My race began…
with a visit to a psychic. It was 2007. I was a junior at an Ohio college that could only be accessed by driving on quiet back roads past endless cornfields and countless cow pastures. The first time taking the drive I was convinced it led to absolutely nowhere until the campus, with its giant bell tower and charming brick buildings, finally appeared. It was fall semester and I had just been tasked with my latest assignment for my journalism feature writing class: do something you’ve never done before and report on it. Simple enough. The decision to visit a psychic was a no-brainer. A longtime sucker for those glossy magazines with the monthly horoscopes in the back, I jumped at the excuse to experience a real, personalized reading—all in the name of my higher education, right?
The decision proved to be the right call; the psychic referenced childhood memories I’d long since forgotten and that would have been impossible for him to know. He also called out my future career at a major publishing house—which, to my total joy, actually happened. Satisfied with his visions thus far, it was only natural to inquire about the next big life question: my future husband.
What did he look like? What did he do for work? When will we get married? How old will I be when we get married? Will we have kids? Will we have a long, happy marriage?
The psychic, however, had very little to say on the topic. As my mind and body geared up for a full-on panic attack, he said, “Well, there is definitely someone by your side, and you are happy.” PHEW. Crisis averted. But that was pretty much all he had to say on the topic. He couldn’t seem to make out any additional details about this person, what they looked like, what they did for work, or when we would meet. I found it strange and disappointing but quickly brushed these thoughts aside. What more reassurance did I need? He did exist! He will be by my side! I will not live a long, solitary life and die alone. He’ll be perfect, I’m sure!
Well, that “he” turned out to be a “she.” Flash forward to today where I’ve been with my partner Elaine (aka E) for close to four years.
After only 11 months together, we took the plunge and I moved in with her (U-Haul syndrome... it’s real, folks). Last year, we kicked off 2016 by quitting our jobs, packing up our belongings, and traveling the globe for five glorious months before relocating to Boulder, CO. After over 3,600 nonstop hours together, we both survived to tell the tale—no small feat, let me assure you! Not long after making the move, we adopted our rescue pup, Lucy (aka Lulu) and quickly fell into the role of obnoxious pet parents (center of our lives? check! Insta photo after photo of her sleeping like the little angel that she is? check! organic, raw food to ensure an extra long life? check!).
So how did I get here? A very bumpy, wildly confusing, yet beautifully messy road. Growing up, I lived in a small town in rural Ohio where diversity wasn’t an issue because it simply didn’t exist. When it came to sexuality, it was pretty black and white. You were either straight or you weren’t. And if you weren’t, then you were either a leather vest-wearing dyke with short, spiky hair and a strong aversion to the color pink or a flamboyant guy with lots of sass, an impeccable fashion sense and an obsession with the color pink. There was no gray area. At least not one I could see.
It wasn’t until I moved to NYC the June after graduating college that the lines between black and white became blurred by so much gray. And red and orange and yellow and green and blue and purple. All of a sudden I was surrounded by a vast amount of people of all different ethnicities; from all walks of life; and with a myriad of beliefs and opinions. The energy was electrifying and liberating.
For the first time in my life, I felt like I was exactly where I wanted to be.
Where I was meant to be.
Free of judgement.
No one would bat an eyelash.
No one would stop and stare.
This was it.
This was the moment I’d been racing toward ever since I could remember.
And yet, that hot, sticky day in the middle of June was only the beginning.
So much of my NYC experience was wrapped up in a sink or swim mentality. And I was determined to break out my best doggy paddle and swim like hell. Whether that be while enduring my first adult job with a particularly challenging boss or stubbornly deciding to sign a lease for my very own apartment in a fourth floor walkup building “conveniently” located off the A train’s last stop at 207th Street while simultaneously living off of a publishing assistant’s salary. (Yes, it’s still technically Manhattan. Yes, the island goes up that high.) And then realizing it’s necessary to take a second job at the Container Store to make up for the fact that I ever thought I could afford my own place (regardless of location) on an assistant’s salary.
Let’s not forget about the infamous Shark Pool known to most as the New York City dating scene. The options are rarely in short supply. But quality experiences? Now that’s a different, trickier story. I met a lot of great, stand-up guys. And then there were the unfortunate, why-do-you-have-to-exist encounters. Initially, it was all exciting—even the less than desirable situations. New city, uncharted territory, opportunities to meet complete strangers with fascinating, unique stories to tell.
I was drunk on the possibility of it all. For awhile, at least. After a time, the excitement lost its appeal and instead, I was left feeling empty and alone. I knew and felt that something was missing and that even with all the new-found acceptance and freedom I discovered, there was a disconnect somewhere between my head and my gut.
I owe a lot to NYC—like educating me on what bisexuality is really all about. (Newsflash to my young, naive self, it doesn’t equate to females drunkenly making out with one another in a busy social setting as a means of creating shock value and gaining the attention of male bystanders.) A big shout-out to New York is also in order for teaching me that the human sexuality spectrum is actually a thing. That sexuality is not fixed and is in fact very fluid. And that the term queer and dyke aren’t intrinsically “bad” words. And perhaps one of my biggest revelations: a woman can look and be feminine and girly while at the same time be attracted to other women. For real? Wow. Mind. Blown. Yes, I know… for many, this is common sense, facts of life known at an early age, but for me, these were very new, very exciting and very liberating ways of thinking. There was a lot of hope and possibility wrapped up in this new-found knowledge. A lightbulb began flickering and pieces started fitting together. I had had a few experiences with women that had stuck with me, but I had always tried brushing them off, dismissing them as my late-bloomer self exploring unknown, forbidden territories in a place where it’s no longer forbidden and quite the opposite, it is welcomed.
For years, my relationship with dating had been dysfunctional, unhealthy, damaging, and draining. And finally, I’d had enough. Scared, hesitant, and still confused, I did what any millennial person would do. I signed up for a dating site. When the “interested in” box popped up, I held my breath, took a chance and clicked on “women.” A month later, I met E.
I still smile when I think back on my first (and best) psychic experience. I have no doubt he saw E in my future. And I have no doubt he knew that I wasn’t ready to hear that just yet. That I still had some serious growing up to do. That in order to find E, I needed to take this bumpy, confusing, beautifully messy road on my own, free of any glimpses into the future. Even this psychic knew that some things are best left unknown. That it needs to be the individual who discovers and determines when it’s right and when he/she is ready. I’m so thankful to him that he kept this a secret and let me discover my own path. In my own time. In my own way.