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It Is Time

Discussion in 'LGBT Later in Life' started by Rvnt, Jul 15, 2017.

  1. Rvnt

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    Hello, this seems like a great forum. I am in my 60's, but very youthful, healthy, work full time, and am a musician as well. With that being said, I also had an epiphany of sorts yesterday at work where I just finally put the pieces together and decided it is time to stop my inner nonsense and just be the lesbian that I am. The epiphany was this strong attraction to a coworker and how good that felt. This coworker is straight, as far as I can tell. In fact she mentioned oh, the Pride parade is this weekend, and I said, yes, I have not been to the parade in awhile, maybe I will go, and then she mentioned she had gone in the past, which does not mean anything to me except that she is gay accepting, or she suspects I am gay, and then she mentioned in passing that she does not hate men anymore because of this nice man she met online she has a platonic relationship with..

    Back in the day, I pursued a relationship with a woman when I was 20 and we had a relationship for over a year. I ended it because I thought I needed to cure myself, LOL. I had some relationships with men, but they only seemed to reinforce my attractions to women. in my 40's I had a live in relationship with a woman for a few years. It was a nice relationship and at that time I was also rediscovering my musical self, which she was supportive of and I thought we were going to spend our lives together. One day, after we went shopping for food for the week, out of the blue, she announced she was leaving. I realized she had some mental health problems, but I misread the extent of them. And so began a long period of no relationships, putting my energies towards getting a late life degree in music in one of the most lesbian friendly towns imaginable (which I ignored att the time) and just turning into a person who, at this point in time, is so sick and tired of the closet I have created for myself and so capable of tricking my mind that I am not really gay for long periods of time. For the last two years I have been playing music with a woman who is lesbian and some other people. She had a partner at the time, actually recognized me as lesbian, asked, and I responded yes, and she encouraged me to try online dating. I dipped my toe into this but stopped. At this point in time, I think I am going to try this again.

    I would say I am partially out, even in spite of my periods of my own gay denial. When my mother was alive, I outed myself to her. It has never been an issue of lack of family acceptance, its just my own self-imposed prison I created for myself and, really, as of today, I am out and I am stayiing out. "Out" is a process. Its does not mean I have to run up to everyone in my life and proclaim who I am. But, it is an inner knowing of who I really am. I am out to my best friend, also a past coworker I was attracted to who I still flirt with, but there are other areas of my life where I have not gone there. But even with these firiends I know they are gay friendly. Maybe this is OK for now, as being out to them will happen in these own time. I suspect people I know think I am lesbian, even tough I am fem looking. And, for whatever reason, I have this need to out myself to this coworker at my present job I mentioned above, not because I have any fantasies of a future relationship, but just because she has extended friendship, seems gay friendly, and it would be nice to share who I really am.

    One reason I have decided to join this forum and write is because I need to set up accountability for myself, and maybe this will help someone else, something here will resonate. I am so capable of mind games with myself that will put me back in lesbian denial, it is really "amazing." And I do not mean this in a positive way. And, I want this thread to be a kind of journey back to my lesbian identity, rejoining the lesbian community, starting to date again, and stop pining for straight women who are not available.

    So this is Pride month where I live. I do not have any compelling desire to participate as I do not have any friends in this lesbian community at this time, outside of my music partner, but I am seeing this weekend as an inner process for me to reflect on where I have been and where I am going, cutting the nonsense, perhaps revisiting parts of my past.

    Last night I watched When Night is Falling on Amazon, one of my favorite lesbian movies, and it brought back pleasant memories of living with my past ex, where we lived and the time we spent together. I have never before been able to access those feelings of being back there with her, so this was nice! We watched a lot of movies together. I have rejoined a Lesbian meetup group and there is a picnic later this month, which feels like a more comfortable way for me to rejoin the lesbian community.

    It feels so good to write this morning. It answers to many questions for me as to why I have been so anxious and procrastinating on some things. Not being out, at least to myself, is a big disservice to my soul.
     
  2. Quantumreality

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    Hello Rvnt! Welcome to EC!:slight_smile:

    It sounds like you are finally starting live authentically and just be yourself. Congratulations! It's never too late.
     
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  3. dreamingfreely

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    Welcome Rvnt! I just came back from my areas pride. I went with my daughter and we didn't know anyone. I asked a lady if the parade went past where she was sitting and she said yes then invited us to sit with her and her wife. It made things super fun because she was very social and outgoing.
     
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  4. ConnectedToWall

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    Wow that's a really awesome story! Welcome to EC!
     
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  5. Silverbirch

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    Hello rvnt, I hope you don't mind me snipping your post, but I wanted to quote all the parts that particularly resonated with me. :slight_smile: Thanks so much for making such a considered post and, yes, here is one person who has been helped by what you've said.

    I also am an expert in denial, and it's good to hear that there is someone else out there as good at it as I am! When you have convinced yourself of a particular standpoint and have no idea that you have tricked yourself but just go along in life thinking it about yourself, is indeed an amazing feat! And a truly awful, damaging and ultimately unhelpful "skill" as well.

    At this point in time, I am experiencing memories of times when I have "been" lesbian and it's making me laugh at my capability of denial because it seems so obvious now that I am lesbian, and what on earth have I been doing denying it? I went through life thinking I was bisexual, but in the last little while I have been denying even that, which leaves me feeling sad, because women are lovely and why would I want to turn away from that.

    Thank you! :slight_smile:
     
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  6. silverhalo

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    Hey welcome to EC.
    It's sounds like you are making great strides in your journey :slight_smile:.
     
  7. Rvnt

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    Silverbirch, your post so resonated with me. Oh, yes, then there is the bisexual. I am sure some people are bisexual but I am not. I have convinced myself of this being true in the past.

    But something I have brought to my awareness is all the internalized homophobia I have had and still have to a small degree. I outed myself to my dear mother a long time ago, I do not think she was surprised at all. She even suggested that one of my aunt's was a lesbian, LOL. My uncle was gay. Deep down, I even think my father was and lived a kind of tortured life because of his gayness. All closeted or mostly closeted people. These family members lived in different times. They had few choices. Maybe I am carrying their burdens. Maybe it is all the stuff I internalized from society and systems that supposedly "cure" this. But I tried so-called cures, and they are damaging and deepen the false self. So maybe it is really important to go look at root causes for whatever is keeping oneself from being authentic. A book called Outing Yourself by Michaelangelo Signorile has some good insights and exercises. Its not just about outing, it is also about exploring one's own homophobia, and where this came from.

    Just when I wrote this, it brought up happy memories of lesbian social events and past friends - potlucks, coffee get togethers, dances, a chicken tortilla soup and chocolate party a former partner and I had at our place, going away to the mountains for a weekend with a past partner, exploring the city. Happy times! Its time to bring this back.
     
    #7 Rvnt, Jul 16, 2017
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  8. Silverbirch

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    Rvnt,

    Yes, the internalised homophobia I have is something that is really unpleasant. Yet, now that I've acknowledged that it's there, I realise that it was always there. Obviously! It hasn't appeared suddenly from nowhere. But I had no idea. I was quirky because I was bisexual and that fitted in with the narrative I'd given myself. To actually have to accept that I think there's something fundamentally wrong with being lesbian horrifies me, absolutely horrifies me. Because, the thought of being close to a woman and being in a loving relationship fills me with joy at the same time.

    Having thought about this a little bit over the last couple of days, I realise just how terrified I am about the possibility of a relationship. When I was in my dream mode of looking for a middle-aged man, few of the scary aspects connected with meeting someone younger who would want to live a fuller life, were apparent. I know people of all ages live full lives, but in my dream narrative the older man I ended up with was always slowing down a bit, and there wouldn't be the same pressure on me. Pressure to overcome social anxiety for instance, pressure to be out there interacting in the real world, pressure to truly strive towards a fulfilling life. Cosy is probably a good word to describe how I foresaw my relationship with this fictional man. :grin: Accepting this, and talking about it is making me laugh a bit because it sounds like a ludicrous plan when I get it out into the open and talk about it!!!

    I've become used to hiding away on several levels and it's time to confront that, much as I'd prefer not to. I, too, remember fun times from my younger years and because I don't know how to return to that place, or a different place with new fun times, I persuade myself that what i want is a "quiet life". Oh lordy!!! :grin: :grin: :grin:

    Thanks for your insights. :slight_smile:
     
  9. LostInDaydreams

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    Welcome to EC.

    Thank you for sharing your story. :slight_smile:
     
  10. Rvnt

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    Silverbirch,

    Thanks for sharing. I think the first step is to acknowledge our own homophobia. Certainly, we were not born with homophobia, but we acquired it along the way. And, yes, I am no stranger to this idea of a quiet, cozy life. But that is another untruth I tell myself. Social anxiety, hmmm. Maybe a part of social anxiety is about how we are default expected to interact in the world as a straight person. I have been putting some of those pieces together. Example: I am going to work today so what do I talk about, if someone asks, I did this weekend. About the Gay Pride parade? I can almost hear myself saying, yeah, a lot of straight people go to that. Or talk about how I spent some time with myself looking at my personal internalized homophobia???? LOL. But, is that not anxiety provoking to always have to stop one's self as to what they are really doing and thinking in a social situation???

    I am working through this book entitled: Outing Yourself by Signorie Michaelangelo. It starts with looking at internalized homophobia, and provides a gentle, step by step process to help one start to feel better ones' self, start to become a part of the lesbian/gay community, slowly work up to coming out, etc. I highly recommend this book. Its on my Kindle app, and accessible anywhere now.

    Today I am feeling like no wonder my social network has shrunk. I am only out to a few people, I am not being authentic to myself, and I really sense people sense that I am not being authentic with them, probably suspect I am lesbian anyway, and starting today I am working on being more authentic. Maybe this sounds a little harsh, but the point is that my life is going to change in a most positive way.
     
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  11. Silverbirch

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    Hi Rvnt,

    :grin: :grin: That made me laugh.

    "You're looking thoughtful, Silverbirch."
    "Yes, I was just thinking how weird my life is just now, I realised last week that I'm a lesbian and am homophobic."
    "Oh that's nice. I did a bit of gardening at the weekend."

    I've ordered that book, I think it's coming from Connecticut and will be a few weeks.Thanks for the recommendation. And I think you're quite right about the social anxiety, in part it's very much about not being my authentic self. I also think there's a fear people will "know" and judge. And yet, I just remembered something, last Christmas I went to a party and I had big pendant on with a naked vintage lady on it. If anything was saying I liked women that was! But at the time to me it was just a pretty (and a bit edgy) pendant. :grin:

    I understand what you say about work. Years ago a topic came up with a few colleagues (I don't recall what exactly) but it gave me a chance then to say I'd had a girlfriend. And, just being able to say in a roundabout way: actually I'm not straight, was good. It felt freeing, to have it out in the open because it is something that is completely hidden otherwise. Yet I fear people accusing me of "shoving it in their faces" like it's bad to just say something quite ordinary but for it to have a gay context rather than a straight one. And I think this fear is partly what has kept me in a semi-heterosexual state all these years. And also fuels my internalised homophobia.

    What you said about your social life really resonates with me. Years ago I really got into Brokeback Mountain - that's how I met my girlfriend. We were both on a forum and it was okay to talk about liking women because there were loads of gay people and gay friendly people. If it weren't for that I would never have had a girlfriend. That felt really free too, knowing everyone was cool with it. That was a really good part of my life and I met a lot of new people who knew this fundamental part of me (even though I was hiding behind bisexuality at the time). Come t think of it, ever since then, I've felt there was something missing in my life. And that's a really good point you make about being authentic. And about the social life. Maybe I could start looking into what is around. There's a city nearby that might offer something socially.

    A new Doctor Who has just been announced. And it's a woman for the first time. And she's very attractive. I have a plan about the colleague who was the catalyst for all this. I'll see her this week and I can bring up Doctor Who and make a throwaway comment about The Doctor being fanciable at last. That way she'll at least know I like women but I'll have done it in a light way and we can just continue as two colleagues with no awkwardness. (I hardly know her so I wouldn't want anything else right now, but I think I would feel good if she knew.) In fact, I can use Doctor Who with a few colleagues just to try and open up a bit about myself. I cried when she was revealed, it meant a lot to me and I didn't realise how much until it happened.
     
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  12. Rvnt

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    Silverbirch,

    Nice! Like your Dr Who ideas. Your work comments just reminded me that back in the day, around the time I found a girlfriend, I was working for a company where at least half of the people there were gay or lesbian. Imagine that! I could take a break and go talk to a coworker about lesbian things. I had a gay friend and he and I had great chats in his little office. It was so freeing. And that, really is the point of coming out -- it really, really is a freeing experience. It feels good to come out.

    I think your fears about throwing it in their face is something that outright homophobes use to try to shut us up. Its for their convenience. I cannot imagine how any even mildly open minded person would take a comment about your girlfriend as feeling like it was being shoved in their face. Did someone actually say that to you?
     
  13. Silverbirch

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    No, no one's ever said it directly to me, it's just been the build up over the years of hearing it said, and all the other anti type things too. It makes me want to stay out of the limelight, so to speak.

    I bottled out of the Doctor Who thing. I saw my colleague this week and we got on so well and I was afraid she'd think I was only talking to her because I fancied her (which is kinda true because if I didn't fancy her then I wouldn't have changed my work schedule so I could see her - as it was, we probably wouldn't have met again for months). We have a few things in common and seem to speak so easily with each other which is something I don't experience that ofen, and I feel I don't want to spoil it if she knows I like women, and backs off from a friendship because of that. I really don't want that.

    Anyway it's early days with all of this, me, how I feel, meeting a woman I like, so I think I'll just be patient and see what transpires naturally for a bit. I might find that a friendship or something else develops of its own accord, and probably will be better for not having been forced by me just because I'm impatient.
     
    #13 Silverbirch, Jul 19, 2017 at 6:38 PM
    Last edited: Jul 19, 2017 at 6:40 PM
  14. beagle

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    Thank you for sharing Rnvt and also silver birch, Very interesting to read and will have to look in to the book recomendation also.

    when you say " Yet I fear people accusing me of "shoving it in their faces" like it's bad to just say something quite ordinary but for it to have a gay context rather than a straight one."

    That is the internalized homophobia at play there i think. And the fear within us.

    "And I think you're quite right about the social anxiety, in part it's very much about not being my authentic self. I also think there's a fear people will "know" and judge "

    I can relate to this and hopefully down the line my social anxiety will be reduced. Today i brought a subtle rainbow paracord braclet of sorts so will be brave and wear that when it comes through the post. Hopefully the world won't tumble down and everything will be ok and the same.
     
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  15. Silverbirch

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    I never realised my social anxiety was connected to this. Nor did I realise I had internalised homophobia.

    Both are a shock, especially the homophobia bit!!!, and both are pretty big things to deal with. So part of all this realisation and wanting to be authentic is sitting beside a feeling of dread at all the other stuff that I have to deal with as well.
     
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  16. beagle

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    The filtering of our thoughts and our speech , like what did i say to this person or that. Paranoia of sorts and puts mental stress i guess and impacts social interactions. I was trying to download a free couple but i see if is on ebay and buy it as a hard copy. See my mind was thinking a real book is terrifying to have than an ebook where i can hide it away in folders on my computer.

    I have started leaving out attutude and gay times on my bathroom floor morning reading as a start. I have learnt alot from this forum and the 2 most comon words are vunerable and authenitc which have meaning.

    You telling me the dread , it hits me like a ton of bricks in the eveing.
     
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  17. Silverbirch

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    I chose to buy the hard copy from the States because I share a Kindle and didn't want to have to do any explaining! The bonus by buying the hard copy was that it *was* from the States and therefore no one in this country would know I was struggling with this. (why exactly would they care???) Because on top of everything else, the fact I'm having a problem with seeing myself as lesbian seems utterly ridiculous considering I have no problem whatsoever with other people being anywhere on the LGBTQ spectrum. It bewilders me, it truly does. And at the same time I am SO relieved I don't have to *deal* with men in a romantic/sexual way again. That is just a huge weight off my shoulders!

    It's all very confusing! :grin:

    But yes, authenticity seems to be key...and is something for us to strive towards :slight_smile:

    I think I might try to do the Doctor Who thing at work when my colleague is nowhere about. I think that might be a better small step to take than to plunge in and worry about what she might think.
     
  18. leb10

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    I relate so much to all of the anxiety you guys described. Big group hug to you all. This process sucks so hard sometimes
     
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  19. Rvnt

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    Today I just wanted to share where a lot of my own homophobia starts from. No, not family, not religion, not peers, but more from some stuff I stumbled on in the psychology realm around age 20 that basically stated that if I healed all my pain I would not have any need to be an unreal person and be lesbian. I really soaked up that stuff in late adolescence ended up moving cross country and joinied this group that was committed to a high degree of psychological health and healing. And, ending a year plus relationship with a woman too right before I moved.

    To make a long story short, I ended up being treated in an abusive way in this program, and I left, literally in the middle of the night, after 6 months. For years I kept some friends from this group, mostly men I had almost been forced to go out with and have sex with, but, stilll, they were mainly friends, one was gay. I had also made some lesbians friends, despite all of this. I spent years feeling i was wrong for leaving, like i sold out on my ideals, or something like that, and it wasn't until 7 years later, just by fate turning on the TV, that i saw a news series on the Cruelty Cult, how they were shut down, even got 100x worse then they were when I was there, and were sued for millions since abuse had escalated into the physical by the so-called therapists.

    I have always been committed to growth and healing, but these were the messages I internalized: I am psychologically sick if I am lesbian, and it can be healed so I can be a real person and be straight. And this was reinforced with this cult. I do not believe this anymore, and, really, just by writing this, I realize how much I do not believe this at all. These are the similar messsages of reparative therapy, banned by the mental health establishment, at least in the US, but it is still being done by "Christian" groups to heal same sex attraction. I am sure some of you went through fix it programs of some sort. You can go on Amazon and see books on this topic, and read these amazing reviews of how these folks were supposedly healed of their afflication. I do not think they were healed at all. They are like I was, in denial of who I really am, ashamed, and just pretending. I guess that's why seeing this reparative therapy still going is really a concerning thing.
     
    #19 Rvnt, Jul 20, 2017 at 3:35 AM
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2017 at 3:36 AM
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  20. Rvnt

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    Memories this morning of the times when I was out and had a lesbian support system, friends, a gay/lesbian supportive church I regularly attended, a workplace filled with gays and lesbians, a supportive partner. Little by little, I will get back there. At least I am there inside, in my thoughts, and what I am feeling and thinking inside will begin to reflect into my day to day life. Have to think of something to do this weekend to be around lesbians, as the picnic was cancelled until the beginning of next month.