Sunny was my first true love. She was half Native American with sparkling eyes and curly sun-kissed hair. The first day of 3rd grade I saw her and fell hard. I would go out of my way to talk to her, leave notes on her desk with pieces of candy; love sick with no words to express what I was feeling. While I had no idea that I was suffering from love our teacher certainly noticed that I had an “unusual” attraction to Sunny and immediately disapproved. She assigned us seats at opposite corners of the class though everyone else was seated alphabetically. When group work was to be done I was often discouraged from working with Sunny. I found these things odd but assumed our teacher simply didn’t like me. Near the end of the school year our class was informed that Sunny was moving out of state, and wouldn’t we all like to write her a going away letter? My heart ached, ice ran through my veins at the thought that I would never see her again. So I wrote her the best love letter a confused 8-year-old could write and turned my letter in with the rest so that our teacher could type them up. The next day our teacher presented us with a pretty blue binder that she had placed our letters in and invited us all to sign our names to them before she gave it to Sunny. I searched through the binder twice for my letter then approached my teacher. “Sarah, your letter is inappropriate and will not be included with the others.” I felt tears burn my eyes. It was the first time that I realized that my teacher didn’t like me because of my love for Sunny. I went back to my seat and tried to remain invisible the rest of that year.
Fast forward to my freshman year of high school. I had been participating in theater acts and often it is necessary for the boys and girls to assist each other with various forms of costume changes and makeup application. These close almost intimate contacts led me to realize that while almost every girl in the room had me turning my head, so too did several of the guys. So at 14 I built up my strength and approached my mother. “Mom, I’m bisexual.” “No you’re not.” She looked at me sadly. “You’re either one or the other, there is no in between.” “Fine” I snapped. “Then I’m a lesbian.” I became a militant lesbian to punish my mother for pushing me into this box. I wore men’s clothes, refused the makeup I once loved, wildly made out with my girlfriends in public, daring people to say something and becoming combative when they did. I found a queer community who accepted me and supported me through the often deep bouts of depression that I would cycle through. They helped me work through my fears of alienation and feelings of rejection. Then when I was 19 I told my community that I was Bi.
“Oh, so you’re one of those buy me this, buy me that people” one of my gay friends said scathingly. “So what you’re really trying to tell us is that you’re straight” responded a girl I once dated and had still been close to. I was 14 all over again, shocked, hurt and angry. While I expected my mother’s reaction to be disapproval, never did I think that my community would turn their back on me. There I was, alone again.
I threw myself into a whirlwind of one-night stands with women and men. Meaningless sex couldn’t hurt me, I didn’t care if my partners knew my sexuality because I wasn’t going to stick around long enough for it to be an issue. For 2 years I convinced myself that it was better this way. That I was freer without the strings of relationships that went deeper than the flesh.
Then a young girl I had mentored in high school called me and asked for my help setting up a gay-straight alliance at that school. I was touched and immediately agreed. I also began attending the alliance meetings at my college in order to better serve the one at the high school. Those two groups saved me. I was reconnected with a community that had come much further in their acceptance. No longer was it insisted that you were one or the other. I began dating again and found pride in my bisexuality.
I have been with my boyfriend for 5 years now. He knows everything about me, including my attraction to women. It has never once mattered to him. Love is out there for all of us, if you don’t stop looking.