national-coming-out-day-1024x273

Fetch the Label Maker! A Discussion on Sexuality Terminology

It has been one year since the last time I posted on here and it’s been something of a whirlwind year for me. Last year, in observance of National Coming Out Day, I talked about my struggles to come to terms with my sexuality. At that time I was still embracing the concept and I knew that there was a chance that things would evolve from that point. I was quite new to the community and there were still a great many things that I didn’t know and this year has been a wonderful experience in learning and expanding my understanding.

I’ve since learnt that there is a whole other layer of terminology for sexuality types beyond the simple 0-6 Kinsey scale. Pansexual, demisexual, polysexual, asexual. And it doesn’t end there; there are even more specifications from that point. In the last year, I’ve been introduced to a whole new vocabulary and found a new label that fits me so much better than what I’d known before. (Biromantic demisexual, in case anyone is curious).

The most common question that I’ve gotten since my last post is why having a label matters? I admitted that I knew that I wasn’t heteronormal. The people closest to me already knew that I wasn’t heteronormal. Why did it matter that I have an appropriate label for my sexuality?

The thing that people doesn’t understand is that it was never about putting a label on myself. It wasn’t that I needed something to call myself or that I needed to have some absolute definition to attach to my sexuality. For me, the magic in finding a correct term was purely in knowing that I was not alone. If that term existed, it meant that there were other people out there who were the same as me. That was the single most monumental thing that came from this whole process.

That was the single most monumental thing that came from this whole process. It wasn’t in embracing myself for who I was or knowing that the people in my life would still accept me while knowing the truth. It was the realisation that I was not alone in this world. I haven’t actually met anyone with the same sexuality as me – at least not that I know of – but the simple fact that they are out there somewhere is comfort enough. Much in the same way that discovering communities for people suffering from depression provided hope and reassurances, knowing that there are enough other people out there who feel the same as I do eases the fears and uncertainty of reinventing my self-image.

So today, on National Coming Out Day, when so many people are opening up and learning to embrace and identify their sexuality, I simply want to let them all know this one crucial detail: Whether you are ready to shout your sexuality from the rooftops or if you’re still playing things close to the vest, it doesn’t matter. In the grand scheme of things, it isn’t about the labels we attach to ourselves. It isn’t in being able to tell the world that “yes, I am ____.” It is about belonging.  It is about knowing that there are other people out there that are like you.

You are not alone.

 

2000px-ICA_flag.svg

National Coming Out Day

I never thought I would be the sort of person to do this. Frankly, I’ve gotten by for years by telling myself it’s nobody else’s business but my own. In the grand scheme of things, that’s true. The problem though, is that I was using that as an excuse. I wasn’t telling people because I didn’t want them to know. I was afraid.

I’m still afraid.

I’m tired of being afraid.

For those of you who don’t know, October 11th is National Coming Out Day. You can click the link for more information, but the gist is that it is civic awareness day where people of the LGBTQ+ community can feel empowered by “coming out” about their sexuality or gender identity. I’m sure you’ve all figured out where this is going, so I’m going to cut to the chase:

I identify as a bisexual.

Anyone who knows me well personally is probably unsurprised by this news. The few people I’ve told in person – which has honestly been fairly limited to immediate family – have simply given me looks like I’m being dense. My mom was actually able to use the term “bisexual” before I could, which was the flashing neon sign that made me realize that this is something I need to do, not for anyone else but for my own peace of mind.

I first suspected that I was “not normal” in my first year of high school. At that time in my life, I had no concept about what it meant to be bisexual, or that it was even a thing. When I realized that I was just as appreciative of pretty girl as I was of a handsome guy, I struggled to make sense of my identity. I knew that I wasn’t gay, because I was just as keen on ogling the cute guys as my other friends, but that left me with more questions than answers when it came to my burgeoning crush on Emma Watson. I ended up rationalizing it by telling myself that as an artistically inclined person, I was merely admiring the general aesthetics, and any other lingering feelings were more from a jealous desire to be like these girls than from a desire to date them.

In the last few months I have come to realize that I am an expert at “rationalizing” my way out of things I don’t want to think about.

I managed to get by for the rest of high school and a bit of college on that weak rationale. It helped me ignore my first crush on a girl who wasn’t a celebrity I had no chance of ever meeting. I continued to date guys – albeit most of them turned out to be gay guys who were still in the closet. (Yes, I can appreciate the irony.) In college I met a guy that I fell madly in love with – like cheesy, over-the-top Nicholas Sparks’ film love – and I thought surely all of that confusion was over.

I actually wrote a post a few year ago when I first became introduced to the idea of sexuality as a spectrum. Being able to think about sexuality without the constraints of labels was incredibly liberating for me, but that wiggle room also allowed me space to continue to dance around the issue. Even as I began to consider the possibility that I wasn’t “straight” like I had spent my life thinking, I found ways to play it off.

In the last few years, I turned it into a joke. Humor was my way of dealing with my confusion. Whenever the subject came up, I laughed it off. When I let myself get comfortable and my continuing crush on Emma Watson or new crush on Jennifer Lawrence cropped up in conversation, I found ways to make light of it until it was dismissed. Even with my closest friends and family, I couldn’t openly admit to the fact that I was dealing with a lot of internalized confusion.

Hell, I couldn’t admit it to myself.

It has only been within the last six months that I was able to admit, to myself and never aloud, that I wasn’t necessarily straight. Less than two weeks ago I told my mom that I might be “occasionally gay” and that’s when she said it, with simple curiosity and a pure lack of judgement: “Why don’t you just say bisexual?”

And the lights came on. I realized in that moment that even when I claimed to have accepted the fact about myself, when I told myself that I wasn’t telling people because it wasn’t their business, I was still denying it. I had spent years spiraling in concentric circles closer and closer to the truth without ever actually touching it. I had never before actually given a name to my feelings, but in that instant someone else had already embraced the word I had done everything in my power to avoid.

There was a sense of wonder and relief in my voice when I admitted, “Yeah, I might be bi.”

Which is what brings me to today. It’s what brings to me typing out my sad, pathetic story of denial and hypocrisy. While I’ve spent my life as an advocate for LGBTQ+ rights and was more than eager to accept other people for whatever they might be, I wasn’t ready to accept myself.

Today, I am.

I never imagined myself as the sort of person to publicly “come out” because I also believed that it wasn’t anyone else’s problem. I never understood all the fuss. What did it matter if other people knew?

It’s only now that I realize that coming out isn’t for everyone else. I’m not doing this because I think other people need to know. I’m doing this because I needed to know. I needed to say it, to not feel like it was my dirty little secret that would only be dragged out into the light if I happened to find a girl I liked. I told myself I wasn’t lying by keeping it quiet, but a lie of omission is still not true.

I’m tired of lying and skirting and tiptoeing about without actually saying it. I know that there will be backlash. I know that there will be people in my life who can’t accept this fact. I know that there are going to be hard times and hurtful words and more tears (I may or may not be currently crying) ahead of me, but for the first time in my life I am not afraid to face that. I finally feel like I am me, without restraint.

Tomorrow can do as it wishes; for today, I am out and I am free.

{Writing Wednesday} – “It was the Only Road…”

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.

Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna’s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: First Line – “It was the only road out of town but in retrospect, taking it was a terrible decision.”

Continue reading

{Writing Wednesday} – There Was Too Much Dust

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.
Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna‘s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: There was too much dust.

(From @writingprompt)

Continue reading

writingwednesdays_zpsfddbe0ad

{Writing Wednesday} – It Had Been Too Long

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.
Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesdays.

writingwednesdays_zpsfddbe0ad
Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna’s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

PROMPT: It had been too long.

(From @writingprompt)

Continue reading

10 Reasons You Should Support My Kickstarter Campaign

a79148ea0d4ed41889fc27433ddebd32_large

For those of you who don’t know, I’m an aspiring author. I finished the 4th draft of my manuscript, “The Truths and Lies of Happily Ever Afters,”  back in March and have since been looking into self-publishing. Well after months of searching, I’ve finally found a company that offers great editing and publishing services. However the cost is a little out of my pocketbook’s range. Never one to give up on my dreams, I decided to start a Kickstarter campaign to raise the funds needed to get my book in print.

This is where you (hopefully) come in.

So – using my limited powers of persuasion – here are 10 good reasons that you should support my Kickstarter.

1. You’re a Fan of Me

I mean, if you’re actually following this blog, you must like something that I do. And considering all I do on here is write and be snarky, you’re going to love “The Truths and Lies of Happily Ever Afters.”

The lead character is a starry-eyed dreamer with a dry, sarcastic wit – so basically me but in male teenage boy form. The protagonist is brutally honest about the way he sees the world, from his dysfunctional family to his inept teachers to the girl of his dreams.

Readers have praised the book, saying that it has a very authentic feel and relatable characters. It’s a project I’ve spent four years pouring myself into and in the end I’m quiet proud of the work I’ve accomplished. If you like what I write on here, odds are you’re going to like the book. (Which you can read, in its entirety, HERE.)

2. You’re a Fan of YA Lit

Let’s be honest here, all the great books that everyone reads are either classics or Young Adult Literature. Harry Potter, Hunger Games, Twilight. All of it is geared at young adults but we all have given in and read them at some point. Why? Because they’re fun. Young Adult literature still has something that adult literature doesn’t: innocence.

While adult books are commonly darker, gritty, and – admittedly – more realistic, YA lit is hopeful. It is aimed at those people who are just starting to be bogged down by the heaviness of the future and are still struggling to find good in an increasingly dark world.

YA lit still believes that good can conquer evil, that love can prevail, and that there is something great waiting out there for all of us.

3. You’re a Fan of Fairy Tales

“The Truth and Lies of Happily Ever Afters” is, at its core, a fairy tale. The original concept of the book was to write a male-centric version of Cinderella, and it still retains many of those aspects, but somewhere along the way it became more than that. It became a story about how those childhood fairy tales grow with us and shape who we become and how we see the world.

I’ve written on here before about how fairy tales and Disney movies led me to see the world with a different perception than many people my age might have. The protagonist is the same way, still hopefully clinging on to the visions of princesses and quests and happily ever afters that we believe so firmly in childhood but that the real world strips away from us. For anyone who ever wanted to find a real once upon a time, this is a book for you.

4. You Believe in Dreamers

Haven’t you ever had a dream? That one thing in your heart of hearts that you have always wanted to accomplish? Maybe you’ve already achieved it, or maybe you’re still working on it. Either way, wouldn’t you like it if someone would help you make it happen? Because I know I’d sure love it if people would be willing to help me make this one dream a reality.

I know that self-publishing is a huge feat. It’s going to be hard and complicated and in the end probably won’t result in any glory, but it’s what I want to do. Since I started writing at eleven years old, I knew right away that I wanted to be a published author. No matter what I had to do to make that happen, I was going to do it. Now, almost fourteen years later, I’m finally getting my chance.

5. Indie Authors are Cool!

The world of print is changing. E-books are reshaping the way that the world of publishing works, and the technological age is providing new venues for people who might never have had the chance before to express themselves and share their gifts with the world. I have chosen this route instead of conventional publishing because I believe in this new era of the arts. Indie authors have more control over their final product, so the works that you receive are in their purest form, not diluted by what editors think will sell best and make the most money.

Also I’m not going to say that indie authors work harder, but we definitely invest more money. We pay for each of the services that a contracted author receives from their publishing firm. I believe enough in what I’m doing to put my money where my mouth is, and I hope that resonates with you.

6. The Rewards are Great

I spent a lot of time plotting and planning exactly what rewards to give out for backers, and the list is extensive. From limited time promotional materials, to handmade gifts, to my writing services, to electronic or actual physical copies of the book, there’s something for everyone. It doesn’t cost much to donate, but you get something special for your money.

And there will be secret, hidden gifts for every five backers!

 7. You Have Money to Burn

Yeah, I’ll admit this one’s a lot less likely than the others, but hey, on the off chance you do… Here’s a good way to spend it!

I mean, don’t go skipping rent payments for me or anything, but every little bit helps. Even if you just donate the spare change you found under the sofa cushions, I’ll gladly take that dollar and six cents.

8. You Can Relate

Do you remember going into your first relationship thinking that things would be easy and that even if hard times came up, the power of love alone would get you through it? Now do you remember the moment when you realised that it doesn’t actually work that way? I sure do.

A lot of what makes up the spine of “The Truths and Lies of Happily Ever Afters” comes from personal experience and seeing the love lives of people close to me. I started the book just as my four-year-long relationship was ending. After years of struggling and fighting and making-up, we simply came to the realisation that love doesn’t fix everything. That perhaps we were more in love with the idea of us than we were actually in love with each other. That maybe we were together simply so we didn’t have to be alone.

This book is for everyone who has felt that agony of first love and all the joys and sorrows that come with it.

9. You’re Feeling Charitable

We all get that feeling every once in a while. Some days you just wake up and feel like doing something nice for someone else. Or maybe someone did something nice for you and you want to pass it on.

Either way, I can’t think of a more charitable thing than helping someone reach their goals.

10. It’s No Risk!

The great thing about Kickstarter is that there is no risk involved. Either the project doesn’t get funded and you keep your money, or the project gets funded and you get cool swag out of it.

(Ugh, I kind of hate myself for using the word swag. *shudder*)

I’ve used Kickstarter a few times in the past for projects I really believed in and these people always come through for you. The people on Kickstarter are passionate about their projects and more than anything they want to share them with you. Helping someone fund a project is a win-win for everyone.

 

If, after all of that, you still can’t/don’t want to donate, I understand. Sometimes it’s just not there. Still, if you can’t help with money, could you at least share the project on Facebook/Twitter/whatever other form of social media? That way it can hopefully reach an audience that is interested.

Thanks, as always, for being the amazingly awesome people that you are.

Love and jellybeans.

– Nicki

{Writing Wednesday} – “I Don’t Think You Understand”

 

Writing Prompts. Every writer has used them at some point in their career, (whether willingly or not.) They’re like an adrenaline shot to your muse. You know, usually.

Looking for a way to keep our writing fresh and versatile, my friend Anna and I are going to be starting a prompt inspired post that we call Writing Wednesday.

writingwednesdays_zpsfddbe0ad

 

Breakdown: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, on both Anna’s blog and mine, we’ll post a prompt that we’ve either found or come up with ourselves, as well as our own flash fiction or short story for that prompt. Please feel free to join us! Just make sure that when you post, you link your work back – and comment with a link – to one of ours so everyone can read yours too!

 

PROMPT: First line – “I don’t think you understand.”

(From @WritingPrompt)

Continue reading