I often doubt myself. It’s one of those stupid habits I have where I over think everything and question all of my decisions until I’m utterly convinced I’ve done the wrong thing. As a bisexual, with a very fluid sense of sexuality, this can be difficult.
When I first learned about bisexuality, and indeed sexuality in general, I always thought of it as a very rigid thing. You liked girls, or guys, or both, the same amount the whole time. Bisexuality, to me then, meant an equal love for both, and it would never change. It was only later on that I understood that this wasn’t the case, and even with my new knowledge and awareness of how fluid sexuality can actually be, it’s still sometimes difficult and confusing to get my head around.
I have always been someone who needs to be convinced of things in order to believe them. I like to have proof and certainty and stability in my life. So when things change and get confusing I begin to doubt myself. I start to think that maybe I’m completely wrong.
But clearly sexuality isn’t a tangible thing. The best proof of it is experiences with other people, which for me have been few and far between. All I have to go on are feelings. Those I have a lot of, and they’re all pretty contradictory and all over the place (as you’d probably expect from someone around my age). The thing with feelings, though, is that they’re all valid. Just because they’re contradictory it doesn’t mean that they’re wrong.
The other week there was a story in the news about a child from Colorado who was born a boy but clearly identifies as a girl, and I remember having a conversation with one of my friends about it. She’s an accepting person, and her main concern was what if the child is wrong? What if she doesn’t want to be female really? Is she too young to know? What if when she’s older she realises that this isn’t who she is?
Now this got me thinking about gender and sexuality, and whether there is such a thing as wrong or right, and what I realised is that no. I don’t think there is.
Wrong is something which is reserved for maths questions and exams, not something as subjective, in depth and fluid as gender and sexuality. Saying that you can be wrong implies that there is one correct solution to who you are as a person locked up somewhere inside you, and when you find it you will finally understand yourself. What I would say to that is, if only it were that easy.
The thing is, though, that it’s not that easy. Personally, during that conversation, I worked out that the best we can do with gender and sexuality is to use the experiences and feelings we have in our lives so far to determine who we are.
The girl from Colorado isn’t wrong and will never be. She is expressing herself the way she thinks she should be at the moment. If later on she changes her mind, that won’t mean that the way she is now was wrong, it was just different. It was her expression of herself using the knowledge and experiences she had at the time.
This realisation has been helpful for me. On those days when I doubt myself, when I find myself more attracted to the guys around me than the girls (or vice versa), I try to remember that this doesn’t negate any feelings I might have had the day before. It’s not a better or worse set of feelings, they’re just different. It doesn’t make things less confusing, but it makes the confusion easier to deal with.
On another note, when I came out I was given the typical ‘maybe it’s just a phase’ speech. They were words which stuck with me and were actually pretty difficult to deal with. The idea that maybe I hadn’t thought things through enough; that I wasn’t yet in a position to make that decision about myself. But again, my recent realisation has helped me deal with this. Even if I do later in my life discover that I’m not, in fact, bisexual but something else, that won’t mean that my current identification is wrong.
Right now I understand myself to be bisexual. Right now I like both girls and guys, even if that’s not equal or constant. Today I am bisexual and I am proud of that fact. It’s confusing and it’s difficult but it’s not wrong, and nothing I discover in the future will make it wrong. Being human isn’t a static thing; it’s a process of constant self-discovery and growth. As long as we are happy and comfortable with who we are now, that is what matters.