The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Feeling Yourself

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Emily McGaughy: My wife and I are best friends with another lesbian married couple, Jenny and Cat. On nights when we would’ve been out cocktailing six years ago, we now spend in Jenny and Cat’s kitchen eating and drinking. Jenny is Italian, and Cat is Mexican; they each cook authentic and delicious meals.  We talk about politics, family, and the realities of long-term relationships like ours. These are among some of the rare occasions when I truly allow myself to relax and let my guard down. Jenny and Cat know things about us that we would never dream of sharing with anyone else.  There’s a trust there that comes with years of friendship and just going through life together. I definitely feel most myself when surrounded by these women.
 
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Lucy Hallowell: On Martha’s Vineyard. With my wife. With the few friends who know all of me and love me anyway.
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Chloe: When I am all alone and have a wonderful idea. 
 
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Natasha Negovanlis: I make a point to take a trip to Montréal (where I went to university and used to live) at least once a year. Hanging out at the Montréal Improv theatre, surrounded by a bunch of goofballs, and doing a workshop or a show there always makes me feel at home.
 
'FESTIM010' Press Conference in MadridPhoto by Raul Urbina/Getty Images
 
Ali Davis: Every year, on the first new moon after the winter solstice, I know it is time to start my journey home. 
 
The way is perilous. There are mountains to climb, rivers to ford, frost giants to evade or defeat. Sometimes brigands attempt to rob me of supplies; sometimes sorceresses try to tempt me out of my way. Always there are dragons. I grow used to the taste of blood and steel in my mouth.
 
When I arrive at the clearing deep in the Pennsylvania woods where I was born, I build a bonfire, drink two shots of the finest tequila I have managed to bring with me, and jump in. 
 
Cooling Off
 
I never know how I will emerge. One year I was a bear; one I was a mouse. I have been hawks and lizards, ants and camelopards. On the third day, seeing what I have seen and knowing what I have known, I find the tallest oak tree in the forest and scratch myself against its rough bark until I molt my animal skin and become myself again.
 
It is on that day, learning to love my fingers and toes and elbows again and drinking the second-best tequila that I have managed to bring with me, that I truly understand and appreciate what it is to be myself.
 
Also, I really enjoy reading a good book after a vigorous swim.
 

Miranda Meyer: Well, shit, I was gonna make a joke about swimming upstream to where I was hatched, but there are no mystic bonfires involved so I guess I’ll just let ALI have the THUNDER that she STOLE for HERSELF. 

 
Anyway, I feel very myself almost everywhere I go regularly (this question actually made me realize how good I have it these days, because I was like, “When do I…not feel like myself…?”), but just now I was sitting on the roof outside my bedroom window watching the sun set and basking in the knowledge that I can see the whole street, and nobody even knows I’m up there, and that was pretty good.
 
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Trish Bendix: My sister and I are a little less than two years apart and our relationship has changed so much over the years, but it gets stronger and stronger as it evolves. We have a connection that I will never have with anyone else, and it doesn’t matter where we are, if we’re together, we feel it because we know each other so well.
 
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Where do you feel most yourself?

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