I’ve always fancied myself a Proper Lesbian. I have a respectable collection of flannel shirts. I chose the restaurant when my date is “okay going wherever.” I never ask a girl out if I’m not sure she’s gay. And I certainly never crush on straight women.

So, I was surprised when I realized I have been crushing on the same straight woman for nearly a year. So much so, that “crush” is really more of an understatement to save my ego. More accurately, I had a full romantic attraction to a close friend. A friend who is straight and in love with her boyfriend.

The Ingredients

Prep time: 1 year

1 cup blurred boundaries

1 dozen Drunken Weekends

1/2 quart feelings, to taste**

Infatuation

Lust

Guilt

Shame

2 tsp denial

1 tough conversation

**The blend that I used, but feel free to substitute to taste

The Steps

Muddle the boundaries with the drunken weekends

The nature of friendships between women makes it easy to blur boundary lines. This particular friend and I already had a relatively intimate relationship. Between all the playful flirting and cuddling and quasi-romantic bonding, my guard was low enough to let a tiny crush slip past. But after throwing back a few cups of college-strength cocktails, the boundary lines went from blurry to invisible. At that point, my guard was asleep at the wheel while that tiny crush was in the backseat turning into full-blown romantic feelings.

Stir in the denial, let it sit

At first, I rejected the idea that my involvement in this was foolish. I was convinced this wasn’t a typical lesbian-likes-a-str8-girl situation, because it was mutual. I wasn’t playing this game alone. She initiated much of the physical contact we ever had. She verbally expressed  how much of a crush she had on me. She even explicitly told me if it weren’t for her boyfriend, she’d be with me.

Of course, I didn’t believe all of those drunken declarations. I wasn’t waiting on her to drop her man, her sexuality, or her life to run away lesbian-ly with me. I dated other women. I didn’t hold out much hope. So it was a harmless crush, right?

Fold feelings into the mixture

I was charmed by her. I was impressed. And dazzled.

Again, the past tense verbs merely protect my ego. I am still all of those things.

But one year after I unconsciously began this process, I found this crush was no longer “harmless.” And that I was fantasizing about being with a woman who was planning the rest of her life with her boyfriend.

The final product:

Once all of the ingredients have been combined. You’ll be left with an unhealthy attraction to a straight woman and a mess, one indistinguishable from the other. The final product isn’t edible or useful. Logically, it should just be discarded.

Recipe Addendum

Before you throw away your concoction, there’s a secret ingredient that may keep intact the friendship underneath the mess. By itself, it’s bitter and avoided by most reasonable cooks. But, if you’re like me, you threw reason out of the kitchen way back at step one.

Grate a tough conversation on top of the entire mixture

I sat down with her, even if drunkenly. And I told her everything, as if she didn’t already know. I told her how innocent it started out for me and how intense it had grown to be. Most importantly, I told her I’m letting go of the feelings I have for her and how foolish I felt for ever developing them in the first place. She accepted it and understood her role in the process. Our friendship has carried on seemingly undamaged.

The new final product will be loose, but still hold it’s shape. It will be edible, but not palatable. On the bright side, if you soak the mixing bowl long enough, you may be able to use it again for future recipes.

Try this recipe at your own risk; I cannot guarantee the same results.

This past weekend was San Francisco Pride! What place would a queer girl rather be than San Francisco (a.k.a HQ for the Gay Agenda)?

Answer: with her friends.

I’ve ended up in San Francisco for the past two summers, interning at a Tech company. And like last year, I’m rooming with three straight girls, all of whom could not be less interested in my lesbian longings for community and safety in the arms of other queer women. With those being the only people socially available to me out here, I didn’t have much chance for a gay-filled weekend.

So I decided to go alone.

Of course my decision to go alone came with some jitters and fear of looking like a loner in such a social place. But I persisted through those inhibitions for my personal growth (but mostly for blog content.)

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San Francisco Dyke March

Saturday

I made my way to Delores Park for the Dyke March. It was exactly what it sounded like, and what I’d hoped it’d be. The streets were blocked off and filled with queer woman of every kind. Admittedly, I stayed hidden in a Cafe across from Delores up until the actual march began. But once I finished my Agua Fresca, I joined the droves of lesbians marching around the Mission.

The sweetest part of the Dyke March was seeing so many older lesbians, specifically older lesbian couples (bonus points if they had a kid or a dog.) That was a gentle reminder that a cheesy domestic ending is possible for me, something mainstream media doesn’t often affirm.

Even though I was alone, I didn’t feel isolated. And I actually felt a little warmed being surrounded by so many smiling queer women. I don’t see that often enough. I’d definitely go to the Dyke March again next year.

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Me at the Pride Parade

Sunday

The main Pride Parade down Market Street was on Sunday. The parade was a little less engaging than being completely engulfed in a sea of lesbians, but it was fun nonetheless. My roommate decided to tag along with me to that event. I still have all the random flyers and temporary tattoo tabs that were handed out during the parade.

Honestly, the parade felt commercialized and abstract instead of being deeply for and about queer folk. I enjoy corporate floats as much as the next gal, but I enjoyed the Saturday events more.

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Master of None is a scripted dramedy on Netflix, created by Aziz Ansari. I wasn’t very moved by the first season, and stopped watching about half-way through. But I was drawn back in by a relatable episode following Denise Watkins, played by Lena Waithe, as she navigates being the only lesbian in her family. Throughout the episode, I noticed just how similar my story was to Denise’s. 

Her story reminded me of the day I came out to my mom at our favorite Waffle House. I always love writing about stories that make me feel less alone in my experiences. But the true reason I wrote this piece is for the people in my life who weren’t there to see me cry over a pecan waffle, unsure of whether I’d still have my family’s love and support after my tears dried. And for anyone who may not be able to come out quite yet. So, let’s begin.

Youth

The episode catalogs Thanksgiving dinner in the Watkins’ house through the years. In childhood, Denise was a Regular Kid™. The only visible deviation about her was her preference for sporty clothes and her distaste for the frilly confines of the skirts her mom picked out for her. 

Like my mother, Denise’s mom (played by the amazing Angela Bassett) only gently attempted to correct this behavior, mostly hoping her daughter would outgrow it. Besides, at that point, neither Denise nor I knew we could be gay.

Teenage Years

The episode then jumps to Thanksgiving during Denise’s high school years. Denise and Dev (Aziz’s character) smoke weed in Denise’s bedroom while her mom and aunt were preparing dinner downstairs.

(Sidenote: Now I might be brave enough to come out as a lesbian, but I was never reckless enough to light more than a candle in my mom’s house. I probably wouldn’t be alive to tell that story anyhow.)

As Denise slumps hazily on her bed, she ogles up at a poster of Jennifer Aniston. I guess having a bedroom covered in gorgeous actresses and no male heartthrobs was also something Denise’s mom assumed to be benign. When gazing lustfully at the poster, Denise still doesn’t quite have language for what she feels in the moment.

While I can’t relate to gazing at Jennifer Aniston, I was more of a Nia Long and Sanaa Lathan kinda girl, this is a common experience among lesbians.

I went years having inexplicable fascinations with certain women, before realizing those thinly guised “girl-crushes” were actually just attraction. It finally registered that I liked women during senior year of high school when my fantasies about a girl-crush were no longer platonic-passing. It was an aha moment, “Whoa, I wanna be her girlfriend.” But alas, I stayed in the closet until college.

College and Coming Out

When I went off to College, I was far enough from home to just be out and openly date women. Presumably the same was true for Denise. On a visit back home, Denise is eating at a diner with her mom. Then, her mom casually throws in a,

“At least you’re not pregnant,”

to go along with a,

“Dating any boys, yet?” or my all-time favorite,

“When you get a husband…”

Denise swallows hard and just spits out, “Ma, I’m gay.”

What resonated most with me was that Denise’s mom responded almost exactly like mine. My mom casually asked, “Anything hot on the press?” (which is how we ask each other what’s new.)

I answered like I had rehearsed a million times, “Yeah, I’m dating someone……a girl.”

Almost as if Angela Bassett sat in that very Waffle House, she acted out my mom’s reaction to a tee. She kept her composure, mostly. And rationalized how absurd of an idea having a gay daughter was to her.

Coming out to my mom wasn’t violent or more traumatizing than any other day as a lesbian in this society. She made sure to tell me I was an abomination but she didn’t see me differently, a response that she seemed to only half-believe. I’m still not sure which half.

Bring Her Home to Mama?

The last segment shows the first time Denise brings her girlfriend to Thanksgiving and how her family reacts. Unfortunately I don’t have a personal piece to add to that because I haven’t had the chance to eat Thanksgiving dinner with a woman I love.

By the end of the episode, Denise’s mom comes around to accept her daughter, and even bonds with Denise’s girlfriend. I can only hope for the same outcome.

It’s been two years since I came out to my mother. I’m not ashamed any more. I’m certainly afraid not any more. And I’m not in the closet any more…to anyone. I don’t know if this’ll make my next few Thanksgiving dinners awkward. But I do know, if someone claims they love me I shouldn’t have to meet any more criteria than just being myself.  And I do hope this’ll get me out of some of those, “Got a boyfriend yet?” conversations.