It happens to men, too. Speak up in their defence and shout loudly, we are all in this together.
I am bisexual. I am also so far in the closet about it I may as well be in Narnia.
I have tried to come out to friends- it was a phase. I have tried to come out to my parents: A horrible, horrible mess. I have tried to come out to various LGBT people- mixed reactions, not good on the whole. I’ve been told to ‘be more lesbian’, and other hurtful things.
Being bisexual forced me to believe I was evil and a sinner. Being bisexual has made me invisible. Being bisexual is upsetting, confusing and hurtful… It’s a good job that I love men and women so much and I can deal with it…
Or can I?
I agree so much with this argument in the article. I’m beginning to see that it’s been other factors that brought me to my knees, so I was easy prey.
This is so important!
An amazing TedTalk on how our societal expectations encourage and support parental alienation.
Hi all, nineteen speaking.
“Why do you always wear baggy jeans and a hoodie? You have a great body! Show it off, I wish I had your physique!”
I’ve been told this, and variants of this, since I was about 18. As I got older, I kept giving answers like “Oh, I felt cold this morning setting out,” or, “This hoodie is really comfy!”
That’s not why I hid in baggy clothes for the longest time. Although they are both valid reasons, they’re not the reason why I did it.
They don’t really come close.
I’ll give you an example of why I hide in baggy clothes.
Today I was in my favourite coffee shop. 25 goes there after therapy with us, treats us all to a coffee and a cake, and we read or write in our journal to pass time. Today, we had a break at work, so we went in to chill out.
25 was doing some wedding planning, which was fun and exciting. We all got engrossed and started asking 25 questions about what to do, and she helped us joint write our emails to important folk.
A guy passed by the shop, staring in as he walked. We figured he was probably people watching, like I often do, and ignored it. Barely paid any attention to it.
Just as we were putting our stuff back into our bag, there was a voice speaking from above us.
“Excuse me, is anyone sitting in that seat?”
It was the same guy from before. He gestured to the chair our coat was sitting on, and we saw he had a friend with him.
25 answered for us.
“No, but I’m just finishing my drink and leaving if you would like the table.”
He mumbled something in the affirmative, so we got our coat and bag, downed the drink… And saw they were leaving. The door opened and shut, and the younger two were puzzled.
“Ok then, why ask for the table and not take it?! Weird…”
As I stood up, my senses were on red alert. Something wasn’t ticking over right. I slid our coat on and looked out of the window. 25 was just as anxious.
There they were. Standing outside the coffee shop, both of them were hanging around as if waiting for someone…
25 and I decided then and there we were leaving the shop through the opposite door. I made a point to say bye to the café staff, because then if anything did happen to us they would be able to say they had last seen a girl in a long grey coat as she had said goodbye to them.
Immediately 25 said to get our phone out and play some anti-anxiety stuff we have saved on there. I kept checking behind me- sure enough, they were still waiting, and luckily hadn’t seen us.
25 and I were on red alert all the way back to work. The younger two were horrified and frightened that they had waited outside the shop, quite obviously expecting us to leave. After all, 25 had said we were just leaving. They knew that… And waited outside!
Whilst this had been going on, there was a man sitting on a table opposite us who would not stop staring.
As it happened, we had a very anxious day the next day and felt pretty horrible about what might have happened.
I wear baggy clothes or my long coat or hide in jumpers because of that. Those eyes permanently on us because we happen to be a young woman who’s attractive. I hate the eyes that looked us over and decided they somehow had the god-given right to wait for us and then, who knows?
I hate that all of this reminds each one of us that once upon a time, a monster thought that because society tells girls and women to “lighten up,” and “don’t take it so seriously!”, he believed it was his god-given right to subject us to six years of abuse.
That’s why I wear baggy clothes. Better to hide away than have those unfriendly eyes all over us. Better to wear unflattering, big baggy jumpers so all that gets stared at is our legs. I am so sick and tired of the eyes, and I want to keep us all safe.
25 often reminds us that we are all safe, that we have the Dutchman and she is equipped to take on potential threats. She says I am capable of telling weirdoes where to stick it and to get off our case.
The thing is, once protected by something that is formless, that risk halves.
So next time I hear someone tell me that I need to wear nice things more often, I’ll just tell them this story and remind them that my work clothes are all form fitting, because they’re dance clothes.
The wind is cold in the desert, the stars look like tiny pinpricks in a jewellery box. The city lights are glittery, like the stars.
I’m shivering but alive and loving this. So are the others. There’s a gleam of expectation in the Dutchman’s eye. He’s watching us absorb this place. He keeps asking us what we have enjoyed, what we are excited about, if we are ok. Always, always checking on our wellbeing, making sure each single one of us feels safe, protected, happy.
The rough wind often whips my hair into a frenzy, which annoys me so I have to fix it with water whenever I have the time. Nineteen starts to enjoy the hairstyle- I sometimes catch her preening at her newfound reflection and loving it. Fourteen bites the bullet and gets brave with the Dutchman. Fifteen has heartfelt conversations. I find myself desperate for another hug, one more kiss, another funny moment shared over pancakes or in a bath together or on the Strip.
The sun shines most days here, pretty brightly, and cuts the chill in half as long as you’re walking in its beams. I twist my fingers between his, we walk slowly along the Strip without a care in the world. He takes us on evenings out, little dates littered here and there. There’s moments where each one of us cannot help but fall asleep on the buses, and his warm hands wrap around our sleeping form and hold us tight. We are terrified of falling asleep in public. This is a huge change.
Mornings are finally not scary but enjoyable. Fourteen wakes up needed romance, cuddles- fifteen the same. Nineteen can play it a little less innocently depending what mood she’s in but will equally need hugs once it’s over. I’m a mixture. I just want to love this guy in every way. The best part of waking up with the Dutchman is the kisses. Oh gods, we all melt. Running our hands through dark curls, stroking his cheek. Heaven.
He jokes that even Death needs to go on holiday- where better than here, somewhere that’s so incredibly alive in the middle of a place where things are struggling to live, often dying in the heat? Lights glitter like gold dust, and a juggler of alcohol pours the tastiest cocktails and I sip the elixir of life. I want more. Not of the drink in my hand- no, I want more of this time spent loving him.
One bright morning, we head to where the columns tower far over both our heads and the sun beats down. It’s pretty warm actually. We head out to a garden which is sadly closed- a garden that bears my puppy’s name- and manage to find a place to sit inside a little cabana near a pool that more closely resembles an ornate water fountain in a stately home I once visited than a place to swim.
He tells us how remarkable this place is, how vibrant it is. We have to agree… we thank him, profusely, for letting us join him on this incredible chance to see somewhere that most never go to.
He’s not finished.
He tells us about a girl who fell for the Lord of the Underworld, a goddess who ate six pomegranate seeds and realised that there was no going back. I don’t think she wanted to. She was accompanied to and from the Underworld by a moon goddess and her large, friendly, female dog.
At this point the hair on the back of our neck stands up. We suddenly know where this is going.
He explains that he thinks Persephone and Hades were meant to be, like us- that our love may have even inspired the tale because he doesn’t think that this is the first time either of us have walked the earth. I have to agree- so do the others. There are so many signs that this is what should be- the universe drops them on our laps on a daily basis. He explains that there was a moment that he knew this was the place he would ask us to marry him, and by us, I mean all of us. He knew that he wanted to marry us in the first few weeks of our relationship. He had been planning this, we knew, because he had asked back near Christmas if it was a totally crazy idea and if we had any thoughts on not getting married.
We all couldn’t think of a single reason why not then, and now that this is happening… yes, still the same feelings. Stronger now, we think, because he has brought us to this place to ask a very important question… with a difference.
He asks each of us in turn.
This is surreal. We are so happy we are crying. The sun throws tiny flecks of light around from the water, and four girls reach for their man and hold him tight.
The reason we are only posting this now is because we have been hoping and wishing and waiting for this sort of stability, this sort of promise, and now it has happened we can hardly believe it. On Valentine’s Day, my happy parents threw us an engagement party. Today, the Dutchman and I viewed the place where my parents got married so we could maybe get married there.
An hour ago, I bought a very important dress.
This is happening, anxiety. Shut up depression, we have found a new way to kick you in the teeth. Honestly, panic, you’re kind of useful now because we can channel you into checking wedding plans. Bet you didn’t see that one coming!
Finally, I have what the six-year-old version of me had always dreamed about: someone who loves at the same speed as me.