In the past few weeks I’ve been watching South of Nowhere and vicariously reliving the early thousands. Sometimes I miss the fashion of that time period, when everyone wore tight clothing and hadn’t rediscovered high-waisted pants. Oftentimes I don’t miss that time period, though, because Razr phones were ridiculous and, let’s be honest, it’s much easier to download things illegally nowadays. But I digress.
I remember seeing advertisements for South of Nowhere when it was still airing on Teen Nick. At the time I didn’t give it much thought because I was already too obsessed with Degrassi to look for anything else to fill my allotted time with the TV. The gist of what I got from the commercials was: Los Angeles and lesbians. That was enough information on that front to sustain me for the next ten years.
But for some reason, this winter I decided to download the first season. Just for shits and gigs. I know there’s plenty of great modern television with better actors and writers that I could expose myself to (I have yet to hop on the Breaking Bad train), but something tugged on the back of my mind, saying, this is a show you need to watch.
This is the same something that pokes me every so often, saying, Hey girl. What’s up? You’re kind of gay.
I don’t know how long this voice has been with me. Maybe since birth. My mother reminded me a few months ago that when I was younger my dream was to get married and then live in the same house as my best friend and her husband. All of us living communally, in love, together. At the tender age of three I did not necessarily want to marry a girl, but I knew that I was interested in spending my life with a boy and a girl. People whom, quite simply, I loved more than anything.
Though maybe that dream has changed in the past almost-two-decades, that desire I harbored as a wee tot seems eerily relevant to the question mark that I call my sexual orientation.
As Ashley says in one of the first few episodes of South of Nowhere, “I don’t really ascribe to labels.” That’s how I’ve felt about my sexuality, ever since I started questioning it. Nowadays, on the rare occasions when people pay attention enough to ask me “what I am,” my favorite answers are arguably straight and sexual. That’s all I really feel comfortable committing to, label-wise.
Because, fact: I am arguably straight. I’ve mostly hooked up with guys. I’ve only ever had romantic relationship with males. Because, fact: I am sexual. I love sex, I love having sex, I love orgasms and doing things of the sexual nature with people.
But other than that… I really don’t know.
I have made out with several girls. I have had sex with two girls, but both times it happened was in the context of a threesome – so there was a male present. In my senior year of high school I had a “girlfriend,” who was not really a girlfriend but rather a very close girl friend of mine who wanted to experiment with these things. There were no romantic feelings between the two of us, yet at times things got pretty hot and heavy. We continued this atypical friendship until her boyfriend couldn’t contain his jealousy any more. My boyfriend at the time was cool enough to not care. He just wanted to see us make out in front of him.
I have fallen in love with girls. Always at a distance, never any close friends. I have fallen for the girl with whom I shared a few words in passing, with whom I shared a class, who I did not know intimately but knew well enough to want to touch intimately.
But nothing has come to fruition. So I watch from afar, and I keep up with the characters on Orange is the New Black, South of Nowhere, and other TV lesbians because they allow me to experience that which I lack in real life.
What am I afraid of, you want to know? I don’t know.
Maybe of complicating my female friendships – but then again, I have never fallen for a friend. This is true of my relationships with men as well. I develop romantic feelings before platonic ones, never the other way around. So if the attraction happens, it happens right away or not at all.
Maybe of objectifying women. We don’t need more of that in our society. But I objectify men and use them for sex. I don’t want to do that to women. Yet I don’t want to dive head-first into a serious relationship if I’m not ready for one.
Maybe of being forced under a label that I don’t feel is right for me. I’m partially synesthetic, and “lesbian,” “bisexual,” “pansexual,” and other words of that kind have a shape and color in my mind that doesn’t fit with the person I am. “Queer” and “gay” are better. But “sexual” still trumps all other identities.
I don’t want to have to explain myself, and I have never felt the need to. I don’t owe anyone anything of the kind. Nobody does. So perhaps someday I will meet a girl who makes me want to hold her hand and wreak havoc and spend all day in the sun… but I don’t know that I will.
I’m not looking for my missing puzzle piece – male or female. I’m just living, and we’ll see where that takes me.