One day my mother and I were driving to the tanning salon together. Terrible, I know, but that’s the south in the early 2000’s for you. We listened to the radio nearly the entire way there, and if you’ve ever met my mother you know that it’s very unusual for the two of us to stay quiet for that long. That’s when I knew that something was weighing on her.
About a mile outside of town, my mother turned down the music. She began to choke up, and I noticed that she was on the verge of tears. “Is there something you want to talk to me about?” She asked. A pit grew in my stomach. I was a pretty good kid, and stayed out of trouble, so I knew what she wanted to talk about.
I must have stayed quiet for longer than I realized, because after all of her silence – she spoke again. “Do you have a girlfriend?”
I wanted to vomit. I wanted to cry. I wanted to jump out of the van speeding down the highway at sixty-five miles an hour. What I didn’t want to do was look at her, or respond. But my mother was my best-friend. So I took a deep breath. I nodded, and told her that I was gay.
I wish that I could say that she laughed, and told me that it was fine. That we looked cute together (or not.) That she would love me anyway. But I was fifteen years old, and it was a very different time eleven years ago.
We wound up still going to the salon. The twenty minutes that I laid baking in that bed, listening to my mother sob in the room next to me, were the longest minutes of my life. I never wanted to disappoint her, but I couldn’t lie to her. I respected her too much.
Over the next six months she spent a lot of time crying and reading the bible. She blamed herself, my father, the school systems. She even blamed me to an extent. Finally, she told me that I had to “wait to be gay” until I was eighteen, and living out from under her roof.
I became really depressed, and began cutting myself at sixteen years old. That was also around the time that I first began thinking about suicide. My mother took me to our family physician, and after a thorough exam she requested I be put on anti-depressants. He then told her that what I needed was a girlfriend.
My mother was a nurse, but she is also a Christian. In her heart, she still felt as if what I was doing was wrong. It wasn’t until a few months later when my (secret) girlfriend’s father threatened to kill me that my mother realized that her love for me was more important than my sexuality. She filed a restraining order against him, and became my biggest ally.
The next two years of high school would be extremely difficult for me. I lost friends, and a few family members. Guys called me “Dyke” as I walked down the hallway. Girls acted uncomfortable around me when we were alone. The rumors were vicious.
I went on to attend Stephens College, a very supportive and liberal women’s college in Columbia, MO where I met women and made friends that would change my life. My time there carried me to California, one of the most diverse and accepting places in the world, to pursue a career writing television where my voice could be heard.
Ten years later, I look back at the young girl that I was. I have grown, become more comfortable in my own skin, and learned to love myself. I made it.
Many young LGBT people didn’t make it. A few of them will die today. That’s why it’s so incredibly important to support your LGBT youth. If you know someone who is struggling, reach out. You could save a life just by being an ally. Just by speaking up, and being vocal about your support. If you’re not sure how to help them, please offer them my email. -
I’ll talk to anyone. No questions asked.
Today I’m sending out my love to all of the people young and old who have been brave enough to take that step. To be themselves, and do so unapologetically. Thank you for your bravery.
You are beautiful, you are important, and you are not alone. There are millions of us out here, just like you. Today I am celebrating#NationalComingOutDay and I’m sending my love and thoughts to each and every one of you.
Last night, I came to a stop at a red light on the corner of Santa Monica and Garth. I had my window rolled down, per usual, and was blaring country music which is also very typical of me. I rarely make eye contact with people when I’m driving, because it's extremely awkward. However, the doorman at The Virgil was dancing along to my music and blatantly trying to get my attention. I laughed, told him it was a good jam, and drove off.
I'd driven no further than a quarter of a mile when I had this urge to go back. I’ve yet to find a favorite bar in Los Angeles, and these guys seemed like quite a bit of fun. I’d been there once before, and really enjoyed it. So, I parked my car at my house, threw on a pair of jeans and a tank top, and lyfted back to the venue.
Upon arrival, I realized the guy sitting at the door was not the one who had been dancing moments earlier. I explained to him who I was, and he burst into laughter. He called after a different guy inside. When the other guy walked out, I asked him if he liked country music. He said “not particularly.” I begged to differ judging by his sick dance moves. When he realized who I was he too began to laugh hysterically. The three of us bonded over my spontaneity.
A group of patrons nearby struck up a conversation, and before I knew it I'd made 6 new acquaintances without ever stepping foot inside the bar. The group headed back inside, and I continued to chat with the bar staff. One began to flirt, so I quickly explained that neither of them were my preferred gender to date. They both laughed, told me they appreciated my honesty, and that I was in luck. There was an entire group of lesbians inside. Two of which I had just spoken with.
"Sick moves" told me to follow him, so I did. We bee-lined for the bar where he proceeded to tell the two bartenders how we met. After introducing myself, one bartender asked me where the accent was from. When I told him the next question to follow was "Do you like whiskey?" Silly question.
I replied that I do like whiskey, but honestly knew very little about it. The bartender then pulled five bottles off the shelf, and began to pour small amounts of each into a separate glass. He taught me how to swish the whiskey in my mouth, swallow, and then breathe out of my nose to taste the full flavor. He helped me understand the differences between bourbon and rye. I learned that extremely rye is much more my flavor, and that a whiskey named Templeton's suits my taste the best.
The four of us sat there talking women and Whiskey for the next forty-five minutes, and would have continued to do so for longer had we not been interrupted by a gorgeous blonde named Fern who I met outside earlier. She told me that she heard that I was a lesbian, and so was she. Visiting from the UK, she would be flying back tomorrow, but would return next week. I gave her my number, and told her to touch base with me then.
The guys stared on with disbelief, which they expressed verbally after she left. Not only had I been approached and hit on, but I was blowing her off this evening. I was having fun with them, and the woman, while gorgeous, was living in a different country. They were tending bar down the street from my apartment. I had a feeling that I was going to be seeing them a lot sooner than I would be seeing her.
As the bar began to close, the guys let me hang out while they cleaned up a bit. Another bartender who was off of her shift offered to drive me home so I didn't have to call another cab. We headed out to her car and she dropped me off at my place. As I stood there on the sidewalk, I couldn't help but reflect on how lovely the night had been. New friends. New hangout. New perspective.
I realized how independent I am. I'm a twenty-six year old single woman who goes and does as she pleases. It's that same independence that brought me to Los Angeles to begin with. Not only am I confident in being alone, sometimes I really enjoy it. I took a chance and did something a little crazy. It paid off tenfold.
I encourage everyone to do something wild every once in a while. You can do that and still be responsible. Who knows? You might actually make friends and learn something new.
For some Americans June 26th, 2015 was just another day. For many others, it was a day that changed everything. Lives. Families… Even futures.
I awoke that morning to a stream of text messages from my sisters congratulating me on finally becoming a first class citizen of the United States. A text that I wasn’t sure I would see in my lifetime, much less during a period when men like Mike Huckabee and Donald Trump are potential presidential candidates.
In March 1989, I was born in Corinth, Mississippi into a working class family. My mother was a nursing student, and my father worked construction in Alabama. The two of them divorced almost immediately after I entered the world, but they loved us dearly. I was a very happy child.
As a young woman growing up in the south, I was expected to fill a certain mold that had been predetermined for me by an underdeveloped society. Women were expected to help in the kitchen, rear the children, take care of the men, and support the family inside of the home.
I can recall girls talking about their dreams of marrying handsome doctors and raising their (at least three) perfect children as early as middle school. It wasn’t until I began college that I met women with dreams of actually becoming doctors, and saving (at least 300) lives of starving children in third world countries.
Mothers have my upmost respect. I think that offering love, care and a promising future to a child is a wonderful thing, and also an incredibly difficult job. However, I was always different from the other girls. I wanted to be the doctor, and raise the kids. I wanted to save the children, and be a wife.
Even at nine years old, I knew that I was different . My stepfather lashed out at me for echoing my older stepbrother when he told him to “chase down” a car full of young women. It was wrong for me to say things like that. Sinful, even. That was the first time I ever heard the taboo word “lesbian.”
At age eleven, I was getting into fights with boys at school. My first bloody nose came from the fist of a fourth grader named Eric who I stood up to for bullying my best friend. I chased him fearlessly through the playground, not caring that there was blood dripping onto my nice new blouse. I couldn’t understand at the time why I was told to act like a lady, when he was never told to be a man. “Boys will be boys.” they said.
By fifteen, I realized that I was in fact the shameful dyke that my stepfather had predicted. The next three years of my life were spent torn between hiding everything I was, and trying to convince those who knew about my sexuality not to condemn me because of it.
As an eighteen year old woman, I was paddled by the principal of my high school for wearing men’s jeans, harassed in the women’s locker room because of my sexuality, and had my life threatened by one very angry father who was convinced I was a direct relative if not the actual spawn of Satan for “converting” his already very lesbian daughter.
I never even applied to colleges in Tennessee. If I were ever going to be happy… be myself… I knew that I had to leave my home in the south.
I spent eighteen from twenty-two just trying to figure out how to be both a woman and a lesbian. I know that the two seem like they should go hand in hand pretty easily, but they don’t always.
Women stereotypes claimed that we should wear frilly dresses, heels, and fake eyelashes. We were supposed to do the dishes without chipping our perfectly manicured nails, and not come off too strongly or be too opinionated for fear of being labeled “bossy” or “a bitch.”
However, the stereotypes forced upon lesbians were much different. They all had short hair and wore plaid or cargo shorts. Sometimes both. Lesbians only dated women because they hadn’t found the right guy yet. And my absolute favorite, in every lesbian relationship there had to be a “man,” AKA: a noticeably dominant and masculine female.
Let it be noted that some women and lesbians fall under those stereotypes, and that’s awesome if that is how they feel most comfortable. At different times of my life I have fallen into them too. However, that’s because I was convinced that I had to fit inside of a tiny box for people to accept and understand me.
I am twenty-six now. I alternate between short and long hair depending on the season and my mood. I am a feminine woman with slightly boyish mannerisms. In large I contribute that to my athletic and outdoorsy nature, and not necessarily to the fact that I am attracted to women. I cry over literally everything. I like sports, beer and boobs. Pink is my favorite color, and I have dated females for over ten years now, but never once has there been a man in my relationship. (That stereotype is just bullshit. My apologies to the people who need everything to be black and white for their small minds to understand.)
Which brings me back to why June 26th changed my life. Up until that day, marriage equality had only been granted in 37 states. Tennessee, unfortunately, was not one of them.
The truth is, I can’t wait to get married and walk down the aisle wearing a beautiful dress next to a beautiful woman. I’ve often contemplated gorgeous rooftop weddings overlooking the LA skyline, and serene beachfront weddings with sunsets that would bring me to tears. I’ve thought of every possible scenario, but the one that still makes my heart skip a beat is a small outdoor wedding at my parent’s farm surrounded by close family and friends.
In my mind I can see our hand built barn in the background, birds chirping in the distance, and strands of honeysuckles draped across the backs of every guests chair. There are lanterns hanging under a mesh canopy covered with flowers, and lighting bugs flickering in the tree line.
My sisters are crying in the front row, my little brothers are giggling in the back tugging at their neckties, and everyone is there to celebrate our love… because no one believes that we shouldn’t be together.
As the ceremony winds down and we say our vows, I see a woman standing across from me who is happy to be there. She isn’t ashamed of what we are doing. She’s not afraid to spend the rest of her life with me, because society has made it so difficult.
Instead, her only shortcoming is her lack of patience. She is so excited to love me forever, anxious to exchange our last gaze as an engaged couple, and eager to share our first kiss as a married couple.
This fantasy wedding of mine has never made it to the reception, because the fantasy became a nightmare. It was painful and degrading to know that as a citizen of the United States, there were still parts of our great country where I was unable to share in the same rights that all of my straight friends and family had.
On June 26th, SCOTUS ruled that marriage equality is a constitutional right. Marriage is no longer gay, or straight; it is beautiful. Touching. Heartwarming. Promising. Inspiring. And available to everyone.
And even though I’m not even currently in a relationship, so many people reached out to congratulate me. Hugs were shared, handshakes and laughter exchanged, and I found myself in tears once again; overwhelmed by the support surrounding me.
We still have so far to go with many civil rights issues, but in this moment I am no longer a second-class citizen of the country in which I was born. Today, I am a future bride who can marry whoever, wherever she would like.
Today, I am happy. I am free.
June has been an interesting month for me. I disconnected myself from my entire roster of social media apps; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snap Chat, etc. I have been reading a book called “Be Free Where You Are” by Buddhist monk Thich Nhat Hanh from which I have realized social media in a sense has held me captive for quite some time.
In his book he speaks of mindfulness, and one thing he suggests is when we walk we should do so mindfully. By focusing on each step, we are more aware of our self and our surroundings. Before my detox, I was so focused on my phone that I would walk everywhere from point A to point B with my head down staring at the screen. I was never aware of anything else around me.
I’ve learned that when I walk mindfully, I also walk more confidently. When I walk with purpose I am immediately more aware of each step and the growth I have made between each one.
My goal is to constantly improve myself. I’m not critical of myself and don’t have unrealistic or unhealthy expectations, but I am always trying to change the things that I can that will make my life better. I began with my mentality.
I have become a happier person over the last few years. I realized this about myself a few months ago when I had to deal with my first really big disappointment in a very long while. Happiness isn’t a constant state of mind. You can’t control the factors that constantly affect your happiness, but you can control the effects you let them have on you.
I am always reminding myself that no matter what happens, I am still alive. I am free. I have a nice life in a great city with amazing friends and a family who loves me. I am at the beginning of a very long and hopefully, prosperous career. Maybe I’ve stumbled along the way. I’ve certainly made decisions that I haven’t always been proud of, but have learned from them – and eventually, somehow they led me here.
After staying with me for eleven days, my little brother flew back to Tennessee this morning. He’s fourteen, and it’s only the second time he has ever flown. He’s even doing it by himself. The way he projects an air of bravery when he is terrified reminds me so much of myself. I want to tell him that he doesn’t have to carry that chip on his shoulder. That it’s okay to be afraid sometimes.
I want him to know it’s also all right to be unapologetically happy. Rarely will your happiness come at the expense of someone else’s, but if being happy requires being selfish – you should do just that.
I thought that the next few weeks were going to be very difficult for me. A few months ago I reconnected with a woman who I thought I had found something really special with. She decided to move to California and wanted to explore our relationship. Against my better judgment, I began to fall for her – and then she disappeared the same way she had so many years before. I would be lying if I said that it surprised me…
She was supposed to arrive in LA next Thursday. Instead, now she is somewhere in the Midwest, pregnant with her ex-boyfriends baby, and I am here in Los Angeles trying to convince myself that I dodged a bullet.
I miss her. Still, I have no other choice but to carry on with my life. Now, my best friends will be flying in Thursday night instead. I’ll pick them up at the airport that night and they’ll stay through Sunday. Best Friends… they just know when they’re needed.
Yes, Some Lesbians Want Children Too
Today, I walked into my apartment the way I do every other day, but what waited for me inside was unlike anything I’ve walked into thus far. I found pacifiers, diapers, bananas, and packages of things that I wouldn’t have known where to apply. Teething rings. Tiny shoes. I found baby things. Everywhere.
Granted, it wasn’t completely random. I knew my roommate’s sister and family would be in town, but I wasn’t expecting the juxtaposition that was “my life avec baby.”
Do you know what it’s like to be a twenty-six year old lesbian from Olivehill, Tennessee, living in Los Angeles, California? Let me tell you. It’s tough.
On one hand, I’m still that sweet southern girl who grew up hauling hay, harvesting crops, and tending to the farm animals before rushing off to school on the bus my grandfather drove. I was raised to work hard, respect women (though for some reason this only applied in public), love my parents, and take care of my family.
Now, on the other hand, I’m an all black wearing, ball busting career woman in Los Angeles finishing up my time at Warner Brothers, writing during most of my free time and avoiding the disaster and time-suck that is Tinder.
I’m proud of myself. I’m so excited for my new job, and I know that I've finally accomplished a huge goal that I set for myself three years ago when I moved to California. I’m happy with my life, but I’m also at the age where this “family phenomenon” has surrounded me.
My Facebook is flooded with pictures of baby showers, weddings, and kids number 1-3. People are constantly bringing their children in to work, and my mother randomly asks about “whether or not I’m planning on giving her a grandchild soon.” I appreciate her for limiting her expectations to one. It’s less intimidating than the goal I had set for myself.
My “plan” is to birth one child, adopt one, and have my partner choose whether or not to give birth as well. That’s the reason I work my ass off now. To make sure that all 2-3 of my future children can grow up with more opportunity than I had. I believe that is the responsibility of all parents, and that all children deserve that.
Today, I spent lunch with a pregnant colleague who told me her little one gets excited when she consumes a lot of fluids. The first time she kicked, my friend had drank so many bottles of water the baby hit her in the wrong place and made her upchuck her breakfast. Still, the way she described it was almost like it tickled. Like being kicked felt like cuddling by the fire during a teeny, perfect snowstorm, and she was throwing up diamonds and glitter.
I want to feel that way too. Vomit and all. I had a really close bond with my mother, and I’ve always wanted to share that with someone else. I’m not quite ready for it yet, but I want a future with that in it.
For some reason, that surprises a lot of people. They never expect “someone like me” to want children. I spent part of my senior year of high school with one (sometimes both) of my twin brothers sleeping on my chest. I've helped raise other people’s children since I was thirteen years old. I've wanted a family of my own as far back as I can remember.
Being gay makes that really difficult. First, finding a partner is practically impossible considering the statistics of how many women are interested in women, then narrowed to how many are available, then to how many am I attracted to, and finally how many of those are attracted to me. May the odds be never in your favor, am I right?
Then there’s the act of getting married. I come from a lower class family, so I would have to get married closer to home if I wanted my family and friends to attend. I’m actually pretty OK with that. I always thought an outdoor wedding with a barn reception would be really cute, but the issue is that same sex marriage is still illegal in Tennessee. (So is giving and receiving oral sex, but no one seems to hold anyone accountable for that…)
I can’t get married back home, so I’ll have to pay for a bigger California wedding. Fine. I love my state. But then there is the task of actually getting pregnant. If you’re not aware, that’s a serious challenge for gays and lesbians.
The birth control of being a lesbian only has its perks until you realize that you’re actually ready to have kids, because in vitro is expensive. Every time you try to conceive, you’re spending between $12,000- $15,000. That’s not money that most people have lying around; especially at this age, and especially if you have to try multiple times. Even if I tried to adopt, that’s also expensive and isn't legal for same-sex couples in every state.
It’s tough having so many obstacles against you when all you really want is a family to love – and for people not to condemn you for it, antagonize your children over it, or propose laws against it. What’s so bad about having two moms anyway? I would have loved that.
I’m not saying I’ll be ready to have kids tomorrow, or even two years from now, but I am saying that I would like a fair shot at my happily ever after. I want the kids, dog, and white picket fence. I want the wife who does yoga with me before work, and plans our vacations to Europe around the stories in books she read as a little girl. I want to be a mom. A wife. A human. I want to be equal.
I’m just a girl who loves a girl. It’s not a gross thing. Or weird. Or a sin. It’s just me – a person – loving another person – paying taxes – hoping to raise my future children the best way I can and leave as little of a carbon footprint as possible.
After months of talking about it - it's finally happened!
SOSHESAID.COM IS LIVE!!!
Today is the beginning of my last two weeks at Warner Brothers. Friday, I interviewed for a Writers PA position of the new FOX series, Lucifer. I was the only candidate interviewed. The showrunner - Joe Henderson - called me immediately after our interview to offer me the position. It feels good to know what my next step is.
It's nerve racking - taking chances and not knowing whether or not they are going to pan out. I find that as I've gotten older, I have learned to trust life a little more. It's impossible to predict every possibility, and much easier to adjust to whatever hand your dealt. Have faith. Give yourself a chance to fail - you will learn from it.
Over the weekend I went to the Getty Museum for my friend's birthday party. It was my first visit, and I completely fell in love with it. Everything from the location, to the architecture, the vaulted ceilings and variety of exhibitions. It was overwhelming to see so much incredible art...
I'm looking forward to the changes that will be taking place over the next few weeks. It's exciting not to know what life holds in store...
is a writer, artist and human/animal rights activist based in Echo Park- Los Angeles, CA. The Stephens College graduate loves poetry, camping with her rowdy friends and tequila of many varieties.