I have been questioning my sexuality since my first year of high school, so for about eight years now, and to be honest, I am still not certain how I want to identify myself in that regard. At first, I was frustrated with myself for not being about to put a label on it because I felt it meant that if I wasn’t able to do so, then I didn’t really know who I was, and that was an upsetting thought.
It was over this summer that I finally accepted the fact that I am not only attracted to men, but to women too. I feel like I may have known this about myself a lot sooner, but in the past, I was too afraid to admit that. But then I realized that I wanted to be truthful to myself, and so I chose to accept myself for who I am, something I didn’t know how to do when I was younger. As a twenty-two-year-old woman, I am choosing to be kind to myself after so many years of being my own worst critic, and in order to truly be kind to myself, I had to confront what I was feeling. There were a lot of tears before I told my friend, who I have known since I was two, that I was not straight, but bi. I feared that she would see me as evil, someone who deserved punishment or to be damned to Hell, but that’s not what happened. She told me that although she may not fully understand why or how I feel this way, that she still loves me, cares for me, and wants me to be happy. She accepted me. And, I know that this is not always the case for everybody, and because of this, I feel both grateful to have a friend as accepting as her, but also heartbroken for those who have friends or loved ones who do not accept them. And, if you are reading this and your loved ones don’t accept you for who you are, well I want you to know that I accept you and I am sending you love.
But that’s not where my story ends. I had more conversations to have with my loved ones. Some went well, and some not so well, but I can always count on one person to fully support me, and that is my partner. I have been in a long-term, committed heterosexual relationship with my boyfriend for five years, and so, you may probably be thinking that after I told my friend that I had to tell him, well sorry to tell you this, but WRONG! We have had this conversation many times before, about me questioning my sexuality, about me being attracted to both men and women, and each time he has told me that it changes nothing, that he still loves me and accepts me for who I am, and for that, I cannot even put into words how grateful I am to have him as a partner and a best friend.
So after I came out as bi, at least for a little bit I felt happy, but then I became anxious about if this actually was my identity or if this was who I really wanted to be labeled as. I had thoughts like, “well, if I have a preference for men over women, am I still bi?” Or, “well I don’t know for sure, but I think I’m not bi ‘enough’, because of x,y, and z.” I expressed these thoughts to my boyfriend, and what he told me was a revelation: “you don’t have to put a label on it if you don’t want to.” As soon as he said that, I felt free. Before this eye-opening conversation, one which made me want to tell my story, I felt as though I had to have a label, that it was the “right” or the “normal” thing to do, that I wouldn’t be accepted without a label. But, I don’t think that’s how it works. You should not be forced into a label if you feel it is not right for you, and for me now it doesn’t feel right. Besides, who is to say that in a year, five, ten, or twenty-plus years that a label will feel right, and if so I can make that decision for myself in the future, but for now I am choosing to accept and love myself without a label, and you know what, that’s alright with me.