Once upon a time I was quick on the trigger – if someone said something or did something I didn’t like, I would say something, even if it meant a fight. Maybe especially if it meant a fight. Sometimes I look back on my life and I truly don’t recognize the woman I used to be.
As an example, I was having a conversation with my mom and somehow Obama came up. We don’t usually talk about politics (because she’s wrong), but for whatever reason his name came up and my mom’s health aid said there was a poll question on Facebook about whether he should be re-elected. And I don’t want to argue politics with a stranger, so I just said, “You know, that election was the first time that I’ve ever had to wait in line to vote. It took over an hour.”
And then she said, “It’s because of all the blacks. I had a doctor’s appointment that day and it was like a party in the waiting room.”
And that pissed me off. Because racism pisses me off. So I said, “Really? Because I don’t think there was even one black person at my polling station.” I have no idea if that was true or not because I don’t usually count the African-Americans wherever I happen to be. However, I think my point escaped her. Or maybe she was just smart enough to shut up. I said it mildly and then changed the subject.
Today something happened and I couldn’t decide if I should be angry or not. That’s not accurate – I was annoyed about it, but I couldn’t decide if I should say something.
Despite what I write here at times, I am an intensely private person. It may look like I’m bleeding all over the page, but I’m not. I write (and say) exactly what I want you to know. Nothing more, nothing less. I could fill a library with the things I don’t talk about it.
One of the things I don’t talk about very often (or very much) is that I’m a lesbian. I’m sorry. Did I shock you? That reticence doesn’t come from a place of shame but from a place of it’s not really any of your business. I don’t hide it. I don’t deny it. I just don’t announce it – ever. If you ask, I’ll tell you. If you don’t ask, you can assume whatever you want.
This is where it gets weird. I am out at work. That was intentional and deliberate. It came up in conversation with one of the out lesbians I work with and that was that. I never thought about it again. I did it because I don’t want to hide anymore; however, that doesn’t mean I told each of my coworkers. The rumor mill took care of that for me and I allowed that to happen because I wanted it that way. Because I’m a private, reserved person.
I work in a pod with Betty, another woman and a man. “Steve” is a unique individual. He was gone this afternoon when the out lesbian came over to shoot the breeze. In that conversation, the other woman said, “Hey, Cap, you should go out with Steve.”
I had no words. Well, I had several, but I said none of them. I just stared at her, trying to convey “are you kidding??” with my expression. And the lesbian said, “She doesn’t know.” I ignored her, so she said it again. At that point I turned back to my desT® because I was cleaning up to go home.
Lesbian: You should tell her.
Woman: Tell me what?
Lesbian: See? She doesn’t know.
Me: She knows. She’s just trying to get me to say it.
Woman: Know what?
Woman: Ohhhhh … are you gay?
Me: I’m clinically depressed. (to the lesbian): Seriously?
Woman: Well, I didn’t want to ask …
Me (to the lesbian): I told you she knew.
And that was about it. I left and went on with my life.
But I was kind of angry about being put in a position where I was more or less forced to answer. Because I wasn’t going to lie and I wasn’t going to make a big deal out of it – but I didn’t appreciate it.
I’m happy where I am, both in my life and in my job. That’s why I made the decision to come out in the first place. It’s just that it should always be my choice. It’s about respect. My gay coworker wasn’t really trying to cause trouble for me and I think if she had known it would annoy me, she wouldn’t have done it.
I said nothing to my friend about it – and I won’t. It’s done. It wasn’t the end of the world. Since I am out, I’m not certain I actually have the right to be irritated about it.
That’s where the line gets fuzzy. Why is okay if I tell people and then they tell all of their friends (because that’s how the world works) and it’s okay if someone asks me but it’s not okay if someone basically announces it for me, while I’m sitting right there?