By Advocate.com Editors
Originally published on Advocate.com February 13 2014 1:27 PM ET
A few years ago, Christina and Jill would have never imagined that one day they would one day be standing on the red carpet of OUT100 talking with LGBT icons such as Laverne Cox and Edie Windsor. “Words cannot say enough about that night… it was amazing. It was an iconic night.” Christin landed on the red carpet after entering--and winning--the OUT100 contest on Twitter. Her remarkable journey to the event can hardly be conveyed in under 140 characters.
What started out as professional relationship between two women blossomed into a modern day romance that was completely different than the lives they had pictured for themselves. Christina, a registered nurse who owns a spa, was looking to hire an esthetician. Jill saw the job posting online and, thanks to her persistence, persuaded Christina to meet her for an interview.
“I met Christina, and was instantly captivated,” said Jill about their first meeting. Christina hired Jill and the two became close. “I enjoyed talking with Chris, sharing ideas for the work place and mostly just soaking in all she had to say,” said Jill. “As time went by I found myself wanting to come in early and stay late to be around her.” Their bubbling romance only had one thing standing in their way: Christina and Jill were both married. To men.
“We were both married, in marriages that were practically on life support. Almost staying in them just because, but knowing they were done,” said Christina.
Christina says she felt alive again once she met Jill. “She woke me up to the feelings that I thought would fade away. I felt alive and passionate and so attracted to her. These feelings were no longer suppressible, there was no turning back. After our first kiss, it was as if we both unconsciously sealed the deal.” Over the course of the next year, Christina and Jill had to “dismantle” their marriages, while also explaining divorce and a lesbian lifestyle to their children. “It was a rough road to say the least,” said Christina.
Six years later, the two are living together with their four children from their previous marriages (three teenage girls and one 10 year old boy), and have even expanded their spa business and opened another location.
One day when Christina was on Twitter, she saw that OUT magazine had a contest to attend the OUT100. Not even knowing what hashtags were (“we’re not very good with social media”), she entered the contest. I was more than happy to contribute anything that would give hope and courage to someone reading, wondering or that knew of somebody who could use the message. I was so excited for Jill and I to get the chance to go to the Out 100,” Christina found out she had won when OUT contacted her through Twitter, and she was able to tell Jill, “Guess where we’re going!”
After traveling to the event in New York Christina raved that the event was “better than I could have imagined.” She continued, “Everyone at OUT magazine were so nice and enthusiastic. They made us feel welcomed in many ways. Words cannot say enough about that night.”
Even though their lives are filled with happiness, it doesn’t come without tinges of guilt and regret. We have gone in and out of guilt because that's what divorce does, but ultimately we live authentic lives and feel free, finally,” said Christina.
Thinking back to her night at the event, mingling with Laverne Cox and Edie Windsor, Christina comments on the state of being out and proud today. “Things revolve around pride now, but when I was younger it was more like shame and secrets. It’s such a better place for our youth in that respect. I'd do it all over again, but this time would have had the courage to explore myself younger and not feel like I had to marry a man. I would live with no limits.”