Love took me completely by surprise. I wasn’t looking for it, but it seems the universe knew I was ready for it because it burst into my life and heart with so much force that there was nothing I could do but let it in.
I’d always thought love songs were a little hyperbolic. But here I was, infatuated, with my heart rate constantly elevated by 10bmp for more than two weeks, my brain rendered incapable of normal thought, feeling like I was physically touching the soul of another human. The synchronicities were abounding and showing up with such frequency it was making me LOL—our entire realities were rejoicing at our union. It was as though our two higher selves had grasped one another by the hands and declared, ‘let’s be one now!’.
Now that initial commotion has calmed itself (mostly), I’m left with an enduring home in the heart of this other human, and my own heart has become a reciprocal home.
Somewhere in the midst of this euphoric emotional eruption was a little bit of space enough for me to occasionally ponder on the fact that the soul responsible for bursting open my heart is housed in a female body.
When, at 30 years old, I fell in love with and started a relationship with a woman for the first time in my life, I suddenly found myself in the middle of an identity conundrum. Now that I am, for all intents and purposes, gay—I’ve found myself meandering on the periphery of LGB paradigms; I’m in love with a woman but I don’t necessarily think (or have to think) I’m ‘a lesbian’. I really don’t know and it doesn’t much matter to me, either.
(For the sake of brevity ill use the word 'gay' here, but know that I when I use it I am using it to encompass LGBTQ, and much of what I say can be applied to any of those identifications.)
I was able to tell my family and friends about my relationship and have my new love celebrated, embraced and accepted without prejudice. I didn’t grow up as gay, I didn’t have to hide my sexuality in the playground or agonise over my identity. I've never felt different. I've never felt like I've been 'in the closet', I've never felt scared or unsafe or like I've had to hide a part of what makes me me, or hide my love for another person because of my sexual orientation.
But I am increasingly and uncomfortably aware, that despite my ease with fitting into/not fitting into this new-to-me paradigm that begs to be labelled, this ease still isn't the reality for many gay people today.
For millions of people, how they identify matters a whole lot. While I have a freedom—a freedom I almost take for granted—to be in a relationship with a person because of something other than their physical body, their chemical makeup, and gendered norms, this is a freedom many aren't afforded.