I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a niece. I am an aunt. I am a friend. I am a college graduate. I am a professional. I am a homeowner. I am a nerd. I am an adventurer. I am a writer. I am a music lover. I am stubborn and opinionated. I am probably hungry. I am also bisexual.
SURPRISE! It’s really not that big of a deal.
So why do some people feel entitled to know that part of me – that I somehow owe it to them to volunteer private information about myself? I’m not looking for people to tell me I’m courageous by writing this, nor am I looking for approval. I’d rather not package and label myself into a categorical box for others to better understand me.
After a lifetime of trying to understand myself, I just want to not talk about it. I want the freedom to not have others feel like they have a right to validate my existence (re: I am not a unicorn); I want the freedom to be fully and unapologetically myself – the same thing we all want.
Have I largely dated men my entire life? Yes. Do I have a girlfriend? Also yes. It took me 20-some odd years to discover and embrace my sexuality. I never actually knew. By admitting that to myself, I felt like I was doing a disservice to the LGBT community. I knew so many card-carrying gay people – my brother included – who hid their identities for years; people, who were brilliantly aware of their sexuality from day one and, despite social isolation, wore it as proudly as their own skin.
I also felt like I was doing some kind of disservice to the men I dated, as if being attracted to women made my relationships with and feelings for them somehow untrue. More than anything, though, the only person I was doing a disservice to was myself. I never even considered that both of those things could be my truths, or that I could harbor existential suffering so deeply within me that it affected the way I consciously and subconsciously experienced my own reality.
Until one random night in my 20-somethings, buzzed by the humidity of summer and a couple glasses of wine, I found myself shamelessly flirting with a woman. In the weeks that followed, I stayed intoxicated by her. I like her, I thought, not quite recognizing the person staring back at me in the mirror.
“I like her.”
This time, I said it aloud, gnawing on the words to see how they tasted before I spoke them. A part of me hoped that when I saw her again, I would figure out this was all something I dreamt up in my head. That I would go back to being the Danielle who had the incredible ability to silence anything that could stir up her shit instead of unsteadily tiptoeing around unchartered territory, panicked by the thought of what it all meant.
That’s not what happened. And at the end of the night, I tried her lips on for size, and they were a perfect fit. The next morning, I woke up to a text: “Danielle, I really fucking like you.”
And guess what? I really fucking liked her back. And I still really fucking like her back. In fact, I love her. I finally realized that it’s entirely possible to wander through over two decades without fully knowing yourself. Sexuality doesn’t have to be an either-or scenario. I am neither straight nor gay, regardless of who I am dating. Label me what you will, but I’m just Danielle.
I never felt the need to come out of anything, or to anyone, because I never felt like I was hiding in the first place. I just happened to discover myself comfortably sitting somewhere along a not-so-straight line.