I've Been Out For 2 Years And I've Learned…

 
How important patience is to me: 
It took me a long time to come out fully to everyone, most of the time I think I took too long, but I know now that I couldn’t have done it any sooner as I just wasn’t ready.  I’ve had to give myself a break and know that good things come to those who wait and some people wait their whole lives to figure out their sexuality and that I was lucky to have done it at all.  Finding out how to be more patient with myself has been hard because it can be frustrating to not know yourself; I always thought, “Who could know me better than me?” but it isn’t that simple and it takes time.  I also found that I needed to extend that patience to my family and friends as they dealt with a new aspect of my personality that would be with me for the rest of my life.  Before I came out, asking them to accept my sexuality seemed like I was asking for the Moon, now I know that I was just asking them to love all of me, not just the parts they agree with and that it’s not asking for too much because I know I’m worth that love.  Again, this acceptance takes time for them – one of my younger brothers in particular can barely say the word lesbian and we don’t talk about my relationships very often.  I hope he’ll come around soon but I have to be patient.
patience
 
That I can be bizarrely forward with women:
I sometimes suffer from social anxiety, I spent most of my teenage years being a bit of an introvert and I communicate way better online than I do in real life and yet after I came out, something in my brain just switched.  I made a conscious decision to be bold and my dad’s advice to me growing up echoed in my mind, “If you don’t ask, you don’t get.”  So I started asking and I started getting.  It wasn’t just a matter of being able to hit on people but being able to actually make words come out of my mouth.  Being able to say to a girl at a bar that she should give me her phone number or tell a girl I was on a date with that I wanted to kiss her was an enormous deal and sometimes I can hardly believe I’m as brave as I am.  Not that being able to express your attraction to someone should necessarily be considered brave but to me that’s just how it feels having been so shy before I was out.  The boldness comes out in weird ways sometimes, like instead of telling someone I want to kiss them, I’ll say “I’d like your face to be on my face”, but at least I’m saying something; two-years-ago me would have kept schtum.
 

mecheckedshirtI think the 10-year-old me was trying to tell me something.

That I don’t have to look a certain way to be a certain way:
Just as I was coming out, a few family members made a few jokes about how I was about to shave my head, wear docker boots and wear checked shirts everywhere.  Although I do love a checked shirt and I do wear boots most days, it’s mostly because I look awesome in a checked shirt and I’m a lazy shoe shopper – I don’t have the cheekbones for a short haircut so that was straight out of the window.  I did consider doing all those things at first because I thought it would help me fit into a community or that it would help other lesbians recognise me on the street so they could give me a knowing glance or a nod.  I thought that looking the way I do, i.e. not stereotypically gay, I wouldn’t fit into the lesbian scene.  But as I actually got to know the community in London and started having proper friendships and relationships with queer women, I began to accept myself and how I look a bit more.  I’m a long-haired femme who wears skinny jeans, tiny summer dresses, boots, grandad jumpers, ridiculous Christmas jumpers, approximately three different hairstyles who longs to own a decent pair of dungarees.  I can’t walk in heels, my makeup skills are limited, I have big boobs and an average waist, I’m pale and my hair turns red in the Summer.  I don’t fit to a stereotype that I thought I had to, now I can accept that I can look the way I do, even if I don’t “look gay”.  And even if I was stereotypical, that’s OK too.  I think that as long as we all aren’t trying to be things that just aren’t us, we’re all just fine.
 
 
If you’d like to share what you’ve learned about yourself, life, sexuality and everything else since coming out, email emily@dattch.com
emily150Emily is the Community Manager of Dattch as well a part-time film reviewer and full-time cookie monster.  She can’t walk in heels, is a cross-breed of Essex girl and Londoner and makes cupcakes like nobody’s business.  Find further nonsense from Emily on Twitter @moulder5000