My heart grieves for a time when my love was seen as uneventful, unremarkable to everyone but me. When I would stare out into the setting sun, atop warring waves, and my love was safe in a way I can no longer feel.
I miss when I could kiss and nobody thought it was their business, or something fitting of a protest. and now that I am no longer hiding away in the nonsense of “normality”, I have to accept that everyone has an opinion on what my love actually is, and what it means and represents.
My love lives somewhere different to where I had asked her to reside, so I worship in different circles. I accept her exception, now, through gritted teeth and frequent frowns, and I let her live out from under the clouds, on the condition that she does not reposition herself to be what everyone else demands of her.
I doubt that she will listen, but we’ll have to wait and see.
I do not want my love to be “a radical queer act” because a terminally online stranger with a posh accent and a past as a horse girl says that it is.
I do not want my love to be “hot to watch” because a pathetic, porn addled man who spends to much of his wages on OnlyFans says that it is.
I do not want my love to be “a sign of social degradation” because an insecure guy with misplaced guilt takes out their lack of God’s grace on me.
I want my love to be the soaring majesty of the opening strings of a symphony.
I want my love to be warring waves, who learned to play peacefully on Blackpool beach.
I want my love to be safe from prying eyes, and just between us two.
I decided to travel through time today. Taking myself to that tree in my old back garden, four houses ago, back when I would perch on the branches like a lovesick, precocious owl. I used to write you stories, sweet scenes that I could never really enjoy, but pushed myself to provide anyway, because I loved you, (you don’t need me to tell you that).
Love is sacrifice, and love is sacrilegious, and I know you already know this, so there’s no need for me to lecture from my makeshift treehouse, but I do, because I’m only thinking about the tree in the first place, because it was where I used to write for you, and I’m only thinking of when I’d write for you, because I was looking for an old picture of myself today, and I found an album of our holiday snaps, and it all suddenly clicked. I was thinking about you. My camera really only clicked for you. I’d pretend to be fascinated by the scenery, or that you were stood next to something noteworthy, but I just wanted to keep you somewhere in my gaze, because you were fucking beautiful.
I remember when I used to tell you how beautiful you were, and you’d get this lovely little glow on your cheeks, like the angel that slept within your soul had just awoken. I could never tell if you blushed because you weren’t used to being told, or if it was some kind of reaction to the person who told you, because you used to glow for that man I can’t mention, and pop stars who played you to sleep with piano ballads, so maybe there was something in it? Or maybe it was just teenage, hormonal madness. Or maybe I’ve gone from a mad, teenage girl, to a mad, teenage woman, and nothing had ever been real, and I’m not in a tree, I’m on a flight to my hometown, knowing there is nothing there for me anymore, since I shared it all with you.
I’m going to get out of this tree, and I’m going to call up my ex boyfriend, then I’ll probably let him have sex with me, and I’ll hate it and I’ll cry in his en-suite bathroom, and then I’ll throw up, and write a poem about that too. I will use up all his hot water, trying to banish every trace of him from my body and soul, because I loved you, (you don’t need me to tell you that), and I don’t know what to do with that.
You have been nothing but old photos for such a long time.
I have known I was a lesbian since I was about ten, and it scared me to death.
Well, I say that, but it was more that I knew I was interested in women, not men, but didn’t know what that really meant since I was about ten. More on why that was in a second.
I grew up in a very progressive household when I lived with my mother, and that is such a blessing and a privilege, but it didn’t make a difference to how I felt about myself and the fears I had. I’m grateful for it, but they couldn’t save me from the world outside.
At school, “promotion of homosexuality” was banned, so I thought something was wrong with me. My family would try to teach me about other types of families and people, but I was being fed homophobia from a school that had no choice but to teach it to us.
(For more on why my school experience was so bad, and the history of homophobia in Kent from our local government, check out this really good article by Kent Live).
My faith is very important to me too, and I imagine that played a part. My relationship with it has changed as I’ve gotten older and felt confident in questioning what I’m told. I firmly believe God would not hate me for feeling love, but that took a long time to understand.
I will probably never be able to marry in a Catholic Church, despite being more of a Catholic than many straight people who have been allowed to. It’s painful to think about but I’m kind of at peace with it.
As I got older, and particularly when I went to university, I discovered that it wasn’t a sickness and that I wasn’t damned to hell, but it has taken literal years to unlearn that fear and self loathing. I spent years trying to be someone else.
I tried to tell someone at that point, but he took it so badly that I decided never to tell anyone else, until now, and only now, because I can no longer live in a prison that he and I built.
In my mid twenties, I began calling myself bisexual, because it felt a bit safer than telling the truth. Bisexuality is absolutely real and bisexuals are 100% valid, I just wasn’t one of them.
Even after getting over the fear of being sick or damned to hell, I was still afraid of the reality of being a lesbian. I wanted to be like everyone else. I wanted a family. I wanted to be a wife. When I became legally old enough to marry in the UK, it was still illegal for me to marry a woman.
And I mean REALLY marry by the way. Civil partnerships are not the same imo. Labour should have pushed equal marriage through and they failed the LGBT community by not doing so. Come at me Tonty Blair.
I became convinced that I’d have to “put up with a man” to get what I wanted. To be a wife, and more importantly, to be a mother (being married is kind of a required step to have kids as a Catholic lmao). Putting up with a man would be worth it to hold my child in my arms.
When I was a teenager, I’d pray every night for it all to go away. I’d stare at boys all day in class and plead with myself to find them attractive. Up until this year, I’d basically force myself into relationships with men to try and make myself like them. It just made me sad.
I would invent reasons to like men. Pretty much anything I’ve ever “found attractive” in a man throughout my life have either been typically feminine traits (a coping mechanism) or made up stuff I’ve projected onto them to find some way to like them.
I am almost thirty years old and I don’t think I have ever truly been in love, because I’ve been masquerading and pretending out of fear or I’ve been in a fleeting connection with a woman that I run away from because I feel like I shouldn’t be with her.
I joke all the time about being emotionally broken but if I’m honest, I really do think that suppressing my real self and bullying myself into the closet over and over out of fear has done legitimate damage to me, and I don’t know what to do about that.
I eventually came out (properly this time) because of two things. One, I was on a date with a man and he literally said to me “I think you’re a lesbian” and I knew the jig was up. Two, I couldn’t face turning thirty and still being desperately unhappy.
I don’t want to be lonely anymore. I don’t want to feel like I’m constantly chased by a shameful secret. I want the people I love to really know me. I want to find someone to build a real life with instead of settling for a sham marriage. I want to really live.
I don’t say any of this so that people will feel sorry for me, by the way, because it’s one of those things where the damage is done (by myself lmao) and I don’t really need validation, I just want people to understand why we can’t allow future generations to do this.
People ask why LGBT inclusive sex and relationships education needs to happen. People like me are why. You have to let kids know that they’ll be okay. Nobody is saying “teach kids about anal at five years old!” but just let them know it’s okay if they grow up to be gay, so they don’t end up like me.
I’m currently working on the next episode of my poetry radio show, Diverse Verse, as part of Alphabet Radio, and I am looking to feature poets. I am looking for poets who would be interested in sharing readings of their own work, or readings of their favourite poems, as well as poets who would be interested in being interviewed.