By Anna Kochetkova
In the process of stepping into my sexuality and proclaiming it every chance I got—other parts of myself started to heal as well. In my book, Bi & Prejudice, I spoke about how accepting the queer parts of myself started to shift everything in my life. Truly loving and embodying my bisexuality has helped me pursue my dream… of living in the forest.
Since the last time I wrote for Bi Women Quarterly, I have moved up the New South Wales coast (in Australia), settling on the Yaegl Country, also known as the Clearance Valley, part of the Northern Rivers.
For a number of years now, I have wanted to live in the forest, surrounded by trees, native birds, and bees, horses, and acres and acres of land. In May 2023, I finally found such a place and settled on a small farm away from the big city (and small towns!), between Sydney and Brisbane.
Although I host bi+ social gatherings in Sydney and seem loud and bubbly, I am also a quiet gentle introverted bisexual who loves solitude, nature, and forest regeneration. I also fiercely fight for the native bats. And I love writing; which requires a lot of mental space and inspiration to think, feel, and create.
I’ve been suffocating in big cities all my life. I didn’t know that until I knew I was bisexual. Although there is no causal correlation between the two, accepting my bisexuality made me feel a little braver every year, and eventually, I made the move I was terrified of.
Here, my overall well-being, sense of safety, confidence, clarity, and self-assurance are stronger than ever. I feel this unshakable ‘knowing of thyself’ for the first time in my life, even as I start to face small town bigotry and gaslighting.
My mental health didn’t just skyrocket because I rented out a tiny cottage in the middle of nowhere. I have also been attending to the wounded parts of self for years, with the help of somatic therapy, body healers (like chiropractors), leadership coaches, books, nature walks, and my beloved bi+ community—all of which led me to where I am today, physically and mentally.
I planted a large rainbow flag on the land I am residing on and got to work getting to know the local communities and also writing this article. I needed to quiet down the sensory overload of the big city, breathe in the eucalyptus air, and watch bandicoots rush across the forest floor before I was able to continue writing about bi+ joy.
Over the last five years, before my move to the countryside, I was going away every couple of months, traveling all around New South Wales, staying in tiny houses and cabins in the forest or by the sea. I didn’t know yet but I was trying on a lifestyle that I was yearning for.
I don’t live in the forest, like the participants of the Alone TV-series. I share the acres with a wonderful retired couple, a bunch of friendly neighbors (a short drive away), rescue cows, horses, and ducks, not to mention all the wildlife.
Here I’ve met rural queers who often possess impressive building skills, great tattoos, and a love for self query. I am in awe of all the ways queers are.
Today, when I am in the forest, I feel alive, energized, safe, loved. I feel like I belong. Forest and wildlife within make me feel at home. And the joy of being queer soars.
Anna Kochetkova is a Russian-born Australian author and poetess, and a passionate bi+ activist based in Northern Rivers on the Yaegl Country. Anna is the author of Bi & Prejudice, one person’s story connecting the dots of identity and sexuality across years, continents, and cultures; and the creator of the @biandprejudice Instagram space, which helps celebrate multisexual attraction and human diversity. Anna is also the founder of Sydney Bi+ Social Club @sydbiclub, which hosts monthly social gatherings for bi+ people in Sydney, Australia.