*Embroidery art hangs on my wall and was purchased from the amazingly talented PamperCaps
When I was 14, I remember riding in the passenger seat of my mom’s car. We were on the freeway and I had finally screwed up my courage to say, “Mom, I think I’m bisexual.”
There was a moment of silence from her as I could see the wheels turning in her head. Then the fateful response, “It’s probably just a phase.”
I didn’t know what to say. I sat quietly turning the disappointment I felt over and over in my heart and mind. She was the parent I could come to about things like this without fear of judgment. I mean, I guess she wasn’t really judging me, but she certainly wasn’t showing support either.
Something along the lines of, “It doesn’t feel like a phase,” muttered out of my mouth before I just sort of gave up.
I never spoke to her about it again.
That doesn’t mean it went away. In fact, my earliest memory of sexual thought was with one of my best girl friends when I was 5. At 14, I recognized my sexual and romantic attraction to other women (in addition to men) as bisexuality.
But after the lack of support I felt when I opened up to my mom, I subconsciously started suppressing those desires.
The Walls We Build
I’ve never had a girlfriend, I’ve never had sex with another woman, and I’m happily married to a wonderful cishet man. I may be cisgender, but despite the truth of all these previous statements, I am not heterosexual and I never have been.
It’s made me wonder; if my mom had expressed support in that moment, would I have felt more comfortable and willing to pursue some of the many romantic and sexual attractions I felt toward women? Would I have pursued life differently? Or would I have done the same things regardless? I’ll never know and, honestly, it doesn’t really matter anyway.
For so many years, I convinced myself that just because I had never actively dated or slept with women (kissing didn’t count in these screwed up calculations), I couldn’t identify as bisexual. I wasn’t allowed to be part of that community as anything but an ally.
I built a wall between myself and those like me.
My husband knows about my sexual identity and history. It’s not like I’ve been in absolute denial. But I’ve also otherwise kept it to myself, not owning it publicly for fear of censure.
Censure from my religious family and friends, from the LGBTQIA+ community who don’t believe me because of my otherwise hetero sexual history, and even from the random people in my life who just find it a bit squidgy.
Connection With Others
Tearing down this wall built of my fear allows me to own this identity and begin connecting with it in a true and open way. I’m no longer restraining or hiding a part of myself that is what it is.
I may have no control over what my sexual identity is, but I certainly have control over how I respond to it.