The first thing you’ll realize, like most, isn’t that you like girls; rather, you have no interest in boys. Girls are an afterthought.
You didn’t know what it was but you always knew it was there. Like, one time in the third grade, the most popular girl in class smuggled a shirtless picture of Taylor Lautner into school. All the girls pried to get a look. They would giggle and squeal in secret.
And you did, too, because that’s what you’re supposed to do. But you don’t understand why.
You feel like they know something you don’t.
Flash forward to middle school. You’re at a sleepover with your friends, talking about the cute boy from band class. They talk about wanting to kiss him, how they get butterflies, how his new haircut is so dreamy.
You feel left out.
You come to think the kind of love everyone talks about is just a myth. You laugh at the kids who fawned over One Direction. You made barfing noises when someone brought up the Twilight movies. You refused to read romance novels because they bored you.
But then, there’s this girl.
She sits next to you in English. When she walks in the room, you feel your heart start doing back flips. When she talks to you, you smile so wide it feels like there’s fish hooks at the edges of your mouth, so wide it hurts when you try to bend it back into a straight line. And when she brushes your shoulder walking past, you feel woozy and nauseous and giddy all at the same time.
And that’s when you feel it: the butterflies. Just like the movies said they would be.
You don’t make the connection at first. You’ve been told all your life you’d grow up, have kids and marry a nice Jewish boy. Pretty girls from English class don’t fit into that narrative.
But when you lay in bed at night, and even then you can’t stop thinking about her- her, with the messy braids and the beat-up converse; her, with the candy she carried in her pockets every day at school; her, with the pencil tucked behind her ear, making that squinty-eyed face she always made when she was thinking; that’s when it all starts to make sense.
You think about that counselor from girl scout camp you always felt so captivated by. You think about your favorite pop singer who makes your little sixth grade heart hurt, like actually hurt because she’ll never know you exist. You think about all the rock solid abs and chiseled male jaw lines that have been thrust upon you, and the way it always feels like a modern art exhibit: you know you it should be beautiful, but you don’t know what you’re supposed to be seeing.
You don’t let yourself believe it at first. You won’t say the word. You can’t. No one says those things in your town. You only hear it in passing, like in the news, or on TV, or in the banter of the jocks coming back from basketball practice.
You can’t tell your friends or they’ll think you’re a pervert. You can’t throw away that “husband and wife” life you’d always felt entitled to. You can’t face the disappointment in your parents’ eyes if they ever found out their only daughter was…
Fast forward to high school.
You feel like you can’t handle the pressure; SAT’s, ACT’s, college visits, soccer practice, friends, drama, everything so time- consuming, so overwhelming, and the world always seems too loud even when you’re just lying in bed.
But then, there’s this girl.
And she makes all of it go silent.
She wears flowery perfume and carries mascara in her purse in lieu of sweets in her pocket. When she she brushes your arm, takes hold of your hand, or kisses you, the butterflies scatter in a million different directions.
With her by your side, it all starts to make sense; the movies, the love songs, the sappy novels, every single word of it becomes true.
And everything is okay.