Hello, it’s you! This weekend’s episode was conceived in a car driving through the California desert on I-10, and then midwifed at a desk in suburban Phoenix while “Africa” played on repeat for the better part of a couple of hours, and THEN finalized at that same desk several hours later while I ate an enormous taco that I made my damn self. And no, it wasn’t a burrito, just an enormous taco. You have to trust me on this.
Y’All Need Help will be taking a little summer break while I rest my advising muscles, but I’ll be back on August 11 so full of feelings you won’t even know what hit you.
Here I also made this:
Q: Do I have to come out?
Okay here’s my question, I am in my thirties and I’m a lesbian. For pretty much my entire life my father and I have had a rocky relationship. He’s never been a father to me. My parents divorced when I was five. When I was younger he’d make remarks like ‘Gay people are disgusting!’ and say things I don’t want to repeat. I’ve never told him anything about my personal life ever. As far as I know he thinks I’m straight. I don’t really have a relationship with him but I am his only child, do I still need to come out to him?
You sure as hell do not! ? Cheers! Happy Pride! ?
Q: Bad haircut.
I recently got a short haircut and I really hate it. It wasn’t impulsive-I thought about it for weeks, researched photos, and asked friends’ opinions. I really wanted that Big Gay Haircut, but now that it’s all done, I just don’t like it at all. I love babes with short hair, but I just don’t love it on myself and it doesn’t feel like me at all. Obviously hair grows and it won’t look like this forever, but how do I stop feeling so insecure? I cut off over 15 inches of hair so I’ve got a lot of time before it looks like it did, and I’m miserable everytime I look in the mirror. Any tips?
Oh oh oh! What if you colored it? The cut I have right now is like, fine whatever, but it in combination with the different color not only makes it Very Gay Indeed but it also levels up the haircut to a style, you know? I wouldn’t like the cut by itself, though. So ok that is my advice: a color situation.
Readers! Your turn!
Q: Anxious at work.
Hi! I have a super amazing job that I’ve wanted for a long time, only now that I’ve been here for over 6 months I’m finding myself struggling. I don’t get along that well with my boss, and I feel that she doesn’t take my concerns that seriously (for example, she made a joke about being a looming shadow of shame when I confessed that some of her feedback makes me feel anxious and ashamed). I changed my life for this job, moved countries, extended the distance on an already LDR, and currently live onsite at my workplace so feel that work-life balance is especially difficult. Adding to difficulties of work-life balance are the isolation of the workplace, 1.5 hours drive from the nearest city, and small core team I both work and live with. I worry that my life is becoming about work and that I’m not really enjoying the work that much. I feel guilty because I should be feeling lucky to have this job. I signed a two year contract and I’m less than a year into it… Should I cut my losses and quit? Should I keep trying? Is there something else I can do that I haven’t thought of?
First of all I’d look for the HR department re: your boss not taking your concerns seriously and making light of your reaction to her feedback.
Next up, isolation is a mindfuck and this is definitely something to focus on fixing! Did your employer provide any mental prep or like, a list of things to expect while living and working in this situation and how to deal with them? Anything in the way of resources? If they do offer any support in this area, take advantage of it. Also a remote therapist — maybe from Talkspace, which we’ve talked about before and a couple of our own team members have used — could be a solid step in a better direction. Even short-term therapy can be extremely helpful.
If there are any personal projects you’ve always thought you’d like to work on one day, like learning another language or how to knit (why are they examples always learning languages or knitting? I don’t know) or learning more about literally any subject whatsoever, this might be a good time to start! Whatever free time you have away from actually working should be force-filled with strictly personal things that move a needle for you.
Keep an eye on yourself! Which you’re obviously doing but I mean, if it’s time to cut your losses and quit, you should know it in your guts. I’ve seen several people who’ve landed their dream job or dream study program only to realize that it’s not right for them at all, and that’s totally FINE. It’s great, even? Because that’s one more thing you know about yourself!
I don’t have a nice way to wrap this up but I want you to know that I’m imagining you on Antarctica, reading up on a complicated conflict in history and thinking, “Oh now that makes more sense” and feeling very proud of your growing knowledge in this field. GOOD LUCK.
Q: Should I tell my therapist about my crush?
Should I talk to my therapist about how I’ve developed feelings for her? I understand that it’s unrequited but I want to be completely open. However I’m concerned that it would damage our professional relationship and that she would be required to tell her colleagues, and I would be down on record as a needy client. I think the healthy option would be to talk through it with her (I already have several hypotheses of why I feel this intensely about her…) Or would that be foolish? Perhaps even selfish, because it’s putting a burden on her?
You know, my knee-jerk response here was to scream — like, blood-curdling and everything — NOOOOOOOOO0000000OO00O00oo0o0o000ooo000000oooooo, but the more I sit here and drink this late-afternoon adult beverage, the more I’m realizing that I really can’t answer this question without more context re: you, your goals in therapy, what brought you there, etc. So buddy, I don’t really know. If you’re in therapy in part to deal with a pattern of misplaced idolatry or pathological crushes, then maybe bringing this up would be helpful because it would speak to the reason you’re there to begin with. But if you’re in therapy for all the other things in the world, maybe you need to just walk yourself through this one alone, reminding yourself that this woman is being paid to be attentive to you and that’s where her interest and care for you begins and ends.
Q: Coming out AGAIN.
HI! So here’s the deal. When I was 18 or 19 I came out as bisexual to my family and friends. It was a very easy, non stressful, impulsive move, and everyone has been quite okay with it. Even though I identified as bi, I have dated almost exclusively guys, and I’ve always kinda regretted it. I have dated abusive guys but I have also dated really caring and great guys, but either way I never felt any connection. I felt like dating was a chore, and I was always SO relieved when those relationships ended.
Now here I am am almost a decade later, thinking about all this, and I had an epiphany last week: I AM A LESBIAN. DUH.
This realization makes me the happiest human being on the planet right now: I feel refreshed, liberated, overjoyed and like all my problems have melted away. I never want to date guys again. I really wanna date girls. It’s like something just clicked that I am actually allowed to do those things!
My problem tho is I am terrified of coming out to my friends and family. I feel like this time around it is a much bigger deal than coming out as bi. I am scared they won’t believe me. I am scared they won’t want to talk about it and avoid the subject. I am scared they will say it’s because I had bad experiences with guys. I am scared they will say “but you’ve never dated girls, how can you be sure?”. I’m scared they’ll tell me I’m way to old to realize my orientation and if it were true I would’ve known before.
Obviously these fears stem from my own insecurities. So how can I tell them I’m gay without letting these insecurities get to me? I don’t want to debate with my (wonderful) family if my orientation is true or not.
Wait, reread this:
“This realization makes me the happiest human being on the planet right now: I feel refreshed, liberated, overjoyed and like all my problems have melted away. […] It’s like something just clicked that I am actually allowed to do those things!”
If your family and friends don’t want to hear about a realization that makes you a) the happiest human being on the planet right now, b) refreshed, c) liberated, d) overjoyed, e) feel like all your problems have melted away and — most importantly!!! — f) allowed to do the things you want to do, then those motherfuckers cannot be saved. They can’t be convinced that it isn’t a phase and they can’t understand that your life isn’t just a reaction to the men you’ve known, and so those people can’t be your problem!
If you want to share your excitement and liberation and potential and energy with the people who mean the most to you, DO IT. Give it to them! Give them the chance to show up for you.
Also and this is just for the record but LISTEN even if even iffff your decision to date women exclusively had something to do with your previous relationships with men, IT’S STILL A VALID DECISION. What on earth makes more sense than taking past experiences into account when planning your future adventures? That’s just good critical thinking skills if you ask me.
How do you I feel less lonely? I moved to a new city almost four years ago and I still don’t feel like I’ve made any real friends. I go to queer events and have met some nice people, I love my career and I have hobbies. I go to counseling. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to but I’m still so lonely my whole body hurts. People invite me to hang out, but I’m way too shy and anxious to have fun or to really open up to anyone. I don’t know how I’ll ever find someone who wants to be in a relationship with me. My heart just hurts all the time like something is missing. Does it ever feel better? How do I feel like I’m not alone?
I’m so sorry that your heart hurts and that you feel so alone. When you’re in counseling, are you working on your anxiety and self-imposed isolation? Have you tried any anti-anxiety medications? This isn’t helpful to hear I guess but I think the only way to start having a different life is to do some things differently. So instead of being too shy and anxious to have fun or open up, you have to push yourself past the thresholds that you’ve set up. Not to say it’ll be easy or even like, not semi-traumatic, but the only way you can have people who are close to you is to open yourself up to that kind of closeness, you know?
If this were an American romcom I’d tell you to go to Italy, rent a moped, and wait until you accidentally bump into a Manic Pixie Dream Queer who’ll invite you to a party they happen to be going to that night, where you’ll already be feeling so out of your element that you’ll have no choice but to dance when asked, and when you fall over because you’re not the greatest dancer and the person catches you and laughs and laughs and then you laugh and y’all get some ice for your knee and the stars are twinkling up in the night sky you’ll realize Wow, I have really put myself out there tonight. I have really let my guard down. This Manic Pixie Dream Queer has helped me see how fun it can be to just be open to the universe’s energies and now look at us, kissing in this freaking Italian moonlight etc etc etc.
Q: Overcoming fear of rejection
Hi! I’m in high school and have never been in a relationship. I’ve been crushing on one of my close friends for a while now. I know that she’s gay, so that’s not an issue, but I’ve developed really low self-esteem and can’t imagine that anyone would ever want to date me due to some past trauma. Plus, I have no idea if she’s interested in a relationship or not. We spend a lot of time together and she transposed all of the music from our school musical so I could play in the pit orchestra with her (which takes a ton of time), so I know she cares about me, but I can’t tell if it’s romantic interest or not. Both she and I are pretty oblivious when it comes to flirting, too. How do I overcome my fear of losing our friendship if I ask her out, and how do I know if she’s actually interested in me? (We learned to waltz when hanging out alone once, which seems more than platonic, but I’m a baby gay and quite confused.)
Aaaaaaahhhhhh it’s probably going to feel awkward and difficult and maybe impossible (it’s not though!!!) but the only way to find out if she’s interested in a relationship or interested in you or interested in bees or pancakes or the global inflation rate is to just ask her! It’s the only way you can ever know anything about anyone, and it’s just the admitting-that-you-care part that makes it excruciating, but you already know this. So that’s the deal: you just ask her. It’s a bold thing to publicly wonder and care about other people, and you can be bold! You have permission to just boldly be like HEY I HAVE A QUESTION ABOUT YOU AND YOUR INTENTIONS ON THIS EARTH.
Friendships aren’t lost because someone asks a question like this, they’re lost because of the other person’s own fears, and those things are beyond your control anyway.
Be bold! Like some kind of living breathing embodiment of calligraphic wall art someone bought at Bed Bath & Beyond. I believe in you.
Q: Straight girl strikes again
I am at the end of my junior year and somewhat madly in love with a girl in my grade … again. I liked her for a few months at the start of the year, then was distracted by another girl who I now know to be annoying beyond compare. I’m starting to fall even harder for this girl again, likely because we had to complete an involved and dare I say intimate project together for our English class, which created the kind of emotional connection I usually end up being ensnared by. In a classic turn of events, she is, to the best of my knowledge, straight until proven otherwise.
All that said, my very queer friend group is divided on the question of her sexuality, and even one of her closest friends who I enlisted to answer this burning question came up with no definitive answer. General consensus seems to be that she is emotionally repressed to the point where, if she is into girls, she wouldn’t know it yet. She always speaks about theoretical romance using gender-neutral pronouns, has called girls attractive, and is physically affectionate – similar behaviour to the girls described in Q6 of YNH #24. She’s almost like a femme Abby Wambach (except I’m definitely NOT Glennon Doyle) – very athletic, intense commitment to cross country, goes running for fun, archery, etc.
Should I ask her if she’s straight directly or go through an intermediary? If this turns out positively, I’m also not sure how I feel about being someone’s closet girlfriend/lesbian experiment.
Just ask her. Don’t go through an intermediary. If you want something done and done right, you do it yourself. “Are you straight?” It’s three words. The ball’s in her court after that. COOL. You’ve done your part. You asked the question and held the door open and what happens next is just on her.
You’re also a living breathing inspirational wall art, ok? We’re all GOOD VIBES ONLY and NO SHOES NO PROBLEM and DANCE LIKE NO ONE’S WATCHING! Be bold!
Y’All Need Help is a biweekly advice column in which I pluck out a couple of questions from the You Need Help inbox and answer them right here, round-up style, quick and dirty! (Except sometimes it’s not quick, but that’s my prerogative, OK?) You can chime in with your own advice in the comments and submit your own quick and dirty questions any time.