No one has ever thought to ask me “were you always bisexual?” But I ask myself. I wonder sometimes in small moments of silence how my own sexuality progressed. How it took shape. If it was always there or if I created it myself, or if I am a product of my environment.
I often speak with the knowledge of someone who is heterosexual because I feel like I used to be heterosexual. Was I straight, or was I only straight because I had not yet realize that I was bi? There is no right or wrong answer when it comes to your own personal experiences with sexuality. Some people say they always knew.
I can look back at a series of events and say that I was most certainly less-than-straight as long as I have memories. But am I simply applying this knowledge that I’ve accumulated onto those memories? Am I viewing my heterosexual youth through bisexual glasses? I felt straight. I did. Until I learned what being bi-sexual meant. And then I had a new label to use, and that fit too.
Later on I learned what “sexually fluid” meant and I proclaimed with absolute certainty that that’s what I was. Fluid. I was never straight or bi and I wasn’t gay, I was fluid. Later I learned queer, and after researching it on the internet, I realized that’s what I was, queer. But then I met some people who were queer and I never felt quite queer enough. Had they shaped that label to exclude people like me, or had I never really belonged there to begin with? Was there some new word waiting around the corner?
I can relate to heterosexuality because I spent the first 18 years of my life as someone who was heterosexual. That’s the easiest way to put it. I certainly don’t think I became bisexual but I hadn’t figured that all out yet. Can you be bisexual if you aren’t being bisexual? Or, better yet, are you being bisexual even if you don’t know you’re bi? Oh, now we’re getting confounding, what does it all mean?
Labels only have meaning once you take them on. Until you take that label on, you can’t possibly be judged by the collection of your behaviors, your mentality. You can’t be judged by your dating history or your sexual resumé. It just allows judgement to seep in through the cracks. It allows other people to say “Well, I can do the math, you’re definitely gay. Look at your male to female sex partner ratio!”
So I was living hetero, but I don’t think I ever was hetero. Does that make sense? It was a comfortable place for me to be because it was what I was taught was normal. I could easily slip into it. Not everyone can, and not everyone does, but I did. And then when I grew up and got wiser I began to have the ability to explore all those other things that were out there.
Labels are tricky because you don’t always fit into them just right. Sometimes you’re this, sometimes you’re that. I feel like I’ve been all kinds of different people crammed into just this one little body.
I have never been gay, I will never be trans. I won’t know what it’s like to take hormones. I’ve never been kicked out of my home, and my risk for homelessness is very small. I’ve never done drugs, never been an addict, I’ve never known what it’s like to lose someone to all. I don’t like to drink to forget who I am. I don’t smoke. I’ve never been beat. I’ve never been abused. I’ve never had a penis, nor have I ever had the brain of a man, with all these different hormones. With all these different experiences. No, never lived as a boy. Never had to confront my masculinity. I’ve never had to act stronger than I really was and I’ve never had to hold back tears. I’ve never been poly, I don’t think, not really, although I tip toe on the line and I wonder what it would be like. I wonder if I’ll ever be there. Not “there” as in progress, but “there” as in a different place. A different destination. I’ve never been black. I’ve never been latina, asian. I’ve never been handicapped. I’ve never felt like I didn’t belong in the country that I live in. I have all my limbs. I am mostly sane, as sane as can be, I think. I’ve never won any real awards, not really. I’ve never had some high paying job. I’ve never felt like money wasn’t an issue. But I’ve also never felt hungry. I’ve never felt worried I wouldn’t eat.
There are a lot of things I’ve never experienced a lot of things that I will never experience and the only experiences that I can talk about are my own. The strange bout of heterosexuality, the discovery of bisexuality, the confrontation of my somewhat-queerness. The serial monogamy, and the ethical non-monogamy. The desire to learn more and more, the frustration that knowledge cannot be calculated, that wisdom is worth so little. I can speak as a college student, as someone who writes, as someone who had all these little bits of experiences. I’m white and I’m cis and I’ll always be those two things. I am frustrated by my privilege because I never know how to properly confront it. How to admit that I am both so lucky and both so tired all the time, because I know others are more tired than I am.
No one has ever asked me why I am the way I am or when I figured it out, and that’s probably because I’m still figuring it out. But I do know all these things that I’m not, will never be, or have had the great pleasure of avoiding so carefully thus far. And I know that every experience is different. I know that the stories people have are important. That each story can add something new. Can teach you something. I know that I am the only person that is capable of telling my story, and you are the only person capable of telling yours.
WIthin the small little details of what you eat for breakfast and how you manage to make it to the end of the day is some greater lesson about how we become to be who we are.