I am Tremaine. I am no one else.
I believe, as human beings, we can be almost anything outside of society’s perfect little boxes for us, but when we’ve ascertained who we actually are, this discovery can be lifesaving. I say this so you are aware, like many LGBTQ living and breathing individuals, I struggled with coming out and staying inside the closet. It wasn’t until three years ago, I suddenly felt safe saying to my family and friends who were not in the know, “I am bisexual.”
At age thirty-eight, this was my celebration. It was my tea-time, so to speak, and like it or not, I was ready to take my seat at the table just as I am, and nothing more. Coming home to me was a gift that kept me alive. It was a gift that handed me the opportunity to be a voice to and for others who have the same struggle.
I walked through the door and never looked back.
I am who I was created to be.
There isn’t a hair on my head that doesn’t define me. I have black, sandy red, and gray strands assembling themselves in order and streaking in just the way they are meant to do. I have laugh and frown lines and crow’s feet and extra weight settling around my middle, but I have grown to appreciate all these things.
They show I have lived. They display I also have more of that same living to do.
Before, when it was easier/safer to remain quiet about who I am, there was always a nagging, unsatisfied feeling. I felt both trapped and gutted at the same time. Trapped because I come from a long line of devout Christians on my father’s side. Gutted because there was a person inside me who was dying just a little each day and needed to be set free. Every single day, I had to connect with both sides and silence whichever one became louder than the other.
I assure you, this is no way to live.
What saved me after coming out was the love I continued to receive from my father (who is an Episcopalian elder/preacher, by the way), siblings, cousins, friends, and my mom. Many had already known without me uttering a word, especially my mom.
I hadn’t known, in her past, she was fighting battles on my behalf with her own family about their “image of me” regarding my sexuality. I hadn’t known she was practically saying to them, “My child’s sexuality is none of your business. If she’s happy, this is all that matters to me.” With a few expletives and hands thrown into the mix as well — because my mom has always been a person unafraid to physically get down if she has to.
I’m grateful for my tribe. They are the reason it has been easier to breathe being fully who I am. I cannot be anyone else. Not anymore.
Home is where a breath of fresh air is.
I have learned, on my journey, this body is my tower. If I keep it well-oiled, fueled, and maintained, it will continue to house me securely. I am home in this body. I am loved in this body. I am one with this body.
I recall the moment I first knew I was “different” from my playmates — I was eight years old. I knew what made little girls different from little boys regarding gender specificity, and I knew I liked both boys and girls. I knew I couldn’t choose. I also knew, in the eyes of the adults who raised me, I shouldn’t say anything about my discovery.
It had been frowned upon and preached about as the damning ways in which God could thwart me.
This confused me — if God created me and all things created by God are “good,” then why wasn’t I . . . good? Why would God oppose me? I was not the type of child to challenge my elders, so I snuck around to do the things I wanted to do and did a substantial amount of “sneaking” well into my early 30s.
Now, there is no need to sit the people I choose to entertain intimately or in a loving and consenting adult relationship on the sideline. I can play alongside them in the game of life. Coming home to my sexuality gave me the fresh air I should have been breathing decades ago.
When you ask me who I am, I will tell you.
The one thing I carry with me since I came out to my all-knowing mother is her phrase, “If anyone asks you if you’re bisexual, you better damn well tell them you are.” And I do. I stick my chest out a bit, breathe in a few puffs of air, and I say who I am — proudly.
Does it get any easier? Truthfully, yes. The fear is always there in the pit of my belly because being bisexual still has an air of taboo about it, but I don’t deny it. And I don’t change the subject anymore.
Being at home with one’s sexuality and comfortable in the skin I drag around is a place I have longed to be for years. It is the gift that saved me. I am thankful coming home to myself took place before my dying days.
There are so many of us who hold on to our “secrets” until the grave slips itself around our decaying bodies.