Risking Everything: Coming Out In Coffee LandI am 61 years old. For 30+ years I lived in the Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. I raised three children with my second husband. I was an outspoken advocate for domestic violence and rape victims. I had a thriving psychotherapy practice. I served in the Episcopal Church. I won awards and acclaim for being “brave and true and honest.” I was a veritable icon of liberal respectability.
I knew from age 15 of my attraction to other girls/women...but did not understand what it meant till much later, and did not make the choice to live it, fully, until I turned 50.
Today, I live in the middle of an organic coffee and medicinal plant farm high in the Cordillera Mountains of the Republic of Panama. For the past ten years I have been reclaiming my little patch of jungle, renovating a crumbling migrant worker barracks into a cozy, hobbit cottage, and sharing life with a neurotic cat, a dozen fat hens, and my amazing partner. I am now 7 years into the healthiest, happiest relationship of my life with the most amazing woman. Being real, every day. What a blessing!
Radical life change only appears to be sudden.
“We are all creatures of cultural paradigms, family (dys)function and our own particular personalities. We all collude with those around us to construct the delusions we live by. You strike your bargain with the devil, sleep in the bed you've made, and your life flashes by until you reach the moment when you wake from sleepwalking through your days, and say: '****! I hate my life! I'm outta here!!' And off you go.
“Except, it never really happens like that, does it? All in one magic, crystalline moment of action. No. It happens moment by excruciating moment and the sand drips through the hour glass, each grain, each moment wearing away at your soul, until a critical mass accumulates and then you are galvanized to action. If you are lucky. It can seem as if it all came together in one instant, but you know it has taken your whole life.” (page 207). http://comingoutincoffeeland.com
I have written a book about my story—the struggle of a small town southern girl to become the authentic, strong, creative “out” lesbian I am today. Risking Everything: Coming Out in Coffee Land won the 2011 Global eBook Award for LGBT non-fiction. I wrote my story to provide hope and encouragement to other women struggling to come to terms with their identities--and balancing that against their responsibilities and ties and commitments. In the end, we each have to decide, and that requires great courage. And often, in the pursuit of authenticity, we are required to Risk Everything.