Something many people struggle with on the divine rollercoaster that is being a teenager is finding themselves, and more specifically, identifying their sexual orientation/gender expression. Nowadays with all the progress we’ve made in regards to LGBT equality, many kids are beginning to really question if they fit in to this category or not and where on the ever-growing spectrum of sexual orientation and gender expression they exist. I’m no exception to this.
As an out 17 year old lesbian, I spent the ages of 12-16 or maybe even up to present, desperately trying to battle the confusion that had accumulated in my mind about my inner sexuality. Well, I want to help. I want to offer some guidance to those who are currently battling these demons because I know how it feels. It can be so isolating to look in the mirror and not be able to identify who is standing in front of you, one can lose complete sense of who they are by over-analysing themselves, and that is a really scary place to be.
Many of my friends turn to me when feeling confused about their sexuality because they seem to get the impression that I have it fully figured out. This isn’t true, as there are still times that I question it or hope that I just made a mistake in even thinking it. I believe that sexuality is fluid and that one day I could perhaps meet a man and fall in love but for the time being, having zero attraction, emotionally or physically to men I can rule this out. Speaking of emotional and physical attraction, there are two simple questions I ask questioning friends when the topic comes up in general conversation.
“Do you have a physical attraction to men or women or both?” Usually that is the easiest question to answer and no one has any difficulties in responding, but the next question usually stumps people because it appears to be far more serious. I follow it up by asking “Can you see yourself spending your life with a man or a woman or even, either?” Indeed you might say there are other factors that may contaminate the validity of these questions such as commitment issues or polyamory, (the want to be in multiple relationships at once) but they generally seem to provoke thoughts that are not usually considered properly. If the answers to these questions aren’t clear, I recommend giving them some thought and if you can’t quite get to the bottom of it, don’t worry.
There’s plenty of time to experiment with it and test the waters with relationships involving girls or guys. In my first relationship with a girl when I was 15, things really started to make sense. Not because it was a perfect relationship or anything but simply because it felt right being with a girl. It was incomparable to any experience I had of being with guys, which in all honesty was very little. It may feel like right now you absolutely need to know your sexual orientation or gender expression but it really isn’t like that. I promise whether it’s tomorrow or in five years’ time, you will figure it out. I thought I would be confused forever but here I am, writing an advice article about it. No matter where you fall on the spectrum it is you and whoever you are is okay, so don’t feel like you have to apologise for it. You have as much right to be who you are as anyone else so please try to remember that. The path to discovering who you are can be a very complex and confusing one but what comes out of it is true self-wisdom and that quality is invaluable.
So to those struggling with this winding path of daunting self-discovery at the present moment, I wish you the best of luck and assure you that you need to relax. I promise that everything will be okay and I’m not one for taking promises lightly.