I deserve a girlfriend. It’s time.
An innocuous statement, but that wasn’t always the case. After all, I wouldn’t have even been able to say that a few years ago.
At the tender age of twenty-five, I am an out and proud lesbian. This means that I am sexually and romantically attracted to women. It was a long road to get to the point where I could determine this. A road I reflect on often, trying to piece together years of realizations and false attraction. A road I am, despite everything, proud of.
I came of age during a weird time. It was right before the big boom of celebrities coming out and queerness being not only accepted, but expected. Sure, there were celebrities who had come out by the time I was in high school. But they were few and far between. There weren’t many queer characters across the media either. Despite this (or perhaps because of this), there was an attitude that there was nothing wrong to be gay… as long as it wasn’t you.
Not only this, but I lived in a very rural, conservative area (I still live there, but it matters less to me now). So, while the overall consensus for my generation was that being gay wasn’t bad, I was still surrounded by homophobes. Hell, there was even conversation speculating which girls in our class might be lesbians. As if it was a thing that mattered.
Now, imagine you’re me: a shy nerd who already has enough reasons to be picked on and you’re developing feelings for girls. What do you do? You shove that shit down and deny, deny, deny.
I should also point out that, at this point in time, I didn’t know bisexuality was a thing. In fact, the only time I’d heard of it was when people said it wasn’t real. So I thought you were either straight or gay. And, as open-minded as I was, I was terrified of being gay.
I remember writing a diary entry during junior year about this very issue. I kept trying to convince myself I had to be straight because I’d only had crushes on boys (oh, you sweet, naïve thing). But the most alarming thing was that I never explicitly wrote I was having feelings for girls. I very vaguely alluded to it, but I was paranoid someone could find and read my diary. And if they read it, they would see this entry. I was desperate not to be outed, even as I denied my queerness to myself. No one ever found or read that diary.
I had been wrong though. I did have crushes on girls. I just didn’t acknowledge them as such. I remember there was a girl in my English class I was fixated on. Always, she held my attention. But there was a disconnect in my mind. I refused to compare it to my previous crushes on boys.
Sometimes I had the strangest urge to kiss my friends. This, I can only attribute to my repressed feelings and the fact that they were the girls I was closest to. Because, as much as I cared for them, I didn’t feel that way about them. There was once a time I wondered if there had been something between me and my then-best friend. We used to give each other Valentines as our celebrity crushes. But I don’t think there was. We just liked to keep up the self-deluding lie that we were dating Tom Felton and Joe Jonas.
It wasn’t until I was in college when I really started to let myself consider I might be queer. What changed? Well, for one thing, my environment. No one will spread a rumor about you being queer in college because no one gives a shit. Additionally, someone I knew said they were bisexual. This caused me to reevaluate the existence of bisexuality and do some research. But mostly, it was Demi Lovato.
Demi Lovato was the first woman I admitted to myself (and others) I was attracted to. I remember sending a confession to one of those Demi confession blogs on Tumblr saying, “I am a 100% straight woman, but I would let her do such filthy things to me. Things I wouldn’t even allow a man to do.” However, as I did more research and self-reflection, I realized that claim was wrong. I am a 0% straight woman. And, in some ways, the acceptance I found in the Lovatic community helped me accept that.
I came out to my mom immediately. It took some convincing, but I did eventually get her to believe that, not only is bisexuality real, but I am bisexual. Since then, I’ve come out to most of my family and friends. I don’t consider myself in the closet with anyone else— I’d admit it, if asked— but I don’t advertise it.
(Okay, maybe that’s a lie. I have become more and more comfortable with advertising it.)
At first, I thought I had a preference for men. But, as I settled into my identity, I realized I actually prefer women. This has caused me to wonder if I’m actually a lesbian. But, every time I start to think that, a special man will come along and I’ll be like, “oh yeah, I do still like men.” However, as time went on, I began to suspect that wasn’t true.
It started when I came to the conclusion that I am only romantically attracted to women. When I think of my future— falling in love, getting married, starting a family— I imagine myself with a women. The phrase “my wife” gives me a warm, fuzzy feeling inside, while the phrase “my husband” just feels wrong. Once I came to this conclusion, it became more and more obvious I am not really attracted to men. I was simply experiencing compulsory heterosexuality due to years of societal expectations being stomped into my head. It wasn’t until a month or so ago that I finally realized and accepted that I am a lesbian. Once I determined that, I came out to my family again. Everyone, including my mom, was far more receptive this time and I feel better than I’ve ever felt.
I tell this story as a form of personal reflection. Maybe there’s someone out there who will read this and realize they feel the same way. Maybe they won’t feel so alone. Maybe it’ll educate someone. Maybe it’ll just give you some insight into me. All I know is, this is my story and I’m proud of it.
Also I want a girlfriend.