Let it Out: Talitha's Story
The Let it Out series is an eye-opening look into "what we're going through" while we're still going through it. You can expect honest and raw accounts from the union of opposites in this series. In our first instalment, Talitha shares her story of navigating identity and sexuality.
BY TALITHA TOLLES
Who am I? I have no f*cking clue.
Cis gender, able bodied, straight, white woman have been labels that I’ve worn for the last 25 years. Folks who know me well know that only two out of four are actually correct. My identity is something that I’ve struggled with for years.
Growing up fair skinned and unaware of my Indigenous roots has left me feeling like there is a missing puzzle piece in my life and being a woman of mixed heritage has me feeling like a chameleon, blending in when needed. Never looking Native enough to fit in at community events and ceremony, but just white enough to have hope that I would never become another addition to the one thousand murdered and missing Indigenous women and girls in Canada.
I’ve dedicated the last five years of my life to finding new challenges, growth, success, and resilience in myself and young people across Canada but it’s only recently I’ve come across a new challenge. Last summer, I found myself on a patio sitting in the sun, gulping down whisky, trying not to stare at all of the beautiful people around me. Everyone dressed in bright colours, laughing, hugging, kissing, and dancing. Music was echoing through the city and for the first time I found myself celebrating Pride weekend in Toronto.
This is an event that years ago started as a protest, and is now a celebration of identity, a celebration of love, and a celebration of life. I couldn’t be more content celebrating this weekend with one of my best friends, but it just didn’t feel right. No matter how many drinks I had or how many different bars we went to I couldn’t stop thinking about my sexuality. It was all around me. I couldn’t stop thinking about sleeping with women, but not just women, everyone.
This was a drastic change for me.
After pride, I took some time to reflect, slow down and sober up. Who am I? What do I want in life? I spent hours and days thinking about these questions. This past summer, I met a person who fundamentally changed my life. They challenged me to stop policing my feelings, let go, have fun, and stop putting myself in a box.
It’s now six months later and I’ve come out as pansexual to both of my parents. Although both were accepting, I’m still not convinced that my mom is okay with the way I identify. We are absolute best friends and all I hoped for was love and happiness. Understanding my mom’s feelings hasn’t been the easiest but I know she’s on her own journey and I need to meet her where she is at.
After realizing that my mom didn’t fully understand where I was at, I started to withdraw. I have told her every secret I’ve had since the day I could speak. And for the first time I have a secret that I haven’t shared with her and it breaks my heart. I’ve fallen in love. The kind of love that you can’t think about without picturing the colours in their eyes, or the curve of their smile, or the scent they leave on your sheets. It's the kind of love that makes you so unsure of the future you feel sick to your stomach. It's the kind of love that makes you question everything you’ve ever known to be true.
I’ve realized that I’ve been so scared to be vulnerable, so terrified to breakdown my walls, and so nervous to feel real things that I’ve been missing out on letting my body feel the things it so naturally wants to feel. Who am I to say 'no' to my beautifully created body and mind?
I’ve decided to start saying 'yes' and it hasn’t been easy. Falling for someone is not easy, especially after you have tried so hard to not love them or loving someone who may not have the capacity to love you. There is heartache, there are tears, and silence filled with tension. It’s uncomfortable at times but it’s worth it, or so they say ... I’m still unsure. Here I am, taking it day by day, loving myself and loving others in every sense of the word. I don’t know what’s next but I think that’s okay.
Most of my days are spent editing speeches, personal stories, censoring people’s emotions and lived experiences for the pleasure of others. For once, I wanted to step away from that life. I wanted to take the time to just write, not think, be vulnerable and send something unedited. So, here it is.
Thank you Talitha! You can follow her journey here.
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