Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Letting It Fly

So, I am in what is often called Middle Age. If that is true and I am at midpoint in my earthly existence, then I should die at 110. This a happy thought, since it has only been three years since I came out and I would like to think that I have a long time left to enjoy my new sense of identity and freedom.

Now this 'coming out' event was not so much of a pronouncement (except to husband and kids) or even an event at all, as a gradual awareness dawning on most people I know. I, myself, knew it always to be true. There were many years that I thought a change of team was possible, but not really, if I am perfectly honest. Doing this sort of brave new thing at any point is hard, but factor in five kids, a (then) husband and 50-plus years of relationships with family and friends, I'd say it is positively heroic.

I look the same as always. I think. Well, I did cut my hair pretty short and I do favor sports bras over regular hook ones. I have a small bumper sticker that is a navy blue square with a yellow equal sign on my car. I can play 'Closer to Fine' by the Indigo Girls on the guitar and I think Jane Lynch is wonderfully funny. But I still believe in the importance of shaved legs and armpits (OMG!) and my main incarnation as mom has not changed.

My partner and I and our daughters went to the beach on a recent blazing hot day. We go regularly in the summer and sometimes like to walk up and down the shoreline holding hands. On this day, umbrellaed directly behind us on the sand was a group of four friends. These girls looked pretty gay, especially two who were obviously partners. One of the two was sunbathing on her stomach with her swimsuit top untied, like many girls do, usually careful to not prop up too much. This girl didn't care. She sat up, chatting with her friends and spooning with her girlfriend on the blanket, letting her womanhood out for the world to see.

Our daughters were amused and slightly scandalized by this and the event was the topic of much discussion as we sat there. They didn't think such exposure was acceptable behavior. We looked around. Several men of various shapes strutted the shore in tiny Speedos, their bulges clearly defined. How was this somehow okay? Oh, and a couple of them were sucking face with their girlfriends on the sand and in the water, their hands groping at will. No problems here, right?

I admire that young woman on the blanket - for her bravery and for her honesty. She was at the beach. It was hot. Womens' swimsuits are tight and uncomfortable. She was more covered up still than those men, and her public displays of affection toward her girlfriend were careful and G-rated. Okay, make that PG.

This later-in-life Rainbow Connection has many many benefits. My partner and I are slowly becoming more affectionate in public situations. We walk arm in arm and hand in hand on any street that is not right in our own town. Our kids see us hug and kiss each other hello and goodbye. Our friends, families, pastor and church people know we are a couple. Our kids refer to us as 'the moms'. I feel like the me I was born to be (pardon the dumb rhyme). I stand a little straighter. I wear two piece swimsuits for the first time in my life. I sing louder in church. I dance in the house and accept all ridicule happily. I fall asleep with and wake up to the person I love. I am learning to let my freak flag fly.

Make that my free flag.

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