A Tale of Two Choices: Continue This Fucked-up-ness…or Revel in Being Out and Queer and Single

Dana Leigh Lyons
6 min readOct 30, 2022
Image of author by Brian Limoyo

Note: I’m reworking material on addiction…merging into a chapter on gender and sexuality. Find Part 1 of this latest thread here, Part 2 here, Part 3 here.

A week after being dumped by the first woman I ever dated, I resumed an on-again, off-again, ridiculously fucked-up relationship with an ex-boyfriend for another round — seeking, I suppose, connection, touch, something familiar.

I had met Phil shortly after coming out as queer, as a first-year grad student camping out on a Walmart futon. He was nine years older, lived next door, and was way out of my league in general hotness.

At once elated and confounded by his attention, I expected it to falter fast. I expected him to see that I wasn’t hot or even normal and studied all the time and had a running addiction and an eating disorder and only ate Lucky Charms and a very specific brand of frozen veggie burgers heated on the hotplate that was my kitchen for every meal.

In the beginning, I approached the situation sensibly, with no expectations. My mantra: It was an honour just being nominated. We went on one date, then another. Less than a month later, I’d moved into his house and fallen in love.

Worth mentioning here, as I pull on this thread and lead you down another tangent of story: In the months before meeting Phil, immersed in studies at Georgetown and claiming new aspects of self, I had at long last turned a corner with body image and eating disorders.

I had started to get a sense of: What if this is just my size? I think I can be comfortable here. What a relief.

At the start of dating Phil, my wanting to seem normal reinforced this. Feeling and seeing ribs poking out from my sides, I told myself: Get it together. No one finds an anorexic exercise addict who obsesses over every calorie sexy.

Sitting on Phil’s porch one evening early in our courtship and before moving in, I gave this a voice. I mentioned that if I gained a little weight I’d be okay with it. This was a pivotal moment. More hinged on it — and Phil’s response — than either of us imagined.

Dana Leigh Lyons

Doctor of Chinese Medicine, Writer, Medium Top Writer in Poetry, Health, Travel, LGBTQ. hello@danaleighlyons.com https://danaleighlyons.substack.com/