Shades of Gray

First – is it “gray”? Or “grey”? I’ve always wondered.

I’m not much of one for shades of gray. I’m usually pretty all in or all out. 100% or none at all. And so my current situation has me a bit discombobulated (though I mostly just like saying that word).

Like I said in a previous post, I haven’t been upfront about my sexual orientation to a lot of people in my life. In a lot of cases, it just hasn’t been an immediate issue that needed to be addressed. So, for example, the next time I’m invited to a couples-only event and am planning on showing up with some totally hot chick, then I’d definitely go out of my way to tell a few more people.

But that hasn’t happened, so as I go about my business of trying to figure out myself, my life and my place in the world (awfully dramatic, eh?) I find myself not offering this nugget of information to people in my life. And that leaves me in this place, almost a chasm between the safety of the “still straight” ledge and the freedom of the “totally gay” ledge. Both come with a set of built-in expectations, but straddling between the two has been nerve-wracking.

There are days when I think I should just leap forward, be out, be proud. Tell the family (despite the fears of being disowned). Tell the friends (despite wondering whether they’ll want to be friends anymore). Be who I am, regardless of what the world thinks.

But then – those days – the full-of-fear days when I think, just step back. Go back to the comfort of knowing how life is, while understanding that I’d likely always be alone. Thinking – fooling myself – that I can replace a partner with a cadre of good friends. Hoping that I can believe that friends who have other priorities, will step in and fulfill the emotional role that someone special would.

So, I go back and forth between the extremes, trying to decide, and end up in the middle where there’s no real chance for happiness.

I know what I need to do, but find myself paralyzed by the fear of being alone because I won’t be accepted. My friends? I think the ones that count will be there for me. My family? Just thinking about it makes my stomach churn. On one hand I think: they love me, they always have, and will love me even if I’m gay. They’ll probably even get over being disappointed with me at some point. Then the other hand: they FREAKED over me getting a tattoo. When I was THIRTY-FOUR. In a spot that’s not even normally visible. It became this thing that they refuse to acknowledge, and I’ve been told in no uncertain terms not to tell my older relatives. Because THEY would judge me. As if my parents just didn’t do the same thing. And I’m pretty sure there’s no way to laser-remove being a lesbian.

And so I sit, in this gray area (by the way, both spellings are acceptable — with an “a” is more American, though), hedging my bets, giving myself the option to go back to my comfort zone before turning my life upside down. But in the end, neither here… nor there… just in the middle. Now that I’ve written it out loud, that doesn’t seem like such a good choice, either, now does it?

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