By Jessica Buck

 

From a young age, I always noticed the difference in what society told me was acceptable to do with my life, versus how I actually saw my life panning out in my daydreams. I didn't necessarily see myself married, but I did see myself with a child. And there wasn't a huge focus on the gender of my partner, I just always called them my husband because that's what I heard most often from women I was surrounded by. Something that held more weight were the feelings I had in these daydreams of my future. I felt safe and cared for. I felt forever feels, a bond that would last the entirety of our lives, one rooted in truth and agape love. And as many times as I fantasized about Lil' Bow Wow being my husband, I equally imagined it being Lisa Bonet or Aaliyah.


For as long as I can remember, I've found myself attracted to both men and women. When I was in school, there would be people that I felt gravitated to – first by their looks, like "wow, they are so pretty/cute, I want to get to know them." Then, it was their personality. Wanting to continue to get to know them and hope they thought I was as interesting/cool as I thought they were. At some point it would simply turn into a platonic friendship, mainly because I was young and didn't know what to do when you really liked someone – thinking it wasn't reciprocated – and thus starting a consistent cycle of suppressing feelings for fear of rejection.


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When I eventually started dating in high school, I noticed how ostracized people who identified as "gay" were. And gay was an overall term used by the masses at that point, no one cared if you were lesbian or bisexual, you were called gay because kids were too lazy to know the difference. Being heterosexual was just easier, the safe way to go so I wouldn't have to explain myself to everyone during a time when I didn't even know myself what I was feeling. It was a conflicting side of me that I continued to suppress throughout my teenage years, until I went to college.


College equated to exploration for me. I explored drugs, partying and sexual partners (sometimes multiple at once), but I was still very private about my experiences with women. I kissed a friend of mine while drunk at a party once and was so embarrassed I acted like I didn't remember the next day because I didn't want her to think I was coming on to her. Later I found out that she was questioning her sexuality as well, but I still didn't feel safe enough to open up.


At some point it was time to really ask myself what was holding me back from exploring this side of me that I'd held back for so long, talked myself out of for fears I'd solely put on myself. I'd isolated myself so long from opening up that getting back into the dating scene was really tough for me, but I knew moving past that fear of judgement and rejection would be a pivotal time for me to walk in the fullness of my authenticity, and when I left the country for a year to travel, I was able to let my guard down and just enjoy what transpired with both men and women in an environment built for meeting new people - traveling abroad.


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I met so many people that year, had so many freeing experiences exploring places I'd never been, experiencing different cultures and languages and meeting people from all over the world that I otherwise would have never encountered. I also let go of any inhibitions I'd brought from the U.S., mainly because I figured I'd most likely never see these people again so, fuck it! And with that, I was able to vibe and test the waters with people (mostly women) and see how I enjoyed human connection from a different perspective. Funny enough, I've stayed in contact with a lot of people I met during that time, growing relationships from different time zones and continents with no regrets. And it brought me to the understanding that while I don't have to subscribe to any certain label, it's evident that the term "fluid" would best describe where I'm at in my life right now.


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So what does it mean to be sexually fluid? It's the idea that sexual orientation can change over time, and depending on the situation at hand. So just because I don't have as much experience being romantically involved with women as I do men, doesn't negate the feelings I've had in the past for multiple women. And regardless of who I end up with in the long run, being able to unlock that secret door of feelings and let them live freely has been part of the self exploration and growth I've craved for some time. A part of me I'd pushed down for so long I'd convinced myself it wasn't an important part of who I am, when really it feels like a missing corner puzzle piece that's been stuck under the chair, found only when you take a scoot back and relieve some pressure on the leg.