Be true to yourself... that is seriously hard-won wisdom.
Frankly, it’s bold as hell that you’d even read a blog post about being true to yourself written by a lesbian with not one but two ex-husbands. Okay, perhaps you didn’t know that, but it’s not because I’ve been keeping secrets.
Let’s begin with a mind-blowing piece of Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s “The Invitation”:
It doesn’t interest me
if the story you are telling me
I want to know if you can
to be true to yourself.
If you can bear
the accusation of betrayal
and not betray your own soul.
If you can be faithless
and therefore trustworthy.
Did she just say, “I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself“? Um, yes… she certainly did. This may leave us wondering, what does that even mean?
When I married the second time, I already knew I was a lesbian. In the spirit of full-disclosure, it’s important to say that I didn’t really know what that meant. I didn’t understand the magnitude of that in my life; there wasn’t any way for me to understand because it was so new to me. I’d assumed I was straight… everyone had, and from what I could tell, the worst case scenario was not enjoying sex for the rest of my life. It was obviously something of a sacrifice, but one that seemed small compared to my children having to grow up like that. That was the essence of the offer that was laid upon my table. I would be loved. My children would be safe and cared for. They wouldn’t have to deal with having a gay mom.
Come out. Or get engaged. Say yes, or get a restraining order. That was the choice I had to make, and the persistence – his sheer determination – was unwavering.
I chose marriage.
I built a blended family, like the finest house of cards you’ve ever seen. And then, years later, I destroyed what I’d built, and the hearts of everyone involved. As lovely as it looked – the house, cars, children, health insurance, even the marriage license (only for straight people… or those who are willing to play along) – the whole damn thing was completely false for me.
I am a lesbian and there was not enough love or patience or therapy in the world to change that. I was living in hell. I fantasized about driving my minivan into a concrete barrier on the freeway to get a “break” from the insanity of being me, in that life of not-me-ness I’d created.
I knew I had to leave. He did not want that… still. It was a disaster. I lost almost everything – spouse, friends, home, security, family, and even children. Yes, I lost the two boys that I’d raised like my own for years. It was hell… but it was my hell. I’d earned it. Hell is what you deserve when you nearly destroy other people’s lives because you don’t have the courage to be true to yourself. I had it coming, and I could bear it.
Whatever your truth, be willing to tell it, because your lies, whatever they are and whatever their motivation, ultimately don’t do anyone any favors. Be true to yourself… the rest is a tragic illusion that, when push comes to shove, you can’t even cash in.