I’m 7 years old watching Bring It On next to my dad. Missy, played by Eliza Dushku, is on screen dancing in her doorway as Torrance and her other cheermates are parked outside hyping her up as she becomes more confident in her cheerleading uniform. I make my dad rewind the scene a few times. I tell him it’s because it makes me laugh. Truthfully, it’s because I’m attracted to her.
I’m 16 and I’m hanging out with this really cool girl from school — I’m intimidated by her but only because she possesses the confidence I wish I did. We get drunk in my room off of a Vodka bottle she stole from Jewel. We’re screaming Amy Winehouse songs at the top of our lungs and then she asks me to kiss her. I do and I’m consumed by the kiss –I’ve had plenty of kisses before this moment but something about this kiss was different. In the moment, though, I convince myself it’s just the alcohol intensifying every emotion pulsing through my body. “It was a wild drunken moment,” I tell my friends. “We got really drunk and kissed but it meant nothing. We were just girls being free.”
I’m in college and at every party I go to, I end up making out with a girl, sometimes even more than one throughout the night. This doesn’t mean anything to us because we’re in “college” and “experimenting.” More importantly, I’m drunk and this is something I only do when I’m drunk. Because it’s acceptable then. Because it’s easier to say that I make out with women when I’m drunk instead of telling everyone around me that I’m attracted to women. Because I don’t know how to tell my parents, my grandparents, my friends.
At one of these parties, one of my good friends tells me I give her a “lesbian vibe” with an aggressive tone. I look at her and my insides fill with rage because this is a saying I’ve heard since I was younger. It’s an intrusive statement — one that makes me feel isolated and confused because I haven’t yet admitted to myself that I am queer. I laugh it off and say “No, I’m just having fun,” but I start to wonder if I am bisexual. All my relationships have been with men and for the most part, I still find myself being more attracted to men, which makes me feel like I can’t consider myself bi.
One day, another friend and I are hanging out and I look at her and tell her my conflicting feelings. She says maybe it’s just a phase. “I don’t think it’s a phase,” I say. She tells me to go on a date with a woman. “Do you think girls would like me?” I ask, my heart sinking into my stomach because I have no idea how to talk to women that aren’t my friends or family. I think I’ve gotten really good at dating men but I have no experience with women, except the few drunken make-out sessions I’ve had. This fear results in me, again repressing my bisexuality and having it only seep out when I’m drunk.
But now I’m 21. I’m itching near the end of my undergraduate career and I’ve been in therapy for about a year and a half now. I’ve developed healthy coping mechanisms for a lot of the anxiety I’ve dealt with for most of my life and have chipped away at a lot of my trauma. More importantly, I’ve developed the tools necessary to process my feelings openly and truthfully. I no longer repress the emotions I experience or the different things that make me who I am, like the fact that I can’t cook a single meal, that I’m terribly afraid of being alone, and most importantly that I am bisexual and I’m ready to discover more of what this means for me.
I went on a platonic date with a woman not too long ago. We were both open about our experience as bisexuals and the relationships, freedom, and love we felt we may have missed out on because of compulsive heterosexuality. We remind each other that our sexuality is valid regardless of who we’re dating and even though she and I are just friends, she reminds me that I’m capable of being loved by a woman.
I’m no longer scared of being who I am or liking who I like. I shout it from the rooftops every chance that I get.
I’m Marissa, and I am bisexual. It took me damn near forever to be comfortable saying that, but I’m out now and I’m never going back.