Happy Pride! Healing from Sexual Shame & “Unlabeled” by Maria Hollis

I have so much love for Maria’s post, below. Read her beautiful post on the joy and excitement of discovering her sexuality and love for women.

For a while now I’ve intended to write a post about the 15+ years that it took me to accept that I am bisexual. I dated guys in high school but I remember the day I first fantasized about a girl. I was so aroused and then afraid. This, I thought, was the one thing that must never be true. It became my secret, my terror and my shame. I told no one.

I considered myself a good Christian girl who wanted to please the angry god I had been told was real. I told no one but my last hope was this: I attended a Christian youth conference with a shaman who could hear from this god and from his sad, less-angry son. The god would send magical messages to special people and they would be healed from their diseases.

My heart crying out in desperation I asked the angry god and his quiet son to speak a magical message to me through his medium. This message would mean this god was real and could save me from the things that made him angry. No mystical words came forth.

I went away to college convinced that the scary devil would lead me away from the angry god. And he did. I met the cutest girl wearing rainbow pride jewelry, a nose-ring on her tiny nose, and sporting a sexy Sinead O’ Connor shaved head. I had to kiss her.

When I kissed her tiny, warm mouth my world turned upside down and I was lost to the angry god because he meant nothing compared to the deliciousness of her kiss. 

But my belief in the angry god and the belief that this god hated all forms of sexual expression, hated any joy or affirmation I found in the arms of another human was more real to me than my love for myself, my mind and my heart.

I abandoned the beautiful girl and I closed my eyes to the handsome boys and the loving humans and followed the angry god for many years. And one day I realized that this god had never been real and I learned to love myself again…..

My story sounds like so many others’ who hid or denied their sexuality but later made their peace with it. I read more about the heartbreak of the queer experience than of the beautiful joy of discovery of attraction, lust, love.

Maria’s experience had and has the elements of fear and shame, too. However, she writes it in a way that encapsulates the glory, excitement and joy of sexual awakening and discovery.

So near the end of Pride month I commend Maria’s heartwarming essay and hope that whatever your orientation or where you are in the journey to claim your sexuality and identity, that it can also be a thing of joy and beauty.



I’m eleven years old when I see two girls kissing in the rain in the middle of a music video. It feels like those times where there is a couple having sex in a movie and you have to pretend nothing is going on or your parents will know that you know what sex is. Every time my mom walks into the room I have this strong need to look away, to change the channel as quick as I can before she thinks I’m like them.

I don’t even know where I learned that this was wrong.

I’m fourteen years old when Marissa Cooper kisses a girl on The O.C. I’m alone in my parents’ bed, as I always do to watch my favorite shows on TV. I hope no one comes in. I hope this awful feeling inside of me goes away.

And I breathe with relief when it’s…

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