I’m excited to present a new feature on the blog called “The Late Life Lesbian Diaries.” This feature is written not by me, but by another later in life lesbian in our support group who wants to share her story. She goes by the initials RM, and I’m happy to showcase her work.
What was I doing that night when I first clicked into a world of unknown? Sitting on my couch, laptop warming my thighs, cats curled up next to me. Maybe an episode of “Frasier” playing on Netflix for background noise. I’m pretty sure I was lost in my thoughts – thoughts that spill into Google searches. “Coming out after divorce,” “married to a man now I love women,” “I’m old and I’m a baby dyke,” who knows what search terms I used that night, the night I found this blog and launched myself off the safe shore of who I’ve always been. I send my introductory email off to Andrea and waited. A day or so passes, and my overactive brain stumbles through every conceivable scenario. My brain is highly fertile, and it worked hard those couple of days. It turns out, that was only a warm-up for more questions. Will I fit in? Will I find love? What kind of lesbian am I? Do I need to know? Will I find that although I’m terminally attracted to females, I feel completely out of sync with everyone in the group?
Ding Facebook notification, I have been approved and am now part of the Later in Life Lesbian group. I scurry into the group and poke around, getting my bearings, seeing if anyone I know is already a member. I read a few introduction posts and click my first likes, make my first comments. What I find is a group of women in all stages of transformation and transition. I read posts that are cry-worthy, a lot that make me laugh, and a more than expected number of posts that make me realize I am not as alone as I previously thought. I had found a safe place, a place for new friends, a home.
This is a place for us to be our true selves. There is sarcasm, bantering, inappropriateness, compassion, support, and wholeheartedness. I am overwhelmed and the doubts of fitting in swell. I currently live in a city known for people who are friendly but painfully slow to let you into their circle. I could pick out the women who had been in the group for a while. There was familiarity among them. I worried about jumping into their banter. I stepped away to open my email, and copy and paste my original email to Andrea. A few edits and I had my intro to the group. Cut and paste again, and I’ve tossed myself out to 200+ women.
Ding. Ding. Notifications keep coming, I’m reading through them as new ones pop up. I am welcomed, I am home. Most of all, I am understood.
Ding, new friend requests roll in, after little to no interaction with the women wanting to be my friend. Having Facebook friends I don’t know in “real life” is something I’ve always avoided. Feeling like I was home now, I accepted the requests. Transformation, change, and growth all require some variance of risk. I was sick of sitting still, doing nothing. I left my husband for many reasons and a big one was that he is happy being stagnant. I am not.
A few days pass and I comment here and there, mostly click ‘Like,’ continue to get a feel for the land. There is a flower theme in the group, and I see lots of posts about them. Being in the veterinary field, I post about some flowers being toxic to cats, and I threw in another word for cat to show my humor and inappropriateness. Within minutes, I get a comment from a woman I will call BG. She takes my post and carries it, unabashedly away, followed by a meme post noting her status as that friend who turns everything sexual. My response, “I love you already BG!!” An innocent comment that 6 weeks later snaps back, flipping me into an unruly pile of emotions, with each one of them having a different say in how I should proceed. Romance is sticky with the unabashed sappiness. Rational’s stern face tells me that Rational and Romance will be the fight to watch this year.
I check in with the group everyday, read posts, but am not a frequent commenter/poster. Lurking among the familiar strangers satisfies me. I am absorbing, learning, and gaining insight to where I am and where I want to go next.
Ding. A new FB message from BG. A simple, “You are so funny!” GIFs come flying across my screen, irreverent comments come and go. It was easy – fun, and flirty. I was funny, cute, attractive to someone. To a woman. I was giddy with the fun, lightheartedness of it.
She is on another continent, across far too many time zones. The chatting starts late for me, early for her. My usual time for bed comes and goes. “WTF time is it there?” she asks. “1:30am,” I answer, but I don’t care. I want to keep talking to her, and I find that I’d rather have her next to me, in my bed than through a computer screen. What crazy fuckery is this?
Finally, we sign off. I sleep fitfully, waking up frequently, and look at my phone each time I do. I wake up to her, hold her throughout my day, and take her to bed the next night. This continues, day in and day out, across an ocean, and far beyond my understanding of rationality.