I have something that's heavy on my heart that I want to process through.

Part of me is holding back, since I know that some people actually read this, and, well... maybe it's not something that I'm entirely sure that I want to share with them... just yet. Maybe. It involves a lot of vulnerability and risk on my end, and that's just darn uncomfortable.

But on the other hand... this is my blog, for goodness sake! I can write about whatever I darn well please! This is my space to figure things out, and I don't write for anyone. I write for me. If someone happens to read it, that's incidental.

So I guess I'm just going to hash out what I need to, regardless of the consequences. Come what may. Here goes. *deep breath*

I know it may seem like I'm going crazy these days, going "off the deep end" with my lifestyle in a way. You know, leaving church and questioning God and trying out alcohol and getting my sexy on and all that jazz. Wearing makeup. Eating dairy, and-- Lord forbid-- doing it on a regular basis! (lol) Piercing my ears. Listening to rock and roll. Watching movies. Talking about sex and masturbation openly and freely with friends.

Some who know me may think that I've changed. I disagree. I think that I'm finally allowing myself to be who I've been all along... and I'm not making these decisions on spontaneous whims, either. (Well, most of them. Some are whims, yes, but that's just a part of life.) I pride myself on the fact that I'm making conscious, informed choices based on what I believe to not only be right, but what I believe will enhance my sense of self and be good for me in the long run, as well as those around me (if that applies at all). Remember, my word for this year is "authenticity". I want to be truly who I am, not some faker with a mask on. Too long, too long... I tried being someone else for too long.

And that's part of the problem that I have with "organized religion" or "mainstream Christianity" or whatever you want to call it. I totally believe that the Bible was inspired by God. I do. But after really deeply searching, questioning, and studying the issue, I have come to the conclusion that it is also a very human book influenced by cultural dictates and expectations of the time, and the author's own personal knowledge, understanding, and personality. In short, God may have inspired the original thought, but it had to pass through a lot of filters before it got down on paper... and I'm okay with that. I realized that I used to believe that God just kind of opened his mouth and the King James Bible fell out of it into our laps. Not the case at all!

Anyway, what I encountered in my bouts of intense Christianity is this-- people and churches hold the Bible up as this standard (which is good, don't get me wrong), but it becomes an inviolable pattern for what a person should be. You must be this way to be spiritual. You must do this to be a Christian. If you don't fit the mold, then you must alter yourself to fit it.

It makes me think of the fashion industry. They hold up this standard of beauty that's totally unrealistic, and then the average woman must pinch, poke, tuck, cut, sew, sweat, paint, pluck, and perform all kinds of contortions to fit herself into this preconceived concept of beauty... instead of acknowledging, owning, and celebrating the innate and inherent beauty that she already possesses. People are all beautiful in different ways, and what appeals to one person doesn't necessarily appeal to another. That's just the way it works.

And I feel it's the same with souls, or personalities, or whatever you want to call it. This standard, this mold, is held up as being The Only Way, and it is left up to you to essentially mutilate yourself to fit into that mold. I hate that. My relationship with God is not one-size-fits-all, and neither is my personality. I'm not like other people in many, many ways.

It's taken a long time before I've become okay with that. My mom was instrumental in the dawning of this realization. I was bemoaning the fact that I wasn't as good of a person as I wanted to be, etc, and she pointed out to me that God created me with the personality that I have. Who I am is part nurture, of course, but part of it is nature, and that came from God. (God, and my genes... That's a subject for later. I don't think God has a chemistry lab full of personality components up in the sky somewhere, nor do I think he has buttons and levers in our heads to "direct our steps", but I think he works through circumstances and events and makes the best of the choices that we make through our free will.)

So I'm becoming more in tune with who I am, really... trying to be an authentic person, and striving to become a better and better person through that-- a healthy, balanced person who can give back to the world around her in a positive way. Not out of guilt, not because I "have to" in order to be accepted by people or by God, not because people are watching me and I want to impress them with how good I am (I went through that pissing contest with Brother G during our "courtship". Ugh. I was SO depressed!).

And that brings me to the heavy stuff.

C and I have been having some interesting conversations about sex lately... you know, since I'm thinking about it and talking about it all the time. Anyway, it's been challenging for me in some really weird ways, as I've had to confront and think through a lot of the issues with sex I've been carrying around for so long. Firstly, my experience with and understanding of sexuality was warped from the get-go, because my introduction was being molested by a father figure. After that started, I began frequenting AOL chat rooms and experimenting with online sex, although I didn't know about masturbation, so I was kind of out of the loop on that one. It was a thrill, but it was really scary and creepy so I quit that.

I don't know why I didn't become promiscuous. I think there is something innately in me that leans toward modesty, and I'm grateful for that. I'm too... faithful, I guess. I want to attach to one person at a time. I simply can't have sex with someone I am not in a committed, serious relationship with. (Not that I've ever slept with anyone besides C, but that doesn't really matter.) Heck, I never even dated someone that I was not friends with first. That's just me. And I think that kept me from sleeping around, because I totally could have swung that way. I so much crave approval and acceptance, I'm mildly surprised that I didn't go that route. But, despite the warpage I received, I've always been pretty naive about sex. (C is "educating" me about some things, and my mind is continually being blown about all the stuff I never knew about. Wowza. Some of it's good, some of it's weird, and some of it's downright creepy and we laugh at it.)

Our recent conversations have been a catalyst for much thought, it's true... and they've brought up an issue that's also been brought up repeatedly in the past. I have done some deep thinking and soul-searching on it, and I came to a rather startling conclusion the other day that has me reeling.

I kind of feel the same way that I did when I got my fibromyalgia diagnosis. It's like, "Oh, that's the name to describe what I've been going through! Okay! So now I have an identifier. Um... what do I do with this? How do I balance this in my life, and how do I deal with this new word that is a part of my life, and all the attendant emotions/repercussions?"

After doing some deep thinking and soul searching, and finally being in a place where I feel okay to be honest with myself, I realized a hard truth.

I'm bisexual.

I'm marrying a man in 8 weeks, but I'm attracted to women as well. I have been for as long as I can remember.

I've denied it for a super long time, especially after entering the world of conservative Adventism. Homosexuality in any form is wrong, and the people must be changed! (Again, back to the mutilation of personhood for the sake of the standard/mold.) I still haven't figured out why God hates gay people so much... but I'm sure it's an issue that I'll be dealing with if I want to keep any kind of relationship with him, which I totally do.

Funny thing is, I've never been able to bring myself to condemn homosexuality, and I never could figure out why, exactly. You know Christians rant and rave about the homos and how God's going to punish them and it's a crime against nature, yada yada yada... I never could get into that. I always felt sympathetic, like, "Dude, it's their choice, their life, and they're not messing with you, so leave them alone! What's your deal?" Like, really? Who am I to tell someone who they can and cannot love?

And now I realize that it's because I identify with them.

It's really, really weird to be able to say that, to put into words an aspect of my life that's been repressed for the entirety of it... to own something so potentially divisive and, well... explosive, for lack of a better term.

I don't really feel the need to tell anyone about it, really, because I am marrying a man in a few weeks, after all. If I were single and went out and got a girlfriend, then yeah. I'd have to explain something to friends and family. As it is, though, I've never really acted on my inclinations. I know they can be ignored, even if they're forever lurking.

The neat thing is that C is totally supportive of me. I am not going to go cheat on him with a woman, just as I would never cheat on him with a man. We're still in a committed, monogamous relationship and this doesn't change that. Sure, if I had owned this sooner I may have ended up with a woman instead of a man, but I love C with my entire being. This changes nothing, except that being able to be honest with him about this and receiving his unconditional love and support has deepened and strengthened our relationship.

I'm feeling very insecure and vulnerable since I "came out" to C the other day, because I'm still not sure where-- or even if-- this fits into my life at all, except that I now have permission to freely check out chicks much as I would check out guys. "Oooh, he's cute!" "Wow, she's hot!" lol

It's just... weird. Owning this, acknowledging this... I feel free, but at the same time terrified. What if I lose friends over this? I keep having dreams that I end up in these helpless situations and SOULS people are trying to kill me. No joke. It's been a recurring theme these past few days. I guess it's that I still care about all my former classmates and the SOULS people... and I kind of miss being part of such a tight-knit culture. But I really (and I mean really) don't fit into that culture any more... and I'm also scared of being judged, rejected, scathingly rebuked, and all that jazz. The friends I have in real life right now? They would be totally fine with it. As a matter of fact, I told S this morning, and he just looked at me like, "So?" LOL. It's just not a big deal, because we all have that mindset of, "You believe what you believe, you live the way you want to live, and as long as you're not hurting anyone we're cool. If you are doing something stupid, we'll tell you, and don't screw anyone over or you'll get your a** kicked... and then we'll be cool again if you've learned your lesson."

I remember back when a friend of mine came out on her blog, while I was living up north. I showed it to C (my adopted mom, not my future husband) and we talked about it a little bit. She then proceeded to ask me if I was gay, and of course I answered no! The ulterior motive was to make sure that I wasn't going to go around corrupting her daughters, which I totally understand. But, you see, I'm not gay. I like guys very much! I'm marrying one, for crying out loud! But I also like girls.

I've never acted on it much... just a few incidents here and there. That's not to say that I didn't want to, but I'd been conditioned to believe that it was okay for other people, but it was bad for me. Dirty. You don't do that if you're a good person, you know? And SOULS definitely reinforced that. But yeah, I've wanted to date several girls in my life. And I've had crushes on girls right along with guys. I tend to like guys more often and with more intensity than girls, but it's still there.

So... yeah. My big secret, blown.

I really hope no one hates me after this. J, are you reading this? Can we still be besties? Are you still standing up with me at my wedding?

I'm literally in tears over the prospect of losing valuable relationships over this, because so many people I know and love are the conservative Christians who condemn this kind of thing on principle... and I really, really don't want anyone to be uncomfortable around me. I mean, I'm sleeping over at my sis J's house in a week, and I don't want her to think that I'm secretly hitting on her or anything. I mean, it's like any other sexual attraction-- just cause you're heterosexual doesn't mean you want to sleep with every guy you see, or even flirt with them. You're not attracted to every guy, you don't want a relationship with every guy... and it's the same thing. I'm not attracted to every girl, and I really haven't changed at all. The only thing is that I'm recognizing and owning a trait that was already there, that has been there most of my life. I'm still the same person, I'm still faithful to my fiance, and I'm still madly in love with him. My platonic relationships are still platonic, my friendships with girls are still just friendships (just as with my guy friends), and my family is still my family.

Again, it's like my fibro diagnosis. Nothing has changed, yet everything has changed. The way I see myself has changed, and I'm trying to work through that. It's tough. I'm scared, vulnerable, and very insecure. But having that warm safety net of C's devotion and affection has meant more than I can say. He loves me-- all of me-- including this facet. Oh man, do you know what it is like to experience a love like that? To be totally known and totally accepted? It's... bliss, man. It's the best thing that's ever happened to me.

I don't know how to wrap this up, frankly. I was afraid that I'd get all this out and then delete it, but... I think I need to take that step and post it. For myself. Because if I delete it, then I'm negating the sentences where I say "I'm okay with myself." I'm giving into a shame that has no source, out of fear of rejection that may or may not happen... I'm letting "what ifs" control me, and I don't wanna live that way anymore. This isn't about my sexuality so much as it is taking control of my own life and not letting fear control me anymore.

And with that.... *deep breath* I'm clicking the Publish button.

Note: An interesting link that explains bisexuality in a very rational way, for those so inclined to further understand what it's all about. The "Tips" section I find especially helpful in explaining the thought process surrounding it. Oh, yes, and then there's this one- 8 Tips on How to Accept a Close Friend's Sexual Orientation. Just some fun food for thought, and a different perspective/thought process for some people.

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