Me and some of my riff-raff college friends the day after I kissed a girl.
Flagler College...The scene of the crime.
RARE shot of me in a dress on stage with the Genitorturers. Just another day at the office sewing somebody's mouth shut in San Francisco.
I grew up in a very small town in northern Illinois called Fox Lake. There wasn't much to do there except hang out on the lake, go to the bowling alley or Burger King. My high school had about 800 students in it. Football games were a big deal because...well nothing else was really going on. It really was as middle of the road as you could get. Nothing really great happened, but nothing really bad happened either. It was the kind of place where nobody locked their doors and you knew all your neighbors. Overall, pretty good place to grow up. My high school was predominately white...that means we had one mulatto boy and that was it...in the entire school! It seemed perfectly normal then because I didn't know any different. It blows my mind now to think about it. I had heard of gay people, but I had only met one. That was my great uncle Tommy who was a blind concert pianist who lived in California. I really couldn't say anyone was prejudiced, because there was never anybody around to test it. I'm have know doubt that there were gay people in my town, but nobody was out.
I dated several boys in high school and I gotta tell ya, I wasn't that thrilled. Some of them were cute..some of them...not so much :) I went to 4 Homecoming's and 4 Prom's. Again, being in a small town, this was a very big deal. My mom lived for those dances. She went all out...I have some pictures of me in large dresses and even bigger hair to prove it. At least half of those nights ended with me dumping the guy I was with and then calling my dad to come pick me up because my date tried to get in my pants. I never had sex with anybody from my high school which earned me the nickname "Sister Nicole". I was proud of that shit too. Didn't bother me a bit. I wasn't trying to be a good girl or anything like that, I just wasn't feeling it. I tried to be into those boys, I really did. There was some kissing and heavy petting only if they took me bowling and then to Burger King for a combo meal and hot fudge sundae. I was just trying to do what I was supposed to do, but it never felt quite right.
Eventually, I decided to try having sex to see what the big deal was all about. What a fucking DISAPPOINTMENT that was! I assure you, the hot fudge sundae before it was much more enjoyable. I was bummed. I couldn't believe THAT was what all the fuss was about. I dumped that guy immediately. After discussing it with some friends, they encouraged me to try it again. Maybe that guy was just lousy in bed. So I gave it another shot. All I can say is BOOOOOOOOOO. I was over it.
The day after I graduated from high school, I left for basic training. I was 17 and was headed to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina. It was the summer of 1991 and I had joined the Army National Guard. I did basic training the summer before college and then I went to AIT which was my job training, the following summer. After completing basic training, I arrived at Flagler College to start my freshman year. I lived in a suite in the dorm with 5 other girls. We had quite a large circle of friends. I'm the kinda girl who holds a handful of friends close to my heart and keeps the rest at arms length. Mostly because beyond the tough exterior is a fragile little girl that gets hurt very easily and has a great deal of difficulty with forgiveness. So I prefer to minimize my risk. After our freshman year, we were all deciding who we were going to live with. My dorm room the following year would have 4 beds. I knew who two of my roommates would be, but we needed to find a forth. We ended up choosing a girl named Callie.
She seemed nice enough. I had heard she was bisexual and was currently dating a boy. I had the thought many "straight" people have...not a big deal as long as she doesn't try anything with me. I gotta BOOOO myself on that one. Anyways, we moved into the dorm and Callie and I became fast friends. We did everything together. She was a very touchy feely kinda girl with everybody, so I never thought much of it when she would grab my arm while we were walking or climb into my top bunk with me and hang out.
One day I purchased a book called Modern Primitives. It's pretty much the goth kids Bible. It was one of the first books on tattoos, piercings, and scarification. After reading this book, Callie and I decided we wanted a piercing. At that point in time, you couldn't just head down the street to the local tattoo shop and get a hole punched in ya. You had to seek that shit out. We lived in St. Augustine Florida and there was a free local Zine called JAM. It was mostly filled with articles on local musicians, but on the back page were one line advertisements. One of them said "Piercings by Gen" and had a phone number. I mean, that seemed SUPER professional and safe to us, so we called.
Callie and I drove down to Orlando and pulled up to some shit hole apartment complex. Looking back, I really can't believe I did this. I never once thought that going to a strange apartment in a seedy part of Orlando to have a stranger stick a needle in me was a bad idea. So we roll up to the door and knock. This super hot rocker chick with bleach blonde hair and a raspy voice answers the door and lets us in. I immediately felt like I was in an alternate universe or some horror movie that was not gonna end well for us. The walls were painted black. There was all sorts of animal parts and even human parts in jars and a bunch of crazy artwork on the walls. It looked like a devil worshiping cult lived there. At this point in my life, I had still been very sheltered and not seen ANYTHING out of the ordinary before this. We start talking and Gen and she tells us that her real job by day is retrieving donor organs and eyes from people who die...mostly car accidents. By night, she is the lead singer in a band called the Genitorturers. She starts showing us pictures and videos and at this point, FINALLY, I start to freak out a little bit. The Genitorturers is a band that plays industrial music and has a fetish stage show going on at the same time. It was some pretty crazy shit.
Did we stop at this point??? Nope...sure didn't. So I got the web of my hand pierced between my thumb and index finger and Callie got her nipple pierced. Two weeks later, I decided I wanted to get my tongue pierced. So we headed back down to Orlando and got 'er done. The night we got back, Callie and I were hanging out in our room watching The Princess Bride quoting the entire movie to each other, since we watched it almost every day. We didn't have cable and that was one of 3 movies that we owned. She was laying in my lap when the phone rang. My friend Jeff was on the line asking me if I wanted to go hang out in the cemetery with him. That may seem odd to most folks, but it was perfectly normal to us. We were all arty and alternative and shit and had done a million photo shoots out there. St. Augustine is the oldest city in the country and the cemetery was bad ass! I told him yes and I could see that it bothered Callie, but I went anyway. So Jeff and I get out there and have a make-out session. We had never kissed before, but I think the tongue piercing won him over. It was no big deal and nothing ever came of it because he was like a brother to me. The next morning, Callie crawled into my bed and said "You kissed him didn't you?". I said "Yep". She said "I can't believe he got to kiss you with your tongue ring before I did". Without hesitation I said "Well, you could have". As soon as those words left my mouth, I kinda freaked out, jumped off the top bunk and headed to class...like 45 minutes early. I had no idea where that came from.
There was this old Fort out on the water, where we would all hang out. Later that night, Callie asked all of us if we wanted to go to the Fort. I said yes and nobody else did. So off Callie and I went. It would be the night that changed my life forever. I grabbed a blanket. She asked me why I had it and I was like "I dunno...seems cold". Pretty sure it was like 90 degrees...but whatever. So I lay out the blanket and we are already guilty as shit. We were both laying on the farthest edges of the blanket away from each other. As we started talking, we both started inching our way towards each other. Finally we ended up in the middle of the blanket. I was on my back and she was kinda laying on her stomach looking down at me. She said "I'm going to kiss you now." And I said, "Please do." And she did. And it was like we were in a movie and somebody yelled "Cue the rain!" The moment our lips touched, there was a torrential downpour. The rain was so hard, that it hurt my face. And it felt like somebody had set off fireworks in my body. I felt more from that one small kiss than I had ever felt in my life. We ran back to the dorm and ended up being together for about 2 years.
Those two years were pretty amazing. I felt whole and I finally knew what everybody was talking about when it came to sex. It was effortless and exciting and just easy. It was extra fun being in the Army at that time. When I signed up, I didn't know I was gay. I checked the box on the application stating I was straight. At this point I wasn't claiming that either. I was identifying as bisexual because I really didn't know what I was. To be honest, I didn't want to be gay. Life and relationships were hard enough without adding that little element to it. It was 1993 and Bill Clinton passed "Don't Ask, Don't Tell." I worked in the Headquarters National Guard Detachment for the State of Florida. So basically, It was a bunch of good 'ol boy officers, and me stuck in an office together. I'm not one to hold my tongue as you might have guessed. It took every ounce of will power to shut the hell up during that time. I can't tell you how many ignorant bigots worked in that office. Hey, at least I only had 4 of the 6 years left on my enlistment. I would like to take a moment to BOOOOO myself once again. I still can't believe I got out of there with an Honorable Discharge. I even left with a bunch of fancy awards and medals and shit.
Eventually Callie and I started going in different directions and the relationship ended. My parents had a hard time with me being a lesbian and weren't speaking to me at the time. For the first time in my life, I was completely alone. Three days after Callie and I broke up, my phone rang. Gen was on the line asking me if I wanted to go on tour with them for 3 months. I said "Yep." I had a friend drive me to the intersection of I-10 and I-95. We were sitting there and this giant blue bus with a trailer pulled up. I got out of her car and onto that bus and took of with a bunch of freaks to tour the US. I was a performer in the stage show. My job was to fire breathe, pierce people and perform a variety of other tasks. Google that shit if you wanna know more. I would like to state that I was ONLY a performer and it was a job that allowed me to see the world and get paid for it. It was not my lifestyle. If it were, I would admit it and not be ashamed at all...but it ain't my thing.
While I was on tour, I met this really cute boy in Miami. He was a professional roller blader. He did tricks and shit on half pipes like the skate boarders. I thought, let me give this boy thing another shot. When I got home from the tour, I invited to come up for a visit. I though if this guy doesn't do it for me, no guy will. At one point, he kissed me, and I knew...I was a lesbian. There was nothing there and I sent that guy packing.
I have been told that it's a choice. I have been told that it is a sin and that I'm gonna burn in Hell. I have been told it a phase. I have been told that I'm just doing it to be weird, get attention and hurt my parents. None of these things is true. Being with a woman makes me feel whole, safe and loved. Something I never felt with a man. It's not something I would choose. Countless women have told me that they were thinking about being with a woman. My first response is always, if you can be completely happy with a man, then stay there because it is not an easy life. Being with a woman is the easiest thing in the world. Dealing with all the assholes out there isn't. I've gotta say, the world has come a long way since 1992. I'm am an out lesbian and have not really had too many problems over the past few years.I always say that being a lesbian is the perfect filter. It gets rid of all the ignorant people I wouldn't want in my life anyway. I've got one life to live...and I'm gonna live it my way.