What advice would you give to your teenage self?
Funny. The first thing that comes to mind is get a better haircut. All I can think of is how much I hate looking at my awkwardness in photos from when I was a teenager. But I want to go deeper than that with this answer.
I was in 10th grade when I first had a crush on a girl. Heck! It was the first time I had had a crush on anyone before. I hadn’t grown up indoctrinated that homosexuality was wrong in any way, which I’ll happily accept as a blessing. I was simply non-judgmentally aware, and extremely curious, of my feelings for my Burger King colleague.
I hadn’t thought to put any sort of label on how I was feeling. After all, who isn’t caught up in their head and body going through puberty?? I only learned of lesbianism when it was a topic during an episode of the Sunday Night Sex Show, a live, call-in TV program, where the host – Sue Johanson – answered all types of sex-related questions.
I don’t remember the exact question the caller female asked, but it would have been something along the lines of her being attracted to another woman. Sue’s words, in response to that question, echoed in my brain for the next 4 years: “It’s a phase that everyone goes through. It’s completely normal.”
I spent the rest of my high school career leaning on that advice like it was impenetrable truth. I was normal to have a crush on a girl, but it wasn’t permanent. I was going through a phase, and eventually, I would come out the other end of it, and then I’d be attracted to boys.
It took me until my freshman year of college to truly come out. It was like a light switch flipped in my brain, when I noticed how differently all my female dorm residents talked about boys and sex. I realized in an instant that it wasn’t a phase. I was, and will always be, attracted to women.
If I could go back in time and meet my teenage self, I would find her in grade 10 and let her know that the crush I have on that girl is normal, and beautiful, and part of what makes me me. My advice to her would be to revel in that truth, and not discard it as temporary.