Tuesday, 30 October 2018

Inktober/Blogtober Crossover: Day 30



When I read that today's penultimate Inktober word was "jolt," I thought back to the times in my life when I've had a realisation about myself, someone close to me or the world in general, which has genuinely taken me aback and made me see things in a new way.

There's something quite special about the moment that the penny drops regarding a certain situation or person.  That instant when you realise why you feel the way you do about things can be genuinely life-changing.  Every time you have a major realisation, it causes you to look at yourself and your life through fresh eyes and often, one moment of understanding sets off a chain reaction.  That initial "jolt," when you realise something important about yourself or your life, can alter the path you're on, forever.

My most recent "jolt" was probably also my most important.  It didn't happen in some amazing, lightbulb moment, or anything like that.  It was merely a case of my own mind bombarding me with questions, as always.  But this time, the question came completely out of nowhere and the answer knocked me sideways.

My entire life, I've identified as straight.  My only relationships have been with men.  All my celebrity crushes were on men.  All my real life crushes were on men.  

Whilst I've always been a champion of LGBT+ rights, I never ever saw myself as anything beyond straight.  In fact, if anything, the idea of personally being with a woman always made me feel a bit uncomfortable.  It wasn't what I was into.  I had no desire to be with someone who wasn't a dude.




And then, early last year, my life went through a lot of upheaval.  I had a female acquaintance who knew a lot about the situation I was going through and, despite us not being close friends, or living near to one another or anything like that, she took it upon herself to try to support me for a while.  For a couple of weeks (if that, really), she'd message me via Facebook every other day, to see how I was.  As expected, we ended up chatting about things beyond just my woes and I felt like I got to know her a lot better as a result.  Then, one day, out of the blue, a question popped into my head: 

"What would you say if she asked you out?"

It was a ludicrous question.  She was straight.  I was straight.  There was no chance of that happening.  So I attempted to ignore it, because why answer a question you'll never need to actually respond to?!

But the question was still in my head days later and eventually, I realised the reason I was trying not to answer it - even in my own mind - was because the answer scared me.  Because the answer was "of course I'd say yes."

She was funny and kind.  We had a lot of things in common.  She was easy to talk to.  She was objectively attractive.  Why would I say no, based purely on the fact that her gender was "wrong?"

Of course, given that I was going through a whole mountain of crap, early last year, I didn't have much time to dwell on this potential new piece of information about myself.  Besides, I still fancied guys.  I wasn't gay.

But over the course of the year, I started to realise - and more importantly to accept - that I was open to the idea of being with someone of the same gender as myself.  I began to understand that it's the person that I fall for, not their sex.  My crushes have always been based more on personality than looks, so it perhaps shouldn't have been as much of a surprise as it was.  I fall for someone based on things like whether they make me laugh.  Whether they seem kind.  Whether I can open up and really be myself around them.  It shouldn't have been a surprise to reach the conclusion that those things aren't exclusive to males.  Eventually, I realised just how capable I am of falling for someone regardless of gender and whilst it came as a shock, it wasn't something I felt any kind of worry or embarrassment about.  I was probably very lucky, in that sense.

Now, it's just a part of who I am.  I don't like to put a label on myself, but I know that when it comes to who I fall for, gender is essentially irrelevant.  I believe we're all much more sexually fluid than we ever realise.  Some of us might never feel anything for someone of our own gender and some of us might feel something and be too afraid or confused to act on it.  That's okay.  Others might fall for someone of their own gender and decide to take a chance and see where a relationship might lead.  That's okay, too.   

As long as we can learn to love and accept ourselves, that's the most important thing of all.


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