I was outted in karate class when I was 19 by a 14 year old kid named Matthias. We were sparring with each other, and the conversation went a bit like this:
punch-block-punch: "So, T, there's a rumour going around that you're gay. Is it true are you a lesbian?"
kick-block-punch: "Yes. It's true. I am indeed a lesbian."
Despite my spontaneous admission, so bravely made to a teenager, I still went on to date (and later marry) a guy named Tim.
I began wrestling with my sexuality at 13, shortly after discovering what girls and boys were supposed to do together. My solution? Become an ultra-devout Catholic. Which is why my admission surprised both Matthias and me.
I was grateful for my exit from my teens. My mother was completely nuts (I am sure she had several undiagnosed psychological disorders) and I yearned for freedom. My mother dictated everything in my life: the clothes I wore, what I studied, which friends she never wanted me to see again, my curfew, which was set at a very ridiculous 9pm. I had hoped that twenty would mean my mother's grasp on me would loosen a little, but instead, it tightened to a choke hold.
By the time I reached 20, I had gone through Hepatitis A, German Measles, adrenal burnout, two bouts of clincal depression and I had broken both wrists (on two separate occasions, not all at once.) I was hopeful that things would still work out they way I wanted them too. I felt very grown up and I needed an adventure. Desperately.
I felt that the world was there, waiting for me, and I was trapped in a glass box, looking out at everyone being alive and I was stuck there, with no hope of ever being free.
I had no friends. I lost touch with some of them from High School and my mother forbade me from hanging out with one of my closest friends, Dori, because she believed she was a bad influence and a Satanic lesbian to boot. I didn't bother wasting time making friends at college. I was never going to be allowed to hang out with them. I was a very sad and lonely person. I read a lot of Stephen King, which my mother blamed for my depression a few years earlier, resulting in me having to give my entire collection away. I started reading David Eddings and other fantasy novels instead.
The only respite I had from my mother was at karate (my sister and I both attended all the classes - including the ones for kids - from 4pm to 8pm each Tuesday and Thursday) and church.
If there is anything I want to bring with me from twenty, it's that sense of adventure and the belief that something magical is waiting just around the corner. I seem to have lost that a bit.