Friday, February 28, 2014

On Secrets (Or, I Am Not In The Illuminati...)

So a new post about the ongoing saga of CDog vs. Raging Driving Anxiety is in the works. It's very thrilling. There are jaywalking old ladies and billions of cyclists and lots of hills. And bison. Seriously. Golden Gate Park's bison have been weaving their way into my life with startling regularity lately.

But all that's going to have to wait, because I have a thing to say.

I began the month with a deeply personal post, and I'm going to end it the same way. There's no significance to the day outside of that. Just...I'm feeling determined, and I'm wearing a fabulous bow tie, so why not sit down and let you in on my last big secret?

That was a big set-up. It shouldn't have been. I'm not about to drop some Illuminati surprises on you or anything. Look, if you know me personally, you know I kind of just put it all out there. I do my best to live a good life in a way that feels right and authentic to me, and I don't really make space for anyone who feels like telling me I'm doing it wrong. That was one of the best pieces of advice I ever picked up at a comic book convention - the panelist, without malice, said, "If there's anybody in your life who doubts you, who tries to convince you that you should  give up and do something else, you need to cut them out, because that's not going to work." It was a response to a question about writing, but it kind of applies to everything.

I haven't been living authentically, though. Not completely - not the way I want and need to, and it feels like the only reason is because I've been worried about what other people would think. I don't like that. It's a bad habit to get into, and I'm not going to let that be a thing.

So let's not have it be a thing: I'm bisexual.

Right? It really didn't need a big set-up. It's probably not even that surprising - I've known for a long time. I've even sort of said it to a few people, but in a pretend, non-committal, I-didn't-really-say-it-so-what-just-happened-probably-nothing kind of way. All of that amounted to just building a custom closet for myself to hide this piece of my identity in - roomy, sure, and full of fun stuff, but a closet nonetheless.

It wasn't an earth-shattering revelation when I figured it out. I was irritated, more than anything, because I felt like I was suddenly in a category that didn't fit anywhere - not straight, not gay, just there. Growing up, even in San Francisco, I remember the idea of bisexuality being met with derision and scorn - at best, you were in denial; at worst, you were hypersexual and untrustworthy. I absorbed these things that eventually turned into the message that who I was - who I knew myself to be - was not real and would not be accepted.

Instead of saying, "Whatever. That's not me, and if people don't realize that's not me, that's their problem," I got scared. And I stayed scared, and silent, for a very long time. Friends in situations similar to mine came to me for advice, and I told them exactly what I myself would've wanted to hear - you're you, and that's 100% rad, fuck anybody who says otherwise, and tell them I said so. But I couldn't find a way to apply that to my own life.

I didn't want to be the bi, vegan writer from San Francisco who dresses like a hipster professor and is in therapy for chronic anxiety and depression. Say all those things together and tell me it doesn't feel just a little bit ridiculous.

But the longer I sat with those things, feeling like a raging stereotype of the west coast lifestyle, the more it occurred to me that I was absolutely unwilling to change any of them. I love my bow ties and cardigans - wearing them makes me feel fantastic. Going veg is one of the best decisions I ever could have made for my life. Writing is the only thing that has always made sense to me. And I can't change who I'm attracted to any more than I can change the way my brain is wired or where I was born.

I've spent far too much time being a hypocrite over the past few years, encouraging the people around me to live fully while refusing to do so myself.

This is me undoing that, the only way I know how: clumsily, via the written word, in a vaguely public way. It's one of those things that changes nothing and everything - it's already who I was, but I'm finally free from the silence of it.

I'm not in denial. I'm not confused. I like guys. I like girls. That's it. That's my truth.

I'm me, and that's 100% rad. Fuck anybody who says otherwise, and tell them I said so.

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