Hearts can change.
My mom got married and had my brother at a very young age. After that marriage ended, she was absolutely certain that she would never have another child, and she would never get married again. Her mind was completely made up. One hundred percent. Marriage is pointless, she felt. And having another kid? No way. One was more than enough.
My mom fell in love with my dad. They couldn’t stop it, anymore than you could “stop a moving train,” says my dad. They got married in my great aunt Mimi’s backyard. I was born one year after that. My sister was born six years later.
This was a woman who was totally certain that she would never have any more kids.
Hearts can change. Minds can change. People can be very surprising.
When I was 20 years old, I came out to my parents as a lesbian. I lived in another city, so we had the conversation on Skype. I looked into their faces on the digital screen. I was crying, overwhelmed with emotion as the words tumbled out of my mouth. “Mom, dad… I’m gay.” They told me they loved me no matter what.
Over the next seven years, I dated a series of incredible women. Meg, the engineer. Annie, the professor. Alex, the artist (yes, she had the same name as me — which was somewhat confusing!). I fell in love with my heart wide open. I watched every single episode of The L Word, twice. I marched in pride parades, proudly holding my girlfriend’s hand. I never, ever thought I’d be with a man. I mean, ew.
One day, I got an intense crush on a man. A very straight, manly man. Nobody was more surprised than me. The sight of his face made me wobbly all over. The feelings hit me out of nowhere, like a bullet from the clear blue sky. “What is happening to me?” I wondered. “This is bizarre. This isn’t supposed to happen. This isn’t who I am.” But apparently, it was.
We love putting people into neat and tidy boxes. We love categories. “I’m straight.” “I’m gay.” “I’m male.” “I’m female.” “I’m an entrepreneur.” “I’m a runner.” “I will never do that.” “I always do this.” It feels comforting to make that kind of declaration to the world. “This is who I am, exactly and forever.” We love these tidy boxes. But sometimes, our hearts say, “Well, just you wait, because I’ve got a big surprise for you…”
I never, ever thought that I would choose a man for my life partner. But now here he is — sitting across the room while I type these words. Brandon Charles Weeks. The greatest love of my life. Who would have guessed?
Hearts can change. Minds can change. Patterns can change. Habits can change. Desires can change. “Never” can turn into “Well actually, maybe just one more time…”
I have learned that when big, surprising changes arrive… I can be afraid. I can feel ashamed. I can deny it. I can fight it. Or, I can surrender to it.
I choose to surrender.