"I feel like you're really brave."
Louise said that to me tonight, after I rang her up crying.
She thinks I'm really brave because I'm bisexual, because I want to be bisexual and because I'm terrified and I spoke to her about it.
I get uncomfortable when I talk to people about it and that makes me angry because I don't want to be uncomfortable or ashamed about my sexuality because I'm not; and yet I feel it when someone asks a question about it.
I don't know where my parents stand on it. I know they love me no matter what and I know that they are accepting, compassionate and liberal, but I feel uncomfortable talking to my mum about it; I want to but when the conversation introduces itself I push it away and hide behind my walls. I haven't talked to my dad about it at all, I never got the chance. My mum came out for me so I never got the chance to have that conversation.
My friends are accepting; 100%. So much so that I don't feel like I can have the conversation with them either because it's not even in their radar to feel or think any differently of me.
I don't think that I grew up gay. I don't think the thought ever really crossed my mind. I was just me. Who crushed on boys, who wouldn't mind snogging a girl and who's fanny tingled while watching lesbian sex scenes as well as straight ones.
But then the thought protruded in my mind; bisexual. Maybe I am.
I'd like to have sex with a girl. It wouldn't disgust me. The thought itself is kind of a turn on.
So I came out to my friends in TGIFridays.
"BTW I think I'm bisexual."
Now it was out in the open and I felt like I'd better live up to the title.
So I thought about it more. Whether I'd like a girlfriend, if I fancied any girls I knew, if I could ever fall in love with a girl.
I thought it doesn't really matter. I don't need to know all the answers to those things.
But then I came across the term "bi-erasure" and learnt that it was a thing that people, even within the community, didn't recognise or didn't deem as a real thing.
I don't want to be overlooked. I don't want anyone to not take me seriously or doubt my identity.
So I began thinking "I have to at least have one girlfriend. Many flings, many hook-ups and at least one serious girlfriend."
A girl who I'd tell my mum about, who I'd take home to meet my family during a meal at Drago Lounge and introduce to my grandad who'd act like a foolish child because that's part of his charm. A girl who'd I'd watch under go the scrutiny that I'd seen Gabi and Sophie deal with.
Then I realised that I didn't know whether anyone else in my family knew about my updated sexuality but I suppressed that thought because I was stressing about it enough as it was.
Then I pictured this life with this girlfriend and felt bad, guilty because I the way I'd just added it to my to-do list didn't feel right.
It didn't feel real, or romantic or exciting. I didn't feel any attachment to this girl. She was just something to prove to everyone else that it wasn't a phase, I wasn't confused or couldn't make up my mind.
I've grown up my entire life believing in equality; wanting to fight for equality. I'm a sensitive person and that's no secret. I'm effected by the bad things that happen in the world; when they don't directly effect me at all, I'd react as if it did.
I'd always grown up wanting to fight for the rights of LGBT+ people and wanting to embrace their culture.
I never thought I'd be a part of it, that I'd have to fight for my own rights and embrace that culture as my own.
I want nothing more but to be able to do that but it scares me so much.
Because scary things are happening; Trump, the DUP, Russia etc, etc.
Before these were scary, bad things happening to other people that I wanted to protect and stand with.
Now they are scary, bad things that threaten me and I'm scared.
Because I don't feel like there is anyone who is willing to do what I always wanted to do; to fight for me and protect me.
I want to be able to do it for myself but I'm too afraid.
I don't feel brave.
Louise said I was.
All I could think as she called me brave, as she tried to reassure me, was why?
Why am I brave?
I'm crying down the phone in my dark living room, huddled beneath a blanket covered in cat hair with a tissue dabbing at my foggy glasses.
That isn't the picture of bravery I envision when I think of bravery.
No, I'm brave because I'm bisexual.
I don't think that's right. I don't think that I deserve that label just simply for being "different."
I'm brave because I feel isolated, afraid, threatened, lonely, depressed, hopeless, ignored, frustrated, confused...
that isn't bravery.
that's not being brave; that's being gay.
and it shouldn't be.
why should I feel like that because I'm not what qualifies as the "norm"
I can't accept that title; because I'm not.
I've now had my first kiss. It was with a girl. One of my best friends and she identifies as straight.
It was at the nature reserve; a rendezvous of year 11's drinking and smoking around a mock campfire.
We'd joked about it for a while. Me and all my friends, ever since the prom after party where I sort of licked my other friends tongue for a second.
People kept saying that me and my other friend should give it a go.
I didn't really mind, I kinda wanted to, just for the experience.
For about an hour people egged us on, telling us to just do it.
My brain was foggy, in a false state of delusion from the alcohol so I just smiled and waited for her to make up her mind.
She said we will but I need to be drunk.
So I hung about as she downed drinks and it didn't feel as exciting anymore.
Then she was drunk enough and people started paying attention again.
It was messy, sloppy but funny and nice.
People were cheering, which was odd and we laughed it off.
Then she fell over; just dropped to the floor and draped herself over a log.
I switched into nursing mood and sorted her out then.
We sat for a bit, giggling and so forth.
I said that I wondered how long it would take people to notice if we started kissing again, now that we weren't standing up and sat alone.
So we did.
I heard a few murmurs and then I heard the chants of a dickhead. I saw two flashes of a phone.
I flash that stayed; so i knew it was a video, an upload to a snapchat story.
I broke the kiss and saw that it was a girl and a boy both recording us.
The boy got excited, dancing around and showing it off to his mates.
Like he'd earned a trophy, shouting "they lezzed off, I got a video off them lezzing off."
It hurt me.
It made me angry.
I didn't feel like I'd 'lezzed off.'
I don't like the sound of it. The way he said it hurt me.
I'd drunkenly kissed my drunk best friend.
It was nice and I liked it and it was funny.
Another girl came over; she's bisexual too and she has a girlfriend.
She congratulated us, patted us on the back and said we'd done an alright job; as if I'd just walked off a football pitch.
The boy had upset me, I was angry.
I went to my other friend. I told her I was upset. That I didn't like him.
I said; "I didn't lezz off. I kissed my friend. I'm bisexual and I kissed my friend who is a girl. I wasn't putting on a show for anyone else. It was for me."
That sparked a chorus from the people who didn't know; the odd question and then someone congratulated me.
He was a nice boy, he's lovely and he congratulated me.
It pissed me off.
I thought, 'I don't need your congratulations, why should I have to be congratulated for being attracted to who I'm attracted to."
Someone said the word 'homophobic.'
The girl who'd filmed it too came over and said that nobody was being homophobic.
But I never said anybody was.
Videoing me kissing a girl isn't homophobic.
Shouting and showing it around isn't either.
But it's inconsiderate and immature.
I didn't feel comfortable and nobody cared.
Even my friends were just staring at me blankly not understanding why I was so angry.
I know they were drunk but I'd sobered up pretty quickly.
I decided to go home, called my dad and went home.
The first night in Rome, we were all talking about sex and relationships. I was the only one at the table with a different outlook. I was the only bisexual one.
Naturally, people were asking questions and I didn't mind.
I think I quite enjoy the attention really. It feels therapeutic to talk about it sometimes.
But then it didn't feel so easy.
The reactions to my questions felt more judgemental and dismissive. The questions became more probing and started to feel more like jeering.
I spoke to my friends after and they kind of shrugged but I suppose they wouldn't get it.
The girls asking the questions didn't get it either. They said "we aren't homophobic."
I never said they were but they still upset me.
They don't agree with me, they don't see things from my point of view.
I don't see why I should be made to feel like the oddball though.
I think it's strange that they don't see things they way I do but I don't belittle them.
I'm made to feel like I do but I'm just upset and scared and tying to express that upset and fear.