The first relationship I was in after my divorce was with a woman. I know what you’re thinking, it came as quite a shock to everyone, myself included. It’s not that I felt closeted before; it’s just this time I fell in love with a person who happened to have a vagina.
I’ve never been the type of person who looks at another human and is immediately attracted to them. Whilst I can appreciate a good-looking person, it has always taken a minute for the attraction part to kick in. For me, it’s more than anything on the outside. It is chemistry, laughter and connection.
Here’s my story
I had started back at work after maternity leave and I was beginning to figure out who I was as an individual because I hadn’t been without the boys since the separation from my husband.
I felt vulnerable and exposed and was trying to find my feet in the world again, as me, Susie. It was also extremely liberating and a time I look back on and smile. It was a moment of rebirth after the most epic of deaths. I was making new friends and saying yes to things I maybe wouldn’t have before, finding what fit for me. It took a minute for me to realise, with the nudge from some friends, that something was happening with a new friend of mine. There was an undeniable connection and chemistry, and believe me, no one was more shocked about this than me. Because this person happened to be female.
I work in a theatre and my life is filled with people of all different sexual orientations. I didn’t feel anxious about telling people, I knew my people would support my happiness. And for the most part, I was right. There were a few comments, varying on the homophobic scale, some from religious family members and others from people who I believed to be friends.
At the time I was hurt, but I now understand people meet you exactly where they have met themselves, and I’d like to think people are trying their best with what they have. I am now in a place where I don’t take it personally. I can honestly say I have strived to live my life with integrity, compassion, and empathy, and I’ve tried my best with regard to all areas of my life.
I haven’t always gotten it right,
I am far from perfect, in fact I don’t believe in perfection, but I am trying my best. This is what counts to me, not my sexual orientation. Anyone who disagrees with this is not a part of my tribe, and that is more than ok with me.
My boys and I
I was asked how the boys felt about my relationship with a woman, and in fact, these were some of the more homophobic comments I received. Along the lines of: ‘You don’t need to tell the boys, they will just assume she’s your friend’, or ‘they will most likely not talk to you when they are older and realise the truth of your lifestyle’. To which I responded: ‘I’m not raising boys like that. I’m raising boys to love, to accept, to welcome wholehearted humans into their life.
I am raising two boys to show up as themselves unapologetically, to show compassion to themselves and others and not to judge people based on their sexual orientation, gender, race, or any other protected characteristic and to challenge those who do. I am raising boys to contribute to a world in which marginalised people are not only included but celebrated. To not only make space for these people at the table, but to help build them their very own. I am raising boys who understand that love is love’.
I am, of course, up against society, and these boys occasionally bring home some real nuggets of information, or even language, that they’ve overheard, but which absolutely does not support the world I would like to be a part of shaping. Initially, I felt panic when this occurred, but now I use these moments to educate the kids on this and other important topics, feminism included. I am trying my very best and hope this stuff sticks. I am also learning myself along the way.
So whilst this relationship wasn’t meant to be for the long term, I am grateful for it. It has shaped the conversations I have with my children, and it has shown me the people in my life whose values do not align with mine. I also believe all relationships will highlight something in you, that maybe you need to take a look at; like how I have reacted to situations, as opposed to taking the time to breathe and form a response. Or why I had abandoned myself for the fear of being alone. I only stopped doing those things, because I first became aware of them in the first place.
Bigger Than - Justin Jesso
For me, the requirements that I need from someone in order to allow them into my life, i.e. my deal breakers, my bottom line, include kindness, compassion, fun, self-awareness, support, and empathy, and those who are connected to themselves. And, in return, I will show up as that person too, because those things are what’s important, not necessarily what gender they identify with.
I am currently single, and what the future holds where relationships are concerned or what the gender of future partners may be, I’m not sure, but I am also not scared. Because what is meant for me will be, and what is not will pass me by, and I have learnt that resisting or trying to control these things is the source of unhappiness.
If I can raise these boys to feel accepted for who they are, not for an idea of who they were supposed to be, then I’ll consider that a massive win for them, for me and for the world I’d like to live in. And the best way I can do that is by showing up as me and celebrating when they do the same.
The Way Of Integrity – Martha Beck
My advice for anyone who would be heartbroken or disappointed to have a child who doesn’t turn out the way you expected, whether they be gay or perhaps don’t identify with the gender they were assigned, is do not have children. There is nothing wrong or broken about that human, and everything is wrong and broken about your expectations and the existence of those expectations in the first place.