By the time you read this page, you've probably already discovered that I am
bisexual. That information came quickly to you, even if you have known me since
I came online and didn't know that til now. For me, that knowledge took about
33 years to gain and another 4 to reach that final acceptance by "coming out".
What follows is the story of how I came to realize my bisexuality and just
exactly what bisexuality means to me.
I was raised Roman Catholic, so from the earliest days I can remember after becoming aware of sexuality, homosexuality was something only disgusting people did. At that point, I wasn't even aware that bisexuality existed. I don't remember when I learned about bisexuality, but I do remember my first impression was one of disdain. I remember hearing rumors about certain people being bisexual or homosexual and thinking "Yuck! How can they do that?" It was an attitude born of ignorance and intolerance. And hopefully it goes without saying that it is one I no longer hold.
As I was growing up, until probably the tenth grade, I never remember having a crush on a boy. I tried to fit in with the other girls by ooohing and aaaahing over the teen idols of the time...Bobby Sherman and David Cassidy. But even then I knew it was an act. The first time I felt the inkling of a crush was when I was maybe ten or eleven. My sisters and I were playing house with the two girls who lived next door to us. We fought about who got to be the mom, who got to be the dad and who got to be the kids. I ended up being the dad. So like all good husbands/fathers, when I came home from "work", I walked into the "house" (actually the back deck of my neighbor's house), put my arm around my "wife" and kissed her hello. It was a very brief kiss on the cheek...my lips may not even have touched her face...I don't really remember. What I do remember is the feeling of contentment and happiness that washed over me. However, being only ten or eleven (and remembering I was raised Catholic), I had no idea what that feeling really meant. Just that it felt good. It felt...right.
I didn't have that feeling again until I was in the summer after ninth grade. I was at Girl Scout camp to train to be a counselor at summer camps and one of the other girls who came to the training drew me like a magnet. I wanted to be in the same tent as she was. I wanted to be in the same group she was when we were sent to learn different skills. I wanted to sit next to her at meals and during the discussions we'd have about the duties and responsibilities of camp counselors. She was so beautiful to me and to this day, there isn't a thing I wouldn't do for her, although she knows nothing about my feelings for her back in those days. And the love I feel for her now is simply that of an old and dear friend. By this time, I was aware of my sexuality (and, so I believed, my orientation), but I still had no idea that I had fallen in love for the first time.
In tenth grade, I did develop a crush on a guy. I remember feeling a sense of relief. Looking back, I realize that I must have already been questioning my orientation because I had never had a crush (or so I thought). I could now tell myself that I was "normal". I liked guys! I did date guys in high school and began to explore my sexuality. I had even convinced myself I could not live without one of the guys I dated. But when we stopped dating, my heartbreak was over quickly. And I was off to college!
One of the first people I met after arriving at the dorm was one of those people everyone wants to be around. She had a wonderful sense of humor that kept everyone laughing. She was warm, out-going, self-confident and personable. I found myself once again wanting to be around her. It wasn't quite as easy as it had been at Girl Scout camp. For one thing, we were in separate colleges and had no classes together. There was no set time for dinner in the dorms, but she was always the one I'd go looking for to see if she was ready to eat. When I got back from classes, she was always the first one whose door I'd knock on to see if she was there. If we were at a party, I'd always want to be at least in the same room with her. If we were at a bar (the drinking age in Wisconsin at the time was 18) and several friends wanted to go to another bar, I'd follow her lead. If she went, I went; if she stayed, I stayed. (I can see it now...all my roommates from college going "Was it me??" If you ask, I'll tell you, but otherwise, the secret is mine...)
During my last semester in college, I fell in love again. (Please remember that this is seen in retrospect...at the time, I never even considered the feelings I had for these ladies as being love.) She and I were in the same college, but she was in another engineering field than I, so we didn't have any classes together. But at least we ran into each other in the halls. And we went out to the bars together. Like me, she was in the co-op program, which added a year to the time we were in school. (For me, it only added a semester because I took extra classes in order to graduate only a semester late). So most of the people we'd gone to school with for four years had graduated. Oftentimes, she and I would go out for ladies night at one of the bars. Or go to lunch at the student union. She confided many things in me and that feeling of trust and closeness gave me a sense of intimacy that I found very comforting and fulfilling. There were times when she would end up crying and I'd put my arms around her to comfort her. It felt so right to hold her and comfort her, but I would still not even consider that I had fallen in love. (See last line in paragraph above...LOL)
Then I moved out to Colorado and met the man I would later marry. (For all the details on that, click here.) It was shortly after my youngest son was born that I started to write. I became almost possessed when writing. Sometimes I'd stay up all night and have twenty pages of new stuff in the morning. (I wrote it all by hand— single-spaced, very tiny print, both sides of a sheet of loose leaf paper.) Often times, I'd have to reread what I'd written because it didn't make sense to me. Some of the ideas that were on the paper were new to even me. But after several readings, and hours or days of long thought, I could see the "truth" in what I'd written. (Truth is in quotes because of my belief that truth is relative to where you are in life. What is true for me may not be true for you and vice versa.)
After moving back to Pennsylvania in '92, I began to write profusely. We were living with my parents till we could get our own place, and my mother had a computer downstairs. I spent many long nights at that computer, sometimes not coming to bed till very early in the morning. While I had been eager for my mother to read my first few books, I was now reluctant to show her what was coming from my creative muses. The stories were still love stories that showed the strength and power of unconditional love, still had a theme of spiritual growth in them, but the characters had changed. The books were now exploring the love between two women. The first time I delved into the topic, I told myself I was just trying to help others understand why other women were lesbians and/or bisexual. While my spiritual beliefs had long since decided that the gender of the body didn't matter when it came to love, my mind was not ready to deal with the possibility that I was one of those women.
Then my marriage started to fall apart. In the process of trying to figure out what why, I came face to face with the issue of my own sexuality. After many long and hard self-introspective sessions, I finally came to the realization that I might be one of those women I was writing about. I was bisexual. I told my then husband about my "suspicion" and he said, "That's fine, but what does it have to do with us?" His acceptance is something I anticipated because he shared my spiritual beliefs, but it was comforting nonetheless and I am still grateful for his acceptance.
I'm not sure when I finally began to refer to myself as bisexual. I think the first time was probably in September of 1995 when I began writing to inmates in prison. I don't remember how the issue came up, but it often did. I suppose because I was writing to someone who, chances were, I'd never meet, I felt safe revealing my orientation. Perhaps my need to come out, despite my inability (or unwillingness) at the time to face the fall out of revealing it to my family and friends, found an outlet in my correspondence to the people in prison. Not one of them stopped writing back to me because I was bisexual and that acceptance was comforting. I did not feel like I was hiding so much because there were people out there who knew. I did tell one of my friends during a discussion about self-discovery and spirituality, and once again, found total acceptance. I also told one of my college roommates, although not the one I had fallen in love with. During a phone call she had mentioned one of her best friends had just left her husband because she thought she might be a lesbian. I mentioned that some of my books explored lesbian and bisexual relationships, but didn't mention that I was bisexual. After we'd hung up, I felt like such a liar. I sat down and wrote her a long letter in which I revealed that I was bisexual and how I came to that realization. But to the rest of the world, I said nothing.
Then in mid-March, 1997, I went on-line. I found myself in a chat room called Women's Wire. While I knew that I could be anyone I wanted to be in a virtual room, I made a conscious choice to be who I was. Over the course of several weeks, the topic came up several times and I was always open about my bisexuality. Until my real life sister-in-law appeared in the same chat room! Then suddenly I was faced with the choice of either being outed (not necessarily intentionally) by someone else or of coming out to her myself. The decision was agonizing but in the end, I decided that I had to be true to myself. At one of our family functions, I told her that I had to talk to her privately, but we never had a chance that evening. So I called her one night when I knew her husband (my oldest brother but still younger than me) would not be home. I had run through so many negative scenarios in my mind that my stomach was in knots and I had a lump the size of Texas in my throat. I rambled for a long time before I finally came to the point. Her reaction was something of a "letdown" after all the agonizing I'd done over coming out to her. She said, "I always kind of thought you might be." I asked her not to tell my brother yet...not because I feared he would reject me so much as I was afraid that he would not allow me to come out to the rest of my family in my own time.
When I hung up the phone, the adrenaline rush hit me. My hands started shaking and I literally had to hold onto something to keep from falling. It felt like a ton of weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The closet door had been cracked open and I could see the glimmer of light outside. But I was not ready yet to fling the door wide open. About three weeks after coming out to my sister-in-law, I told my youngest sister. I'd called her one day and as we were getting ready to hang up, I told her to call me someday soon when her husband was not home because I had something I needed to talk to her about privately. When I finally was able to talk to her again, I once again beat around the bush before I came to the point. Her reaction too took me by surprise. She said, "I knew that's what you were going to tell me!" And from her too I found acceptance instead of the rejection I feared. It only took me about a week and a half to get up the courage to come out to the next member of my family— my youngest brother. Once again, I didn't get the reaction I expected. He said, "Is that all? I thought you were gonna tell me you were dying or something!" He too offered his support.
Buoyed by the positive reaction I'd gotten so far, I resolved to fling the door wide open. On May 30, I revealed my orientation to my remaining siblings. And from each of them I found acceptance and support. That night in chat, I had a very large coming out party. It lasted long into the night as the adrenaline rush of finally shedding the mask I had been wearing coursed through me. I felt a sense of freedom and empowerment that I had never known before. I felt like I had been reborn and was being given a second chance to really live my life. But I still had one hurdle to overcome.
I held off telling my parents until the following Sunday because I was not sure how they would react and my niece was celebrating her first birthday on the 31st (even though her birthday is June 6) and I didn't want there to be any negative fallout for her first birthday party. So while my parents still did not know, when I arrived at my niece's party, I knew all my siblings did. I felt completely different inside. I had a new self-confidence that I had never felt around them before. The feeling was so uplifting that I wanted the party to last forever.
My coming out to my mother was hard. Although she said she didn't understand, she said she still loved me. But she started to cry because she said she didn't want me to have to face all the harassment that society would heap on me. [She had a valid point and I experienced some of that discrimination when I was kicked out of the Boy Scouts.] She said she had hoped that I would someday find a nice guy who could be a good role model for my two sons. I told her I didn't know what the future held but that whatever it was, I was grateful that I still had her love and support. And at the time, I didn't know what that future held because while I was coming out from one closet, part of me was still in another. But I've already told that story and if you want to read about how I found the lady of my dreams, click here.
Before I close, I'd like to relate what bisexuality means to me. What it doesn't mean is that I want to have sex with a man and a woman at the same time. (Truth be told, I don't want to have sex any more at all, although I hope to want to make love till the day I leave this body.) My spiritual beliefs tell me the soul has no gender. And it also tells me that Love knows no bounds and is limited only by the limits we place on it. Bisexuality simply means that I will love my lifemate regardless of the gender of their body. My first lifemate was a male. My current lifemate is a female. God forbid something should ever happen to her, but if it does, I will await my next lifemate and love them whether they be male or female. For more thoughts on what it means to be bisexual and gay in a straight society, you can read this too.
For those of you who may think that any orientation other than heterosexuality is wrong, I am not even going to try to convince you otherwise. Your beliefs are just as valid as mine, but they apply ONLY to you. I will not attempt to force my beliefs onto you and expect the same courtesy in return. (Remember, I didn't ask you to come to this page and you can always leave if you feel the need.) This story was not written for you. It was written for those who are questioning their own sexuality. It was written with the hope that maybe someone in a similar situation will be able to find resolution to the confusion that may be in their hearts and minds. That two people who are in love but don't realize it because they are the same gender may recognize themselves in my story and allow themselves to fully experience the love they deserve. With those words, I will close this little story.
With Love and Light,