I was seven years old and in primary school, being asked to make a wish over a clootie dumpling. Now, I had no idea what a clootie dumpling was, nor why we were making one or why I had to make a wish over the bowl: but I remember what I asked the clootie gods for.
Please don’t make me gay when I grow up.
Thinking about that moment now, fourteen years later, my heart aches for who I used to be. As the dumpling lords would have it, I did not grow up to be gay – but I did grow into my attraction for women. Bisexuality is not really something I knew much about. I had heard that bisexual people were kidding themselves, that they were greedy and more likely to cheat. That they actually didn’t exist. All bad things.
So, naturally when in my teens and I was crushing on my artsy female friend, I did everything in my power to pretend it wasn’t happening. I was attracted to men as well, so everything was fine and dandy. Besides, my brother had already come out as bisexual and there couldn’t be two of us. Problem solved.
Except it wasn’t. I fell in love with a straight girl in high school and for a short while it ruined my life. I was at war with myself. I wrote countless journal entries insisting it was a phase, that I was confused like all people get when they’re fifteen. But deep down I knew what I knew, even if I couldn’t admit it to myself at the time.
Years passed and I finally broke: I got drunk and confessed to a random girl at a high school Christmas party that I thought I was attracted to girls. She suggested we kiss to find out. For her it was an experiment, for me it was life changing. I couldn’t deny it anymore and I was terrified.
That moment, that fear, it defined my sexuality for years. I did some research and decided I was a hetero-romantic bisexual: attracted physically but not emotionally to women. That label, that distinction, it made me feel safe. Less freakish.
But much like my scared fifteen-year-old self, I knew it wasn’t true. It was a shield not only from myself but also from the rampart bi-phobia all around me. Women who wouldn’t date me in case I left them for a man, men who would only date me if I agreed to a threesome – people who wouldn’t date me in case I cheated on them.
I thought that by excluding part of my sexuality that I would be more acceptable. I would be less vulnerable.
But time went on and my friends accepted me, ill-conceived flaws and all. Fellow bisexual people helped me to accept myself and who I really was. All of a sudden, my feelings toward women were validated and I wasn’t so lonely anymore.
Now I spend my time embracing my sexuality and teaching people that were as confused as I was. Because I know how it feels to be alone and I would not wish that on anybody. Love yourself, accept yourself and most importantly, accept your own happiness.
Featured image credit: Pride Outlet