Growing up, I was always lusting after my female friends. I didn’t think I was gay because I defied all the gay-girl stereotypes; I was forever the mascara-adorned, acrylic-nail sporting (ick — I know), high-heel-clinking, over-the-top girly-girl.
And I’m so terrible at softball that in seventh grade, I forged a note from the gynecologist stating I had a cyst on my left ovary (why I chose that specific condition is worrisome to me too) and presented it to my phys-ed teacher (a total lez) so I could avoid the humiliation of exposing my embarrassing lack of athletic ability to my peers.
Clearly, there was no way I could be a lesbian, as I was certain it was in the genetic makeup of a lesbian to emerge from the womb with killer softball skills.
The only Celesbian (celebrity + lesbian) current in mainstream media when I was entering the cruel, cold world of adolescence was Ms. Ellen DeGeneres, who was most definitely cool and sexy — but I didn’t identify with her style, her haircut, the way in which she carried herself, her (for lack of a better word) swagger.
So you better believe, I was wholly confused when I found myself sleepless and sweaty in my bunk bed at camp in the summer of 2000, consumed with dirty thoughts about my camp counselor, “X” (a seemingly badass, 19-year-old art-school-drop-out from “the city”).
Since being gay didn’t appear to be a viable option, I attempted to write off my ever-expanding sexual attraction to “X” as nothing but a simple, oh so innocent “FRIEND CRUSH.”
My acne-ridden, bunkmates-in-crime discussed their “friend-crushes” ad nauseam. While I was pretty sure they weren’t having vivid fantasies about being taken advantage of by their “friend-crush” in the camp pavilion like I was (I can’t help it, I wasn’t raised right), I managed to (sort of) convince myself I was simply caught up in a “friend-crush” gone wild.
It was just spinning a bit out of control, but it would soon subside, and like every other girl in bunk 4A, I would start lusting after the boys at the camp across the lake and everything would go back to normal.
But throughout middle school and most of high school, this vicious cycle repeated itself. I would become intensely infatuated with a girl (sometimes the “girl” would be a ripe, older woman like my 43-year-old English teacher), and I would brush it off as nothing but an intense admiration for her badass style and fierce sense of individuality.
It wasn’t until after my first experience with tequila-shots at age 15, when I actually locked lips with my “girl-crush” that it hit me like a ton of hot bricks — this was a crush, crush, and I couldn’t run from it anymore.
Now lezbehonest, girls get innocent, sometimes confusing crushes on each other all the time. We become besotted with a fellow female’s amazing fashion sense, worldly beauty, sick wit and immeasurable intellect.
There is a distinct ache of being so in awe of another chick that you actually want to be her, and it’s an obsession that cuts so deep, it feels sexual.
It’s a confusing headspace to be in and the delicate line between admiration and attraction can get oh-so blurry.
But just because you’re being a creep and stalking her Instagram account alone with a whiskey on a Saturday night doesn’t necessarily mean you want to date her.
It could mean that (in my case it most definitely did), but wanting your “bestie” to be your girlfriend and merely idolizing her are two very different animals.
When you’re starting to feel like your “girl crush” is rapidly turning into a crush, crush, it’s important to recognize the following:
1. Sexuality and style are two different things
One of the most confusing parts of falling for another girl can be battling against the pressing stereotypes of what a lesbian is supposed to look like. Let go of the preconceived notions and remember sexuality and style are two entirely different things.
You can totally be the blow-dried girl with the petal pink manicure primped to the nines in a silver cocktail dress and be attracted to a girl.
When I finally opened up to the masses about my sexuality, one of the strangest parts was everybody telling me I was “too pretty to be gay” (what does that even mean?). Don’t think for one minute that just because you don’t have short hair or walk like a gunslinger, your Sapphic feelings are invalid.
Dismiss any and all labels, remember that sexuality is fluid, and personal style has nothing to do with anything, which leads me seamlessly into my next point...
2. Labels belong on clothes, not on people
It's very likely this is the first time you’ve found yourself with feelings extending the realm of friendship for another girl, and like all new and unfamiliar experiences, it’s harrowing as all hell.
You're probably confused as sh*t and wondering what the f*ck it all means.
Just because society relentlessly insists we put a label on everything, doesn’t mean you have to. Sexuality is fluid, and you're too fabulously complex to be compressed within the confines of a box.
You might get bombarded with questions from the masses, pressuring you to tell them if “you’re like a LESBIAN, now?” – Ignore them. It’s not your job to make fearful members of this world more comfortable by providing them with the safety of a definition.
You just do YOU girl.
3. Liking girls is not a platonic game
It’s of extreme importance when you're in the disorienting throes of a “girl-crush” to truly examine whether or not you have real SEXUAL FEELINGS for the girl you’re crushing on.
The difference between friends and lovers is you want to f*ck your lover. Bottom line.
If you're not monopolized by heat, passion, fire at the thought of kissing her, you're simply just intoxicated by your admiration for her (which is a powerful thing and happens!).
4. Don’t be a relentless creep
Don’t get hung up on the boy-crazy girl who isn’t into you (or girls at all). I’ve personally fallen victim to this more than once, and let me tell you — it always ends in shame-shudders, regretful drunk texts and a whole lot of wasted time and energy (also the occasional restraining order).
If you express your feelings to your crush, and she expresses she’s entirely straight and not into you, channel your inner Elsa, and let it go.
Appreciate the crush for the awesome purpose it served: It opened up your gorgeous eyes to the wild and wonderful world of dating women, and that is a beautiful thing!
5. F*CK THE HATERS
F*ck what anyone thinks. Seriously. As “progressive” as our society claims to be, prejudice still prevails, and this concrete jungle is teeming with a plethora of unexpectedly gnarly bullies. Don’t let anyone scare you into the closet or shame you into silence.
Your sexuality is the core of who you are and nobody dictates who you are. Your real friends will be stoked to see you living authentically and happily.