For many bisexuals, love becomes a matter of politics and conflict. If we’re with someone of the opposite sex, we’re just “straight but attention-hungry.” If we’re trying to marry someone of the same sex, we don’t deserve to, because it’s a sin. If we’re in any relationship at all, we’re cheaters, and “never satisfied.”
Anybody who thinks that has never known how deeply I love— how deeply I was in love with my girlfriend. I was content to just stare at her for hours, to write crappy poems and love letters to hide in her notebooks, to do anything to get to spend even a minute more with her. I didn’t want to be in the public spotlight, to try and make some sort of statement with our love, I just wanted to lay with her on the couch and watch “Great British Bake-Off” and laugh.
Even now that things are over, I still feel the kind of deep and abiding adoration that doesn’t fade. You can’t know someone that deeply and completely without them leaving an impression on your soul. I knew her faults intimately, but I also knew the way she looked, asleep on my pillow with the moonlight on her face. It was a genuine and gentle love, and had absolutely nothing to do with sex drive or the fetishes that bi people are always lumped together with.
Immediately after coming out, I’ve been asked who I’ve had sex with. After telling someone I was deeply in love with my girlfriend, they asked if we’d “tried anything” yet. Utterly unacceptable questions to ask strangers were asked of me, purely because of my sexual identity. It’s an invasion of my privacy, and quite frankly, disgusting. Nothing is more uncomfortable than dodging that question, especially if it’s from someone who’s trying to hit on me.
Sometimes it feels like I have two hearts: One full of anger and disgust for the way I’ve been treated, and for how people have treated others, and one that keeps on loving no matter what. If the second heart wins, when I hear something that hurts me, I just nod and ask them “why?” Why do they think that way? Why do they think it’s appropriate to ask me that? Why do they believe that I’m evil, just for my sexuality? I’m never angry, never accusatory—and my gentle ways usually show them a different path. People are always angry because of their own love. I’m called a cheater because they love their friend, I’m told I can’t marry because people love the church and don’t want its sanctity to be lost. These are all attempts to protect love they have for what matters to them. I don’t seek to make my life political; I’d get tired and die in days. But I do seek to spread the love, and asking someone what they’re protecting usually brings the conversation down to a gentle respect in moments.
Obviously, this doesn’t always work. There have been people who still think I’m disgusting, or who have insisted that my crushes and affection are indicative that I’m a cheater. Some people think I’m always going to “move on too fast,” or that I’m incapable of being loyal.
Yet, for all the stereotypes and the pain, I find myself falling back into love every day. I can’t help it; nothing lights up my life more than love does. Even if I’m still heartbroken, I find myself crushing on somebody new. I keep becoming enamored with the littlest pieces of people; the way her eyes flicker when she does art, the way he smiles like a dork when you compliment him out of the blue. Her style, so much like her. His singing, no matter how off-key. I love the pieces of them that nobody else appreciates, and I love them for all their potential. I see how they grew, and how they laugh, and I see them for all the wonderful things about them—and how can I not have feelings for them, after all that? Seeing the good in people reminds me of what’s good in the world, and it keeps me from collapsing in on myself.
Love is so much more than just romance. Love is seeing the nuances in humanity, accepting their flaws, and then moving past it. You love your family, you love your friends, you love your lovers, all at once; and sometimes, there’s just so much love that you wish you had two hearts. Love is in everybody, and the capacity to love everybody is in you; you just need to be open to it.
Tessa Desmarais can be contacted at tdesmarais@kscequinoxcom