Discovering your sexuality can be confusing, especially if you are a child. We're told we will love men, have a husband, never a woman.
I am very fortunate to have known from a very young age that I was attracted to both genders. However, I did not know what that meant or what would come of it. Each gender shinned light to very different emotions that I was experiencing for the first time. I was a child and I 'loved' the only way my nine year old heart knew how to.
It is like getting a puppy. She is cute. She makes you happy. You laugh. You play, so it must be love. That is how simple love was, then.
Her and I lived in the same neighborhood, well kind of. She had a home and I walked to my grandpa's where my parents would pick me up and we lived in our car. We walked each other from school. I would ask to go play in the streets where we ran and joined the neighborhood boys, my brothers. She had chores to do, and that was the day I wish I had a home to go to and a list of chores to be done before I could go play. When did a kid ever want chores? A homeless kid.
She was tall. Thin. Long black hair hanging off her shoulders with beautiful brown eyes. She spoke so quietly but she was always so sure. I remember images of her laughing while we were sitting in the sliding tunnel at the park. In there we were safe, where we could kiss. We would peak through the tiny holes to make sure the boys were far enough away, so maybe we can share one more kiss.
I stayed with her every weekend and when it was time to go to bed we would lay under the covers kissing and passing a mint back and forth to each other - how gross I think now. One night we decided we wanted to smoke a cigarette - we rolled a piece of paper up and sat near the open window 'smoking' this burning paper. We felt cool. This was cool. Our days continued in this pattern then Halloween happened.
After guilt tripping our parents that we couldn't be the only kids in the neighborhood that did not celebrate Halloween they drove us to dollar general. We picked out random items in hopes to get as close as possible to a costume. I do not remember what I chose. I remember one of my brothers being a hobo and crying when we wanted to color dirt on his face. How ironic. We were basically hobo's.
Her though, she dressed up as an angel. A real costume she had. Our families united as we walked the streets stopping at each house on the way to the closest church. A Halloween party was held at the church for all the families to join. Her and I decided when we would get there we would sneak outside to kiss and this is where we were caught. I do not remember what her mom said to me. I just remember watching her being pulled away from me, and just like that she was gone.
We would talk in school but it was not the same. One day I decided I would knock on her front door - mind you I have no idea what I thought I was going to say like it would be enough. Her mom answered the door and told me to go home. She also reminded me that I was not allowed to see her anymore and if I continued to try she would tell my parents. I would wonder what she was feeling. What she was told to feel, and if she thought about our memories as often as I did.
It wasn't too long we no longer were able too stay at my grandpa's anymore and now we're staying at strangers houses when we could - hotels when we had the money to spare, but we aren't going to school anymore. I don't see her ever again.
In the years to follow after her I had flirty child like-love with other girls, until I prospered into my mature mental stage of growth and the love was never ending. I have been graced with the touch of many beautiful woman - each of them showing me different parts of me that have never been found with the last one.
What hasn't changed from 16 years ago? The constant feeling of needing to be accepted from others about who I choose to love. As if I owe strangers an explanation to why I am dating a woman. We are so far advanced in the LGBT community, and my heart breaks, and sends love to all the warriors who fought, who died, to get us this far. However, It's not over.
We live in a society where we are told we will love a man. We will marry a man. We will take care of our husbands, and then we will have children to take care of as well. We are never told there's a chance we will love a woman. So we hide these parts that are burning within us - we push them as far down as we can because we are too young to comprehend that our hearts are titanic enough to love both woman and men. You cannot push a burning flame without getting burned, and that wound will soon be exposed. Expose your love, and expose those wounds to be healed by WHO EVER YOU CHOOSE! Love is too profound to limit it.
John Hansen from Queensland Australia on June 14, 2019:
Thank you for sharing your story Mariah. I am sure it will be encouraging to many other young women/girls in similar situations. Growing up homeless would be such a difficult thing to go through as well but I am sure it makes you stronger and more grateful for the little things.
Gupi on June 14, 2019:
Thank you for sharing that article.