I don’t totally know what I was planning for this post when I wrote it down for my Pride celebration. I know that I have a lot of feelings surrounding coming out, and that I really don’t have the urgency to do it with anyone in particular, or at all. I think a lot about that question in Love, Simon–why is straight the default? It creeps up every time someone asks me if I have a boyfriend or tells me that I just need to meet the right man. Every time I’m asked if my guy friends are single and give me a knowing look, I think about the fact that I’m not straight, and that it’s looking more and more likely with each passing day that I won’t end up with a man.
I guess, before we go any farther, we should get one thing, at least, straight: I’m bi.
I recently came out to my sister, and it was something I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Growing up, we weren’t that close because we’re seven years apart in age, but, when I was in college, we really started to figure out how to be friends. She was 13 at that point, so she was becoming more of her own person, and, when I graduated, it was like coming home to a completely different person. We didn’t hang out, but we did start talking more. The real change, though, was definitely when she hit college. She was closer in age, it felt like, than she’d ever been before. We’re still seven years apart, and that’ll never change, but being 29 and 22 is a lot different than 11 and 18. Suddenly, we have some shared life experiences beyond just playing in the backyard and getting hurt by our friends. We understand life in a way that’s more similar than it’s ever been, and it’s been bugging me for a couple years now that she didn’t know. I mean, honestly, I thought she did because I’m not exactly quiet about it, but I’ve also never directly said it in my house.
If we’re being real, this was when I actually came out:
I’ve never wanted to come out. Truthfully, I don’t really vibe with people knowing what my sexuality is. I don’t even want them to think I’m straight. I’m just a person, and who I like is not actually anyone’s business. And so, I came out in the subtlest way possible. I put a bi flag in glitter on my cheek, and I decided that whoever noticed would be good enough for me. One of oldest and dearest friends did notice, and she pulled me aside a few days later to give me this big hug and tell me how much she loved me. She was, however, the only one. Which is probably more dramatic than is warranted given that most of my other friends already know, just by the way I talk. I’ve literally never kept it a secret from any of them that I like girls. Although, honestly, I’ve never really kept it a secret from anyone. I mean. The whole world has heard me talk about Kate Beckinsale, and yet y’all still think I’m straight for some reason. Okaaaaaaay. Kind of sounds like this one’s on you.
When I told my sister, I really thought she already knew. Although, I guess I didn’t because the weeks leading up to it were full of missteps. I kept trying to tell her, but couldn’t quite work up the nerve, and I know that part of that is just that I don’t really want to discuss it. I’m here, I’m queer, let’s move the hell on. In high school, before I’d ever really figured things out, I also didn’t want to talk about it. Yes, I had public boyfriends, and I definitely allowed way more PDA in the beginning than I’m anywhere near comfortable with now, but I don’t like broadcasting that part of my life. People are constantly trying to talk to me about my romantic life, and I’m just like? Can y’all worry about yourselves?
But telling my sister has always been an important thing that I wanted us to share, and I’m glad that she knows. I’m even more glad because the morning after, she came down to tell me about all this research she’d done, and it just broke my heart in all the best ways.
I’m really excited about the idea that, when I enter the world as an author, there will be no coming out. I will just be a queer writer. I won’t have to tell anyone that I am. It’ll just be a known fact. Which, I guess, is something of a coming out because there will definitely be people, some of them very close to me, that don’t know. Because that’s the other half of it–I don’t want to talk about it because I know how some people will react. And why are they allowed to react with anything but love? Why are they allowed to be shocked at all? Why do I even have to come out?
I think part of it, at least, is because I’m so exhausted with the idea that I have to be with someone to be happy. I don’t. Truthfully, I’m very happy on my own. I don’t like other people all that much. Would I love to grow old with another woman and our one million cats? HECK YES! Do I think about dating sometimes? Of course! But do I welcome people constantly asking me why I’m not actively dating? Not at all. This idea that I can’t be happy just as I am–more than happy, honestly–is so antiquated, and it’s even worse because the other half of that rhetoric is always, “You need a husband to succeed as a writer.” Because I can’t buy health insurance on my own? Because I can’t live in a house on my own? Because I won’t be happy on my own?”
The thing is, I don’t owe anyone anything. I don’t need a man, and I don’t need a woman, and I don’t need a person. I do need cats, but I’ve got that figured out. I don’t need to tell anyone that I’m bi because that should be damn obvious. And even if it isn’t, it’s not yours to know. At the end of all of this, I still don’t really know what I’m doing with this post, but I do know this–stop forcing your toxic straight agenda on me.