All I ever wanted to do was to be a mom. I knew that as a little girl. So I dated men. All my friends dated men. I was 9 months pregnant when I turned 21 and had my 2nd child 2 years later. The relationship I had with the boys’ dad was tumultuous and we broke up. This continued to happen through nearly every relationship I had. I decided to focus on my children and stop looking for ‘Mr. Right’. I was single for many years and totally fine. When I turned 30 it hit me hard….I was destined to be alone forever. So I started dating again in 2006 and I met the man who would become my husband. He was very kind and loved me for who I am. We married near the end of 2007. I thought I was in love. Turns out I was mostly afraid of being alone.
In 2010 I joined Roller Derby and was introduced to an array of diverse women. I gained nearly 100 new ‘sisters’ from all walks of life practically overnight. They were married, divorced, lesbian, straight, transgendered, nurses, moms. We accepted each other without reservation. Girl Power!! I loved this new group of friends. They taught me that it is ok to be different, but most importantly be who you are. I was miserable in my marriage. We weren’t physically intimate and I wasn’t attracted to him. But there were people I was attracted to….girls. Yeah, I was having physical and emotional feelings for other girls. But, but, but that’s not normal…I have kids….I’m married…this inner turmoil inside was about to burst. Deep down I have always been attracted to women. I would get nervous around girls I thought were cute, I would stare and gawk at girls that I assumed to be lesbians. I kept it hidden because I didn’t know that it was OK. I never really knew any lesbians up to this point in my life. Turns out they are the same as me, human.
When it got to the point where I wanted to take a casual friendship further, I had a discussion with my husband. I told him I wanted a divorce and that I was gay. His response was favorable. He too was unhappy in our marriage and wasn’t surprised that I was attracted to girls. We filed for divorce within a few weeks and 2 months later the papers were finalized. Out of convenience we lived together for another 6 months. We were both dating other people and lived in separate parts of the house. When we decided to tell the boys (now teenagers) about our divorce and my lifestyle awakening, they responded positively. Saying things like, ‘yeah mom we already know’ and ‘we thought that’s why you joined roller derby’ (there are fewer queers in derby than you might think).
Ok so the boys were on board, now to tell my parents. My parents have always shown me unconditional love and understanding. Why would this situation be any different? Regardless I was still worried. I started the conversation by telling my parents that I was getting a divorce. They said they were surprised and asked if there was someone else. I said, ‘well, that opens a whole other can of worms.’ My dad said, ‘what’s her name?’ to which I responded, ‘exactly’. He said, ‘Sis, you know we love you no matter who you love.’ Whew! I’m gay and they still love me. The conversations with the rest of my family and friends went the same way. Although there were (and still are) the dreaded questions….How do you have kids if you’re a lesbian?….Are you going to go back to dating men after we break up (while still in the relationship mind you)?….So are you gay or bi-sexual?
My gaymones (my word for my newly found gay hormones) were out of control for a year, similar to a teenage boy. Then I met ‘the one’. Thanks to social media, I knew that I loved her before I even met her. We had mutual friends and I found myself hanging on the edge of my seat waiting for a new post/comment/like. We met in person at a roller derby bout and I knew she was ‘Ms. Right’. Last Christmas, 7 months after we met, she asked me to marry her. We didn’t U-Haul, although she stayed at my house a lot. We moved into a new apartment together in April. I love getting to know her. I love her unconditionally and look forward to spending the rest of my life with her. Overall the love and acceptance I have been shown by family, friends, and even strangers is unbelievable. I only wish everyone’s coming out story could be as happy as mine.
Amy Carlson (Zelda Zonk)