To my girlfriend.
Coming Out with the Girlfriend
My girlfriend came to visit me at college this week, which was a huge blessing given that she lives thousands of miles away and across the US-Canadian border.
We spent the week drinking coffee, visiting friends, and kissing in the corners of my dorm room.
Thursday, her last day here, was National Coming Out Day.
To celebrate, and because it suddenly felt right, I came out of the closet to my school, and we made our relationship public on Facebook.
Then we volunteered at our school’s Coming Out Day fair, wearing matching t-shirts and hanging up rainbow flags.
I said goodbye to her this morning. The cab that drove her away tore out a piece of my heart.
But I feel calmer, more centered, and closer to her than I was several weeks ago. The moment when I held her smooth hand in my own and brought it to my lips, I knew I was in love. I plan to marry her.
Last night’s coffee with her was a mess.
It started with jazz, a gay guy and a cushioned chair. It ended with me confessing my massive crush, an agonizing phone call, a ripped camera bag and several awkward text messages. In the middle?
- We discussed her unrequited love of one of our mutual friends.
- She raged about racial discrimination, had a violent coughing fit, and raged some more.
- I took pictures.
- I made my girlfriend angry, called her and then stared up at the stars.
- She talked about her childhood, and she showed me the elephant on her wall.
- She buried her face in her hands.
- She gave me the silent treatment.
- I let it slip that I had a crush on someone at my university.
- She wouldn’t let it go.
- I tried to leave peacefully.
- She threw a fit.
I said, “Let’s put it this way: There’s a reason my girlfriend doesn’t want me to hang out with you.”
The girl got the hint.
I sprinted down the stairs and back to my dorm.
We’re meeting up again tomorrow.
I feel sick.
I don’t want to eat. I don’t need to eat. I’m focused and vivacious and overwhelmed and worried.
I felt this way for most of last week, and the sensation was new to me. After I stuffed myself full of cookies and sandwiches every night for the first month of college, my appetite suddenly cut off. Thinking about food made my stomach clench. Usually I drink coffee constantly, but I could only drink water.
I panicked. ”Maybe the flu vaccine made me sick! Maybe something bit me while I was in the woods! Maybe I accidentally ate a parasite!”
It never occurred to me that my body was releasing dopamine, norepinephrine and phenylethylamine in massive quantities. Why? Because of a single text I’d received.
“Want to get coffee tonight?” -I
Last week, this girl I
had a massive crush on thought was okay texted me for the first time in a month, asking to chill. I didn’t link my sudden appetite loss with my excitement over hanging out with her. I thought I was just getting the flu. Now that this sensation is back, I’m not sure what to do with it or where to go. I don’t even know how I feel anymore.
Maybe I should eat.
One Month in College
I haven’t posted in a while, and life is being difficult.
My girlfriend is coming to visit me in two weeks. I haven’t seen her in a month, so that is exciting, and I hope to return the favor. She’s dropping in during midterm week. On one hand, I can’t wait to hug her neck. On the other hand, I’m behind in all of my classes, and the workload that week will be hell.
Speaking of classes, I’m spinning around between schoolwork, organizations and independent projects. The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of meetings, missed homework assignments and stress. I can’t keep up.
Last night, I intended to study all night, but my friend whisked me away to a party. I woke up this morning nauseous and with a fierce craving for fish. I drifted in and out of dreams about biting into a juicy, thick tuna sandwich. When I felt better, I went to the gym. It’s homecoming weekend.
Purchase the original or a print of this drawing.
I was talking with a friend the other day about the whole idea of the importance of being able to question beliefs, ideas or theologies that are passed on to us. He told me how he grew up in church and how he loved it. But one day in Sunday school, when he was about 12 years old, he asked the priest a question about what he was teaching. The priest just looked at him and said, “You just have to have faith!” My friend said that’s precisely the moment when he began to lose his faith.
Yep. That’s pretty much how it can happen.
I had a similar experience that made me question Catholicism. At thirteen years old, I was sitting in the front of my Sunday school class, brimming with questions about the Biblical basis for my religion, when the nun said, “Why do we believe in things that aren’t in the Bible, like purgatory and confession and papal infallibility? Because of faith. We just have to have faith that these things are true.”
Faith? Faith from where? And if I could have faith in purgatory and confession, couldn’t I also choose to have faith in other things that aren’t in the Bible, such as nirvana or the flying spaghetti monster or the nonexistence of hell? Couldn’t I have faith in whatever I wanted?
What is truth?
I will be your God throughout your lifetime— until your hair is white with age. I made you, and I will care for you. I will carry you along and save you.
Tolerance in College
It’s strange here.
There are gay people, and they aren’t called freaks.
The church accepts them. Other people accept them.
I should be saying, “Us.”
I went to a Presbyterian church this morning. There was a little bit of kneeling, and a lot of singing, and the minister baptized three children. The youth group that I went with is very affirming. It’s strange to be able to say, “I’m gay,” or “I’m going to the LGBT meeting,” and know that the other students will not shun me. It’s strange to be accepted completely for who I am.
Never do the normal.
Change and Identity
My girlfriend is cutting her hair tonight. That makes me nervous, because I don’t like change. I like knowing exactly what is going to happen, and when. I like planning for things, controlling things, having at least one finger on the steering wheel whenever possible.
That being said, I also don’t think through my decisions very well. My friend Taylor said that if she could describe me in one phrase, it would be “go with the flow.” As long as everything is under control, I’m chill. The second uncertainty creeps in, I freeze.
The rainbow flag is larger than I’d thought, so I’m not going to hang it inside my dorm, but I did put up two framed photographs of my girlfriend, right beside my poster for the LGBTQ center. Let people draw their own conclusions. At my university, the majority of the student body is open-minded, including the Christians, but I’m not ready to publicly box myself into the lgbtq club. However, I have an lgbtq hat and an lgbtq shirt and several lgbtq books, which are in plain view. My girlfriend is also the background of my laptop and phone. I might be in the closet, but the closet door is open.
Today was a quiet day, which I needed, and my next (read: only) class tomorrow doesn’t start until 1:30. I’m considering spending the morning in the LGBT center, which has free books and coffee. I would like to see who else comes in. There’s a group this Tuesday night for “women who love women,” and if my schedule works out, I’m going to go. The homosexual side of me, although confusing, is apparently here to stay.
Morality in College
I got a rainbow flag at the activities fair yesterday. It’s meant to hang outside of my dorm window, but my roommate doesn’t know for sure that I am gay (or she just hasn’t addressed it), so for now it stays folded on my bed. I might hang it on the wall.
On Monday, I’m meeting with the leader of the PCUSA/UCC fellowship on campus to discuss faith and life. I’m excited, because since coming out to myself as gay, I have struggled with finding an accepting church. Yesterday at the fair, I also picked up a scarlet rosary and a beaten Book of Mormon. I’m neither Catholic nor Mormon, but I want to study many religions.
It’s easy to push religion to the wayside in college. I’m out late every night hanging with friends or doing homework—who has time for church first thing Sunday morning, or at all? I still read the Bible, but I know that my lifestyle does not match up in many ways. I’m doing my best…or maybe I’m not trying hard enough.
Suddenly, drinking, smoking and hooking up are much more accessible activities. I haven’t participated, but the option exists, which is unorthodox. Because one wrong decision can derail my entire life, I hope that I always choose right. But what does “right” mean?