It’s been 63 days since I made the choice to make my sexuality public. 63 days of waiting for the welcoming committee, the bi-big sis or the gay genie. Still NOTHING. When you come out as a teen, the resources available to you are abundant. In addition to peers, most schools and youth groups today have some type of support and comradery. The road for these kids is painful and dark at times, but they are not alone. This is not the case when you are 41, divorced and living in suburbia. I am lucky to not feel afraid or threatened. I am not worried that I will be disowned or thrown out of my house. For that I feel blessed. But I am so very alone.
Where are my mentors? Where are my peers? Where are the “others” who’ve successfully navigated this road at my age and come through on the other side at peace? Where is the FUCKING roadmap?
In the days leading up to my publishing All of the Things I Am, two of my heroes Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat Pray Love) and Glennon Doyle Melton (Love Warrior) also came out. I’ve spent sleepless nights crafting my letter to them, asking for entry into their squad. Dear Liz and Glen, are you’re the big sisters I’ve been searching for? Pretty sure I’d be tagged as stalkerish. I’ve scoured the internet and local resources for support groups and so few seem to apply. It’s like writing an old school personal ad – Bisexual, 41 year old mom seeking bi-mentor for long talks, too much wine and late night panic attacks. Only those with well-traveled road maps need apply. Sounds awesome.
The best is when someone I don’t know well says “wait, I thought you had a boyfriend?” I do. He’s amazing, kind, patient and tries endlessly to be my shoulder - but there’s a limit to how much a straight man can do. That’s the idea you see. I have always fallen for men and women. I just chose the easy path for almost 40 years and kept half of those feelings to myself.
One of my dearest friends and my therapist are both convinced that if I look hard enough, I’ll find a local support group. They might be right, but the searching alone is exhausting. When I went to college I was assigned a buddy. Joined a sorority and given a big sis. Started a new job and was paired with a mentor. So why the hell not for this?!?! Is that too much to ask? Do you have any idea how many questions I have?
Remember when you were pregnant or your partner was and you were deluged with “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” and “Your Pregnancy.” But then a friend who really knew you and loved you enough shared their battered copy of “The Girlfriend’s Guide to Pregnancy,” and shit got real. And guess what? Vicki Iovine built an empire. From pregnancy, through child rearing, to her inevitable divorce – there was a guide! So where is the Girlfriend’s Guide to Coming Out at 41?? Is it really too much to ask for? I have searched high and low for a website, a book, or a guru and found little.
Someone recently suggested that the mother of invention is identifying a need and filling it – “you should write the book.” Are you kidding? I am seeking the tome, the bible, the encyclopedia here people. I cannot write what I do not even fully understand. Besides, my life is exhausting enough. I barely have time in my day to read what I seek, much less to write it. Instead, I wait eagerly for my imaginary squad (are you listening Elizabeth and Glennon?) to write their next books, which I just know will be everything I’ve been missing. No pressure, ladies.
In the meantime I struggle with the fact that anyone who doesn’t know me well assumes my straight and it’s often too awkward to correct them. I struggle that I find myself feeling defensive when I shouldn’t and offensive when it’s me with the issue. So that’s fun too.
So yeah, all I want for Hanukkah is a guide or a Sherpa. And if 2017 arrives and he/she is nowhere to be found – dammit, I’m starting my own group. Is there an app for that?