Things to NEVER Say to Someone Going Through Fertility Treatments/ Infertility

This one goes out to all of the people going through fertility treatments/procedures in hopes of conceiving. It also goes out to their support system, wife, husband, partner, best friend, roommate- whoever has truly got their back!

It is also dedicated to people who aren’t so helpful. I in no way think anyone is being malicious with their comments, but are instead ignorant or unaware of the heartache that is associated with needing medical intervention to reproduce.

I’ve spoken to over 10 different women who struggle with fertility and are in the process of taking hormones, undergoing testing and procedures, and trying IUI & IVF. As this post is geared towards my own experience as a lesbian, these comments have been made to heterosexual couples who are having trouble conceiving as well.

Also- I can only speak to my own experiences. I know same-sex male couples or men trying to have a child on their own have an extremely hard time as well as eggs and surrogate are a whole ‘nother ball game. Sending some love to them too!

Here are the top 10 things to never say to someone going through this process.

  • “If it’s meant to be, it’ll happen.”

    Well then. So if it doesn’t happen, it wasn’t meant to be? Like what the fuck does that even mean?
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  • “Just relax.

    Okay. SO having everyone going through fertility treatments has been to appointments at the clinic for a minimum of 2 months. Appointments are booked based on our cycle days and have no mercy for work meetings, our social lives or our bank accounts.

    We get to “try” to produce in a cold, sterile environment where new nurses prick our arms and insert god knows what into our V and all we can do is lay there and hope this is all worth it.

    We rearrange our lives to go to these appointments that usually involve tough news and tears. We drive home processing what just happened. And we wake up the next day and do it all over again.

    SO- telling us to relax during all of this is insensitive. Believe me, we’re trying. Not to mention the recommendations made to improve our fertility. Whole foods, no alcohol, limit caffeine, lose weight…We’re trying to reinvent ourselves in hopes that our reproductive system may follow. It is anything but relaxing. If you want me to relax, send me to the spa.
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  • “It will happen when you stop planning.”

    Oh shit really? Didn’t know as a lesbian I could get pregnant by accident? If we didn’t plan our appointments based on our cycle days- it wouldn’t happen. Ever. If we didn’t plan our work schedule around our fertility appointments, it also wouldn’t happen. So, telling us to stop planning, is like telling us not to bother. Unless you have some magic we can have?
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  • Just go to a bar and hookup with a random guy. It’s cheaper.”

    Oh it’s cheaper that way? Didn’t know that. Pretty sure I identify as a lesbian because I DO NOT want to have sex with men. Despite the temptation of a baby, that’s gonna be a hard pass.
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  • Who’s gonna be the real mom?”

    Uhhh as opposed to what? The fake mom? We’re both gonna be real moms, thanks.
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  • Do you want one of mine?”

    Again, hard. fucking. pass. I want a baby that is part of me or I would have chosen adopting a child who desperately needs a home.
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  • Maybe it’s not in gods plan.”

    The fuck does god have to do with my reproductive organs?
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  • It’s a privilege that IUI and IVF exist.

    Thank you- we know. We are extremely thankful to even have the option to have biological children. But it doesn’t erase the difficulty and emotional turmoil that comes with this process. So thank you for informing us that we are privileged, but when we’re rearranging our lives to accommodate appointments and taking out bank loans to pay for sperm, we don’t feel privileged. ALSO- a privilege that we’re paying for. Can’t forget that part.
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  • Are you sure you want to put your body through that. It’s a lot of hormones.”

    Trust me. There is no part of me that WANTS to load my body full of hormones. But, if that is the only way then of course I will do it.
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  • “Have you considered adoption?

    Oh wow. So this one is ignorant on so many levels. Adoption, in most cases, is not easier, faster or less expensive than conceiving via IUI or IVF. Adoption, while it is amazing & important, may not be how we envisioned our lives. So asking us if we’ve considered adoption is insensitive to the fact that we may be mourning the idea of what we pictured our family/life to look like.

    And, you can bet your ass we’ve considered every.single.option. including adoption
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In conclusion, I don’t think anyone says any of these things maliciously, they usually just don’t understand the heartache and struggle that comes with conceiving in a clinic vs. in your own space on your own terms.

Being The Wife of A Musician: The Things No One Tells You

First off- I’d like to start this post by saying I love my wife VERY much.

I remember when we first started dating I was blown away by her ability to open her mouth and project sounds that didn’t resemble a dying animal (Note: I really cannot sing). I was even more impressed when she proved she could play guitar while singing AT THE SAME TIME.

I was quickly wooed over by her angelic voice and killer instrumental skills. But, little did I know, I would eventually be a band wife. And band wives have a lot of duties and unwritten rules.

Here are the things NO ONE tells you when you start dating a musician:

  • There will rarely be quiet time again: In the shower? Singing. Trying to nap? Guitar solos trailing up the stairs. In the middle of a conversation? Singing again. In bed? Drums blasting downstairs.
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  • Your basement is no longer YOUR basement. It belongs to the music now: I’ve always been cool with her creating a recording studio space in our basements (even when we lived in tiny houses that could have benefitted from some extra space). What I didn’t expect was that she would hunt the house for every single blanket we own and create what looks like a giant blanket fort in our basement to absorb echoes and create the ultimate recording situation. Now, when I walk into the basement I am greeted by blankets hanging from the ceiling acting as doors as I make my way to the laundry room. Plus side? She has volunteered to do more laundry now.
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  • You will be expected to attend shows of people you’ve never heard of: I’m totally cool with this one… except when the people mega suck and she still suggests we see them. :’)
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  • She will spend hours in the blanket basement at one time and will request that you don’t make a sound: That means no showering. No walking around. No breathing. Okay- the last one was a joke.
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  • You may end up doubling as her Manager/Tour Planner: Again- totally cool with this one because I love planning events. I do wish I got to go on the tour though… 😉
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  • The bandmates become your great friends: Or in our case- the best men at our wedding.
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  • You’ll probably end up running the merch table… 
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  • You’ll start listening to music differently… Listen to that Vibrato damn.
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  • She’ll make you fall in love again and again with every song she writes about you. (Especially when she sings it for you at your wedding in front of everybody.)
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  • And you will especially love the way she serenades the dog. Now if only we could teach him to sing back.
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Based on this list… I think the pros definitely outweigh the cons. Just means I can be her biggest fan.

Back to Blogging/Post Wedding Blues

Wow- it’s been a while (again). One of my fatal flaws is I can be inconsistent…surprise, surprise.

In my defence, in the last 5 months I’ve moved, gotten married & gone to Italy. So I mean, life has been busy… Okay, that’s an understatement. Life has been so insane I barely realized how insane it was until it all stopped. Then the normalcy of the post-insanity was enough to swallow me whole.

I’m not talking like “I’m sad my wedding is over.” I’m talking I literally can’t get out of bed, feel physically ill, can’t eat, sleep 10 hours at night and more during the day… It was rough.

Leading up to the wedding I was so busy and consumed by it that I literally forgot to eat…frequently. Generally, when I’m anxious I forget/can’t bring myself to eat anyways…But this was different. Maybe it was just the constant excitement and butterflies and also anxiety that something could go wrong? I don’t know. All I know is I definitely put self-care on the back burner before the wedding and definitely paid for it afterwards.

Our wedding day was truly the most beautiful day of my entire life. The love and support that we were shown that day was so incredible. Everything went so smoothly, I almost couldn’t believe it. Isn’t that what anxiety is? Waiting for something bad to happen? It was kind of a moment of realization for me… Something bad may never happen & I’m spending so much of my time waiting for it. 

The purpose of me telling you all this is to normalize the post-wedding blues & post-wedding depression and to also remind people getting married that it’s totally OK to feel depleted and depressed after the wedding. BUT have a plan in place. Have supports in place. Because trust me when I say if you don’t have a plan in place you’ll feel like you’re drowning.

Things I found helpful after the wedding and honeymoon to combat the depression:

  • Netflix (in moderation)
  • Go outside. I didn’t leave the house for 3 days at one point… and when I finally forced myself to step outside I felt instantly grounded. Bonus if you walk barefoot and try some 10-10-10 breathing. (10 second inhale, hold 10 seconds, exhale 10 seconds)
  • Seeing close friends
  • Talk about your wedding, printing wedding photos and reminiscing about the day
  • Plan something. I mean you just spent so much time planning an event and now that it’s over maybe planning something else will help ease your mind
  • EAT. & not just eat….but eat whole foods. I was living off carbs because it was all I could stomach. I lost 10 pounds before the wedding and was totally depleted of nutrients. My naturopath told me the exhaustion was my bodies way of protecting myself and reserving it’s energy.
  • As mentioned above, if you haven’t seen one, try a naturopath!
  • OR GO TO COUNSELLING
  • Make a scrapbook or memory book of your wedding
  • Engage in your hobbies that you might have put on the back burner while planning the wedding

One last thing, practice gratitude. I’ve found that the more I think about our wedding, the more thankful I feel that I had so man family and friends there to celebrate with. I also think about and express how thankful I am for the amazing vendors and professionals who helped make our day so special.

SIDE NOTE: Also so very thankful that we live in a country where I can marry the love of my life. So many places in the world are so far behind. We are truly so lucky.

Happy wedding planning, wedding enjoying and post-wedding coping. ❤

 

 

2018

Hard to believe it’s 2018. I remember being 17 and setting new years resolutions to “lose 20 pounds” and “get a bikini body.” I don’t know why we, as a society, are so fixated on our bodies looking a specific way. I also have no idea why the standards of “beauty” affect children & teens to the extent that they do.

This isn’t happy. This is disordered eating and trauma. This is masking the pain with control. This is equating weight with happiness. I wish I could tell 17 year old me that.

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Note: Disordered eating doesn’t always look like protruding ribs and hip bones. Sometimes it looks like a 140-pound person who hasn’t eaten properly in months and likes the high they get when someone says they’re tiny.

I’m not saying I had an eating disorder by any means. But I definitely had disordered eating and wasn’t healthy.

I’d like to think that the body positivity movement is starting to shift my perception of what beautiful is though…

Because I’ve been stereotypically beautiful- thigh gap, blonde hair, tanned, clear skin, perfect eyebrows. The list of what I thought beauty consisted of is disgusting, and more-so, sad. I wish I had spent the time I spent obsessively exercising and in tanning beds loving my body and soul. Loving what’s under the surface. Below the water.

Over the years, I’ve been actively trying to find happiness from within. Not from external factors like my appearance and how much money I have. Trying to find the beauty that lies within and let it shine through. It isn’t easy though. Setting my 2018 intentions was extremely difficult for me. My automatic response was “lose weight”, “get in shape…” But I knew, that would only make me happy temporarily then I’d be searching for how else I could adhere to the societal expectations of beauty.

So here is my personal list of 2018 intentions and goals (none to do with appearance, all to do with body, health, and soul):

  • Write my second book (Hopefully in 2018!)
  • Marry my best friend.
  • Try new things each month. (This month is dance classes!)
  • Go somewhere I’ve never been.
  • See people I love more often.
  • Get another tattoo that means something to me. “Go live.”
  • Wear what YOU like. No more adjusting your preferences based on the gender sections in the stores or other peoples perceptions. 2018 clothing inspo=

  • Be kind to me. Say kind things. Believe kind things.
  • Eat healthy food to better my mental health. (not solely based on losing a certain amount of weight)
  • Love the parts of yourself that need it most. (Right now it’s my skin. This winter is so dry!)
  • Go to counseling monthly.
  • Write my own vows. (This one makes me cry whenever I try!)
  • Tell people I love that I love them often.

I hope everyone’s 2018 is going well. Be kind to yourself. ❤

My Coming Out Story

First off, I wanna start this post by stating how extremely thankful I am to have the privilege to live in a country that celebrates LGTBQ+ love. I also am so extremely gracious of the kindness I have been shown by my close family and friends and the acceptance and love they have showered me with over the years.

In 210 days I get to marry the love of my life, my best friend. I can’t imagine not being able to walk down the aisle to my future wife. With the wedding approaching, I have been reflecting on my sexuality, and the process of coming out, coming to terms, and being proud of who I am and who I love.

I remember being a child and chasing boys on the playground trying to kiss them, pass on my cooties and then run away laughing. I remember watching Disney movies and idolizing Ariel. I remember giggling when I saw my parents kiss. As a child, I was fairly “typical.” I had crushes on boys (and girls, but I didn’t realize that yet). I had boyfriends and first kisses and butterflies in the pit of my stomach.

If I go way back in my mind, I was 10 when I first really started to feel different. A new girl came to my school and we became instant best friends. The kind of friendship that just bursts like fireworks. I didn’t understand how I had ever been happy before she moved to the small town where I grew up. We called each other every single day after school, used walkie talkies to talk late at night and spent countless hours together. Usually she was doing my makeup and helping me feel beautiful in my tall, lanky, awkward skin.

I didn’t think anything was different about our friendship at the time. Now I know that may have been the first time my brain registered that my soul could love anyone, regardless of gender.

When I was 12, I met a girl on MSN (I feel embarrassingly old right now). I don’t even remember how or why I added her now. We started talking late at night. I would sneak on the family computer at 2 am and she’d always be on. She was the same age as me, but was older at heart. She’d be up at all hours of the night, smoking cigarettes and drinking liquor. I’d help fill the loneliness once in a while. I still never thought I was gay, or bi or whatever category my ability to love falls into. I just knew she intrigued me and I liked talking to her when the world was asleep.

We talked in the dark of midnight for 2 years. Eventually, I started to wonder if maybe she was hitting on me, or if I was just being conceited. We ended up figuring out that we had a mutual friend, which put my anxious mind to ease. I wasn’t worried that she was a 40 year old man trying to manipulate my 14 year old naive mind. Since I knew she was “safe” (I put this in quotations because I now know her age and gender did not ensure my safety), I agreed to go meet her at our mutual friends house. We agreed to meet there on a cold Friday, February night.

This is when I realized how, undeniably infatuated I was with her. I couldn’t sleep, could barely eat and could only think of her. I continued talking to her every night, now quietly on the phone under the covers in my room. I was nervous to meet her… Even more nervous for her to meet me. She seemed so much older than me despite our same birth year. She seemed cooler, more adventurous and daring. I felt boring in comparison. I kept planning what I would wear, what I would say and how I could possibly make her like me. (I still wasn’t convinced I was gay at this point…seriously)

The Friday night came. I woke up, showered and went to school, fell asleep in grade 9 science and came home showered (again) and tried to look good. I counted down the hours until my mom got home would drive me to pick up this stranger who I undeniably had a crush on.

When my mom finally got home and picked me up, my legs were shaking. We drove to the city to pick her up. I remember she was standing against a building wall, smoking a cigarette wearing a black hoodie and a red coat, jeans and converse. My heart sank in the best way possible, to the bottom of my belly. My mom parked and I got out of the car. I walked over to her and said “Hi.” My eyes bright with excitement. She smiled a crooked smile, her eyes burned into my soul. I’d say that was the single moment that I knew I was gay. We walked to my moms car and she drove us to our mutual friends house. We shared glances on the car ride home. Hands beside each other but not quite touching. The electricity in the car that night could have killed me.

We spent the night at our mutual friends house. We drank liquor and listened to music. I remember being jealous because my friend was undeniably prettier than me and I was worried she would outshine me. The dark stranger liked us both, that was obvious. It hurt, a lot to have someone you barely know like you, but like your friend more.

I remember it was 3 am and I was sitting by my friends fireplace crying. I felt like a drunk fool who fell for a stranger who couldn’t care less. Except she did care. When she noticed I had wandered away from them, she came and sat by the fire with me. She lifted my chin, looked into my eyes and apologized for making me cry (little did I know this would be the first apology of many). I said it was fine (it wasn’t). And then, she kissed me. Time. fucking. stopped. Nothing mattered in that moment. I felt high, like my soul was floating out of my body and I was watching from above. I felt like everything in my life suddenly made sense and I never wanted the feeling to end. I wanted more.

The weeks after were filled with sleepless nights spent on the phone. Countless conversations centred around my questionable sexuality and weekends spent together. After about a month of this, we started dating officially (secretly of course). I told my closest friends who were supportive though I could tell they were worried about the bags under my eyes and skipped meals.

About 2 months into the relationship, I felt the pressure of the isolation. My mom, once my best friend, now knew nothing about me. Only 2 of my friends knew I was dating a girl, and my dad was clueless. I felt like an alien in a world that wouldn’t understand. I started getting increasingly depressed and anxious.

The night I came out I was secluded in my room, glued to my computer, talking to her. My mom came in, grumpy asking for help cleaning the kitchen. I lost it and started screaming saying “I can’t, I’m busy!” I couldn’t handle spending time away from talking to the one person who I felt understood me, my stranger of a girlfriend who gave me a feeling of not being alone.

My mom walked into my room and sat beside me, looked at my computer screen and asked why I was talking to her (my secret girlfriend) so much. I broke down crying, the kind of crying that hurts your body and leaves you in a shaking, vegetative state. I looked at her, knowing this would change our lives, and told her she was my girlfriend and that I was bi. She started crying, and hugged me and told me it was okay, and that she was glad that’s all it was. But I could tell her brain was full of thoughts. We agreed not to tell my dad for a while. We knew he’d have more trouble coming to terms with my sexuality.

This was the beginning of a whirlwind of events. Girlfriend after girlfriend after boyfriend after girlfriend.

And now, I look back, and don’t regret a thing. Not the bullying (it made me fucking strong), not the months I spent in hiding (it helped me understand myself), not the girl I hit for making fun of me for being gay or the school I got expelled from and definitely not the first girl I dated (cause man, did I learn).

And now, in less than a year I get to marry a women who treats me like gold, and who I can’t imagine my life without. This is proof that *It gets better. 

To anyone out there struggling to come out, think of your life 10 years down the line. What do you see? What do you want someday? Know there is a community of LGTBQ+ people who have your back.

Note: These are just fragments of memories. I spent a lot of time blocking this time-frame of my life out of my mind. 

How to Survive When You Miss Your Medication

Worst. Feeling. Ever. Am I right?

I don’t often miss my medication but, when I do, I sure do feel it. My head feels like electric shocks are pulsing through my synapses and my stomach feels like it’s being shredded. I feel exhausted no matter how much sleep I get. I’m irritable, angry and impossible to be around. And it’s really, really hard to ground myself and remember this will pass.

So, from my experiences, here are some ways to survive when you miss your medication:

  • Cry: Just allow yourself to cry a good body shaking, lip quivering cry. Personally, the only time I can really cry is when something terrible happens OR when I forget my medication. So, if I miss my medication, I just allow myself to cry. Not all day or anything. But, a half hour cry never killed anyone.
  • Get Creative: I try to use my missed medication day as an excuse to channel my negative energy into something creative. Whether it be writing, drawing or even just listening to music. I try to get in tune with my creative energy. It helps to distract me from how bad I feel, and also helps make me feel accomplished.
  • Organize: When I miss my medication, I feel like I don’t have control over my body and emotions. This very quickly can turn into a negative thought pattern of not having control over anything in my life. What do I do? Find something small I can control. I’ll often organize something in the house that I’ve been wanting to organize. Today I organized my art supplies and it, for some reason, made me feel in control of my day.
  • Rest: This ones important. Your body is going through something. Be kind to it, allow it to rest and try not to feel guilty or “lazy.” Put on your favourite movie (My go-to is Elf) and cuddle up on the couch. Remind yourself that mental illness is equal to physical illness. If you had the flu, you’d allow yourself to rest, right?
  • Try not to push people away: This one is hard for me. I find it extremely difficult to be around people when I haven’t taken my medication. I’m really quick to snap and get angry/sad and usually seclude myself during these times. But, it’s important to allow loved ones to hold you, help you and listen to you. Connecting during these times can really help. Remind yourself that you are loved, and try to be kind to your loved ones and to yourself.
  • Distract: Distracting yourself when you feel physically and mentally ill is one of my favourite strategies because, in my opinion, it’s one of the easiest.

    Here are some of my favourite distractions:

  • Hand Lettering Worksheets
  • Online Magazines 
  • Knitting
  • Yoga with Adrienne 
  • Gratitude Journalling

I hope this is helpful and reassuring to anyone going through the medication madness.

Love

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10 Things No One Tells You About Being a Lesbian

In 2017, lesbians are everywhere. Ellen Page, Kristen Stewart, Ruby Rose, Halsey…so many up and coming, talented women standing with the LGTBQ+ community. The representation of lesbians is on the rise (while I find the representation of bisexual or gay men, unfortunately, isn’t as prominent.) Shows like Orange is the new black made lesbians crazy!I feel pretty lucky to be out in a time where we are moving in the right direction towards acceptance and equity. There are so many LGTBQ+ resources in Canada and I truly feel blessed to live here (Praying for U.S.A). But, flashback ten years to when I was 14 and coming out… didn’t feel so lucky.

Here are 10 things I’ve learned (mostly the hard way) about being a woman who loves women. 

  1. Women love hard, and hurt hard. It’s a huge mis-conception than being a woman who dates women means you won’t be abused or get heartbroken. I’ve dated both men and women, and in my experience, women love harder & hurt harder. This may be because I cared about them on a deeper, less superficial level…hard to say. I also think lesbians (the unkind ones) feel like because you’re both women, they can hit you, push you or hurt you in any other way without it being abuse.
  2. People will still assume you and your partner follow typical gender roles. One of us is still expected to walk down the aisle, get pregnant and take out the garbage.
  3. Your wardrobe will never just be yours again. From my experiences your wardrobe becomes your patterns wardrobe 99% of the time. Even if you aren’t the same shape and size, I guarantee she will find something in your closet that fits and adopt it as her own. This is both a positive and negative.
  4. “Lady Issues” are a lot less ofan “issue.” Dating men was so inconvenient. Once a month I’d have to explain why I was grumpy, crampy and unpredictable. Dating a woman is like having a permanent PMS buddy who can relate and offer you a massage or hot bath when you’re feeling terrible. Alternatively, two of you PMSing simultaneously can also super suck. Can you say Shark Week?
  5. You both get to wear the pants. I’ll admit in my relationship we joke that I wear the pants more often. But, we do take turns. We both wear the pants at different times. We assume different roles in different situations based on our strengths.
  6. People are always going to stare. Despite the progression of acceptance in Canada, I still do notice quite a few stares if I’m out with my partner. If we hold hands, I see people do a double-take. There will always be one person who just can’t look away…usually the teenage boy.
  7. You can’t just “have kids.” This seems like an obvious one, but when I came out at 14 I didn’t think forward to how annoying (and expensive) this is going to be. And the worst is when people ask “Oh when are you going to having kids?” Well, maybe when we have 10,000 and time for donor-searching and legal appointments.
  8. Watching The L Word together will change your world. Any lesbian can back me up on this. This is the best thing. Ever. Period. The L word is like a little world of lesbians. It was one of the first shows I watched and felt represented in. I could relate, and even had my first TV crush. (Shane…)  Also, the web of lesbian connections on that show could not be more accurate.
  9. Going to Pride will become the highlight of your year. A few years after coming out, I was in the Pride Parade and I felt like it was a pivotal moment in my life. It’s kinda when I decided I was going to accept who I was, and who I loved. The support and love at Pride events is supercharging in the best way possible.
  10. You will have a beautiful life. Your sexual orientation does not define what kind of people you are. I have met beautifully kind heterosexual people, and terrible, abusive gay people and vice versa. Who you chose to sleep with, love and marry has no indication on your inner kindness. Be kind and you’ll be just fine.

Well, there they are. The 10 things no one told me (and I wished someone could have) about being a lesbian.

 

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