Monday, January 21, 2013


In my head, and in my heart, I suppose, I have certain things that I expect to be done or felt between people who love each other.  That if A loved B then X wouldn't really matter but Y would.  Now, wait, I sound like I am writing an algebra equation.

I have been quite the observer - particularly over the last three or four years - of people's relationships.  Trying to figure out what makes them successful, and where there are signs of failure.  Trying, I presume, consciously or subconsciously, to figure it out so I have a better shot the next time I jump into the relationship waters.  Trying to figure out what behavior is loving and what is not loving. 

And I think I have a pretty good idea of some of the important ingredients necessary for a successful and loving relationship.  Some things are pretty straightforward.  Things like valuing what your partner values.  Being respectful even when you disagree.  Realizing that being right doesn't always mean you need to win, and that winning often - at least with arguments - isn't really winning.  Lots of good trite guidance, but stuff that nonetheless I believe in.  And maybe one day I will write a post about these things. (Or maybe I already did?)

After my marriage came to an end, I was told by more than one person that I needed to find someone who would love me like I loved them.  Seems reasonable enough, but what does that really mean?  I think it means some of the things I discovered in my observance above.  That someone who really loves me will find the things I find important simply because I do.  And won't worry about the things I find unimportant.  Who will love me for me, and not for my things, or for what I can do or bring to the relationship.  Who will love me despite my ADD or maybe even love me for who my ADD has made me - flaws and human and all. 

If you have been reading this at all, you'll know that I have dipped my toe into the relationship waters, again.  Actually, I seem to have dove in head first.  Or more accurately heart first.  I tend to do that sometimes.  I did bring wee bit of baggage.  Criticisms from girls past.  Things that I know shouldn't matter but often do or have. 

And so, in these early stages, we have traipsed along some of these issues and as I have left myself vulnerable to her and exposed my insecurities, she reacts as I would to someone who would do the same to me.  Laugh, basically, and call me silly.  Silly to worry.  Silly to care.  Silly to think that she would care.  But not silly in an emotionally abusive intentionally hurtful way, but in a way to help me realize that these matters I take so seriously, and worry so much about, are not so serious, and do not deserve worry.  She reassures me in the moment.  And then, later, as she's had more time to think on my concern, and perhaps in an unconscious (or conscious? who knows? She's very smart - much smarter than me!) effort to make sure I didn't feel dismissed, she usually will write a follow-up e-mail saying, "Look, Borg, I've really been thinking about Y and how you feel, and I want you to know, I really do believe..." and reassure me again.  AND THEN, because that may not be enough, she'll bring it up later in a conversation, gently, and reassure me once again. And IF I am too silly to realize I don't need to be silly, still, and I tentatively express a concern or a worry, she hears my underlying insecurity and addresses it again. 

WOW!  I mean really.. WOW, right?

I'll give you an example.  My most recent insecurity has been coming to accept and acknowledge (although really I'm still in denial) that I am a slob.  I am still in denial because I will tell you I am better than many.  It is all relative, after all.  But I am not the standard that *I* would like to be at, and I do feel, often, that my environment is chaotic.  I would prefer to be neater, but there are some bonafide and perhaps less bonafide obstacles standing in my way.  (Being Human, see earlier post, is one of them.. SHOCKER!).  I do pride myself that I don't have anything growing outside the fridge, but I do also have dust bunnies copulating in the kitchen and the bedroom.  They entertain me.... (okay, not, but it sounded cute for a moment in my head). 

I worry, needlessly, that she'll step into my home for the first time, see the stacks of papers and go screaming in the other direction.  And yet, in addition to her reassurances, I know I don't have to worry.  She's the kinda gal who gets upset at people who tweet how much better they feel about themselves after watching Hoarders and pleading for them to have compassion for the mentally ill (although I think she phrases it even nicer than that..)   So, it's good to know she'll have compassion for me and my mental illness.. No.. wait.. that isn't where I meant to go.  Hmm....

She's coming to visit me soon, and I created a 72 point list of things I'd *like* to do before she gets here to get the house in order (Remember #3 in the list of So Who Am I? is that I'm a geek).  But God has a sense of humor, and life, unfortunately, has gotten in the way.  Actually, more accurately, death - a parishioner in our church passed away Saturday morning, and I sat with him and with his family the last two days of his life, and will now be with the family in preparing for the funeral arrangements, and prepare at the church for the service itself.  As much as I would like to get to those 72 items (or at least, even, 25 of them) the reality is I probably won't get to more than another two or three that are really important and the rest will go by the wayside.. Or, in a fit of idiocy, I'll take everything in the rest of the house and shove it all into one room where I will never let her see... Oh. Wait. She reads this blog... that won't work.. she'll be too curious to open the door NOW!

And she's said to me, quite often, "Look, Borg, the only place I want to be when I come is in your arms.  I don't care about the rest...."  You know something? I actually believe her. 

Now that, my friends, is love...

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Being Human...

And no, this isn't a post about a werewolf, a vampire and a ghost... (has anyone else seen those commercials?)

This a shower post being written a good six hours after the shower, so we'll see how much of the brilliance I managed to retain.  And yes, Ken, I did write myself a brief e-mail..

The other night I was whining to my girlfriend about shall we call my failings or my limitations and my frustration with my ADD and my frustration with blaming it all on my ADD and not really being able to understand or differentiate what belongs to that issue and what doesn't.  And on, and on...

(God bless her for listening)

And when I was done, she said to me simply, "Babe... those things about yourself that you blame on ADD, the rest of us for ourselves blame on being human..."  I.e., welcome to the human race, you're normal. 

And it is funny, because I am more than able to acknowledge I am human in other circumstances - mostly that I'll make mistakes and I will misunderstand, and I forget a lot of stuff.  But for some reason, in other areas, I hold myself to a higher standard. 

It reminded me, too, of another e-mail exchange with another friend a little over three years ago, where I was expressing some of my fears - particularly surrounding my temper.  I was kind of scared to be admitting my concerns and my issues, and feeling really vulnerable, and really afraid that expressing it to another person would make them suddenly realize what a horrible person I really am.  And I probably had been holding my breath from the moment I sent it until the moment I got her response. 

And it was a really simple response: 'OMG! Borg, you're human!"  (Yeah, well, we both know she didn't use the word "Borg", but Rose by any other name.. blah, blah, blah...)

I remember how relieved I felt when she said that.  Recognizing that I wasn't alone, and that feeling the way I did, did not mean I was a horrible person.  I was just a person. 

I clearly know I am human.  It is one of those tags on the side.  And frequently, when I see others beating themselves up, I am quick to remind them of that universal fact.  And yet, sometimes, I find it harder to accept for myself.  I'm sure some Freudians, or Jungians or some other psychobabble following could come up with some reason why I hold myself to a higher standard.  I'm sure it is because my mother didn't breast feed me, or maybe because she DID breast feed me.  Because my father was cold and distant.  Or my father was too involved. 

But I am amused because I think the very ironic reason that I hold myself to a higher standard than perhaps I might hold others and therefore find it hard, sometimes, to simply accept that I am human is because.... well... Go figure! I'm human. 

Monday, January 14, 2013

Jodie and the Coming Out

I did not watch the Golden Globes last night.  I do not have a television.  I did, however, before the night was through, see the video of Jodie coming out. 

And today, I have the pleasure of reading the hype and the backlash.  Woo hoo!

For most of us, it was no surprise.  Like, "Okay, tell us something we didn't know..."

For her, it was clear, it was something she'd been struggling with and debating with and even then, kind of did it in a round about way.  Even debating, apparently, with her publicist. 

I sent a link of the video and to a news story to a friend, and she texted me last night asking what Jodie was coming out as.... I said merely a woman who loves another woman.  Many are angry, apparently, that she didn't give herself a label. 

My friend then wondered why it even came up?  I mean at first she was confused if she was winning an award - which I clarified - and even still, why it came up. 

I explained that she wanted to thank the people important to her, and that this included her ex-partner and co-parent.

My friend replied "Oh."

But it is part of an ongoing conversation I have been having lately about why come out and I guess, even, when or if or how you should come out.  I addressed it in the recent post about Dear Abby coming out... except Abby wasn't really the one coming out.  And it has been an ongoing offline conversation I have also been having.

That conversation or discussion, frankly, is two-fold.  One is about "ordinary" people coming out and "celebrities" coming out. 

I came out originally about 25 years ago, now.  Click on that coming out label over there and you'll see several posts I've written on the subject, including a little about my own coming out.  (Note that unless you are a celebrity or live in a very small area where everyone just knows you're the resident dyke and you never move, you are always still coming out or choosing not to.)

Is coming out political or personal?  The problem is there are an ardent number of rabid folks who think it's political.  Who think it's necessary and required.  Who have done it themselves, possibly suffered for it, and (A) are angry at those who seemingly avoid such consequences by hiding, and/or (B) believe sincerely that the more people come out -- especially celebs -- the easier it will be for the next generation.

And really 25 years IS a generation, and I can say it is overall easier for this generation than it was for mine.  Often the response you'll get is "so?"  Much, in some ways, the response was to Jodie last night.  And that is great.

I do believe in doing things that make it easier for others to do things, but I do not feel that anyone else has an obligation to put themselves out there and take a risk simply to make it easier for someone else to do so.

Gay teen suicide is real.  Consequences for coming out HAVE been and remain real.  I've written about some of that already.  I am ecstatic that we are at a place now where we can go "So?"  And I am appreciative of those pioneers who came out earlier.  Not just Ellen - although she's done an incredible job - but those who came out before her when it was even harder.  Yes, it was harder than it was for Ellen.  God bless them. 

And I sit on the fence about outing people who are publicly homophobic.  It is one thing not to help, it is another to harm others like yourself. 

Personally, I believe that coming out is a personal decision.  And who you choose to come out to and when you choose to or not to come out is your personal decision.  I do not, as clear from the last paragraph, condone using homophobia as a misdirect - but many folks who do that are currently, sadly, hating themselves and so... I do feel a tiny bit sad for them. 

But my friend's question from above is quite a pertinent one:  "Coming out as..." because that is part of the short-sightedness in those who feel the need to compel people to come out.  They feel the need to stick them in some kind of box.  Some kind of label.  And who are they - the outsiders - to decide what label is appropriate for someone else? 

That hasn't stopped many people today from filling in the blank that Jodie did not fill in.  And I think that's a shame that people feel such a need.  She's just Jodie who had a fabulous woman in her life that she wanted to thank for her support and her co-parenting.  Why isn't she allowed some measure of privacy?  Why is who she loves anyone's business other than the person whom she loves and her own?

To bitch today and say that Jodie wasn't a proper role-model dismisses everything else that she did and everything else, frankly, that we, as consumers, have done to her.  She has been in the limelight since she was 3 years old. 

There are two excerpts from the transcript of her speech that I feel are important to share:

"because I already did my coming out about a thousand years ago back in the Stone Age, in those very quaint days when a fragile young girl would open up to trusted friends and family and co-workers and then gradually, proudly to everyone who knew her, to everyone she actually met. But now I’m told, apparently that every celebrity is expected to honor the details of their private life with a press conference, a fragrance and a prime-time reality show."

She came out to everyone she actually met, everyone who knew her.  She didn't hide in the closet.  She just didn't feel the need to have a press conference.  I mean do other people have press conferences to announce they are straight?  She led an honest and open life.  God bless her!

And the other excerpt clarifying what has been her life:

"But seriously, if you had been a public figure from the time that you were a toddler, if you’d had to fight for a life that felt real and honest and normal against all odds, then maybe you too might value privacy above all else. Privacy. Some day, in the future, people will look back and remember how beautiful it once was.  I have given everything up there from the time that I was 3 years old. That’s reality-show enough, don’t you think?"

Yes, she received benefit from being a celebrity - payment for her movies, etc., but at a cost that at THREE years OLD - or even at thirteen years old - she was not capable of rationally choosing for herself.  It is one thing for someone who seeks attention and who has chosen a public life during adult hood to expect them, perhaps, to share certain details.  It is another for someone who was made a star at three years old and acted throughout her childhood constantly in the public eye and to not allow her to create something that IS hers? 

This isn't that well organized.  I appreciate that.  But I think, at the end of the day, what we need to give Jodie Foster is just what she politely and kindly asked for: 

"I guess I have a sudden urge to say something that I’ve never really been able to air in public. So, a declaration that I’m a little nervous about but maybe not quite as nervous as my publicist right now, huh Jennifer? But I’m just going to put it out there, right? Loud and proud, right? So I’m going to need your support on this."

Rather than trash her, let's give her the support she asked for.  And not spend time as Monday morning quarterbacks questioning her choice to live her life as she chose and now chooses.  Instead, let's focus on our own lives.  :)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Sometimes you gotta be the ass...

And not just in Mexican Donkey Wedding dances - or whatever they are... (great, now I can JUST imagine the NEW searches that will now find me...)

Having fun with church politics and breaking in a new priest.  He's great.  And fortunately, because he's new and he has a collar, and all that, people will listen to him.  Me? I get to be the ass.  Which I can live with as long as we get things done.  People don't realize we're playing "Good cop, bad cop".. and it's a good thing they don't read this blog..

But sometimes it's what is needed in order to get things done.. And that's, frankly, all I want to see - stuff getting done.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Girl!

In last night's post, I referenced a parody of Before He Cheats called Before He Speaks, that was a warning from pastor's wives to their husbands about using them for sermon fodder.  Central to the core of that is this implicit statement, "Look, dude, I have to live in this community, too.  I really don't want everyone coming up to me and talking about the pot roast I burnt the other night, or knowing our intimate private little habits."   I don't want to worry or wonder with each conversation I have with you whether it is just between us, or if it is going to be shared with a large group of people on Sunday morning.  It is a fair and reasonable request. 

It doesn't take a reader of The Bloggess very long to feel tremendous compassion for Victor, and to think that he must have incredible patience.  I imagine she takes SOME artistic license when she describes their conversations, but either way, even though she doesn't necessarily try to portray him as a saint, you can see from her writing that he is.

And I do imagine there are conversations between them, probably simply ending with Victor saying, "You're going to put this on your blog, aren't you?"  and Jenny replying "You bet sweet Juanita's ass I am".

But even though you've never met the man, you can't help but fall in love a little with him given that he seems to be a truly incredible man. 

Now if I wrote you about my girl, I know you would feel the same.  She is incredible, sweet, wonderful.  She always knows just the right things to say. She gets me.  She truly does.  It amazes me.  She amazes me. 

I'd love to write you all about my girl. I'd love to tell you about these moments of silliness I have from time to time, and how wonderfully she responds.  I'd love to tell you about how despite the fact that it should, my ADD doesn't daunt her.  How kindly she responds, how well she holds up against my friends, how strong and courageous she is.  How sweet and loving and warm and affectionate she is.  I'd love to share various vignettes that now fill my memory of moments we have shared. 
But she is a private person.  She protects her digital footprint.  She's cautious about what might be posted about her online.  And while she does love social media, she nonetheless maintains very clear distinct boundaries about what she shares.  Boundaries that we have already blurred together, admittedly.  But it is one thing for her to make a clear choice, a deliberated choice, I will post x in y place; and a completely different thing for me to make such a choice for her - particularly without consulting her. 

So I found myself lost, sometimes, when it comes to writing new posts, because the things I want to share most, I want to keep between ourselves.  I can safely speak generically about how much I love her laugh, but to tell you about what she says that makes me laugh would be too much.  And how much do you really want to hear me gloss on and on about how beautiful she is, and how she makes my breath catch?  There's only so much of that...

I can say this, though.  When someone truly loves you, all she wants is your happiness.  Don't settle for anyone who wants less than that.  My girl makes me very happy!!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

My Biggest Fan

And suddenly typing that, I begin to think of the suspense movie that I never saw called Swim Fan, and then I wonder if that's a good thing to have... ?

My biggest fan girlfriend pointed out to me that it's been a few days - eight, I believe - since I last wrote a blog post.  I asked her what her point was, and we had our first fight.  Nah.. Kidding.  I did ask her if she had any thoughts on what to write about, and she had none.  Zip.  Zero. 

She will now learn that if she doesn't provide me with ideas, then I will write about her.  ;)

Actually, I know better than that.  One of my good friends is the wife of a priest, and long ago she shared with me one of her favorite videos - a parody off of Carrie Underwood's Before He Cheats, called Before He Speaks.  It's a lesson learning video about what will happen to the priest who mentions his wife or uses his wife in his sermons.  It's quite amusing.

So, I know better than to do that.  But it seems lately that if you take away my girl as a topic of conversation, I am left with little else to talk about. 

And that doesn't quite seem right.  Certainly I had plenty of nonsensical important things to share with you before I became an "item"... like my strawberry-scented shampoo.  (I'm using raspberry now, and Ken will tell you if you ask him, that I'm not nearly as fond of it...) 

Okay.  Hmm... Maybe I was a wonder and a sensation only in my head?  Maybe you all were just kind and took pity on me?  No, that can't be it. 

But I was just reading The Bloggess' Let's Pretend This Never Happened over dinner this evening, and in the chapter I was reading, she's writing about her generalized anxiety disorder, and how it makes her tell the story during dinner parties of how she swallowed a needle, or think she swallowed a needle, and how her conversational skills degenerate from there.  And I would never want to belittle her experience, but suddenly, I wonder, if I've lost the art of conversation, or the art of the blog post?


This morning, I was reading Dear Abby  (again? Can you believe it? It's like she writes a column every day or something.. She'd make a great blogger! *wink!*)  and actually I was quite struck by the advice written in by readers about how to have long term successful relationships in response to a letter published in October. 

The text of today's column is pasted below.. And I admit, while embarking upon a new relationship, it seemed like there was some sound advice in there for me to remember.  And since I talk about relationships here so frequently, I thought I'd share some of the parts that struck me most:

Love isn't just a feeling, but a choice and a commitment.  I'm committed to my husband not because I'm "supposed" to be, but because I choose to be. 

I do firmly believe that I never want someone to be with me because they feel obligated to do so.  That's not a reason to be together.  I want them to choose to be with me, not feel stuck, even if I tease my girlfriend that she's now "stuck" with me.  It is a choice we make each day.  And so far, it's seemed like a fairly easy choice.  And fortunately, whenever I do tease her, she always responds with the right answer: "I'm not stuck with you.  I can dump your ass any day." (so not true, she is MUCH nicer than that, but doesn't that make her SOUND bad-ass?)

We're told that marriage is 50-50.  That's not true.  It's 100-100.  I'm responsible for my 100 percent, and my spouse is responsible for his.

I think it is easy for people within a relationship to begin to keep a score-card.  But I think what each person brings to a relationship is often not easily quantifiable, not easily measurable.  I think - or how I choose to read this - is that we are each responsible for bringing 100% of ourselves to the relationship.  Simply having someone to share life with doesn't mean that we have less responsibility for our lives, it just means that our load is lighter because we are carrying it together. 

Loving feelings come from loving behavior, not the other way around.

I have a mixed response to this one.  Mostly because I am in the early hormonal throes of my relationship.  I feel that my behavior is an expression of my loving feelings.  And I certainly hope that this is the way I feel for the life of our relationship - for our lives shared together.

But I have been in relationships gone sour, and I think this sentence applies to those who are having a hard time.  That while you might not be feeling loving towards your spouse, if you treat him or her in a loving manner, you'll regenerate the loving feelings that belong underneath it.  If you treat me in a loving manner, it is hard for me to remain angry or hurt.  You repair what damage might have been done, and in the process, remind yourself and your spouse of what it was like when those loving feelings were closer to the surface.   And I think that is illustrated in the last comment, here:

A wise therapist advised me to compliment my husband at least once a day.  ("If you act happy, pretty soon it won't be an act.") 

For me, I am actually happy.  It's not an act. 

But the lesson from today's column is that it is important for ANYONE in the beginning hummm of a new relationship to remember that sometimes relationships will require work, and they do require commitment.  It is easy to believe the hormonal rush that leads you to believe your love can do nothing wrong will never end.  And, hopefully, it won't.  But even if it does, it is important to remember and to build upon the true love and caring feelings you have for your romantic partner, because those will take you through some of the more "complicated" / difficult times you may face together. 

Remember to value your partner every day.   Make a conscious choice to be in your relationship.  And let your partner know he or she is special.  Every day.  It's the only way to build a solid foundation that can withstand whatever life may throw at you.  And always hold hands to get through that together.  

   DEAR ABBY: This is in response to "Had It in Hartford" (Oct. 6), who
   has been unhappily married to her husband for 20 years. She said she
   married him for all the wrong reasons and "has never loved him the way
   a woman should love a man."

   After I had been married for seven years, I went to my pastor concerned
   that the grass on the other side was looking greener than mine. As we
   spoke, I began to realize the extent of the investment I had put into
   my marriage and that I didn't want to start over again on a new one.

   My mom always told me, "Marriage is not easy. You will always have to
   work on it. There will be times when you won't feel that you like him
   or love him." I have been married for 36 years now. Do I notice
   handsome men, or appreciate a man who treats me kindly? Of course. I'm
   not blind or dead.

   Love isn't just a feeling, but a choice and a commitment. I'm committed
   to my husband not because I'm "supposed" to be, but because I choose to
   be. It seems to me that "Had It" never made that choice or worked
   toward it, but expected it to just happen eventually.

   She has a foundation of trust and friendship that helps a marriage
   through the rough times. Many marriages that end in divorce rely on
   sexual attraction and passion to carry them instead of friendship.

   We're told that marriage is 50-50. That's not true. It's 100-100. I'm
   responsible for my 100 percent, and my spouse is responsible for his.

   "Had It" should take another look at what she's about to lose and tally
   up the costs to her family. Is she really trapped? Or has she just been
   unwilling to choose to love? -- BARBARA IN MOUNT VERNON, WASH.

   DEAR BARBARA: Thank you for writing. I advised "Had It" to think long
   and hard before leaving her husband, but that if she truly cannot love
   him the way he deserves, she should move on. My readers' comments:

   DEAR ABBY: "Had It" doesn't feel love toward her husband because she
   spends her time and energy ruminating about a "mistake" she thinks she
   made 20 years ago. She says he is doing everything right and they get
   along fine. If she tried something positive, like reminding herself
   about the qualities she likes about him, and doing things she knows
   make him happy instead of fantasizing about other men, she might find
   the love she craves in her marriage.

   Loving feelings come from loving behavior, not the other way around.
   The sooner she realizes this, the sooner she'll see that what she
   really wants is right there at home with her family. And it has been
   there all along. -- DR. PEGGY B.

   DEAR ABBY: I have this message for "Had It": I felt like you and acted
   on my feelings. Don't do it! Wait until your kids are older. As much as
   you want a more intimate relationship, you cannot begin to imagine the
   impact straying will have on your kids.

   I deeply regret what I did and I wish someone would have told me what
   I'm telling you. Pull yourself together. Think about your children,
   extended family and friends. You are connected to others through your
   husband, and once you pull your marriage apart, everything else falls
   away, too. -- REGRETTING IT IN NEW YORK

   DEAR ABBY: "Had It" is probably suffering from a case of the seven-year
   itch. For some reason, people cycle in seven-year increments. Some of
   them change jobs or homes, others have affairs or change spouses. She
   should work through it with a counselor.

   There is a lot to be said for being married to your best friend. A wise
   therapist advised me to compliment my husband at least once a day. ("If
   you act happy, pretty soon it won't be an act.") This was after my
   first bout with the "itch" and it has been working ever since, 29

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

If Dear Abby had Come Out - Part II

So, apparently Twitter isn't the only one with character limitations.  Sheesh!

I tried to type my response to this comment to my post from this morning in the comment section, but I was, apparently, a bit too wordy.  So, as the blogger, I have the lovely power of creating a new post altogether.  HA!

Here's the response I was trying to add.

Well, and I think that was certainly Abby's response, too. 

But we are missing a lot of the picture here.  And I could spend pages speculating possibilities, but I don't think that is necessary to do so. 

While we may or may not think it is important, all that really matters is that it is important to her to share it.  She's come to this conclusion through some sort of journey, and soul searching.  And it is something that she wants to share, not hide.  Not be alone with.

The boat is already rocked - just not necessarily the one you and Abby might recommend not rocking. She is no longer the person she once was.  She is.. but she's now seen a side of herself that she hadn't acknowledged before, and now that she's acknowledged it to herself, she feels its important to share with others, too.  Either way, now that she's figured this out and acknowledged it, she can't hide it - at least not from herself - anymore.  And it may feel that hiding it from others is deceitful and dishonest. 

And, sadly, quite a few "happily" married women still find themselves struggling with this issue - perhaps remaining monogamous, still, but nonetheless wondering...

This is why I said if I were to give her advice, I'd recommend going to the website I linked to above which is a forum for other women just like her.  Including many who still remained happily married to their spouses. 

And likely what she is looking for is what we all look for - a sense of belonging.  I don't know that coming out - in and of itself - will help with that.  But she feels some compulsion, some need, to be honest with others about who she is and who she has discovered that she is.

A lot of my bisexual friends have married men, and many of them, have firmly remained identified as bisexual BECAUSE for them it is a political statement as much as anything else.  These are women who figured out who they were BEFORE they married, but nonetheless, despite an ability to blend into the crowd as the one they've ultimately chosen fits society's "norms", they still find it important to be clear that "society's norms" don't necessarily reflect the reality of the true society, and that we come, shall we say, in many flavors. 

It may not be the path you would take were you to find yourself in that situation - although unless we have been there ourselves we really can't know how we would actually react - but for her, nonetheless, it is the path she has chosen to be authentic to herself.  For *her* it is important. 


A different example.  Up until recently, I have been single.  And for quite some portion of the last three and a half years, I have not been really looking for or interested in "dating".  I, as you know, have been doing a little bit of healing in that time.  So why should I have come out in a small town where it feels, sometimes, like I'm the only lesbian in the town?  When those who already knew warned me that it might not be the best idea.  Why rock the boat?  What did I have to gain by telling anyone I'm gay?  (I know this isn't a "suddenly" situation as you refer to and as above, but it's a different situation where one could use similar logic and I use to illustrate reasons "why"). 

I had nothing to "gain" - I wasn't looking for anyone (just as the woman above theoretically isn't) - I could blend in as just a person simply healing from a broken marriage.  Why did I need to correct the pronouns when people used "he" or "him" instead of "she" or "her"? 

Because I needed to be true to who I was.  No, I, personally, didn't need to go and yell it on top of a mountain.  Nor does it seem she necessarily wants to do quite that.  But I am in a small town where I was warned folks were small-minded, and that I might be best off keeping my sexual orientation to myself. So... NOT the same situation at all, but perhaps some of the same reasons...

Now, I apologize for ending this here (although it may be the spot to end it) but I am being called away by someone quite important, so I must end this here and hope it helps to convey my point... :) 

If not, I'll come back later! :)

If Dear Abby had Come Out....

Just reading this morning's Dear Abby, and pondering her advice to one letter writer.

The writer is a happily married woman who has been struggling with her sexuality and has come to realize that she's bisexual.  She wants to be able to tell people but isn't certain how to do so.  Or even whether to do so.

Abby's suggestion is to stay in the closet, but if she is going to tell anyone, to start with her husband.

A second part of her question, though, is confirming, gosh, if I haven't done anything, but I am physically attracted to women, could I be bisexual?  Abby confirms that yes, indeed, she could be. 

The writer poses some very interesting questions, and so does Abby's answer. 

On the one hand, having witnessed several married women recognize their attractions for women, I would agree with Abby's cautionary advice in that disclosing such a piece of information might stir up unnecessary and unwanted trouble.  I respect that caution, but it is also biting on me that the advice, nonetheless, is to hide something she doesn't want to hide anymore.  (And not the good kind of biting, either).

If someone were to approach me with this dilemma I would do two things.  The first is I'd ask her why she wanted to share and what she hopes to accomplish.  To help her understand and clarify why coming out might be important to her.  And the second is that I would direct the reader to an online forum a friend of mine found, and a book by its founder about married women awakening to the realization of their attraction to other women.  There she will find a community of people who will understand what she is going through and who can advise her better about the risks and the rewards of any next steps she might take.  Plus, it might give her a safe forum to express what she's been working on. 

I am appreciative of Abby's accepting acknowledgment of this woman's sexuality; but hesitant about her advice and her ability to have the perspective necessary to offer this advice.  Not that the only people qualified to give "coming out" advice are those who have come out - but unless you have gone through such awakening yourself, it is harder to understand the potential compulsion to share this aspect of your being with others.  There is unquestionably risk involved - particularly given her existing monogamous relationship - and I don't disagree with Abby's caution, entirely.  I just think it's more complex than that.  (Of course her signature line that she's in the Deep South, certainly does suggest - perhaps unfairly - that she should consider caution!)

What do you think?

The letter and its response are below:

DEAR ABBY: After years of denial I have come to realize that I am bisexual. I'm happily married to a straight man, and we have a great marriage I wouldn't change for the world. He is my soul mate, and we plan to be together for many years to come. I just happen to be physically attracted to women, too.

Some people say I can't be bisexual if I've never been with a woman; I say they're wrong. Am I correct?

How do I deal with this in social situations? I'm afraid to put it on my social media profile for fear of a backlash from my family. I'd like my friends to know, but it doesn't feel proper to just come out and say, "I'm bi."

I was hoping some of your readers might be able to give me some input.  How does one "come out" without overdoing it or coming across the wrong way? Is there a right way? Should I continue keeping it a secret?

I'm not sure what to do with my revelation. I have pondered it for some time now, and felt I could trust you to give me tactful, unbiased advice. -- BI IN THE DEEP SOUTH

DEAR B.I.T.D.S.: Bisexuality is having an attraction to people of both sexes, and yes, it is possible to be bisexual without having acted upon it.

However, being married means you are (happily) involved in a monogamous relationship. To announce that you are bisexual and/or put it on the Internet would be a mistake, in my opinion, not only because it would shock your family, but also because it might seem like you were advertising that you are "available." Unless you are promiscuous, you are not available. Most married people agree to be committed to their spouses regardless of whether they are straight, gay or bi.

If you choose to confide your diverse sexual orientation to your close friends, that is your business. But if you do, please remember that once two people know something, there's a strong likelihood of the news spreading faster than the flu.

P.S. If you do decide to divulge, be sure to tell your husband first.