*This is not a costuming post, so I apologize in advance for that. Recent events inspired me to write this today.
The last few weeks, one of the bloggers I read on a semi-regular basis came out as a bisexual, a trip that was extremely difficult for him, coming from a Mormon background. I've been reading his self-revelatory posts and looking introspectively at my own journey to get here, and I'm amazed at how difficult it still is to confess my sexuality to people.
I am not straight. It's been my truth for many years; I have known it of myself since I was a teenager, though looking back through the years I think I have known it much longer than that (though my first attraction to a girl was in high school). She was funny, snarky, pretty, and just a little tough (which seems to be my type). I even had the sense once that she might have had an idea I was interested in her . . . and she pulled away from me in discomfort, so that became my impression: neither boys nor girls are into me, so I'd better give up now. I never told her or anyone how I felt, scared that I was gay. I was raised Catholic but I never had any fear that my family wouldn't accept me as a lesbian. It was more a fear of being abnormal . . . something I alreadywas in so many ways: abnormally mature, abnormally serious, abnormally smart or talented (we're talking high school, when I was in front of the curve). I did not have any gay friends back then, but I completely and utterly accepted that being gay was okay, and nothing unusual. Just not for me. And, I was hopelessly into boys too. My attraction to this girl just confused and scared me, and I let it go.
I got a crush on another girl in college, this time a petite, pretty, sweet girl that I wanted to make tea and cookies for. Again, I never said a word, and again I had the feeling at one point that she picked up on it and was weirded out, so I pulled away. We didn't speak after the show we did together. I still think of her sometimes. I still didn't really have any gay friends at this point either, and my only real, practical experience was in the vehemence with which some of the guys I knew proclaimed their heterosexuality. Guys who seemed obviously gay, and who still crowed from the rooftops how much they liked girls, because it was still not okay, somehow. I ducked my head and only talked about the men I was hung up on, and ignored everything else.
I didn't actually fall for a girl until a few years ago, and though it was ultimately a painful experience it did help me to do something I hadn't been able to do before: admit that I am not straight. By this time many things had changed in my life: my circle of friends had grown and expanded tremendously to contain many, many happy, healthy, honestly gay people whose example was one to be admired and cherished . . . but most of all, I had changed enough to give this a real try. I fell hard, and it was the first time the girl in question was aware of how I felt and didn't shun me; in fact, she was the one who initiated the attraction. It ultimately didn't lead anywhere, but it was still a pretty big milestone for me. I came out quietly not long after, with no fanfare, and though I was intensely nervous over the revelation the reaction of friends and family was a resounding, "And . . .?" It was not news to any of them. So, I was bisexual. So what?
And yet, still, I find it difficult to confess this to people. I fear that girls I know who are simply friends will pull away when they find out, out of the irrational worry that I am trying to trick them into bed, or interested in "more" . . . which 99% of the time is NOT the case. I fear that men will be weirded out by it, perhaps thinking I am just a lesbian who's fooling herself, or will be perversely turned on by it (the thought of which is a little gross to me). And, I worry that others in the LGBT community will look at me like I'm some sort of fraud, that I'm not "gay-enough", that I don't belong. And, there is still a part of me, deep down, that feels abnormal, like this is okay for everybody else in the world, but for me it's wrong.
I don't know if I will eventually end up with a man or a woman, or which of those scenarios I prefer; I develop crushes on guys all the time (and am still persistently invisible/uninteresting to those guys), and I feel cautious attractions to girls too, from time to time. I try to be cavalier and casual about my sexuality, but it is still mostly bravado. I am 100% single right now, going on eight years, and I wonder how this dry-spell will break, and which gender it will be with. And if it is a girl that I ultimately form the deepest bond with, I wonder how long it will take before I stop feeling the fear that I must apologize for that.