"Our ability to delude ourselves may be an important survival tool.Ē
~ Jane Wagner (1985)
Mind Caviar Issue 13, 2004-2005
Growing up, I felt there was no distinction between the sexes. Well, there are of course the obvious physical differences, but mentally my mother never let it be hinted there was any difference in our minds or abilities based on gender. Men and women were equal, and thanks to womenís lib I grew up knowing I could do whatever the hell I wanted to do. I was taught to judge a person by their mind and not their body.
Iím not like those in the gay community who say it loud and proud. I'm not like the heteros who simply accept the role theyíve been given. I donít tell every Tom, Dick, and Harry the color of my favorite dildo, just as I donít go around announcing my sexuality. I am not closeted, however. To me, telling someone about my sexuality is a gift. I am trusting them with something that's intensely personal, yet inherent in my personality. I wonít deny it if someone asks a direct question regarding my sexual preferences. I wonít lie about it. Why should I? I accept myself, yet often I don't volunteer the information. Iím the quiet type, I suppose.
On Being Labeled as "A Bisexual"
I was thirteen when I came out. Suddenly, to all these people I had known for years, I was no longer "Amber" but I was "a bisexual." I felt resentful and irritated being treated as though I was something new and odd, someone to be exploited. Initially there was a shock for my mother and other relatives, but it didnít last long, and they've been supportive since. Unfortunately, and shockingly for me, my newfound sexuality created anger in some people. For all, however, there were endless, tiring questions.
For all these reasons and more, I began to guard my sexuality, treating it as a secret. I decided, after much soul-searching and agonizing, who I would and would not tell. I didnít want to deal with all the tiresome nonsense anymore. I became close-mouthed and less open. Sometimes I regret it. Other times I donít, because sometimes I still misjudge and I get the shock, the anger and the questions again, often a mix of all three. It is the anger though, that I faced at thirteen, that first time, that decided it all in the end.
Suspicious Anger Arises
For privacy Iíll call her Jane. Her name is Jane, and she is like my mirror twin, I her shadow. We are opposites in all things, and I think that is why we have been friends for so long. When I first told Jane I was bisexual, she was angry. Jane, who fucked like a rabbit, and had no religious bone in her body, was suddenly the zealot preaching to me from her pulpit on the immorality and disgusting character of my announcement. An endless barrage of hostile questions followed. Did I like to lick pussy? Did I want to suck a womanís breasts? Did I want pubic hair in my teeth? Did I want to stick my finger up a womanís twat? Did I want to smell her pussy juice? It went on for what seemed like hours.
Thirteen years old, and still half a child-- mostly a child-- I was confused, at least outwardly. I didnít know how to respond, not to those kind of questions. The answer to each of those questions was categorically a resounding, "YES" which I could see in neon letters in my head, blinking over and over. Agitated and hurt at her outburst, which implied that all of those actions were wrong, disgusting, and immoral, I simply kept quiet. How else could I have responded to Jane's anger, for Jane was the girl that I wanted more than anyone else in the world.
The Delusion of Denial
My silence seemed to imply to Jane that my answers were "no." Maybe Jane sensed some of my confusion. She tapered off her tirade, apparently convincing herself that my announcement had been a failed and rather awful attempt at a practical joke. We didnít speak of it again until much later. Then, Jane just shook her head and told me I didnít know what I was talking about, as if she knew better than I what I was and how I felt.
Jane still feels this way today. Each time I mention my sexuality, she either denies it, or refuses to hear anything about it. Jane is the one in denial. While we donít speak of it, her feelings about my sexuality remain, heavy and pregnant, bloated-- a silent behemoth that separates us, and puts up a breach I canít span.
Still, I managed to fall in love with Jane, and each day it grows stronger. I would never violate her privacy, or force myself on her. I hold complete respect for her heterosexuality, yet there is no time when I donít think of us falling, weeping and lovingly into one anotherís arms. I cannot look at her too long, sit too close to her, or hug her too tightly, before she begins to cast suspicious looks my way, as if she knows my truth.
Jane's anger, I think I could have lived with. It would have passed, and we would have dealt with it, or simply gone our separate ways. Itís her denial that hurts me. Itís her refusal to accept that part of me then and now that stings my heart. So often I wonder if telling her was such a good idea. Some days, I think if I could replay that moment I would say nothing. I would go on loving her, and being near her, but never telling her, just so I could have an easy, full friendship with no distance or distrust. Other days Iím glad I did tell her, if only to be honest with the woman that I love.
I can admit my sexuality to perfect strangers with a stunning simplicity. For me, there is no shame. For me there has never been any hesitation in admitting who I am. This is not because of any amount of courage on my part. After all, Iím in love with my friend, but Iím too cowardly to admit it. Jane taught me to guard my secret closer, not to be so free with it. I donít thank her for that. She taught me I am confused. I donít thank her for that, either. I'm not confused in the way Jane believes I am. I know what I am. I have no qualms about what I am. I am bisexual, but sometimes itĎs not easy being bi.
To tell or not to tell? If I keep it mostly a secret from strangers and acquaintances, am I traitor to all those others who have worked so hard for our acceptance? If I regret the telling, am I a traitor? So no, my sexual identity is not the source of my puzzlement. Its all the other things that muddle me up.
You can visit Amber Hipple to read more at her Web site.
© 2004 Amber Hipple. All Rights Reserved. Do not copy or post in whole
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