I stood in the bathroom, shattered, crying heaving sobs that came from the depths of my soul. I had just hung up on my younger sister after having the most painful fight of our life (and we had a colorful history of verbal brawls). I had officially come out to her, as much as one could who was still trying to figure out exactly what my sexual orientation was after 35 years of life. We are four years apart and were in our early to mid 30's. I was married to a man at the time, when I suddenly found myself having fallen deeply, head over heels, birds-chirping, sun-shining in love with a woman. It's how I imagine many straight women felt when they fell for The One. The only experience I had with such feelings was with my first love at 17, with whom I connected in every way, and briefly with my daughter's father for a short-lived season. Otherwise, I thought I was just not meant to find the kind of love I saw my sisters and friends find.
But this love, for this woman - never had I experienced anything like it in my adult life. And my sister, my very best friend, the one I felt safe with, the one who I just knew would support me even though I knew she wouldn't agree with it due to her (our) religious beliefs and the way we were raised to believe that any form of homosexuality is a sin, this beloved sister of mine told me that by falling in love with this woman, I had caused her to question her faith and many other core beliefs in her life. She was furious with me, and sad and lost and devastated. I hadn't had any good therapy at that point, so having zero coping skills from which to draw on, we lashed out at each other until I couldn't handle any more pain and hung up.
How would I ever be able to speak to her again? How would I ever be able to look at her or forgive her? How would she be able to forgive me for not being the person she thought I was? (Except I was the same person, only with a newly discovered piece of information about myself that confounded me as much as it did her.) She was my person and I had raised her in many ways, with our older sister, while our parents were playing out their own story in the life of our fractured family.
My sister and I talked again, but things haven't been the same between us since that day 5 years ago. We've both tried incredibly hard. There's a distance between us that I tried for years to bridge, to fix, in order to get things back to "the way they used to be." My sister once gently told me that we would never go back to the way we used to be for many reasons. Her words, though spoken lovingly, pierced my heart. I will always have a heartache because I yearn for those days when I could call her and talk about anything for hours without the distressing distance that now plagues us, without judgment, and without fear of rejection or an argument erupting. I long for the friendship we once had, deep and true and unconditional.
What remains between us gives me glimpses of hope. We can still laugh hysterically together; we share a well-honed sense of humor that only gets better with age. We both adore my daughter. We share an inexplicable love for pop music. We share memories with each other and our older sister that nobody else will ever quite understand. We are part of each other's histories in ways no one, not even our parents, can touch. We share the same faith, though even that is painfully different at times. I will continue to hope we have enough in common to find our way back to the depths of each other's hearts in spite of fundamental differences of core belief. One thing that never changes and will never change is that I love her fiercely, deeply, unreasonably, and without regard for our differences.
Glen Allen, VA
I live in Richmond, VA and am searching for answers to questions that have plagued humans since time began. Meanwhile, I read and I write and I love my people madly and I watch too many movies. Passionate about all things mental health, and reconciling the faith community with the LGBTQ community.