Monday, October 28, 2013

A Rose by Any Other Name

A friend recently asked a group of us when it was that we first realized our sexual orientation. I honestly could not answer. Maybe I could not answer because I am still confronting the question. I told her I wasn’t sure, that I could easily be bi. I mean I like guys. I’ve always liked guys. I have been with my husband for thirty years. We met when I was nineteen, but the year before I had had a serious attraction to a girl in my dorm. I felt uncomfortable and confused, certain that it was just a side effect of being away from home for the first time. I didn’t share my feelings with anyone, didn’t see it necessary. Still. The attraction was there.

I’ve always liked to look at women. I mean, LOOK at women. I enjoy a nice set of beautiful breasts, an engaging walk. Just being honest. I have always dismissed this as envy, sizing up the competition, appreciation of beauty. Maybe it’s all of that. Maybe it’s all of that and something a little more.

If I am confessing, I am not gender specific in whose head I turn. As long as heads are turning and looks are being had, life is good. Flirting, to me, is just a part of conversation, something that is done as a matter of course. I place no rules or restrictions on the recipient of a seductive glance or batting of the lashes.

Is this me, then, coming out of the closet? I don’t think so. I think it’s just me, figuring out if I’m even in the closet.

As I answered my friend’s question, another question came into my head. Would my current friends still like me if they found out I, indeed, were bisexual? And, to follow up on that, how different would I have to be for you to consider me no longer your friend? What if my skin color were not what it is, my religious beliefs, my political bent? Underneath all of it, I am still me. At what point would you draw that line? Granted, any superficial change would result in a concurrent deep-rooted social change. We all know that we are only who we are because of all that has happened to us in our lives.

To complicate my question further, then, am I me because of the life that I have led, or am I me because of egg and sperm? Regardless the answer, what would it take for you to deem me no longer worthy of your love? Where do you draw that line?

When I was a little girl, I loved to play with paper dolls. Tiny tabs held shoes, pants, and skirts on various paper figures. With nothing more than a whim, one could completely change an outfit or lifestyle. This is what I’m getting at. Do this for a second. Picture the homeless woman crouched inside the bridge, wearing last week’s dirt and reeking of piss, valued possessions in a shopping cart beside her, and sign that reads, “I was you once upon a time. Have a beautiful day.” Now. Put my face on that woman. Put my face on her and tell me, do you love me now? Do you love me enough to let others know that you love me, to spend time talking to me, to share a meal? Put my face on any number of women who represent everything you find repulsive and tell me, how do you love me now? Am I not still me inside the skin, aside from the sexual preference, in spite of the ideological leanings and idiosyncratic lifestyles?

Am I not still a child of God?

Hate the sin; love the sinner. I hear many say this. This is not love. Love is pure and simple and without condition. It is heart to heart embrace, seeing one’s self in another. Understanding that we are all interconnected and that what I do to you, I do to myself. It is, “I love you.” Period.

This is love. How different would I have to be for you to deem me unworthy of that? How different would I have to be?

Where do YOU draw that line?

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