The only one ‘thing’ that can make you a lesbian is you. Lesbians are not born, they are made. Just like women. Women -thanks to the social constructs of gender – are made, not born. (Females are born though).
In breaking down my own internalized heteropatriarchal ideas I’ve come to vehemently understand how crippling and all pervasive gender and sexuality are.
My first sexual experiences were with girls. One with an older neighbour girl (I was 8, she was 10) and another with my best friend (I was 10 she was 11). I got immense enjoyment from these childhood experiences. Yet both were tinged by shame. They were my darkest secret. That and the fact that I masturbated.
How does the enjoyment of our bodies become a source of shame? Heteropatriarchal norms.
I rejected these early experiences and went on to embrace heterosexuality. For a period in my 30s my internalized heteropatriarchy led me to quite the lifestyle. Basically, I found ‘liberation’ servicing cocks. Quite a few of them. It was a drug of choice taken regularly. I remember talking with one girlfriend about how empowering sucking cock was. And I really really believed that at the time.
And now, after a few years of no servicing cock and a radicalization of my feminism I am left contemplating my early experiences as well as the times in adulthood I’ve been hit with a sexual attraction towards a woman. I remember one illicit downtown club that I used to attend that had a female bartender that I swooned over. She was drop dead gorgeous and had a sparkle in her eye that really caught my fancy. I even acknowledged to my friends that I had a thing for her and we all laughed since I was obviously enjoying servicing the cock I was getting regularly at that club.
Coming out as a lesbian was something that was basically unheard of in my childhood. So when my sister did, in her early 20s, it was radical – but becoming less so (this was the early 90s). And by then I was fully ensconced in servicing cock in a brief abusive marriage.
And I fully bought into the born this way narrative despite the occasional attraction to women. I even tried to discuss these attractions with my lesbian sister who laughed at me and said I was screamingly het. Both of us were extremely caught up in the ‘born this way’ narrative – so I continued servicing random meaningless cock. I cringe now when I remember the times I told people that there were lots of signs that my sister was a lesbian as a child – conveniently erasing my own reality of the sexual experimentation I also had with girls.
The beauty of an anonymous blog is that I get to put these thoughts out here. Will I ‘come out’ as a lesbian? I think that is the direction I am moving towards. I think I’ll go set up a new dating profile. And choose women.
I moved here just over 10 months ago. I’ve had this old Saltbox House for over 5 years and decided to move from the Big City on the Mainland to here, a dwindling Outport Town on the Rock.
A neighbour fella was helping me get things working in the Saltbox last fall after I moved in. He dropped by to see about my yet-to-be-functional hot water heater. He arrived to a locked door. The wind had been blowing in my door so I had to keep it locked.
When I unlocked the door and let him in he said in a jovial voice: “Whatchya got the door locked for girl? You think there are rapists in the area?”. He guffawed. His humour is, shall we say, underwhelming at the best of times and downright offensive at the worst. I explained about the wind over his continuing laughter at his ‘joke’.
That night and for the following days I thought about his words. A lot. I had moved into a small Outport Town with no idea of who these new neighbours were. In the Big City I actually rarely locked my doors during the day and often forgot to at night. Having a dog there helped. She is no longer alive so I no longer had that protection. His ‘joke’ had left me pondering for my safety and I was annoyed that he reminded me of my vulnerability. His ‘joke’ was a fine example of male privilege. Men do not have to fear rape. Women do.
Fast forward to a few months later. I am sitting in the living room of a new local friend. She says, “I don’t normally pass along gossip but there is something I feel you must know.”
She then proceeds to tell me about the 52 year old son of my new neighbour. He works in Alberta during the spring and summer but returns home to live with his 71 year old mother in the late fall and winter. He had just moved back and my new friend had just heard me say that I had met him in the past few weeks and he seemed a bit odd. What she told me left me reeling. Reeling to the point of developing severe writer’s block. I didn’t know what to do with the information. I talked about it with a few friends in real life but knew I couldn’t share it publicly as I’ve done with so many other revelations in the past 10 years. A small Outport Town with a new resident means that all eyes are on me: online and off. If I wrote about it on my other blog I would immediately be outed and the characters I’m writing about would be identified. So thus, after much thought and contemplation (and frustration about not being able to write publicly about it) I have created this new anonymous blog. A blog where I can write bluntly about the myriad of experiences I’ve gone through since making the big leap from city to rural life. Some of them are funny. Some, like this one, are shocking, sad, and yes, frightening.
Because, you see, this neighbour’s son is in fact a rapist. He broke into a local elder woman’s house when he was younger and raped her. The other fellas ‘joke’ continues to resonate darkly with me since it is guaranteed he knows this part of local history – I’m sure everyone does. Yet this information has only been told to me the once by my new friend. As I develop new connections with the local women I am astonished by the omission of this key part of my new neighbourhood. As time goes by it becomes clear that patriarchy is so firmly entrenched and internalized that women here would rather not bring up a nasty fact from the past rather than warn a new woman of possible danger. The truth that has no name is easier to live with than the truth with a name.
So, my door will continue to be locked when he is around. I might even sleep with a sharp knife beside my bed when he returns this fall.