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the daily taryn #5 - honestly, girls just smell better

Am I gay or am I straight? Will I date guys again? How did I start dating girls? Am I "lesbian?" How
the daily taryn #5 - honestly, girls just smell better
By taryn arnold • Issue #5 • View online
Am I gay or am I straight? Will I date guys again? How did I start dating girls? Am I “lesbian?” How did I know? How am I okay with yourself? Why women or why men? Did I come out?

Boys to boys to boys to girls to boys to girls to girls
^ That about sums it up. See you all tomorrow! 
Kidding. Here we go.
Growing up, I had a crush on every. single. boy. ever. Seriously. Are you a boy? I liked you. If there was a boy with decent teeth and some athletic ability (even 4 square was acceptable), the wedding bells were ringing. I was absolutely, unashamedly boy crazy. The amount of little “boyfriends” I had growing up is laughable. Especially now. 
I had a few long-term boyfriends in high school, which was fun. They were the classic high school relationships where you make out in cars, get dolled up for dances, and say “I love you” before you mean it. They were fun. Wouldn’t change it for the world. 
Once I got to college, I had a few not serious relationships, one super fun but long-distance relationship, and then the big one. I fell hard. I set my eyes on one abso-fucking-lutely gorgeous guy a few years older than me and told myself I wasn’t letting this one go. He was the definition of mysterious — the kind of guy you’d see in the movies, with the brandless clothes and perfect smile. The kind of guy that was always leaving the party just when you finally found him. The kind of guy you would obnoxiously put as your phone background just because you couldn’t believe a person that handsome was alive, sharing the same space as you. He was, and is, a straight up dream boat. 
I’ll fast forward quite a bit here: we started dating. We fell in love. We kissed in the rain and sang in the car and fought like adults and cried about how lucky we were to find real love. We also fought, a lot. The kind of fights that make you feel like the crazy couple. The kind that feel too unfixable to even try. But we fixed them, because that’s what we were supposed to do. Our friends were getting engaged left and right — dropping like flies in the single battlefield. We were bridesmaids and groomsmen and had front row seats to futures being built before our eyes. And then, in the middle of this dream life I was living, it was our turn. Once we hit the 2 year mark, we talked about marriage and the big life we would have together someday. The wedding registries. The venues. The bridal parties. The forever.
We had a few particularly hard months in a row before things started getting better. After that season, I heard a ring was coming. An actual engagement ring was going to show up on my finger, during winter of my senior year of college. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I love rings. Big ring girl. But that kinda ring? A forever ring? Were we that strong? 
For the first time in a long time, I took a look at the relationship we had and asked myself if it was one I wanted, or one that I wanted to want.
Back to the drawing board
That breakup was hard. We had all the same friends, did all the same things, and lived in walking distance from each other. But it was right. I knew this wasn’t it. He hadn’t even proposed and I was already nervous about how I’d feel walking down the aisle. If it wasn’t clear before, that’s a pretty good sign.
Then, a funny thing happened. Life kept going. And it actually got way better. I’m going to skip over some boring details about time passing and getting over him and moving on and hanging with friends and then friends becoming more than friends and then being like wait you’re a girl lol what is actually happening right now OH this is happening oh okay. So yeah, I’ll skip that stuff.
So here I am, living in a house (the babe barn) full of Cru girls, one of which I fell for harder than I’ve fallen for anyone. It was such a hilariously uncomfortable situation, I don’t even know how to write about it. I laugh thinking about the girls who I lived at the babe barn, reading this right now. Hi, hahaha. And now I’m actually laughing out loud. Just sitting on my bed, laughing. For once in my life, I don’t know how to write about something. The joy and pain and stress of secretly dating your best friend in a house and community of Christians — there are just no words. 
What I can put to words, though, is that in the middle of the utter chaos around me, things made sense for the first time ever. They just clicked. In my other relationships, everything felt about 70% there. Like when you’re eating fresh-out-the-oven cookies, but run out of milk – they’re still cookies, so it’s dope, but in the back of your mind, you’re just chewing along knowing full well they’re not as good as they could be. 
I’m going to spare a lot of the following details, because although this is my story, it’s also someone else’s. That said, here’s a list of things I do want to share about my first ~gay~ relationship:
1. Kissing a girl for the first time was the single most electrifying moment of my entire life. No joke. It was fireworks. Champagne. Winning the lottery. It was all things good. Since then, I’ve done some research and am here to tell you that girls are just better kissers (except for a few of you magical men out there — you know who you are). 
2. The day after I kissed this girl, I stood outside of my favorite coffee shop at ASU and called my mom. I was sobbing. I was so, SO freaked out. Just put yourself in my shoes. Just try. I’m uber Christian. Miss Christian ASU. Dated boys my whole life. Parents dreamt of walking their daughter down the aisle towards a handsome man who could bring them grandkids someday. They wanted me to have an easy life, and being gay wasn’t easy. I was terrified. So, I told my mom what happened, to which she replied, “I love you. It’s OK, you just love people! You like who you like. Tell me about her!” Gosh. I hope you have an experience like that someday. Life-changing. 
3. The next 1.5 years would be the hardest years of my entire life, and they shouldn’t have been. I was falling in love and being spit on at the same time. My girlfriend was sick with guilt every day, believing wholeheartedly that she’d go to hell for the very thing that brought us a deep, visceral joy. Every day, she woke up praying that her feelings for me would be taken away. And I got it. I understood it. I did it too. It’s really, really hard to pray away something that is love to you. At the end of the day, I knew that there was nothing more spiritual than loving someone with every little fiber of your being.
4. When we were deciding how/if to pursue this, we met with everyone we looked up to — our pastors, mentors, Cru leadership. Every single one of them told us to break up, repent, and find our way back to Jesus. Every single one. They told us that we were going to Hell for disobeying the rules. We were broken, begging them to help us understand how this could be true, but no one cared to challenge their beliefs like I was. No one cared that those 6 bible verses (literally 6 out of 31,102) were incredibly, deeply out of context - like the ones that say that men with long hair are a disgrace, or women on their periods shouldn’t touch anyone. No one cared, because it wasn’t happening to them. Imagine falling in love with someone, then having everyone around you tell you you’ll be damned for it. It’s wrong to do that to people. It’s completely, no questions asked, wrong. And the funniest part? I could tell that so many of those leaders didn’t believe what they were saying. I’ve actually had some of those very leaders reach out since then and apologize for their words, saying that they didn’t actually believe the words coming out of their mouth, but felt like they should. It was their job to. Thank you to them, seriously. And for those who still live their days waiting on my repentance from something entirely good, man. I feel sorry for those people. I hope they look up from that book and see that life is also happening all around them. It didn’t end back there, in those thin Bible pages. It’s still happening. It’s not over.
5. We dated on and off for 4 years. Those years were glorious, unique, heartbreaking, and unforgettable. We battled with our guilt, our friends, our beliefs, our God, and each other. It was tough and lovely, but in the end, we knew we weren’t each other’s person. 
6. That said, I loved my time with her. Although the world made it painful at times, I wouldn’t change one single second of it, and she wouldn’t either. Now that the dust has settled, we’re friends again now and often look back at whirlwind of it all. The reprimands. The love letters. The white-knuckled prayers. The vacations. The sneaking around. The all nighters. The letters. The flights. The laughs. The secret nighttime drives, telling our roommates we were going out to get food. The kissing in the closet (literally and figuratively). It was all worth it. We’ll be better friends, mentors, wives, and mothers because of those painful, perfect years. 
So... you're gay?
Who knows? I don’t. Who cares? You shouldn’t, because I don’t, because I will like whoever I like. Since her^, I’ve liked and dated guys, and liked and dated women. I’m not totally straight, and I’m not totally gay. I’m probably 4.5 on the kinsey scale. I am really on a girl-kick (hello, have you seen Kristina? 😍), but I still feel some type of way when Zac Efron pops up. Also, not sure if you know this, but you can like someone for more than just their ability to help you make a baby. In fact, you can like someone for many reasons! You can even love them for many reasons. Here are a few to get you started:
  • They smell good
  • They give you goosebumps
  • They are kind
  • They are good to strangers
  • They like the same TV shows you do
  • They turn you on
  • They are smart
  • They have an infectious smile
  • They challenge you
  • They listen to you
  • They make you laugh when you’re crying
  • They rub your back because you can’t sleep
  • They look really good in black
  • They look really good in white
  • They look really good in all the colors of the rainbow
  • They make you feel things you hadn’t felt with other people
  • And lastly and maybe most importantly, they get you your favorite chips when you’re feeling gross and flabby and like you definitely don’t need chips because then you won’t be sexy but then they still leave the apartment in the middle of the night because they know they’ll be attracted to you no matter what, maybe even more when you’re eating a little bag of chips
See? All the reasons and more. That list there happens to be just some of the reasons I love Kristina, who, fear not, will get an issue devoted strictly to her very soon. I know that’s what you people really want. Trust me, me too. She’s dope.
"Babe. They're staring."
I say this to Kris all the time. It only happens a few times a day in San Francisco — we’re as common as the fog here. But anywhere else, we’re eye magnets. I like to think they’re staring because we’re the hottest couple they’ve ever seen, but I know it’s because we’re girls. The cute thing is that she never notices and never cares. The annoying thing is that I always notice and always care. 
I feel normal. Nothing is wrong with me. Nothing is in my teeth. There is no reason you should be staring at me. And yet, here you are. Wide-eyed as ever. It’s hard to imagine that in 2017 this is still a thing, but it is. I still have friends who don’t approve. I still have friends who won’t attend my wedding if I marry a woman. I still have friends who think I’m soul searching, in a phase, looking for God in all the wrong places. I’m patient with those friends, because it took me a while to get here myself. If you’re in a similar boat (I know many of you are from your responses), I want you to know the thing I’ve learned in all the messy years: nothing matters more than how you feel about yourself. Start there. After years of guilt, shame, and pain, accepting yourself will take some time. Start there. Let the other people follow your lead. The ones that matter will be there soon.
See you tomorrow, 
feel free to share this issue or others with anyone who might need to hear it. I know I did.
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