I am the only daughter of a proud and religious West Indian couple. All my life, I’ve heard my parents tell myself and others how they couldn’t wait to plan a wedding extravaganza for their baby girl and give me away to a man that would be just like my dad. For a long time that was my dream too: I imagined myself walking down the aisle and living happily ever after with my Prince Charming.
I was in high school when I realized that the fantasy was going to stay just that—a fantasy. I had a friend named Angela, she was my best friend and we did everything together. I felt feelings for her that were much deeper than those I had for my boyfriend at the time. Angela gave me butterflies. One night Angela came over to my house for a sleepover and we stayed up late talking about boys and playing games, then she asked me a question I had secretly been wondering the answer to, “Hey, do you ever wonder what it would be like to kiss a girl?” All I could think was “Honey, you read my mind!” Before I knew it we were kissing and I was in heaven, but my nosy brother caught us and blabbed to my parents. On top of forbidding me to see Angela ever again, tried to pray the “sin” out of me by keeping me in church constantly. After that incident I realized that my parents would never accept me being with a woman and the last thing I wanted to do was hurt or disappoint them, so I suppressed my attraction towards women and moved on with life in hopes of finding them the son-in-law of their dreams.
When I brought home George my sophomore year of college, I could physically feel the sigh of relief my parents breathed on my skin. They loved him right away; he was on the Dean’s list, had started his own online business, played football and came from a good family. I loved him too! George was the first man that made me feel the way I did when Angela and I were friends. While I was with George, I never thought about being with a woman. He fulfilled my needs and for a while, I thought that maybe I had just been going through some kind of experimental phase in high school. I pushed my lesbian thoughts out of my mind until one day George dropped to one knee and asked me to be his wife. I swear to you I wanted to scream “NO!” at the top of my lungs, but standing there in a room full of friends and family, all I could do was let out a meek and soul crushing “yes.”
Plans for my wedding started almost immediately and with each flower purchased and dress tried on, I felt like I was living a lie. The woman staring back at me was lying to herself and everyone around her, but she also knew those same people wouldn’t love her if they knew the truth. It wasn’t that I didn’t adore George, it was that I knew my true feelings for women. Many nights I thought about telling him in hopes of him being down for some sort of three-way relationship, I mean isn’t that every man’s fantasy anyway? However my mother, most likely sensing that I was about to reveal my past “sin,” sat me down to tell me how happy she was that I was getting married and that I had come back to God after straying in my past. She said I shouldn’t mess this up by thinking that I’m a horrible person for my “mistake” and that my “terrible secret” was safe with her. With that all the pain, hurt and disappointment that I caused my parents in high school came back and I became that teenager again who wanted nothing more than to make her parents happy. I pushed all thoughts of being with a woman out of my mind yet again and walked down the aisle and towards a man that loved me and wanted to give me everything my heart desired…almost.
Now six months later I have to say that George and I are very happy, but now with the discussion of children out on the table I find myself back in the same predicament. How can I bring a child into a world of lies? How can I raise a child to be proud of who they are when I’m not even strong enough to be proud of who I am? There is so much pressure to be someone I’m not, to keep up this façade and it’s weighing so heavy on my soul. I’ve gone so far down the wrong road that I don’t even know who I am anymore and even though I know marrying George while keeping this secret was wrong, I feel it would even more wrong to add a child to the equation. I’m considering telling him and letting the chips fall where they may, I’m just scared that the price for releasing this burden will come at the cost of me losing everything and everyone I love.
As told to Danielle Pointdujou