ljfrostfire: (wrong!)
[personal profile] ljfrostfire
So I had the most unexpected conversation on Christmas. I've let it settle for a while, because unexpected things happened and I've needed to sort shit out. Cuz I overthink everything. Like a putz. Sigh.

Anyway. I don't remember how the topic came up, but my cousin basically said that bisexuality doesn't really exist. Especially in the context of bisexual men, but basically, in her mind, bisexuality isn't real. Now, in fairness, she's seen some seriously fucked up behaviors. She did social work type things for a while, with street youths in LA, and saw the fallout from ... less than honest sexual patterns. I also have the impression that there's some sort of issue with someone having been dishonest reguarding their orientation in her own past, with serious medical consequences. So there's definitely reasons for her viewpoint, which is that bisexuality is really just cover for homosexuality.

From the things she talked about, she's not really dealing with people who are openly bisexual. Sounds more like, in her experience, guys who pursue both genders are really just closeted. But then it also sounds like she has some serious trust issues. Her sense of how a relationship works ... wow. Talk about high maintenance. I would chafe under her "rules" for a relationship, and I'm pretty damn low-key. But the number of times where I, or Tim, or Linda (my aunt, her mother) would respond with some version of "that's just that person being a fuck up, that's not about being bisexual," really boggled my mind.

And at one point she says, "I don't know, maybe I need to talk about this with a bisexual." And without even thinking about it, I lean over and tell her, "you kind of are." But since her issue is really with guys (bisexual or otherwise, seriously, that woman has trust issues), my remark didn't really seem to register much. Well, beyond another comment about how girls are "allowed" to be that way, or experiment like that. Of course, I've been in the same relationship, with Tim, for about 13 years now. And she knows that our relationship isn't the sort that would work for her. But still, I sort of expected a bit more comment. I guess. For some reason.

It took a few days to figure out why I expected something more. Aside from a few stray remarks here and there, it was the first time I really, publicly laid claim to my ... non-straightness. I've had inklings since the mid-90s. I told Tim years ago, and had sort of figured it out at least a couple years before that. But I'd never really made a thing of it. Never really made a big deal out of it. I'm still not sure why. Maybe I figured that since I didn't have much of a social life, it didn't really matter.

But the thing is, this conversation over Christmas, it really made me realize something. Namely that there's a difference between being shy/reserved/private and being invisible. And that somewhere along the line in my life, I'd let myself become content with being invisible. Maybe even welcomed it.

Why the hell is this an acceptable state? Hoping to escape notice, to be overlooked, to hide? Being so concerned about what other people think, about what's "acceptable" and "proper" that I've spent most of my life pushing aside some of the things I'm good at, things I enjoy, because they're not reasonable or serious? Who is it I'm trying to please? Or impress?

My grandparents are all dead now. My mother has been dead for 15 years. My father wouldn't notice anything. Ever. Under any circumstances. When he actually responded appropriately to my grandfather's death, I (and Linda) wondered if my sister had needed to bitch-slap him into sense. The fact that she didn't have to, that he did it without prompting, was stunning. So that's not a concern. At all.

So, really, why? Because once upon a time I got beat up a bunch? Because I was the nerdy, slightly less middle class, deeply unpopular girl who couldn't make friends? The one who got picked on and called names, even into high school? Also, the one who couldn't make decisions of her own until her 20s because my grandparents were so convincing, and ever so helpful, and just wanted to keep my on track for going to college. To this day, it takes me forever to even figure out what I want. Not what's best, or what's logical, or reasonable, or serious, or whatever. But what I want, how I actually feel. Talk about overintellectualized.

I've always admired my cousin for her ability to know what she wants and go after it. Precisely because it's a trait, or skill, or whatever, that I lack. I hid from the bullies. I've let myself be invisible. I've let my wants and desires be subsumed by what others expect of me. And it's done me a real disservice.

But not just me. This conversation with my cousin made me realize that this need to be private, this desire to avoid being seen, it's done a disservice to the people around me too. Being invisible means people not knowing that they know someone who's bisexual. Not even my family. Because I thought it shouldn't matter, that it's nobody's business, that it's private. I'm starting to wonder if there's really any difference between this and being in the closet.

So, for future reference, I'm bisexual. Have been for ages now. Just in case you want to know.
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