Tales of a wandering lesbian


“Honey, I think what you’re putting out there is, ‘roadblock’.”

I’d asked my roommates for a little reflection.  It’d been an interesting few weeks on the dating front.  I’d gone from nursing a broken heart, to not wanting to date anyone, to playing around with online dating, to realizing that I value the shared experience of a long-term relationship, to finding myself in a love triangle, on a date with a straight woman, considering dating women living in other states, and falling for a wonderful, but unavailable woman – all as I prepared to continue my personal journey on two other continents.  It was a bit much.

My poor roommates.  I love them so very much.  They’ve watched me through all of this.  And the roadblock comment seems pretty right on the mark.

I’ve been identifying my warning labels, sharing my limitations, and holding back the parts of me that might overwhelm.  Or pushing them forward as a kind of test to see if they will.  It’s like when I get someone a present.  Or make a fabulous dinner.  I lead with an apology. “They didn’t have what I really wanted to get you, so I got this…” “The onion isn’t exactly what I’d wanted, but I hope it’s okay…”  It takes the sting away if they don’t’ like it.  And it’s the same for me.

If I don’t give my full self, and I’m rejected, the other person isn’t rejecting the real me, so it’s not so bad.  If I overwhelm the person on purpose, I’m getting what I expected, so that’s not so bad either.  If I throw up a roadblock, or make sure there’s one in the way, it’s a bonus if I can find a work-around.  But it’s only what was expected when it falls apart.

I’m done with that now.

So here’s my statement to the universe:  I am ready.  I am ready to accept into my life adventure and passion and abundance.  I am ready to unleash the full me and to welcome with open arms all of the beauty that comes.  I am ready.  For a life of radiant love.  For a life of wonder.  I am ready.

Oh, and also thank you.

Bookmark and Share

May 4, 2010   1 Comment

Do you view men as competition for the women in your life?

Reason I ask….no matter how much I try to be nice, I just view other women as enemies that must be dominated, belittled and outdone in all circumstances.  And I never put anything past other women when it comes to my husband.  Do gay women have to deal with competition from men?  So curious if this is even an issue, or if by definition gay women are completely immune to their charms.

With most questions about gay relationships, I find myself answering that the experience is much the same as straight relationships.  Yes, we bicker about money.  Yes, we like to hold each other and watch tv.  Yes, we get nervous when we meet the in-laws.  But this question has had me thinking for a couple of weeks about how different the experience of being a woman dating women is.

NOTE: As always, I’m answering this question from my personal perspective.  I’m not speaking for all of the gays – just one of the gays.  And this is something I’ve had experience with lately.

Dating. First of all, it seems to be a common issue for women who are dating women to be unclear whether and who they are actually dating.  Is a coffee date a date date, or just coffee? If you’re not kissing, but want to be, is that a date?  What if you haven’t communicated that desire to the other person?  Date?  For two single women to go out to coffee, or even dinner and a movie, isn’t necessarily a date.  For two single lesbians, however, it can be unclear.  Seriously unclear.

Maybe it’s the same for straight people, I’m not sure.  But I’m learning that, in order to make sure everyone is on the same page, it’s a good idea to be very clear up front about whether you are on a date, or hanging out as friends.

Men. As for men as competition, the women that I date or am interested in dating are lesbians.  Which means that, by and large, they aren’t attracted to men.  So, when it comes to seeing men as competition, no, I don’t see them that way.


Competition. And this is where it gets interesting – I can see a lesbian as either a potential date, or as potential competition.  The same woman.  Which brings me back to the issue of knowing whether you are dating someone.  Because, if you are interacting with a woman based on an assumption that she’s a potential date, and it turns out she’s actually competition, it can seriously change the dynamic.  A woman can be one moment someone I might be on a date with, and the next moment someone who is dating someone I’d like to be dating.  It’s even possible that she can be both – at the same time.  Which makes my head and heart explode a little.

For example:  Recently, I found myself in separate, undefined dating-type situations with a couple of fantastic women.  We’d meet for coffee, or bike to pie, or just hang out and watch tv.  A couple of times a week.  I liked them both, found them attractive, and enjoyed spending time with each of them.  They knew that I was spending time with other women, and I knew the same about them.  I saw each of them as potential dates, and interacted with them as though I might like to date them.  But, as we started to define what it was we were doing (whether it was actually dating), we discovered that the three of us were, in fact, dating each other.  Yikes.  Unexpected.  Very quickly, I found that my interactions and feelings about these lovely women shifted and twisted.  I saw one of them as a date and one of them as competition.

And yes, I realize that seeing women as either quarry or competition is seriously limiting, but I think it’s something interesting to consider, nonetheless.  Especially given my reaction.  Yes, it’s time for me to examine the way I view women.  But it also illustrates a dynamic that I hadn’t noticed before.

And I think it’s very different from straight relationships.

So the short answer is, no, I don’t see men as competition.  I kind of think that would be easier.  Right now I feel like every coffee is a scene out of James Bond where I’m trying to figure out whether the beautiful woman across the table from me is a foreign agent about to trade my secrets for a chance at a new life.

Bookmark and Share

May 1, 2010   1 Comment


Here are a few questions I get on a regular basis:

“How do you know you’re a lesbian?”

“Why aren’t you writing as much?”

“How do you stay so thin?”

Here’s the answer:  girls.

Superman has kryptonite.  I have girls.  At least that’s the way I’ve seen things for quite some time.  Sure I have bouts of self-doubt, and sure I have moments of deep loneliness.  I work through those.  But there’s something that really, really can stop me in my tracks and make me abandon all sense of rationality, reason and pretty much anything else.  Girls.  More specifically, beautiful women.  Beautiful, intelligent, articulate, athletic women just knock me flat.  And if there’s an emotional/spiritual connection in addition, it’s like I find myself in a movie where everything else becomes background and then fades to black – while my heart pounds.

I don’t blame them.  I blame me.  I get distracted.  And I get nervous.  Which means I spend more time thinking about things other than writing, and I get so nervous that I burn off anything I eat.  So I’m pretty sure that makes me a lesbian.

It’s kind of annoying (not the lesbian part).  Here I am, a somewhat accomplished, intelligent woman who has been trained in the art of logic.  I have systematically developed the left side of my brain.  On top of that, I’m one of the most introspective people I know.  I’ve embarked on a journey to cultivate those things that are important to me, going as far as abandoning most everything that tied me to any one perception of myself.  And still, I find myself throwing caution to the wind and diving ass over teakettle as soon as I feel a connection with a pretty girl.

Damn it!  What the hell is that about?

I like spending time with people.  And when I can get over my nerves, I really like spending time with the beautiful, intelligent women.  I’m not so sure, however, I can be responsible in these situations.

When I left for Italy, it was in response to the little voice.  I heard it loud and clear, and I listened.  It was a rare moment of clarity, and I embarked on a journey to listen to the little voice as much as possible, and see where it led me.  As a result, I’ve been able to hear it and listen to it more and more.  Except when I’m clouded by the lovely and befuddling fog that surrounds women.  Then, either I’m unable to hear the voice, or (more often) I’m willing to debate and ultimately disregard it.  DANGER!  DANGER!

Here’s the rub:  I know that if I fight against this part of me, it’ll just get stronger.  But it’s become more and more clear to me that I’m missing something that is leading me to make the same mistakes over and over.   And I’d like to stop making those mistakes.    So what have I been missing?

This week, I made a pretty big realization:  for some reason, I’ve developed a story line that has me living my life alone.  For years I’ve been repeating things like, “I will probably end up alone,” “I never want to change my life for a woman,” “I’m in no place to be dating anyone,” “it’s safer for everyone if I just don’t date.”

I’ve believed that, in order to be true to myself, I need to be alone – to a large degree.  That to be a strong woman, I need live a singular existence.

I do recognize how important it is for me to be comfortable in my own skin; to not NEED to be with anyone; to not NEED external validation.  And I have more work to do in that area for sure.  But this is something different.  I’ve been believing that, if I make a decision based on my desire to be with someone, it’s automatically invalid.  That wanting to be with someone to the degree that I would want to change my plans to include them in my life is somehow a sign of weakness.  And in believing that, I’ve belittled the idea of being with another person, and come into conflict with myself the second I found someone I wanted to be with.  I hadn’t realized that.

In fact, until this week, I never really considered that wanting to share my life with another woman could be a valid priority for me.  I wanted it, but I discounted it.  How sad!

But this week, as I was checking boxes to indicate my priorities and preferences for online dating sites, and wondering why I haven’t moved on to the next leg of my travels, I started to make sense of things.

One great lesson I learned while I was in Italy came on my last night in Venice.  I’d spent an incredible few days seeing the city, eating fantastic food.  I found myself in the hotel about to sit down to write about my day, and I physically turned to talk with someone who wasn’t there.  I wanted to relive the experiences of the day.  But I was the only one there.  That’s really great for writing – but not so great for emotional stability.

I value shared experience.  I write to share my experiences.  I publish for others to resonate.  The times I’ve been most happy in my life are when I feel connected.  I love playing softball.  I loved playing rugby.  Being part of a team makes my heart sing.  The jobs that have made me most content and brought out the most passion in me have been those where I am connected to a community of people with a common experience.  Why would my personal life be any different?  I don’t know why I would ever believe that wanting to have someone to share my life with is shameful, but that’s how I’ve been living – for a long time.  As an apologist for myself and my willingness to adjust my plans to include the possibility of a relationship.  Because I didn’t see that it could be an important priority for me, in and of itself.

I’m someone who loves deeply and values connection with others.  Usually I see those things as my greatest strengths.  But every time I find myself attracted to someone, I tell myself I won’t sacrifice, won’t compromise, won’t change whatever it is I’m doing with my life.  Even if I don’t know what the hell I’m doing with my life.  (Which is more often than I care to admit.)  And it’s possible that all of those grand statements about what I won’t do have kept me from having an authentic experience with myself or anyone else.

I don’t talk about my relationships very often.  I don’t want my friends and family to know how much I’m affected by another person.   That means I act differently when I’m with someone, like I’m hiding something.  Being ashamed of being in a relationship isn’t so healthy I think.  (I mean, I’m not a shrink, or anything, but I think I’m fairly solid on this point.)  It’s totally possible that I’ve doomed my relationships by isolating myself, as a way of not sharing what I see as weakness.

By ignoring the importance of my relationships, I’ve been invalidating a very critical part of me.

Talk about being self-loathing!

The reason I haven’t been writing isn’t girls.  It’s me.  The reason I came back to Portland is because I valued the potential for a deep connection with a wonderful woman.  The reason I haven’t moved on to the next leg of my travels is that I haven’t heard the little voice telling me where to go.  It’s possible that it’s a little unhappy that I ignored it last time I heard it.  But it’ll be back.  And I’ll be more likely to listen this time, because I won’t have to argue with it about my priorities.  Women aren’t kryptonite, and my desire to share my life with someone isn’t a weakness.  And that realization is a great gift.

Bookmark and Share

April 12, 2010   8 Comments

Matchy matchy

It’s true confessions time.  I joined match.com this week.  Go ahead, commence with the ribbing.

It’s the first time I’ve ever joined an online dating service.  It’s been a fascinating experience.  I liken it to the Twilight series.  Check it out.  When I was reading the Twilight books, I would take them with me to a coffee shop and shuttle them quickly from my bag to my lap, shielding the cover from view.  I found them entertaining, but I didn’t want anyone else to know that.  I’d judged far too many people for reading them.  Then, when I decided I wanted to give them a try, I was pretty well ashamed and embarrassed to be seen with the black-covered vampire novels.  Seriously, who reads that stuff?  Turns out I do.

And so it is with match.  I’ve been fortunate enough to find great women throughout my life with relatively little effort.  (Don’t give me a hard time about this.  It’s not because I’m kick-ass or anything.  I just know a lot of people.)  I’m not sure I’ve actually ever even dated.  Even if the other women were just dating me, I’m pretty sure I’ve moved into full-blown relationship mode.  (Yes, I know that in admitting this, I’m throwing up huge warning flags.  Like the rest of my posts make me look sane and stable…)  And I’ve been socially active to a ridiculous extent, giving me a zillion acquaintances.  So the idea of wanting to use an online dating service to find people hasn’t made a lot of sense to me.  Until recently.

I’ve started meeting a lot of women (offline) who are using online dating sites to meet people.  They’re interesting, intelligent women who are using the online sites to broaden their social circle.  Not just to date, but to make friends with common interests who they wouldn’t otherwise run into.  Finding new groups of people can be hard to do in a community as small and connected as the lesbian community is.  And these women are great, which totally blew my perception of who is using dating sites, and why.

I still wasn’t totally comfortable with the idea, so I began the rationalization process.  I told myself, “I’m in no place to be dating anyone, but I could end up with some cool friends and maybe even a travel companion or two”.  I told myself, “This could be a fascinating social experiment”.  I told myself, “I could use this as a way to get over my fears around rejection”.  But basically, I was totally curious.  Who is out there?  And how are they using these sites, exactly?  And so I started filling out the online profiles, choosing which picture to upload and checking the boxes that define my priorities.

I thought maybe I’d make some interesting realizations in going through the process, but I didn’t expect them to come so quickly.  More to come on this, but basically I’ve found myself seriously considering the way I see myself, the way I portray myself to the outside world, the way I see other people, and the way I view relationships on a really fundamental level.  So far it’s been flattering, humbling, and absolutely fascinating.

Bookmark and Share

April 12, 2010   1 Comment