Wednesday, November 30, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Final Day

Still not feeling well so I'm not on the computer much.  I'll pick up with my story when I feel better.  Hopefully, that will be soon.

Sunday, November 27, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 20

I hate that I’ve been sick for the past week.  I’m really behind in my blogging for National Novel Writing Month.  Oh well, no point in crying over spilled milk.  I’m just gonna pick up my pencil and finish our story in these last few days of November.

When last we spoke, Michelle had proposed to C and I was trying my best to be a good friend and be happy for her.  I’d be lying if I said it wasn’t killing me.

It was extra hard because all of this happened during that stretch of holiday between Halloween and New Year’s which was always difficult for me.  December was the month of Christmas and my birthday and yet I was usually miserable.  Michelle decided that 2010 would be different.  She (and my friend Pam) had a mini celebration at Frankie’s, my favorite place to be a big kid.  Pam brought me a cupcake with a “33” candle on it.  After we played for a couple of hours, Michelle and I went out for dinner and she gave me my present of journals and pens.  For the first time in years, I had a good birthday.

The next day was New Year’s Eve.  Of course, I didn’t want to spend the night alone but i knew that would probably be the case.  Or, would it?

Michelle had come to Durham to ring in the New Year with C who had to work that night.  Before heading back to Raleigh, she swung by place to wish me a Happy New Year.  I’m not sure how it started, but we ended up on YouTube looking for wedding songs.  Even though we were having a good time, there was a part of me that couldn’t help but think that was the most bizarre situation I had ever been in.  Who sits with the person they’re in love with and help brainstorm ideas for their wedding to another?

Michelle ended up sleeping on my couch that night/morning.  As I tried to fall asleep in my bedroom, I began to realize that I just might be okay with being in the friend zone.

Years later, Michelle would tell me that at the moment I was coming to terms with our platonic relationship, a part of her was wondering if she was planning a wedding to the wrong person...

Saturday, November 19, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 19

It was official.  I wasn’t going to be the one.  Months of me wishing for her to choose me ended when Michelle told me that she had proposed to C.  Once again, I painted on a smile and told Michelle how happy I was for her.  On the inside, I died a little.  I really had fallen in love with her but I was just gonna have to bury those feelings.  

If I was totally honest with myself, at that point in my life, I needed a friend more than I needed a lover.  Intellectually, that made complete sense.  

My heart, however, wasn’t always so rational.

Friday, November 18, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 18

I didn’t get to finish writing the next episode of the Sheon and Michelle story for tonight’s blog.  The Fasano/Hertling/Little women had a girls’ night out at Wine and Design.  It was a lot of fun letting our creative juices flow onto the canvas.  

Tonight reminded me of something that I would have to remind anyone who is planning on getting married.

When you say “I do” to the spouse, you say “I do” to the family, too!

Thursday, November 17, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 17

We were nearing the end of August and I was still in the friend zone.  Even after our memorable adventure, Michelle still saw me as just as a friend.  It was hard but I began to get used to it.  We continued to hang out.  I think that was the best part.  Michelle got me out of the house and interested in doing things.  She took me to the Gay and Lesbian Film Festival for the first time.  We went to the Pride Festival.  We just enjoyed being out.

I even met the other woman, C, which was a little awkward.  I would look at her and try to figure out why Michelle chose her over me.  Honestly, I never did figure that out.  

Anyway, time continued to roll along.  The holidays were on the horizon.  The stretch between Halloween and New Year’s had always been difficult for me.  There was so much togetherness but I always felt completely alone.  I was hoping that the impending holidays would be better because I had Michelle.  But, just as I was settling in with the idea of being just friends, Michelle dropped a bomb on me.

She was engaged.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 16

Two months into our relationship and I found myself in the friend zone.  I really, really wanted to be okay with it. But, there was a part of me that longed for more.  I felt that Michelle had cured me of my loneliness.  She was willing to be there for me. To comfort me. To care for me.  Why did it have to stop there? Wasn't I worthy of being held? Being kissed?

I was driving myself crazy because I needed her to at least give me a chance.  I talked with my buddies and they were pretty sure that there was potential for there to be a spark between us.  They all felt that the “let’s meet in our dreams” routine was more than a platonic gesture.  After discussing all the possibilities with them, I got up the nerve to ask for the chance.  We talked and she agreed to go on an official date with me.

We had dinner at an Italian restaurant that I thought was good… but that was before I went there with an Italian.  We enjoyed our usual conversation and then headed over to Duke Gardens.  We walked, talked and enjoyed the beautiful scenery of the Gardens.  

One of our favorite things was the red bridge. (A red bridge seems to have become a symbol of our relationship because we always seem to come across one in our outings.)  The hours passed and soon it was getting dark.

And we were lost.  

No one had warned us that the Gardens was just one big maze.  We were hopelessly confused as we went to several exits, none of them leading to the parking lot where the car was. We finally found ourselves at one of the street exits.  A gentleman passed by and told us that we were on the exact opposite side of where needed to be.  

Now, this is the part of the story that we often talk about because we can’t believe that we did it.  The very gentleman who had stopped offered to drive us to our car.  We, a teacher and a police detective who should know better, got into the car with a stranger.  It was such a foolish thing to do but seemed okay after having been lost for so long in the dark.  We made it safely to the car and the end of our date.

I went to bed that night hoping that I’d made an impression on Michelle.  Only time would tell.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 15

Even my inexperienced self knew that “we need to talk” was the worst combination of words ever.  

A couple of months before Michelle and I met, she had been in a really bad car accident.  She was laid up for months and had been spending a lot of time online.  Just before meeting me, she met another woman on TriangleGrrrls.  Let’s call her C.  C was also in law enforcement which was a big bonding point for them.  Michelle and her had been spending time together and she felt that she was “dating” her but “hanging out” with me.  Michelle asked if I was okay with just being friends.  

Of course, I put a smile on my face and said that I was okay with it.  We chatted for a little longer and then Michelle left.  The smile that I managed to fake disintegrated as quickly as it appeared.  I was ready to crawl into bed and wallow in sadness when my phone buzzed.  I don’t remember what it said but she sent me a really sweet text before she even pulled out of the parking lot.   It made me realize that Michelle was a friend who was still in my life and that was the important part.  

At that point in our relationship, she had no idea of how badly my year had started. In those two months since we’d met, she had helped me renew my joy for living.  I looked forward to waking up every morning because I knew there would be a text from her waiting to greet me.  And, that was something that I would never trade.  

So what if I couldn’t hold her hand or kiss her...

Sunday, November 13, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 13

By the time Michelle appeared in my life, I’d only been in love once in my life.  And, it was such a dysfunctional relationship that maybe I wasn't really in love.  But, that's a twisted tale for another day.

In the course of two months, I had developed feelings for Michelle but I honestly didn't know what they were. What was an appropriate time frame for falling in love?

Occasionally, I would make clumsy attempts at flirting.  She was still recovering from her car accident and often had aches and pains.  I bragged about what a good massage I could give someone. I talked about my “magic fingers.”  So, one night I'm hanging out at her place.  She went upstairs and came down with some lotion.  She called my bluff! It was time to put up or shut up.

I put up.  

I'm not sure where the skills came from but I somehow managed to give her a decent massage (at least that's what she told me later).  Things were just getting good when her roommate came home. He was not one to notice the environment and take a hint.  He proceeded to sit down and engage us in a long conversation.  I think this would be what the kids call “blocking.”  

Needless to say that when I got home, I went to sleep with a smile on my face that night.

After that, I was sure that we were on to something.  The first and last text of the day was always from her.  We were still meeting in our dreams each night.  One night after we'd watched a movie at my place, I walked Michelle to the door.  I opened the door but before she left, I asked if it was bad that I had wanted to hold her hand all night.  Michelle stepped back in and closed the door.

“We need to talk.”

Saturday, November 12, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 12

“I want a fearless love.  Don't need to fear the end.”

One of the first questions that I was asked after the election was if there was now a threat to my marriage to Michelle.  I’m honestly not sure.  All I do know is that I don’t care who the president is or who sits on the Supreme Court.  I will always be married to Michelle.  What we have goes beyond what some politician or a piece of paper says.

Not knowing what may happen makes me all the more nostalgic about our journey together.  A journey that started with simple online message.

After dealing with the death of my granddad, it was time to dry the tears and get back to living.
Michelle and I were enjoying hanging out and getting to know each other.  We especially loved watching movies.  We usually ended up watching rented movies at my apartment but would occasionally venture out.  Once, we went to Movies by Moonlight at the amphitheater and saw National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation.

As fun as watching the movies and discussing them afterwards was, one of the things I will never forget us doing is going to my first concert.

In the spring prior to meeting Michelle, a friend had introduced me to Melissa Etheridge (after questioning my level of lesbianism after I admitted that I’d never listened to her before).  I quickly fell in love with Melissa and was very excited when it was announced that she would be in Durham at the end of July. My friend encouraged me to extend an invitation to Michelle and she accepted.  

I was counting down the days like a kid waiting for Christmas.  Finally, July 26th rolled around and we were sitting orchestra center, row B.  Melissa was awesome!! She rocked for two and a half hours straight.  

In June and July, I’d had more fun than I had in a long time and I was enjoying every minute of it.  

However, August had other things in mind.

Friday, November 11, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 11

I’m off topic again but sometimes you just have to go with the flow.

On November 1, I decided to participate in National Novel Writing Month by blogging everyday.  I wanted to tell the story of Michelle and myself… our own rainbow fairy tale.  I sit down and write out my post for the day but when I sit down at my computer to type it, I feel drawn to write about something else.

The election results came as a huge shock to me.  I’m much calmer than I was when I posted on Facebook the morning I learned that he had won.  However, there is still a lot of unrest floating around on my Facebook feed from all corners.  I don’t like it and I question if I  should chime in to these conversations.  My instinct is to stay out of the way.  People’s emotions are running too high.  

My therapist says that I’m a highly sensitive person.  Basically, it means that I naturally tune into other people’s emotions and end up processing them as if the feelings are my own.

So, all of this anger, fear, and sadness that’s trending on my social media is hitting me like a ton of bricks.  I can barely process my own feelings.  On Wednesday morning, I “invited” people who had voted for him to remove themselves from my friend’s list.  I was deep in my feelings.  I’ve debated removing the post down but that would be like I’m censoring myself on my own page.  That was what I was feeling at the time and that’s okay.  As my good friend told me “Feel everything and don't let anyone bully you into "getting over it".  

Since the post, some people have reached out to me and I’ve appreciated that.  I guess I needed to see who would validate for me that family, friendship and love will always win over politics.

Even though I’m beginning to come to terms with things and trying to figure out how to move forward, I’m still overwhelmed.  I’m in the midst of emotional sensory overload.  My friends are scared.  They’re angry.  They’re sad.

I don’t know what to say.  And, that hurts me.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 9

I’m black.
I’m fat.
I’m a gay.
I’m a woman.

At various times over the course of this election season, the president-elect has made disparaging comments in regards to all of the qualities I listed.  Is it any wonder that when I woke up and saw the results, my first reaction was to cry? I’ve been voting for twenty years and I have never felt so incredibly devastated by an election result.  I don’t even know what to think.  

I feel that my very existence will go unappreciated and disrespected because a man who ran on a platform that echoed a lot of fear, hate and misrepresentation will soon be the leader of the free world.

How the fuck does that happen?

Most people don’t know the shit I’ve been through in my life to become comfortable in my own skin… to be comfortable with who I am.  Now, I feel as though I have to be guarded and on the lookout because this man has verbalized, Tweeted and done things that have led many to believe that it is okay and acceptable to express vicious hatred in any way they feel.  
It’s 2016.  Racism, misogyny, homophobia and  xenophobia has no place in a civilized society. Never has been, never will be.
Today, I’m just a big ball of emotions.  I feel as though I'm grieving the loss of some of the security that I once felt.  It’s okay to be like that… for a while.  But now, more than ever, feelings aren’t enough.

It’s time to be visible.

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 8

 A moment to vent…

I have 206 friends on my Facebook page.  Every day, I share my blog post.  I only get 12-15 readers per post.

That ain’t adding up.

I know people have lots of things going on in their lives.  We all do.  But, I still can’t help but feel disappointed that I’m not getting more hits.  I’m only asking for three or four minutes for a quick read.

I’m already self conscious about my writing.  Now, I feel even worse because so many aren’t even taking the time to check out what I’m posting.  Maybe I’m not writing anything interesting enough to make people curious to click the link.  Maybe I’m destined to be an unknown writer with a random blog in cyberspace.

I don’t know.  I guess all I can do at this point is keep writing.  Those who have time and want to support me will read these words and realize how much I need and appreciate their support.  And those who don’t have time, they’ll never know… because they won’t click the link.
Anyway... enough with the pity party.  I'll see you tomorrow as I continue our story!

Monday, November 7, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 7

On July 5, 2010, my granddad passed away from congestive heart failure.  The first call I got that morning was that he was in the hospital and not doing well.  I was preparing to head back to Bethel but before I left, I got the call that he was gone.  I think I went into a bit of shock.  I’m not sure that I cried that first day.  It was like things just kinda stopped.  I knew that I wasn’t ready to drive home but I wasn’t sure about being alone.  So, I called Michelle.  She came over and ended up spending the entire day distracting me.  The only thing that I remember from that day was going to get a new phone and that Michelle never left my side.

The next couple of days were a blur.  I was going between Bethel and my apartment.  I wasn’t sleeping very well and I had shared this with Michelle.  During one of our nightly conversations, the last thing she said to me was "Where do you want to meet me in your dreams so you will be excited about closing your eyes?"

This was the first time I realized that I could fall in love with her.

Somehow, I got through the funeral.  I was mourning with my family but I was still hiding who I was so I always had my guard up... even during this time when we should have been the closest.  I called and spoke with Michelle.  The next thing I know, she was asking for the address because she was going to come to Bethel to spend some time with me.  I was both excited and nervous.  I wasn’t sure what this gesture meant.  I knew what I wanted it to mean but I didn’t dare get my hopes up.

I was on the porch waiting for her arrival and my Uncle Tommy came out to talk to me.  I told him about Michelle and who she was making him the first member of my family that I came out to.  He told me to take it as a good sign that she wanted to come and to let her be there for me.  

Unfortunately, that day would be his first and only meeting with Michelle.

Losing my granddad was rough but I was able to get through it because Michelle supported me the whole way.   I often think about how much he would have loved her.  He loved to tinker around with things.  He and Michelle would've had a great time together working on stuff in the back yard.

I had barely known her two months but I was definitely developing some strong feelings.

And, I had no idea what to do with them.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 6

I really did feel like a teenager.  Up until I met Michelle, I hated cell phones.  I only had one for emergencies when I was traveling.  But once I realized she was a texter, I was glued to my phone.  I think it went into shock that first week because it wasn’t used to being powered on so much.

By the end of the month, I’d been to her house for dinner.  And then it was her turn to come to my apartment.  After ten years, I could count on one hand the number of people who had ever been in my apartment.  It was my fortress of solitude and I didn’t like anyone to breach its barrier.  Michelle changed all that.  I was looking forward to having her visit.  But, I was somewhat embarrassed because I was a cheapskate who had the furniture of a college student on financial aid.  The nerves didn’t last long.  I was confident that she wouldn’t judge me for my thrift store decor.  

After what seemed like forever, the day arrived.  The main plan was to hang out at my pool, which I had never used in the ten years that I’d been in my complex.  We were going to play it by ear after that.  We ended up watching a movie, having dinner and finishing the night at Starbucks.  I was having a blast! I’d done more activities in that one night than I’d done the entire month of May. I was developing a friendship and I was feeling like a million bucks.  

Little did I know what was coming down the road just a little over a week later...

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 5

The first time ever I saw your face…

I definitely heard Roberta Flack singing when Michelle turned the corner that day at SouthPoint Mall. I had seen her picture but it didn’t do justice to the smile that I saw coming towards me.

Our outing (six years later and we still aren't sure if this was just a meet up or our first date) began with dinner at Champps Restaurant.  We ordered our meals and then asked each other the usual getting to know you questions.  Michelle had said that she was shy so I was worried that we’d just be sitting across from each other in an awkward silence. I'm still not sure what her definition of shy was because shy she was not.  I managed not to slip into dork mode and we had a nice conversation while we waited to be served. 

When the food arrived and we began to eat, I realized that my new friend may be a little high maintenance.  She really felt that they had not properly marinated her bourbon salmon before preparing it.  Unless it was burnt or raw, I don’t think I’d ever heard anyone question a meal in a restaurant until that moment.  I wasn’t exactly sure what to think at that point.

Whenever I think back to that day, I don’t remember what I ordered or what we talked about but I will never forget the bourbon salmon.  

After dinner, we decided to wander around in the nearby stores.  We walked around in the Apple store and played games on some of the devices.  At that point, I had not fallen under the Steve Jobs spell so I really didn’t get the appeal of the expensive equipment.

We then walked over to Barnes and Nobles and she was able to see just how much of a nerd I was. We went to the LGBT section and discussed the books that we had read.  

Afterwards, we decided to go sit on a bench outside and enjoy the night air.  It had rained earlier in the evening and the bench was still a little damp.  And, just like a scene out of a Nicholas Sparks romance, Michelle used her jacket to dry a spot for me to sit.

As much as I hated to see the night end, we finally called it a night.  I smiled all the way home and couldn't wait to get on Facebook and share the experience with my friends.  When I logged on, I realized that they had been waiting for me to share.

I went to bed feeling like that night was the beginning of a beautiful friendship.

Friday, November 4, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 4

A break from our story…

It’s Friday night and my “teacher tired” has kicked in. We stood line for two hours waiting to vote so that cut into my writing time. But, I promised to write every day this month. So here I am. Writing about how I’m too tired to write.

I’m really enjoying this challenge. It’s fun thinking about the timeline of my relationship with Michelle. Who doesn’t like reliving a romance?

Tomorrow, I get to tell you about the first time that I saw her smile. But for now, Ms. Little is ready to be tucked in. Good night!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 3

May 28, 2010, 3:55PM >> I love your screen name! :-)

When I complimented her screen name, I wasn’t expecting a reply.  It was just hard for me to resist a name like Searching for My Juliet.

For a moment, let's forget that Romeo and Juliet is a tragedy.  Lets focus on the part that everyone likes to hold on to… the love story.  Romeo and Juliet went through a lot to be together.  Isn’t that exactly what happens in the LGBT community? People want to be together but, for whatever reason, can’t be.  Unfortunately, some of those situations also end in tragedy.

So when I saw her screen name, the romantic in me was intrigued.  I was pleasantly surprised when I received a response a day later.  

May 29, 2010, 7:56PM >> Hi, Sheon.  I’m glad that you like my s/n.
May 30, 2010, 9:39AM >> What about my s/n do you like?
May 30, 2010, 10:34AM>> I love your name because it is romantic.  It suggests you’re looking for more that a hook up…
May 30, 2010, 10:49AM>> I’m glad you understand the meaning behind my name… Would you like to meet for coffee sometime?
May 30, 2010, 11:10AM>> Meeting for coffee would be great…
May 30, 2010, 12:12PM>> My Juliet would be the clown in the relationship… My Juliet would know and would appreciate that my family will always be an active part of our lives, no matter how much she dislikes or is driven crazy by them… She would want lots of children.  If it’s not in God's plan she would want to surround herself with society's children.
May 30, 2010, 12:47PM>> My Juliet would be different from me. I'm a shy homebody… She has to love music.... Needless to say, she would have to be trustworthy, sensitive, independent. I like a woman who takes charge.  The main requirement is that she loves me for who I am. If she can do that, everything else tends to fall into place.

Of course, that’s not all that was in those initial messages.  We shared more about each other and finalized our first date. At least I think it was a date.  All these years later and I’m still not sure what to call it!

May 30, 2010, 7:03PM >> The only recent picture of me that I have.  Not the best but it shows exactly what I look like.
OMG… she’s cute!

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo, Day 2

Now that I’ve committed myself to participating in National Novel Writing Month by blogging every day, the question is… what do I write about?
I’ve often heard that you should write about what you know.  Write about what you care about.  Write about what’s important to you.  

After careful consideration, I have decided to write our love story.  It’s fascinating and sweet and I want to share it with the world.

2010 started out really rough for me.  My depression had gotten out of control so I finally had to seek out the major help that I needed.  After about three months, I had a new therapist and was on medicine and was beginning to settle into a better, happier routine.
I decided it was time for me to start getting out and meeting people.  It was time to get out of my little apartment that had become my own personal jail.
Despite feeling better, I was still really shy so I had to figure out how to meet people.  Being a tech geek, I ventured into cyberspace.  I’d create my account and soon I’d find myself chatting and/or emailing someone.  Everything would be going great until the dreaded question was asked…
...can I have your picture?
There I was… cute, smart and funny.  But, I’m "fluffy" and in this society being "fluffy" can be an obstacle when it comes to making a love connection.  The ladies whose attention I had captured were suddenly MIA.
Before I became too discouraged, I pulled back from looking for Ms. Right and decided to focus on finding friends.  I ended up going on a site called TriangleGrrrls, an online lesbian community.  Ladies posted about their experiences, asked questions and planned meetups.  It was a good spot for someone who was just coming out like me.  I could log on to a safe space, read and learn about the community.  It was good to know that I wasn’t alone.
By the end of May, I was fairly active on the site.  I had even managed to go to a couple of meetups.  
One day, I was following a message thread when a certain screen name jumped out at me.  On a whim, I decided to send her a personal message.
May 28, 2010, 3:55PM >> I love your screen name! :-)
Who would’ve guessed just how far that sentence would take me.