Jeremiah and I drove together to Vermont. It was snowy and beautiful in New England. We spent a whole week adventuring together and visiting friends without our kids. The universe felt like it was shifting. As I graduated with my MFA from Goddard College, I read an essay in front of 100 people that recounted my trauma processing my attraction to women over the course of several years alongside my Christianity. Writers I admire came to me saying, “You have strong work.” The future for me felt bright, as so many affirmed my storytelling, and I felt like I was beginning to step into my own skin and heal.
After two years of hard work, frustration, research, and creative output, Jeremiah and I finally moved into our school bus to tiny house conversion. It felt like arriving in a small way.
I was hired to teach high school English—the start of my journey into teaching and writing.
I began my second Masters degree—this one in education. And Jeremiah and I made one of the hardest possible decisions. We agreed to expand our love and family outward through separation, as we began to more fully embrace my sexuality. I am a lesbian.
I began my first year teaching, and Jeremiah and I moved apart—him in the tiny house and me in a small apartment. We met rejection but also acceptance—friends who supported us and encouraged our transition.
I have met three amazing women, who re-affirmed for me the conviction that self-love is the most important journey one can take and that journey must begin first before more love can be embraced.
In a move towards more honesty and vulnerability, a desire I’d held in my heart for so long felt renewed—family, as people who love and support you unconditionally through whatever difficult path you choose. And I rejoiced in my children having grandparents who love them and support me and Jeremiah in our non-traditional parenting.
“I choose me.”
I remind myself that this decision means my children will grow up with an ever deepening understanding of love.
Love as a complex reflection of life’s beauty and mystery—not devoid of tragedy and heartache—but married to it. Embracing this means healing becomes a culture—like the fermentation of sauerkraut or kombucha—it deepens our experience of love.
Alana Jamison grew up in Oklahoma and currently resides in Western Kansas. Her writing appears in Flash: The International Short Short Story Magazine and The Pitkin Review. She is a graduate of Goddard College's MFA in creative writing program and a student in Fort Hays State University's Transition to Teaching program. Follow her on Instagram and Twitter @alanajamison.