a little bit of backstory

This morning I read a beautiful post over on autostraddle about For All The Girls I Loved Before I Knew I Could which sent me into a bit of nostalgia over my own past because just that title alone screams: ME!

It feels odd to me to reminiscence about my romantic youth because I did have a few crushes on boys, or at least, back then, I thought I had. They felt good as long as they were still in my head, but somehow when they became more than reality, it felt weird, not good and unfitting for me. In retrospect I know that was just me trying not to be gay because I had not given myself permission to be that thing; to feel in such a way. There is one very distinctive memory from my teens where I write in my diary (at least that’s what I think it was) that I really did not want to be gay; god, please don’t let me be a lesbian, please.

No wonder it took me 24 years to finally come out to myself. And that truly is mind boggling because, looking back, I was a rather gay kid. There are not an abundance of broken hearts or former girl crushes littering my way; I mostly had crushes on actresses in TV shows though of course, there were also a couple of girls that I had crushes on before I even knew what I was doing or how to even name this thing.


She was the epitome of cool to my 5th and 6th grade understanding. She was a tomboy with beautiful brown eyes and I don’t know if I wanted to be her or be her girlfriend. Maybe a little bit of both. Sadly she left my school after 6ht grade and all that remains is the hat I bought because she had the same one and I thought it was insanely cool.


At school, our classes got mixed up every two years, so by the time 7th grade rolled around, I ended up in the same classroom as her. She was really pretty and sported the most adorable hairstyles Mini!Me dreamed of pulling off. So of course Past!Me tried copying them in the hopes of it bringing me closer to her. I mean, we already shared the same first name with the only difference being that her’s was written with a different first letter.

One day she caught me staring at her in class. It was history, I think but don’t hold me to it. Anyway, through some lucky event, our teacher had sat her in the row right in front of mine. So, I told her I was just staring at the blank wall behind her. Clearly 7th grade me was far from being a smooth liar. Just like F, she changed schools at the end of the year and I never saw her again.


It’s not like I had any intense feelings for her, or at least I don’t remember it that way, but in 8th or 9th grade I followed an impulse for which my classmates looked at me very funnily, but let me explain. Back in the day it was very popular for girls to sign everything with HDGDL (= I like you very much read: in a mostly platonic way) or HDGGGGGGGDL depending on how much you liked someone. Past!Me signed her folder with In Liebe, Willie (= Love, Willie) though, because I was going with my gut and it told me that this would be the right thing to do. I didn’t realise the big difference then but it definitely stood out from all the other signatures. I stood by it though because it felt right. We were close friends for a couple of years and I think she was the first one of my friends whom I told I needed surgery on my hip and how scary that sounded to 14 year old me. Then she started having boyfriends while I didn’t and we grew apart, not that I’m sad about it or the boyfriends part is the reason why we grew apart. Change is normal for people, especially those as young as we were at the time.

After L, I tried very hard to like boys in the way I was supposed to, even though every time I thought about kissing one, I was imagining myself as the boy. Whoops.


We met in Sweden as we were both doing a semester abroad and ended up on the same corridor. She was fun and sweet and smart; never too full of herself to be the butt of a joke. I remember being really jealous of not being as close a friend than some others were to her. We got along fine, even did some traveling together. But then the semester ended and we didn’t see each other every day anymore. We still text occasionally but that’s it.

There was no single WOMAN/GIRL that made me realise I was a lesbian, like it was the way for so many of my kind. At some point, my mind just kept coming back to thinking how rebellious it would be to bring home a girlfriend to meet my family instead of a boyfriend. And I liked how that felt because it felt right. I may have also watched Ellen and Portia talk about their wedding and about coming out on Oprah so many times that I just had no chance other than surrender to the truth that was within me. What finally made me say it was a book though because obviously!

I know I have talked about my coming out on here in some bits and pieces. There is also a very angsty first post about admitting this to me readers. I was afraid because I had been blogging for a couple of months and what if my readers thought I had just lured them here under heterosexual pretences and suddenly released my huge gayness onto this blog and them? How would they react to me suddenly not being who they thought I was, like I was hiding something from them. All of the things though, I was doing to myself and not other people because even though they matter in a way, I was more afraid of what it meant for me.

It’s interesting to see how fast things can change. I may not be fully out to everyone but I am also not afraid of it anymore. I am not actively hiding my gayness and that is important. In true LHBHS fashion I seem to have strayed from my original point here a bit but you’re used to that by now. I just saw that autostraddle post and thought it was such a neat thing, I had to do my own version of it, even though it is kind of boring.

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  • Very cool, thanks for sharing! I was actually thinking about doing a sexuality post for my blog tomorrow; I’m now guessing I got the idea from you/autostraddle… But it seems like it would also make a nice follow-up to my gender post last week. :-)

    I don’t think I ever had an ‘Aha’ moment about sexual orientation either. It was more of slow ‘well, obviously’ as I learned about various possibilities in the world. I had a really hard time getting myself to talk openly about it, too, though that’s much less of problem now!
    I had crushes on more than one gender growing up, but the first time I fell in love it was with a girl. I never felt much impulse to act on my crushes; I didn’t even kiss someone until I was 18, I think. Maybe 17. Physical stuff beyond cuddles has always usually felt kind weird to me, never as good as how I imagine.
    …and I’m going to stop writing now, because if I keep going I’ll just be repeating myself by the time I write the blog, lol. ;-)

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Oh yes, I agree, it would fit in nicely with your post on gender. I’ll be looking forward to reading what you have to say :)

      • I worked on it until my laptop battery died, so it will definitely be up tomorrow! There’s not as much personal story in it iras I thought there would be, so I may end up doing a part two (part three?) later on; I cover a lot of ground talking about general terms, and use some personal illustration for various points. It’s okay though, because I love talking about this stuff and these posts I’m doing now gives me groundwork to build on and reference back to in later posts. :-)

  • Tim

    I really like this post. I read it over yesterday when you posted it, and despite having a day to think it over, I really haven’t figured out exactly what I wanted to say in response. That said, I think it’s a unique take to be able to look at some of your crushes retroactively as part of the process of discovering your sexuality, and then being able to analyze how they impacted what you knew about yourself.

    • Wilhelmina Upton

      Thanks. I get it, sometimes I read a post I really like but don’t know what to say in the comments. It is actually a really neat feeling that just two years after being nervous about all the coming out stuff, I can look back and analyse everything. Look at it, rather objectively and put it into perspective.