Coming Out Later in Life - Letting Go of Fear - A Surprise Benefit
I have a secret to share with y'all. I am a transplanted southerner, so I have to try and speak the language. As of today I know one word.
A cool side effect of coming out later in life, is that it brought into my consciousness that somewhere in the last fifteen years I realized that I had become invisible. I don’t know if this has happened to you, but sometime in my forties, I began to fade. I am not quite sure what happened, I was still the same old Anne-Marie. A little too serious and earnest, funny, blonde, blue-eyed, average size build. People have told me I have a great smile. But that attention I used to get from men, was suddenly not there. I would only get an occasional glance my way or a smile or a gentlemanly hold of the door.
I think I have found the secret, I came out as a lesbian and I suddenly returned to full technicolor brilliance.
THEN when I hit fifty I totally disappeared. I am not sure when I became invisible, I didn’t want to be invisible. it just happened. No glances my way, no smiles and often times I would notice the “look right through me” stare from men. I wasn’t old enough to get that "other smile". You know the one I am talking about, “awww she reminds me of my __________ (insert older favorite female relative here)." To most American males I was no longer a desirable woman. Don't get me wrong I wasn't looking for any attention or for male approval, I just noticed that it was gone. Ironically this is the time I had come into my own, I felt sexy and confident, I knew who I was and what I had to offer the world. Apparently, men my age and younger, and some women, couldn’t see this about me. Oh yeah, I forgot, I was invisible as my physical appearance was no longer young.
What the hell is wrong with our culture? I know there is so much to fret about, but why do all of us beautiful, strong, sexy, confident, wisdom laden women become invisible? It is such a loss for everyone. Men experience this too, but not until they are much older in their late 60's or even 70's. Why do we worship youth?
I have one question - would you return to your youthful time, between late teens and thirty? I have found, when people answer this questions, they always say, "yes, only if I know what I know now." We worship the physical appearance of youth, ignore those who are aging, and consequently negate so much hard earned experience, compassion, and wisdom. These qualities within themselves make us beautiful.
I think I have found the secret, I came out as a lesbian and I suddenly returned to full technicolor brilliance. My invisibility completely disappeared. I suddenly was human again. I entered a world where my lines and wrinkles, were what they were, a sign of a life lived. They were not a repellant feature. My extra weight was a non-issue. My starting to sag skin was accepted. My partner tells me how beautiful I am, all the time, not only when I asked: “how do I look?” At 54 years old, at my chubbiest, I have never felt so good about myself physically or more feminine. It is amazing to be seen again. It is beyond amazing, for the first time to be seen as who I have always been, a queer woman. I feel like Ponce de Leon and that I have discovered the fountain of youth. Most gay/queer/lesbian women (there are always exceptions) are so accepting of the unique way of how other women present themselves to the world. . It is such a wonderful place to have found and to have taken up residency. I truly feel sorry for my straight female friends who do not get to have this experience.
I wonder if I could bottle this and put it on Amazon? Every woman should be seen and visible, no exceptions.