After a horrible 2016, (which included the death of my teenage cousin, a fall that left me with a dislocated kneecap which lead to the discovery that my Lupus had eaten my joint to the point that I needed a knee replacement at 42, being laid off while out on medical leave and about four months of joblessness) I am attempting to get back to writing again. I have a new job that pays more than my old one did and comes with some really nice perks. I’m in the process of moving back to the city I love. And I’m feeling more settled and more myself than I have in several years.
The thing about starting over for the eleventy millionth time is that it always seems to bring up questions you thought were answered and put to bed for good.
Since my divorce, I haven’t dated. (Well, aside from one date that was spectacular fail. It was going really well, until he decided to spend 20 minutes talking about how the only reason he could come up with for not killing people was that he didn’t want to go to jail. Like, what?? NEXT!) I’ve wanted to and I’ve kinda put a toe out there, but it gets really discouraging when everyone who responds to you turns out to be married and attempting to cheat on their spouse. Really? REALLY? And so….I just stopped trying. Full stop. No go. I’m happy on my own, thank you very much.
But, now that I seem to be putting my life back into the shape it should be, I’m thinking of trying dating again. Which means I’ll likely have to come out again, not to my friends, but at work, to new people. It’s always a tricky balance, deciding who to come out to, how to do it, how safe it is. I’m pansexual, so if I’m dating a man, I get assumed to be straight. If I date a woman, I get assumed to be lesbian. On one hand, woohoo passing privilege. (That’s my sarcastic voice, btw.) On the other hand, boo homophobia. And if I’m dating someone non-binary? People have no idea how to react.
The new company is really big on diversity and inclusion, which is nice. First day of orientation, they were really explicit about being accepting of LGBT employees. They provide both spousal and domestic partnership benefits, for those of us who have been so badly burned we’re likely to never remarry, as well as adoption assistance for queer and straight couples alike. They have a specifically LGBT group on their diversity council, which I will be volunteering for as soon as I can. So, it’s nice to feel like I can come out when I want to. (My last company was decidedly Christian-esque and a lot of my coworkers, while otherwise awesome people, were really casually homophobic so I played the pronoun game and let people think I was divorcing a man just because it made my life easier.)
And yet, regardless of the fact that the company is inclusive and accepting, it’s always nerve-wracking to have to Come Out Again <TM>. Living here in Deep Red Jesusland, it’s always possible I’m going to lose “friends” as soon as they find out. And there are a million little microaggressions that, while not technically rising to the level of discrimination, make life just a little bit harder when you’re openly queer. (And I’m not even going to get into the fact that my deeply Southern Baptist Family have apparently decided that since I am divorced now, I never actually Came Out to them at all. Oy.)
It weighs on you, in ways you don’t really appreciate unless it’s happening to you, how just being who you are can be used against you. And while I was firmly in the No Dating Zone it was easy to let myself forget about it, to let go of that weight and just be.