There After All by Lina G.-D.

“He would wake up in the morning and see the sun coming in the window, and sit up in his bed and think it was gone, and then find it there after all, behind his ears or in his heart” (Doctorow 181).
Sitting in the back seat of my dad’s silver minivan, I drifted off to sleep to the tune of “Here Comes the Sun” by The Beatles, as we made our trip home from S&W Country Diner. As I fell into a sleepy trance, all of the cars around me seemed to disappear, and the image of a girl replaced them. With that picture came words, lyrics to a song that I subconsciously made up about the beautiful girl. 

A car honked behind ours and brought me back to reality. 
“Dad… can I ask you a question?” He responded yes, and I asked, “Is it normal for me to write songs from a boy’s perspective?” I was a naive elementary schooler who thought that only boys could be attracted to girls. 

“Yeah, it’s fine to write a song about a boy,” he responded. 
My heart sank, and I became frustrated that he did not understand what I meant. He asked me to explain myself, but I told him it did not matter. I did not think about my experience until years later. I knew I liked boys, so I did not want to question why I had made up a love song about a girl. I thought no one would understand me, and it was easier to forget about it than to think more and become confused. 

In middle school, I started struggling to figure out my identity. Hot tears streamed down my face because I felt misunderstood and sad all over again. I did not have anyone to talk with about my strange feelings towards girls, so I asked my mom if I could go to therapy. “Maybe then I can open up to someone without fear,” I thought. She said I needed to tell her why I wanted to go to a therapist, so I shrugged off this idea. I did not want to be seen differently, so I chose to remain silent. I let my sadness and confusion stay inside. I became fragile like a bubble that could burst at any time. 

I started watching
Glee in 8th grade… and everything changed. I remember staring at the television screen with a shocked look on my face. I was in awe because the show revealed that my favorite character, Santana Lopez, was struggling with her sexuality. She had only dated males before, but it turned out that she had been in denial about her sexuality, and she was lesbian. While watching this, I knew deep inside I was/am bisexual, yet I did not want to admit this to myself. I figured that it would be easier to be straight, and feared I was merely confused. 

Later in the show, there was a scene where she confidently sang Katy Perry’s song “I Kissed A Girl” while her friends cheered her on, and she officially came out. I began to smile as I watched her sing and felt empowered because I saw her grow and become proud of her sexuality. “One day, I will do that too,” I thought to myself. I knew I needed to find my strength like Santana and admit to myself that I was not straight. 

Three years later, I have come out to my friends and family and found the strength to feel comfortable with my identity. Instead of continuing to be fragile and nervous due to my sexuality, I feel confident and happy. Before coming out, I felt fearful about sharing my opinions and standing up for what I believed. Many people disapprove of my identity as a bisexual, and I have had to defend my sexuality. These experiences have made me feel comfortable speaking up for myself and I have become more confident as a result. Now I defend others, and I feel more confident sharing an opinion that is different than others around me. 

In addition, I am happy being bisexual because I can be the person that others go to when they are struggling with their own identity. One time, my friend told me, “You are the reason I started to come out to people. You have normalized being bi because you talk about girls casually, and now I know that it is okay to talk about my sexuality.” 

This comment made me feel overjoyed, and I hugged her while grinning. Her statement made me realize that for some, I am the person who understands them, and I can offer support and reassurance. I feel thankful that because of my sexuality, I can support others and help them feel comfortable with their identity as a result of being open about mine. Even though I know I will face discrimination, it feels wonderful that I have and will continue to help people feel comfortable being their authentic selves.