I was twelve. It was during homeroom in middle school, which at my school wasn’t called homeroom but instead named with some ridiculous acronym that never really made sense and no one actually used.
So anyways, I was in homeroom.
Every day in middle school was a social learning opportunity. I was observant and desperate to be “cool”. I noticed how the cool kids dressed, listened to how they talked, watched how they carried their books (down at the hip is cool, grasped in front of your chest is nerdy). I also picked up vocabulary that wasn’t being taught in any of my classes… the kind of vocabulary kids only got to learn if they had older siblings or were allowed to watch whatever they wanted on TV.
These kids in homeroom knew about something that I had never heard of. It began with a conversation with one of the girls at my table saying she was ambidextrous. Another boy chimed in and said he was too. A second girl, late to the conversation, said “I think I’m bi too!”
The two 13-year-old boys at the table were quick to snicker, and the girl became embarrassed and defensive, backtracking and trying to understand why what she had said had elicited that reaction. The boys knew something she didn’t, and knowledge on forbidden topics was practically currency in middle school.
Still trying to grasp what she had said, she kept talking, clarifying that she thinks she can write with both hands, and isn’t that what they were talking about?
One of the boys decided to clue the rest of us in on the joke. The second girl had claimed she was bi, which, according to them, was a term for someone who likes both guys and girls. NOT the term for someone who uses both hands to write. They explained that bi means someone who “goes both ways”, which I guess could actually describe ambidexterity, but that is obviously not what the commonly understood meaning is. Just like how when I say “the pill”, we all know exactly which pill I am referring to.
I immediately thought to myself upon hearing this definition, “Oh, so that’s what I am. That’s what it’s called.”
It really was that simple of a moment. I heard the word, learned the meaning of it, and knew that’s what I was. There was never a question to me. No “bisexual awakening”. I have always been bi, the only defining moment for me in my sexuality was when I realized what it was called and could then identify myself.
Really, guys. No big “Aha!” moment. Just, oh! That’s me! And right on to the next subject.
Throughout adolescence I had crushes on both boys and girls, but I just didn’t know how to express the crushes on girls at an early age. And by the time I wanted to, where I knew I liked a female enough to say something, I had already realized these feelings not be met with open arms. I worried my female friends would be awkward around me or uncomfortable with me. But I never felt different. Or wrong. Or guilty for these attractions. Honestly, (and purposefully), I didn’t hide them very well.
I continued on in my teens dating the boys I liked, and I told every one of them that I identified as bisexual. As for the girls I liked, I knew full well they did not like me back so I never pursued it.
The rest of the story of how I got to where I am now—with a toddler and a future wife—is for another time. The Steph You Should Know here is that I have always been this way, I have always felt this way, I just didn’t know what it was until puberty— at the same age that most everyone else is figuring out who they like too. I never “became” bi, I didn’t transition to bisexuality, and it is definitely not a phase. It’s just me.