Sunday, June 12, 2011

Coming Out: The Lesbian Phase

Doesn't everyone have a time where they have experimented with sexuality? A period in one's life where you want to explore your options and see what's out there, experience something new, and figure out what feels right for you. Tonight I was reminded of my own brief phase as I was cleaning out my jewelery box and came across a few choice items that sent me flashing back to my teen years.

At the ripe age of 15 I thought I knew everything. I was a sophomore at Northfield Mount Hermon, one of western Massachusetts' most elite, and as many of us know, liberal prep schools. This means that there were a lot of rich kids in really tattered clothing, various concoctions being snorted and smoked, and a whole lot of coming out. I was lucky to be in a place where the majority of my friends were gay, bisexual, or otherwise undecided and open on the issue of sexuality. It seemed like every day someone new was celebrating "Coming Out Day" with a big announcement of their own, and embracing their new found same-sex partner in earnest public displays of affection. Who was I to be left out?

I started attending pride marches with my friends, chanting loudly in time with the beat "We're here, we're queer, we're not going anywhere!" I donned jewelery purchased at such events (hence the treasures I found tonight) like freedom rings and earrings with two women symbols intertwined. I figured that if all the other people around me were wearing them I should probably get on board.

Finally, I decided it was my turn to make an announcement. The day had come to announce to the world (namely my mother) that I was bisexual. Never mind that I had never been kissed by anyone, let alone another girl. I felt in that moment that I had to keep all of my options open and let everyone know to be ready for whomever I picked (or maybe more accurately, who picked me). I waited with baited breath for my mother to come home that evening so I could bombard her with my news. With my voice loaded with seriousness I entered the kitchen:

"Mom, I need to talk to you"
"Okay", she said, one eyebrow grazing the ceiling.
"Mom, I...I...I just think you should know that I am bisexual" the words flew out of my mouth with a gasp before I could stop them.
My mom looked at me before cracking a smile "That's nice honey, I am too. Isn't everyone?" She turned away from me and continued peeling potatoes for dinner.

So much for my big announcement, I thought as I slunk back into my room. The problem with living in a liberal family is that you can't shock the pants off of anyone unless you are going to announce your candidacy for the next Republican primary.

It turns out that I am not really very bisexual. I have always seem to have chosen male partners and that has worked out just fine for me, although I do often have that fleeting thought of "would my life be easier if I was with a woman?" Maybe or maybe not, I will probably never find out, but there is always this little voice inside my head that reminds me to leave my options open because you just never know...