Tag Archives: finding myself

Finding Myself

This has turned out to be a somewhat long post, but just barely touches on the highlights of my thought process. I’m not comfortable going into more detail in a public forum. If you’re a close friend or family member of mine and you’d like to talk about this, please send me a PM on social media or text me and I’d be happy to answer questions or discuss things in more depth.

I have always dated and been in relationships with men. Growing up, and around the time I started understanding sexuality, all of my examples in life were straight. My mom and dad weren’t together, and they both dated. My grandparents were very happily committed (and a shining example of a loving relationship). My aunts and uncles, cousins, and family friends were all straight. I knew no different. I knew that girls were attractive to me, but rationalized it to be more of an idolization rather than attraction.

Also while growing up, being raised mostly by a single mom, she taught me never to trust men. She always taught me to be aware of my surroundings, carry car keys between my fingers while walking alone after dark, and always check my back seats in my vehicle to check or predators. Yes, all of this is good advice, even now. Especially now. But on some level it helped along the mindset that most, if not all men, are predators. This all checked out within my experiences because I endured rape and sexual abuse by adult men while I was still a child.

During my later teenage and high school years, there were a couple of girls I actually developed feelings for, one of which ended up dating one of my other female friends. I was very jealous, but never really processed it as jealousy in terms of romance. I rationalized it as jealousy because two of my close friends were hanging out and doing things without me. I was missing out. But even when I confessed my feelings to those I had crushes on, neither reciprocated my feelings. It was disappointing and it hurt, and so I defaulted to what was familiar and easy, which was getting attention from guys.

I continued throughout my entire adult life labeling myself as bisexual, but only ever had relationships with men. Nearly every relationship I’ve ever been in with a man has been either psychologically, emotionally, or sexually abusive in some way. I was never fully satisfied with the physical intimacy part of those relationships, but I continued with it to get attention, to feel loved, and to have companionship, even if those relationships were detrimental to me.

Once a few years ago I had a short-lived little fling with a female friend. It was inappropriate, so ended quickly, and we were able to salvage our friendship. However, even in that moment, I realized on some level that the feelings I had in that situation with her were more intense than anything I’d felt before with men. You’d think that would be my “aha!” moment. But I don’t learn things easily…

Right now I am married for the third time, and have been divorced twice. My current marriage to Jarrod has been far from perfect, but we love each other and we plan to stay together. We love our family, and don’t want Felix to come from a broken home. We’re happy. Nothing is planned to change about our situation… However throughout the last couple months I have been evaluating my history, the feelings and experiences I’ve had, and how it all fits together and makes sense for ME.

And you know what? I am a lesbian. I know what/who I’m attracted to. I know what causes the reaction of physical and emotional attraction, and that is women AND my husband. Ok yeah, of course my husband is (and always has been) anatomically male. But for lack of a better term, he’s been grandfathered in due to the fact that I love him. I love him, I love our family, and I love where we are in life. I don’t want that to change. He knows all about my feelings and recent self-discovery, and he loves me anyway of course.

So what does this change? Nothing, outwardly. Internally, I feel much more comfortable in my skin knowing where I stand. Its a relief to know my true self and not be in denial or hiding it from anyone. I’m no longer looking to seek approval from the male gaze (other than my husband’s), which is a very freeing feeling. I can relax and be my authentic self.

Farewell, North Carolina

My year in North Carolina has been educational.

I’ve learned the grass is NOT always greener on the other side. I always wanted to leave Iowa. But that’s my home and it’s what is comfortable. I have missed the less populated smaller towns and familiar faces that I felt trapped with before. I’ve missed it. A lot.

I’ve learned that city living is definitely not for me. Especially not a big city like the Raleigh area. Too much traffic. Lines no matter where you go. A simple trip to pick up a couple items at the store can typically take up to an hour.

I have learned I don’t need help to get the bills paid. Jarrod and I can do it all on our own. I can be very resourceful if needed, even away from anyone I know. This is something I should have learned long ago. It was a welcomed lesson.

I’ve learned I can forge new professional relationships without my mom having gone there first and referring me, like I always did before. No need to hide behind her and my anxiety.

I’ve learned that I definitely HATE the cold winters. And I loved the more mild winter months. (That was the best part of the year).

I’ve learned that it is very difficult for me to make new friends. I made some online friends, but in-person friends was a whole different deal. Part of that was the pandemic, but part is that no one wants to actually meet in person anymore. They say they do, but that’s all that ever comes of it.

I’ve learned that wildlife is different 1000 miles from home. Giant wood roaches and mosquitoes, slugs, snakes, and so much more I’ve never had to deal with. Gross!

And most of all, the biggest lesson I’ve learned, is that home is where family and friends are. And they are irreplaceable, important, and essential. I’ve learned a lot, but being without many of my loved ones for a year has been miserable.

In just over a week, Jarrod, Andy, Cory, Felix and myself will all be back in Iowa. Back in the company of our families and friends, and back to all we know and now have a newfound appreciation for (except the winter, lol). This year “abroad” wasn’t what we thought it would be, but it was certainly eye opening. As much bad came of it, at least I learned lessons I never would have learned staying in Iowa.

Thanks for the wisdom, North Carolina! Farewell.

My Name Is _____

To my friends and family, and those who know me far and wide: Shauna Mae is no longer who I am.

She was a victim, a failure, an angry and sometimes selfish and insensitive person. The trauma and abuse, grief and depression, sadness and anger inside that person was wrapped up and knitted into the fabric of her very being from childhood into adulthood. Breaking out of the cycle of abuse and self-hatred took a few years. But moving out of Iowa and away from all of the reminders of that life helped to lay that person to rest. I know the name was given by my mother, to honor her mother. And while I respect that naming process, and I don’t want to offend or hurt anyone’s feelings, I cannot be called by that name any longer. To me, that name is the representation of everything I have fought so hard to shed.

I have taken myself on a journey to find a name that suits me. It wasn’t an easy one to come by. I have used online nicknames for many years, but none of them were right. But then, I decided to name myself after what brings me joy. The soft sand and surf between my toes, the bright sunshine on my face, the warm breezes through my hair… What could be better than the best season of the year?

The name I’m choosing for myself: Summer Sky!

To my mom, I mean no disrespect by making this change for myself. I truly hope you can understand, knowing everything I’ve been through and overcome throughout my life. You have been there by my side through all of it, and I have the deepest respect and appreciation for that. I understand what the name means that you gave to me, and she will always be a part of me. I just feel it’s time to move on from her.

All of this being said, I am asking all of my friends and family, acquaintances old and new, to call me by the name Summer from today forward. Thank you for your respect on this matter. And thank you for being a part of my life, my growth, and my future.