I never thought this was where I’d be at 30 – Los Angeles, for one, was a place I tried to get away from as soon as possible. Performing I tried to shove into a bag and hide under my bed for more than a few years. And being queer, and being butch… well, I never exactly abandoned or denied those parts of myself, but I never made peace with the fact that my life and lifestyle left me deeply ashamed in some circles and gregariously arrogant in others.

I’m coming to terms with that now – and it’s fucking scary. I wake up terrified at what I’m trying to do. Nobody in their right mind moves to Hollywood to try and break in as an underrepresented minority. But I’ve always found my way into situations through side doors and back alleys, so I guess  this is just one more attempt at scaling the wall and sneaking in. I’m good at being sneaky.

The most painful part, though, is realizing how many years I’ve spent – possibly my entire life – half-pretending to be myself. Half-hiding in plain sight. I can’t take it any more, but this change hurts. It comes down to something simple: I’m learning to like what I like, to know what I know, and to admit what I don’t. I’ve never really dealt with any of that before.

I’m puzzling it out. Sure, when I realized I liked girls I took up that mantle and ran with it. I’ve never been without a girlfriend (sometimes more than one) since the age of 13, and now I’m partnered up for the duration. But I’m realizing now that what I found in the comfort of always having a lady on my arm was the gleaned confidence to be who I am. With a girlfriend, if she liked my style, my haircut, my favorite bands or books, I must have been ok.

At a certain point, however, I stopped allowing myself to have an opinion other than hers, or, really, other than that of whomever I was speaking with at the moment. And that’s where I sacrificed my sense of self entirely.

Part of why I’m with my partner is because she’s the only person I am unable to lie to. And in un-learning the habit of lying, I’ve had to admit those things that I don’t know. Admit that I have no opinion about politics or current music or that TV show or whatever, because I don’t know anything about it, I’m not following that trend, I didn’t see your status update. Because I’ve been too busy trying to be whatever I was supposed to be in any given circumstance, rather than being myself. Because myself is weird, and queer, and butch, and geeky, and you might not like me if I show you that.You might disagree, or think I’m silly. The painfully shy little girl I used to be couldn’t handle that. The still-very-shy 30 year old takes a deep breath.

So, now, painfully, I’m learning that it’s ok if I enjoy something and you don’t. If that’s girls, awesome, if that’s ties, awesome, if that’s musicals and singer-songwriters, if that’s my haircut and not yours, so be it. I can still like it, and it can still empower me. I’m allowed my tastes.

I had no idea I was the only one holding the key to that door. If you think I’m silly for figuring this out now, oh well. (I’m working on being ok with that.)(It takes time.) Thank you for reading, anyway. I’m glad you’re here, it helps ease the fear of waking up.