I’m a writer, a mother, a partner, a feminist, an LGBT and human rights advocate.
I had always thought I’d be a writer.
I started telling stories as soon as I could talk. I told my stories out loud and in my head until I learned how to write them down years later.
When I learned to read, I was thrilled at the prospect of all the books that were out there waiting for me. My favorite stories were those where the hero triumphed against all odds, and fairness won out. To this day, I root for the underdog.
I grew up as the second child of three in a strict Catholic family. Unlike what I’ve read about middle children feeling neglected, I didn’t mind being the forgotten one. It gave me a freedom that my older sister and younger brother didn’t have. I was glad that they got the attention, and not me.
My father was a Yankee and my mother a former Southern belle who converted to Catholicism when they married. My mother’s family disowned her because of it. Living in the South, we were an anomaly, viewed back then as one step removed from an inter-racial family.
We were different. I learned that early.
After several years, we settled permanently up north, where my father’s family lived. Surrounded by uncles, aunts and cousins, we blended in better. We went to Catholic school. I got good grades even though I wondered about some of the things we were taught.
It was assumed that we would grow up, go to college, and get married. That my sister and I would gradually withdraw from the work world to raise our children. My brother was schooled in manly skills that would enable him to become the head of a household one day.
I married after I graduated college, and although I was an unwilling bride, I loved being a mom. Like most parents, I wanted the best for my children. So I kept working even when the children kept coming. Four of them, all told.
My career took me down many paths, but all of them involved writing. I’ve written a lot of different things, from articles to speeches to web sites.
Usually I tell other people’s stories, or arrange words that express their thoughts or feelings, never my own. Other stories I’d write when I was alone in the wee hours of the morning, just for me. I’d tuck them away when I was done; in re-reading them, I saw that they revealed too much.
But then, just when I thought I could predict exactly what lay on the road ahead for me, everything changed.
I didn’t understand what was happening or why. I couldn’t explain it to my family or my children. Or even to myself.
I felt very alone. So I filled the empty spaces by writing down my thoughts and feelings.
This is my story of self-discovery and reinvention. About how, after a traditional lifestyle, a long-term marriage and four children, I came to terms with who I really am – a born-again lesbian.
And feeling the joy and the pain of that revelation.
It’s about being offered a second chance. And taking it. And turning my life upside down because of it.
And what happened after that.
Examining my life with an honest eye isn’t easy. But as someone said, ‘you never find yourself until you face the truth.’