In this life, I believe it to be of the utmost importance for individuals to have an outlet in which they can channel their emotions, regardless of whether these feelings are positive, negative, or fall somewhere in between. For a few, the optimal avenue of expression is through physical endeavors, such as sports or dance. Others pursue a more artistic approach, letting their pencils, brushes, or styluses tell the story of their sentiments across whatever medium suits their needs. Regardless of the form this expression takes, I wholeheartedly believe it to be a vital part of living a healthy life.
The vehicle I use to share my innermost thoughts and feelings with the world is, of course, writing. As ironic as this might sound, it is hard for me to explain how extraordinary it feels when I have the opportunity to sit down and let the words jumbling about inside my head flow freely, unencumbered by the weight of the outside world. It’s as if a dam holding back a torrent of thoughts and ideas is temporarily lowered, allowing them to rush forward in a frenzied series of strokes across my keyboard. It gives me a sense of clarity that little else does, providing me with the opportunity to truly articulate and express my thoughts and feelings on any topic.
Of course, not every piece I write is profound or significant, nor are they meant to be; writing is, after all, supposed to be fun too. But looking back, each milestone event in my life has been accompanied by a piece of writing. It’s how I said goodbye to my grandma after she passed away when words failed me at her funeral. It’s how I let my family know that I’m grateful to have their love in my life. Six years ago, it’s how I revealed my deepest, darkest secret to the world: that I am a bi man.
While I can look back and smile now, knowing that I had nothing to worry about by coming out, what I was feeling in the moments before I hit “publish” on my coming out article was electric. I was both elated and terrified; I was coming out to virtually everyone in one fell swoop, essentially jumping into the great abyss without knowing if the bottom would catch me safely or utterly destroy me. Luckily, my landing was soft, warm, and more accepting than I ever could have imagined.
That is the greatest lesson I have learned since coming out all those years ago: taking those leaps might be terrifying, but by embarking on new adventures and taking those risks, your experiences can be more vibrant and fulfilling than you ever imagined. Life is full of unknowns and you’re not going to succeed every time — I certainly haven’t — but I have learned that I would rather take a chance and fail than spend my life wondering what could have been.
Another sobering realization I’ve had as a bi man over the years might be a little less inspirational, but it is nonetheless just as true. It’s understanding that there are always going to be people from both the LGBTI and heterosexual communities who refuse to acknowledge my validity as a bi man. This is not an issue that is going to be resolved by a few snappy articles but one that is going to take a lifetime of persistent work to overcome, with success measured in minuscule increments rather than miles. I’m not sure I was prepared to take that on fresh out of the closet, but today I see pressing forward for the bi community as a worthwhile, life-long journey.
You might be thinking, “Why would you put yourself through this for the rest of your life if you know there are those out there who you’ll never sway? Isn’t it exhausting to be questioned regularly and routinely mocked for being bi”? The short answer is yes, it is exhausting. But I’ll counter with a question of my own: aren’t most things in life worth pursuing exhausting? If they were easy, then the mission would already be accomplished.
I’ve also changed my goals as a bi man and writer, shifting my top priority from convincing the inconvincible to supporting those who need it most. I want to be here, unapologetically bi, to support those struggling to accept their sexual orientation. It’s the conversations where I can help people move along on their journey of self-acceptance — regardless of whether they ultimately identify as bi or not — that makes every naysayer worth it. Every person in this community is worthy and deserving of support; if I can provide that to one person in my life, then I will die a happy man.
It has been a tumultuous yet amazing ride to get to this point in my life. I am happy to be at a point where I am proud and secure in who I am, where I can be a resource for those in need and a voice for those still afraid to raise their own. I’d like to think that version of me from all those years ago would be proud of the person I’ve grown into. As I look to the future, I know there are plenty of unknowns ahead, but if I continue to share my voice as a proud bi man, be a resource for those in need, and do my best to grow, learn and expose myself to new perspectives, I know it will be a journey just as wild and fulfilling as these past six years. All I can say is I can’t wait to see what’s to come.