The main question I asked myself when I was younger was am I straight? It was a fair question, I had feelings for my friends and those feelings felt wrong to me, growing up in a deeply catholic environment where we look down on anyone deviating from the norm.
I remember the first time I saw two men kiss, I was around 6 or 7. I was at the foreshore with my family and one of our family members commented that it was unnatural. I didn’t think much of it at the time but I remembered thinking “at least they were happy”.
The first person who I would consider I loved was a girl named Sinead, who was my best friend when I began primary school. Sinead was incredibly kind and selfless and seemed to always brighten up every room she was in. But she moved to a different school for several years and all I could think about was if I would ever see her again.
Years went by and I changed due to issues in my family - my mother left for two years and my father was unwell.
My brothers and I were never really close we would always fight and it would always end up with me losing. You see when I was young I was diagnosed with mild dyskinetic cerebral palsy, which meant the school often took me out of class for speech therapy and physiotherapy. I never wanted to be different but I was and it wasn’t until I got to year 4 that I really started to realise how different I was.
It was also in year 4 that Sinead came back into the picture and having practised seemingly a million times what I was going to say to her, I completely stuffed it up and acted like I barely remembered her. Both of us become part of different friendship circles and we didn’t ever get to patch things up. I did really love her but I was too scared to be rejected and never really got a chance to tell her how I felt. Eventually year 7 was about to end and I finally mustered up the courage to ask her out. But it was too little too late and we both went off to our separate high schools.
It was also around this time I started to become aware of myself being different in other ways - I started having feelings for my male friends. We were taught in school this was wrong, I felt guilty, like I was committing this huge horrible unforgivable crime. It is now that I know it was natural. But back than when I was often called degrading things such as gay and pushed around both inside school and outside.
My family wasn’t perfect and it is important to recall on my past for this story to understand my life and why I think the way I do. You see as I previously mentioned I had a disability and this often lead to alienation between both my school peers and family unit. Our life wasn’t perfect, it was never going to be with a history of physical and mental illness affecting both my parents. For example, I remember the time I visited my mother in rehab and the time my dad was too sick to get out of bed because of his back. I remember the times they fought with each other and I remember the times I missed school because I had no way to get there. I remember feeling so tired during school and being on the verge of collapsing in so many of my classes but when the teacher gave me a place to lie down the other students judged me for it. I remember when I was given a computer to type my answers because no one could understand my writing due to my disability. Being bullied in primary school for being different was hard and that was why I tried to hide and forget the fact I thought I might not be straight.
As High School began I still had these feelings of being different and I felt like I needed to lock these feelings away, never to be seen again. I wanted to be with someone who made me feel normal, so I tried my hardest to get into meaningless relationships so that I could ignore my feelings.
But as high school continued eventually came the acceptance of, at the very least, my sexuality.
I remember the first time I told someone I was Bisexual. It was the very first guy I had a crush on, he was my best friend at the time. In year 9 we were walking around the outskirts of Halls Head when we started talking about the girls who interested us. When it came to my turn I mentioned that it was a guy, I wasn’t brave enough to tell him that it was him. He took it well and in fact admitted he was Bisexual himself.
After losing my virginity at 16, I decided to experiment for the first time with someone of the same sex and it was fun and felt right and organic.
I started texting this guy and we were speaking for close to 6 months, telling each other everything about our lives and our interests, flirting and even meeting up occasionally as friends. But then my Mother (Who I moved in with as my father was too unwell to look after himself) discovered the messages. I passed it off as a joke and proceeded to snatch my phone, delete all the messages and block his number. I was only out to a few people at the time and I wasn’t ready to be revealed.
Eventually though I started to become more comfortable with being Bisexual and having these small crushes. I even fell in love again with one of my male best friends. We knew each other since kindy and we weren’t close until we discovered that we had some similar interests in a game called League of Legends. He slept over one day and then another time and eventually he was over every weekend. We just got along so well we could spend hours together just enjoying each other’s company.
It was my final year that I finally officially came out to everyone as Bisexual, unfortunately it wasn’t on my own terms. During Religion class at my deeply religious High School one of the so-called jokers decided to yell out that I was Bisexual after finding me on Tinder. This was a humiliating experience and eventually the word spread to other students, so I decided to tell people myself so that they could hear it from me first.
It was also during highschool I began to feel the burden of depression. Though, it wasn’t until after I finished school that I was properly diagnosed. There were times I wouldn’t want to get up in the morning, I became self-destructive and lost the will to do most of what I used to take for granted. I would eat my feelings and sleep for most of the day while staying up way too late. At the time my mother was in an unhealthy relationship though eventually sorted her life out and would work hard to provide for us. Meanwhile, my behaviour led me down dark rabbit holes , I felt like I was a burden to my friends and family and that meant I did things I regret. Still to this day this behaviour has an influence over me.
But as school came to an end and I moved onto University I felt like I was finally free to become who I wanted.
I came the full realisation and acceptance of the fact that I am Bisexual. It no longer felt like a burden and instead I embraced it. Now I get to be a part of an amazing and friendly community. Unfortunately things didn’t work out with the the guy I loved, but it taught me an important lesson - to always follow your heart and believe in yourself and be your own person. Everyone has a different journey to take and it’s important to accept yourself. Life is never perfect but if you follow your heart eventually it will get better.