FREEDOM

"Seriously, I did not mean for this to happen on Mother's Day. I'm so sorry." - Me, coming out to my mother this Mother's Day

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I mean how else was I supposed to start this blog - let's get it out on the table from the beginning, no? I've spent too much time calculating conversations. It's time to hit that equal sign and share my answers with the class. How's that for a gdamn analogy, math/english teachers grades k-12?

If you're joining us from Instagram, welcome. If you're joining us from anywhere else, thank you for keeping up with me after not having posted in over a year. Mad props to your loyalty, bro.

Okay so how do we begin with this? I guess I'll start.

Gang, I can't tell you how many times I've started this letter/blog/essay/diary entry over the last two years. I've written and finished a few, sent them to my note app on my phone and had Siri read them to me, I've made a dramatic-as-hell video, solely intended to be shared with my family, and I've handwritten dozens of shakily-scripted notes that I secretly hoped would 'go rogue' and find their way into the hands of the people I was too afraid to talk to.

Listen, the last thing I'm trying to do right now is make some triumphantly-tearful declaration of my recent confession. That's not what this is about. It's about vulnerability in it's most childlike moment. This is the vulnerability you'll find sobbing in the doorway of a kindergarten classroom after mom leaves for work, only to be hysterically laughing 1-3 minutes later because someone put an orange cone on their head, claiming their territory as an absurdly glorious weirdo, soon to be your very best friend.

That Sunday, the day of Shawn, as I call it, I knew enough was enough. The conversation leading up to this moment of true vulny-ness was nothing but a divine intervention of sentences stringed together that almost made me yell my truth:

"OKAY HOLY SHIT, YES, FINE, YOU CAUGHT ME; I'M LIKE PRETTY GAY." 

Freedom.

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For almost two years, I've dated men and women. I like both. I'm attracted to both. I don't see a difference when it comes to gender. I mean, sure, guys are generally "taller" ?? What other difference is there though? I'm asking in sincerity. Just kidding. I started out hating the identity of "bisexuality" because I simply didn't believe in it. I spent my entire life believing I would be married to a man (before 30 obviously lol ew otherwise), and then spending eternity with our 4 children in a beach town where I didn't have to work but I wanted to work. Well think again, sis. 

*Very* shortly after moving to LA, I entered one of the most tumultuous relationships I've experienced thus far. It was an experience. Let's leave it at that. But it was with a woman. And it was really good when it was good, and really bad when it was bad. I fell in love with the emotion of it all.

I kept exploring after that and met someone who warned me from the get-go that loving them more than a friend was an exceptionally bad idea. So I did exactly that, because obviously, and soon after got the living, breathing shit broken out of my heart. I was helpless. I'd never experienced a love like that in my life. And it still hurts to this day. But I can say that with a smile on my face. Because the love I felt was so true and so real. It was friendship love first, romantic love second. But both felt equally strong. That relationship woke me up, put me in the washing machine, kept me there for an extra spin-cycle, and then hung me out to dry. And I obediently clung to my dedicated clothespin until the wind picked me up stronger than my sadness could bare, breaking me from my bargaining that she would come back to collect me off the ground.

The lessons learned through all of that?

1. Listen to people when they tell you they "can't be your somebody"

2. Gender plays the very last role in my rules of attraction

3. I am 100% capable of loving somebody like I never thought I could

After my first few experiences of living in LA, dating men and women, coming out to friends and family, I quickly realized that keeping all of this inside was doing so much more harm than good. I spent so much time being angry and frustrated at myself for not being able to give a clear answer on my sexuality. So I kept it quiet for the sake of not burdening others with my confusion. The reality? No one is confused. It doesn't matter. 

In my mothers words, (that have me choked up still)

"I will love whoever you love. Simple as that."

I am so sorry for putting anyone in the box I put myself in for so long. Un-acceptance, shame, guilt, fear, you name it. But I'm absolutely not sorry for taking my time. And am most CERTAINLY not sorry for being exactly who tf I am. Every single week in therapy (hell yeah for therapy) was mostly about my coming out to my family. We did pro's & con's on a whiteboard, we practiced what I'd say and how I'd say it, we did breathing exercises when my fears overcame my thoughts, and we *literally* joked about coming out on Mother's Day. Oopth. 

I don't know what this all would have looked like if I came out sooner or later, but I don't care. It has been painful but it has been even more perfect. I am so unbelievably grateful to my family for exceeding the expectations I didn't even prepare to have (positive ones) and making me feel more at home than ever, to my friends who listened to my rants & raves & loved/encouraged me through every single stage of this story, and to my current/old crushes for making me feel less alone and teaching me vulnerability. Also to Brene Brown on the vulnerability-front just because she invented it.

To most of you in my current world of day-to-day life, this has been far from shocking. You either know it from my18-year relationship with Shania Twain or you just know my current dating life. To others, maybe the opposite. I wish more than anything that I could sit every single important person in my life down individually to share in more detail. I mean that sincerely. But that would take a long time and a lot of mileage that neither of us have time for. So I'm sharing it with you here.

The world we live in now is scary and it needs love. I have lots of it to give. Listen, I'm an open book. If you have questions, I am more than happy to answer. I'm not ashamed, nor am I afraid to give you the deats. To quote Demi L, "This is the real, this is me, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be now..." So. Let 'em rip.
 

Also, happy Pride Month. I'm Proud AF.

Xoxo, J

Youre Really Doin It, Arent Ya

40 weeks ago:

Are you laughing? Because I am. Not because 40 weeks ago I told everyone in the Instagram world that I was moving "very soon!", but because it's ACTUALLY happening. It's REAL. WOAH. Before I get into that, let's talk about this:

December 22, 2014 - Drafted Blog entitled "LA, Here to Stay", never posted:

"If you're going through your list of New Years Resolutions for this year and ugly crying, you're not alone. 

Seriously, if you wrote down a list of resolutions, go take a peek at 'em. How'd you do? Since this is a truly one-sided conversation I think I'll take over from here and tell you about my year. 

I prayed into 2014. The clock struck midnight, and I was talking to the Lord. That was absolutely wonderful. I had no idea of what to expect for this year, but boy did it hit me in the face. It just slapped me like it didn't even care. But its cool because this year, guys, it was beautiful. In the ugliest way. It was so hard. It was a growing-up year. It was going from turning 19 to turning 32. (20 but you get it, I feel old and stuff.)

Anyway, I feel that the beautiful thing about resolutions is that you get to reflect on how your year went. If you didn't meet your goals, you get to look back and understand why. You get to realize that those goals were never supposed to happen. You can realize what the purpose of those goals not being met was. 

At the beginning of this year I thought I would be moved out of my dads house, making enough money to support myself with wedding photography."

That's clearly when I got tired and/or needed to go make coffee and forgot I what I was doing. But holy crap, I'm so glad I get to read this now. And make a few observations. And reflections. And jokes about thinking I felt old when I turned 20.

I'll do all this in the form of a letter to myself because Sara Bareilles told me to. (Even though I did that before she wrote her book, so.) Oh also I haven't packed up my room or cleaned out my car and I just realized this and I don't care because I was gonna finish this anyway. I still have coffee to drink and Justin Bieber is serenading me so we all know I'm not even allowed to leave the house. It's the law.

--

Jenna,

Hello. It's me. I was wondering if after all these words, you'd like to read, to go over everything. (Am I allowed to laugh at myself while writing this? No? Yes? Shut up.) Let's start where you began that blog draft,

"If you're going through your list of New Years Resolutions for this year and ugly crying, you're not alone."

Well, darling, you must know ugly crying is normal. Even Helen from Bridesmaids is an ugly crier. So you had that going for you. You thought 2014 was really hard. And it was, it really was. But I need to prepare you for 2015. It may look shiny and exciting, and even though you hate the number 15, I know you're excited for it. 2015 is going to kick your ass even harder, though. It IS going be the greatest year yet, but listen: 

You're going to spend a modest 1,100+ hours in the car alone, where you'll start to question your sanity. And that's valid. Looking back now, you did scare me for a second on a few occasions. Like, stop picking your nose, and also, people can hear you doing karaoke on the freeway. You are not in a recording booth at Capitol Records. You're in a 2005 Honda Element. So yeah, maybe you are insane. And so is everybody else. Don't try to fix other people's insanity, don't try to understand it, either. You'll learn a lot about what you can control (yourself).

You'll learn to be less afraid of your own honesty. You'll take a look at your heart while you're feeling certain things and express yourself. And no one is going to bite you. They'll be glad. You can't stop yourself from messing up because you will always mess up at some point. You'll learn to be better next time.

You'll fervently look for apartments when you get a job in Santa Monica. You'll almost move into a dungeon where you would have been terrified to the point of tears every single night. Then your car will break down and you'll have to restart on saving. And you'll cry happy tears knowing you can wait. I'm proud of you for that. 

I'm also proud of you for a few other things. This year you're about to live is going to teach you so much, and you're willing to listen for what feels like the first time. So I'm proud of you, you stubborn douche.

Even though you'll start the New Year giving back all the whiskey and champagne you drank back to the earth out of your best friends car window, there is so much good ahead. Be patient and hope for it. Stop trying to control everything. Never stop learning. Don't let yourself think you know it all. You never will. And another thing, 2015 isn't over yet. So. Here, take my hand. Let's go together into 2016. Hell, let's just move in together! I don't want you to forget these things, nor do I want to lose any "living for the moment" crap by reflecting too much. You teach me and I'll teach you. You give me cookie I give you cookie. Also, I really need to get to Staples before it closes. And pack up my room. We movin' to LA tomorrow, baby! Let's do dis.

I love you. Thanks for learning to loving me back.

-Adele

So that's my letter to myself. Take from it what you will. Do one for yourself. Tell your insecurities to f off and love the soft spots in your heart for what they are. Teach people how to love you by being honest about what you need. No one can read your mind, dear. And don't let them try, either. Reflect on your year and take it for what it is. Look at the hard stuff face to face and tell it how it made you better - or how it will make you better. Don't let it define you or create excuses for your insanity.

If all of this means absolutely nothing to you, that's great too. I didn't write a letter to you. Adele did. Take it up with her. I have to go move now.

Cheers, Brothers & Sisters. Xoxo.