Wanting, Yearning, Pining
This piece was submitted by a member of the LGBTQ+ community at American University as part of the Rival American’s Pride Week. Their views do not necessarily represent that of The Rival American or its staff.
By Lucy W.
I’m sorry if you feel I talk about it every day- it’s just, I think about it all the time.
I think about it when I get dressed (am I being too gay? not gay enough? honestly, what does it mean to “dress gay”? Why do I feel I have to censor and perform the presentation of my sexuality for-- no, Lucy, you’re getting off track), I think about it when I order coffee (I hope that cute barista girl doesn’t think I’m flirting with her, even though she is Cute Barista Girl 👀), I think about it when I hear people call someone their partner, when I put my hair up (16 hour days on these curls? try again) and run my fingers across the undercut I had to fight my mom to get. I wonder often what I could do with the brain space my sexuality occupies if it weren’t a consideration. And then I pine. No one warned me about how much pining there would be.
Before I came out, dreams about the first woman (because in my mind, away from prying eyes, I always knew it would be a woman) I would love burrowed their way into my bones. They never had anything to do with how she would look -- I never weighed in my head the merits of brown eyes over green, of long versus short hair, of height, or weight, or any such nonsense-- I only ever thought of the way it could feel. The way one day, if I could gather the courage, if I could find someone who might feel as I did, it could feel to kiss someone and know I was right.
And know I was being seen, and heard, and felt in all the ways I hid for so long. Queer love is radical and even before I knew that word, even before I could consider the real potential of that dream, I knew that. And so, I would pine.
I’d pine for more than just her; I would pine her eventuality. I would yearn for a day and a space where I could meet her, could see her and pursue her unabashedly. I love being queer, but that love is not unconditional. Some days it flows free, and others it must be dug -- mined, almost- from a rock deep inside of me. How heavy it seems, at times, and how utterly free it feels at others.
I never wonder who I would be if I were straight, I only wonder who I would be if I were queer in a world that didn’t care. I wonder if moments of elation come at the cost of hours/unbroken days/near decades, they must add up to be, of entrapment.
I wonder if people who don’t feel contained or confined, who have not experienced the isolation, or self-doubt, or fear, recognize or experience similar liberation. Coming out, for me, feels like the first strokes of swimming in an open ocean.
So I am sorry, if it seems I talk about being gay a lot. It’s just, for the first 20 years I breathed air in this life, I was drowning. Even since I first came out in high school, it has felt like I was barely treading water. On good days, when I wake up and feel right and the pieces click, and I want to be exactly the way I am, I want to share that with people- I want to rejoice in that. And on bad days, when they come, I want to be able to say so. I want my pride in myself to be unlimited- I want to celebrate my queerness while doing justice to the pain it has brought me. Presenting one without the other would be unfair.
Lucy is a rising senior studying public health with a minor in sociology, even if she took the scenic route to get there. Loves long walks w/ boba and a good jam session to My World 2.0. Easily distracted and a Gemini, she prefers to have no fewer than five hobbies at a time.