Gosh where do I start? As I look back over the last year so much has changed. I have changed in many ways and my life has gone in a completely different direction. I am not the same person I was a year ago.
My life was pretty normal and comfortable. I was working in a professional job with a husband and two children. I lived in a nice house and we frequently went on holiday. We were living a very comfortable existence. I suppose you could say we were leading the perfect life. Life was incredibly busy trying to fit everything it with work, children’s activities, exercise and general upkeep of the house.
Covid struck and everything stopped. School, the children’s activities, my running club, parkrun. I was now working at home as we all had to adapt. I remember the craziness of people buying toilet paper and bread flour. I didn’t buy the toilet paper or bread flour but I did it 2 refurbished laptops for my children for home schooling. I remember walking round the streets and it was so quiet. I remember the quietness and stillness as there were no cars around.
I am a pretty positive person so I continued thinking up new activities to do to ensure. We played board games, took part in exercise, we went for walks and cycle rides. We baked cakes and we did cooking. We were so lucky with the weather that we could do so much outdoors. I took lots of photos. I was also keen to ensure that my children’s mental health was as good as it can be.
I missed my friends. I missed Parkrun, I missed my running club but I was determined to make the most of it. My teenagers had overseas trips cancelled and they missed their activities. It is really hard to keep teenagers engaged in sport when it is not organised.
As time went on, I started to go for walks by myself. I started to reflect on my life. My birthday was coming up and I felt empty.
As I went for a walk I was analysing what was going on. The thought suddenly struck me that I felt lonely and I was tired of carrying so much mental load. I organised the house, food, the bills, the kids, the holidays, the medical appointments and school activities. I was tired and I didn’t want to do it anymore. I realised that we were not really a couple anymore, we were just parents and people who were a bit like passing ships. Life was so busy, but it had lost meaning. I was living for the next holiday. I was not enjoying the here and now and living in the moment.
There was something else that was bugging me, and I was very confused. I could not understand what was happening to me.
When you find yourself googling “How do you know you are lesbian” and “Late in life lesbian” it is quite a scary and lonely place to be. It is also one of those things you really know the answer as soon as you ask the question. Straight people do not think about these things. I had realised that I had developed feelings for a woman. It was weird. Was it just her or had I shifted? I had been heterosexual for my entire life. I looked back over my life and there was no-one else and no other indications. It was a shift.
My googling led me to online support groups and books. I connected with women all over the world in similar circumstances. I then started counselling with a LGBT+ counsellor. I have never had counselling before and I always thought of it for people with anxiety and depression. Counselling was for other people. It was really good to talk to someone to try and work through the issue. As I talked it through with her it became obvious that it was more than one person. She was just a catalyst for a change in me.
After a little while I built up the courage to tell a couple of friends. I was so scared to say “I am attracted to a woman” for the first time. I kind of had to blurt it out over the phone. Now I appreciate how hard it must be for people who have suffered trauma. One of the things I have discovered during this time is I am more of an introvert than I thought. When under severe stress I tell very few people. I recognised it is still so important to have people to talk to and my closest friends have been amazing. We have been a mutual support group (online) during a difficult time. We have met up when we were allowed.
As time went on, I realised that I would have to tell my husband. I didn’t really know what to say or where this was going. I didn’t have the answers. All I knew was I felt alone and something had changed. I knew I was about to throw a bomb into my comfortable life but I had no choice. For whatever reason my sexuality had shifted and the lightbulb went off during lockdown number 1 in 2020.
This is not the place to talk about what happened but what I can say is, we are no longer together. We will both starting on a new life. The year of the pandemic is the year that my marriage fell apart and it is the year my identity has shifted.
The way I have managed to cope with this situation is to exercise. I am lucky to live in a beautiful place and I have discovered more of my local area. The running has really been my life saviour and I have been improving on my performance and times. I have been using online apps and virtual fitness sessions especially in the winter. I also downloaded some playlist for my walks. These would be a mixture of tunes depending on my mood. Being outside whether walking, cycling or running always makes me feel better.
During this time, I wrote lots of things down in a journal as it was a way to get my thoughts on paper. I was petrified someone would read it though as this was just a process of working out what was going on. I found it to be a therapeutic process.
I continued to work at home through the pandemic. I am enjoying the flexibility of being able to exercise and different times of the day. Although I miss seeing people in work the benefits of not commuting and the flexibility is much better now. I think it enables me to have a better work life balance, although there is a danger of working too much.
I would have liked to learn some new skills or learn a language but I did not have the mental energy or time to do this. That is ok though as I have learnt not to try and do too many things. I have realised I can go a lot longer without a foreign holiday. There are things I can do at home and it is just as relaxing. I have tried to connect with people from the LGBT+ community which has been nice, but it is also really hard and frustrating as I would like to meet people.
As we come out of the pandemic I am looking forward to meeting new people and embarking on a new chapter in my life. I am going to ensure I continue to enjoy my local area and make the most of the present.