It began with a conversation in somebody else’s drawing room: ‘Studies show that what makes us happy is family and food.’
That trigger set the ball rolling as to why most gay people seem to look for so much appreciation and re-assurance? It’s a tough call for most gay people to make… Tell your family or not? How do they react? And what happens when you aren’t close enough to family is that you spend your entire life filling it up with people who don’t really matter!
I am fascinated by happy stories where my gay friends and their families have found peace. When a gay friend told me, how her ex-girlfriend was accepted as a part of her family and her dad got along like house on fire, I almost turned green with envy. Another narrates how her partner and she lived with her parents like a married couple, under the same roof! When a friend’s status update talks about how her sister and her girlfriend are cooking her favourite food, I can’t help but be thrilled for them!
Interestingly, siblings seem to play a big role in how we view ourselves in this picture. When I quizzed a psychologist/people watcher a few months ago, “If straight men look for mothers for the woman they want in a partner, straight women look for a reflection of their dad in their prospective husbands, what would I as a lesbian women look for in their partner?” She looked at me and said, “You will look for someone just like your sister.”
I am amazed by that insight. Growing up, my relationship with my younger sister was always complicated. We grew up competing, fighting for attention from our parents, fighting for our own niche. Common pursuits like Indian classical music lessons became a battle ground for supremacy! Every time we fought, I would make up. The guilt at watching her sulk or not talk to me would turn my world upside down. I wanted to be her best friend, her elder sister, confidant, mother rolled into one. The night that stands out as a big memory is when I flunked yet another engineering paper and my sister sat me down. She said, “You were always my idol. All I wanted was to be you. So when you fail an exam, you kill that for me.” It would be safe to say, that I passed every exam after that heart to heart with my younger sister!
My equation with my sister, however, has been far from a smooth sail. In fact, it has been like a wave – moving with much ado between troughs and ups. My inability to admit the truth of my own sexual preference meant I have been looking for a sibling replacement of my sister in my prospective partners. How strong that runs in my subconscious is phenomenal – when my first girlfriend shared her name with my sibling! It wasn’t restricted just to the name – they also shared common traits namely being determined, free-spirited, sporty and conceited.
As I spend months with the women I love, I realize, that I am looking at them to fill the gaping hole my sister has left behind especially as we seem to be going through a ‘let’s not talk’ phase. I am attracting someone who sulks through problems like her. I am attracting someone who’s breezy, cannot be bound and lives by her own rules – just like my sister. I am attracting someone even with similar mannerisms of angling their head when photographed!
Tonight, was a big night for me. I finally freed myself from the sibling hunt and told my sister about my sexual preference after two years of knowing that I was gay. She calmly said, “I knew. Was just waiting for you to be sure and tell me!” The ability and the joy in being able to share my love stories, my heart-ache, my current crush over a telephone line and a few hundred texts can’t even compare to my first orgasm.
Telling her, is perhaps, my biggest step in refilling the void left by family – currently being occupied with friends, crushes and prospective partners. I may yet be a few light years away from sharing my truth with my conservative Marwari parents… But, telling her seems half the battle won. I am no longer pretending to the other half of my childhood and my better half in every sense — where my life is headed!
Tonight, my sibling sentence is over.