Questioning by Isabelle G.
Sexuality is a package that comes to everyone’s door. On the outside, there is the cardboard box, the normalized, standardized, exterior that is presented to the world. Sometimes the components of the inside radiate onto the cardboard package, other times the interior is unrevealed. One layer inside, boxed again, tissue-covered, bagged, wrapped, or bare is the actual item.
My cardboard box was plain. I didn't know what was inside and for a long time I didn't know that it was sitting there on my porch.
I started high school in my own heteronormalized bubble talking about heteronormative things with my heterosexual friends -- and there was nothing at all wrong with that. That’s just what I knew and was used to.
Then one of my “heterosexual” friends, came out as bi. We had talked about guys together before and it never had occurred to me that she might not be straight. I was embarrassed at my surprise, but happy that she shared this part of herself with me.
Soon, all our conversations about men became about women. Sexualities other than straight stopped feeling so distant and the rote female-male pairings that I had once envisioned as the base, became only an option. The world of heteronormativity faded, just a bit, but enough for me to allow myself to question what I was thinking and feeling.
Having found the box at my door, and having begun to unwrap it, the tape torn and an obscure wrapped mass lying at its center, I was stuck. My friend and I talked about girls that we found attractive in a casual way, but making a declaration about it seemed overwhelming. My mind was swimming with a bazillion over thought questions: What if I say I’m bi, but then realize I’m not? Why do people need to know who I’m attracted to? Why am I so confused? Don’t people know who they’re attracted to instinctively? Will people think I’m just trying to be trendy or am being inauthentic? If I’ve never dated both genders, how do I know who I’m attracted to? Should I use a lighter term like hetero-flexible or bi-curious?
I honestly and authentically felt confused. That’s the only way I know how to describe it. I didn't know how I felt and even with a surplus of information, I didn't know how I was feeling. I’m indecisive about a lot of parts of my life so this question about my sexuality, who I’m attracted to, the most basic and personal question imaginable, an answer I should know, felt completely consuming and daunting.
I identify as bi now. I was hanging out with someone and I just said it. It slipped like water out of my mouth. With the utmost grace and confidence, I had declared it. Then, in the same lovely fragmented mumbles, I took it back.
I laid in my bed and wondered if I meant it and then one day I knew I did. I felt it. It felt right and true. As time progressed, I felt confident in my bisexuality. I love that part of myself and the doors it has opened. The package was a present.
In retrospect, I wasn't stuck. I was questioning. To have someone tell you that you are questioning is so different from realizing it yourself. It is freeing to know that you don’t have to know. You don’t have to know. Packages are covered with many layers and each person has differing layers of protective and decorative wrapping. I wanted to just get to the object, to see what it was, and to like the way it would look on me, but figuring out who I was attracted to took patience and thought. I’m happy I was able to question my sexuality with supportive, gay-normalizing friends and for me, I know I will return to questioning. My sexuality and my entire person is dynamic and I know there will come a time where I will wonder who I am again, perhaps sexuality or generally any part of myself. But, when that happens I will remember the satisfaction of really knowing and claiming this part of myself, so I believe that for myself and for others, we will figure it out and it will be worth it.