(Originally posted on November 29, 2012 at I Dig Your Girlfriend.)
I am a Scorpio.
Aside from being darkly charismatic and smoldering with sexual magnetism (ha!), we Scorpios are known for being secretive. I’ve been secretive for as long as I can remember, even when it came to small, inconsequential details. I always felt like my thoughts and feelings were things I needed to protect from the world. I preferred to keep them safe in my head and heart, where I knew they would be understood instead of questioned or judged.
I am also a lesbian, and no stranger to the closet. As of this writing, I’m still not out to the majority of my coworkers. It’s not that I wouldn’t admit the truth if asked. It’s just that I have always felt more at ease when my innermost thoughts were under wraps.
As we speak, I am undergoing a personal paradigm shift. I can feel my fundamental self transforming. I have started doing the exact opposite of my instincts, with surprising results.
But let’s begin at the beginning: straight women.
Ah, straight women. What lesbian doesn’t have a list of unrequited loves to share? When I look back on my life, I see that there were dozens of lady crushes that flickered on and off throughout the years. But only a few were truly significant, and each one of these taught me a little bit about myself, and about the kind of woman I’m looking for.
Crush #1: The Boss
My first all-consuming crush was on a woman ten years older than me. I was in my early twenties, and I was working at one of a string of many unsatisfying office jobs. She was my boss.
She was tall and slim, with long blonde hair and glasses. She wore plaid skirts and the occasional fitted blazer. She had a lovely laugh, and she used a delightfully citrusy hand lotion that clung to the room even after she’d left. She was a perfectionist who lived alone and didn’t seem to date much. She was completely wrong for me, but at the time, I couldn’t help but dream.
That crush lasted about a year, and it fizzled out soon after she left the company and moved to Calgary. She never knew how I felt; in fact, she didn’t even find out that I was gay until much later. That year feels like a lifetime ago, and today I am younger than she was when we first met. She’s in her forties now, and I have no idea what her life is like.
Crush #2: The Bombshell
My second significant crush was a woman I met at the same office. She was our receptionist. She was unabashedly hot. She was younger than me, and blonde, with amazing curves and a great smile. To my surprise, the two of us became quick friends. On cold, snowy days, she would drive me home from work and we would chat and laugh together.
It didn’t matter that she was newly married to a man, or that, a couple of months after I met her, she discovered she was pregnant. When crushing on a girl, I allowed myself to gloss over her actual life situation and desires. It was never about me thinking I could actually be with her. It was about me wishing I could, and knowing it was impossible. The fact that it was impossible was actually a comfort.
After giving birth (to twins!), she did not return to work. The two of us remained friends for a little while after that, but ultimately parted ways. I haven’t spoken to her in years. Her twins must have started school by now – crazy!
Crush #3: The Cool Chick
I met Girl #3 at the same workplace. She was even younger than the last – and every bit as straight. She was the first Asian friend I’d ever made (a departure from the blondes!). She was small but solid, and her fashion sense confused me. She had one of the filthiest minds I’d ever encountered, and she was cool in a way that made me surprised that she would want to be my friend. She was funny, and creative, and cute. She had a boyfriend, as well as a ridiculous number of handbags. She convinced me to buy a handbag, which I still have. She wrote zines.
I quit my job while she was still working there, and it was a matter of weeks before it all went sour. I sent her an email one day, asking why she kept blowing me off. She fired back with one of the meanest emails anyone has ever sent me, calling me a loser and saying I would probably be alone for the rest of my life. We never spoke after that.
Crush #4: The Sensitive Soul
My fourth and final straight crush happened while I was working at a collection agency. This was a horrible job, in a horrible environment. Maybe a hundred employees worked there, but somehow I managed to find a kindred spirit.
She was a few years younger than me, and she had recently moved to Canada from Taiwan. We were each surprised to learn that the other had a basic grasp of conversational Spanish. She was very pretty, with lovely curves that she didn’t appreciate. She was sweet and funny and sensitive. I always felt like she needed taking care of; like she was the slightest bit lost and needed to be helped along.
She came with me to the Pride Parade once, without knowing I was a lesbian. She had decided to go because a colorful parade sounded like fun to her. I came out to her during that parade, and she was convinced that I was joking. But her surprise quickly gave way to absolute acceptance. I quit that job about a year after I started, but she and I stayed friends for a while after that.
As time went on, she became sort of a high maintenance friend. Eventually, I stopped returning her calls. I think I was actively resenting the fact that she could never be who I wanted her to be. We haven’t talked in years. She’s stopped trying to initiate conversations. We’re still Facebook friends, but we don’t interact. From what I can tell, she may have moved back to Taiwan.
My emotional and/or social growth is stunted. I know this. I spent the better part of my twenties mooning over unattainable women instead of grabbing life by the ovaries and finding me some lesbians. The fact that every one of the friendships I used to have with these girls has evaporated is not lost on me.
We grew apart because I let us, or in some cases, because I made us. Just being near the girl of my dreams was enough for me… until it wasn’t, at which point I didn’t want to see her at all. On the whole, I’ve spent years harbouring secret crushy feelings, and all it’s done is poison friendships and crap on my self-esteem.
Well, no more!
My most recent crush doesn’t exactly follow the pattern of the above ones. For starters, she isn’t straight. I also didn’t meet her at a soul-sucking office job. Most significantly? My trademark secrecy came to a screeching halt last weekend. I ducked my natural inclination to spend the next few months crushing before ultimately nixing our friendship. Instead, I asked her out.
She said no.
I always thought that if I asked a girl out and she said no, it would destroy me. I could not have been more wrong. Just the act of asking filled me with a confidence and self-satisfaction I could never have predicted. And now instead of our friendship crumbling, I feel like it is strengthening. She knows how I feel, she doesn’t feel the same, and we’re both fine with it. We’re even to the point of joking about it.
More than anything, it’s been a relief, and I think that can be chalked up to the honesty. Secrets can really weigh a person down. But telling the truth and watching the world still be awesome is freeing in a way I won’t soon forget.
Which leads me to this article. I guess I figured that, if telling her the truth felt this good, maybe I should just put all my cards on the table and tell the world about all of my past crushes. Odds are good that the ladies I mentioned above will never read this article, as none of them speak to me anymore, but you never know. The point is, I no longer feel afraid to show my feelings. I feel empowered by sharing them. It’s been like coming out of another closet.
It sure feels good to breathe.