And/Or.

Ever since I can remember, I’ve been acutely aware of the opposite sex.  Exciting and forbidden, boys were always on my mind.  At just twelve years old, I snagged my first boyfriend.  We held hands under the Bible while the preacher taught us about purity and kissed in darkened Sunday school rooms.  It was everything I ever dreamed it would be.  As quickly as it began, our charmingly sinful love ended.  I was surprised to discover I wasn’t heartbroken.  I just moved on to the next one.  The Skater, the Band Geek, the Cool Guy, the Black Sheep.  Names began to blur.  Breakups became more frequent.  I began to care less and less about having a boy to tote along behind me.  After a while, I stopped noticing completely.  I had seen all there was to see of the male image around me.  There was one figure, however, I had failed to notice before.

She sat in front of me in Biology II.  Her long, dark hair sat unassumingly atop my desk.  I sat in awe, of her and of the horizon broadening ever so swiftly in front of me.  Everything about her was richly dark, especially the thoughts she ignited in my mind.  Appalled and frustrated with myself, I began to act differently around her.  I was fifteen and confused.  I knew no one would understand.  I would be mocked, labeled, and mislabeled.  Lesbians were fetishized in the minds of boys.  The word “bisexual” elicited a cringe followed by a grimace from girls.  I felt dirty.  I felt like less of a person.  I did what any self loathing teen would do; I hid my true feelings away from others and myself.  I kept this secret for over three years.

Finally, on one drunken night, I word vomited onto my best friend.  She said, “Really? Well alright, cool!”  A guy gave me a high five and their conversation trudged on without missing a beat.  People knew.  I was out.  My life didn’t change and no one treated me any differently.  The only one that ever hated me for being me was myself.

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And/Or.

Party of One.

For the past month, I’ve been alone.  The vice grip of loneliness strikes suddenly and without remorse.  Sometimes it’s when I have a funny thought and no one to entertain.  Sometimes it’s when I’m watching a movie and there isn’t a chest to fall into.  And sometimes it’s when I’m completely surrounded by people and I realize not a single soul knows my name.  What’s funny is that I’ve gone almost two decades without ever feeling this kind of torture before.  I remember damning the possibility of becoming lonely.  The idea of being alone was so foreign and bizarre.  Sometimes I saw it at bus stops in the rain or in restaurant booths occupied by a single, hunched frame.  What’s funny is that my idea of loneliness is still cliched.  I didn’t realize you could be lonely while wearing a pretty dress on a sunny day.

Party of One.