In the ninth grade, I first realized that I was attracted to women as well as men. At first I believed that something was wrong with me and got really scared. I decided to ignore those feelings and if I was lucky -- maybe they would go away. How did I know that feelings are the most difficult things to control?
In the tenth grade, I met Sarah. In a matter of weeks we became best friends. We met every day in the public library to study. We talked on the phone for hours every night. One night while we were talking, I told Sarah that I loved her. What I needed to say was that I was in love with her. Not only did I care if something happened to her, I couldn't think about anything but her! I even looked forward to going to school; I had it bad!
One day while Sarah and I were studying, she asked me to go to the bathroom with her. As soon as the door closed, she kissed me. I was shocked, but got over that quickly. We never discussed what had happened that day. Later, we arranged to study at my house. We studied all of five minutes before Sarah began pulling the sheets back on my bed. We spent three wonderful hours exploring and making each other feel good. That was my first sexual experience with a woman. My relationship with her lasted for four months until she became pregnant by her ex-boyfriend and moved away.
Sarah was the only person I had confided in about my sexuality. When she left, I was terrified and very alone. I began to run from the person I knew I really was. I struggled for two years to face up to my sexuality. Until that time frustration was a constant part of my life. I wanted to tell somebody, anybody who would listen to my feelings, but I was afraid they wouldn't accept me and I would lose them. I was miserable. I felt like a fugitive -- having to look over my shoulder, being careful of what I said and how I said it. When I moved away from home to go to college, all of that changed. I finally realized that I couldn't expect anyone to accept me if I couldn't accept myself as an African American bisexual woman.
During my freshman year, I met a woman who was also bisexual. It was a prayer answered. At last, I had someone to talk to. Tracy and I became friends, and shortly thereafter, lovers, along with her boyfriend, Dale. This continued until I went home for the holidays. Tracy realized how she really felt about me. She cut things off with Dale and gave herself fully to me. We spent every possible minute together. After a couple of months, Tracy began thinking about what would happen when school ended. Would I stay or would I go? I told her I would be transferring schools the next semester, and we probably wouldn't be able to see each other again for a long time. She decided to stop seeing me because she didn't want to have to say goodbye.
I was back where I had been three years earlier with Sarah. Same confusion. Same doubt. Same pain. To make matters worse, I had to move back home with my mother for the summer. Once again I withdrew from life. I indulged in alcohol and was very promiscuous.
Since my mother is unaware of my sexuality, living with her was difficult. She was concerned about my silence, secretiveness and defensiveness. It all seemed to tell her I was doing something wrong. One day we were listening to a minister on the radio describing the actions of a drug user. My mother turned up the radio unusually loud so she wouldn't miss anything. At the same time she was searching my face for a reaction. Little did she know that sometimes the secretive behavior of a drug user is similar to that of a closeted bisexual or gay person -- or that we might resort to drugs because of the fear and loneliness.
I would like to tell my mom about my preference, but, according to her, it is a sin against God to be attracted to and to make love with someone of the same sex. I'm a basketball player, and at one point she tried to talk me out of playing at a certain college because the coach was rumored to be a lesbian. I thought to myself, if she only knew about her baby girl.
I remained miserable that summer until I decided to call a gay and lesbian information hotline in New York, which gave me a referral to BiPOL, a local San Francisco Bay Area bisexual organization.
Talking to BiPOL helped me see that I wasn't alone with my feelings. It also gave me someone to talk to when those feelings of despair and isolation crept back in my life.
As a college student about to graduate, I'm still struggling because I haven't met any fellow bisexual people, but I still have eight more months to go before summer, when I go back home to my mom's house.