This is never a post I thought I’d write (lol), but with the month that’s in it, I thought fuck it. So let’s go!
Anyone who is close to me already knows this, but I am a very, very proud bisexual. It’s taken a while to get to the point of such a comfort in it; if I were to go back to my teenage self, I probably wouldn’t have believed it, but here we are. It’s pretty incredible. One month ago, I felt comfortable enough to come out to my mam, and now I feel like nothing can stop me.
Coming out to my mam was no easy feat. I was quite honestly terrified. I always knew she wouldn’t care, but that didn’t stop the fear creeping in good and strong. The ‘what if’s she wouldn’t be okay with it. So for years, I would only date men. It was easier that way, and I had felt lucky that I had the ability to hide myself that way. But as time went by, I was feeling more and more untrue to myself. I had shared it with some people, which felt so good, but the questioning would seep in to make me doubt my own feelings and emotions. Was I lying to myself? Was I lying to those around me? The confusion was unbearable.
I first realised I wasn’t straight at about 15, but I wish it were as simple as that sentence makes it sound. I was thoroughly shocked, to begin with, shame that my peers would no longer accept me, and just utterly confused. I have a vivid memory of talking with one of my friends about so-called ‘friend crushes’ where we both just really, really wanted to be friends with specific people. This is what we had each rationalised our emotions to. Obviously, we were both wrong as neither of us are straight now. But it was all that made sense back then.
The fear was powerful. Trying to deal with everyday teenage life is hard enough without confusion over your sexuality thrown into the mix and then the fear that I would lose everyone around me. I was sick to my stomach in some of the earlier days over it. And to make matters worse, I didn’t even feel that I had anyone that I could speak with. The mental isolation had well and truly set in.
A couple of years went by, and I was still trying to come to terms with this new chapter. I was 17 when the marriage equality referendum came around in Ireland. Let me tell you, trying to process all this, while day in, and day out, my classes were filled with debates over whether or not I should be legally be allowed to get married, or adopt children, really takes a toll on your mental health. I was beginning to see who would accept me and who wouldn’t. I remember waiting for a teacher to start class one morning, and a girl in front of me was preaching about how ‘scientifically’ gay people can’t raise children properly. Scientifically. Clearly, now I know that is so incredibly untrue, and even then, I knew that, but Jesus, being surrounded by people for months having these discussions makes you think. Watching people raise their hands to be on the side against marriage equality was never okay. I was more scared than I had ever been before. A couple of very close friends knew at this stage in my life, but I think this definitely set me back from coming out to a few others, even though I knew they would be okay with it. It was just a terrifying time.
[Thankfully, and rightfully, the vote passed with considerable success.]
By college, I felt a whole lot more comfortable, but still not enough to be fully out. In fact, it was only until about halfway through that I told the rest of my friend group. Who, by the way, were so supportive! It made me wonder afterwards why I was ever nervous to begin with.
I was still too scared ever to mention anything to my mother, though. But as much as I had tried to only date men, I couldn’t deny my attraction to women. And the continuous pushing down of that attraction out of fear that my mam would find out was beginning to take a toll. There was a girl, who I really fancied, and she had even asked me out. But the nausea and anxiety over it caused me never to go. I needed mam’s validation. I couldn’t keep hiding. And yet, that’s exactly what I continued to do.
I absolutely despised pretending I was straight. I began to make little comments around mam to see her reactions, which there never was. I would push them further each time, to the point where I was telling her how much better I found women to men and how ‘maybe I should go out with women instead. Nothing, never. She was simply so nonchalant. And yet, I still couldn’t find the words.
That is until about one month ago when going on a rant about bisexual stereotypes (I was seriously pushing her limits now) and how two men in my life had made comments post-breakups that they always thought I would cheat on them (because I was bi). I turned to mam, and finally, the words just found themselves: “You know I’m bi, right?”. She was definitely taken aback. But once the dust had settled, we laughed at just how obvious I was being. The following day, mam dropped what she was doing to hug me and tell me that she would always love me no matter what. That moment being made even more special as we do not hug that much. That validation was all I needed.
Since then, I’ve felt as though I have been walking on air. I have never felt prouder. Now, I don’t really care who knows; the only people who matter know, and they don’t care. What more do I need!
And so, I have entered another new chapter. One where I am so fully accepting of myself and truly happy, knowing that I have been fortunate enough to be surrounded by such loving and kind people.
I do have many thoughts to add on representation, stereotypes, and all sorts, but I just want to tell my wonderful story for today and pride month.