As some of you may or may not know, I write under the pen name Roxanne Hunter. So far I've self-published five novels. Those of you that have read them know that the main character suffers from Dissociative Identity Disorder and is incarcerated for murder. In the three book spin-off the main character is a budding lesbian with Dissociative Identity Disorder. These books are about my struggle with my sexuality. Like my characters I've had two sides fighting for control.
I think of it like this: We're all conflicted but some people are more conflicted than others. Nowadays it seems that people are finding out who they are younger and younger. When I discovered who I was, I was in college. My high school experience was strange. I didn't date, I got "crushes" that I never acted on, and I felt more comfortable around guys than girls. I still do, actually. But, what got me through these conflicting feelings I was having about the girls around me was I assumed everyone went through the same thing. I don't know what it's like to be straight and I never will. I tried putting a mask on but try as I might I couldn't be what my mother said I was: "a dyed in the wool heterosexual." My mother was an amazing woman who supported gay marriage but in her mind lesbians didn't really exist. I lost her in 2011. When she passed I was in a relationship with a guy-something I did for several reasons, one of which was to make her feel comfortable.
Back to my characters. I was thinking the other day that a struggle with sexuality is a lot like having another self. There's one side that knows exactly who and what it is and is simply waiting for the chance to break through and show the world. That side has dreams, embraces what makes it different, and is brave enough to live in spite of the hate. But, then there's another side. This side lays down and surrenders to the fear. The fear may or may not come from others. It could just be fear of failing at the life this side wants. Instead of taking the hard road this side wants to do what's easy. Instead of opening the door, stepping out, and embracing the differences-this side locks the door, puts on a disguise, and steps out in it. But, the other side doesn't want to hide. It's in a cage while the fake side plays its game, but eventually, through happenstance people see the side in the cage. Some people look on and nod while others might look on in disgust. But the side in the cage doesn't care because everyone finally saw the truth.
I know life's not so simple. Some people can handle when the truth is revealed but some people can't. I was lucky to have a support group. My sister and brother-in-law, my friends, and my father all accepted it. My mother struggled with it but I believe she would've come around. I tell myself every day that I was lucky. Even so, I was suicidal for awhile. I never acted on it but I came close. Interestingly, once I decided to truly embrace myself-all of myself-the need to just end it faded away. It had nothing to do with what others would think and had everything to do with my own fear. The more people I told the more I realized how many loving and accepting people there are in the world. Self-acceptance is the toughest thing in the world. It's easier to put a mask on and play a game-lie to the world and yourself because the truth is scary. But, if you want to be free, the only way is to shed the disguise and shout it out.