Menon talks about her attraction to both men and women in this story.
I am not a person who finds it easy to express. I was since my earliest days, a distant kid. I didn’t like to be held or hugged and I definitely did not voice my thoughts. To make to make things worse, I realized I was different. So, instead of questioning myself or trying to understand what I was feeling, I threw myself into reading novels and a million other articles till the time I gathered some guts to guiltily start collecting pictures of women from various magazines and newspapers. Since I did collect pictures of men too, I thought that meant I was not gay. I was so ignorant at that time that I believed that there was only homosexuality and heterosexuality. Then of course in college I met the woman I fell in love with and the one who reciprocated. It was more than love and friendship. She opened me up to myself. I realized that I was bisexual (“duh!” I thought to myself at that time), like her. I was newly 18, madly in love and I couldn’t share my joy, my sudden fearand confusion that came from suddenly facing my emotions. As usual, I locked it up in me till I thought was going to burst a vein in my head if I didn’t die of a heart attack. I became moody, sullen and withdrawn and that scared my mom who knew that as usual I was terribly bothered by something but not talking. She asked me many times at various occasions if there was something I wanted to talk about but I always said no.
One late night when my sis was asleep (my dad, an army officer, was postedto north-east at that time), she called me, asked me to sit in the dinningroom and there, in front of me, she began sobbing. “What’s bothering you? For god’s sake, confide in someone!! If you don’t wish to tell me, talk tour dad. Just talk! It’s impossible for me to watch you like this and to top it all you don’t even talk. Tell me or talk to dad now. Call him up. He’ll listen. Don’t keep it in you. Whatever u got to say, say it. Don’t let iteat you up.” Watching her tears of frustration, I broke down and came out toher. Watching me cry (I don’t cry in front of people. Not even my parents), she was shook up. She hugged and rubbed my back while I poured my heart to her. I told her everything. I told her that I was in love with a woman. She held me tight and said it was ok and that everything was going to be all right and that she loved me no matter what. I felt strangely light as the burden took off from my heart. She wiped her tears and said, “Growing up kids often feel like you do. It is not some thing new. All you have to do is to stay away from girls for sometime. Don’t hold hands. Don’t sit too close to them and do not give them a lift on ur Scooty and u’ll be fine. You must not tell ur husband about it once you get married. Men don’t take such news well.” I couldn’t believe my ears! All my coming out and confessing was an entire waste of time. I was fortunately too exhausted (physically, mentally and emotionally) to kill myself out of utter frustration, so I wept some more and then slept. But now I feel coming out to her was not a complete waste. She was right about loving me no matter but she was still bothered about my attraction to girls. And of course, there was an issue she couldn’t face–my girlfriend. For years we tiptoed around the subject till this year when I was going to over to Hyderabad to stay with my girlfriend at her house. We had a heart to heart exchange of letters. Anger, fear, pleads…almost all frustration flowed from both sides and then she wrote, “if you are going to that girl’s place (plz note the lack of word girlfriend or lover or even her name), don’t get physical.” I snapped back with, “My bedroom life is nobody’s business but mine.” And then she stopped. She didn’t talk for some days but now, she seems more accepting. Baby steps at a time is ok as long as it’s towards acceptance. Then of course I have a sis (younger) to whom I wished to come out. She was worried that I didn’t have a love life because I was shy. I came out to heron messenger because I knew I wasn’t going to meet her for a long time(she’s studying in Hyderabad and I work in Delhi) :
Me: I got to tell u something really personal…
Sis: ya. Tell.
Me: remember u told me that I should go out on dates and meet ppl and to allow romance into my life?
Me: I didn’t have guts to tell u then but I have been dating mostly girls usee…
Sis: that’s gr8! Double dates make things more comfortable for some
Me: I don’t think u read it right. I said I DATED GIRLS…
Sis: are u a lesbian?
Me: bisexual is more like it.
Sis: all these years I knew u were not st8
Me: ridiculous!! U never knew a thing
Sis: I do observe u know. (lots of talks and details better left censored here)
Sis: u think u cud get married and…er…u know, do the married stuff?
Me: I’ m attracted to men too. I will manage a marriage if I do get married in the first place. For now I wanted to come out to you. U seem ok with the news. I’m surprised.
Sis: lol…I’m not a kid anymore. I’m fine with the news. I have many gay friends so I know how it must be for you.
I am happy to say that my sis has been an amazing (and a surprisingly strong) supporter ever since. Then of course is dad to whom I am yet to come out. But I got a feeling that he either knows (through mom) or has an idea. He did ask me once, “so, how’s life without a wife?” but then maybe its wishful thinking that he just knows abt it already and save me the trouble of coming out to him. I know I’ll break his heart with the news that his darling first-born is queer (when my mom was pregnant with me, my parents went to holy places asking for a daughter coz my dad wanted one. At least his first one, he prayed). I’ll need strength to break this news to dad…I wonder when my next breakdown is going to be. Soon I think. Soon. I read somewhere that coming out is a continuous process. It never really stops. I am out to all my friends and I keep meeting newer people to whom I reveal the fact once they become good friends. Coming out has been liberating on so many different levels. I now quite like being myself though not everybody accepts or understands. I just go on being myself and ‘educate’ straight friends about homosexuality along the way.
This post is also available in: தமிழ் (Tamil)