Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Asking questions, maybe getting answers

I've continued to wonder how it took me so darned long to figure out I'm bi, and while reading a book on bisexuality this evening a possible answer occurred to me. Or maybe I should say, part of a possible answer occurred to me.

Reminder: I questioned my orientation some when I was 19, returned to lying to myself and insisting "I'm straight!!!", then when I was almost 23 I finally came stomping out of the closet and was upset with myself for not knowing it sooner.

Ok, so I guess I wasn't stomping out of the closet. After all, it took me about six months to tell my boyfriend. Don't ask me why, I really don't know. Probably because I was uncomfortable with myself at first, and then didn't see why it should be a big deal.

But back to why and how I fought being bisexual for so long, and lied to myself that I was straight. I think it basically comes down to two assumptions I had.

1) To begin with I believed that everyone was straight or gay. You liked guys or girls. I obviously liked guys, as was the norm, so I couldn't possibly be into girls.

Looking at it now, that was some pretty narrow thinking for me. Then again, it's what a lot of people assume. Plus, I was so busy struggling with ADHD and a speech disorder (I couldn't even say my own name correctly!) that I may have subconsciously tried to avoid being different in any additional way when I hit puberty.

2) I thought that everyone just knew their sexual orientation up front. I couldn't understand why people would have to spend time questioning it, or how they could even change their labels.

This second fact means that even once I learned about (and finally believed in) the existence of bisexuality, I was unable to apply the new found knowledge to myself despite my obvious attraction to my own gender. Heck, I even remember thinking things like "Why am I getting nervous around this beautiful girl like I do around cute guys? It's the same sort of feelings, but that's impossible. I'm straight!" That I wasn't should have been obvious, but I couldn't even consider it.

As you may have guessed from the last paragraph, I did deny the existence of bisexuality when I first learned about it. I don't remember who told me about it or when, but I thought it was a joke. Probably because it wasn't someone coming out to me, but rather someone telling me about this weird (to me) thing. I'm glad I can say, though, that I didn't doubt it when a friend came out to me as pansexual. Was I stunned? Yes. Did I argue? No. I took it for granted that someone would know their own sexual orientation.

...and while maybe not the whole of the answer to my original question, that last little bit is probably the biggest reason why it took me so long to come out to myself.


Debra She Who Seeks said...

The important thing is that you DID figure it out!

Sarita Rucker said...

True. :) I'm still pondering the why though, since it still seems strange.

Magaly Guerrero said...

I'm with Debra. Not literally, or her Strange One might kill me. But I agree. The important thing is that you know. What is (or might not be) for someone else doesn't matter all that much.

Sarita Rucker said...

I certainly am glad that I finally figured it out. :) I've been a lot more comfortable with myself since figuring it out and then getting used to the idea.

C OMara said...

That's great! I can relate to your process. Once you become open to your same sex attractions, you see the world and your experiences with clearer eyes. Coming out to myself and others helped me look back at previous experiences with more self insight and it's helped me make better choices for myself in the future. Also, considering internalized biphobia, it's not uncommon for women to come out into their adulthood. Our sexuality continues to peak well into our 30's. Have you read Lisa Diamond's book "Sexual Fluidity".

C OMara said...

I could've written some of the same exact things you did. As women, our sexuality doesn't peak until we hit our 30's which is why so many of us come out later in life. Have you read "Sexual Fluidity: Understanding Women's Desire" by Lisa Diamond? I really liked her book. You may like it too. It's very thorough. I'm so happy you are out to yourself and to your partner and others. What a loving thing for you to do for yourself. Also, I love your gratitude jar too. That's a great thing to do. Hopefully, your self discovery has helped you see the world with clearer eyes, allowing you to interpret your past experiences with greater insight. Life's a journey and embracing it's uncertainty is likely the most challenging aspect of it.

Sarita Rucker said...

Sorry it took me a few days to find and publish your comment.

I haven't read that book, but I think I'd heard of it and will definitely put it on my to read list. Bisexuality is something is a topic that I'm wanting to read up on. (I'm also interested in reading other LGBTQIA books, but with only so much time in the world I'm focusing on us bis for now.) I've also found that coming out can put previous experiences in a new light, for example the "Why am I getting nervous around this beautiful girl like I do around cute guys? It's the same sort of feelings, but that's impossible. I'm straight!" line of thinking that I mentioned in the post. I look back and am sort of like "well duh..." :)