I first started to realize my attraction to other girls when I was in 7th grade. Back then I was about 13, completely brainwashed by my Christian family into thinking that homosexuality would send me to hell and scared so shitless I wouldn’t allow myself to look at other girls in any manner other than a glance when it was required. This didn’t help my self-esteem, not that I look back on it. But I pushed the fact away with every fiber of my being. I felt like it was wrong, that I couldn’t possibly think…that about other girls. I talked myself into believing that I merely envied other girls, that I wasn’t attracted to them like that.
I repressed it alright, sure, but I made myself depressed over it. The time between the beginning of 7th grade and the beginning of 8th held a wondrous relationship with a man I thought I loved. The fact of the matter was I never felt the way I did with him with anyone else before, so I thought the feeling I had for him was love. Too bad for me he didn’t think the same way about me. We went out off and on for about the whole school year, but it was the last time that we got together that he cheated on me and that was the last straw. He’d managed to help keep my mind off of the situation I had found myself in at the beginning of the year.
Not long after we split I found myself looking at other guys, but the fact was I was looking at other girls, too. Again, I was scared. I felt dirty, I felt wrong and in my mind I was an abomination and a disgrace to my family for harboring such thoughts. That’s when the depression set in. I denied myself any physical or emotional attachment to people in an intimate relationship, because I was afraid I would find myself looking at girls for that intimacy. Depression has its side affects and I was not immune to them. I gained weight, a whole heck of a lot for a kid my age and fast. 8th grade quickly became the worst year of my life. So not only did I deny what I knew was in the shadows around my mind, I had to fight off ridicule for my weight issue. It only made me more reclusive, more self-conscious and so much more vulnerable. I kept friends, close ones, and slowly started to ignore people. I felt safer that way. No one could hurt me if I didn’t let them any closer than the assholes that tormented me everyday. More over, besides the weight, if my thoughts got out I would have been picked on relentlessly. That thought scared me even more.
When high school started I was wary, quiet, and horribly lonely. My freshmen year, like my 8th before it, had quickly become something of a nightmare. Though a little over halfway into my 9th grade year I found myself attracted to this one particular boy in a couple of my classes. He was a year ahead of me and very nice, not to mention a real comedian; the class clown of all people. We became good friends, but nothing ever happened between us, no matter how much I wanted it to. Something happened to keep it from going further, he moved or…something. I can’t remember, but after he was gone and my attention—that had been slightly altered from my constant paranoia of ridicule—slowly shifted back to where it had been before; I got scared. Girls weren’t supposed to be with girls, it wasn’t natural. It wasn’t right…was it?
I continued being depressed, believing that something was wrong with me. The thoughts I had repressed enough not to think so much about began to rear their ugly heads at me again. But I won that battle; I won it for the next year, too. My sophomore went by and my 11th grade term came rolling up out of nowhere. I’d learned to keep my nose in information and my friends, keeping myself from making or doing anything rash. But something happened when I started eating information. I became less of a closed mind to the world. I stared looking at it in a new light, started looking at myself in a way I hadn’t been able to in years. It was around that time that I started to question myself logically about my sexual orientation. I asked myself “Am I attracted to girls…or do I just envy them?” The answer was harder to come by than just a little concentration and thought; I had to do a little soul searching in order to figure out who I was.
One of my dearest and closest friends had recently come out as being Bi-sexual and I was curious as to how she knew she was Bi and not just envious or some other form of mixed emotions. She told me “It took me awhile, but I finally figured it out. I just like how a girl’s body is shaped, they’re pretty.” She liked guy’s toned bodies just about as much, she told me. She also told me that I would know if I was or wasn’t just by thinking about it with my feelings instead of my head. Or something of the sort, she never used that exact context. But I spent practically all of that year fighting feelings and logic. All the while I was fighting something much more painful, so much more painful I wouldn’t even let myself see the cause of my turmoil.
What I was facing was the fact that I had practically fallen in love with my other best friend. Unlike the first, she wasn’t Bi. We all knew she wasn’t, but it had never stopped me and I never quite figured out why. The fact still remained that I was in pain. Pain from what? So I liked one of my closest friends with more affection than I thought I had? Not exactly, but it was part of it. The deeper reason behind my pain was the fact that my bi friend and the friend that I had “fallen” for were—or seemed—closer to one another than either of them were to me. My friends hung on one another constantly, even linked arms or held hand in the hallway. Seeing that had always made me feel sick to my stomach, but I hadn’t figured out why—or rather wouldn’t allow myself to—until 12th grade. Seeing them like that ate away at me. It tore me apart from the inside out with the yearning I had for a more intimate relationship with my straight friend. There were many times I actually did make myself sick with the longing to be able to hold my friend in my arms the way my bi friend did. Though they never dated I always worried that they might have something behind my back. That’s why I started getting upset if they left me out of something, where just the two of them were going to do something together.
Finally, I had finally admitted to myself that I liked girls. For what though? To admit to myself that even knowing that wouldn’t change anything between my friend and I? The pain from those thoughts, along with the ones about my two friends doing something they weren’t, made me almost suicidal. I don’t look back on that in pride, but it is a part of my life’s story and a vital part to the understanding of my experience and feelings at the time. But I would finally break a little, giving way to a part of me I had most recently recognized by telling my dear friends that I was Bisexual. I told them separately, first the bi friend and then the straight one. Almost made myself sick by telling the second one, but I never said a word as to my feelings for her in particular. Her response had been “I kinda guessed.” But nothing outlandish or anything which meant one step taken and another three to leap across; this did not please me.
It took awhile longer of my yearning to overtake me again and push me past my breaking point. I sat for weeks—not continuously sitting mind you—trying to decide whether or not to tell my friend my feelings for her and how. How would I tell my closest and oldest friend what I held so close to myself that it hurt? I came right out one day while she was at my house and told her I liked her, a lot. I saw the look in her eye, I knew before that look that things would never be the way I wanted them to be and had wanted the to be for so long. I started crying as I watched her; as I listened to her tell me what I already knew.
“I’m sorry…but…I just don’t see other girls like that…” She had told me, looking sorry for me and pained, too. “I’m glad you told me though.” She continued, “That was brave…and I’m proud of you.” I couldn’t hold back any of the tears that I fought to keep in my eyes. They just kept streaming down my face, as she left the room. In a single moment I felt more crushed, more of a waste of space and a gross deformity in my life. I wanted everything to stop right then. I didn’t want to have to go on, I didn’t want to have to deal with the pain anymore or the awkwardness that would surely be betweens us afterwards.
Things have gotten better since then; though I still yearn for her I can deal with the fact that she will never be mine. Bittersweet, but at least I don’t want everything to stop anymore. We graduated this past spring, all of us 18—one of us 19—now and starting on our new lives while still keeping the old as alive as we possibly can.
Though my experience with coming out to my friends for the first time wasn’t so great, I’m glad I know another part of myself now. I haven’t told my parents, seeing as my mom is a Nazi when it comes to the Christian faith and the teaching of the bible. But I told my younger sister and I told two of my closer cousins a little more about who I am. One thing that I hold strongly to, and will always hold strongly to, is this:
Love someone for who they are, not what they are.
Love is unconditional, without boundaries or limitations of the mind or body. Mind over matter, that saying goes a long way.
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