Ahh, the sweet smell of teenage insecurity. On the first day of high school, I made the fatal mistake of wearing my hair down. At my all-girls, Catholic, college-preparatory high school, wearing your hair down was code for one thing. The whispered L word that no one wanted to say out loud: lesbian. That's right, wearing one's hair down automatically made one a raging, predatory homosexual. Fantastic logic. It stemmed from the idea that because it’s an all-girl’s school, girls shouldn’t care about what they look like. If you wear your hair down, you’re obviously trying to look good for the other girls, right? 

Well, there I was, a sexually ambiguous girl wearing my hair down, unintentionally confirming the stereotype. As I scrambled to find a hair tie, I was truly afraid of being labeled a lesbian. To me then it was an insult to be called a lesbian. It was a dirty word that I knew close to nothing about. (Thanks a lot, Catholic education!) Whenever the thought that I might be one crept into my mind, I shoved it down and distracted myself with other things. No one actually knew I was questioning my sexuality, of course. I think I did a great job of hiding it. I always made sure not to compliment a girl too much, or seem too interested when I said a girl was pretty. And to be honest, I wasn’t attracted to many girls at my school. To me, they were usually boring and not emotionally mature enough to be any real interest to me. Not to mention the polite and subtle homophobia.

Girls at my school tended to be quite afraid of being admired by a lesbian. There were a few times when rumors went around about certain girls being suspected of playing for the other team, but all the rumors were quickly stifled when the girls in question made a big show of hooking up with a guy at the next party. Lucky for me, I don’t think anyone suspected that there was a top-secret maybe-lesbian in their midst. I wasn’t really sure what I was. I had had boyfriends and I liked boys, but I was also attracted to girls. I had an image in my head of all lesbians and bisexuals having short hair, playing softball, wearing baggy clothes, having piercings, etc. There’s nothing wrong with being who you are, but that just wasn’t me. In short, I was confused. I had no one to talk to, I didn’t have any close friends that I could trust. 

Eventually, during my junior year, I did find my group. I found people outside of school that loved and understood me, and I knew I could be myself around them. One night, after getting buzzed off some wine, my friend and I began making out. It was different from anything I had experienced before, but it wasn’t as different as I thought it would be. It was my first serious time with a girl, and as clothes came off, I came to a realization. I had expected to have a sudden epiphany, that “Aha!” moment when I finally knew exactly what I was. Instead, I realized that I didn’t need a specific label. I don’t need to define myself by who I’m attracted to. I like girls. And I also like guys. 

So for now I’m just a secret probably-bisexual girl in a straight girls’ world. It’s a little funny actually. When a rumor goes around about so-and-so being a lesbian, spoken with judgmental tones, I laugh a little to myself. Here they are on their LGBTQ witch hunt, and here I am right under their noses! They’ll never suspect! So as I crawl towards graduation, I can’t wait to finally be around people that accept me and don’t care who I’m attracted to. Because, to me, it isn’t a crucial factor in my personality. I look forward to exploring my sexuality and finding out who I am in college, but I don’t need to define myself by who I want to hook up with. I happen to be attracted to both sexes. What’s wrong with that? 

Lead Image Source: Victor Björkund via Flickr Creative Commons

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