Sunday, March 1, 2015


Name: Q
Years in Girl Scouting: 2 years
Roles in Girl Scouting: camp staff, cookie buyer
Location: France

I currently identify as a lesbian.  I guess I've identified as such since my first year at Girl Scout camp in Pennsylvania in 2006.  (Wow, 9+ years....)

I don't have a really good "coming out story." It all just flowed. By that I mean that I simply fell in love and the surrounding "openness" at Girl Scout camp made it easy. I do remember thinking, "Oh, I am going to kiss a girl" the first time that I did actually kiss a girl, but it really happened so naturally. I remember the date of our first kiss: August 25, 2006.  

My relationship with V. officially began after camp. V. was the classic gay Girl Scout: cargo shorts, rainbow t-shirt. We first met at a cookout during pre-camp staff training. V. came up to me mainly because I was French. She was completely obsessed with France -- her family had just hosted a French girl for the past year and V. was moving to France for the following year. At that point, I still felt overwhelmed by people speaking with me for long periods of time. English is not my native language and I am naturally shy. I also did not yet know about the "gayness of camp," either.

Anyway, I don't think that V. and I were super close for the first part of that summer. She wasn't yet 18 so we did not really hang out that much -- we both had other friend groups. One weekend, we went to V.'s grandmother's house. It was a family event and also a "going away" party for V. I remember her playing guitar on the porch. She was playing a song about cocaine and that's when I thought about loving her. V. was involved with another girl from camp who also happened to be one of my close friends. On our way back to camp one Sunday morning, we picked that girl up at her house. During the car ride, I spotted her holding hands with V. and it made my stomach twist. After that, everything between me and V. happened very fast. We were very hug-gy at camp (like everyone) but embraces became more special. I would ask for hugs all the time and I would look for her while walking around camp. We talked and talked and talked when together. I had a huge crush on her, basically.

Once V. was with me and not that other friend, I had a hard time forgiving myself. My friend and I never went back to what we were. It took a few months -- maybe until October -- before she even officially learned that V. and I were together. V. wasn't really good about handling the situation.  

V. and I had our first kiss while I was still in America and we got to act as a couple for a really brief period of time -- just a few days. I was still traveling in America when V. left for France. While traveling, I came out to another girl who I had just worked with all summer (she wasn't really surprised).

V. being in France brought us closer. We lived 400 kilometers apart and started talking on the phone every night. She is still the person I've felt the most strongly connected to. Maybe it's "first love" or just a matter of her as a person, but I haven't felt that way since. From the moment that I got back to France, V. and I were in a relationship and felt truly "together" for the first time. Camp and the real world melded and it was wonderful. I was so obviously, completely in love. There was no question about doing it or not doing it: being together just made sense. I like to think that we had intensity.

I slowly came out to my friends at home, and whoever saw us together sort of figured it out. V. was initially in France just for year, for her final year of high school. She had applied to colleges in the United States but she didn't want to leave France or leave me. She then decided to pass her baccalaureate and to attend university in France.

In summer 2007, I left for Girl Scout camp before V. had received the results of her baccalaureate exam. Our future was still uncertain. Leaving France was heartbreaking because I didn't know if we would ever be together again. Our motto the whole year had been "no planning." V. came to camp halfway through the season that year, in July. Being at camp without her had the weird feeling of being home but missing something.  

V. then learned that she had passed her baccalaureate (she is amazingly smart and it was no surprise that she succeeded), and at the end of the summer, she moved back to France with me. I sort of came out to my parents while looking for an apartment with my mom. The real estate agent asked if the apartment was for "two people in a relationship or two roommates," and I didn't know what to say. My mom, however, replied, "A couple," and that was it. (My parents had met V. before but we had hid our relationship.) My parents are pretty open-minded and have gay friends, so "coming out" to them was really easy and pleasant. Unfortunately, being gay isn't always simple...or as simple as it should be.

V. and I were together for three years. When we moved in together, she was 19 and I was 21. I choose to believe that we "lost our spark." Even though we remained really close and connected, we were not really a couple anymore. I probably wasn't paying enough attention to her and my behavior was nearly abusive in that way. V. and I were really co-dependent...and we were aware of it. In summer 2008, I got an internship in New York City and we lived there for 2 months. I remember talking about how we could improve our relationship while in New York. I got really busy with the internship, though. It was like I didn't have to seduce her anymore because I had her, and I felt that she loved me more somehow. It was comforting, but I didn't take care of our relationship. I also sometimes worried about only being with "one person" (V.) my whole life. 

I have a big responsibility in V. leaving me and her getting involved with someone else...but I know that I probably will never forgive V. for that. She got involved with someone in the US. while still living with me in France. I just "sensed" something was not normal. I more or less kicked her out after a few months but we never really managed to stop seeing each other. I needed her and I hated myself for being so needy. I wanted to lock her out of my life but I just couldn't. Once V. moved back to America, I guess the Atlantic Ocean helped.

In the US, V. moved in with her new love. They are still together and are planning to get married. It's not painful anymore. We do talk from time to time (and she did proofread my entire thesis about bone marrow transplantation in children), but I don't think I would want to see her again. We are not Facebook friends because I don't want to see pictures. I am probably still bitter about the situation...and I still would totally punch her partner in the face.  

I am ok with it, I guess. I don't think I've lost my soulmate. It was a good relationship. I guess that's also why it was so hard how it ended. I somehow knew that we wouldn't spend our lives together but I didn't want the end to be ugly, with broken trust and pain. I do value and admire V. as a person and that will probably never change.

Before being with V., I do think my sexual orientation was known in some way. In retrospect, I have loved women my whole life. Before summer 2006 at Girl Scout camp, I never had an actual relationship with a man. I never really "liked" anyone. I just thought relationships weren't for me and even sort of accepted that truth.  

I suppose I did think, "I might be gay." I had a subscription to a teen magazine (not the Britney Spears' fandom or pop culture genre) that had an article about homosexuality and people coming out. I remember reading it and thinking, "Oh shit." I then probably pushed that thought away. It was as if I was waiting...waiting for love. 
As I think back on the past, maybe I was in love with a "friend" from high school named Diane. We had an amazing friendship. Diane had short hair, she was cool, and she made me feel that I was interesting and valuable. She then got a boyfriend and I used the excuse of attending medical school to avoid hanging out with them.

I mentioned the "gayness of camp" earlier, but I don't think I really have the words to explain this. It's just a feeling about the culture. My second summer at girl Scout camp, I felt like I was "part of the club." It was almost like the cool kids were gay. Camp is the only place in life where the cool kids are gay. (Well, except for my current living situation, too. I live with two gay boys and a straight woman.)  Maybe the gayness was like a secret society that everyone knew you were a part of. It just felt comfortable. I sort of assumed the whole world was like that (naive of me?), but now I get stared at for holding a woman's hand on the street.