Update: Today (the Wednesday after the original post) I came out to my dad. He was surprised, but that's about it, so it went well. I've left the rest of the post intact, but thought it was worthwhile to add this.
Update 2: I have also now come out to my mom! She was less surprised than my dad, but it also went really well. Just thought that was worth updating this, on the odd chance that someone else stumbles across this in the future.
So, today's been a weird day. I woke up, got dressed, ate breakfast, brushed my teeth, and logged onto Giant Bomb. All the stuff I usually do. I encountered this thread, and went in, because a thread about people's secrets seemed intriguing. I didn't even have any intention at all of actually saying anything. Instead, what happened was that I saw another Giant Bomb user say that his secret was his (well, I don't know that he's necessarily a dude, but I hate it when people use "they" or "their" for a single person of unknown gender) being bisexual. And, being the rational person that I am, I decided then and there I was going to do the same, and came out of the closet as being bisexual. And I figured I might as well mention it on Twitter, so I did.
What followed was a bunch of people saying really nice things, and being really supportive, and it couldn't have made me happier. I mean, I shouldn't have been surprised, given that Giant Bomb is usually great community, and the people that follow me on Twitter (many of whom I consider to be friends) are of course going to be supportive, but still. It warmed my heart. And then I figured that I should write up something proper and lengthy about this, my experience with this, and being in the closet for so long, because I like writing and it seemed like the thing to do.
I guess I should begin at the beginning. Obviously no two people are the same, and my experience isn't going to be the same as anyone else's, but it took me a long time to figure out that I was bisexual. I mean, I knew I was attracted to the opposite sex at the "normal" age (early teens-ish), but it wasn't until 2009 that I realized I was bisexual. I was 18 and a half. If you read the stuff I write on the internet a lot, this next part will make a lot of sense.
It was Metal Gear, of all dumb things, that helped me realize it. If you're not familiar, the series features several bisexual characters. Almost all villains, and arguably not portrayed well, but nonetheless, it has bisexual characters, which is more than most video game series can say. But this wasn't a case where it introduced me to the concept of bisexuality, and I instantly realized my own sexuality. No, instead I played MGS2 in early 2007 (featuring Vamp, the most prolific bisexual in the series), then MGS3 in mid 2007 (with Volgin, another bisexual), and then MGS4 in 2008 (where Vamp returns). But it wasn't until about a year after MGS4. I was lying in bed, trying to sleep, which, as you may have guessed, often leads to me thinking about Metal Gear.
I don't remember the specifics, but eventually my train of thought led me from MGS4 to bisexuality, and somehow the thought, "Am I bisexual?" popped into my head. It was like an epiphany. Suddenly a lot of things about my life, the way I thought about certain people, reacted in certain situations, made a lot more sense. I wasn't convinced, because, at the moment, I thought, "Well, I'm tired, it's late, and I'm a crazy person, so maybe it's a fluke." So I did what I could to "check." I won't go into the details, but I'll say that some time on the internet helped assure me that I was indeed bisexual, and for that moment in time, I was happy.
It's no secret that I'm prone to feeling pretty depressed. I have been since my early teens. I had already been on an upswing, as it was my last year of high school, where I had finally started opening up, spending more time with people, etc. But, for that moment in time, this was like... a lighthouse? Like, a beacon leading me to... Okay, I'm bad with metaphors, that's why I'm a novelist, not a poet. It really made me feel a lot better about myself...At least for a little while.
Because then I was faced with a question: Do I tell anyone? Given the fact that this was five years ago, you can probably figure out what happened. Aside from one friend of mine, who I told, I kept it to myself. (And hey, friend of mine, I do appreciate that you've been there for me all these years, I only hope I've been a good enough friend in return.)
But when it came to whether or not to tell my parents, well, it wasn't so simple. Because it took me so long to realize it, I had spent years telling people I was straight. And for whatever reason, every year after I entered my teens my mom asked me like two or three times if I was gay. Not because I was acting stereotypically "gay" or anything, it was because I wasn't out dating anyone, or showing much interest in girls (though I can say with authority that I was in fact, interested in girls). Even beyond that, my relationship with my mother has been strained at best ever since my early teen years, even to this day (though it's certainly better now than it has been at times). Anyway, between my general inclination to hide things from her, saying that I was straight for years, and that specific time being when my relationship with her was at its worst, I just didn't. And my dad? I don't really think he'd care either way (he's certainly always been open minded about everything, and loves me (to be clear, my mom also loves me)), but again, I just never found a way to say it.
So, I told myself, "Well, if it comes up in conversation, I won't lie about it." Which is why a couple years later when my mom was driving me somewhere, and talking about my cousin, who was bisexual, I of course, lied and said I had no interest in men when she asked. So...yeah.
We don't exactly live in a world that's completely friendly and welcoming to LGBT people. And as time went on, and I kept hiding the truth, I became more and more accustomed to just trying to keep it a secret. To trying to suppress it as much as possible. And since I'm bi, and not gay, it's not like I couldn't pursue "normal" relationships. I could have theoretically never told anyone, met a woman, gotten married, and lived a perfectly "normal" life. And there's nothing saying that parts of that won't happen, but clearly the keeping it a secret part is gone.
But keeping a secret like that starts to wear away at you. I did, at one point, try finding some means of contacting other bisexual people, through totally anonymous internet stuff. It was certainly helpful, and enlightening about other people and their situations (so if people ever tell you that Omegle has done no good, it's a lie), but I was still keeping it secret. Aside from that one friend (who I never mentioned it to again, and he may well have forgotten (I don't blame you if you did)), I was just bottling it all up.
Like I said before, I've been prone to feeling really depressed at certain points in my life. The last year especially has been rough. Between lingering worries about my future (financially), the passing of Ryan Davis, all my medical problems that started appearing last year (Crohn's Disease), and a bunch of other things, it's been rough. And having my bisexuality at the back of my mind, just sitting there, reminding me of how different I am, how weird I am...it didn't help. Especially when there's people out there denying that bisexuality even exists. Of course, those are mostly the same people that think that people just choose to be gay, or bi, and those people are both horrible and horribly misinformed, but they exist. You can even find gay and lesbian people out there that deny and shun bisexuals if you go digging deep enough into parts of the internet that I wish I had never found.
And honestly, there's been times when I wished I could just choose to be straight. That I could forget all about it, and be "normal." I couldn't, obviously, but I don't think I have to go into details about how trying to deny a part of yourself exists is bad for your mental state of being. And I was having thoughts like this within the last year, so it's not like this is something I got over a long time ago. Hell, even with the incredible reaction I've gotten (you guys are the best), there's still a part of me, even though it's very small, but there's a part of me that wishes I could be "normal." It's probably the smallest it's been since those thoughts first appeared, but it's still there.
And that sucks. Maybe if I could ever bring myself to actually come out to my parents, or if I got into a better state of mind about the rest of my life, I could finally drive those lingering thoughts out. Probably not, given that I live in the US, a country that I still love with all my heart, despite how awful it can be to LGBT people in certain states. Even here in Massachusetts, there's plenty of horrible people out there that, well, I won't go into the specifics, but you know how awful people can be.
But, thankfully I have a community like Giant Bomb's there to support me during my low times, and there to pat me on the back for my arbitrary and rash decision to say these things today. The GB crew, and the content they've made have cheered me up more times than I can count. Any time I've felt down, they were always there with some Quick Look of a terrible game, some play through of something idiotic, or some incredibly long podcast about the most inane and hilarious things imaginable. I wouldn't give the stupid and hilarious conversations I've had on Twitter with the people I've met on Giant Bomb for anything. Same goes for all the discussions and outright arguments I've had with people on the site itself. Well, maybe for a world without hate against LGBT people, a cure for Crohn's Disease, and a few billion dollars. Then I'd think about it.
But seriously, you guys are the best. The absolute best. Though, really, I should be thanking the person that introduced me to Giant Bomb (that same friend, oddly enough), because I can't imagine what my life would be like today if I hadn't found it. What it'd be like without the friends that I've made. Matlock, Chabbs of Abkhazia, Krummey, Fattony, Josh the Miku fan, Abyssful (I'll never forget, Liam), Little So Crates, Mento(s) and Diet Coke...There's too many to name! I'm sorry if I didn't mention you, but I love you all, and I'd give you all hugs if I could, and wasn't worried about germs (damn health issues).
So here I am, writing the most heartfelt and introspective thing I've ever written. Trying to describe the last five years, and the emotional roller coaster that's been. Even now, hours after I made the initial comments (never mind how I mentioned my bisexuality on a Ground Zeroes thread a month ago (totally in context and to make a point) just to see if anyone would notice (they didn't, aside from the one person I was directly addressing)), I'm still nervous. There's still a part of me that would rather clam up and keep this all to myself. But screw that!
It's been a long road. And if anyone reading this has had similar experiences, or has any questions, feel free to ask (just be reasonable with the questions). If you're not ready to tell everyone, PM me, if you want. I'll take your secrets to the grave. If the things I've written here help a single person, either understand his or her own problems, or helped a "normal" person understand what LGBT people go through, then I'll be ecstatic. I'll feel like I've helped give back to this wonderful, amazing community of the best people on the internet. And ZombiePie. That guy always says every blog I write is my return to blogging, and F that guy for that. (I'm kidding! You know I'm kidding, right?)
So that's that. I'm bisexual, and I'm out loud(ish) and proud(ish). I'm in good company too, with people like David Bowie, Sammy Davis Jr., Freddie Mercury, Obi-Wan Kenobi, etc. At least according to Wikipedia, which has a list four pages long.
Oh, and I tried my hardest to come up with a good pun for my bi-line, but I couldn't, so I opted for a normal sounding title. Guess I left my puns in the closet, I'Ll Get Back To you later if I think of some.