Marquette held its first annual Pride Prom last weekend, and I am very happy to announce that I was in attendance. Although you wouldn’t know it by looking at my heterosexual history, I am a proud bisexual.
Even now, I’m in a relationship with a guy, but just because I’m not involved with a woman doesn’t mean I’m not queer. Pride Prom reminded me of what I went through when I came to the realization that I was bi. So naturally, I thought to myself, “Hey, why not share this intimate and embarrassing part of yourself with the internet?”
My friends always knew I was boy crazy, but even as a middle schooler I think I was just people-crazy. I looked at girls I thought were pretty, but instead of wanting to be them, I wanted to be with them. I remember going to high school and telling my one friend I thought I might be gay because I found other girls attractive. The conversation went something like this:
Me: “I think… I might be gay? I don’t know, I just find girls really hot and stuff.”
Her: “Oh, well I mean, I find girls attractive, too, that doesn’t mean you’re gay.”
Me: “Yeah, I guess. But also, when I first met you I kept thinking about what it would be like to kiss you.”
Her: “Oh, then you’re probably gay.”
Luckily, my friend was discrete about our conversation, because I was nowhere near ready to come out at the time. To be honest, I still haven’t really come out. I told my parents and my friends, but it’s not something I wear on my sleeve for the world to see. I didn’t even really tell myself the truth until my junior year of high school when I fell hard for one of my close friends (to be clear, it was a different girl than the one I had the conversation with).
She was (is, although we aren’t in contact anymore) a beautiful girl, with warm brown eyes and a laugh that made my heart sing. But she was also damaged – her family didn’t accept her for who she was, and she made poor choices because of it. One of those choices was falling for me, a girl too scared to come out of the closet.
She and I were friends for a long time, and I couldn’t tell you when exactly it started to turn into something more. I guess one day our playful compliments stopped being girl talk and started being flirting. Our goodbye hugs turned more romantic than friendly. I really liked this girl, so much so that it scared me.
I still remember our first kiss. Well, our only kiss. I was walking her home on a warm April night (God, can you imagine? Meanwhile in Milwaukee, it’s snowing in April) and she kept giggling and leaning in. I was so nervous, I would pull away or go for a hug instead.
When we got to her house, I built up the courage to kiss her on the cheek, but I was so jittery that I came in a little too strong and bumped my glasses against her face. She laughed, and then I don’t remember who moved where but suddenly her lips were on mine and I couldn’t think straight. The only clear decipherable thing in my head was that her lips were softer than anyone I had ever kissed before.
And that should have been it, right? A happy ending? Two queer best friends falling in love, living happily ever after. Except it wasn’t. Because I was terrified. I walked home filled with regret, not knowing how to tell my family. In the end, I didn’t tell my mom until a year or two later.
And the worst part? I lost my best friend because I was too much of a coward to tell her I wasn’t ready to come out. I let her think that it was her, that I wasn’t actually interested in her when honestly, she was all I ever thought about. And now we aren’t friends anymore. I let one of the most important relationships in my life at the time go because of my fear.
We’re both doing well now, living our separate lives, separately. She’s married – that’s one of the last things I saw on her Facebook before I reached out to apologize for how we left things. She blocked me the next day. I still think about her, even now. She was the girl that opened my heart and taught me to love myself for who I was. It devastates me that I couldn’t be that for her.
So yeah, sometimes coming to grips with who you are isn’t easy. It’s been a long road, but now I’m able to walk into Pride Prom with a smile on my face. I’m able to tell my friends I’m bisexual without feeling nervous. There was pain and heartbreak along the way, but I’ve made it. I’m here.
My advice? Don’t let fear control who you love. I don’t know if my friend and I would have worked out if I hadn’t been so afraid, but I know we would have had a much better chance. That said, I actually am very happy in my current relationship, and I wouldn’t give it up for anything in the world. I think she would say the same.