January 6, 1997

It's not easy, this lifestyle I live.
A friend asked me why I insisted on being this way.
I could only shrug.

I don't know maybe I was born this way.

I must have had these feelings since I was a kid but I didn't know how to identify them. There was no one in my family I could go to. I knew I'd be ridiculed so I stuffed those feelings deep inside me. I acted out by going to all the right places with all the right people but inside I knew it was all a lie.

I went away to college and like a lot of other people, that's when I realized what it all meant. I'm not sure if it's the age or the place or simply being away from home for the first time, but it was a special time of discovery. I found a community and even some bars to hang out in. It was liberating.

I made a few mistakes. It's hard for me to spot people. Sure, in the bars, no problem. You can assume they either are or they're cool with it. Problem is outside of that atmosphere. One woman I had a class with seemed to say things and had some friends I knew, so I thought, maybe...

I invited her to a concert; The Judds. She laughed in my face. "God, do you think I'm into that?" She smirked. "I'm not and I think it's sort of gross, you know?" How could I have been so wrong? Needless to say, we never spoke again.

It took a long time to get over the humiliation. I would lie if any one asked me, outside the bars that is. It was my current girlfriend, Leslie, who made me feel comfortable about the whole thing. She asked a few times and I'd avoid answering by distracting her with a passionate kiss. Sex was a great way to get her mind off of it but she was persistent. I finally decided that I had to share my feelings with her. After all, if I couldn't tell her, who could I?

Coming out as a county music fan was hard for both of us, but we got through it. At first she thought I was kidding around and then she was a little bit horrified. Later, when she came around to seeing that I was still the same person, she just knew more about me. If anything, it's made our bond as friends and lovers even stronger.

I'm still wary of the outside world. I know what kind of ridicule is out there. There are two country music stations that reach into San Francisco. Neither one is programmed into my car radio, even though I listen all the time. I'm afraid someone, the parking garage guy or maybe even a co-worker, will discover my secret life. I just don't think it's any of their business what I do in the privacy of my own car!

People are always bashing country music and I'll be the first to admit that some artist give country an ugly name. Like Mr. Achy Breaky Heart, Billy Ray Cirrus. He's so out there and obvious, he makes me cringe. But then again, where else but country music do you get lines like, "I gave her the ring and she gave me the finger"?

At work, everyone knows I'm a lesbian but few people know I'm a country music fan. Living in San Francisco, the most liberal city in America, means that I can dress up in chaps and walk around with my butt hanging out with duct tape on my nipples but I better watch what I listen to. Someone (I have no idea who) once said (something to the effect of), "Even nonconformists hate a nonconformist who refuses to conform to the noncomformality of the day." That's me in a nut shell.

Please, don't hate me because I'm a friend of Dolly: Dolly Parton that is.

Dear Readers,

There has been some concern expressed to me, via e-mail, about our Christmas dinner. I want to assure all of you that I am still alive and sane (?) and will be reporting on the event next week. I figure the blackouts and panic attacks will subside by then.


Please send me your comments and suggestions. Email me at

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Copyright, 1997 by Laura Jiménez.