Understanding My Sexuality

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Photo by Thought Catalog on Unsplash

Something astounding happened to me just over a week ago. I watched a movie that changed everything. It changed the way I thought about certain things, it changed the way I looked at certain things, and most importantly, it changed the way I viewed myself. The movie didn’t just make me feel happy or sad, rather it made me feel incredibly introspective and reflective. After having seen this film, I spent the following days and nights contemplating my own personal experiences and instances in my life that had always been mired in sadness and confusion.

I tried to decode these experiences and look for lost meanings behind them. I tried to make sense of things that had happened to me years ago, but still lie unresolved and bothersome for me today. I was looking for something to grasp hold of, something that would fill me with a sense of relief, convincing me that I hadn’t been the one in the wrong. That all of this was entirely someone else’s fault.

The movie was Call Me By Your Name (2017) and it absolutely ripped me to shreds. Armie Hammer and Timothée Chalamet star together in this beautiful love story that takes place in Italy during the summer of 1983.

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Timothee Chalamet & Armie Hammer in a scene from Call Me By Your Name

Call Me By Your Name is the type of film that moves you. It grabs a-hold of you and tugs you from left to right, forwards and backwards, until you begin to grow dizzy and frustrated, not knowing where to look next or what to think. More than any other film, this one has made me think about my sexuality and what – or indeed whom – I want in my life (as well as the things and people I don’t want in my life).

So, what am I?

Am I gay? No. Am I straight? No. For the past 15 years I’ve identified as bisexual. I’ve always been attracted to both men and women equally, however, I’ve never dated women or had a serious girlfriend. Boyfriends, I’ve had in abundance – maybe not recently, but when I was younger, I used to date quite frequently and had four serious boyfriends in total. Women have proven to be more elusive, and that’s why I never pursued romantic relationships with any I’ve met. I’ve wanted women (a lot), but always felt intimidated by them.

Call Me By Your Name made me question my sexuality and whether or not I’m actually comfortable labeling myself as bisexual. I mean, if I’ve never had a relationship with another woman, does that mean I’m straight? Does that disqualify me from being a bisexual person? This is where the bulk of my confusion lies.

Coming Out

I wish my sexual awakening had been simpler. I wish it had been as beautiful as it was in the film between Oliver (Armie Hammer) and Elio (Timothée Chalamet). Instead, in my late ‘teens, when I finally realized I had feelings for women as well as men, I revealed myself to my boyfriend-at-the-time and he didn’t speak to me for days. His horrendous reaction to my news hit me like a ton of bricks and made me feel even more confused than I already was.

I’ve never officially come out to any of my family members or my friends. I’ve never officially labelled myself as bisexual in my life – except to my (now ex) boyfriend and you’ve all heard how that played out. His reaction was my undoing. He made me feel so wrong, so dirty, so deviant that I vowed I would never broach the subject again with anyone I was close to. For fear that they’d stop talking to me, for fear they’d think less of me, for fear they’d label me a pariah and forever ignore me.

Carrying On

One of the main reasons why I decided to blog about my sexuality now is because I hoped it would provide me with a sense of clarification and belonging. Though I risk upsetting some people with this type of content, I also believe that the majority of people will enjoy reading it and offer me their support. I know not everyone on the internet is a troll, so this is me simply asking for you to understand where I’m coming from and, ultimately, where I’m headed.

Being a bisexual woman leaves me with a lot of choices; I’m not confined to just dating one sex, and I like this. Despite the societal issues that come along with not being straight, I’m happy I am the way that I am. I’m me and no one – no matter how angry or resentful or jealous they may get – can take that away from me. I know myself and I know my feelings and I know that over time I can be happy.

Lastly …

Call Me By Your Name helped me come to terms with all of this. The movie helped me discover the joys and pleasures of real, blissful love no matter what shape or form it takes. Love is love – gender has nothing to do with it.

Though I’m still struggling a little internally with my feelings, I think this is normal? Like, it’s normal to feel conflicted and confused, right? For those of you who have come out to your family and loved ones and for those of you who feel 100% comfortable with who you are, how or when did you know that everything was going to be okay?

12 thoughts on “Understanding My Sexuality

  1. The way forward would presumably involve you considering dating/ having a relationship with someone.
    Will this be a challenge?
    You have described yourself as very private in the “real world” outside of social media. Preferring your own company. Do you think you would enjoy companionship more if you had a special female relationship?
    You are of course entitled to live your life to suit yourself. I wonder if you would benefit from more regular company?
    All the best in what you choose to do!

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    1. I’m definitely not against dating or beginning a relationship with someone. Yes, I do prefer being on my own most of the time, but it’d be lovely to have a companion now after so long of being single.

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      1. Isn’t it amazing that an art form like a movie can move someone so much?
        Did you discover this film by chance? It sounds as if it has been a really positive influence on you. Thanks for sharing. As always I can’t help feeling compassion towards you in some of your written output. I wish you a fantastic year ahead and hope you meet someone special to share things with.

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  2. A very brave piece of blogging Veebs. I guess your friends and family…if they read your blog will now be aware. In some ways that will be scary, but in others I guess it would be a relief to finally get things out in the open. Hopefully your real friends and family will support and stick by you rather than condemn you for your honesty. Well done you.

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    1. I think the majority of my family and friends have read it by now, yes. It wasn’t the easiest of blog posts for me to write, but it felt like a huge relief once it was done and posted.

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  3. Loved the honesty, Vanessa. I can’t imagine what you must feel like specifically in regards to being bisexual, but I certainly know how it feels to hide a part of yourself from even the closest people in our lives. So I’m glad you took that step, you deserve it. I hope you’re happy, and sending all the love your way!! 😚

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  4. I have almost too many feelings to put into words. Like you, I am bisexual, and so far as I can tell, it is never easy.
    I do want to share one important story regarding coming out. On her deathbed, my mother told me that she was bisexual and described her first love affair – with another woman in a small city in Ohio. In the 1950s. “Bittersweet” doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this. It will never cease to disturb me that we never had an honest, open discussion about our sexualities until it was too late. Yet, I understand her better than I ever had, and I know that she understood me better than I had believed when I was younger. That moment of contact is unspeakably precious to me.
    Unlike you, I have dated both sexes, but I believe 100% that a person who “feels” bisexual IS bisexual, whether or not she acts on this with one or more partners. Especially when the feeling lasts for years or decades, and can’t be written off as a whim. I also think that each individual’s bisexuality is different – for some it comes and goes, for others it’s “always on,” for some there’s one particular “type” that triggers a yearning for one sex or the other, for some it only matters when they’re single. That’s part of why confusion is almost always a part of it. No one exactly shares your story, because it is unique to you.
    Treasure the uniqueness. And know that despite it, you are not truly alone.

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  5. This may (or may not?) have been a difficult piece to write; regardless, you were courageous in your willingness to be vulnerable. I am straight & have never felt any differently, so I can’t offer any advice or wisdom…but I do hope clarity and peace will come.

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    1. It was both difficult and easy. Difficult to get started, but easy once I began writing. It was a bit of a nightmare to schedule, though, because I was so nervous about how it would be received. I’m so so glad the majority of people who have read it seem to be really supportive and kind (yourself included!).

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