several posts to begin elaborating on all of the things in the list - and I never quite finished it.
Too many other things came up.
But I have a link to the post in my Twitter bio, and so (surprisingly!) folks have been reading it. And the other day, one of my new followers mentioned the post and told me she had a question. Sure, go ahead, ask - I'm an open book after all...
She said she wondered about #15 and #16 - "How's that working out for you?"
Now at first I was confused, because when I went back to look at my post, I had thought she'd said 14 and 15, and I didn't see what was so incongruous about them.
14. I am single. BLAH (no, that wasn't in the original post)
15. I am a dyke.
16. I live in a small town.
"Well," I laughed when I responded to her, "look at 14. I guess not so well."
But that is a little too simplistic, and I'd like to think she was asking about more than simply my dating life, although some days that is all I wonder about.
I will admit, when I first arrived here in this small town, I was warned that people might not be so accepting of who I am, and I did not suddenly drape myself in a rainbow flag and nothing else and parade down Main Street (yes, there really is a Main Street). But that isn't exactly who I am to begin with, so it wasn't as if not doing so was a big sacrifice.
One of the reasons for randomizng the list is that there wasn't any ONE item in the list that I felt particularly defined me. All of those attributes and facts of life combined to describe who I am and where I am in my life. Yes, in the late eighties, early nineties, I sported a mullet - then The Official Dyke Haircut. And in college, I was known to wear a pink triangle. But it's always been just a part of who I am, not all of who I am - probably a part of the reason for my thoughts on Pride.
But while I do not go blazing down Main Street wearing nothing but a rainbow flag, I also do not hide in a closet - at least not very long. I use gender appropriate pronouns (sometimes gender neutral). I talk about my "ex"?-wife. There aren't always a lot of moments where I need to be clear about these things, so it doesn't always come up with everyone. But I don't hide it, either.
When I do have a conversation about it with someone usually I hear about other gay relatives or friends. When they are specifically women, I joke about being set up with them. Sometimes I have wondered if I am the only gay person in the area, but I know that I am not. There is no bar where we gather - have to go out to a "big" city for that - but apparently there once was a lesbian bar in town. Dating opportunities are not as obvious as they were when I lived in San Francisco. And yet, I felt just as lonely when I lived there as I do here sometimes. So, I don't think the size of the town is responsible.
I like living in a small town. You have to be a bit more careful, because you never quite know who is where and already knows what. News is so slow, that something you do might easily be found on the front page of the paper. You never know when you go get lunch in the drive thru if the person serving you will recognize you from soccer. So, you might think twice about going out to grab a quick bite with bed head. But the people care about you. It is a community. And once you are embraced by the community - once you lose "outsider" status - you are embraced by a community.
When I came here, I virtually had nothing. And when I moved, finally, out of my friends' home into one of my own, people stepped up to help me out. One woman donated an old bed from her guest bedroom. Others sorted through their kitchen cabinets for things they never use. One dropped a desk off on my front porch one day when I was out. Another brought me a couch and an easy chair. Others gave spare linens. Even just recently, I had someone give me a washer and dryer. All of these gestures invited me to stay. They wanted me to be comfortable, and they wanted me to stay.
And one day, some of these girls who keep telling me about their dyke sisters, will introduce me to one of them! (But, one might wonder - and this is a whole other post - whether I'm ready to date, anyway.. so it's probably best that they're waiting). But when they do, it will once more be a sign that I belong here in this small town. Dyke and all.