Tuesday, June 9, 2009

waiting for an epiphany


i have had one major epiphany in my life, it came when i was nineteen years old, first week of august, 1990. there were a lot of signs i could have seen, looking back, but at the time it was as if a brick hit me on the head and in one day my life had changed irreversibly.
summer, 1990. i had just finished my first year of bible college in minneapolis. i was planning to return in the fall, but my father had told me that he wasn't going to pay, so i took three jobs. (in retrospect, he probably would have paid, but i took him at his word.) i worked in a diner, at a cafe in a hotel, and at victoria's secret. go ahead and laugh at that last one. a few months went by, uneventfully. one night, i had a dream. i was in a living room with a woman and her two children. for some reason, i knew that we were together, even though in my real life that was unthinkable. the kids were acting up, and i scolded them. their mother was angry with me for that, and she sat on the couch, pouting. i sat next to her and placed my hand on her leg, and said, "don't be mad, i'm sorry." that was it, really. but it was intimate and strange and i didn't understand. i woke up and sat bolt upright in bed. it was about 3 am. my heart was racing, and i was terrified. i didn't know what to do, so coming straight from bible college, i did what i knew. i prayed. out loud. in the pitch black. i told god that he probably knew everything about me anyway, but i was going to say it so he could fix it. i told him that i didn't want to dream about a woman. i told him that i wasn't gay. i told him that if a really pretty girl wanted to kiss me, i might want to kiss her back. i said i just want to tell you the truth, so you can make it go away. then i said, i don't even know anybody that's gay, and i probably never will, so it's a mute point, right? i'm just saying, god, okay? get rid of this please. after this prayer, i went to sleep feeling like i had taken care of the whole mess and i didn't have to worry about it anymore. what do they say about the best laid plans. . .
the next day, i worked several hours, and was in my bedroom awake around 2 am. i was just getting ready to turn out the light when my phone rang. first of all, i don't have any friends. and even if i did, none of them were up at two in the morning. but i answered the phone anyway. do you remember three-way calling? that's what this was. two girls, calling. i said hello and they said, is this one nine hundred something? indignantly, i said no this is a private number. and then i talked to them for two hours. halfway through the conversation, they asked me what i looked like. i thought that was a normal question to ask a stranger you've been speaking to for an hour, so i answered. five four and a half, 110 pounds, (this WAS a long time ago) long curly dark hair. (yeah, i had a perm. they were real popular back then. i was in style, okay?) then they asked me if i was feminine. WHAT? what the hell did that mean? i knew what the word meant, but they were asking it in a weird way, i could tell, but in what way i didn't know. i said, um, i guess, i work at victoria's secret, so yeah, i guess. then they asked me if i was gay or straight, because they were gay and i sounded cute. EXCUSE ME? GOD? WERE YOU NOT LISTENING LAST NIGHT? I SAID FIX IT, NOT MAKE IT WORSE! somehow, i got through the rest of the conversation, and the girls said they would come by and visit me at the store. since i had spent my whole life up until that point in a small town bible banging bubble, i did not take into account that it was two in the morning, the girls had probably been out at the bars all night, were drunk when they called, and had no intention of finding me if they even remembered our conversation at all. i waited for them to come in for two weeks. i couldn't eat, i lost 15 pounds. they never came.
finally, i took matters into my own hands and found one of the girls at her job in a restaurant in st. paul. i won't bore you with the details, actually, that's a good story too, but for another time. after her shift, we went to her apartment where she had a mattress on the floor and special export cans everywhere. i didn't stay long that night, but we met again, this time with the other girl, and we started to hang out. through them, i met my first girlfriend. she was sweet, and beautiful, and very vulnerable, turns out she was also a ward of the state. i didn't know what that even meant, all i knew was that she was the most loving, kind person i had ever met, and she liked ME. i couldn't believe it. the first time we kissed, my heart exploded, and it wasn't about sex, not even one bit. i just could not believe that someone so wonderful liked me, and wanted to be around me more than she wanted to be around anyone else. and just like that, i knew. i knew i wanted to be loved by someone like that. so that was it. my epiphany. i called my parents the next day to tell them the news. they were not happy. but what could i do? i told god my problem, i asked him to fix it, and within 24 hours, the gays called me at home.
so my life changed in an instant, and it has been wonderful and horrible since then. but here is the problem: since then, i have been waiting for another epiphany, because i had one once, to show me what i should do with my life. in the meantime, i have been working in bars and restaurants, drinking beer, hanging out, all the while telling myself that it's coming, my OTHER epiphany is coming, any day now, i'm going to know what i should do. well, it's here. i've had it today. i need to stop waiting for some stupid sign, for some dumb luck, to show me the way. i need to take action, be pro-active, get something started, live my life to the fullest, live like it's 1999. except that was a bad year. but you get the idea. so now that i've got that down, does anyone have any ideas? feel free to call me in the middle of the night.


  1. for real? how have i never heard this story before?? awesome!

    oh - and that other epiphany you've been waiting for? you already got it: you're a writer.

  2. i love this story over and over again...tell me another.

  3. This is a great story, Tina. Do you rmemeber the first time we met? It was at the Varsity Theater after bar. I met you & Dukes. You had your perm & you were wearing a flowered dress. Very hot. I think that was about a hundred years ago.