Exactly one year ago today, we started this blog. (Yeah, the time’s flown by for us as well!) And because it’s our first blogiversary, we wanted to do a little thing to celebrate that. So, for the next ten days or so, we’re hosting a series of guest bloggers, to talk about whatever topic they choose (LGBT-related, obviously), and then finishing up with a post by us, as an extra thank you for all the support you’ve shown us.
(Because, in case it wasn’t clear, we wouldn’t be doing this without that support.)
When Charlotte invited me to write something for her and Anna’s Reads Rainbow initiative, I practically threw myself at the opportunity because I already knew what I wanted to write. I’ve a running monologue in my head for the past few years that likes to sneak up on me at the oddest of hours.
You see, I have a story I’ve wanted to share for quite some time now, but have never really had the chance to do so. It’s too long to put into a tweet, and it feels a little too much to say out loud–I’m not in the closet per say, but I’m not necessarily open about my sexuality either. I don’t really plan on changing that bit anytime soon–I’m pretty comfortable where I am right now–but I’m really ready to get this monologue off my chest.
I’m bisexual. I accepted this fact back in the summer before I turned 20 years old. “Accepted” being the keyword here. I originally typed the preceding sentence as “I realized this fact,” when it struck me that a realization is not an authentic description of the moment. It was acceptance.
That morning, I’d woken up after having a dream. A dream in which I was dating a girl. This kind of dream was not new to me–in fact, I’d been having dreams like these since I was in high school. Middle school, even. In all honesty, these kinds of dreams were typically how I knew I had a crush on someone beyond the initial infatuation phase because I guess my subconscious and I had a pretty big disconnect back in the day.
So imagine my utter shock when I started to have those same dreams about girls. I spent years making excuses–I watched Inception, I know your brain fills your dreams with people you see a lot in your life, and most of my friends were girls–or just pretending like I never had those dreams. Out of pure shame. I was hoping they’d just go away once I stopped being a horny, love-starved teenager.
But they didn’t go away. I went into college, going on Tinder dates with men, hitting on the guys in my classes, and still waking up in shame after dreaming about being intimate with a girl.
So one day in the summer at age 19, I woke up from one of those dreams–and by this point, I’m starting to get a little more in touch with myself–and I think, “What if I like girls?”
And I sat there for a few minutes, mustering up the courage parkour over those giant walls of shame I’d built around myself for so long, before I finally said, “I’m bisexual.”
Not to sound cheesy, but that moment felt like puzzle pieces falling into place, a key fitting perfectly into a lock. It was a moment of utter relief, like finally accepting something I’d known in some corner of my brain for so long let me feel more like myself than I had in some time.
I’m 23 years old now, and while my conviction of my sexual orientation hasn’t broken, it definitely has wavered.
The inconvenient truth about being bisexual, I’ve learned over the last three years, is that there’s no good standard for what bisexuality really is. The accepted societal image of a bisexual person is probably the furthest thing from what being bi is actually like.
If you take a look at popular media, most bisexual characters fit one mold: the incredibly self-confident, suave, charming, flirts with everybody without gender preference type.
(They’re also generally way above standards of conventional attractiveness and are just this side of promiscuous.)
Here’s the thing though: being bi doesn’t mean twice the confidence, twice the options, and twice the charm.
It’s twice the self-doubt, twice the uncertainty, twice the incapability of not knowing how to act in front of the person you like.
If I had a nickel for the amount of times I questioned if I was actually a lesbian because the idea of men just disgusted me at the moment or if I was straight and just faking it because I couldn’t stop thinking about the guy I met at that cookout, I’d be swimming in cash. Not to mention the nagging thought, “Am I really attracted to that gender? Or do I just like the idea of it?” Lastly, how do you tell people you’re bi if you don’t have Level 100 Flirting skills?
Bisexuality doesn’t have to come with this flimsy sort of handle on your identity. I’m convinced a person can say they’re bisexual and not suddenly inherit imposter syndrome. The only problem is that nobody’s ever shown us what normal bisexual experiences are. Books don’t give us characters with an 80/20 gender preference. Movies don’t give us lowkey and unsure of themselves bi characters. TV shows don’t give us characters who play internal ping pong with their gender identity and sexual orientation.
I’m only now starting to learn that identifying as bisexual and feeling all of this on a regular basis is normal. It is one of many bisexual experiences. There is no one way to be bi, but there are quite a few ways that, if made more known through books, movies, and tv shows, could help a lot of people achieve peace of mind a lot more quickly. But for now, I, and many others, are still learning how to deal with all this on our own.
Somehow, even all that reconciling my identity I did three years ago, true acceptance still seems a ways away.
Hi! I’m Shri, an Indian-American blogger with a huge soft spot for fantasy and OwnVoices books.