By Margaret Silverman
I’m trying on this perfect, beautiful, willing to sell everything I own to have it, wedding dress. As I stare at myself in the mirror listening to my daughter cry of boredom, the sales woman with her millions of options, and my mothers critiquing, it hits me like a ton of bricks. I don’t know the woman in the beautiful white dress staring back at me. Can I really marry this man? We have a family. If I leave him am I a bad mother?
For the next few weeks I replay my entire life in my head wondering how I missed all the signs. Lesbehonest. But unfortunately I never allowed myself to believe I could have more than a physical relationship with a woman. I felt like with how I was raised, gay wasn’t an option. So I found myself in my early twenties, a stay-at-home mom and completely committed to a man. I finally couldn’t take another second of my straight life and told him how grateful I am for our beautiful daughter, how much I care about him as a person and that I, his fiancé, am a lesbian!
Weeks later I was an unemployed single mother, but I wasn’t scared. I was empowered by the freedom to be who I am. I didn’t leave for another relationship, there was no other person, I left for me. A loving lesbian mother to my precious daughter.
He ended up coming around and being supportive. Defending me when others cut me down for my choice (and right) to raise my child in separate households, one being a lesbian household. I wasn’t prepared for how many more opinions are thrown at you when you have a child and are queer. Its scary sometimes worrying if someone might take their issues with my lifestyle out on my daughter.
Then came the loss of friends, new fresh-meat-lesbian sign that must have been on my head, mixed with the butchy opinions that I can’t be in gay limbo. That was pretty exhausting. Being a single mom, dating was far from a priority. Although I would be lying if I didn’t tell you that I didn’t spend my new found time while my daughter was visiting her dad in a sea a women that I didn’t want around past five am. Days without my daughter were and still are the hardest transition for me. My coping skills then were poor. My dear best friend caught on to this and arranged a typical I-have-a-friend-who-has-a-friend who-I-think-would-be-perfect-for-you number exchange. Judging by the pictures my best friend showed me, I allowed it.
I was out with my close friend playing wingman for her and her new boy toy when the text came through. It was the mystery girl my best friend had arranged. Turns out “mystery girl” was the same age, good head on her shoulders, and lived in the same town. Even with those qualities, we both made it clear we weren’t looking for anything other than a friendship. We didn’t speak again after that.
A couple weeks past and I had a horrible day at the office. One of those times you want to be around people, but you don’t actually want to see anyone you know. mystery girl popped in my head. I invited her to join me for a drink when I got off work. As luck had it she lived next door to my office so we met at the bar right up the road. I got there first so she would be the one to have to find me. When she did, time stopped. It was absolutely a cliché movie moment. We kept in touch daily after that day.
Our relationship grew and I told her about how close my ex fiancé and I were and how important co-parenting is to us. It is very hard to find women who are understanding of our relationship as co-parents and friends due to the whole “I use to have a life with a man thing.” She was all for it. Out of respect she met him before meeting our daughter and as time went on she became an important part of our daughter’s life. Sometimes people are baffled by how we all can work so well together as a team and support one another. While this might not last forever, in this moment I am grateful and no one’s opinions can affect it. I have the best daughter I could ask for, an amazing girl friend, and an incredible father to my daughter.
I now laugh about my life as a “straight” woman.