I sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had discovered my true sexuality at a younger age. I was 43 when I decided to date women and found Sylvia. I had been married and had two children. Of course, if I had never married I would not have Jack and Ethan and I cannot imagine that. I love them both so much and they are such a big part of my life. I look at some of Ethan’s issues (Tourette Syndrome, OCD and ADHD) and wonder about my own childhood. I had horrible OCD as a child. I didn’t know it at the time, and neither did my parents. Of course, children were not diagnosed at that age. I look back now and see how I needed things to be a certain way or my world was off balance. I cried easily when things “weren’t just right”, but I couldn’t explain what just right was at times. I think I tried so hard to by typical, that I made myself straight. The thought of dating a woman never even crossed my mind until college, and then it was OTHER women dating women, NOT ME. I had several gay friends, who said that girls wanted to ask me out, but that wasn’t ME. Even now, I find that I like things a certain way, but I can “talk myself” down from the ledge and realize it is my OCD. The praxil that I take helps too. I am also very BLUNT and to the point. I can be socially awkward and have had to “teach” myself how to be social. If I had not had the OCD and anxiety that came with it and had better social skills, could I have been the TRUE ME and does it matter at this point? I also lacked confidence and self-esteem and still feel inadequate at times.
These realizations help me be a better parent and teacher. I want to advocate for my students and my own son. I find that I have to mentally tell myself how to behave and react at times. I would say 85-90% of the time it is natural to me now, but there are times, when I can still be that blunt person that just says it like it is. This doesn’t work well in a parent meeting with Ethan’s teachers or when I am the teacher talking to one of my student’s parents. I wish I didn’t have to THINK so hard some times to get it right. I used to wonder how others handled themselves with such ease and how it was hard for me. I don’t think it really matters if I figure out WHY I am this way or WHAT this is, but I do need to learn to cope with it.
Going back to my original question….would things have been different if I had been different all those years ago? I don’t know and there are no time machines that will allow me to go back and see, so I just have to look forward.