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.

 

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.

I Am Alive!

Wow, so I kind of fell off the face of the earth there for a while… Sorry about that guys, I really have no excuse. Truth be told, this is sort of what happens every time I try to start a blog. I make it a short while and then all of the ambition leaves me in a tidal wave and I completely disappear for months on end, only to re-emerge with a sad sob story about my life being busy and whatnot.

Well, if we’re being frank, my life has been a little busy. After I got back from London it was closing in on finals week at school and I picked up a secondary schooling as well (yes, two schools at once, I’m clearly insane.) I finished my novel while on my trip and have spent a great deal of time in editing and sending out queries to agents and publishers. On top of that things got crazy at work – political nonsense I won’t bore you with – and I fell into a severe holiday slump. Finally, after weeks away it was just way too easy to stay lazy and not bother. That might make me a bad person, but at least I’m an honest one.

I feel especially bad though because I promised everyone a nice big blog post about my trip to London, and it never came. Epic fail on my part. I still intend to write one, I promise. It was an amazing trip and such a breath-taking experience that I definitely want to share it with everyone. Look forward to that coming – eventually.

Anyway, just wanted to check in and let everyone know that I am, in fact, still among the living. I’m deep in the throes of Camp NaNoWriMo at the moment so my time is a bit strapped, but look forward to new and exciting things coming next month.

Cheers!

The Post-Holiday Slump

So I promised you all a bunch of posts when I got back from my trip to London. I’ve now been back for a week and a half, and what have I given you?

Nothing.

This is literally the first time I’ve even opened up a new post to start writing. I just haven’t been able to think of words to put down on paper. It’s not easy, translating all of the amazing feelings and experiences into words.

But oh boy, was it an amazing experience.

The truth of it all is, I’ve been in a post-holiday slump. I haven’t wanted to work on anything. Not my job, or my novel, or even this silly little blog. I don’t want to knuckle down and deal with reality, because I just experienced a surreal ten days that were so unlike anything I’ve ever known. Everything was new and fresh and exciting. Even just getting up in the morning was fun – and that’s saying something, because I am not a morning person.

I walked down cobbled roads through buildings older than my entire country. I wandered through the Tower of London and saw Buckingham Palace at sunset. I lived in a culture so different from my own, a world of royalty and history. I shopped in Covent Garden and saw a play in Piccadilly Circus.

After all of that, can you blame me for being a bit grudging about coming back to the real world?

The thing is, I have to come back. I have to embrace the fact that my holiday is over and it’s time to move on. There are bills to pay and exams to study for, and all of the drudgery of real life is crushing in on me. I’m home and it’s done.

The memories, though, well those are what make even this horrible post-holiday drag worth it.

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Small Talk

Hello… ello… ello… ello

That was supposed to be an echo, in case you couldn’t tell.

So hey, it’s been a while since I’ve actually just sat down and written a blog post. Like, a LONG while. This is just how I am with blogging. I do really awesome for a while, write a dozen posts in a day, and then I taper off until I haven’t posted anything in a month.

Normally this is the point where I give up. I decide I’m clearly bored and what’s the point, it’s not like anyone was really that invested in what I had to say anyway. And that’s why I have a half dozen blogs across the internet with a handful of posts and a mound of dust inches deep on top of them.

Except I’m not letting that happen this time. It’s not just because this time I actually have a few followers (creeping closer to 100 every day…) but because for the first time I am really feeling the benefits of having a blog. It’s great for networking, for putting me in touch with people who have similar interests.

And it’s great to just have an excuse to sit and write.

I mean, I’m a novelist who is currently out of a day job, so I spend a lot of time just sitting and writing, but you know what I mean.

So here I am, just sitting and writing. I don’t know what I’m going to write about. I suppose I could write some inspiring post about how important it is to stick to your goals and knuckle under through the low points so you can enjoy the high times. But haven’t we all heard that one a thousand times already?

I made cookie dough for dinner. Just thought I’d add that in there. Clearly the low points in my diet aren’t going as well as the low points in my blogging.

Oh so in less than two weeks I’m leaving for a spring break trip in the UK. I’ll definitely write some posts about that when I get back, including some pictures hopefully if I can figure out how to get them onto my computer.

Tech savvy, I am not.

I think that’s all I’ve got to say for now. Not like things are really exciting around here, which certainly isn’t helping the “coming up with things to blog about” scene, but hey, it’s life. You gotta take the low points with the high ones.

And sometimes you just gotta eat cookie dough.

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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: Ingredients

Pasta is a feature of the Argentine cuisine

What’s the one item in your kitchen you can’t possibly cook without? A spice, your grandma’s measuring cup, instant ramen — what’s your magic ingredient, and why?

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I am completely inept at cooking. Like, so clueless I can burn water kind of ineptness.

Needless to say, I don’t exactly have a well stocked kitchen. Everything that I cook comes out of a box with clearly printed instructions on the side. I don’t have much ability when it comes to making anything more complex than a grilled cheese – and even those I have been known to burn.

When it comes to cooking for myself, there is one old standby that can never go wrong. Pasta!

And by pasta, I mean some slightly over-cooked elbow macaroni, but with a little creativity you can make it into just about anything. If you’re feeling simple, some butter and parmesan cheese. For some tang, try Italian salad dressing and olives. A little ranch and some sunflower seeds gives it a country salad feeling. Or you can go with marinara for a cheap spaghetti.

Basically, I love pasta. It’s cheap, it’s easy, and it’s hard for me to ruin it.

Although just give me some time, I’ll figure a way…

Daily Prompt: Ingredients (dailypost.wordpress.com)

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