My life and my partner. After much deliberation and discussion, it’s been decided that my darling would like me to use her name on the blog. “After all,” she said, “we’re partners, shouldn’t partners use their real names?”
I reminded her that I never mentioned my ex-husband’s name on my old blog. Or my children’s real names, for that matter. Hell, I never even called our pets by their “real” names. I was kind of into, um, privacy to a certain extent.
Anyway, despite my reminding her of these facts, she remained unfazed.
So, in the spirit of blogginess and joy, I’d like to introduce you to Tam, my best friend, partner, kitchen queen, and all around awesome gal.
Tam and I have known each other since grade school. I still wonder why it took us so damn long to figure out we were meant to be together. She says it’s because we both had things to do, like large chunks of our lives to mess up, children to raise, and men to divorce.
While I was married, Tam and I would spend lots of time together, grocery shopping, mall crawling, and otherwise just enjoying each other’s company. After all, we’ve been best buds for…forever. She was one of the first to witness me coming out of the closet. Her response to that little piece of information was, “Yeah, I know.”
Evidently, the gay person is always the last to know they’re gay. Awesome.
We were both still married and remained that way for a few more years, then things began to fall apart for her and I continued to hold fast to my familiar lifestyle. Or rather my familiar “lie-style.” We supported each other as best friends do, through thick and thin with a few falling outs tossed in for good measure. After all, we’re both human and women with many emotions, so there is no such thing as smooth sailing.
Besides, I was having some very strong feelings that were getting harder and harder to ignore. At one point, I’d decided to throw caution to the wind and confess my love to her. It didn’t quite work out as planned: I never got to tell her and we ended up having a rather nasty fight that led to me cutting short a vacation.
But, I did eventually tell her, and she finally admitted that she felt the same toward me. It was a very difficult time, because I had to decide if I wanted to remain in the safety of a “normal” life, or give it all up to be with the woman I love.
It was an agonizing decision, for I wasn’t leaving an abusive mate, or one who had treated me particularly bad. He isn’t perfect by any stretch of the imagination, but considering how horrible my first husband was, he is a gem. But I could feel myself longing for something that he could not give me, something I desperately wanted and needed in my life. I was afraid that we would become bitter and resentful toward each other. He knew I was gay, although when I came out to him ten years earlier, I said I was bi-sexual because I thought it would go over better. He told me I was going to go to hell. Yay, thanks.
My husband moved out and Tam moved in about a month later. We muddled through the usual stuff, dealt with unpleasantries, and both of us grew during that time. It wasn’t easy, but during that time, I’ve learned that I can live with much less than I thought I could, I am stronger than I thought I was, and I love more than I ever thought possible.
And…I am loved in return, and in such a way that it feels right. That good man I divorced couldn’t show affection, he was embarrassed by my appearance (I’m a rather large woman), and my lack of formal education bored him to distraction.
Tam accepts me as the large, uneducated woman that I am, and will even hold my hand in public (unless it’s scary public where we run the risk of putting ourselves in danger of verbal or physical harassment). We are cautious, but open. I am not an embarrassment to her.
Being gay in a small city like the one where we live is not the most comfortable thing to do. But we are frequently surprised by those who accept us (and relived when others simply ignore us), and on occasion, we know we’ve given someone else hope and courage to be themselves.
It’s the young woman who seemed relieved to see us walk in, obviously a couple (but not falling all over each other). She may be questioning herself and wondering if she’s alone in our fair city. I cannot begin to tell you what it’s like to find “family” in such a place. The relief is palpable. I suspect it’s like that for anyone in a fringe area of society. Finding someone who can relate to your particular situation means you’re not the pioneer you thought you had to be, someone has already blazed a trail.