I touched on coming out in an earlier post but I wanted to share my experience with you. Maybe in the hope that it will help anyone in a similar situation realise they aren’t alone! I recently wrote a letter to my 15 year old self, aimed at this too which you can read here. Let me tell you about my first relationship…
When I was a little kid I always thought it was a bit weird I didn’t feel the same way about the boys my family and friends would tease me about liking. I wasn’t concerned about that because I was more interested in playing football and being up trees. Liking boys wasn’t number 1 priority on my list. I just thought it’d come. Most of my friends were boys so I thought that might be clouding my judgement. After all what was the fun in playing with dolls when I could climb to the highest point in the biggest tree?
I was a straight A student at secondary school. Mainly because I didn’t really have any friends. I didn’t fit into the girly girl groups, talking about boys and makeup. I didn’t fit in with the other crowds either really. Instead I floated from group to group. I had one friend. Her name was Nat Nat (Natalie). We were in the same class from year 7 and became instant friends. Our interests, hobbies and background were both totally different. We didn’t really even have anything in common, but our loneliness bonded us.
We stumbled through our first couple of years not really paying attention to anyone else outside of our friendship. When we got to year 9 however, I was picked up for being musically talented. I spent a lot of time with the school band, which I had been drafted into. This took me away from Nat Nat for most of the time. Break and lunch were taken up by practicing for upcoming events. This was ok though, as I had made new friends. Me and another girl, Tanya, were the youngest. The other girls were from year 10. In the band there were 8 of us (not quite slipknot lol).
I was the youngest. As a rather large band 2 cliques formed straight away. We all worked really well together but our difference in music taste really showed. It went really well and we made a CD, spent time at the o2 (millennium dome at the time), and performed lots of shows in and out of school.
I took particular interest in the bass player. We will call her X for the purpose of this blog post.
Me and X got on like a house on fire. We instantly became inseparable and she introduced me to her friends who were all older and much cooler than me. Some in her year, some older in 6th form. I thought it was so cool that someone was paying that much attention to me. She made me feel great about myself and my confidence blossomed. Bare in mind at this point I was 14 and still waiting for the feelings for boys to magically appear.
Obviously I did what all self-respecting teenagers do and kept my feelings buried deep down and carried on pretending that I liked the boys.
Something else changed too. I started to come out of my shell and make more friends. More often I spoke to people in my lessons, joined and contributed to group activities in class. I had literally done a 180 and become extroverted with my new found confidence.
I don’t think I realised straight away that I was gay. Even though all of the flashing neon signs around me told me that I was. I just couldn’t get enough of this girl. But I’d had friendships like this before, Nat Nat and I were very close, but this was totally different.
Going to an all girls school was also a big factor in all of this. We used to be very outwardly affectionate towards each other. I don’t mean in a sexual way. But as friends we used to cuddle, hold hands and sit on each other. Ok that does sound pretty gay. But everyone used to do it. It was normal girl behaviour at our school.
So here I am, 14, infatuated with this girl who was infatuated with me. But I wasn’t gay. I didn’t even think you could be gay really. I didn’t know. My lack of want for boys and my total obliviousness to lesbianism left me short. It hasn’t even occurred to me that you could feel that way about another girl. My family had never really spoken about it other than discussing the gay men on tv and in the news. And none of them really had a nice thing to say about gay people.
One day after school, we were walking along the road being loud teenagers, as we often were. X and her friend Rachel* were shouting out “I’m a lesbian” as loud as they could. I hung back because quite frankly I was embarrassed as fuck! I didn’t know where to look, so I dragged my feet behind and looked at the ground. X called me out on this and with a bit of encouragement I ended up shouting out that I was also a lesbian. Was I though? I didn’t know.
Things with X became more intense and we started staying around each others house, seeing one another at the weekends. It was great. Her parents liked me, mine liked her and I think they were secretly happy that I had started to make more friends. X wanted to be girlfriends, and after a lot of soul searching I agreed. I still didn’t really know who I was. I had come to the realisation that I was gay, and those feelings that I was expecting weren’t ever going to come, whether I wanted them to or not. We promised to keep our relationship secret as I didn’t want my parents to know. Her mum was pretty cool with it though and was fully aware from the start.
A few months passed. It was coming up for my 15th birthday and all was good. It was becoming a bit difficult for me to see any of my friends outside out mine and X’s circle, she used to make me feel so guilty that I wasn’t seeing her. So time spent with my other friends, ones that weren’t her friend too became less and less. We had acquired a small following of groupies from school, which we called the GMD’s (Ginger Monkey Dudes – was a messed up collection of geeky references “I mock you with my monkey pants” Oz from buffy). They became quite good friends of ours and we hung about together almost all of the time. We hung out in Greenwich, in the park or by the cutty sark. I skated which I really enjoyed.
I hadn’t slept with her and managed to hold out until my birthday weekend. We had planned for her to sleep over at mine. We were going to go to Camden town and hang out, do a bit of shopping and spend my birthday money. It was ironic as I made a joke about it always raining on my birthday. Low and behold, it pissed down. We came back from Camden, Me, X and some of the GMD’s went out on the green outside my house and got soaked.
I wont go into details about the sex in this post but it was ok. Bare in mind that it was my first time.
A couple of weeks after my birthday, during the summer holidays I was due to go to Canada with Tanya as her dad lived there. He had a recording studio in his house and I wanted to go and get the experience of traveling with her.
However before I was due to go the perpetual shit hit the fan!
My parents in their infinite wisdom had gone through my school bag looking for something and come across a note I had been passing between Stacey GMD and myself. The note in question was a note asking me in the most indirect way possible if I had any period pain tablets. When translated into parent speak “Have you got any of those good pills you gave me earlier” translated to “your daughter is a drug dealer”.
That evening I was called down to talk to my parents about the note the found in my bag. I panicked and but before they could even get into accusing me of being a drug dealer I blurted out the most half cocked apology for being gay and letting them down. Stupid! I had presumed that the note the found in my bag was a note where I was discussing losing my V plates with X.
From this point on things got difficult. Our relationship became a challenge. I still went to Canada. The parents banned me from talking to her while I was over there but we found a way.
When I got back from Canada everything was different. I was banned from seeing her. Wasn’t allowed to see my friends. Obviously my parents thought they could punish me straight because I was grounded for life.
September couldn’t come fast enough. School started back up and it was challenging to maintain the relationship. I was getting grief from my parents because they didn’t want me seeing X in school. I was getting grief from X because I wasn’t seeing her as much. We devised a plan, where she would meet me before school and get a bus home with me to maximise the time we had together. It worked for a while, but it was really hard work.
Initially school took the stance of “we cant interfere”, until they were pushed harder and it was made more difficult for us to see each other. At one point I wasn’t even allowed to attend lessons in case I saw her in between. The head teacher was also an issue. Siding with my parents and helping them keep us apart. Telling us to not hold hands, but everyone else was allowed to. No PDA’s in school. BUT EVERYONE ELSE WAS ALLOWED TO.
Then the school banned all PDA’s. As if that would work. We had assemblies where everyone was told that hand holding, kissing, and sitting on laps, leg touching and all other PDA’s were BANNED.
The GMD’s would sit in out little corner outside and be shouted at for PDA’s when we were sat in a group talking.
Things escalated from there. I was banned from attending PE because I may perv on the other girls and PSHE lessons because they were not relevant to my chosen lifestyle.
School became almost unbearable. My parents insisted that my dad take me to school. And I was to go straight home; if I was even a minute late I was done for.
So much happened I cant write it all in this blog.
I was afraid at home, I was afraid at school. So I was effectively being persecuted for my predisposition and there was absolutely nothing I could do about it. To this day I am sure that the head teacher of my school had a vendetta against me. She got her kicks out of making my life hell. I suppose it is what happens when you take two string personalities and make they oppose in views.
Things got exponentially worse for me over the coming 6 months; which resulted in a stay away from my parents. I wont go into details of that either but it wasn’t fun for anyone.
Just to add to the situation X had become very controlling. Opposing everything I had to do to get by. I don’t think she understood the severity of my situation, the situation we had gotten into because people would eventually find out about our relationship. She wasn’t in it for me any more, she was in it for the fight. Oh lord did we fight! She became verbally abusive, and would often start arguments with me about the most stupid of things. She would shove me and I would just walk away.
I remember on one occasion we were arguing about going in to school. She wanted to go in a bit later, and spend time together and I knew I couldn’t because I was being monitored. Visibly She was so angry. She was pretty easy to read, her face would go bright red when she was mad. I remember walking away from her on this occasion, something I did a lot to avoid a massive argument. I walked away and she called after me. Turning around I was smashed in the face by a full bottle of water which she had launched from 20 yards at my head. It connected with my face and my nose exploded.
She instantly knew what she had done but it didn’t matter to me. Right then in that moment I was done with it. Until I realised she held the key to my support network. I staggered to school in a bit of a daze reeling from the blood that was ushered into a lesson instead of medical. I felt sick and the whole of my world was swimming. What had just happened? Had that even happened? Did she mean to hurt me? I couldn’t concentrate and asked Nat Nat to come with me to get my face sorted out. Shockingly I think this was possibly the first time I had spoken a work to Nat Nat in a year and I realised how closed off from my friend I had been.
I lasted 2 hours. And accepted her apology, took her back and carried on like nothing had ever happened.
X was so far under my skin I didn’t know which way was up any more. I couldn’t leave her, I was afraid of how she would react. Id already seen how volatile she had become and I didn’t want to be on the receiving end of it any more.
It carried on like this for a while. The cycle of school, upset girlfriend, upset me, anxiety of going home continued.
Our school had gotten rid of its 6th form department. It came time for X to move to 6th form at another school. That was cool though because she finished early and could meet me from school. It was rocky with her starting a new school. She quickly made new friends, and I was all alone, with the remainder of the GMD’s.
I remember one incident with the head teacher, which I think was a turning point for my mum. X and I had been on a bus going home and we were just sat there talking about our relationship and planning our life together when then lady in front of us turned around and asked us to “stop behaving inappropriately in front of her child”. We told her to f off and that it was our business and she should keep her nose out. She just kissed her teeth and turned around. The next day when I got to school I was called into the head teachers office. There sat this woman bold as brass.
The conversation went as follows
HEADTEACHER “I want you to apologise to this nice lady for your behaviour, Victoria.”
ME “What behaviour?”
HEADTEACHER “The abhorrent behaviour you and X displayed in front of this ladies young daughter on your way home last night.”
ME “Im not apologising for anyting.”
HEADTEACHER “And why not?”
ME “This lady openly homophobically abused me infront of a bus full of people. Do you know what I was doing to bring on this attack? Sitting talking to my girlfriend. We weren’t hugging, touching, kissing or holding hands, we were TALKING.”
ME “Actually come to think of it. I think this lady owes me an apology.”
LADY *sits in silence staring in the opposite direction*
ME “If youre quite finished wasting my time I’ve got things to be getting on with.”
ME **Turns, walks out and struts through reception**
As I walk through reception with my new found confidence the receptionists who obviously heard every work gawked at me. I’d been down at the heads office so much I had my own desk and chair in the reception area.
Mid strut I head a deafening “VIIICCCCTTTOOOORRRIIIIAAAAAA” come from behind me. Like a charging bull the head teacher comes steaming out of her office after me and grabs me by the arm. In a moment of panic I grab my desk and flip it over, connecting with some part of the evil bitch. She lets go instantly and shouts at the receptionist to call my mum. I walk away and tell her if she touches me again it would be more than a table leg hitting her. I go back to my lesson and do absolutely no work for the rest of the day.
So now not only had my girlfriend hit me in temper, the head teacher had also physically restrained me for no reason.
X and I carried on our relationship for another few months after this incident. But slowly my parents started to relent. It obviously wasn’t other people making me gay.
I was just gay!
She met a new group of friends at her 6th form and had no time for me. The novelty of the battle wore off and we eventually parted ways. It wasn’t pleasant and I was devastated at the time.
Looking back on the relationship however I can see it in a whole new light. Why didn’t I get out when she began to isolate me from my friends? Back in the beginning. Why didn’t I realise how manipulative she really was? Naivety played a big part. I didn’t know how a relationship was meant to go. Thought you got a new set of friends and shared friends. I didn’t realise how under her control I really was, I let her build me up and break me down over and over again.
I wish I could’ve seen how abusive It really was. We were so toxic for each other!
We reconnected about 11 years ago. Through mutual agreement. Things were going ok. We were both single but I had just come out of a nightmare of a breakup and wasn’t looking. I had just also met my now wife and wasn’t interested in rekindling any sort of relationship with other than possibly a friendship with X. It worked for a while, then for some reason or another it all fell apart.
We don’t talk. I’m happy with that. I wish her well with whatever she is doing with herself now, but I really don’t care to re-establish a relationship of any form with her. But I do wish her happiness. And hope that this was just because we were in a toxic situation and not because she was a horrible person.
* I want to say a bit about Rachel. In hindsight I think I loved Rachel, in that kind of way you feel for someone you could imagine being in a relationship with. Seeing her made my shitty relationship bearable while she was around. I also know X was very aware of this. Im not sure how Rachel felt for me but she was in a pretty shitty situation too. I didn’t see much of her for various reasons but when I did she always made me happy. We still talk now, she doesn’t read my blog (i hope). She has become a great source of support for me when I need it the most, and I hope that she knows that I am also there for her, even at 3am.