Yesterday someone shared a Medium post that I really liked reading. It has a lot of bits that really resonated with me, talking about being part of the queer community and dealing with the recent attack on the LGBT community in Orlando. In particular, this quote:

Am I allowed to feel this devastated, this full of rage?

Am I gay enough to be this upset?

Am I appropriating the grief of real gay people?

This is a question I’ve struggled with for years. Not the grief and anger, in particular, but the feeling of not being gay enough, or young enough, or cool enough, or whatever enough to be part of the LGBT community. I survived growing up in the very red part of California, I made it to college, ready to get into the community I knew was out there, find a girlfriend and really embrace the whole lesbian thing. Then I met my (now) husband (and wasn’t that a surprise!), found that there really wasn’t much of a queer community to be had at my relatively small school, and settled into a different minority community with my nerdy brethren. I am the poster-child for bi-erasure.

Mostly, I’ve been okay with that. My sexuality is personal, and really, it’s no one’s business but mine and people I’m in relationships with. It’s safer to be assumed to be straight. But I’ve always wondered what it would be like to be an actual part of the community, especially at times like these, when things are so scary, and people with explosives are being intercepted on the way to Pride parades, and people are grieving for their fallen friends, family, and community members.

I have a hard time being a member of communities, and feeling like I belong, in general. I struggled with whether I was nerdy enough to be a “real” programmer. I struggled with whether I was depressed enough to really merit help. I struggle with a sense of deserving things and relationships every day. Trying to include myself into a community that feels so very young, and adventurous, and brave, when I’m approaching middle-aged and am a wuss, don’t look right, feels impossible. How could I have anything in common with these people? Even though I do. How can I be gay enough, if I’m 16 years into a relationship with a man?

But I’ve been trying to get myself together, recently, and that’s included being more aware of myself, especially my feelings and why I’m having them. So, I noticed today when my awesome friend was posting on the #queerSelfLove tag (which is incredible, by the way, I encourage all of you to take a look at it!), that I felt jealous. I felt like if I just hopped in there, I would be an invader, a fake. But I know that’s not true.

So, here’s my long-form self-love. I like girls, too. I’m in a long-term committed relationship with a guy. The second didn’t change the first. It’s always been that way. I’m not indecisive, or fickle, or a lesbian in disguise, and it doesn’t matter whether I bow to stereotypes or feel a part of the community, because it’s not about who I know, it’s about who I am, and that’s part of it. It’s not all of it, and it’s not the most important part, but it is a part of me. I can’t be “doing it wrong”, because theres no way to be me wrong, so I must be doing okay at it. I’m not alone, either.

Thanks again to Elle Dowd, and to Mac, and to all the friends who I know won’t really be concerned about a “new” facet of me. ❤️💛💚💙💜