I can remember standing in the living room of the apartment I’d rented for my kids and me after my divorce, and how I wrestled with accepting that I was beginning a whole new chapter of my life. I didn’t really know how I was supposed to “be” anymore. I was still a mom, but I was no longer a wife, and I lost many of the friends that I had when I was married. I felt like I was starting over and I no longer understood my place in world.
Believe it or not, I did not meet other gay women until I was 37 years old and my own self-discovery took place. Was I supposed to act, dress or be a certain way? I became fascinated with watching lesbian women to help me find these missing points of reference. Through this process I met many really nice and totally different women – JUST LIKE in the straight world! I met gay women who wore skirts, lipstick and heels, while others cut their hair like a man’s and wore leather vests and chains. The lesson I learned from my people watching is that I didn’t need to be anything other than who I already was. In fact, I felt freer than ever to just be ME. Being in a city like Portland, Maine, was a big help, because the climate of acceptance tends to be much better in cities than in smaller rural areas. Once I reached out and began meeting other lesbian friends, I became part of a wonderful and supportive community. Most of these women had known they were gay for many years and didn’t have children but as time went on, I also met other women who, like me, had been married. Because of the shared pain and challenges associated with coming out later in life, I felt a special connection with these brave women.
Being authentically YOU is a gift you give yourself and the world. There is no need to “fit” into any stereotypes to belong. There is a place for all of us – just as we are.