Monday, December 18, 2006
Waking up bisexual
The first time I was aware I was attracted to women sexually, I was 16. I'd been aware I dug men for years, since I was like 11 or something. But at 16, I was spending the week with my best friend at-the-time, Sera. We had been doing gods only knows what during the day and were getting ready to go to bed. We were sharing her double bed, which we'd done so many times I lost count. Just goofing around, tickling and whatnot. Like we'd done so many times before. At one point, she had me pinned on my back, straddling me, tickling my stomach. And I thought -- gods, I've got to kiss her.
I didn't. I was too afraid by even having the thought. It struck me dumb. It made me go very still. I wanted to kiss her? Where the hell did that come from? And yet, even after I thought about it for a second, tried to rationalize it away as some crazy Devil-inspired thought (hey, I was a good Southern Baptist then), I still really wanted to kiss her. Kiss her and much, much more.
I don't think I slept that night. I remember being very aware of her laying next to me. She had the longest brown hair. And freckles all over her face. Her breathing seemed so loud and I thought for sure she could hear my heart beating, it was so loud. But no. She didn't notice. I must have covered well.
We spent the next few years as best friends, even rooming together at college. I never told her about that night, about how badly I had wanted to reach over and kiss her, run my hands through her hair, count all those freckles. And, eventually, those feelings faded and she was just my best friend, who happened to be in love with the slimest, skeezest man on the planet. But those are details.
I had no words for what I was experiencing then. I freaked out, but eventually I realized I did have a genuine attraction for men. So it must have been, what? A surge of hormones? Mistaking friendship-love with sexual-love? I was only sixteen, what did I know? And I didn't have those feelings for any other women for a long time, so I was able to write it off as a fluke. Then I meet my Ex and fell madly in love with him, so it didn't really matter if I had been or hadn't been.
As I've said before, spending those seven years with the Ex gave me the space and time to really come to grips with the fact that, yes, I did like women too. I don't believe I could have done it if I hadn't had that safety of being in a committed hetero relationship. It wasn't threatening, because I know I wouldn't act on it so long as we were together and, in the foolishness of youth, I believed that would be forever.
I started to entertain fantasies of hooking up with the cute girl in my chemistry class or the punk with two-colored hair who performed the most awesome poems at open mic night. Or you know, both at the same time. I never told my Ex about those, but he used to tease me that I was going to leave him for a woman. Eventually, all of my friends just sorta knew I was bi, i didn't have to tell them. I never had to come out, in a way, because I just sorta evolved into it and I was with a bunch of people who were accepting and didn't make a big deal out of it.
So, when I said, finally "my bisexuality" it sounded stark. Sort of. . .it gave me a chill down my spine. I suppose I still have enough Southern Baptist in me to inspire a fearful reaction, even though I've long given up the trappings of that particular religion. Even though I'm just putting into words something that's no secret. Even though I know the person I was talking too had no issues at all with my sexuality. And I think, if it makes me feel like that now, all these years and years later, there's no way in the world I could have ever said it to myself, to anyone else when I was 16, if I'd managed to understand it.
Because there doesn't seem to be any real guide for coming out bi. If you're gay, well, you've got people in the public eye (now, anyway) who have done it and have been successful. There are books and groups and it's in the social consciousness. But being bi? Most people want to say it's a phase. Or it's a stop on the road to full-gay disclosure.
And if you are bi, are you still bi if you're in a hetero relationship? Do you become gay if you're with someone of your gender? We're invisible, really, since the world likes to label relationships based on the gender of the partners. Which pisses me off, because what happens to all those little girls and boys who are bisexual and don't know how to be that? Whose going to tell them that it's okay? That they're fine like they are, that it's perfectly normal to like people regardless of gender. I really wish someone had been around to tell me, to let me know it was possible.