I’m a Noodle!

Years ago a close friend asked me what it was like for me to come out of the closet. Not one of our more typical topics of conversation for breakfast, but I figured, “What the heck? I’m game.” Actually, I was quite honored that he trusted and valued our friendship enough to even ask me; until then, no one had even attempted to broach the subject.

I don’t remember exactly what I said, but I remembered talking about the fact that it certainly had nothing to do with any closets for me. To me closets have always been a source of comfort – kind of a safety zone. I remember during the Bay Area’s 1989 earthquake, I actually went to my closet a number of times during the numerous aftershocks that took place – thought my behavior was a little stranger than normal – until my therapist assured me that a lot of people were exhibiting a lot of different behaviors during this disaster.

Boy was I relieved! I was already wrestling with the vague awareness that I was different. I certainly didn’t want to be certifiable nuts on top of that.

No siree, Bob! We had enough wackos in the family.

My closet had always been a safe zone from the craziness of my childhood, so my therapist felt my sitting in it after the quake was totally appropriate. And I was paying her the bucks to validate my saneness, so I figured she had to be right.

Coming out for me, however, felt anything but safe. I felt alone and afraid; like I was driving down a long black tunnel with no lights and I didn’t see any “light at the end of the tunnel”; until more and more celebrities started their coming out process and I saw that I wasn’t alone in this tunnel of uncertainty – there were other “blind drivers” with me – and they were important people.

My initial disclosures that I made to family and close friends were mostly smooth sailing. The first friend I told actually laughed and was relieved that I wasn’t just diagnosed with some terminal illness. I was so nervous coming out to her during breakfast, that I choked on my tea a number of times and had a hard time swallowing my blue germ pancakes. When I finally did confide in her, I coughed out my blueberries and tea onto my plate and quickly uttered, “I’m gay, alright? I’m gay! I don’t know why the hell I’m gay, but I am!”

And then in case she felt I was hitting on her while I was spitting out my blueberries and tea, I quickly blurted out, “And no, you’re not my type, so don’t worry.”

For the first few seconds, I wasn’t sure she totally got what I said because she just quietly stared at me with what appeared to be a look of confusion, and then suddenly she howled with laughter and said, “For Pete’s sake, Lucie, you were so squirrely, I thought you were gonna tell me you had cancer or something! My boyfriend, Ralph, thought you were gay. Guess it was just me and you who didn’t know, eh?”

And then we both started laughing and I settled down and enjoyed what was left of my spit-out breakfast.

Coming out to Paula, at 35 years old, was a “piece of cake” compared to telling some of my other friends and family members. The fact is, there are still a number of family members that don’t really talk too much about it. They know the Princess is my special live-in friend, and most of the time, we leave it that way. I continue to correct them when they introduce us as “friends”, and they continue to do it. It’s one of those dances that will probably continue until they die, and it’s ok because it’s really not my problem; it’s theirs.

I realize that there are people that hate the Princess and me simply because we love each other. I also realize that many of these same people hate others because of their preconceived notion of what they think these people’s “differences” represent.

I get that.

We’re afraid of what we don’t understand.

As a young, innocent white woman from upstate New York, teaching a challenging group of predominately black kids in inner city Oakland years ago, I was afraid.

It was my kick-ass, Italian, New York attitude, that saved my butt many-a-time during those first few months teaching in Oakland. When I think back to those early morning walks with my kids through the drug-infested neighborhood of our school, I seriously believe I had an angelic guardian “Goombah” watching over me. To this day, I can’t explain it, but as soon as the gang-bangers saw my kid-lings and I headed toward them, all drug deals came to a screeching halt, and we were greeted with smiles and enthusiastic “Good mornings!” as we strolled by them, like nobody’s business.

Parading with my kids through the drug-infested streets of inner-city Oakland was much easier for me, than coming out to my family, friends and co-workers. Much easier. At least I knew who the bad guys were in Oakland. Coming out to my family members and friends was harder. Much harder.

Some days I felt like I was blindly driving down a tunnel, defiantly participating in a game of bumper cars with other reluctant drivers; until I was so banged up that I decided a “pit stop” was necessary and declared a moratorium on everything dealing with my sexuality because I was so emotionally beat-up that I couldn’t “drive” any more. It was brutally exhausting and it shouldn’t have been.

I never understood why my loving another woman was any big deal. I was still the same person. I was still a good teacher, a good friend, a good sister, a good Aunt, a good daughter……

Why did people care who I loved?

Because somehow their God cared and judged me?

My God doesn’t judge me. My God loves and accepts me. Why would he have made me the way he made me?

Contrary to popular opinion, I didn’t choose this life-style.

I am an intelligent, kind, reasonably evolved woman.

I am not crazy.

(And, sorry, but I think you’d have to be a “little crazy” to choose this life-style.)

I think my Mom summed it up pretty well when I came out to her before dinner one night and I asked her, “So, what da ya think about having a gay kid, Ma?”

She looked at me like only she can when you’ve asked her a stupid question, and said, “Cazzo! You’re my daughter! You’ll always be my daughter. Now what do you want for dinner? Rigatoni’s or spaghetti’s?”

Yep.

I think that’s as important an issue my sexuality should be for everyone.

As far as I’m concerned, we’re all pasta and I’m a noodle. And who cares?

Have a great day, People, and I’ll catch ya next time, looking at life from my shoes!

 

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Life in my Shoes as a Gay (Older) Woman

Forgive me.

I’m having a hard time being “funny” this week.

My heart is very heavy today, and I can’t break through that heaviness without expression and letting go of this otherwise yucky feeling that I have deep inside of my heart.

For those few of you who don’t know me and/or who have not read my blog’s “about page,” I need to make you aware of the fact that I am a gay woman living in Northern CA with my wonderful partner and two wacky cats.

My being “gay” does not define the sum total of who I am and does not in any way make me an “expert” about what it’s like “being gay,” but I feel I need to state it, so that you may appreciate my “little sensitivity” to what it’s like some days living life in “my shoes” as a gay (older) woman.

I, like Ellen DeGeneres, have no hidden agenda and am not in any way, shape or form, trying to promote my “gayness.”

My only “agenda” with my blog is to share a moment or two of happiness and silliness and to try to make your day a little more “bearable.”

So if my being a very loving, compassionate, kind (sometimes silly) woman, who happens to be in a relationship with a woman of the same attributes offends you in any way, please feel free not to read my blog any more, and by all means “unfollow me.”

I will not be offended.

On the other hand, if you care to try to understand how it feels to be “in my shoes” some days, please feel free to read on:

Contrary to what many people believe, I did not choose to be gay.

Why would I, an intelligent, conservative, former Roman Catholic brought up in a conservative, Roman Catholic household from a small, rural area in upstate NY, ever CHOOSE a life style that is misunderstood by many, judged by the religious multitudes, and ultimately hated by countless individuals? Why would I ever CHOOSE a life style that makes my life difficult on a regular basis?

I am silly, People; Not crazy. (At least not verifiable, anyway!)

My partner got stuck in her company’s elevator a few nights ago for a good amount of time.

This is not earth-shattering news in and of itself, and for many of you (myself included) it might even have a humorous bent to it, in light of the fact that she ended up playing quite a few games of Angry Bird while waiting to be rescued, but for me it ended up breaking my heart.

When the Princess texted me that she was “f-ing stuck in the f-ing elevator” and she “couldn’t get ahold of anyone at her company,” I decided to take matters into my own hands and contact her Manager.

I called him and left a very polite message, identifying myself (as the Princess’ partner), and informed him that she was stuck in their company’s elevator. I also said that should I not hear back from him in a half an hour’s time, I would contact the local fire department to get her out.

I texted my partner what I did, and she was mortified, totally upset, and “wigged out” because I “outted her” at her place of business…where she (an older contract worker) was praying they hire her for a full-time, permanent position when her contract position expires in March.

She couldn’t believe that I identified myself as “her partner.”

How could I commit such a thoughtless act?

Hun…maybe I was thinking that my highly asthmatic, hard-working, over-achiever partner (of 16 years), who I love to the moon and back, was stuck on this previously problematic elevator and that she needed to get out and get home, and I didn’t care what the hell her Manager “thought of me or her.” I simply left a message for the man to apprise him of the situation, and that either he needed to address the matter in an expeditious manner or I would, period.

I wasn’t rude. I wasn’t “wordy.” I just politely stated the facts and informed him of the situation.

If he was any kind of a Manager, he’d be concerned and a tad upset, and would help me get her the hell off the blasted elevator! That’s all I was thinking when I called him.

And, to the man’s credit, that’s exactly how he responded.

But the Princess feels he’s been avoiding her all week, because now he “knows she’s gay,” and she wonders if that’s going to negatively impact her chances of permanent employment in March.

I don’t know.

Maybe it will. Maybe it won’t.

I just know I can’t live my life in a “bubble of lies,” and I won’t.

She, on the other hand, has had a couple of restless nights worrying about the fact that maybe now “he won’t like her any more because she’s gay…”

And that really breaks my heart.

I am a loving, caring, church-going, tax-paying woman who is somebody’s daughter, sister, Aunt, cousin, friend, and neighbor.

And I just happen to be gay.

My being “gay” neither defines me nor explains me, but to some people it limits my humanness, and to those people I say, “Shame on you. Shame on you and your holier-than-thou feelings of superiority and judgmental statements of righteousness. You are not my God. And you are not my redemption.”

I don’t know if the Princess will get hired permanently for this job come March.

I certainly hope so.

I know that up until this time, they WERE going to hire her because they value her work ethics and competencies, and I pray the fact that she’s “gay” is no more of an “issue” than the fact that she happens to be a “redhead,” too.

But that, dear People, only time will reveal.

I can only live my life day to day and try to be the best person that I can be, one day and one adventure at a time.

And I sincerely hope for her sake (and ALL our sakes) that at the end of the day, we get judged not on our sexual identity or religious or political affiliations, but on how much we’re valued as human beings and how much we value others.

Until next week, be kind to one another, People. You never know what life is like in someone else’s shoes.