So I was having a spot of trouble in writing a piece for this blog. For some reason the tone was not sounding right and I could not find the right flow for the article. I’m sure this happens to even the best of writers but there was a hidden reason behind why it felt so off.
I have not as yet written about finally accepting and coming to terms with my sexuality. I have hinted that it has been happening but never really written down why it has been such a journey. So this in some sense of the phrase is my official ‘coming out’ entry. Maybe some people know about their sexuality, maybe some people never question it and it is only with hindsight that I can say that I had thoughts about me not being straight quite early on but I had no idea what to do with them at the time. If reading this sort of thing makes you uncomfortable then I would suggest you stop now, it’s not going to get too graphic but it is going to be exposing a side of me you may not want to know more about.
I have wrote briefly about my relationships in the past but I wanted to go into a bit more detail. During my first major relationship (at the age of 19) I remember telling my then girlfriend that I could agree with her that this person or that person is attractive and some of those people were men. Okay this is very opinion biased and I’m sure that men can say that other men are attractive without being gay but I had the feeling there was something deeper inside me. I don’t think I have ever had an issues (at least during my adult life) with seeing a man kiss another man and there was the faint thing that made me wonder what it was like and how it might be different from kissing a woman. I was at the time very happy with my relationship with my girlfriend and would not go and experiment at the sake of loosing it. I was a lot less confident than I am now too and it’s taken a hell of a lot of hard work to make these changes. At the time I thought that someone wanted to be with me was (and sometimes still is) amazing and I was thankful for it.
During the 12 or so years that I was in this relationship there were times I would talk to my girlfriend about not being 100% straight, I looked at pictures of people in bands that I liked (and still like). Robb Flynn from Machine Head, Chris Cornell from Soundgarden, Mike Patton from Faith No More, John Penny from Neds Atomic Dustbin and no doubt many more and I can still look at them with the same celebrity crush. So maybe it should of been more obvious that I was not straight, but a major issue was that I had no real reference point and felt I did not have people I could talk to about it. I’m not sure how my parents would of handled that back then or maybe they knew. The important piece to note is that I don’t blame them for me being in the closet for so long. I found communication hard as a teenager which has only recently become easier. It took the relationship to fail completely for me to actually do something about it.
After a period of creating distance from the relationship and going through a bit of good old fashioned self destruction I began to be open to the idea of being with someone again. I told my next partner who was female straight away that I had no intention of getting into a serious relationship. I even told her that I knew I was not straight and no idea what I was going to do with this new information. This broke down some internal barriers to allow my brain to start to get to grips with my new freedom. No freedom is the wrong phrase to use; that makes my relationship sound horrible and like a prison. It was not like that at all, sure we were ‘exclusive’ but at no point did she try to repress that side of me.
I was very open to the idea of seeing what would happen should I have the chance to investigate it. I was nowhere near confident enough to just walk up to a guy and ask him out on a date, even today 9 years on I am still not able to do that. However my first encounter with a man in bed with me with the option of something sexual happening was very weird. This is where I skip a few details for your sakes; you probably don’t want to know who did what to who. The person in question was a gay male who I had made acquaintances with the year before. We caught up after not seeing each other for a while and I told him all about my relationship breaking down and how I knew that maybe it was time for me to explore. We had spoke before then about me not being straight so he was really important in my story. One evening I went to his house for dinner and ended up staying over and it was then that he sort of offered me to explore. A very gentle exploration was had and the next day I woke up, got showered, dressed and said my goodbye. I walked back from his place with a lot happening in my mind but I knew a few things about this encounter.
- It was weird because I knew him
- It was weird because I also knew his partner (they were in an open relationship and I knew)
- I was overwhelmed with my brain trying to process things
- I enjoyed what happened
- I would want to repeat or try again but not with the same person
It might take me some time to adjust if I repeat it
So my curiosity was sort of resolved, I think I needed to go through the physical motion before I could actually begin to accept that side of me and even then I still kept it at a distance. My goal was to eventually try to embrace it more and I was not sure at the time what that would take but I knew I had to do it. 7+ years have passed at time of writing since I had that first encounter. Between then and now I have been on a bit of a journey not just physically but also mentally. During the 2 years I had of counselling before I went travelling I tried my hardest to try and talk about this side of me more and learn a way to embrace it. Along with letting go more of the past, dealing with my own insecurities (which still exist in some form) and then going on a massive physical journey all the time trying to embrace my new sexuality and telling new people that I meet that I am bi-sexual. When I returned to the UK I was a much happier, settled but still ultimately slightly confused person; it was a lot less than it was and I thought it was time to tell my nearest and dearest friends and family about the situation.
In March 2014 I moved into Oxford because of a contract job and I took a new stance on life. I started to try and involve myself in the LGBTQ community and actively tried to date both men and women, something I have never done with either sex. It enabled me to meet a really good new friend whom I hope stays in my life for a very long time and have my second bed encounter with a man. The second time around was certainly more adventurous than the first but was still over processed. Again I learnt some things from this encounter too which is always good to take away from a situation.
- It was a one night stand, my first and only I’d like to add. That in itself was weird and something I don’t really wish to repeat. Quick fixes are not my thing and really doesn’t fit in with my personality.
- I learned I like to get to know people a little more and see them more than once before anything like this happens
- At no point did anything feel wrong which even I was quite shocked about.
- I was taken back how relatively normal it felt being naked and intimate with another man
- Again some adjustment will have to take place but I think this is normal for any new situation of this calibre
The brings me to today, it feels weird but oddly comforting having more of an idea and being a lot more comfortable about the whole situation. This year (2015) I will be attending the Pride March in London with a group called The Queer Alternative. I somehow have managed to find a subculture within a minority and associate myself with them. Given my personality, choice of preferred music and fashion choices I guess it only makes sense. I think only a week or so after that there is Pride in Bristol which is where I now live and I totally will (if I can) join in there too. I have come pretty far in this journey and I was scared to tackle it before now, but I knew I had to write this sooner or later.