Aug. 31, 2022

E133 - I’m Not a Lesbian But My Girlfriend Is! PRIDE with Stephanie and Michele

Imagine realizing deep into your marriage, your typical husband-wife marriage with kids, that you are seeking a deeper connection. Imagine making that connection with someone who happens to be your same sex. Imagine falling in love.


E133 – Imagine realizing deep into your marriage, your typical husband-wife marriage with kids, that you are seeking a deeper connection. Imagine making that connection with someone who happens to be your same sex. Imagine falling in love. What would you do? How would you handle your feelings and the decisions you make? What’s next? Hear the story of Stephanie Smith and Michele Baker, later in life loves (so many L-words!), and how they are managing their new path together, their families, and their thoughts on pride. They tell their Glennon Doyle and Abby Wombach meetup story, the one in which Joelle mixes up her lesbians! And not only do they answer our questions about religion and community, but graciously our questions about the physicality of it all. We even dish on our own experiences! They offer advice to those in a similar situation and paint a picture of what life can be like outside the closet. Thank you to our wonderful guests for sharing their brave stories. This is a heartfelt and fun talk that we hope you’ll hear and pass along. Love is love, and the world needs a lot more love and understanding right now!

Michele can be reached via her wonderful public relations and communications company https://www.MamboComm.com, where authenticity and core values are key to strategy. And Stephanie can be found via Joelle because they’ve been friends forever!

Watch this episode on YouTube: https://youtu.be/RXKK-4Opplc

Outline
00:00 – Introductions
02:00 – Pride
04:42 – Stephanie’s story
12:47 – Dream Dinners mouseandweens99
14:24 – Michele’s story
27:58 – Who is Glennon?
30:20 – When Steph and Michele met
32:45 – Coming Out
37:20 – Glennon and Abby meetup
40:39 – Coming Out, continued
49:12 – Political, social, religious thoughts
58:46 – Physical stuff, advice
1:04:53 – Stereotypes and labels
1:07:42 – Mambo Communications strategy
1:10:02 – Our experiences
1:12:52 – Jealousy and their relationship now

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Transcript

00:00:03:00 - 00:00:11:24
Speaker
PodFix. This is Charles Nelson Reilly. You're listening to my favorite podcast Mouse and Weens.

00:00:14:10 - 00:00:27:06
Julianne
<Music Mouse and Weens theme song>

00:00:32:09 - 00:00:45:20
Joelle
All right, everybody, welcome to Mouse and Weens. We're back yet again. I know we keep going missing for these big chunks of time, but hey, we are consistent. We're just on a little mini vacation of sorts, right?

00:00:46:10 - 00:00:49:14
Julianne
That was called Mouse having a job. So (yes) you're back.

00:00:49:23 - 00:00:51:09
Joelle
I'm back. Officially back.

00:00:51:09 - 00:00:52:13
Julianne
It's nice to be unemployed, huh? Whoo!

00:00:52:14 - 00:01:12:23
Joelle
Although I feel like being a mom is more busy. (Yeah, true.) So I'm Mouse I'm Joelle. I'm the mom one down in San Diego. And over there on Zoom. We're on YouTube, too. There's Weens. Weens is the hot single Hollywood type who's currently in the guestroom.

00:01:13:10 - 00:01:15:05
Julianne
If I had a type, that would be it. Yes.

00:01:15:09 - 00:01:25:23
Joelle
Yes, that's right. And then we have some wonderful guests today. I am so excited. I have been trying to get you on forever. Who... You guys go ahead. Introduce yourselves. Who is here?

00:01:25:23 - 00:01:34:20
Stephanie
I am Stephanie (Stephanie!) And Michele. (And Michele!) Big introduction! Kitty and Muffy!

00:01:35:13 - 00:01:53:24
Joelle
That's right. And I'm sure as you guys can tell by the title of this, we don't know what we're going to entitle it yet, but it'll be something that will catch your attention. These are two beautiful women who... Stephanie I've known forever. We go back to, gosh, 15 years ago when we first met, right? It was 15 years ago?

00:01:54:05 - 00:01:57:13
Stephanie
Well wasn't it 17? Oh no you were pregnant with Elliot.

00:01:57:23 - 00:02:21:23
Joelle
With Elliot? Yeah, yeah. Yes. And he's 15 now. Yeah, I think we're there. And we were just moms in the hood. And now look at us! So we had you on because we're curious, we're interested, and we want to kind of help our audience, help our listeners learn more about, I don't know, being yourselves in this wonderful society of ours.

00:02:21:23 - 00:02:26:21
Joelle
So you guys start. I don't even know where to start with you. So you tell me where you want to start?

00:02:27:00 - 00:02:31:03
Michele
Well, I think what the whole premise was Pride. Yeah, Pride.

00:02:31:04 - 00:02:31:19
Julianne
Pride month!

00:02:31:22 - 00:02:57:23
Michele
Right? Like this is.. Generally pride in the US is June, but in California here, a lot of pride is celebrated in July. So Long Beach is.. Pride is this coming weekend. In San Diego it's next weekend. So the big parades, everybody coming together to celebrate who we are. And I think just to put the Pride story in there, you know, it's about people coming together, right?

00:02:57:23 - 00:03:19:18
Michele
And celebrating who we are. And it's kind of funny, but in a good way. You know, there's all these corporate companies with their floats and everything else and, you know, they're the ones waving to us all the, you know, from this thing. But it's really cool that it's so embraced and it's fun it's uplifting and it's exciting. And so that's how life should be.

00:03:20:04 - 00:03:24:00
Joelle
Exactly. I love that. Weens, have you been to a pride parade? Have you...?

00:03:24:00 - 00:03:44:02
Julianne
Yeah in San Francisco. You know, I grew up with Jo in the Bay Area. So there when I was 14, we started hanging out in Berkeley and Oakland and it was very out there and okay. And 'honk for diversity, honk for pride.' And so I feel like it's not shocking these days, you know.

00:03:44:15 - 00:04:07:12
Joelle
Right. Although in in certain areas, like we happen to live in a really conservative pocket of San Diego, I think. You know, we're a little bit more east, we're a little more family oriented. So yes, we're California, yes, we're liberal. Yet we still come up upon different, different preconceived notions and people feeling one way or the other. A lot of retired military out here.

00:04:07:22 - 00:04:08:16
Joelle
So, yeah, it is interesting.

00:04:09:08 - 00:04:20:00
Julianne
Yeah, a lot of conservatives. I didn't realize how many conservatives were in San Diego. Yeah, I know. We have because of the military. But yeah. How is how is that do you come up against any grief or. No?

00:04:21:20 - 00:04:30:14
Michele
Well, ironically, you know, I have to say - and this is honest - my parents. But I guess we can get into that story of like kind of how we got there, but...

00:04:30:16 - 00:04:38:22
Joelle
Sure. Yeah, absolutely. Let's hear your history. I just love you guys together. So this is this is I'm so happy to see you here.

00:04:39:06 - 00:05:26:21
Stephanie
Well, thank you. Our stories are a little bit different. Our histories. Basically for me, growing up in the eighties, I always wanted to have a boyfriend and thought boys were cute and never really got a boyfriend. But looking back, I would have these strong female friendships and like, like in high school, I got this job at Haagen-Dazs and my coworker worked... She was from a different school, but like, we just really got along together and I would get just so excited to before I would when we'd work on the same days. And I would just.. I just had like this emotional connection to her. It was never anything sexual.

00:05:26:21 - 00:05:55:00
Stephanie
It didn't even cross my mind. And I still like continue liking boys, but I never really I don't know, I just couldn't connect with them in that way as much. So really never had any boyfriends in high school. And then I went to college and again, I had this roommate that I just was I just... Like looking back again, I had this strong emotional connection to her. I wasn't even interested in dating. I just liked being around her.

00:05:55:00 - 00:06:18:04
Stephanie
And we were the best of friends that whenever she got a boyfriend, I would just be so jealous and I didn't it didn't even cross my mind, like, oh, you know what I'm saying? Like, I want to be with her. And, you know, she went on with her boyfriend got married, and I went on and really just didn't have... I had like one boyfriend.

00:06:18:04 - 00:06:43:05
Stephanie
And then it just wasn't that connection. Then I got kind of bored of him and you know, I was looking back in the day in the senior year reader and when I on so many first dates with with guys and I kind of thought about it really crossed my mind like maybe I should date, maybe I should look for the woman to woman.

00:06:43:05 - 00:07:04:24
Stephanie
But that was like really I don't know, just crossed my mind, but I never had the courage to really do it. And then there was a time when I actually did you know, kiss a girl. And it was awesome and amazing, but it's just didn't cross my mind that we should start dating. And so I went on and I met my husband.

00:07:05:00 - 00:07:27:14
Stephanie
We just we were like best friends and got along with him. And I, we got married like, you're supposed to get married. And you know, I didn't, it didn't really cross my mind. I didn't think about I shouldn't be with him because we were like, the best of friends. We like to do so many things together. And we had children.

00:07:27:14 - 00:08:04:19
Stephanie
And, you know, as any marriage goes, there's ups and downs but I remember thinking something is missing. And I even went to therapy, and I laugh at it now. Like, it seems so obvious. Like, I wanted to I wanted to have this, like, strong connection. I wanted to be, like, more connected. And I remember in therapy, and I might have even told you the story, Joelle, that we were in therapy and I had I asked the therapist, well, this is couples therapy, like with Steve, like, how do you, like, cuddle with a man? (Hmm, red flag!

00:08:04:19 - 00:08:28:20
Stephanie
Ding, ding, ding! No.. [laughing] Ding, ding, ding, ding!) The therapist didn't figure it out. So I was trying so hard. I was reading books. I wanted to be like.. have that connection so hard. And then also at that time I started watching Orange is the New Black and I was like looking at the, like the chemistry between Piper and Alex, and I'm just like, "Oh, my God."

00:08:28:20 - 00:08:50:24
Stephanie
And I kept rewatching. It wasn't even necessarily the sex of it was just that I'm like, okay, yeah, that's that's that's what I want. That's what's, that's what's missing. And I can't and I find the realized I can't get that from a man, and it's no one's fault. And that's just how it is. And those things didn't cross my mind.

00:08:51:08 - 00:09:05:09
Stephanie
You know, I didn't even know what a lesbian was until college. Was it like today where it's just so open and free and you can do what ever you want and have those feelings? I think my life would have been different had I grown up in today's world. Sure. Yeah. Absolutely.

00:09:05:21 - 00:09:16:07
Julianne
Which is interesting because media, you know, now they're portraying a lot of gay storylines and and they they hadn't done many. So it took that to kind of go, oh, okay.

00:09:16:21 - 00:09:21:18
Michele
It's almost like a thing now. It's almost like every show I watch has to have a gay couple or a gay person in it.

00:09:21:18 - 00:09:22:19
Stephanie
Finally!

00:09:22:19 - 00:09:31:15
Joelle
Like Will and Grace or Modern Family, even more like family oriented shows kind of too. And that must be so freeing to see that out there. And represented right?

00:09:31:15 - 00:09:55:20
Michele
I feel, yeah. I mean, I feel really fortunate. I'm sure you do too, that, you know, we're at a point where we need like where we've come out, so to speak, at a really good time versus 20, 30 years ago it was Stonewall and people who really struggled in how to pave the path, you know, and I'm so grateful for the people who were brave and strong to say, hey, you know, this is who we are and we're going to fight for this.

00:09:55:24 - 00:10:02:06
Julianne
That's amazing. (Right. Exactly.) So, Stephanie, I kind of derailed you, but so what happened then? You're starting to identify yourself...

00:10:02:06 - 00:10:23:11
Stephanie
So then I'm having these feelings. So I told my husband and like I go, "I don't know what's next, but I feel like in my heart I need to be with a woman." And, you know, we had two kids and we've been married almost 20 years and I didn't have the answers for what was next, but I felt good telling him.

00:10:23:22 - 00:10:42:23
Stephanie
And so then I just.. And I, and I, you know, Joelle was one of my close- you know, IS one of my closest, and was back then. And I never confided to her. I just, I told one of our other friends and I just didn't have anywhere to turn. So I was feverishly looking on the Internet, you know, later in life people figuring out they're lesbian.

00:10:42:23 - 00:11:07:09
Stephanie
And I came across this Facebook group and I joined it. I was just looking for someone to relate to. That someone knew what I was going through and I didn't know what any next steps were. And there was.. It was, at the time there was like 500 people in the group. And it was worldwide. And and I just was really looking to meet somebody to get support.

00:11:07:17 - 00:11:09:13
Michele
Yeah (laughs)

00:11:11:00 - 00:11:22:22
Stephanie
So then I posted an ad, I saw that Michele was in San Diego and we arranged a lunch date. (Yes.) And then from there we can talk, but then let her lead up to her story, I guess, of how she got to a website.

00:11:22:22 - 00:11:26:14
Julianne
Can I also ask, how did that... So your husband was understanding, and...

00:11:26:21 - 00:11:30:03
Stephanie
Well, I didn't, he wasn't, well, he was,

00:11:30:03 - 00:11:31:17
Julianne
it was rough.

00:11:31:17 - 00:11:35:06
Stephanie
He was...

00:11:35:06 - 00:11:36:00
Joelle
befuddled.

00:11:37:04 - 00:11:37:13
Stephanie
Yes

00:11:37:13 - 00:11:40:08
Joelle
Confused. I'm giving you some words. I don't know.

00:11:40:08 - 00:11:49:14
Stephanie
I know. Yeah. I mean, it wasn't like he was, "Okay, you go find you." I don't know. I think he was hoping that I would do what I needed to do and then come back to him I think. (Yeah)

00:11:50:17 - 00:11:53:00
Joelle
It was a phase or something like that, huh?

00:11:53:15 - 00:12:08:02
Stephanie
Yeah, because I didn't.. I like.. And I, you know, I was a stay at home mom. I didn't have, you know, I... If we were going to get divorced, like, how would I support myself? All the regular questions everyone goes through when they you know were to go through.. if they were to separate or get a divorce.

00:12:08:10 - 00:12:23:16
Julianne
I mean, talk about courage because that is huge to then say, "I have to pave... I have to create a whole life if I make this decision." So you thought about all that before you told him. But it was stronger than you staying in a situation that you just wouldn't be happy.

00:12:24:05 - 00:12:38:15
Stephanie
Well, I think at that point that I told him it was I've identified that I have to be with a woman. But I don't know what that looks like. Just sort of putting it out there. Because I didn't know what it looked like at that time. Maybe I would still be married to him and just do something on the side.

00:12:38:15 - 00:12:43:07
Stephanie
I didn't even I didn't even know that looked like it was just Step One. Okay. Yeah, I like women.

00:12:43:21 - 00:12:45:06
Julianne
Yeah.

00:12:45:06 - 00:14:24:14
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00:14:24:14 - 00:14:29:10
Joelle
All right. So Michele, then, then the sordid Michele comes into the picture! Just kidding.

00:14:29:11 - 00:14:31:22
Julianne
Michele!

00:14:31:22 - 00:14:35:03
Michele
Well and my back story is pretty different.

00:14:35:03 - 00:14:36:02
Stephanie
Yes. It is.

00:14:36:02 - 00:14:42:01
Michele
So I loved boys. And boys loved me! It's that song... (and they still do!)

00:14:42:01 - 00:14:53:20
Michele
But it's like. Like you said, you get along well with guys. And I think that was the thing growing up. You know, actually it's kind of funny because I look back at pictures when I was like six years old playing softball.

00:14:54:03 - 00:14:58:20
Michele
And I looked.. pardon .. I can say the word dike. I looked like a total dike, right, in my flannel shirt and

00:14:59:02 - 00:15:02:13
Michele
you know, my baseball mitt and I'm like, Dude I looked tough, Right?

00:15:02:13 - 00:15:17:21
Michele
But I had the tomboy attitude, but I loved the girly stuff at the same time. So I would you know, we'd have a Dynamite club with my girlfriends, you know. Every summer we'd sit around the park, and I loved Shaun Cassidy. Oh, my gosh. You know.

00:15:18:06 - 00:15:19:19
Joelle
You mean Dynamite Magazine?

00:15:19:20 - 00:15:21:14
Michele
Dynamite Magazine. Yeah!

00:15:21:14 - 00:15:23:06
Joelle
I loved that, too! Oh, gosh.

00:15:23:22 - 00:15:26:01
Michele
Summer, you know. I think you had a crush on who was it?

00:15:26:01 - 00:15:27:05
Stephanie
Oh, Scott Baio.

00:15:27:05 - 00:15:27:16
Michele
Yeah.

00:15:27:17 - 00:15:28:19
Julianne
Oh, of course!

00:15:28:19 - 00:15:34:07
Joelle
Oh! How'd he turn out? Cuckoo! Sorry. Go ahead.

00:15:34:21 - 00:15:46:16
Michele
So all those guys, I mean, they were so cute. And anyway, but I don't think it was like I'm trying to fit in to do that. I authentically had those feelings, and, you know, I. But I was like, the

00:15:46:16 - 00:15:57:14
Michele
tomboy side. I built my own BMX bike with the boys and go riding. But then I would play, you know, with my friends, and we would like I said, Dynamite club and all so, I.. I liked both. But I didn't feel any

00:15:57:15 - 00:16:17:14
Michele
attraction to the girls. I didn't see that. I didn't feel that. And then.. But I... Through high school I kind of noticed - maybe middle school maybe - there were the popular girls like, oh, they're really cute. And I realize looking back there were probably a few that I liked. I don't.. I wouldn't call crushes, but I'm like, oh, I really like.. oh, she's beautiful.

00:16:17:14 - 00:16:40:16
Michele
And I like her, like, couple girls like, oh, okay, I could see that. But then I just, yeah, I just had boyfriends and had fun with them, and they were easy and go with the flow, but I think I could also look back going there was a little bit of control too, of not dominating, but I don't know, I didn't... Like Steph,

00:16:40:16 - 00:17:00:14
Michele
I didn't get deeply emotional with anybody, really. I just kind of played and have fun and kept it light for the most part and... But I went with what felt right, you know, just going with the flow and you're, you're in your teens and twenties and you're like, it's okay to explore, you know, and just date different guys and...

00:17:00:14 - 00:17:10:15
Julianne
Was that... was it a common theme that you heard from the guys that said how come you can't get deeper with me or how come you don't want to connect more? (yeah) Okay guys are guys.

00:17:11:23 - 00:17:35:11
Michele
No but you know I'm deep in a way where you know, I can have deep conversations and connect with them. But it wasn't like I was looking for this deep relationship at the time. If it came, it came. Um and actually it was one or two boys. I really, you know, did have a deeper, longer relationship with and I thought, okay, this guy I could see marrying. Um you know, and it was sort of my back burner, so to speak.

00:17:35:15 - 00:17:35:22
Julianne
Yeah.

00:17:35:22 - 00:17:50:17
Michele
And then I dated another guy for about a year. That was probably the first real serious relationship. And I totally fell in love. And the famous line was after year it was really brave for me to tell him I loved him and never told anybody. And I was like, I think I was like 24 or something by then.

00:17:51:02 - 00:17:57:09
Michele
And he's like, Yeah, you're cool to hang out with. (Whoa! Oh!) I was like, Wow! Ouch! You know?

00:17:57:09 - 00:18:05:22
Michele
And it turned out later, years later, my friend said that, yeah, he should have married me. He was like, he made the mistake too you know, pass. But things happen for a reason.

00:18:05:22 - 00:18:06:09
Julianne
Yes.

00:18:07:09 - 00:18:10:10
Michele
Many things, right? Like who knew? And so then

00:18:11:01 - 00:18:28:08
Michele
it... While I was dating him I met Kevin, who, you know, same thing kind of like Steph. We just had this alignment, right? We both grew up back east. We... Our dads worked like 10 minutes from each other. We went to the same college, have all the same friends and never met in college. So I knew his best friends.

00:18:28:08 - 00:18:55:18
Michele
He knew my best friends. We were both sorority, fraternities. We did all these parties together. Never met and uh... which is crazy. And so we got out here and we were all like, I think we went to Hooters for a foot... like to watch a football game or something. And that's where I met him. But we stayed friends. And so when my old boyfriend and I broke up, you know, we decided to hang out and you know, we went off skiing on Saint Patty's Day and that was it.

00:18:55:18 - 00:19:18:12
Michele
Like we, you know, we were together about 20 years, but you know once... So the first ten years was just play and have fun. And then we had kids like ten years later and things change, you know. Stress, frustration, anger, whatever. And it definitely had a big impact on our relationship. And, you know, I tried to compromise in ways, you know, like find the best in everybody.

00:19:18:12 - 00:19:44:12
Michele
And I fundamentally believe everybody is good. Everybody has something good inside them. And I would overlook or accept. And, you know, when there was anger and frustration put on me, I'm like, you know, find the best of him, you know. And very loyal, very accepting of people. Sometimes over accepting. I have to say that's some of the awareness, you know, I've I've seen through all this.

00:19:45:21 - 00:20:25:12
Michele
And so over time, probably because of hurt and pain you know, it wasn't like I was looking for anything else, but I was trying to find what was going on me. What can I do different, right? Taking responsibility for who I am. And at the same time, I had a few friends that had been with women. Like we'd have these conversations like "huh!" But I have to go back a little bit since my twenties, you know, when I first went - or whatever age I was - when I first went to the gynecologist. I actually started with a male gynecologist and everybody I knew went to women. I'm like, "Ew, why would you want a woman to do that

00:20:25:12 - 00:20:27:16
Michele
to you? (Oh look at this!) Oh, that's gross!"

00:20:28:06 - 00:20:53:21
Michele
And I'm like, I get dudes want to do this, but why does a woman want to go up there? And, you know, I just couldn't get it. (That's funny!) So that was the most ironic, right? And then... But I also didn't really know any gay people until I was in my twenties. And my best friend at the time and her... I dated her brother. And their father was a minister or pastor, whatever.

00:20:53:21 - 00:21:10:18
Michele
And, you know, 20 years into their marriage, he left and went off to be with his best friend. And they were, you know, they're still together many, many years. So like, oh my God they're so cool and they're nice. And they live out by the Hamptons and we go sailing. But it wasn't like... And it... None of that sparked anything.

00:21:10:18 - 00:21:33:15
Michele
It wasn't until like my mid to late forties that I was like, Huh? Noticed little things. Noticed like, you know, and it was a point where I had met somebody else where we were just talking about our marriages, and she was going through a divorce from her husband because... And we just had this kindred like, you know, experience. And so we just connected.

00:21:33:15 - 00:21:37:14
Michele
But I realized I had feelings for her, and it was just... It shocked the shit out of me.

00:21:38:11 - 00:21:48:13
Joelle
So what does that feel like when you go from a close friendship? How do you know it's an attraction? I mean, I guess you could say the same for a guy. So I just put the shoe on the other foot.

00:21:49:10 - 00:22:14:16
Michele
I well, the whole thing was I experienced feelings I'd never experienced before. It was deeper. It was more soulful. It felt I don't know. I mean, it just... Way different than any other person - man - I ever dated. I just don't know where it came from. Right. It was like, what the hell is hit me. Why am I having these feelings and I mean, before all that, though, and maybe it's sort of like Steph said, a little bit of Orange is the New Black, a little L-Word.

00:22:14:16 - 00:22:39:11
Michele
I was just curious. And that connection and watching two women together it's like, oh! But then to have that personally, like, really without any relationship per se, just like, wow, you know. It was just so... it was very different. And it was almost... It was unbelievable, but kind of scary at the same time. (Sure) That's the thing - like married for 20 years.

00:22:39:11 - 00:23:04:16
Michele
We have two kids, you know, and I'm like... And I had... And so I went to therapy to really distinguish is this because of the marriage and the challenges? Or is this... you know. Am I trying to displace my attention, like am I trying to say, well, you know, this is better. Not the grass is greener, but just I'm so frustrated and angry here that I'm going to look for something else.

00:23:04:16 - 00:23:26:06
Michele
And, you know, a year plus of therapy and and then getting into meditation, yoga, and doing the deeper work. And it's like, no, this is real. This is real feelings. And like Steph, you know, I end up on this online group, right? Like, a friend of mine said, you know, hey, you might want to check this group out. And it's private.

00:23:26:07 - 00:23:46:05
Michele
And, you know, you can't search for it per se. So I was like, I just want and I told a couple of friends, you know, what I was experiencing. But I said, you know, I can't ignore this and I want to understand, you know, my friends can't quite grasp it. It's like, you know, Joelle, you you know us, but it's still different when you're really going through it.

00:23:46:05 - 00:24:00:23
Joelle
Well my question too is, you've been around women. You've been close with women all your life. So what was it about this one person that's just this huge spark and then gets you thinking Oh, this might be who I am? Like isn't that wild that that happens in your forties.

00:24:01:11 - 00:24:16:20
Michele
Yeah. Well, and it's interesting about this women's group. There are so many women, mostly in their late thirties, forties, fifties that have been married like 15, 20 years. There was a lot of them, right? Would you say in the group?

00:24:16:20 - 00:24:17:08
Stephanie
Yeah.

00:24:17:08 - 00:24:26:08
Michele
Yeah. So anyhow, yeah, I mean it's... I can call it a soulful connection, you know, something inside.

00:24:26:21 - 00:24:42:11
Stephanie
I think. Yes, for sure it's there. But Joelle, are you asking like, in other words, like how come I didn't... Like I don't have that... Like you guys are my closest friends like you and our group, right? Like, why don't I feel that way about you?

00:24:42:11 - 00:25:03:09
Joelle
Yeah. Why don't you think I'm hot? No I'm kidding. Oh, no, no, no, not at all. No, it's more like. But I'm just... All I have to do is put myself in with a boy situation. Like, why have so many boys been - or guys been - my friends, and I've never felt that spark. Or even dated different guys, but then something with Dave was like, oh, that's different.

00:25:03:10 - 00:25:05:15
Joelle
Like, this is my guy. I just knew.

00:25:05:15 - 00:25:05:20
Michele
Yep. Yeah.

00:25:05:22 - 00:25:07:21
Joelle
So that. Whatever that is.

00:25:08:08 - 00:25:17:12
Stephanie
But I think also, for me... I don't know if you feel the same way. Like, I think you can think like a woman is beautiful. Like, I think all of you guys are beautiful, right?

00:25:17:12 - 00:25:18:02
Joelle
Oh thank you, really!

00:25:18:02 - 00:25:29:07
Stephanie
But because I know you're, like, straight it's... You have a different kind of feelings. Like, if I... I think it would, maybe it would be different if I knew, like, all my friends were gay.

00:25:29:17 - 00:25:31:05
Joelle
Okay. (Do you know what I'm saying?) Right, right, right.

00:25:31:05 - 00:25:32:20
Stephanie
I don't know if that makes sense.

00:25:32:23 - 00:25:37:01
Julianne
Yeah. Because you know that there's a limitation. You can't go there.

00:25:37:01 - 00:25:37:07
Stephanie
Right.

00:25:37:07 - 00:25:38:16
Julianne
Is that what it is basically?

00:25:39:09 - 00:25:39:23
Stephanie
Yeah.

00:25:39:23 - 00:25:56:23
Michele
I guess so. Yeah. I mean, yeah, because a girl that I met was, you know, realizing I think she liked women, too, so it... I had been curious and I'd been curious for a long time. That was the thing. It wasn't like, "Oh, that person I met." No, I'd been curious for years.

00:25:57:02 - 00:25:59:04
Joelle
Okay. Okay. So there's background there too.

00:25:59:04 - 00:26:19:18
Michele
Yeah. Yeah. So that puts it into context. So no, I was you know, it's like, hey, I wouldn't shut the door to it, so to speak, but I wasn't looking for, you know, and I think it just what I look at this whole experience is it woke me up to who I am. Things that about so many of us we don't realize until something hits us.

00:26:20:09 - 00:26:45:01
Michele
And it's just a whole other piece of us that... It's not I wouldn't say buried. It's just not aware. Like it's just not there or hasn't been peeked or, or, you know, it's like... I wouldn't say the Pandora's Box that you kind of open up, oh, there's all these aspects of ourselves that we don't even realize. And that's sort of the cool add-- Like aside from like coming out, it was just who we are as people like deeper and deeper, right?

00:26:45:01 - 00:26:45:19
Joelle
Right.

00:26:45:19 - 00:26:56:11
Michele
Yes I think that's the coolest thing is like since then kind of opened up a lot more to, you know, yeah, not experiencing life. I've had a lot of fun. Just, you know but. You know,

00:26:56:11 - 00:26:57:13
Julianne
Who you really are.

00:26:58:05 - 00:26:58:16
Michele
What's that?

00:26:58:20 - 00:27:00:04
Julianne
Just who you really are.

00:27:00:12 - 00:27:16:12
Michele
Yeah. And then being true to that, I think that's key. So like Steph said too, you know. So I went on to this group and was on it probably six months. But I'm not - which is funny - I'm not one to just put myself out there, right? Like, "Hey, this is my story." So this is... Since then I've been a lot more free about that.

00:27:16:12 - 00:27:36:08
Michele
And I think that's one of the limitations I had before. But one thing I don't like, and this is why I like this conversation, is I don't want to just type my life out there, right? And put it in words and... Because it gets misconstrued. And so I really wanted to meet somebody and like have a conversation just like this, like Steph. Somebody who can understand what I'm going through.

00:27:37:03 - 00:27:53:02
Michele
And all the women in this group were like Australia and London and New York and San Francisco. And there was nobody in San Diego, like 500 people. Like how...? And there's 3 million people in San Diego. I'm like, how you know, how is there not one person on this group? (Right. That is weird.)

00:27:53:02 - 00:28:08:08
Michele
And so it was not long after... I don't know... It was about... I remember Glennon Doyle Melton coming out with Abby and I was like, oh my God, somebody like me. And I just was like glued to their story. And I'm like, oh, this is like the greatest thing.

00:28:08:08 - 00:28:12:12
Joelle
Now for people who don't know, explain Glennon Doyle. Say her whole name?

00:28:12:20 - 00:28:14:03
Michele
Glennon Doyle Melton. She goes by...

00:28:14:03 - 00:28:14:17
Joelle
Melton

00:28:15:02 - 00:28:17:17
Stephanie
...Glennon Doyle now. Now, yeah.

00:28:17:17 - 00:28:29:06
Joelle
Glennon Doyle Okay, yeah. And she... I knew her because she was an author. She wrote lots of fun, lighthearted, but really meaningful parenting books and relationship books. And she was the mom of how many kids?

00:28:29:10 - 00:28:30:03
Stephanie
Three.

00:28:30:03 - 00:28:40:04
Joelle
Three, and married and was going through things and then went through some alcoholism. But then ended up coming out later in life and marrying Abby... say her last name?

00:28:40:04 - 00:28:40:18
Michele
Wambach.

00:28:40:18 - 00:28:42:12
Joelle
Wambach the soccer player. Right.

00:28:42:13 - 00:28:45:16
Joelle
Right. And she's known for the pink hair and...

00:28:45:16 - 00:28:46:05
Stephanie
Different girl. That 's...

00:28:46:05 - 00:28:47:22
Michele
No, that's Megan. Yeah.

00:28:48:02 - 00:28:51:09
Joelle
Oh, gosh! I'm getting my lesbians mixed up! I'm so sorry!

00:28:53:00 - 00:28:53:23
Joelle
You guys are all the same.

00:28:55:17 - 00:28:56:17
Joelle
I'm a lesbianist!

00:28:56:19 - 00:29:06:14
Joelle
No uh Abby Wambach. But she was a soccer player. Anyway, so now they're really famous with books and tours and podcasts and... Right?

00:29:06:15 - 00:29:08:10
Michele
Yeah, we got a cool story about that.

00:29:08:10 - 00:29:09:17
Joelle
Yeah, yeah, yeah!

00:29:09:17 - 00:29:18:06
Michele
Yeah. So anyway long story short, we... I go online. I'm on there, Steph posts her story. Not an ad! (laughs) We're like..?

00:29:18:14 - 00:29:43:03
Michele
But it was the idea. I'm like, wow... Well, I'll go back. A little more spiritual. I'm kind of praying. I'm like, "I just want somebody I can connect with and talk with here in San Diego. I want to be able to talk face to face." You know, just... And I had gone to what was it? The Center. Y'know the LGBT Center one time to meet other people but I was just like, "I just want somebody that understands me and is going through a similar situation." Lke I've been married or whatever.

00:29:43:03 - 00:29:44:10
Stephanie
Suburbia, mom really.

00:29:44:10 - 00:29:44:19
Michele
Yeah,

00:29:44:19 - 00:29:45:04
Joelle
Right. Yeah.

00:29:45:04 - 00:30:11:10
Michele
So when she she had her stories I was like, "Oh, my God, this is like just like me." I'm like, wow. And, you know, we had kids and we were both San Diego and similar backgrounds and actually had a mutual friend, which is another story. (Yeah) I know, but I'm just saying we had a mutual friend, which later on we found out I have a lot of mutual friends through you guys. (aah yes) But anyway, so then that's where we said, Yeah, let's go meet for lunch and talk.

00:30:11:10 - 00:30:18:14
Michele
I'm like, I was so excited that I had somebody to... who would get what I was going through. (Yes.) And so that's where it started.

00:30:18:14 - 00:30:19:11
Stephanie
Yep, that's where it started.

00:30:19:11 - 00:30:22:07
Julianne
So you met for lunch. So what's the first meeting?

00:30:22:07 - 00:30:40:07
Stephanie
Met for lunch and got along long splendid. And we... It was great. It was refreshing to be able to have someone just similar to me going through the same things that I'm going through. And so I was very...

00:30:40:07 - 00:30:41:06
Julianne
Comfortable?

00:30:41:06 - 00:30:54:17
Stephanie
Yes. Now we're rushing. I don't know what to say. But yeah, it was awesome. And so, yeah, we continued our friendship and we... I don't know, we just got along really well.

00:30:54:17 - 00:30:59:13
Stephanie
And over time, I mean, yeah, there was an attraction, y'know

00:31:00:08 - 00:31:02:15
Julianne
Now, at this time... Ohhhh!

00:31:02:15 - 00:31:11:10
Joelle
They--you guys have to go on YouTube and look at them looking in each other's eyes. They're about a foot and a half apart just staring. Oh, I see little hearts floating above your heads right now.

00:31:11:13 - 00:31:25:10
Stephanie
So there was a huge attraction. And it was, it was great and... So we um...

00:31:25:10 - 00:31:25:13
Stephanie
<laughing> we kissed!

00:31:25:13 - 00:31:30:01
Joelle
So at this point you're married and you have kids. (Yeah we're married) So you had to make a lot of decisions.

00:31:30:03 - 00:31:52:18
Michele
Well, this was sort of in the separation stage, really, because both of us sort of... We were both at a stage where our husbands at the time just knew we were... where we were at. Right? Like they knew. Yeah, my husband... This was I don't know, how many six months or a year before or whatever that he knew I was having these feelings. And, you know, one point he's like, you got to do what you need to do.

00:31:52:18 - 00:32:19:17
Michele
And so in essence, we sort of had support because it was like this I don't want to say a do or die, but it's like we were really struggling. I went to... At that point, we were in the same point. Like I can't ignore these feelings and, like Steph, I don't know where I go from here, but I just can't ignore the feelings. And yeah, so like she said, we, we were talking a lot and, and meeting for support.

00:32:19:17 - 00:32:32:14
Michele
But then, yeah, one day we kiss and... This sounds really gay! But I just felt like my, I just filled up. Like I just felt like this is what I want

00:32:32:14 - 00:32:34:21
Joelle
Aww! I love it. Yeah.

00:32:34:21 - 00:32:35:17
Michele
I'm getting teary-eyed!

00:32:35:17 - 00:32:39:18
Julianne
Aww!(Aww!) How long ago was this? What year was that?

00:32:40:18 - 00:32:41:20
Stephanie
2017.

00:32:41:24 - 00:32:43:01
Julianne
Wow. Okay.

00:32:43:17 - 00:32:59:09
Joelle
You guys have a solid thing going. And it's tricky then, too, because now you're like, okay, here we are. We're in a relationship or hoping to be. And that's... You've got a lot to, to think about. You've got parents, you've got kids, you've got spouses.

00:32:59:13 - 00:33:02:18
Stephanie
Right. Yeah. Coming out to the kids, parents. Yeah.

00:33:02:19 - 00:33:18:01
Julianne
All right. Now, can I tell you the joke that I heard from a lesbian friend of mine, which is... I can't remember all of it except that the difference between lesbians and normal whatever. Get the U-Haul. The U-Haul happens after the first date and you're moving in together. Have you heard this?

00:33:18:03 - 00:33:18:11
Stephanie
The second date's a U-Haul.

00:33:19:16 - 00:33:20:06
Julianne
Second date. Okay.

00:33:20:19 - 00:33:22:16
Michele
What do lesbians do on the second date? Move in!

00:33:22:18 - 00:33:23:14
Stephanie
Oh, they get a U-Haul.

00:33:23:14 - 00:33:24:05
Julianne
That's it.

00:33:24:05 - 00:33:29:12
Stephanie
Right. Well, we're quite the opposite of that. We call ourselves slowbos. <laughing>

00:33:29:12 - 00:33:31:24
Joelle
Slowbos! That's cute.

00:33:31:24 - 00:33:37:22
Stephanie
So yeah, we still don't live together. We're together five years and...

00:33:37:22 - 00:33:38:23
Michele
Next year.

00:33:38:23 - 00:33:41:06
Michele
Yeah, I know. We're in the same room. That was a good thing.

00:33:42:03 - 00:33:44:14
Julianne
You don't live together. Really?

00:33:44:14 - 00:33:47:03
Stephanie
Well it's difficult with the different schools.

00:33:47:18 - 00:34:08:09
Michele
Yeah, I mean, we've got 17 year old boys. They're going to be seniors. You know, your daughter's going to be a freshman. Mine's going into sixth grade. So they're going into new schools. It's just there's... And then where the dads live and everything else too, makes a difference. So yeah, it's been quite a physical journey! Yeah. Yeah!

00:34:08:09 - 00:34:19:12
Joelle
Well, that's... Yeah, that's a lot of personalities to consider and different lives. And you've created these huge lives in different neighborhoods and you're fairly far away. It's like a good 30 minute drive right?(Yeah)

00:34:19:22 - 00:34:27:10
Julianne
Can I now.. Oh, sorry. I was going to segue into how your kids dealt with the news and everything when... if you have a...

00:34:27:10 - 00:34:48:18
Stephanie
Right. Yeah. Well, my kids, since my ex and I, we never fought. So they didn't know anything that was going on behind the scenes. We had this great life to them where we'd go on vacations and you know, we got along together. We had fun on vacation. We, you know, we had a good time. So this was all... Separating was all out of left field for my kids.

00:34:49:01 - 00:35:24:14
Stephanie
So we separated and I didn't right away come out and tell them. I probably waited six months. And it was it was because I was still struggling with it and identifying and putting words to it and to try and tell my then 11 year old and eight year old what was... To try to explain it like I suddenly like women, it was, it was hard, you know. So that was... You know, my daughter's like, "Oh, okay. So are you going to start dating Kari now?" You know. <laughing> I know.

00:35:25:04 - 00:35:30:14
Joelle
Why not me? Where is Joelle in this picture?! Come on!

00:35:30:14 - 00:35:56:00
Stephanie
So I did tell them. And they, they struggled and didn't... I mean, they weren't like... They didn't... I, you know, I feared that they would, like, reject me. But they didn't. They love me. And, and then they, you know, I didn't tell them about Michele right away. And then after a while, I did. And they didn't want to... They weren't ready to meet anybody new in my life, whether it be a man or a woman.

00:35:56:06 - 00:36:11:09
Stephanie
So it was actually 21 months before they even met her. (Mmhm) So that kind of explains... The reason, (2 years. Right.) The therapist said, don't rush it. And I was very mindful of that. And I'm maybe a little too coddling, some might say.

00:36:12:02 - 00:36:30:06
Joelle
No, I remember those days you were. And you would come out to us and then you were asking our advice. I want to come out to the kids and what did we think and how much should I tell them and that sort of thing. And you were very mindful. And I super appreciated that to you. And I think I even kept you in the closet a little longer.

00:36:30:06 - 00:36:42:19
Joelle
I'm like, "She's so young. Are you sure you want to tell her?" And... but at that point, you'd done your research. You, of course, knew more than I did. And and she eventually, yeah, came around and... But it's been tricky, right? (Yeah) I mean, it's a tricky road.

00:36:43:04 - 00:36:59:21
Stephanie
But fast forward now. I mean, with today's society, the kids are just... At least kids in California are so accepting of the lifestyle. They... It's just that it's not even a thing, you know? So I love those... I love that. And I'm appreciative of that.

00:36:59:21 - 00:37:00:08
Julianne
So nice.

00:37:00:08 - 00:37:10:14
Stephanie
So the kids were, I would say, accepting of the coming out, but not so much of mom being with a new person. (Yeah) That was more hard. But that's more common.

00:37:11:05 - 00:37:13:12
Julianne
Michele, was that similar on your side?

00:37:13:20 - 00:37:42:13
Michele
Well no, a little bit different. But before we even talked to the kids... So we were at a conference and Glennon was speaking there and I had one... One of my main intentions of going to that conference is that we were just newly dating. And now I'm watching Glennon and Abby within like six months go from this telling the world that we're together to transitioning to like family shots with the former dad and all that.

00:37:42:13 - 00:37:54:16
Michele
I'm like, oh, my God, how did they do that? So easy, right? And so we went to the conference and, you know, we went up to speak and I was cut off by the last person.

00:37:54:17 - 00:37:59:09
Joelle
So you guys bought the VIP tickets so you could get to talk to them after it, right?

00:37:59:09 - 00:38:13:19
Michele
No, not at all, actually. (Oh!) Yeah, we just had regular tickets so you can go up and ask a question. (I see) And some little girl went before me and that was it. Like, "Okay, we're going to talk to the little girl." So I'm like... There was a long book line, and I've worked with celebrities and I'm like, I don't wait to get autographs.

00:38:13:19 - 00:38:33:15
Michele
I just like, eh you know, I've been there, done that. And so... But I was waiting in line just to ask her this question. And the head of the whole organization, the event planning walked by and I said, "Hey, I have one question for Glennon, and if we could just take a minute to ask her." And so she went up to Glennon, whispered in her ear and told her.

00:38:34:00 - 00:38:50:15
Michele
So by the time we got up to her book, she's like, "Girls, stand over there and wait for me." So we did. And Abby came up to us - Abby Wambach, you know. And Abby was like the Olympic gold captain of the soccer team. And she's like, "All right, girls, what's going on here?" And we were like, whoa. Okay, cool.

00:38:51:00 - 00:39:11:18
Michele
So we spent, like 20, 30 minutes talking to Abby. And she (wow!) gave us the whole backstory of her and Glennon that hadn't even been public yet. And so... And then after Glennon was done signing, the event director said, "Okay, Steph and Michelle, you go this way. Glennon and Abby, you go this way." And they brought us together in this hall, you know, with this couch.

00:39:11:18 - 00:39:27:16
Michele
And we sat down for a good, like, 20 minutes or so with them and saying how did you guys do this? And it was really cool that we had that time with them to dig a little deeper and learn, you know. And it wasn't easy for them, you know. There was resistance from their, you know, some of their children.

00:39:27:18 - 00:39:32:04
Julianne
Do you remember a couple tips that they gave you that resonated?

00:39:32:05 - 00:39:48:18
Stephanie
Well one of them for me - because this was, you know, I was only five months into it or whatever - is to be... In order to, because I hadn't told my kids yet. In order to tell them, I have to be more comfortable with it with myself. And it was apparently I wasn't at the time. So that was one of the tips.

00:39:48:18 - 00:40:01:19
Stephanie
And also another one was, you know, and Glennon has said this several times, it's like you kind of have to consider yourself an island. And those people that aren't supportive of you aren't allowed near the island.

00:40:02:05 - 00:40:04:16
Michele
Right. And when they're ready to, they can come on to the island.

00:40:04:20 - 00:40:06:22
Stephanie
But you can't do that with your kids.

00:40:06:22 - 00:40:24:06
Michele
Well in other words, you're not rejecting them, but you're going to be who you are in essence. You're not going to be rude and angry. You're just like, hey, you want to be on my island? Come join our tribe. Right? But you don't have to be gay. You just had to be supporting and loving. Be humane. Really, that's all it is.

00:40:24:09 - 00:40:38:16
Michele
So, yeah, that was one of the biggest takeaways is the island. That really kind of put things into context. And you know, I don't know. It just... I think it was that feeling and understanding of just somebody else going through it. You know, I don't remember all the details at the time. But

00:40:38:16 - 00:40:58:16
Stephanie
That's kind of how I felt when I came out to my parents and I told them. Like I wasn't... I was way more fearful of my kids and I wasn't... Like if my parents, like all of a- wouldn't be accepting of it, I would be like, Well that's just too bad. But they didn't. They were like... And it's so interesting, though, because they're your parents, right?

00:40:58:16 - 00:41:11:06
Stephanie
Like, everybody's... Like she's different. But everybody that I've told, like from growing up in college and in high school, like, 80% was like, "Hello! Yeah, we knew that about you. Of course." But my own parents didn't even have a clue.

00:41:11:06 - 00:41:12:18
Joelle
Oh interesting!

00:41:12:18 - 00:41:21:02
Joelle
But they were very... I was very nervous. But they were... they were very accepting. All they cared about was wanting me to be... to be happy.

00:41:21:02 - 00:41:32:15
Stephanie
And they took to Michele and they love her. And so that - I'm very fortunate. But I didn't have that fear of telling my parents. I did with my kids. Where I think Michele's kind of the opposite. She didn't have the fear with the kids. but she did with her parents.

00:41:32:23 - 00:41:34:20
Julianne
And just how did they take it?

00:41:35:00 - 00:41:44:08
Joelle
Yeah. What was the difference? Because that was another thing, too. Glennon was a Christian writer, so I wonder if there was a religious background with you, too?

00:41:44:08 - 00:41:44:11
Stephanie
No.No.

00:41:44:11 - 00:41:45:03
Michele
But I think...

00:41:45:03 - 00:41:45:09
Joelle
Michele? No?

00:41:45:09 - 00:42:06:00
Michele
what's interesting, first of all, is my kids, particularly my son. It was really cute. So it was Valentine's Day, and she had sent me flowers - gave me flowers. It was sitting next to my bed. And my son came up to me goes, "Mom, who are the flowers from?" I said, "A friend" you know. And I just kind of made it you know... Because I wasn't quite planning to tell him yet.

00:42:06:18 - 00:42:14:19
Michele
And he goes, "Well, is it a, you know, a guy?" And I go, "No." You know. "Or a girl?" I go, "Yeah." He goes, "Is it a friend or more than a friend?" I go, "More than a friend."

00:42:15:05 - 00:42:16:02
Stephanie
And he gives me the.

00:42:16:02 - 00:42:23:19
Michele
And he gives me the biggest hug. And I think he was like probably 12 or so. I don't know how old he was. And he goes, "Mom, I love you so much. I'm so happy for you."

00:42:24:04 - 00:42:27:07
Joelle
Oh, my gosh. Woke little guy!

00:42:27:07 - 00:42:42:14
Michele
I know! He was so sweet and so supportive and so like, oh my gosh. It just meant the world that, you know, this young boy can feel that way for his mom. Regardless of who I love. So it was like... (wow) It was awesome.

00:42:42:23 - 00:42:46:24
Joelle
And he had no clue? This was just out of left field that he made that connection?

00:42:46:24 - 00:43:10:03
Michele
I think one night I had hinted like or something - said something about.. He's like, "Well, when you date a guy..." I go, "What if I date a girl?" Kind of like playing it kind of fun. You know, maybe months before that. And so that was the only other clue. But, you know, over time and not long after, you know, I decided, you know, even before I met her, I was slowly telling people, you know, where I was at.

00:43:10:03 - 00:43:27:17
Michele
And then when we met. And I think overall, until it got to my parents, everybody was like, cool and so happy for us. And, you know, it just wasn't really a big thing at all. Like, everybody's like, okay, cool, like, "Great. I'm happy for you." And, you know, some... A couple friends that are a little bit more traditional.

00:43:27:17 - 00:43:33:13
Michele
Like, "Well as long as you're happy," you know, like, like, I know what that means underneath, you know. They're just like, "I'm not really comfortable."

00:43:33:20 - 00:43:49:07
Michele
But I think the biggest thing that was odd for most people is, you know, they knew I liked my men. And they're like, "I don't think really..." Maybe one or two people who didn't know me as well said, "Oh, I, you know, I can kind of see that." But really, it was people who have known me for a long time.

00:43:49:07 - 00:44:22:13
Michele
Even my best friends (yeah) who, you know... Like Steph and you guys are like all... I have my little Fab Five. And it was like... I was the last to know, so to speak. Sort of. Right. But yeah, I would say that was great. But it came down to I dunno it was a couple of years where, you know, especially since we were together for a while, I'm like, "I'm telling my parents." And everybody was like, "You're going to tell your dad?! You're going to tell your dad?!" And I was sort of, at this point, I'm like, of course I was nervous and scared. But I just said, "You know who I am. If he doesn't love me, he doesn't love me." It is what it is.

00:44:22:13 - 00:44:42:11
Michele
I'm going to be true to myself and I can't... And this is a real key for people coming out, right? It's easier because I was in my forties. This is different if I'm 16, 17, I would imagine. But I think this is the real key to a lot of this conversation is if we can't be true to ourself, who can we be, right?

00:44:42:11 - 00:45:03:12
Michele
And being... And unfortunately, so many people commit suicide and everything else because they're so afraid and they get rejected. And now, you know, I knew going through a divorce I was it was going to really impact my finances. I didn't know how I was going to "survive" and you know. But I knew I couldn't live any way else. And I think that's the key.

00:45:03:12 - 00:45:14:03
Michele
And I think that's what happens to a lot of people. They're in this quandary of "I don't know what to do. I can't," you know, because they're in survival mode. They're afraid they're not going be able to survive.

00:45:14:08 - 00:45:21:15
Julianne
And how did you guys survive? What did you do to pick yourself up? To get your own places? To get a job?

00:45:22:01 - 00:45:26:05
Michele
Well, and just before I get there, I'll finish with my dad.

00:45:26:05 - 00:45:26:18
Julianne
Oh, yeah.

00:45:26:18 - 00:45:47:18
Michele
My dad, because this is kind of key to it. Because of that, it was scary. And so my parents came out to visit and like all week, I'm like, how am I going to tell them? How am I going to tell them? And my dad is, you know, former military and just old school and, you know, just... He's a good guy.

00:45:47:20 - 00:46:03:12
Michele
He's funny and hilarious, but he's got his, you know, his beliefs or whatever. He's never been anti-gay or anything else. I've never heard him slander like that. But I just know he's just a strong, you know, old school and...

00:46:03:12 - 00:46:04:22
Joelle
Tradition.

00:46:04:22 - 00:46:13:11
Michele
Yeah. And so my mom and I, my daughter went to a little tea thing - a Christmas tea - and we're all dressed up.

00:46:13:11 - 00:46:27:10
Michele
And anyway, we're going, my mom and I are in the car and and so I use this analogy with my mom. I said, Mom, you know, when I was little, I hated spinach. It was like, ugh, make me want to throw up. And later in life I started liking spinach.

00:46:27:10 - 00:46:31:06
Michele
And I was like, I really like it now. That's how I came out to her.

00:46:31:22 - 00:46:35:12
Joelle
So Stephanie's the spinach in this story? Is that you Steph?

00:46:35:21 - 00:46:36:20
Stephanie
I'm the spinach, yeah.

00:46:36:20 - 00:46:38:11
Michele
Yeah, now I like spinach, right?

00:46:38:11 - 00:46:39:17
Michele
Like I didn't used to, you know.

00:46:40:06 - 00:46:41:08
Stephanie
And that's in essence how I

00:46:41:08 - 00:46:50:12
Michele
came out to her and she's like, oh. And then she's like, well, we kind of suspected something was going on, but we weren't sure. And to this day, I never formally told my dad, but, you

00:46:50:12 - 00:46:52:16
Stephanie
He knows. Yeah, yeah.

00:46:52:16 - 00:47:16:00
Michele
My mom told him and, you know, he never addressed it. We've never really talked about it. But since then, I always talk about her all the time. We've gone on vacations. We were in Florida last year with all of us. And, you know, he loves me. He cares about me. Obviously, he he does. It's weird for them. I think that's the real thing is it's weird for them.

00:47:16:11 - 00:47:32:00
Michele
I had to call my mom out about a year ago. She would never like our photos. And she's like, finally, I said, Mom, there's something more. There's something more. And she finally said, well, I'm just very uncomfortable. I don't want people to know. I'm like they all know! All the neighbors know. Everybody knows. Like who cares. (They're fine.) And all of them are fine.

00:47:32:09 - 00:47:46:23
Michele
And so after that, she started liking our photos, right? So I mean, sometimes it's like calling the elephant in the room. I'm like, hey, like... So but, you know, they were just out here. And we were at her house for our kids' graduation party and had a great time. Yeah.

00:47:47:20 - 00:47:52:04
Stephanie
Yeah, yeah. I just I know. I think it's... The idea is hard for them. Yeah.

00:47:52:04 - 00:48:04:06
Joelle
Yeah, I could imagine. But if you're all in an ok space and you can kind of move on from here And a little bit of Don't Ask, Don't Tell, but understanding... I don't know. Yeah, that's...

00:48:04:06 - 00:48:18:14
Michele
Yeah, I think that's been sort of the hardest part. But like as far as acceptance, right? People. But it hasn't stopped them from loving me anymore and and they're not blocking me. Like, I don't want to hear this. I don't wanna ever... It's not like that at all.

00:48:18:21 - 00:48:33:01
Michele
I just think it's, it's still probably surreal. And for a while, I think they thought it was a phase, too. You know, it's just like, oh, she's just going through this. And I'm like, well no it's been five years! I hope it's not a phase at this point! (Yeah) No, and I never did get...

00:48:33:01 - 00:48:40:00
Julianne
But you know, it's so generational. We have to kind of forgive them a little (oh yeah) because they just weren't raised with it. Yeah.

00:48:40:00 - 00:48:50:08
Michele
Well, as a joke, I was going to do this for Pride this year. I was going to send them a card, so, you know, I still love you no matter what. Yeah! Be who you are! (Flip the table) Right, flip it around. So...

00:48:51:19 - 00:48:53:19
Joelle
I love it. That's cute. Very cute.

00:48:53:19 - 00:48:55:08
Julianne
Maybe they'll catch up. You never know.

00:48:55:18 - 00:48:56:20
Stephanie
Yeah, yeah. (Well they've gotten...)

00:48:57:09 - 00:48:59:01
Joelle
What was your... Oh, go ahead. Sorry.

00:48:59:01 - 00:49:09:05
Michele
I was just gonna say they've gotten better. I think it's just, you know, it is what it is. You know, they're... they're sort of on the island. Not... But they're not like... (Yeah) they're not rejecting us. Let's put it that way.

00:49:09:06 - 00:49:12:01
Joelle
Right, right. Good. Aw. Now Jules, do you have a..

00:49:12:01 - 00:49:34:13
Julianne
Can we switch a little bit to political? Because the state of the world right now. And there's the beautiful part, like talking to Joelle's kids. They are so accepting if someone's gay at school. They go, yeah, whatever. I don't... I don't hear any of what we heard growing up. So that's so refreshing and lovely. And then there's the lunacy that's still happening.

00:49:35:18 - 00:49:40:17
Julianne
So I know it's kind of a big question, but how do you feel about that side?

00:49:40:17 - 00:49:56:08
Joelle
Yeah. I think... I was going to say too, I would love some maybe talking points, how you guys would come back to somebody who... I just saw an online argument about, "Well, it's all the liberals over in California. You know, they're... they're cha--"

00:49:56:13 - 00:49:59:03
Julianne
The land of fruits and nuts! People still say that!

00:49:59:22 - 00:50:12:23
Joelle
Yeah, "all these crazies are in the schools teaching our kids that it's okay to be gay. So kids are turning gay." Like this whole question. And and what do we say to to folks who just are not there yet, who are 20 years behind?

00:50:13:24 - 00:50:17:19
Michele
You mean to the people who are still in a different belief?

00:50:18:12 - 00:50:26:14
Joelle
Yeah. I guess so. Like and they think that, "Well, there's so many gays out in California because they've been turned gay by all the crazies out there."

00:50:26:14 - 00:50:31:09
Stephanie
Oh I didn't know that they people thought that! (Yeah, I know. I know.) I had no idea!

00:50:31:09 - 00:50:32:06
Joelle
It's so crazy.

00:50:32:15 - 00:50:37:08
Michele
I think it depends. Probably middle-America I would imagine, is more like that. (Yeah.)

00:50:37:08 - 00:50:57:06
Julianne
But even here, you know, there's a couple of liberal friends that I have. Or supposedly. But now I'm seeing maybe not. But who are saying, "You know, I see the kids who are... All of this pronoun changing. And you're actually giving them suggestions that they're just, you know, 13, 14. And you're implanting the idea where they wouldn't have otherwise had that."

00:50:57:06 - 00:50:57:13
Joelle
Versus?

00:50:57:13 - 00:51:06:20
Julianne
My... My theory is... Versus like, society's telling you, men stay with women, women stay with men, and now you're giving them ideas and they're going, "Oh, maybe I am gay.

00:51:06:22 - 00:51:08:17
Julianne
Maybe I do want to change my name."

00:51:08:23 - 00:51:20:00
Michele
Well, and I think that's what it really comes down to. Right? But going back to awareness of who you truly are. And you know, in your heart and soul, when something's not right you know.

00:51:20:00 - 00:51:31:05
Michele
And I think whether somebody, you know, explores it and says, well, yeah, everybody thinks I should be with a woman now, right? Like and they're doing it for... For them to truly be happy,

00:51:31:05 - 00:51:35:14
Michele
then they will authentically make the choice. I believe.

00:51:35:14 - 00:51:59:12
Stephanie
I think that if the information is out there and something can cross your mind, you might try it and not like it. But having the acceptance of being able to do that far outweighs the "Let's keep it this way," right? (Sure,Yeah) I would much rather have options or possibilities. And there's just such a spectrum and fluidity of everything.

00:51:59:12 - 00:52:08:00
Stephanie
And to be just so close-minded and think it has to be one way is not the way I want to live or think about anything. No.

00:52:08:00 - 00:52:16:24
Julianne
And I'll tell you, I just took the human psychology class recently and they started off the class by saying everybody is born bisexual. Fact!

00:52:16:24 - 00:52:18:17
Stephanie
Oh! Interesting.

00:52:18:17 - 00:52:27:20
Julianne
And I love that idea that (Kinsey scale) If we had that, if we really felt that in this society that maybe people would be way more free to make their own choices.

00:52:28:02 - 00:52:36:06
Stephanie
Right. And who knows how it will be in like 200 years, maybe that's... It'll be more like that because it's out there and it's open.

00:52:36:11 - 00:52:49:01
Michele
Well, I find it at least in certain areas, like here, it's like already there, right? Where people can be, you know, girls are dating girls in high school. And boys... And it's much more the norm, at least from a younger generation.

00:52:49:01 - 00:52:52:24
Stephanie
Yeah. And maybe it wouldn't have crossed their minds before, but who cares? So what?

00:52:52:24 - 00:53:09:04
Michele
Right. Well, I have plenty of friends, guys, and... Not plenty, but a lot more girls have been with a woman and they were like, 'Eh it was cool, but it's not for me." (Right.) And that's what sort of sparked the idea for me. I was like, "Oh, I'm just curious," you know, initially, like years back. But you know, again, you kind of know. Like, Dave was your guy, right?

00:53:09:04 - 00:53:27:02
Michele
Like, you just have this knowing. And I think once, you know... And I think that's the hard thing. I have, you know, a neighbor who's a Baptist minister. I've never talked to him about this. But if I was to you know, it's how do you go against who you really know you are? And I'm sure people could say, well, do you really know?

00:53:27:03 - 00:53:52:02
Michele
Right y'know. But do they know themselves? Right? They're they're putting their blocks on. They're putting their blocks on how... the possibility of humans and what we really are. Right. And yeah, that's the painful part is that biases, cognitive biases are affecting our world more so than saying, hey, we're open and free to be who we are. Versus this is how you should be.

00:53:52:15 - 00:53:54:20
Michele
Right. I think that's the pain in our our world.

00:53:55:13 - 00:54:09:03
Joelle
Right? Yeah. I have a friend to you know, it's not in the Bible. It's, it's it's not okay in God's eyes. Therefore, you know, everybody is sinning, and this should not be the case. Julianne, get that cat off that...

00:54:09:03 - 00:54:11:06
Julianne
I'm sorry. It's your cat. I can't.

00:54:11:06 - 00:54:16:02
Joelle
There is... If you'd like to go to YouTube and see a cat's ass... Oh come on!

00:54:16:08 - 00:54:19:20
Michele
More than two. There's a few little titties here. (Yeah!)

00:54:19:20 - 00:54:20:10
Joelle
Oh no!

00:54:21:05 - 00:54:24:19
Joelle
Right during my Bible talk. That's what (sorry) we think of that.

00:54:24:20 - 00:54:44:03
Stephanie
I mean, my... the Bible talk, yeah, I think... What I come up against that are, like, sometimes my son, he's has some kids that are very you know, their dad's a minister, and they're very like, you know, they have that hard line. But what my son does and what I do with those, because I knew that family before.

00:54:44:04 - 00:55:04:14
Stephanie
I just really just think that they're they just don't understand yet. So I, I want to embrace them and love them and show a good relationship rather than give hate or my judgment back to them. And that's even what my son does like it. At first it would bother him. They said, oh, gay people are going to hell. And, you know, he would defend that.

00:55:04:14 - 00:55:10:07
Stephanie
And he comes more from a place of like, they don't know what they're talking about. I'm not going to let it bother me anymore.

00:55:10:07 - 00:55:11:01
Joelle
Right. Right.

00:55:11:01 - 00:55:39:04
Michele
And I think the real key is right about religion is love. We're all here for love. (Exactly) Love is the foundation of who we are. And if you're judging somebody else that's not loving. And you're going against what Jesus and God or any religion's about. And that's why love is love, right? But when we can come from a loving place in our heart, with openness and acceptance, that changes everything, regardless of sexuality.

00:55:39:04 - 00:55:55:01
Michele
It could be anything. Any race, anything else. And that is the fundamental message - is you know opening your heart to people who... and and finding the best in everybody, right? That goes back to my fundamental belief. And you know, when you open your heart, everything changes.

00:55:55:10 - 00:56:12:08
Joelle
Absolutely. Isn't that so true? And I do feel too that so many people are closed down and have their blinders on and aren't allowed to come out in whatever area that they live. So a lot of these people don't even know a gay person. Or they don't... They they do know them I'm sure.

00:56:12:08 - 00:56:12:11
Stephanie
Yeah, they just don't know it!

00:56:13:07 - 00:56:29:11
Joelle
They're not out of the closet yet. They just don't know it. And if they did, wouldn't their eyes be opened? That, "Oh. That's my good friend who I've always loved and they're gay. And how could they be sinning? How are they going to go to hell?" Yeah. So I really do hope that things come around and...

00:56:29:20 - 00:56:41:00
Michele
Yeah, and that's a belief in itself, right? Like you know, you have these beliefs. We all have beliefs that we are convicted by, but the more open minded we could be, it's amazing how our lives transform.

00:56:41:10 - 00:56:43:23
Joelle
Yeah. But then we look at politics...

00:56:43:23 - 00:56:44:14
Julianne
And the more you....Oh, I'm sorry.

00:56:44:15 - 00:56:54:12
Joelle
Well, just saying that with Supreme Court shutting things down and and ending choices and what's going to be next with... well gay marriage might be on the table next.

00:56:54:12 - 00:57:03:13
Stephanie
I know. That would make me very, very sad. The Roe versus Wade being shut down makes me upset, too. But the marriage thing is like, come on.

00:57:03:13 - 00:57:03:23
Julianne
Yeah. Oh my god.

00:57:04:01 - 00:57:29:00
Joelle
It's all that privacy to your own love and your own life and I can't imagine that world, but here we are again. And it's like, you know, hopefully the pendulum has just swung really conservative and it'll swing back liberal again. We'll see. But yeah, (scary) that just breaks my heart to think of people who are finally living their true life, being themselves, married, you know, adopting kids, and finally having that life.

00:57:29:00 - 00:57:32:00
Joelle
And just to maybe have to go back into the closet. Ugh.

00:57:32:10 - 00:57:48:23
Michele
Well, it's all kinds of rights being taken away, right, no matter what. You know, obviously, yeah, whether... There is a lot of politics, right? There is gun rights, right, where we don't want people that will have the right one hand right. But we want to have the right to love. But, you know, the reason we don't like guns is because it's not loving!

00:57:48:23 - 00:57:50:04
Joelle
Right! Hello?!

00:57:50:04 - 00:58:00:15
Michele
Yeah, there's a lot of counter points, but I think, you know, end of the day, it is having the rights for who we are as a human, you know, and I think that's having those choices.

00:58:00:15 - 00:58:01:18
Joelle
Yeah.

00:58:01:18 - 00:58:11:14
Michele
You know, it's you know... I know everybody has their opinions, so it's... I don't like playing into politics, but yeah, I think, you know, having those choices are really important.

00:58:11:24 - 00:58:18:01
Joelle
Yeah, absolutely. And the bottom line is love too. And Jules, what were you going to say? Sorry I cut you off.

00:58:18:13 - 00:58:37:10
Julianne
I can't remember. I think in general, I was going to just say that I love the idea that... I can't remember, except you guys are showing up how you are, and comfortable with yourselves. You've gone to therapy, you've done work, and you've you're very comfortable being who you are. And I think in some ways that allows other people to be comfortable

00:58:37:15 - 00:58:43:16
Julianne
(absolutely) with you and with the issues that they have. so I think that's beautiful. So congratulations (thank you!) for doing all the hard work.

00:58:43:20 - 00:58:58:05
Joelle
I know, I know. Okay. Now I have to ask and you guys can stop me wherever you're not comfortable, but I know our audience is going to be curious as we all are, because I remember when Stephanie, you came out to me, these were some of my first questions was... (I love how you lean in)

00:58:59:01 - 00:59:01:23
Joelle
How does it work? What do you do?

00:59:01:23 - 00:59:02:19
Michele
Steph's leaning into the good stuff.

00:59:02:19 - 00:59:03:17
Stephanie
How does it work?

00:59:03:20 - 00:59:12:21
Joelle
Do you feel like an OB -GYN. What happens? No, and you don't have to give details because we can all look this up on Google or or Go Fund Me. Wait, what's the... I don't even know...

00:59:13:05 - 00:59:16:02
Julianne
See and I was trying to end it on love and Joelle's going there!

00:59:16:05 - 00:59:17:09
Stephanie
Yeah. Oh, yeah.

00:59:17:15 - 00:59:21:06
Michele
Well, there we go. I don't think being a female gynecologist is a bad idea anymore.

00:59:24:02 - 00:59:46:01
Stephanie
How does it...? It works just the same way as uh (Here we'll show you! No!) Ya. I mean, it's just for me because I've had obviously I've had sex with men and I didn't I didn't hate the sex with men, but for me, it's just a different level out of this world connection with a woman and then someone that you're in love with.

00:59:46:01 - 00:59:59:19
Stephanie
And so it was just, like, unbelievable. And even after all these five years it still is. It's amazing. I mean, it's it's changed over time. Some of the things we just go to right, what works and

00:59:59:19 - 01:00:02:14
Michele
We're getting older and tired but... (laughs)

01:00:02:14 - 01:00:05:13
Joelle
I'm with you. I mean, let's get it done. I got to go to sleep.

01:00:05:24 - 01:00:10:11
Michele
Well, it's a little... This is where it is harder for, you know, between being with a guy and a woman.

01:00:10:17 - 01:00:10:20
Stephanie
Yeah,

01:00:10:20 - 01:00:11:18
Michele
It's a lot more work!

01:00:11:18 - 01:00:15:19
Stephanie
It's a lot more work for a woman! Like you need hand exercises and your wrist hurts!

01:00:15:19 - 01:00:18:11
Michele
We're going to start a gym!

01:00:18:11 - 01:00:21:17
Joelle
Little tiny finger weights they're doing right now.

01:00:21:17 - 01:00:24:02
Michele
Nobody told me that part. I'm like dang.

01:00:24:02 - 01:00:27:16
Joelle
Wow. Good. So you have a nice strong handshake now.

01:00:27:16 - 01:00:34:23
Michele
Well not if we don't keep it up, right? It's more like, oh, here like you use this instead! (I know)

01:00:35:16 - 01:01:00:02
Joelle
So now we we I'm sure we have different toys and things to to help get the work done. And and you're pretty adventurous having known you, so I applaud that, too. But yeah, for for somebody okay. So who's out there listening right now who thinks, "Interesting. I'm I'm really relating to these girls. I'm, I'm having trouble in my marriage.

01:01:00:10 - 01:01:16:10
Joelle
I'm maybe interested in women and attracted, but what do I do?" What's the first date like? Where... How many dates does it take to go? What's a first base? What's a second base? Like uh what would you advise somebody in that realm.

01:01:16:10 - 01:01:37:10
Stephanie
If they're having these feelings and they're in a marriage I mean, that's the tricky part. I mean, I've always been a big believer... I mean, I haven't always done this. Most of the time I haven't. But a big believer in just being open and honest with what you're feeling, I mean, it can be very hard, you know, with someone else, but that's like step number one.

01:01:38:14 - 01:02:00:03
Stephanie
I mean, if you're not in a marriage and are looking to to date, I mean, there's women on women sites. But it gets tricky, though, because it's you know, it's traditionally, you know, the man pays for this. And with women you don't know. So you just kind of ... You can... you can learn as you go. And I think the bases are still the same.

01:02:00:13 - 01:02:00:22
Michele
Yeah. (laughing)

01:02:03:08 - 01:02:14:06
Joelle
OK that was a dumb question. (Yeah) I don't even know why I said it. (A little bit) I'm just trying to get back into that mindset of, I don't know, like a just completely naive person of you know, what what do you do with that?

01:02:14:06 - 01:02:28:23
Julianne
And also how if you're, say, with a man and how do you... So if you're honest and open and you're not quite sure, would you go to a dating site that's all female and then try it out and see?

01:02:29:07 - 01:02:48:11
Michele
Well, I think the way we approached it I feel... What I mean for us it was a good approach where we went to therapy. We explored our feelings. We talked it through. We were, you know... Plus other you know, resources and stuff, books and everything else, to just kind of understand where we were. So I think that gave us a great basis.

01:02:48:11 - 01:03:06:09
Michele
And like the LGBT center, I just finally came back and got a stack of like five or six books going, you know, all about women who have been married and everything else and coming later in life. And I'm like, okay, like, how do you navigate this? Right? So there are some really good books out there and centers and there were groups, you know,

01:03:06:09 - 01:03:06:17
Julianne
I love that.

01:03:06:17 - 01:03:07:22
Michele
at these centers.

01:03:07:24 - 01:03:28:15
Stephanie
Yeah, the groups, the online group for me - I mean they don't have it, that group, that particular group anymore - was life changing because I could read so many stories and just identify and relate to what they were going through because it was mostly later in life. So that if there's I'm sure there's many groups out there, but and fortunately we have the Internet to search and find and read.

01:03:29:00 - 01:03:30:08
Stephanie
So maybe would start with that.

01:03:30:17 - 01:04:05:03
Michele
Yeah. I mean, because some people don't have somebody safe too, you know. And I think now even with the pandemic, there's probably a lot more online resources for people to reach out to feel that because you really want to have a safe space. And I think that's the first and foremost is finding a safe space. Sometimes again, you know, if you could find that person in your life or, you know, a friend of a friend, somebody whoyou know is maybe gay and you can say, "Hey, you know, can..." Even if you don't know them, have a conversation. Most people would be very open even if they did, just so that they can feel normal to start

01:04:05:03 - 01:04:21:06
Michele
with. (Sure) And then, you know, like I said, you know, there's groups out there and organizations that can help. So that would be the first thing. And then, you know, if they needed that extra therapy to work through their feelings and talk through it to be more comfortable with themselves to come out.

01:04:21:18 - 01:04:29:06
Julianne
I love that. Instead of jumping right out and trying to get together with someone and you might benefit more from doing your own work and...

01:04:29:06 - 01:04:46:13
Michele
Right. I mean, maybe there's, you know, where you, you know, go on a date or you do something to kind of validate those feelings before you, you know, dive into all that too. But I think the self-awareness and being good with yourself is really key, no matter what challenges you go through in life or transition. So.

01:04:47:05 - 01:04:48:02
Joelle
Yeah, it's great.

01:04:48:08 - 01:04:50:12
Julianne
All right Jo. Any last questions here?

01:04:50:24 - 01:04:59:06
Joelle
Um now you mentioned like who pays for the date and stuff like that. Was that tricky or where you just kind of wing it and you're open and honest and...

01:04:59:12 - 01:05:04:14
Stephanie
We just sort of switched off. It was, you know, "I got this one." We didn't talk about it. It's just...

01:05:04:14 - 01:05:17:19
Michele
Yeah, in fact it's still kind of... Yeah, I mean, now, like, we're doing a vacation. We're just splitting it. Yeah. I mean, it just. For a while, it's, you know, "Hey, I'll get this. I get that" kind of. It all seems to work out.

01:05:18:08 - 01:05:24:23
Joelle
And what about this stereotype that one, one of you is the guy in the relationship, and one of you is the girl?

01:05:24:23 - 01:05:25:19
Michele
Well that's interesting.

01:05:25:19 - 01:05:29:17
Stephanie
I think is in some ways she's the guy. And other ways, I'm the guy.

01:05:29:17 - 01:05:57:02
Michele
Yeah. I'm more emotional maybe because I went through menopause. Because actually, before I became a lesbian, I never cried. I was always so tough. And but through a lot of this work and going through a divorce and everything else and getting deeper with my own feelings that I ignored and buried... I'm more sensitive but more sensitive and attuned as well, attuned to people. So in that way, in certain ways, I could be more girly there.

01:05:57:24 - 01:06:15:13
Stephanie
Yeah. And I'm more like a guy in that I I'm just more simple and like... You can do the planning. I'm fine with that. And you like to take... I like it like she takes control. I like that part of it. (laughing)

01:06:16:03 - 01:06:29:07
Joelle
(Laughing) Yeah. It is interesting, knowing you guys, too, because, Stephanie, you've always you've been the planner, but you're also very mellow and just go with the flow and but you're a logical person, too. You're very black and white.

01:06:29:07 - 01:06:35:11
Julianne
And very grounded. I'll say that I've loved how you've always been. Yeah. And Michele, you seem the exact same way. So

01:06:35:11 - 01:06:37:19
Joelle
Yeah, yeah.

01:06:37:19 - 01:06:38:23
Julianne
And do you guys squabble?

01:06:38:23 - 01:07:03:17
Joelle
Stephanie... Sorry. Just to... Really quick. But Stephanie will just be, like, super cut through the... all that emotion stuff. Not that you're not emotional because you are. Because you totally cry and you think about feelings all the time and how to talk to someone in just the right way. But you can also cut right through it and say, "Well, just do this." Or "Well, just say that." And so I can appreciate that about you. And not to say that's a guy or girl thing.

01:07:00:00 - 01:07:01:14
Joelle
That's just a you thing.

01:07:05:15 - 01:07:06:10
Stephanie
And thank you.

01:07:06:16 - 01:07:08:23
Joelle
Yeah. So you guys fit really well together.

01:07:09:07 - 01:07:12:04
Stephanie
Yeah, we balance each other out. What?

01:07:12:12 - 01:07:14:22
Joelle
Just like her shirt says. You fit really well together.

01:07:15:05 - 01:07:16:14
Michele
Oh the scissors. Oh, yeah.

01:07:16:14 - 01:07:20:00
Michele
Rock-Paper-Scissors! (laughing)

01:07:20:00 - 01:07:20:19
Stephanie
Everyone gets that right?

01:07:21:13 - 01:07:23:11
Joelle
And they have a sense of humor! Scissor sisters!

01:07:24:01 - 01:07:33:14
Michele
Well, that's what we love is we both have a great sense of humor. We're just goofy and silly and I think that's one of the things that's so much fun about us is we can just be obviously, who we are.

01:07:33:14 - 01:07:35:10
Stephanie
Yeah we have fun. Oh, yeah. (laughing)

01:07:36:02 - 01:07:36:20
Joelle
That's good.

01:07:36:20 - 01:07:38:18
Julianne
I love how much you guys are in love.

01:07:38:24 - 01:07:43:05
Joelle
I know! (So sweet) Living... living their full selves, their true lives.

01:07:43:08 - 01:07:43:17
Michele
Yeah.

01:07:43:22 - 01:07:49:01
Julianne
All right, now, do you want to plug your businesses? We are towards the plugging part.

01:07:49:09 - 01:07:49:14
Joelle
Yeah. We should probably let...

01:07:50:16 - 01:07:53:23
Stephanie
I don't have a business.

01:07:53:24 - 01:08:11:09
Michele
Yeah, I mean, well, in essence I have my own marketing and communications firm. But really my whole business model in communications... It's not so much plugging my business, but it goes back to the fundamentals of everything we're talking about, right? I'm working more with companies and brands to align them from their roots, you know. Who they truly are from the company.

01:08:11:09 - 01:08:33:17
Michele
Their purpose, their vision, their values. And growing businesses more sustainably. And for our own selves, right? When we can come from our roots of who we are and be true and honest to ourselves and live our values, our whole lives align a lot better. You know? And this is one aspect of, you know, coming out, you know, sexually and saying, "Okay, it's not just sex.

01:08:33:17 - 01:08:53:02
Michele
It's it's who we are inside and who we connect with and how we relate." And so really, you know, having people tap into that, you know, what really B. ecause what happens, just like a tree, you know, you get out of line and the tree starts falling over, you know. And that's what happens with business and it happens in ourselves.

01:08:53:02 - 01:09:02:06
Michele
So I'm really I call it, you know, the rooted voice being true to our voice and who we are and from our roots up. And that's the foundation of my business model of communications and...

01:09:02:06 - 01:09:03:05
Julianne
What is it called again?

01:09:03:11 - 01:09:05:04
Michele
Mambo Communications.

01:09:05:04 - 01:09:05:19
Julianne
Mambo got it.

01:09:05:19 - 01:09:23:10
Michele
It's like marketing with a different beat. And but it's much more conscious, you know, growth and conscious leadership from a business. But consciousness even in our relationships because end of the day, we're all human. Humans buy from... People buy from people. And that's how we can act, whether it's business or personal.

01:09:23:24 - 01:09:24:11
Joelle
I love it.

01:09:24:18 - 01:09:25:22
Julianne
That's amazing.

01:09:25:22 - 01:09:38:13
Joelle
Yep, very good. And now in our title, what would you like the title of this episode to be called? Do you con- Do you call yourselves lesbians? Do you call yourselves gay? Like, what is your title? Like do you label yourselves or not?

01:09:39:02 - 01:09:43:24
Stephanie
I mean yes and no. I mean, we don't like labels, but I mean, we are.

01:09:43:24 - 01:09:45:17
Michele
Well, I'm not gay, but my girlfriend is. (laughter)

01:09:48:11 - 01:09:49:16
Stephanie
Maybe that's the title!

01:09:49:16 - 01:09:57:11
Joelle
That's the title. I think we just found it. That's perfect. Oh, my God. I love you guys so much. I'm so happy you came on.

01:09:57:11 - 01:09:58:00
Stephanie
You too. Thanks for having us.

01:09:58:00 - 01:09:58:12
Joelle
Yeah!

01:09:58:12 - 01:10:01:09
Julianne
You're such an Inspiration. I love you too!

01:10:01:09 - 01:10:05:21
Joelle
Yep. And let me know if you ever need to interview us straight people if you have any questions. I mean...

01:10:06:13 - 01:10:20:21
Michele
Well before we leave, right. And I don't know. You know, have you guys ever had... I mean, again, you talk about bisexual, right? Being on the scale. There's, you know, the one extreme is, "Yes. I'm definitely gay. I'm definitely straight." So you know, without giving too much info....? (laughter)

01:10:21:20 - 01:10:23:13
Joelle
Oooh, good question!

01:10:23:13 - 01:10:25:12
Michele
Yeah where do you guys think you are on the scale?

01:10:25:19 - 01:10:59:04
Joelle
I will say this: that I find girls together beautiful. And it gets me a little tingly. (Ok, yeah.) But I can't I can't imagine going there. And I've had a couple drunk kisses with a girl and come-on-to's. (Ooh!) Not full on makeout sessions or anything like that, but just weird drunk moments where it's been very "ew." Like I had the ick factor, so I don't think I could go there physically, but for whatever reason it's intriguing.

01:10:59:13 - 01:11:09:12
Joelle
And so I'm probably I don't know if we're going from a zero to a ten, ten being full lesbo. Maybe I'm a three? I don't know! Somewhere on the scale.

01:11:09:12 - 01:11:13:14
Julianne
Can you say lesbo? For some reason that feels like...(is that bad?) I don't know.

01:11:13:14 - 01:11:16:17
Stephanie
No it's not. I don't think it's bad. (I don't think so) I think it's hilarious. (Yeah.)

01:11:16:17 - 01:11:20:09
Joelle
See, this is... (But you hear that and...) I know Stephanie, I can joke around with her and Michele, so....

01:11:20:13 - 01:11:23:03
Michele
Oh yeah. No we don't care! We're good with it.

01:11:23:03 - 01:11:32:09
Julianne
That seems to be universal is like the appreciation of two female bodies versus two male bodies. Like a lot of people can get behind, you know, not literally, but the female body. (laughter)

01:11:34:06 - 01:11:37:08
Joelle
Get behind the behind of the female!

01:11:37:08 - 01:11:37:15
Julianne
(Some people would like it.) Yeah!

01:11:38:18 - 01:11:50:22
Joelle
So but yeah. So I believe in that sliding scale. And I did take a human sexuality course in college and learned all about the Kinsey, you know. (Yeah.) Everything that they did and and Showtime, right? Wasn't that the Showtime show. The...

01:11:50:22 - 01:11:52:23
Julianne
Yeah, The Human...what was that called?

01:11:52:23 - 01:11:54:06
Michele
Oh yeah you're right. There was one I think.

01:11:54:06 - 01:11:55:20
Joelle
Yeah. So they kind of talk about them but...

01:11:55:20 - 01:11:56:23
Julianne
Yep they're still using that.

01:11:57:07 - 01:11:59:11
Joelle
And Jules, you go ahead and answer, are you anywhere on that scale?

01:11:59:16 - 01:12:16:08
Julianne
Oh, yeah. I've had experiences. It's, it's fine. But I think I at the end of the day, I, I do like men. I think that's more my... (Yeah.) So it's nice to explore that and just to know. So I think everyone should try a little in college. "Well, when I was in college..." Yeah.

01:12:16:21 - 01:12:17:06
Stephanie
Yeah, exactly, yeah!

01:12:17:21 - 01:12:34:12
Michele
Yeah. Right. There you go. That was a great example of, you know, hey, just because you see other gay people doesn't make you gay, right? It's just, (Exactly!) you'll know, you know, when you're with somebody. Just like, you know, when you meet somebody and you end up marrying them or dating them. You just... It's this... I call it the soulful connection, right?

01:12:34:12 - 01:12:47:12
Michele
There is, you know, there's the attraction and there's the connect-- deeper connection that you just (Yeah) are drawn together. (Yeah.) Yeah. So it's trusting that (Yeah). But fun! I love that you guys have you know, explored a little or, you know. (I mean...)

01:12:48:05 - 01:12:53:24
Michele
But Joelle, I had the same issue. I was like, "Ehhh" you know. No, I was never really hit on still by women.

01:12:54:08 - 01:12:56:21
Stephanie
Thank God, I'd be so jealous. Men love her.

01:12:57:05 - 01:12:58:12
Joelle
I know.

01:12:58:20 - 01:13:02:16
Michele
I had an old guy who was trying to give me a golf lesson. Oh, she was so mad the other day!

01:13:03:09 - 01:13:03:19
Stephanie
<Laughter> I know

01:13:03:19 - 01:13:04:13
Joelle
Get away, golfer!

01:13:04:13 - 01:13:08:00
Joelle
Jealous? Stephanie, do you get jealous (Yeah jealousy) of men picking up on Michele?

01:13:08:10 - 01:13:17:00
Stephanie
I, I get jealous sometimes when... Thank God, women don't really like her.

01:13:17:00 - 01:13:18:20
Michele
They like me, but they're not hitting on me.

01:13:18:21 - 01:13:22:10
Stephanie
Yeah, I sometimes I do. Yeah sometimes.

01:13:22:17 - 01:13:26:00
Julianne
Is there is there a fear that you may return to the other side?

01:13:26:00 - 01:13:43:09
Stephanie
No, not at all. It's more... Not even... It's more... It's like in certain... This is a whole tangent, but in certain situations, I just like when we're together. She just loves to talk to everybody, and that's who she is, and I love it. But sometimes we're like, together, I just... It's our time. And it's not... It's less like... It's more jealous of her time.

01:13:43:09 - 01:13:51:22
Stephanie
It's like, hey, come on, babe, We're here. We're here. (Yeah. Yeah, got it. Well, I get...) Stop talking to the seventy year old guy.

01:13:51:22 - 01:13:53:21
Joelle
Was he hot? Just kidding.

01:13:53:21 - 01:14:03:20
Michele
No, no, no. But I think it just depends too like, you know, we find interesting people and we start having interesting conversations. I think that's part of it. If you don't like the conversation around...

01:14:03:20 - 01:14:07:14
Stephanie
I'm black or white. If the conversation seems boring to me, I just don't want to talk anymore.

01:14:07:14 - 01:14:08:20
Michele
Yeah, I guess

01:14:08:20 - 01:14:19:18
Stephanie
Anyway that's a tangent. I don't know. We have great trust and love. I never think that's, you know, I don't have any suspicions or think she's going to run off or anything. Complete trust as far as that goes.

01:14:19:18 - 01:14:52:11
Michele
Well, and I think through all this experience, too, is, you know, it's about relationships. This goes beyond male or female. (Yes.) Is building a very strong foundation of a relationship. And I think through all this, through our past marriages and going through this whole journey is what kind of relationship do we really want? And we've done some relationship work, you know, programs and stuff to strengthen it and go deeper. Because I think, you know, it's being honest and trusting and then connecting to have that long term deep trust.

01:14:52:11 - 01:14:54:24
Michele
And that's how (That's great.) That's the longevity of it.

01:14:54:24 - 01:14:59:18
Julianne
And you guys went into it knowing that you wanted longevity with each other. That wasn't a question?

01:14:59:24 - 01:15:00:13
Stephanie
Oh yeah, yeah.

01:15:00:18 - 01:15:05:14
Julianne
Yeah. That's great. So you already had that foundation and it was just to work out the stuff in between.

01:15:05:14 - 01:15:40:11
Michele
Well and I think, to be honest. I mean, you're you know, we're, you know, at the time like late forties, early fifties. We're just like it's not like a lot of people are just hanging out going, "Hey!" you know? (Yeah.) So I mean, it makes you think twice of what you really have, right? And not to take things for granted and to really find the appreciation in the person and and look at yourself when they're... And I think this goes deeper, you know, of where you know, if there's conflict in looking at yourself, looking at yourself, looking at yourself and how your old childhood patterns and... That's a separate subject. (Sure.) You're getting deeper. But yeah, I think that's the key.

01:15:40:22 - 01:15:44:08
Julianne
I love it. Love it. Oh, thanks you two. You guys. Thanks for coming.

01:15:44:08 - 01:16:12:23
Joelle
I know. Thank you. All right. Well, we will put everything in our show notes so you guys go to MouseAndWeens.com. And look under this episode on whatever podcast player you're listening to and we can find links. We'll put some good resources too. Maybe you guys could send some good websites you'd like to send people to who might be in your situation or looking for... I mean (Sure) there's so much out there. But anyway, we appreciate your time and get back to your busy lives and your fun families and and your love.

01:16:13:12 - 01:16:16:04
Stephanie
Aw! Ok. Yay! We'll talk to you soon.

01:16:17:10 - 01:17:12:12
<Music: Thank you for subscribing Mouse and Weens are thriving with your help. With your help. Listen while you're cleaning. You'll be Mouse and Weening. Thank you for believing in our show. Thank you, Megan, Sara, Joyce, Carla and Jodie for subscribing to Patreon. You are a Patreon dream. Come get your Mouse and Weens. For dirty words and naughty bits and things that aren't PG. Get the naked long uncut Mouse and Weens. At patreon.com/MouseAndWeens.>

01:17:14:00 - 01:17:39:14
Tamu
What happens when a global pandemic and a racial reckoning collide during a midlife crisis? When the bill came due, Aaron and Tamu needed each other to cut through the bullsh!t. Racism, sexism, colorism, foodism... Hell, all the isms! They know they can't be the only 40-plus BIPOC unicorns up in these streets who are trying to figure out their space in the world. So come through, grab a cocktail and see what happens - When the Bill Comes Due

01:17:47:05 - 01:17:54:00
Speaker
This was a podcast of the PodFix Network. You can check out more shows like it at PodFixNetwork.com