I Am Out And Proud

Somebody asked me today, what is love to me? I think every ones definition of love is different; love is what you believe it is. To me it is accepting the pain that it will bring along. I fear it. And right now I am using this space as an outlet because I have decided that I will conquer it soon.

That night I came back. No one was at home. I removed the packet of cigarettes I had hidden inside my pillow cover.  I sat naked and smoked like a chimney. The tears wouldn’t stop.  As I smoked I burnt out the cigarette butt on my thighs, on my breasts and on my wrist. Only one emotion in my head that I hate my body and I don’t want anyone ever touching it again…

The first time I met her, she was a fascination, the most talked about girl around. She was bold and pretty, full bodied and beautiful.  The fascination turned into curiosity when a rumor about her being a ‘lesbian’ reached my ears. As was expected, curiosity did not take too much time to turn into a crush.

Every time she walked by, somebody on my table would invariably end up talking about some guy who fancied her. I purposely never looked her way; I had a fear of my face making my feelings very transparent. And I hadn’t had my gayness figured out till then.

Strangely enough by a random turn of events, she landed at my door step to meet my roommate. They became good friends and she would come often. One fine day, my roommate wasn’t home and suddenly I was the center of attention. We decided on taking a walk, one of my favorite routes.

En route there was a small temple, there was a bench there. It was turning dark and you could see little lamps, it was quiet and calming. We decided to sit. She talked so much. She opened her entire life to me, boyfriends, sexual escapades but no mention of  any woman so far. She asked me about my stories and I told her that there were none. I spoke about commitment, trust, honesty, love and what I thought they all were.

She kept coming home but somehow the focus slowly shifted to me. She began to grow into me too. One night she decided to stay back. We talked into the wee hours of the night. I touched her ears, caressed them, that being the furthest I had been with women. But this time, in response she pulled me close and began passionately kissing me. It felt like magic and we kissed for what felt like almost an hour. I pulled back, pushed her and said ‘This is wrong!’ She pulled me back again and continued kissing and making love. That was the most beautiful sexual experience of my life.

We continued meeting, we spoke to each other every day like two long lost lovers, and we kissed every opportunity we got. Every meeting was the same story. She became my girlfriend! My body started showing responses to her touch that I had never experienced. I was convinced I was in love. I walked unabashedly with love bites all around. My friends would remark and I would lie without a blink. I enjoyed the sting of the finger nails that had been dug into me the previous night. I had no language or words to describe what was going on. Words that didn’t feel like they degraded our relationship.

Some day someone saw us I guess. And then the rumors turned ugly.

We decided to stop meeting but it was impossible, we were so attached to each other. But the pressure started building.

One day I was sitting with some friends and she passed. Someone commented that she was dating a guy. I couldn’t eat after that. I had noticed her being close to him and something about my sixth sense always said there was more but I didn’t pay heed to it.

I asked her. She said ‘Yes, she was interested in him.” She felt the pressure of proving she was straight and normal. She became his girl friend.  I asked her to break off from me but it wouldn’t happen, we kept meeting,  my body would not work with my head.

She would come to me with bites from him. And every time I saw it, I died a little more inside. Was this what was needed to feel normal, to be accepted? She started dating many men, every time I tried breaking off from her completely, she said she loved me and I failed miserably.

She would pass and shit was talked. I lost my appetite; I started losing drastic amounts of weight. Every moment alone was spent with one tear after the other. I cursed myself. Why couldn’t I be strong enough to cut her off? What prevented me from getting out of a destructive relationship? I never had very close friends who understood so I took to smoking.

As expected, one day it got too much, I reached a breaking point. I told her to stop dating men at the same time if she loved me. The same day I saw her with a new bite.  I went to the temple and as the lamps flickered, I cried till things didn’t seem coherent any more.

That night I came back. No one was at home. I removed the packet of cigarettes I had hidden inside my pillow cover.  I sat naked and smoked like a chimney. The tears wouldn’t stop.  As I smoked I burnt out the cigarette butt on my thighs, on my breasts and on my wrist. Only one emotion in my head that I hate my body and I don’t want anyone ever touching it again…

The next day I announced to whoever was important that I was gay and this is how I was and I didn’t care if I was accepted or not. I did not know a single gay person back then and I believed I was the only one. Yet this was my truth, I accepted myself. And in that moment, her magic left me, I felt liberated.

I left the city and with time I left her behind. My definitions of commitment, trust, honesty and love had changed. I went into therapy.

I met many lesbian identified women after that but even today I haven’t been able to bare myself like that again, to feel intense love again.

Many years later I am a happy person, I understand myself. I listen to my intuition. I am out and proud. And yes I love my body. I think I am cute. Yet I evade love.

Somebody asked me today, what is love to me? I think every ones definition of love is different; love is what you believe it is. To me it is accepting the pain that it will bring along. I fear it. And right now I am using this space as an outlet because I have decided that I will conquer it soon.

About the guest author

Sonal Giani