Hello? Is it me you’re looking for? I hope so because I’ve been gone for quite a long time. Last time I was on here I was just as socially awkward but younger, single, and much more unsure of myself. I was trying to find out who I was amidst the twenties New York dating scene, which pretty much dwindled down to: lonely, frustrated, confused, and mildly depressed. Well…A LOT has changed. I’m no longer lonely or confused and I’m only slightly frustrated and depressed. Oh and I’m gay and married. So… how did I get here from swiping hard lefts on weird men? Let me share.
Well before there was the “spectrum of sexuality” we feel so comfortable in now, I had definitely been attracted to women but it wasn’t as accepted as it is today. I had just pushed those feelings aside because I was afraid of being gay because it meant you were different and I desperately tried to fit in even though I just never really did. I didn’t need something additional to put me on the outside looking in. So the closet became my safe space. I was afraid I would have no friends in high school, I was afraid the friends in college that I did have would stop being friends with me, and then by the time I was in my twenties I felt I missed my “college experience” to mess around with girls and now had to find myself a serious boyfriend who was husband material. I had to stay on track so to speak.
This isn’t to say the relationships I had were fake. I had genuine feelings for the men I have dated. The hardest part about meeting a woman I truly loved and coming out was wrapping my head around the fact that I could love a woman and could have loved a man too. I had a hard time validating that my feelings in the past were real. But they were. My first boyfriend was amazing. Was he kind of like a woman? Yes. He had long hair, he gardened, he was sensitive, he played folk guitar, and was a soft passionate lover. But he also had a penis. He looked like a more feminine version of Judd Nelson in The Breakfast Club. I learned a lot from that relationship and I can’t just disregard it because I married a woman. He helped me understand that I am lovable and deserve to be treated with respect. Before him I was just hooking up with guys who would use me and he showed me that I didn’t need to just give people my body in order for them to pay attention to me and that attention didn’t mean love. But the best thing he did for me was let me go. When I graduated college he was still attending. I wanted to stay in the relationship because…naive me…I thought I was going to marry him (he was my first boyfriend!). I remember him telling me that I couldn’t stay in Delaware especially for him. I had to move to New York and meet other people and live my life. I am so thankful to this day that he did that…even if he was just trying to get rid of me. Love can be so blinding and I couldn’t see that I would have been miserable in Delaware and we probably wouldn’t have ended up together because we didn’t know each other that well and he doesn’t have a vagina.
So I serial dated my twenties away. Babbling with Bev was a testimony to my experiences. They were pretty much horrific. You can go back and read but overall it was not pleasant. The people I met were not quality people but I did come out with some pretty good stories. I also had no idea who I was or who I wanted to be. I was following a path someone else laid out for me and that’s why I was constantly disappointed and so angry and frustrated. I was dating guys in search of finding a husband because that’s just what you did. I was working at a 9 to 5 job in an office because that’s what you did. I was so unhappy with these choices and never thought to think for myself. Eventually I got so depressed I just stopped doing everything…except visiting Burger King. In my late twenties I went into a deep depression, smoked a lot of pot, and ate a lot of fast food, which makes for a very lonely and sad life. I could barely work let alone meet anyone and as my brother would say, “I looked dead in the eyes”. I was on antidepressants, which weren’t helping, and felt so stuck. I needed change, a kick in the ass, I didn’t know what but something! I’m not sure what it was but celebrating 30 was a turning point and something clicked and my perception shifted. I decided to try a new integrative doctor who combines holistic and western medicine which changed my life. I got diagnosed with leaky gut syndrome (sounds just as awesome as it is), IBS, PCOS, an inability to absorb nutrients from food (super), multiple food allergies/sensitivities including gluten and dairy, all which exacerbate depression and anxiety. So I guess you could say I had a lot going on. Working with the doctor to figure out a nutrition plan, supplements, and exercise plan helped me to feel better and be able to function but I still felt like something was missing.
I started to get back out there and get my life back. Figuring out what I wanted to do for work was priority number one. I tried comedy, writing, working at a temple, a whole bunch of random things but everything led me back to social work. I felt more myself than I had in a while when I got into private practice. This was a great step but I wanted to share my life with someone. So the swiping commenced…again. This time was different though. When I was setting up my profile and preferences I wasn’t on autopilot. For some reason I paused when it came to, “Looking for”. You had three choices: men, women, or men and women (which now I know would not be PC). So I chose both. Why not widen the pool and see what’s out there. What happened next was a huge regression. I began to treat myself as I had before my first boyfriend. I thought all people wanted from me was sex. I was so new in the gay world. I had no idea how to approach women besides in a sexual way. I went on a date with one girl and we hooked up even though we had nothing in common and I swore off women forever. I remember being at my friend’s birthday party and telling my friends the news. I was proud of my experience and excited to tell them which was progress for me. But I was also still uncomfortable with it and spoke about it in a bragging way almost like it was a conquest… like talking about it the way an ahole guy would. Like, “Yo I hooked up with a hot girl last night”. Not cool. I remember complaining though that it wasn’t good and I felt uncomfortable and that it wasn’t for me. One of my friends, the genius that she is, said, “Well why don’t you give someone else a try? Maybe she wasn’t for you?”. The thought hadn’t occurred to me. I thought I had given it a shot so now I could go back to being straight and just file it as one of my crazy sex stories. It took me a month, but after a few more awful dates with guys and feeling like I was just not connecting I started searching again for women.
It was a Sunday morning when I mustered up the courage to contact a cute girl I had matched with on Tinder. It took all my brain power but I managed to come up with the witty message of, “Hey Lauren!” Worked like a charm. Within minutes she asked if I wanted to switch from the app to texting on our phones. From that day on we have texted every single day and four years later we are married. Definitely not without our ups ands downs but for better or worse I found my person. We aren’t perfect. We fight, we are moody, we annoy each other, we see each other at our worst, but we still want to be around and there for each other and love each other more every day. Everything I wanted in a partner was always in front of me but I wasn’t looking for it. I’m so happy I got out of my own way and stopped caring more about what other people thought and cared more about what makes me happy. Even though going through depression and dark times suck, it showed me how resilient I am and led me to the place I am now. It’s not perfect but it’s good and has room to get even better. I’m excited to see where life takes me and excited to be on this journey with my partner in crime.
I guess what I got out of all those bad dates and awkward moments is that it can all lead to a good place. Don’t give up and when you feel stuck then try something new. Until the next babble.