if i could change #3.
by Michael King
“I developed a crush on my best friend my first year in high school. Every chance we got to be alone, we would be making out. My heart would flutter, and it felt so natural to kiss her. My mother walked in on us one day, and I distinctly remember the look on her face. Shock, horror, silence. I wished, in that moment, I could just melt into the walls and disappear forever. I wished I could change that moment, all the moments leading up to it. I wondered what would have happened if it was a boy instead of a girl I had been kissing. I would have given anything not to have my mother look at me like she did. That look is forever etched into my memory. That was the moment I realized I was different.
“Coming to grips with my fluid identity has been a constant back-and-forth since I was a child, a perpetual struggle between how I feel about my sexuality and the expectations of my family or the tenets of my faith. My father once said to me, ‘If you’re bisexual, why can’t you just ignore your feelings about other girls? Your life will be easier if you date men.’ I can see why he asked this question, but it still makes me angry. If it was that simple, I think, don’t you think that is what I would do?
“I have dated both men and women since high school, and I think my family does a secret little celebration every time I introduce them to a new boyfriend. I know it is disappointing to them when I’m dating a woman. I feel that my attraction to a person is based on more than just their physical characteristics, but I believe, to my family, a relationship with another woman is less valid. So what happens if I fall in love with a woman? If I want to marry and have my children with another woman? And I tend to have more fulfilling relationships with women, so what does that mean for my relationships with my family?
“If I could wave a magic wand and just be completely and authentically heterosexual? Absolutely. 100%. YES. I whole-heartedly applaud LGBT-spectrum identified folks who can say they honestly accept their sexual- or gender-identity, but I also know I’m not in that place. I don’t know how to get to that place. I want ‘normal.’ I want a partner who I can introduce to my family and to my faith community and to my friends without that constant nagging voice in the back of my head asking if I am ‘less than’ because of my partner. And most of all, I want to erase the memory of my mother’s horrified, shocked face.”