Mom, wife, grandmother, friend, dog mom, cousin and volunteer.
“I was raised by my parents in a very strict Irish Catholic home. We did as we were told. We were not allowed to question authority or voice opinions. As a kid I was bullied a lot. I was overweight, obviously different and I liked to play with the boys. I got married to a man knowing I was gay, it was something I was “supposed” to do to fit the standards my father enforced, but that day was my worst day. A close second would be the day I finally told my family that I was gay. The best things that came from that time were my beautiful children. The days each of them were born are my best days. I still struggle to balance staying true to who I am. I’ve lived in the closet for most of my life. I want to be who I am without judgement of who I choose to love. I overcame drinking at 41 at the time I met my beautiful wife. She gave me a reason not to drink. Learning how to say “no” and that “no” is a complete sentence, has been awesome. I catch myself hanging onto the fact that my immediate family members have not talked to me in 25 years because of the whole gay issue. My new story and focus is that I can be anybody and anything I want to be. I remind myself of this all the time. I need not worry about what people are thinking. I wish I could tell a 12 year old me to be who she is and to speak her own truth. I wish there was more acceptance in this world of people who are different – people who don’t fit into society’s mold. I feel most alive when I’m with my wife, kids and grandkids. They are the reason I get out of bed some days. We always have something to laugh about when we are together. My wife Sue is my light, she has been there for me through the thick and thin. She laughs when I laugh and cries when I cry. She is my strongest support system. It was not easy being a single gay parent raising children in a world of straight married couples but I’m proud of having raised my children alone without ever needing welfare or government support. I am Paula. I am honest and open minded. I value family and loyalty and I love to brag about my wife, kids and precious grandkids.”Paula
Kristie Dean, Paula, 2022. Digital Photograph. ©Kristie Dean. All rights reserved.