So, I’ve been thinking about writing this for a month and actually writing it for close to two weeks and when you consider the fact that most things I write, I conceptualize and get down on “paper” within a few hours, that’s saying a lot. In college, I’d start essays an hour before they were due and get A’s. If I decided I was really going to sit down and apply myself–give myself a week or two to devote to this work, I generally got a C+. So, sorry if this is C+ work but I’m not exactly shooting for a grade, today.
It’s not hard for me to talk about this with you. You know I love to lay it all out there on the line. Honesty begets honesty begets honesty and I’m here for it. I’m here to do that work. But sometimes your story intersects with someone else’s story. Or a few someone elses. I strive to be mindful of what is or isn’t my story to tell. I’ll tell you my part of the story.
My bisexuality was revealed to me this summer in a way that only the most pretentious metaphors can describe. For the longest time, I could only explain it like this:
It’s like my whole body and soul is this house. So, I’ve been living in this house for 33 years. And all of a sudden I’m walking down a hallway and I see this open door to a room I’ve never seen before. As soon as I walked inside, it looked like the rest of me but somehow more me? Somehow me but with the vibrancy turned up 80 percent. And suddenly the structure of my house made so much more sense. Like, you always knew there had to be something else but you weren’t sure what it was or how to get to it.
But more than that, it felt the way it does when it’s been a long, stuffy winter and you’re able to open the windows for the first time on a spring day. And there’s lilacs outside. Just all freedom and weightlessness and breezy joy.
But then it’s also like when you are finally starting to get the hang of a Rubik’s cube and it all starts to click into place and you can see it happening and you can’t believe this is all true and it was possible and it was right inside of you living here all this time. But you’re not holding the Rubik’s cube–the whole world is the Rubik’s cube. And it’s shifting and clicking into place and it explodes into brightness and color and light. But it’s also, like, an ordinary day. On your normal couch. Eating normal spaghetti and watching Master Chef like you always do. But with this quiet acknowledgement that this huge thing is all going on around you and inside of you and no one can see it but you. At least this is how it felt for a few weeks this summer, for me.
I know I’m making it all sound so magical and glorious but it wasn’t always. It was scary. It was confusing. It’s still a little confusing. Some of it hurt. Some of it hurt a lot. Some of it didn’t. Some of it… very opposite of hurt. Some of it felt like a huge gamble with an unknown pay off. Sometimes it didn’t feel worth it.
But it was.
At least right now it all feels worth it.
Another day I’ll tell you about how I came to this.
I can tell you that it was a mixture of boldness and vulnerability and beautiful, sticky, inescapable grace and terrifying honesty and communication and understanding and trust and tequila. Just like, well, most anything worth having in this life.
This story will fall together overtime. I promise. As it all becomes admissible.
So then if there’s so much I’m not ready to say, why do I want to tell you about this? Because it came somewhat out of the blue for me and it was scary and immediately it felt like I wasn’t allowed to talk about it. I shouldn’t talk about this. My instinct was to shove this down and keep it quiet. And I think we all know that in the quiet, in the dark is where pain grows. I knew that if I was experiencing something like this–something that felt like I was supposed to keep quiet about, then there were other people out there who have had this happen to them, too. You’re in your mid-30’s. You’re pretty settled. You might even be, like me, in an unbelievably happy marriage. Maybe there’s a couple kids in the mix? And a door accidentally unlocked in your house and creaked open and you didn’t know what to do about it. And here you are, with a quiet secret that maybe your friends only know about because you had that 4th sangria that one time and then you woke up with a shame hangover for revealing too much. For having mostly questions but no real answers.
No shame hangovers for us.
In the aftermath of this revelation, I remembered a lot about myself. Like, the way that I’ve never been terribly boy crazy. I’ve always known that about myself. When I was younger, it always bugged me. Girls would be like, “Who do you have a crush on??” And I’d be like, “Um… sorry I can’t bond with you on this.” There were a few boys that I’ve had crushes on but in my whole life I can count them all on one hand. I was always way more obsessed with the girls in my life but I thought that was just because I was super passionate about female friendships. Haha!
And, I mean, that’s true. That is true. But… I mean… I need more hands to count the girls I’ve swooned over. And there are other things, too. Other things that suddenly make so much more sense but I’m not here to get too wrapped up in specifics. I’m just saying, I thought that was all a part of being straight. You know? I just had never ever questioned my sexuality because I adopted a label without ever considering it. Which is, to be fair, what I’ve done with most labels in my life. Haphazardly applied without even thinking about it. Don’t even notice it till it starts to itch. I started to itch.
And, look, I’m married. To a man. To whom I am very, enthusiastically attracted and with whom I am head over complete heels in love. I’m not saying that I’m not attracted to men. I am! That’s what part of being Bi is. It’s just that there’s always been an extreme vetting process for men when it comes to crossing these here borders. That’s all I’m saying. Does this realization affect our marriage? Of course it does and I feel grateful every single day for a partner who is open and trusting and generous and full of grace. He raises the bar for life-partners everywhere. He would also prefer it if I let you know that there are certain areas where he lowers it, too. He is, after all, a human person.
This week is Bi-Visibility week and that’s why I decided to tell you about this part of me, today. Because it’s been strange to know something about myself that other people can’t just inherently know on their own. It’s been strange to pass as one thing when I know I’m not that. I was sitting in church a few weeks ago with my husband and feeling so… dishonest. It wasn’t intentional but I kind of hated the way that when you look at me and my husband sitting in a pew, it’s so easy to make several assumptions about me that aren’t true at all. “There’s a cute straight, Christian couple.” But neither of those descriptors are mine. They’d be honest assumptions–I wouldn’t fault anyone for thinking certain things based on what I’m presenting. But I still didn’t like the grimy feeling that I had sitting on that hard bench in the back of the church. I’m working on figuring out what to do about it but in the mean time, I’m just going to tell you this one thing. Like all the other things I’ve told you.
I have much privilege to be able to tell you this without fear of backlash. I don’t worry about losing my job. I don’t worry for my safety. I can’t imagine that I’m going to lose friends over this–at least not for this part of who I am. A lot of that has to do with the fact that I’m married to a man and my sexual identity is easily ignorable for anyone who isn’t me or my partner. And since I do have this privilege, I think it would be a misuse of it to not speak out and let you know that you’re not alone if you’ve felt this, too.
That’s why I’m here. I’m living visibly so that maybe you can, too, if you want to. While this doesn’t change anything about our relationship, you and me, reader–you know me better, now. You know more about me and that’s what I wanted. That was my goal when I started this post.
Here’s me. I’m handing you one of my Ands. The extra, not-so-obvious parts of me. I’m handing you my And, and you’re free to do whatever you want with it. Because once you’re holding my And, it becomes a part of yours.
I’m open to all honest, loving questions and comments. You can leave them in the comments section of this post, on Facebook, email me: libby (at) xoxolib.com, or just talk to me when we’re out in the world. I would love to hear your story even if it’s nothing like mine.
Thank you for hearing me, today.
I appreciate you.