"I wanna stay home today (don't wanna go out)
If anyone comes to play (gonna get thrown out)
I wanna stay home today
Don't want no company, no way."
I must confess, once I started homeschooling, I had no desire to socialize with anyone. I pretty much stayed in my room and posted on internet forums for the duration of puberty. Being sedentary all that time wasn't good for my health, and I gained some weight.
Still, I learned a lot while I was browsing the internet. I joined a political debate forum that had international users. I found out I wasn't as weird as I thought, I was just in a part of the world that's much more conservative than most of the Western world. I was debating political science majors, people who were 10 years older than me, and at first I sounded immature and inexperienced to them, but I learned the rules of debate and how to present myself better very quickly. I became very well respected on those forums. I learned which of my beliefs I could back up with logic, facts, and evidence. Discussing these things with people on internet forums made me better at communicating with people in real life, believe it or not.
Also, with all the extra time I had on my hands, I was soon no longer able to escape the fact that I was attracted to women. It was an easy topic to avoid when I had other things on my mind, but since my school day was dramatically shorter, I didn't have much of a social life, and I had so much more free time.
When I first realized I was gay, I paced back and forth. I argued with myself over it for hours. I couldn't say the word "gay" aloud. I felt horribly guilty for objectifying women sexually. All I knew about homosexuality, really, was that people seemed to think there was something bad about it, and I had never seen a gay couple live happily ever after in the movies or on TV, in fact, I had seen very few gay couples at all in the media.
Watching lesbian movies, even the ones written by lesbians, didn't really help much. Most lesbian movies to this day end tragically for the lesbian characters. Usually the lesbians go "straight," go insane, go to prison, or die. It didn't give me much hope for my future.
I decided I was "bisexual," which felt like a lie because I really had no interest in men and never had, but it was all I could handle at the time - at least if I were bisexual, it meant I could someday end up with a man and we could get married and have kids and the white picket fence and not be scorned by society.
I came out as bisexual to my brother first. He didn't even know what that word meant, but when I explained it to him, he just said, "Oh, okay. I still love you." And that was it.
I came out to my mother next. She took me by surprise. She exclaimed, "I'm bicurious, too!" Apparently she had been doing sexual roleplaying with women on the internet. She informed me that if she was ever widowed, after her grieving period, she would probably date women as well as men.
I had rehearsed my coming out speech to her a thousand times, but this possibility never occurred to me! I didn't even know what to say to her. I don't remember what I did say. After that, though, we were able to have discussions for the first time about which TV and movie characters we thought were hot, and I was comfortable telling the truth about it.
I asked my mom to tell my dad for me, because I had no idea how he felt about homosexuality. I thought he would be okay with it in theory, but I had read horror stories about coming out, especially in the South, and he was raised Southern Baptist.
Turns out, he was okay with it. He made sure to tell me the next chance he got the story of how he became accepting of gay people. My dad is a metal head that likes a lot of rock music, and apparently his favorite musician ever was Elton John. When Elton John came out as gay, he had a dilemma. His parents always taught him that homosexuality was wrong, but he still liked Elton John's music. He decided Elton John's music was still good regardless of Elton John's sexuality.
Later, a friend of his came out to him in college. All of his other friends abandoned this guy immediately because he was gay. My dad did not. He supported his friend and said they could be friends regardless of his sexuality.
My dad tells me these stories all the time to this day. He repeats stories a lot. You can remind him he's told these stories before, and he will still give you the whole thing all over again. That's just the way he is.
When I was about fourteen, I started Aikido. Aikido is a martial art that uses grabs, throws, and submissions to neutralize one's opponents. It's beautiful to watch - it looks like dancing. Aikido helped me to manage my anger. It didn't channel my anger, it helped me learn to be calm instead. If I wasn't calm, I could not do the techniques correctly.
At sixteen, I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. It was much more physically demanding, and much more intensely violent. I loved it. It exhilarated me. I trained every night for three hours a night. I was taught Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu not just as a martial art, but also as a sport and a lifestyle. My body was transformed, and I became the most fit I had ever been in my life. My team became a second family to me. I watched my coach's baby girl grow until she was 3 years old.
Unfortunately, there is a price to being the only female in any male-dominated setting, especially if it is a full-contact sport and you're sweating together. My Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coach developed a crush on me. Once I turned eighteen, he started hitting on me - him being married and thirty-eight years old, me knowing his kids and his wife. Every time he did this, I shot him down in no uncertain terms. I told him I was a lesbian, and he just decided not to believe me.
Then, I started my first relationship - with a girl, of course. He was immensely jealous and lashed out at her and me both. He took up with a mistress, not for the first time since I knew him, and made other questionable decisions. I couldn't take any more of his crap, so I quit Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
By that time, my martial arts training was conflicting with the demands of my college schedule, anyway, and both of those were conflicting with how much time I wanted to spend with my girlfriend and my family. I was spread too thin, so I didn't mind cutting something out of my life at the time.
I realized I missed Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu right away, but there was no one in the area as qualified to teach it as my coach, and he moved away within a few months of my quitting. I didn't want to settle for someone who did not make Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu a lifestyle, or care about the safety of his students, and I didn't want to be the only female wherever I trained.
To this day, I'm still looking for a way I can start training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu again.