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Author Topic: I need advice
samanthamt
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I posted about this a little while ago I figured it would be helpful to put a link in to the topic...

http://www.scarleteen.com/forum/ultimatebb.php?/ubb/get_topic/f/16/t/001321.html

Well, I found out (just today actually) that she is gay. I didn't ask her, one of my friends asked her (I didn't ask her to, it was pure coincidence, I say this because I don't want to come off as childish about this whole deal) and she said she was. I actually got her number a couple weeks ago so she could send me a pic of a dissection we were doing, weird I know. Before today I had decided that I was just going to ignore my feelings because I was unsure about whether or not she was even gay. But now that I know she is, I can't stop thinking about her. I feel dirty even typing this, let alone telling someone in person...I just need some help...I don't know what to do or what to say.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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Why would your feelings be dirty? Would you think/feel the same way about feelings for someone who was a man? If not, why are these feelings dirty?

Someone being gay still doesn't mean that person is going to be specifically attracted to/interested in you, if that's not already obvious. So, I don't know where you're at with any of this in your own heart and head, and if you're up to putting feelings out there that someone else might not share. How do you feel about that? Given you expressing feeling what sounds like shame about those feelings, do you think you're in the right space to tell her about how you feel, whether she doesn't feel the same way OR whether she does?

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samanthamt
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When I was growing up being gay was always wrong and dirty, I live in TN, not a very accepting place. I know that she may not be interested in me, but I think she is, but of course I can't know for sure unless I talk to her. I don't think I'm in a place to tell her right now, I'm confused and freaked out. But the class we have together isn't over for about another 6 weeks so I have time to sort through all the feelings I'm having. I don't know that I would want to tell her how I feel until the class is over anyways to avoid awkwardness. I actually have a therapist, I see her once a month, but I don't think I would be able to talk about it with anyone in person yet. I'm so scared of being judged.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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Well, happy to get you started talking about it here in a safe space where no one is going to judge, and where we also don't think there's anything wrong or dirty about anyone's orientation.

Sounds like it's a good deal you're giving yourself lots of time here. It's very hard to manage relationships well when you're feeling any shame in them, and harder still to even just ENJOY them, which is really the point.

If you want to try talking through some of these feelings here with us, including the shame around them, we can do that, and might be able to help get you to a point where you do feel you can bring this to your therapist.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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That sounds good, thank you so much. I sort of don't know where to start...

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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Maybe if I drop some questions at you, you can just go with whatever feels like a good direction?

If so, here are some possible entry points to talking about this:
• What kinds of messages did you grow up seeing and hearing about lesbian, gay and bisexual people?
• What kinds of messages did you grow up with around sex and/or your own sexuality?
• What is your sense of what these attitudes are like in other places or other communities: do you know they're not the same everywhere?
• How are you feeling in your whole sense of self right now? Where do you feel you need the most support?
• Trying to set the opinions of others aside as much as you can, what does YOUR own sexual identity feel like? What would you want in your love and sex life, ideally, in the most general sense?
• You say you're freaked out, which I assume feels pretty scary. What's scariest to you right now?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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• What kinds of messages did you grow up seeing and hearing about lesbian, gay and bisexual people?Growing up I never saw any kind of positive messages, it was always "dirty" or if it was regarding bisexuality then the person just wanted to sleep around.

• What kinds of messages did you grow up with around sex and/or your own sexuality? Sex was always portrayed as something dirty and shameful when I was younger. My mom once asked me if I was a lesbian, well more like she accused me of it, it wasn't a good experience.

• What is your sense of what these attitudes are like in other places or other communities: do you know they're not the same everywhere? I do know that the attitudes about sexual orientation are more of a nonissue in some places.

• Trying to set the opinions of others aside as much as you can, what does YOUR own sexual identity feel like? I really don't know what I'm feeling in that area besides confusion and a lot of shame.

• You say you're freaked out, which I assume feels pretty scary. What's scariest to you right now? Knowing that I can't run from these feelings for forever, this isn't the first time I've been attracted to a girl. I really just wish that this would all go away, but I'm almost 21...so I guess its something that I'm going to have to confront and sort out.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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So, it sounds like you've got shame coming from at least two different places here: around sex and sexuality as a whole, and also around any orientation other than heterosexuality. That's a lot to handle and try and live with.

One thing that might help to know is that almost everyone tends to feel confused about sexual and romantic feelings, no matter WHAT their orientation is, especially when those feelings are new, and certainly when they're at all different from what anyone was expecting or from any kind of cultural standard. Of course, if you also have been instilled with shame, fear and loathing about sex and orientation, it's going to be all the more confusing and scary.

I think one sound place to start may be with trying to just let go of the wish that your feelings will just go away. They won't. And that's okay, because you still get to make whatever choices around them feel best to you, and you also can feel better about them so that you don't WANT them to go away anymore. Know what I mean?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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Yes, that makes sense...I just don't know how to go about accepting my feelings or letting go of the wish that what I'm feeling will go away. This is all so confusing to me...when I try to think about it I get nowhere. I really just wish I could know what I want to do...or what I want to feel.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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It's one of those things that isn't going to be something that happens overnight, but that takes time and some effort. We also feel how we feel. I mean, we can want to feel this way or that way, but we can't make ourselves feel a thing, we just feel what we feel.

I know that's not great news when you're feeling like such a mess right now, but there are some things you can do to help you feel better now that will also help you feel way better in time.

Have you connected at all with any supportive groups where you are? By any chance, does your school have a GSA? Or, might any of these PFLAG chapters be near you: http://www.pflag.org/map/index.php?state=TN

Getting some kind of support and community and keeping up with support and community really helps a whole, big heaping lot. If you feel isolated and alone, it's going to be very hard to handle this, to accept whatever your feelings and orientation may be, to feel less scared.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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I haven't went to any kind of support group, but I am shocked that there is a PFLAG chapter very near me. I would love to go and check it out, but I'm definitely not brave enough to go in person alone, but there is a number...I might be able to get up the nerve to call. Thank you for the link [Smile]

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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I think just starting with a call is great!

Most often, save in certain parts of the world (not in the states), there do tend to be more LGBTQ resources closer by than people tend to think. It can be so easy to think that the way one family or school or community frames orientation and gender is how everyone around does, but it really, truly is not usually that unilateral.

The world pretty much is always bigger and more diverse than we think. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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You're right. Thank you so much for talking me through this [Smile]

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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You're very welcome. Know that we're around if and when you want to talk any more of this out. [Smile]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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Do you know of any websites I could check out pertaining to GLBT teens/young adults. I googled it and I didn't really see anything that looked like what I'm looking for.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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Well, what are you looking for?

We're totally inclusive, so we have a ton of info. But there's also other resources.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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Goofy me, I came to scarleteen and asked about websites when this is probably the best place to turn to. Sorry, I've been distracted lately, not thinking clearly lol. Thanks for replying [Smile]

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Stephanie_1
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That's not goofy at all. If you can let us know what all you're looking for we can help pin down some specific articles that may help here, or find some other information and groups that can be of assistance.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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samanthamt
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Any article about...figuring out what my orientation is and how to deal with it once I do figure it out. And anything on how to talk to/tell people whatever I figure out my orientation is. Although I'm not really questioning as much as I am confused lol. I just really don't know where to start as to figuring this out, but like I mentioned to Heather, I have a therapist and I go this Friday and I'm going to try and be brave enough to bring all this stuff up.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Stephanie_1
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Okay, so let's start you off with a few articles then. You can read through them, and then we can talk about them. Sound good?

The Bees and...the Bees: A Homosexuality and Bisexuality Primer
Bi the Dozen: A Bisexuality Quiz
Q is for Questioning
Don't Let the Door Hit You on the Way Out

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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samanthamt
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Sounds good, thank you.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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samanthamt
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I read all the articles, and they were really helpful, especially in stating that its okay to question my sexual identity. I also didn't realize that you don't have to have had sex with someone of the same gender as you to identify as bisexual. There's so much I don't know, something I'm not used to. Having read through the articles I feel a little more prepared to possibly bring this up in therapy. Most of what is holding me back is shame and fear, but also the fact that my therapist will probably ask me questions that I don't have the answer to. Especially not on the spot.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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Heather
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I think it can help to remember ALL the people in the world who identify themselves as straight/heterosexual but who have not had sex with anyone. None of us need to have sex with someone to know who we feel emotionally and sexually attracted to: orientation is about feelings, not actions. And what standards are applied to or accepted for one orientation needs to be applied to all others, you know?

Do you have any sense at all of it your therapist is someone would would be LGB-friendly?

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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samanthamt
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I think she is, shes always been very liberal and is a really laid back person. She definitely hasn't ever made any derogatory remarks about LGB people. She is pretty progressive about just sexuality in general so hopefully she will be.
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Stephanie_1
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I just wanted to point out too, you said you were worried about not having answers right away when she asks questions (if she does). That's perfectly normal - and it's totally okay. We're not always going to have the answers to everything, not even when it's about us. And there's absolutely nothing wrong with just saying you don't know/are unsure yet/need a little time to figure that out yet yourself.

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"Sometimes the majority only means that all the fools are on the same side" ~Anon

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samanthamt
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I talked to my therapist today. I think it has to be one of the hardest and scariest things I've ever had to do, weird as that sounds. She reacted well, better than I ever could have hoped. She didn't ask too many questions, and although I was really...shaken up the whole time I'm glad I told her. I'm emotionally drained but really glad that I have her support.

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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eryn_smiles
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Wow,good on you samantha [Smile] . That's really brave! (For me, telling the first person was the hardest. After that, it got a little easier each time.)

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"Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation and that is an act of political warfare."

Audre Lorde

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samanthamt
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Glad to know that it will get easier!

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Always bear in mind that your own resolution to succeed is more important than any one thing.
-Abraham Lincoln

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