I asked for stories, and my wish was granted! Today, a 24-year-old woman who is new to the Boston Jewish community shares her story with you. (She has asked to remain anonymous.)
Where do I even begin? I could start off by saying sex was never spoken about in my family; it just never came up. I never asked because I was still trying to figure out who I really was and what I wanted. The only things that my parents said were, “Wait for marriage,” and “Marry someone Jewish.”
Ever since I was 10 or 11 years old, I always felt different but never knew why. I had a boyfriend in middle school and a boyfriend in high school, and even in college. But there was always something that I noticed in women more than men. I’m not sure if it was an attraction, but I noticed women more. It was always in the back of my mind. Throughout these years, I wondered if I noticed women because I was really attracted to them, or if they were good-looking and I wanted to look like them.
When I started to put myself out there, people asked me what I consider myself. After doing some research, I thought I “matched up” more as a “lipstick lesbian” or “femme.” I read an article that said most lipstick lesbians tend to go in and out of the closet and have a harder time coming out. Everything started to connect.
At the end of college, I felt comfortable enough with my sorority sisters to come out to them. So during senior week, all the sisters met up at an apartment to pre-game before the bar crawl. As I was thinking about how I wanted to tell them, I was starting to freak out inside. Was I doing the right thing? Finally, I took a deep breath and said: “Hey, so I need to tell you all something. I really am going to miss you after we graduate and have never felt like such a family until this past year. So that being said, I just feel I need to be honest with you and myself—I’m gay.”
They jumped up from where they were sitting to give me hugs and say they love me. It was such a relief. But graduation was right around the corner. On May 15, I moved back to Massachusetts.
And there you have it—back in the closet. I had more stress than ever because I couldn’t find a job and was not ready to come out to my family. I was “dating” someone, but I was definitely more committed to the relationship than she was. I wanted her to be there when I came out to my parents, but before that could happen, she broke up with me. I was devastated! I was so upset that all I wanted to do was shut myself out from the world.
Now that I have a job, I have really started thinking about my personal life: Who do I want to be with and hopefully start a family with? It has been a rough 10 months, because all I want to do is make a national announcement that I’m a lesbian, but I need to take baby steps. My first step was to come out to more of my friends and make sure I’m good saying I’m a lesbian. I need to say it out loud or I will never admit to myself that I am who I am. At first when coming out to my friends, I felt like I was having a heart attack. My chest was heavy, I was feeling sick to my stomach and I wanted to cry. Now I just say it and accept it.
I’m glad I’m telling my friends, because I feel that I can now be myself even more than before. But it still takes a toll on me: I’m not out to my family, I’m trying to find an apartment, and I’m trying to have a dating/social life. It all adds up, but I know very soon everything will come together and I can be stress-free.
Thank you for sharing your story! We welcome you to town with open arms, and we wish you lots of luck as you navigate your dating/social life. I encourage you to check out some online resources from Keshet, and to attend some summer Keshet events. I hope you find the Jewish community in Boston to be as welcoming and supportive as many of us have.
Readers, any advice or words of welcome for today’s writer?