Another one of those sort of explicit, personal posts
1. You were quite young when you got married. You've indicated at least one lesbian relationship prior to that--how old were you when that took place?
I was young when I got married. But I think I became an adult the first night my cousin visited me. I know from that moment I no longer thought of myself as a child. I was completely disconnected from my body, mentally, and yet, felt ruled by impulses from within that body. There was an enormous amount of conflict, and no outlet. I was an avid reader. By the time I was thirteen I was reading all that I could about homosexuality. When an opportunity came to be with another female, I took it. I believe I was 14 at the time.
2. Why did you decide not to continue pursuing a homosexual lifestyle. You've made comments about it feeling safe. What changed?
I would have to first state that I'm not sure anything "changed." There were some things that happened that led me to decide I needed to go away from homosexuality. First, although there was much in that relationship that made me feel right, in a sense, there was more that frightened me. I felt emotionally consumed and isolated from the world, in general. I felt a great need to have my partner with me at all times, and my autonomy and independence seemed to dissipate daily. That was really scary for me. I suppose the biggest event happened when I was sixteen. I fell in love with my best friend. She and I were incredibly close. We had sleep-overs regularly, we showered together, we were unashamed to dress or undress in front of one another, we shared regular physical affection (hugging, arms linked, snuggling) within a heterosexual teen girl realm. When I realized my feelings for her had progressed to the intensity I was experiencing, I knew our friendship would be over if I didn't get them under control. My friend was most decidedly NOT gay. I wondered how many other friendships would end with my falling in love and becoming emotionally dependent. At that point, I started making efforts to look for other options.
3. How were you able to overcome your fear and hatred of men so that you could marry Darrin?
By the time Darrin entered my life, I had experienced some very positive experiences with men. I suppose the greatest experience was that my father and I began rebuilding our relationship when I was around 17. We have continued to work on that and he is one of my closest male friends, as well as my dad. I had a wonderful guy friend in my life from the time I was nine-years-old. I believe I was able to maintain a relationship with him because we were close friends prior to the abuse in my life. He showed me that not ALL men wanted to hurt me, but because I could not see him in the same light as other men, this was only helpful on a small scale. There were three or four young men in high school with whom I felt safe and had postitive dating experiences. That was helpful. Also, my close relationship on a daily basis with my Home Evening Brothers was more healing than I had ever imagined any relationship could be. I met Darrin when he came to visit my HEB's, which gave him an "in" in my life, which most men did not have. Because I viewed him in the same light as my Brothers, we remained in touch during the summer and he revisited our friendship in the fall.
When I realized that Darrin wanted to marry me, there were a series of hoops he had to jump through in order for me to trust him. Perhaps, at a later date, I'll talk about some of the things the poor man had to endure in order to win my trust, but not now. At that point, I wanted to get married, although I didn't necessarily want all that the marriage relationship included. It seemed that no matter what I said or did, Darrin would not go away. Among other things, I dated other young men after we got engaged. Darrin said, "Let me know when your finished with that," and he didn't break off our engagement, as I had anticipated. He was like super glue, and the more I tried to make him leave, the more he just kind of stuck around.
One day I realized that if I was going to marry someone, it should be a person I loved, but more than that, it needed to be one I trusted who would not leave me when I was psycho and weird. Darrin is, I believe, the only one who would do that. He seemed to recognize that all my bad behavior was motivated by something deeper, and was willing to work through pretty much anything I threw at him. Plus, he was one of the few guys I could kiss without wanting to retch, and his touch didn't make me shudder--those were good things. The weirdest thing, for me, was that I felt safe with Darrin on many levels. When he held me, I didn't worry that he was going to hurt me. When he kissed me, he stopped when I asked him to. When he held my hand, it felt comforting and right. Somewhere inside me I felt that if I needed someone to love me in any instance, to protect me when I was afraid, and one who would accept every broken part of me, Darrin was that person. I was not wrong.
As far as overcoming fear...there are still times today when I am afraid. Darrin knows this. But the times have become less frequent as time has passed, and if I remind myself who I am with, the fear often abates. The most amazing thing to me is this: after all these years, after all this time, Darrin still loves me. He still thinks I'm beautiful. He still wants to be with me, in spite of all the baggage I carry with me. He knows that I feel horribly broken, that past hurts spring up spontaneously, that I can't seem to feel worthy of him. He understands that I've made decisions in the past that were not righteous or chaste. He knows that I came to him impure, used and unclean. He still loves me. He stands beside me and holds my hand as I try to work through the agony of dealing with what has happened to me, who I am, what I want. He never seems to go away. I hope he never will.