If you've read my work You’ll have heard me say many in previous blogs that I’ve always felt disconnected, like a spare part that didn’t fit in from a really young age. That disconnection fed into years of addictive drinking and patterns of sabotage. A big part of that disconnection and piece of the puzzle for me was my sexuality.
Not only was I dealing with being mixed race, moving countries and physically looking really different at a really young age. I always knew I was attracted to girls from the get go. I mean really young, like ‘hey that Barbie looks hot and I don’t know why’ young (I’m laughing as I type but it’s true) and what came with that feeling was a serious feeling of shame, the two were hand in hand from day one it seemed.
Before I go any further with this blog, I want to totally honour my cousin's girlfriend who at 17 bravely outed herself on social media. There it was in black and white her proudly stating who she was and what she was about – bang! I started at the post in total awe today, filled with emotion actually. For her brave and fearless nature and because I would have had NO CLUE how to approach my emotions around my sexuality at that age. Hell I’m only just catching up now. So for all the negatives of social media these are the times it is totally bloody empowering for the younger generation.
Gen Y have the Cara Delavigne’s of the world to look up to and put simply it’s now really f’ing cool to be you what ever you is, in fact in this incarnation right now (the Age of Aquarius) it’s not about conforming or labels of any kind, and when the going get tough you’ve got no choice but to look inside and dig deep.
Authenticity is the mantra of our times.
What baffles me still is where did I learn from such a young age that having feelings for the same sex was a thing to feel ashamed of? It certainly wasn’t from my parents, so I really don’t know, what I do know is it held me back from being me for years and it played a huge part in my drinking.
I was always both fascinated and obsessed with girls, either wanting to be them or be with them – whether in a friendship dynamic or a romantic way. The slightest rejection would crush me and it always felt like a much deeper wound. I couldn’t work out why I was always desperately seeking approval from these complex, beautiful creatures.
On the flip side, sure I fancied boys, but more importantly I wanted them to find me attractive, to validate my physical appearance somehow, because that was normal, there was an illusion of safety I created around men from a really young age, a total learnt pattern I’m only now unpicking. That’s no one's fault and before anyone is thinking I’m going down the men-bashing angle, wrong blog. I have some truly wonderful men in my life – my brother and dad for starters.
But back then I was a late bloomer so kissing boys didn’t even come along until the tender age of 14/15 which to most of my well developed friends that was practically middle aged. I remember my first kiss at the school disco, Robbie Williams Angels blaring from the speakers, the boy wearing a full Adidas tracksuit swaying awkwardly to the music. My Dad then Head Of 6th form, patrolling the halls – for real. You can’t write this sh*t :)
So the first boyfriend came along, as did the second, but at the age of 17 something sparked inside me, I was ready, I wanted to explore meeting girls.
Having no clue how that would happen when I hadn’t even spoken to my best friends about any of this, I confided in a work friend of mine who quickly set me up with a girl she knew, let’s call her Sarah for the sake of the blog. Now Sarah and I hit it off, I was desperately nervous but excited at the same time. We did what I did best, we drank and we drank and we danced and we drank some more. It was fun, it felt carefree and I felt truly excited by the prospect of something happening. However that feeling soon fizzled when my ego and rational brain took over, shaming me for feeling this way. I very quickly did what I do best – sabotaged the friendship/budding relationship and jumped back into the arms of the most alpha male I could find. I wasn’t done with the self hatred, in fact it was only just about to kick off big time, little did I know I was to follow quite destructive pattern of relationships with men in the years to come (more about that later!).
Luckily Sarah and I remained friends, we visited each other during our Uni years and hung out (got hammered) when we were at home together. Until I met T my first serious boyfriend and everything changed. T was exactly what I needed at that time, complicated, handsome, toxic, kept me on my toes, I was in! Just the level of drama and chaos my soul needed to keep running away from itself, this ‘relationship’ would keep me occupied for 5 years. T and I were like moths to a flame, each half of a broken soul merging together magnetically.
Knowing what I know now and having done the amount of healing work I have done on my self and past relationships, the term 'like attracts like' never rang so true than with T and I. At his best T was witty, charming, intelligent and funny, at his worst – seriously controlling, manipulative and very depressive. A level of depression I had never seen in anyone before. Sadly he had suffered badly from panic attacks and suicidal feelings from a young age and the remnants of those behaviour patterns had stuck around.
From that point I began to fade hard and fast, my self esteem and confidence at an all time low, T very much called the shots from day one but who could blame him - I very much let him.
The further we got into the relationship the more numb I began to feel. We moved to London to his parent’s house, then into our first home together (which his parents had bought for him/us). I remember coming home from a family Ski holiday to him telling me we had a flat of our own and we were moving in ASAP. My stomach twisted. Why wasn’t I happy with this? Our first flat in Islington together?! I felt sick with guilt and shame. I’ll never forget standing in the flat with a glass of champagne in my hand grinning like a loon thinking if I stop grinning I'll collapse into tears. I didn’t want to be with him but I didn’t want to be alone. Because sitting with me and my thoughts and my feelings was utterly terrifying. I was a mess. And no one but myself could fix it.
I remember thinking that life that people are meant to have, the true happiness, the laughter, the connection, I suppose it wasn’t meant for me in this lifetime, I had done too many things wrong and (yep you guessed it) there was something wrong with me, so I just didn’t deserve that. My heart and soul slammed shut into a dark place for many more years to come. I felt nothing. Literally nothing.
One day whilst wandering round Islington, T suggested we go and meet one of his friends who had just come back for Dubai her name was R. He hadn’t seen her for months so was quite excited. Sure why not. We headed over to the gallery in Euston, me a million miles away as usual. We walked in and there she was. Olive skin, shinny glossy brown hair tomboy cool with a beaming smile she got up and ran towards T hugging him fondly.
All of a sudden, that numbness, that shame and guilt, that darkness, melted a little. Like someone lit a sparkler inside my heart and it started to burn ever so slightly. In the months to come, R and I became good friends. We all hung out a lot as a group and we became closer and closer, I started to get excited about dinners together, or when she would pop in, feeling really down when she would cancel. My feelings for her were getting stronger by the day and harder to manage as T and I’s relationship was unravelling. No one’s fault we just couldn’t do it anymore, it was a real mess.
One night R came over and after many bottles of wine we kissed. Of course I regretted it, but at the same time I knew it marked the end of T and me and I was ready for that. It was one of the most painful break ups to date actually, at the time he hurt badly, I didn’t process at all, I felt free and light and excited for what was to come. Bottle of wine in hand off I trotted into the next chapter of chaos. I was 25 and single, I remember standing in front of the mirror in T and I’s flat (he had given me a month to move out) talking to myself saying “If you want to date girls, now is your chance you can go do it, you’re still young” but something inside me tightened and the fear took over again.
I had always been comfortable keeping girls at arms length, it meant I was in control, all through university I would get myself into situations where things would happen – always when intoxicated then I would brush past it and carry on with life and what ever relationship I had thrown myself into. This became a theme. You know it’s a ‘thing’ to look at when you wake up, freeze and pray you haven’t tried it on with whichever friend's bed you had stayed in the night before. No joke. And yes I generally had and lucky for me most times it was brushed off or they found it quite comical – thank god. Little did they know I was dying of shame inside.
As my drinking progressively got worse, so did my level of disconnection with myself. After another string of failed relationships I clambered to the gates of 30 bruised, battered and utterly tired of repeating the same old cr*p. Enough was enough.
Single again, I decided to actually take the plunge and date girls, it was now or never.
It's only recently I’ve realised there’s my conscious mind running the show but if I stand back and tune in, there’s an ever so quiet under current of messages trying desperately to be caught, it’s a strong yet consistent frequency, one which offers glimmers of truth and a pathway to the deepest parts of my soul. I’d shut this down through years of drinking, but every so often if I stand back and tune in, the door unlocks a little further.
So I met C really quickly, we hit it off. We chatted online for a few weeks (mainly because I was terrified of how much I liked her) then finally on the 4th September 2014 we met in The Alwyn Castle in Islington. She walked in and my stomach flipped – shit this was it. I knew it.
I had been to see a psychic years before at the end of my relationship with T for some kind of guidance. I asked her ‘Am I going to get married and have babies?” Frantically searching her eyes and face for some kind of reaction. She paused and looked at me for what seemed like an age, leaning forward she grabbed my hand and said “You are going to get everything you want and you’ll be really happy” I thought, shit, she means with a woman (!) but I dismissed it – It’s funny to think back to that now.
I’m not going to say C and I have had the easiest ride far from it, I was fighting hard from the start to make sense of this, fighting with the fact that this could be the happy ending I had been looking for but it had come in a different form. I put her through a lot and she’s always stood by me (more on C later – she deserves a blog of her own).
18 months on after a lot of blood, sweat and tears that happy ending feeling that I never thought I would get has started to emerge. Me finally facing my demons and going into recovery has given us the space to blossom as a couple, which has meant we have now been able to move in together and really start our adult life.
Who knows what the future holds, but what I do know is in this moment right now, I come home to my flat with my beautiful partner and I’m actually happy with who I am and where I am at in my life. That to me is utterly priceless.
A wise old bird with 30 years sobriety under her belt said to me the other day – ‘If you want to know why you drank, stop drinking – simple!’ She wasn’t wrong. My drinking only really delayed me processing and accessing my truth.
So if you hear the slightest murmur of that soul whisper telling you to leave your job, follow your passion, pick up the phone and ask that girl/boy on a date, go travelling…. if that voice feels true and loud enough to be persistent then you better deal with the fact it ain’t going anywhere. My advice – step back and tune in and go with what ever message you get, your soul only ever has your best interest at heart, its our heads and egos that get in the way.
I don’t need a label saying I am now 100 percent gay because I am with a woman. It doesn’t need to be that black and white. I’ve had a decade of trying to make men fit into a mould I created, sometimes it stuck temporarily and yes I fancied them but for the most part there was always a deep emotional disconnection which I knew I would could only get from a women – probably why I stalled for so long!
When I allowed that door to finally opened it was only then that C stepped into my life – I don’t need a specific label for that. So for anyone struggling with labels – don’t! Set your self free, life isn’t black and white, the magical moments come from delving into the grey I promise you. It’s called surrendering to the flow and it feels so damn good.
4 months sober, the story continues….
About the contributor: Saphia H is a truth Speaker, Soul Seeker, Heart Healer. On a quest to peel away the layers, get to the core and make it shine. 30 something girl, feeling my way through life, the grit makes you strong, the pain makes you grow. Speaking my truth daily.