By Mariah Cruz
Sometimes I feel like my head might explode or my body might split open, no longer able to contain the two separate people that live within its confines, like a scene from the movie Alien. One person is a straightish woman who finds balance in relationships with men. The other is a mostly gay woman who craves sexual relationships with other women. Both live inside of me and both are at odds with each other, fighting to get the upper hand. It’s an ongoing battle and I don’t know who will win.
I don’t want to live in a war zone anymore.
How do I deal with something like this? My own mind and heart are so sporadic and unpredictable. I don’t trust myself half the time because I don’t understand how I can love my partner so much one second and then turn to liquid when I catch the eye of an attractive woman. I thought being bisexual meant that I had a choice. With 0 signifying exclusive heterosexuality and 6 signifying exclusive homosexuality, I’m a 3 on the Kinsey scale. I could go either way. I’ve been in love with a woman before. I’m in a committed relationship with a man. I should have this down by now.
I love the man I live with, but what am I supposed to do with the other half of me that wants to be with a woman? It’s a big part of me, but not all of me. How do I make a commitment to one person when one person can’t ever be everything I need? What do I do now that I’ve already made that commitment?
I thought working with an “LGBT-affirmative” therapist would help me to find a resolution or at least to feel a sense of relief. It didn’t. I thought my therapist, a bisexual woman herself, might know of another option, one not obvious to me. But she didn’t. I knew about “opening up” my relationship. I knew about compromising. I knew about polyamory. And divorce. But I was looking for a better answer, one that made sense to me and fit with my values and the way I wanted to live my life.
I haven’t found any answers yet.
What I want is to be at peace. With myself. With this “thing.” But I don’t know how to get there. I have no idea if I could ever be happy with another woman. I think I would always be searching for the balance I find with men. But while I have balance with them, I also have emptiness because I’m always aching for the thing in women that sets me free. It’s hard to define; it’s more like an energy. There’s something that certain women will activate in me, a piece of me that never gets to be expressed anywhere else. And it desperately wants to be expressed.
It’s crazy, locomotive, and out of control.
I live in Portland. There is a monthly support group for bisexuals that I attend. We start every meeting by going around the room and saying what number on the Kinsey scale we are that week. I almost always say I’m a 3, but the first several times I attended the group I said I was a 5.99999. The group is about 50 percent men and 50 percent women. The other women in the group always say they are a 2 or 2.5 on the Kinsey scale. I don’t know any other bi women who feel like I do.
I don’t really need a support group for being bi. What I need is some good advice. How do you live inside of a pressure cooker without exploding? That’s what I want to know. I think part of the reason it’s so challenging for bisexuals to find help is that no two shades of bi are the same. While I’m glad I live in Portland where it’s easy to find support groups and LBGT-friendly therapists, I still think it’s hard to find understanding. I’ve had gay male friends tell me that they would never date a bisexual man because then there’d be twice as much of a chance of being left for someone else. I’ve had lesbian friends tell me they would never date bisexual women because bi women are really straight women who won’t make commitments to other women.
As for me, I keep trying to fit in to the straight world, feeling out of place in the gay world, hoping “this” will go away, knowing that it won’t and trying to deal with it somehow. I wish there were more examples, very visible templates of ways to be bi in the world. I wish I could say “Oh, I’m a Bi Type C” and this is what my life looks like when I am that type of bi. But I don’t see any examples of my shade of bi. I know more people who are trans than bi. I think being bi is a lonely state to be in. We would think we’d have twice as much community around us, twice as many people to choose from, two whole worlds to be a part of, but we end up not feeling a part of anything.
At least, that’s what it’s like for me.
Mariah Cruz (a pseudonym) lives and bikes in Portland, Oregon.