Also appeared in elephantjournal – check it out! This post is dedicated to MF.
The following is an internal dialogue between me, Lyla (“grown-up,” married, mother of two), and my gay, teenage alter-ego. We’ll call her “Eve since,” as you will see, she spends a lot of time focused on, shall we say, forbidden fruit.
Lyla: There has to be a way to keep up with the laundry without doing some every single day!
Lyla: Aw, my little boy asked a question, that must be a developmental milestone.
Lyla: Seth is my soul mate, best friend, and life-long companion.
Lyla: How do I know if my kids are adjusting well to pre-school?
Eve: Girls… and sex.
Lyla: Dental Insurance?
Eve: How do you pick out a strap-on?
Lyla: I can’t believe this, I didn’t think we had dental insurance, but we do! What a relief!
Eve: Dates… we should be going on them. With girls!
Lyla: I should probably talk to my therapist about this.
Lyla: …And bring it up in our couples sessions as well.
Eve: Fuck that.
Lyla: Mmmm, red heads.
Eve: Mmmm, red heads.
Eve: I like that girl from Glee… Marley.
Lyla: Ummmm… I think she’s a little young for me!
Lyla: Aw, my Sethy looks hot in that t-shirt.
Eve: I am SO over penises.
Lyla: I’m so glad I set up that phone date and came out to that friend from college I haven’t talked to in years.
Eve: Put that thing down, you’re embarrassing me! Talking on the phone is so 1998.
Lyla: Perhaps I can meet some like-minded, queer women through the feminist blogs I enjoy.
Eve: OkCupid. Screename — EasyEvie69.
Lyla: I’ve learned a lot about sexual fluidity and polyamory this year, and I feel like my views of sex and gender are becoming more and more expansive.
Eve: I like pussy.
Lyla: I’d love to meet more people who can envision more than straight and gay, male and female — who understand that sexual orientation and gender are continuums, spectrums, if you will, not dichotomies.
Eve: OMG, spend five minutes in high school. Your peers are so 1998.
Lyla: I’m sick of feeling closeted. None of the other moms really know me.
Eve: It gets better.
Lyla: I’m just stupefied by the degree of monosexism I’m experiencing, even from the gay community. It’s so disappointing.
Eve: Girls. Kissing them… and playing with their hair. And pussy. Licking it.
Lyla: Seth’s freckles… aorrrrrw.
Lyla: Okay, what’s the right way to come out to a colleague?
Eve: Tell them, just tell them all! How about “I’m pansexual, bitches! I’m here, and I’m queer. Deal with it!”
Lyla here again.
I don’t mean to imply that I’m a straight person and a lesbian all rolled into one, because that’s exactly not so. I’m pansexual. I’m attracted to men and women and other people too. The truth is, Lyla likes girls, and Eve, if she really admits it, likes boys.
Trouble is, while Lyla is a 35 year-old woman, Eve never got to the chance to grow up. She’s been suspended somewhere, perpetually 16, perpetually waiting for her turn, and now that she’s got it, she’s coming out in full force.
Lyla’s been attracted to men and fully aware of that for years. I’ve been there, done that, had those crushes and first times, done the internet dating thing and met my husband.
Eve isn’t just the part of me that likes girls, she’s the part of me that wants a do-over. I feel like I’m having a second adolescence and this one’s way better.
The idea that I have a do-over, and this time never involve men, that’s kind of empowering! This time I look better, I feel better, I know who I am, and after years of therapy, building an authentic, meaningful life, and growing two humans in my body, I’m not fixin’ to take shit from anyone. And on top of all that… boobies.
You see Eve and her generation, they don’t have all the hang-ups some folks my age do. They are comfortable with in-betweens, gray areas, and spectrums. They are way less like to ask her to “choose” or to “prove-it,” like bisexual folks my age often are. Eve’s ready to leap out of the closet because the truth is, her world is a lot safer. Back in the day we just kept our mouths shut until we weren’t confused about our sexuality anymore (for me that was less than two years ago).
These kids proudly espouse whatever label fits them in the moment, because they understand fluidity, and they are comfortable with sexual unknowns. Surf through Tumblr.com sometime if you don’t believe me.
Eve, she’s pretty convincing, and I’m not sure I’m going to be able to fend her off for long. I’m older than her, and bigger (albeit slower). I can keep her at bay if I choose to, but nothing is going to keep all the other thousands of Eves quiet. They are like a tidal wave barreling toward existing gender norms, breaking down dichotomies, questioning monogamy, discovering kink through means other than 50 Shades of Grey, and living outside the binary.
There’s a part of me that is so envious of these kids – that wishes I could grow up again and be part of this tidal wave. And then I wonder if maybe I can. Maybe it’s never really too late. Maybe a second adolescence is possible (if not, advisable?) Maybe there’s a way to give Lyla her dental insurance, get the laundry done, keep the hubby, not traumatize the kids, and still be out and proud and part of something bigger.
So this is for the grown-ups.
-For all you queer moms trapped out there somewhere in the suburbs.
-For all the adults balancing not only kids, work, and marriage, but other partners on the side.
-For those gender variant folks who look on with envy as teens do the impossible, and fantasize in vain about the transitions you never had.
-For the amazing transgender folks in their forties, fifties, and sixties who are coming out and changing their lives, and to their very brave spouses and partners riding out that journey with them.
-For the men who have sex with men.
-For the kinksters, the ones who are out there at sex clubs, and the ones who are most alive at their laptops, hanging out on Fetlife.com.
-To the couples in mixed orientation marriages, who know the truth, that a gay person and a straight person can have an awesome marriage.
-For the fluid folks who’ve changed, changed back and then changed again.
-For the parents of gender variant and queer kids who are working everyday to make a space that never existed when we were coming up.
For all the grown-ups out there — undercover in the suburbs. We’re not done. We’ve only just begun. Finding yourself doesn’t end when you graduate college, when your first child is born, or even at retirement.
So let’s get out there in whatever ways we can. We’re here and we’re queer in the widest possible sense. I don’t know about you, but I’m not missing this party. Let’s not make the world wait until we die to get better. So wherever you are, however far in the closet, consider coming out another inch, another foot, or breaking that door down all together.
The more of us they see, the less of us they can ignore. LGBTQIAPK etc, etc, etc. So find your own Eve. Maybe she’s a part of you that never got a voice, or maybe she’s your daughter, your neighbor, a kid you mentor, or a student you teach.
Eve and her friends are coming, ready or not. Let’s take their hands and together claim the post-patriarchal, fluid, sex-positive, gender-creative future we crave.
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