I don’t remember her name but I remember her face. Big eyes and two ponytails. Cutest girl in the class. In second standard, I wrote “I love you” on a piece of paper and passed it across to her. She read it, exclaimed, “Eww, she says such dirty things” and promptly flung it into the dustbin.
I was hurt and confused but not because of the rejection. I told her that I loved her because it was the only thing I could do. There were no hopes of reciprocation or fears of repulsion.
I was confused because she called it dirty. How was it dirty? I just said that I loved her. I didn’t mean anything dirty.
Everyday I would make a mental note of the stop where she got down from the school bus. I would make plans of coming there years later and befriending her. Of course I never did.
Bisexuality did not seem like a big deal to me at that time. Every night I would fall asleep telling myself stories about Prince Charmings coming to rescue me, or think of the beautiful dancers I had seen in some casino at Nepal. Their beauty and grace had mesmerized me, the same as the princes in fairy tales.
Eventually, I realized that bisexuality was a big deal. Being anything but heterosexual was a big deal. I concluded that I had to be bi-curious. As for the crushes I had on women, they had to happen to everyone. There was nothing unusual about that, right? I preferred heterosexual porn, but it was mostly the women in it who turned me on. It was all very confusing. It all gets confusing when you refuse to recognize yourself.
Finally, I conceded.
It was tough hearing my friends bitch about openly non-heterosexual girls, say it was a ‘disease’ and keep a pile of books in between when sitting next to them. It was tougher not to protest.
I first came out to my first boyfriend and then cried for hours, because of what I thought that made me in his eyes. He was followed by my sister, parents, best friends, and successive boyfriends. I did not tell my immediate circle of friends. I highly doubted that I would remain just-another-female-friend after that.
With men, it went from “He’s cute” to “Is he single” to “Is he interested?” With women it stopped short at “she’s cute.” I never again wrote “I love you” on a chit of paper. I did not even think of any girl that way. It was unthinkable, then.
A few days back a dear friend messaged me on Facebook. She was in love with a girl. She was scared and confused. She was terrified of what that made her…to others and to herself.
Humans have a broad and flowing personality that swerves and flows like an endless river, flooding across the banks of stereotypes and definitions. Society tries to keep things simple. So, it invents terms, then umbrella terms, then scales and broader scales to hold everything within comprehensible limits. It shoves the beauty and complexity of human personality into tiny boxes with labels and rules. It breaks our wings and limits our flight.
Now, I am the international student representative at Cardiff University’s LGBT+ society. I am a perfect three on the Kinsey scale. I have not dated any girl yet but I have kissed a few. “She is cute” has evolved to “Is she single and not heterosexual?” My Facebook friend has found her wings and is learning to fly. Helping her has inspired me to write this article. I am not as brave as I would like to be, but I am getting there.
Author’s note: I use the term ‘non-heterosexual’ to signify all sexual orientations other than asexual.