Love Rules

As I discussed in my last post, Being Okay, we live in a society that has rules for how and who to love that discriminate against members of the LGBTQ+ community. I’ve come to expect the attitudes and language that reflect those heteronormative beliefs. I’m a bit surprised, though, at some of the attitudes and beliefs I run into within the LGBTQ+ community.

Being a single lesbian comes with challenges. I ran into some interesting views years ago that I knew I would encounter once I was single again. One experience I had in my thirties was when a lesbian friend who was in a relationship came to visit me from out of town. At the time, I was also in a relationship, but was living alone. She informed me that she was not “allowed” to stay in my house and had to make other arrangements. I felt hurt because I thought she and her partner did not trust me.

I also experienced people saying that they could not do things with a single lesbian unless their partner was also there. They were basically saying that they would not engage with the person individually, only as a couple. Clearly, their intention is to protect their relationship, but at what cost? If you do the math, you realize that if everyone thought this way, it would mean that single lesbians can only form close friendships with other single lesbians. Sure, you can form close friendships with a couple, but face it, we don’t always like or connect with both members of a couple, and sometimes it’s easier to have meaningful conversations one on one.… Read the full post “Love Rules”

Being Okay

Hands cut out of many colors of paper come together to form a heart

Phrases like “Love is love” and “Love is never wrong” are deeply significant to us as members of the LGBTQ+ community. These phrases push back at the messages we received growing up. I grew up hearing all sorts of denigrating messages. As a lesbian, I’ve heard my brand of love and attraction described as: disgusting, sick, sinful, perverted, abnormal, and deviant. Many of these descriptions came from people I knew and loved. No matter how clear I am that these messages are wrong, they have still left a mark. In fact, research is revealing that continuous experiences of discrimination and microagressions* have an impact on the brain that is similar to that of other types of trauma.

As a young person, I rarely heard positive messages to counter these hurtful words. On an emotional level, I translated these messages into negative beliefs such as “I am not okay,” “I’m a bad person,” and “I am unloveable.” Sure, these beliefs are untrue, but they have operated on a subconscious level. These negative beliefs have had a huge impact on me throughout my life. I’ve placed other people’s happiness and importance above my own. I have held back. I’ve lived a smaller life than I might have otherwise. And I’m certainly not unique in this regard. In fact, many of my friends have experienced much more intense levels of rejection and hurt.

The Power of EMDR

As I mentioned in my previous post, Old Wounds Heal, Pal, I’m working with a therapist who is skilled in EMDR.… Read the full post “Being Okay”