Friday, August 7, 2015

The Person I've Had the Most Intense Romantic Feelings For

Some of you may be wondering why I've been posting these anecdotal stories that don't necessarily have to do directly with my CP.  It's because I think it's important to know that disabled people are complex and unique.  We all have our own stories.  And  we, as human beings, share similar feelings and experiences with disabled and nondisabled people alike.  I like sharing stories about other parts of my life.  As I am the one living them, and telling the stories, I feel like they do reflect my experience with CP, because it impacts every aspect of my life, including my interpersonal relationships.

This is something I've never written about, because at the time it happened, I was so totally nervous and ashamed that I dared not commit a word about it to paper anywhere.  I've had to look back and piece it together the best I can.  I wasn't even sure of the year until I did some checking in past journals.

So, lets get in the proverbial time machine and back it up almost ten years.  I was 26.  Not exactly a spring chicken, but I did have quite a bit of naivete going on.  At the time, I was just wrapping up my experience with organized religion, about to break from the church (and having already chosen not to return to work at the Christian summer camp) I was affiliated with.  Suffice it to say, at the time, all the friends I had were from this religious background.

One stood out.  There were so many things about her that I loved and admired:  her compassion, her willingness to act when a situation called for it.  I loved how outgoing she was, and I loved her laugh.  We had fun together.  And I also knew I could count on her, should I need a friend to come through for me.  We didn't hang out super frequently, but on a somewhat regular basis, we would touch base.  Usually, in the beginning, I'd call to see how things were going.  She'd call a bit less often, but those were the times we ended up getting together.

It was May or June, and I'd just taken one such phone call.  We kept it local, hanging out as usual, chatting about what really mattered, and as I looked at her, I felt this spark of something.  My romantic feelings at this point had been pretty nonexistent for anyone, so, to feel this was new and shocking.  It was a feeling like I was drawn to her.  Like I could kiss her (assuming she consented, and assuming I was brave enough, which I wasn't.)

Just as I was having these feelings, like, literally at that exact second, she was in the midst of telling me about this conflict she'd been having with another female friend.  She started saying something along the lines of "this friend confessed to having a crush on me."  She was clearly thrown off by this.  Felt awkward.  Uncomfortable.  Talked about how she was going to have to, or had already, ended her friendship with this other person.

I broke eye contact,  This friend and I had so much history, in terms of the depth of our friendship, and it wasn't something I wanted to lose.  We moved locations, talked for hours, really connected, but I never spoke about my spark of attraction for her.  Not for three more years, which is when I finally admitted to myself that I "found women pretty."

Not every woman.  And I definitely didn't want any bedroom things happening between me and any woman.  But aesthetically, I've always been more drawn to women than to men.  I was so confused, and afraid when I started admitting this out loud to a few people I deeply trusted.  (Though I thought it meant I was a lesbian, and it was several more years before I realized I was asexual.)  I thought it meant people would judge me and not want anything to do with me.

Meanwhile, my friendship with the above friend continued.  Over time, I realized that despite our deep history, we had little in common.  I felt like I had changed so very much from the person I'd been when we first met, while she had stayed largely the same.  More than that, I've had the conflicting realization that while her eyes still do that thing to me, I don't find her emotionally attractive.  In fact, her energy isn't something I want to embrace or welcome in my space.  The last time we saw each other, it was more awkward than I can say, and annoying, realizing that seven years later, I still found her so physically lovely.

This friend has been there for me during some of the most difficult times in my life.  She has come through for me when I desperately needed someone.  I won't forget that.  I will always hold it dear.  But I regret that I have felt so much shame about an attraction that I've waited almost a full decade to write a single word about it.

I'm done with the shame.

I found a woman beautiful.

Celebrating turning 26!

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