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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.

 

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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.

Daily Prompt: It’s Friday, I’m in Love

Remember your first crush? Think about that very first object of your affection. Oh, the sweaty palms. The swoony feeling in your stomach. Tell us the story of your first crush. What was it about this person that made your heart pound? Was the love requited? Change the names to protect the guilty or innocent if you must! No judgement here. Happy Valentine’s Day!

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As I mentioned in my post “Help! I’m in Love With a Fictional Character” I am always more likely to get a crush on a character than an actual person. Well that’s not a new development in my life. Even as a little girl, my first few crushes were on characters I saw on the television.

I still remember my very first crush – at the tender age of about 3 1/2 – and my sweeping declaration that one day I would marry him. He was sweet and loyal and fun-loving, and he had the most charming laugh. And that lucky man was… Mickey Mouse.

Mickey greeting guests at Disneyland Park

Don’t laugh, I was 3! The fact that he was an animated mouse was completely inconsequential.

Part of me still loves that mouse, although I’ve accepted that it’s a love that will never be. (I still hold a grudge against Minnie for stealing him away from me…)

My next crush, at the age of 5, was on none other than Han Solo from the Star Wars trilogy.

Han Solo

Now there’s a man! I’ve got a bit of a thing for anti-heroes. A little gruff, a little rugged, and a little devil may care but with a secret core of good. And we all know he was a little bit of a romantic too underneath it all. I’ve been known to use the “I know,” line on guys when they tell me they love me.

I also use “Laugh it up, fuzzball,” but that’s usually in entirely different situations.

Truth be told, I don’t even remember my first actual person crush. I know that when I started school and finally started meeting kids my age, I was completely floored by the sheer number of boys in my classes. There were so many of them, in all different shapes and sizes. I was a little boy crazy, and I’m pretty sure that at some point, I had a crush on every boy in my year.

I just don’t quite remember what order it happened in…

In the end though, it’s not the boys in my school that helped to shape the men I look for now. It’s those early character crushes. Which is why my dream man is sweet, fun-loving, a little cavalier, but secretly a bit of a romantic.

If that guy is reading this… Happy Valentine’s Day! Gimme a call, yeah? 😉

 

 

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Daily Prompt: BFFs

What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned from the person you’re the closest to?

I want to preface this by saying that as far as best friends go, I have always lucked out. I’ve had a handful of really close friends in my life because of moving around and changing personalities. As a little kid I had a first best friend, although when I moved we drifted out of touch for a long time and have only just recently reconnected – thank you technology!

In the end though I’ve got one person I would consider my absolute best friend. We met when I first moved to my small town – she introduced herself by offering to shake hands, despite the fact that we were only ten – and we became inseparable almost immediately. Now, almost fifteen years later, she’s still my best friend and I wouldn’t trade her for the world. She’s been there for everything – the ups and downs, all of those pivotal moments of growing up and becoming an adult.

She’s more than just a friend; she’s family.

There are a lot of really great things that I’ve learned from my best friend through the years. There were so many valuable lessons about growing up that I can attribute to her simply because was went through them together. However, if I’m going to limit this to lessons not that we learned together, but that she taught me, it would be the simple lesson of trying

I will freely admit that for a great deal of my life I was a withdrawn, anxious doormat. To an extent, I suppose I still am a little bit. I was always content to simply coast, to deal with the standard, mediocre and basic. I was okay with just getting by and never really putting myself out there. Thinking back on it, I can pinpoint almost every great chance that I took to her encouragement. And every one of those chances that I took led to discovering something great about myself and introduced me to something new that would shape who I have become today.

At her prodding, I auditioned for my first musical and found a brilliant new form of art that I still revere. It was because of her that I took up dance, since she had been a dancer from nearly birth, and I realised a new form of self-expression that helped me get through the stress of high school. And when it comes down to it, I also took up writing because of her – it was a project we picked up together – and we all know how much that’s affected me.

She urged me to try new things and open myself up to my artistic side, something I had been too complacent to bother with much before. It is because of these early instances of trying that I have the courage to take the chances I do today; posting my thoughts to an online audience, seeking publication, and taking spontaneous trips across the world just because I want to.

That day in November of ’99 when she took a chance on the new girl transformed me forever.

 

 

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Romantic Realism

Author: Bagande

I’m not a girly girl and I’m not really much of a romantic. I know that’s probably pretty hard to believe after all my talk of fairy tales and Disney movies, but the truth is that I’m not really into the classic notions of romance. I don’t do roses and fancy dinners and sparkly jewellery, and the idea of a big wedding completely boggles me.

 

And I really, really hate Valentine’s day.

 

The truth of the matter is that while I like big romantic happily ever afters in films and books, in real life it just doesn’t make sense to me. It seems like a whole lot of fuss over nothing important.

 

I’m not saying that I don’t believe in love, or that I think love isn’t worth celebrating. I’m just a bit more practical when it comes to expressing it. I don’t like the grand romantic gestures.

 

I like the little stuff.

 

I like spending a comfortable night in, watching a film or playing video games. I like the simple companionship of just existing together in the same place. I don’t want elaborate displays of affection or expensive gifts. I want someone who will help me fold laundry and buy me that new film I wanted to see.

 

I guess when it comes down to it, I just feel like romance is too overstated. People make such a spectacle of it. Do you really need to spend a year planning and thousands of dollars on a wedding, making it into such a show that the focus is on the material instead of the love that you’re vowing? Can’t we just let love speak for itself?

 

Call me crazy but I don’t want a prince charming who will sweep in and carry me away to live forever in a castle. I don’t want to be waited on or to be showered with affection on that one day a year. If I’m going to spend the rest of my life with someone, I want them to be real. To tease me and fight with me and who enjoys my company. I just want someone who wants to be at my side; an equal and partner.

 

I want a best friend. Or, you know, a best friend with benefits, I suppose.

 

Is it just me or does our modern culture romanticise romance?

 

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I Will Never Forget | An Original Poem

I will never forget
Your strong, intense eyes;
Clearer than diamonds,
And bluer than skies.

I will never forget
Your passionate smile,
Wild and exotic,
Yet timid and mild.

I will never forget
The touch of your hand.
So warm and gentle,
Like walking on sand.

I will never forget
Your true, warm embrace,
Together so close
Our two hearts do race.

I will never forget
The brush of your kiss
Soft, exhilarating,
So passionate this.

I will never forget
The depth of your love,
Much truer than life,
A gift from above.

I will never forget
How I feel for you.
I know nothing else
Could be so true.

Yet time rusts all things
And we’ve grown apart.
We went different ways,
Both with broken hearts.

As the years fly away
I look back on our time.
In remembrance of passion
I reflect with this rhyme.

Alone we both are
Yet even though love fled
The memories of our romance
Are still not quite dead.

Until the day I retire
To that eternal repose
My feelings for you
Are ones that I chose.

And you, I will never forget…

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A Mother’s Gift | An Original Poem

Skulking beneath your crinkled foil coat,
Lurking and waiting,
Impatiently hoping,
And all the while clouding my conscience.

You were brought in great honor;
A noble gift,
A motherly affection,
But you send fearful chills up my spine.

All yellow and green and brown,
The foul colors
In a soup of gray,
Like bile or brains in a cheap horror film.

And your image fits with your smell:
Moist, rot, and decay.
A nasal assassin,
This reeking enemy of the nose.

In good faith you were accepted
With false smiles
And empty thanks,
Before you were stashed away.

I pushed you to the back shelf,
Behind drinks
And edible treats,
Where your metallic shield could be hidden.

Still I cannot forget you are there,
Waiting and lurking,
Silently crying,
And gnawing away at my mind.

I want to just be rid of you now,
To trash you,
Or drown you
And watch you sink down the disposal.

Of course she’d know what I’d done.
She’s a mother,
She would just know.
And the shame and guilt stay my hand.

So for now you still haunt my fridge;
As a monster,
Or a smelly ghost,
But perhaps tomorrow will be your demise.

Yes, perhaps tomorrow…

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