Oh boy oh boy, this post has been a long time coming. I have thought about writing it for a while, but mainly during pride month. In fact, I actually planned on writing a post entitled something along the lines of “When Pride Month Isn’t So Great” where I talked about how much I was struggling during pride month as a mainly closeted (I am out on here and to about eight close friends I trust IRL) sapphic girl who hates labels in general. However, that post got cancelled when everything happened with my grandmother and pride month and the mental health struggles it caused me were the last thing on my mind.
Now, however, I think I am ready to talk about this. Not necessarily about how much pride month took a toll on my mental health, but it may come up at some point. I wouldn’t be surprised. Would now be a good time to say that I have literally no plans for this post once so ever? Like, I don’t know what I am going to say but I do know that I feel the urge to get it out.
Also, for context if you are more interested in my personal coming out story and/or the issues I have had with it, I did a whole semi dramatic two a.m. rambling post about it in like March which can be found here.
Let’s start with the positives:
Why I Love Sapphic Books!!!!
1) First off, I feel like this one is obvious, but I love knowing that there is representation out there. That there are stories that could potentially tell stories similar to mine. That there is some character out there that I could connect to on a deeply personal level just waiting to be discovered.
2) They make me happy. Whenever I see someone post something on twitter or goodreads or their blog or whatever social media platform I happen to be on at the moment, it makes me happy. If I am already in a pretty good mood, it may even put a big smile on my face. If I walk into a library or bookstore and see a book that I know is f/f or shows that it is by the cover (I wish this was less rare), it makes me beyond happy. It just, makes me feel things? You know?
3). They changed my life and made me realize my sexuality. And by “they” I mean The Miseducation of Cameron Post by Emily M. Danforth. I feel like I am constantly screaming into the void about how much I love this book and Cameron, but I will never stop. This. Book. Changed. My. Life. I am not being overdramatic or just trying to sell it to you, this book did it. This book made me realize I was gay. Okay, it wasn’t that simple, but this book made me start questioning all of the things I thought I knew about myself and it helped me come to the realization that I am a girl who likes girls. I will never been able to talk enough about this or be grateful enough.
I am sure that there are sooo many more positives about them and maybe one day when I am in a better headspace concerning my own sexuality I will be able to write a full twenty point list, but that day is not today. So, onto the more negative aspects of this post.
Why I Have Problems Actually Reading Sapphic Books
1). They have the potential to be too emotional and hard hitting and it scares me. There. I finally admitted it. I am scared to read them. Everytime I spend more than five seconds deciding to pick up a sapphic book it causes so much mental and emotional turmoil I cannot describe it. But I know at the back of my mind that one of these books on my shelf could “be the next Cam Post.” It could be the next book that changes my mindset towards who I am forever and that is scary? At least it is to me. I am already in such a precarious place about my sexuality, I am scared that something could rock the boat.
2). My internalized homophobia is bad. I said or typed the phrase “haha my internalized homophobia is popping off right now” a bunch of times throughout the course of pride month in a joking manner, but it affected me so so so bad at the beginning of June that I couldn’t handle it. I have spoken fairly often about how I was raised by conservative Christians who are firm believers in the whole “pray the gay away” concept, but I haven’t really talked about how much that has hurt me since I came out before. When I was 14, I told my mom in passing that a kid in my math class was gay. She told me, and I quote directly because the words are permanently embedded in my memory, “Oh no. If you ever happen to decide you are gay, we will try and figure out a way to handle it.”
I had a melt down on like the fifth day of pride month because someone I babysit for shared a post about “former homosexuals who realized what the devil was doing to them and came back to the Lord and are now holy.” I laid in bed sobbing for way too long thinking over and over again that I wasn’t evil? What I was feeling wasn’t wrong, I didn’t need to be fixed, I am not inherently wrong.
Anyways, back to the book thing, this internalized homophobia is an issue because oftentimes even in the fluffiest of sapphic books, there is a character or a scene where the couples face homophobia or something (for the record I am not saying there is anything wrong with that, it is realistic and just how life is) and I am scared that reading it will trigger another two hour long crying fit because those drain me in so many ways and I don’t like having them.
3). The representation could be handled wrong and could make my issues concerning my sexuality worse. I don’t want to drag a popular book through the mud, but I feel like it is time I talk about it. I read Leah on the Offbeat last year when it was still super popular and it hurt me more than I would like to admit still, honestly. There is a scene in which Leah tells her love interest something along the lines about how if she likes girls she has to like girls openly and basically questions her sexuality since she isn’t ready to come out yet. This is an issue I struggle with enough without having it thrown in a book as a casual element that no one questions, so whenever I see Leah on a f/f recommendation list, I get sad. That may be dramatic, but I reread that scene so many times I most likely could have quoted it until I forced myself to block it out of my mind. I sat there thinking about how I can’t really “be gay enough” or celebrate pride or anything like that until I came out to everyone, but I am not in a situation where I can do so. Basically, this book enforced a very harmful line of thought in my brain and I am scared that another book is going to casually do that without it being challenged in any way.
Once again, I feel like I am not done talking about these problems in the slightest and I will most likely revisit this again at a later date, but this is all for now. Thank y’all for letting me vent. I appreciate it in ways I cannot express.