I got my period for the first time at a Lesbian music festival. I was eleven. My mom decided to let me get my ears pierced in honor of my the few spots of blood in my panties marking my incipient womanhood. A gorgeous butch with sparkling blue eyes held my hands while her partner did the piercings and instructed me on how to care for them.
My first sexual memories come a few months later. I used to drape a scarf around my face, dancing in front of the table lamp and pretending that my shadow on the wall was a beautiful mysterious woman. I still think women in headscarves are incredibly sexy.
At twelve I was at a new school with new friends. At night as I explored my body I’d think to myself: “I like–rabbits!” I threw that last word in as a joke to myself. I knew what word belonged in that sentence, but was afraid to even think it all the way out to myself. Although my mom had shown me that being gay was okay, society had told me different. I knew I liked girls even then–I knew what I felt on those sleepovers, lying next to vivacious, red-headed Anya–the sweet torture of being so close to her and yet feeling so terrified of touching her or telling her how I felt.
When I was about thirteen talk among my friends turned to boys. I don’t know how many of my friends boy-crushes were real, but I knew that mine was wholey manufactured. Well, not entirely manufatured; he was about the closest thing to black my lilly-white high school had. He had dark olive skin and a suspiciously kinky black jewfro, which, at the time of my “crush” was braided into a hundred different braids that sprouted from his head in all different directions. I spent hours in science class admiring those braids,like wild, distant cousins of the neatly turned out braids sported by the cute and unfriendly girl at my Mattapan summer camp. (Mattapan’s a black neighborhood in Boston. Not entirely sure why my mom sent me to camp there.)
I lost my Junior High friends in the transition to high school at fourteen. There wasn’t any drama, it was just hard to maintain our friendships with completely different class schedules. I fell in with a group of friends that were more nerdy than I was used to–nothing wrong with that, but there was no one in the group I really connected with.
Then one day as I wandered through the halls after school feeling lonely and depressed, I noticed a room with some people in it. A hand-lettered sign on the outside proclaimed it to be the gay-straight alliance. Inside was a friend-of-a-friend of mine. Gathering up my courage, I stepped inside.
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