One of the more frequent questions I get about my lifestyle is why/how do I live it so openly. My response usually is, I am not open, I am not out I am me.
That often is not enough for those who are looking for a way to come out of the closet so to speak, yet it is the only answer that I have.
For as long as I’ve been alive I’ve been different. I was different from my childhood peers. I was different from the other girls in my high school. I was different from anyone else in all of my various forms of employment. Being different for so long creates an ability to just exist and just be, that fitting in does not.
Those who have known me the longest will tell you that I’ve talked funny for most of my life. They will tell you that my approach to being social was a little odd. They will tell you the things that interested me were foreign to them, and some will tell you they worried about me
That existed within me from my time as a toddler and it remains still. It doesn’t mean that I had no desire to fit in, to be like everyone else. It does not mean that I still don’t have moments where I think it would be simpler if I didn’t stand out as much as I do.
The Man has told me in the past that me blending into the scenery is not possible. I understand his sentiment, but it doesn’t make me happy, it only reminds me of what’s always been true: I am different.
My current group of peers (yes I am using that word), are a wonderful stew of all life has to offer. They don’t mix well, but they are all important to me in so many ways.
My circle of friendship includes women I’ve known for decades. At this point in our association, they no longer shake their head at me and wonder what I will do next. They simply accept me. They would tell you that with only 1 exception I never came out of the closet to them, I simply have been who I am all along and they chose to hang around for the ride.
They got used to my scattered choices of fashion that have transcended grunge, to business couture, to Dominatrix, to mommy sweats.
They got used to my lectures about the importance of being politically aware.
They got used to my not giving a fuck about things and they appreciate me anyway.
Yes, I’ve never had to come out of anywhere with them, I’ve simply been allowed to be.
I did come out though. Kind of. Many – many – many years ago. We were all enroute to a bowling party, I had us lost in Kensington, in my Buick. You’d have to live in Philadelphia to understand that a car full of Black women cruising the streets of Kensington, Philadelphia is not considered sane or fun.
Liken it to being Black and being invited to a cook out, but when you show up everyone is wearing a Klan hood.
As we drove and I tried to find out where we were headed, in the middle of a conversation I let loose that I was bisexual.
For my younger readers, this was back in the stone ages where your cell phone if you had one didn’t have TeleNav built in automatically. We also carried beepers and used rocks to kill our dinner before our shifts ended at the Slate Rock and Gravel Company.
I no longer remember WHAT we were talking about, only that I pulled an Ellen, said yep I’m gay, and we all went back to trying to get to the bowling alley, and getting out of hostile territory.
It was that simple for me, yet it was a challenge as well. I felt the need to say it, again this was so long ago that I no longer recall why. I recall that I had apprehension about it before I said it. I recall that no one threw holy water on me and called an exorcist. I know that I had to explain to the girls about my sexuality, but what I found out was that none of them gave a fuck about my sexuality.
It was painless for me. It won’t be painless for everyone who wants to be out and open about who they are though.
I am fortunate to have a circle of influence that is less concerned about the activity of my bedroom than they are about my ability to have a bedroom (maintain a certain standard of living). Since NONE of us were fucking – they didn’t much care who I was fucking. Pretty dope right?
Thousands of people, if not millions of people out there do not have that same luxury.
If they say they are gay they will be judged. They will be disowned, condemned, treated as if there is no greater offense they could commit.
If they say whips and chains excite them, no number of Rhianna songs will make the people around them not call them deviant and stop the nieces and nephews and god children from visiting Uncle Ricky’s house for rear they will **get some on them**, whatever some is.
I can’t tell someone who lives in that world how to come out, because that is not a world that I know. I can’t hold your hand through what you will encounter in that hostile environment because that hostility is not familiar to me.
Even in my closed minded family, where being bi-sexual is something that is just not done, I don’t have to endure judgment and shame.
I’m sure that my mother thinks I am going to a hell that I personally do not believe exists, but while she may pray that I be cured of the gay in me, she doesn’t exclude me from her life because of it. I mean it helps that I am her full time caretaker, but even before then, she kind of just decided her daughter is who she is and that I was more important to her than holding onto an irrational prejudice.
The only advice that I can give, and I fear it is not enough at all, is be who you are. It won’t help some people get over their feelings, but it will certainly make you happier to not have to live a lie.