I always had a hard time maintaining relationships. Even before romance, friendships did not come to me easily. I was often picked on and, as someone from a low-income LGBT family, I had little to offer my peers lest they be ridiculed by association.
Throughout elementary, I had one good friend. By grade 5, we added a 3rd member to our group. We were, however, a troubled threesome often competing for each other’s affection. I have no doubts that we three were deeply broken, and though I will always hold a special affection for the first, my friendship with the second completely disintegrated over the years.
When I finally reached high school, I formed new friendships of kindred spirits, each year losing touch with some and making new friends as my goals and interests evolved. I learned to better adjust to different temperaments and define better my interests.
When I moved to a new city in grade 11, I discovered something about myself I had never known: I was (am) attractive!
I was more than my dad’s sexual orientation or my family’s income. I was smart, funny and I could clean up pretty good if I tried! I was still discovering this as I entered my first relationship. As I was discovering my power of attraction, I made my boyfriend jealous: sometimes inadvertently, sometimes on purpose. I loved being desired.
When I finally graduated high school, I expected that my years of frivolous flirting would be done. I was ready to settle with the boy that had stood by me through thick and thin. When I was offered to embark on a pan-Canadian volunteering journey, I was reluctant to leave. Instead of making the heartfelt promises of eternal love I so desperately wanted to hear, he chose to let the relationship go, for my sake, so I would not allow myself to be kept back. He broke up with me with harsh hateful words, criticizing all that I held dear. I left heartbroken.
It’s only months later that he reached out to tell me he’d only made his comment so I would “find it easier to leave”. We rekindled the relationship for a while, but I never forgave him and it inevitably fell apart.
I wasn’t sure if I was ready for or worthy of love, but, soon after, I fell for a fellow university student on exchange at my University. The semester went wonderfully but when he left, ghosts haunted me. Ghosts that told me “Loin des yeux, loin du cœur” (French: lit. “Far from the eyes, far from the heart” meaning that one cannot love what one cannot see). When I visited him, however briefly, I demanded proof of his love, his affection, and his fidelity. When I returned, he quickly ruptured the relationship claiming he’d believed me to be a strong confident woman but, seeing that I was so deeply insecure, he did not want to continue a relationship.
So thus I went on from one relationship to the next, wanting to be confident in the outcome but being over and over again dissappointed. I’ve made poor choices and former partners prayed upon my insecurities.
I remember being told by one “You’re Muslim now, and the daughter of a gay man, do you really think anyone else would be able to handle that?! You have all these notions of what you want in a relationship but you forget that, at the end of the day, your options are limited!” So I stayed, for much longer than I should have, in relationships that didn’t bring me happiness and often slowly picked at the few things I liked about myself. It made me question if it wouldn’t be easier to abandon some of my beliefs in order to find love.
Then I found a relationship based on true friendship, while we eventually realized that friendship was all there was, he was instrumental in teaching me to advocate for myself. I learnedto reconnect with my gr.11-self who had discovered the power of mind, heart and body.
With new priorities, I went on looking and mysteriously, I am finding. As I’m terrifyingly entering a new relationship, I find myself less excited and more afraid but I am hopeful that the man I found can ground me, reassure me. I am still insecure, I am still nervous, but he puts up with it and is slowly learning how to calm me.
I am taking this slow and steady, may God give me the strength to open up over time!