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7:16 p.m. - 2012-12-03
good for me
I saw a crime show once where a woman described her murdered daughter: "She was not a perfect child, but she was the perfect child for me."

I loved those words; they are so simple and so eloquent in describing what can seem impossible to describe. You hunt for adjectives to describe a person, and your connection to that person, to strangers who only see a random face in a photograph and a litany of unremarkable biographical facts. Words fail most of the time.

So I could tell you the things A says and does and who she is and how she makes me feel, but what I'm really trying to say is that she may not be perfect, but I think she is perfect for ME.

I think A brings out the better parts of me, something Matt definitely did not do. The story of my life goes something like this: I spent much of my childhood being told I was worthless by my parents and my peers (I was very smart, socially immature and poor, a pretty bad trifecta in the shark pool of elementary school) and then I hit high school, lost the glasses, and was "discovered" by "men." I discovered that men can be great friends and make me feel OK about myself, and that women don't harass me when they discover that men approve of me.

I've spent most of my life since then trying to be what men in general and some man in particular wanted me to be. It was exhausting and lonely and I felt full of bottled-up, unacceptable secrets and sadness but I felt the real me was something to be hated. And if anyone found out, I'd be a pariah again... I guess I still feel that way sort of. But I'm working on it.

A is the first women I've ever been in a relationship with (though not the first I've been in love with) and right off the bat, that forces me to step outside of my comfort zone. Being in a lesbian relationship certainly doesn't get you the instant approval, the stamp of "success," that marrying a man and having a cute little all-American family does. This is probably why I pursued heterosexuality for 32 years, no? But after I met A, the question became not, "am I willing to face other people's disapproval?" but "am I going to hide HER like I'm ashamed of her?" No, I am NOT. I would never want a person I'm in a relationship with to feel like I'm ashamed of him/her.

So, "Hello world, meet my girlfriend!"

First positive decision. And it wasn't because she pushed me to; quite the opposite, she said it was OK with her if I didn't want to tell friends/family. To which I replied something along the lines of, "Excuse me? No, that is NOT okay."


Matt never needed me to do that for him. He never needed me to stand up and tell the world I was proud of him, because he already thought the world revolved around him and had been applauding him since his birth and precocious first steps.

But before I knew him, and before I discovered the approval of men, I was always one to speak up and speak out, mouth off to the playground bully and my dad and anyone else clearly capable of whooping my ass -- this is a good part of why I had a rough childhood.

I am pretty good at standing up for other people. I'm just not good at standing up for myself.

A has made me challenge myself in ways that are, to me, really scary. I tend to get claustrophobic when I'm around people for too long -- and too long for me is not very long. I have a hard time spending a whole weekend at A's house, even if she's not even there half the time because she's working. I don't want to study at her kitchen table; I want to study at MY kitchen table. I want MY bed, MY space, MY house, MY life alone. And it hits me like a wave, suddenly -- this has always happened to me for as long as I can remember. I want OUT, NOW.

A, on the other hand, doesn't get claustrobic and doesn't want me leaving; her counterpart to my weird and sudden claustrophobia is that she is terrified that if I leave (especially if it's before she's expecting me to, before she's had time to mentally prepare herself), I won't be coming back.

She doesn't come out and say that to try to manipulate me into staying, but I know how she feels and it makes me feel terrible, even when she says, "I'm a big girl. Go."

She has had a lot of people walk out the door one seeminly normal day and never come back, including both of her parents.

So last night when she told me to go and I really wanted to, I knew that even if I came back in the morning like I fully intended to do, I'd be leaving her alone that night with that feeling -- that panic, and the knowledge that she was alone with her panic as always.

So I put my keys back down and said, "I'm not going anywhere," and I stayed.

And I felt panicky and smothered, for a while, but I stayed.

I wanted to show her that I am not going to be walking out on her.

What I ended up doing, as well, was proving to myself that I can ride out the claustrophobia. I can talk about it with her and she doesn't tell me I'm a horrible person for feeling that way, or crazy, or selfish, or I don't love her; she doesn't make me feel guilty and bad. We laugh about how irrational we are. I love that chick. I love that she not only accepts me and my ugly irrational truths, she makes me feel like I'm actually good for her.

I love that I don't have to be who she wants me to be in order to make her happy.



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