By: Lex Jacobson
I’ve just come home from my best friend’s baby shower for her first baby. She’ll be having a baby boy in March. She is incredibly excited and I am thrilled for her.
It was a tough shower to be at, and tough for more reasons than being in a room celebrating something that I want so badly for myself. My excitement and happiness for my friend is genuine. It’s just really hard not to go to envious places in my head. It’s not about the shower (I don’t even want a shower for when I’m pregnant); it’s about the baby.
Baby aside, the other issue was that one of the guests was the mother of my high school sweetheart. I dated this boy from age 15-18. We fooled around for another good three years after that. Yes, I was straight for 22 years. I’ve identified as gay for only a decade.
When people come out, many do so having known for years and years and years that they were gay, and if they didn’t, they at least had an idea that something about them was different. Not me. The possibility that I was gay did not even pass through my mind until my early twenties (which is too bad, because I had almost already finished college at that point). I liked boys. A lot. And a lot of them. Some might say I tried really, really hard at being straight. Or some might have called me promiscuous. Either way, I certainly wasn’t gay.
My mental illness was at its worst between the ages of 17 and 21. When I was 22, I started to get a bit better. And by “better” I mean that I was let out of the psych ward where I lived for three years. Shortly after my worst, I fell in love with a girl, and then shortly after that, I started to come out to those in my life.
The unfortunate thing about the succession of these milestones was that many people I knew thought that because I was healthier after I came out of the closet, I must have been depressed because I was questioning my sexuality. That I couldn’t handle my shit because I was a closeted lesbian. That it would all get better now that I knew who I was.
Man, if that’s “all” it was, I would be laughing. (Please note that I am not trying to diminish the pain that goes along with dealing with sexuality issues; I know a lot of people have a very hard time with it.) But I was paranoid and psychotic. I was a cutter and suicidal. I lived in black tar for year after year, with a treatment-resistant illness that should have killed me. So when people suggest I was “just struggling with my sexuality,” I want to smack them upside the head. I feel that it totally disregards the pain of what I went through.
I don’t know when and how my ex-boyfriend’s mom found out about my sexuality, but we certainly have not spoken since. We had a relatively awkward conversation about her son and she told me about his pregnant wife and their 17-month-old baby and his house in the city and his business. As she was speaking, I flashed back to the days where I used to dream about being this guy’s wife and having two of his babies and a house in the city, supporting his business and being blissfully happy. For a split second, I thought of how easy that would be – living the straight person’s dream – and then I realized how miserable I would be (and also recognized that my ex-boyfriend’s life is probably not always that dreamy, and well aware that straight people have their problems too).
I have a wife. We live in an apartment outside of the city. We have decent jobs that keep us afloat and secure. And although this baby-making business is stressful and expensive and trying, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love my wife and can’t imagine what life would be like without her in it. With the exception of having unlimited access to free sperm, there is nothing about being straight that I long for, or miss.
When she was done talking about her son, my ex-boyfriend’s mother turned to me and asked, “So how are you?”
I smiled, and answered genuinely, “I am incredibly happy.”