By Suzanne Lauer
I was a hippie in the 60’s; I wasn’t the kind of flower child who danced, stoned and half-naked in the park that you see in file footage. I was the bookish kind who grew long hair as an act of defiance, who insisted on a self-determined set of values and an unconventional course for my life. I was an idealist committed to making the world better to the full extent of my power.
When I was 16, my best friend was my sunshine and I was hers. I experienced my first “best day of my life” with her, and then another, followed by more and more. It was an exuberant time for us, full of discovery and newly found shared realities. More than “best friends,” each day was a delight because we had each other.
We were in an extra-curricular book club at school, where we read Steppenwolf by Hermann Hesse. A character in the book made love to both men and women. I read that and thought, “That’s how I want to live, it makes no sense to do it only with men.” I expected to wait until we were somewhat older and more mature to broach the subject with her, as I had no name for what I felt and no idea if she felt the same. Tragically, she was killed the following year, before we ever had a chance to see what might have been.
Several years passed painfully, but after the grieving eased, I looked to connect with other women. In college, afterward in Europe and then when I returned to the US and was active in feminist politics, I gravitated to situations where I knew I was likely to meet lesbians. Despite always being alert for possibilities, I never had another friendship with the kind of connection I had experienced in high school. I didn’t even know where to begin. As I aged, my fantasies finally turned to hopes of someday meeting a widow willing to experiment in a community for seniors… I wasn’t at the end, but it felt like I was approaching it.
Then, last year my husband started sharing porn videos with me. I kept asking about women and their experiences, then the questions gravitated to those of women with other women. When we had first met, close to 40 years ago, my husband was the first one to suggest I had been in love with my friend. He had seen the side of me that needed to connect deeply and intimately with women go unfulfilled our whole lives. He searched and one day found a grainy video a young woman had made using her laptop, showing her making love with her girlfriend. Suddenly, I felt an arousal unlike anything before. It was immediate and life-changing.
New circuits lit up in me that evening. Since then, I have been growing in all the ways that should have developed years ago. Literally, I have felt like a teenager, only this time I’m out and free; the part of me that was arrested at an earlier stage has been released. I am growing.
My husband found a website for me where I have found the freedom to blossom into my full bi identity. This website is www.shybi.com. At ifrst, I truly was shy, even bashful then, as I read through the forums, I began making posts of my own. I learned about my life and feelings, gained new perspective and saw the experiences and feelings of other women. What had always felt out-of-place, what made me feel awkward in social situations, suddenly was normal and acceptable.
I made a whole new set of friends, and began to follow them through the daily struggles, surprises and excitement of life’s ups and downs, and watch as friends found lovers, long distance romances blossomed and trips took place, felt their tears upon parting. There was and is such a wide spectrum of bi experience that plays out in the safe environment of this special online community, one that is supportive, helpful and kind. Trough Shy’s, I have discovered the erotic side of my need to connect, and learned I can even write erotic fiction.
A reader of one of my stories wrote to me. A friendship developed between us, and eventually, we fell in love.
I believe that bi women, like gay ones, are usually born this way. Some say we are greedy, but I don’t see it that way. I think we are built with parts of us that connect to men, and other parts that connect only to women. I often say I’m a living Venn diagram. They both agree, they share the core of me, yet each has a part that belongs to them alone.
Often we go lonely until we find other women who have come out, even if only to themselves. With the anonymity of a safe online community, real identities are not threatened. We have there the opportunity to pick up the parts of ourselves that have been stunted or isolated, and to develop them. We have fun there—sometimes lots of fun. By acknowledging and sharing this side, our lives and the lives of those we touch become that much fuller and richer.
My husband, who has been supportive throughout, feels he is getting a more beautiful, sexier and more interesting me. My girlfriend and I, well, let’s say we answer each other’s prayers.
Finally, I am complete.
Suzanne is a baby boomer with a Master’s in Public and Urban Afairs. Currently, she is enjoying her woodland garden and nature photography as she keeps up with new bi friends from around the world.