There was never a time in my life when I thought I would be anything other than straight. Until I wasn’t.
I became bisexual at age 45.
When I say I “became” bisexual, I am not contradicting the “born this way” idea. Let me be clear. I was indeed born the way I am. What I’m saying is that I would not have become the person I am today if I had not experienced the bisexuality that was always inside of me.
We are constantly evolving, us humans, even within our own lives. As I age, I uncover more and more about myself. I uncovered my bisexuality in my 40s when I fell in love with another woman, and that is when I became my true self. That is when I became me.
Growing up, I had one goal for myself: get married (to a man) and have children. There was no other option. This goal of getting married and having children was all I ever thought about, even as a teenager. Being obsessed with having children as soon as possible probably rushed my decision to get married and to check that box (I was not a single person for very long).
Unfortunately, my marriage turned out to be the opposite of what I dreamed it would be. But that experience opened my mind and body to exploring more. It redirected my energy from the traditional path I had always been on to a different path I had never before considered. It was during the upheaval of my life that I discovered the uncharted territories inside my body and mind. The loss of my dream is what catapulted me into a new and different state of mind.
But the revelation of my bisexuality was not possible until I had fulfilled the need to procreate. For me, the drive to have children may have overshadowed my bisexuality when I was younger. I grew up being told there was something wrong with being queer and that same-sex couples couldn’t have a baby. So I believed that being heterosexual was a requirement for me to have a baby (or three), and until that goal had been accomplished, I could not see beyond it.
The biological drive to procreate is strong. I know of women who have exclusively dated other women their whole lives, only to suddenly settle down with a man. And I wonder: are they subconsciously choosing a man at their prime fertility as a way of fulfilling the body’s need to have a child?
When you have always been a rule follower like me, it is incredibly difficult to break the rules, especially the big ones, like staying married forever and ever, and the one about being heterosexual forever and ever. I have deviated from the story I wrote for myself as a little girl (the story about my prince charming and the white picket fence). These expectations and rules I had growing up restricted the full exploration of my sexual being.
My sexual orientation is not static like I thought it was. It’s fluid. And apparently, it took an awakening at precisely the right moment in my life, under precisely the right circumstances, to open my eyes to it. All of my inhibitions had been stripped away by the loss of an assembled dream and a disappointing marriage—and this cleared the way for my self-discovery and my self-awakening.
My fluidity was uncovered because I found myself in the most raw and receptive state of mind of my entire life; I was at my breaking point. Breaking open allowed the light to shine in. My bisexuality was always there (as I believe it is for most people), but it wasn’t until I was forced to look at my life more freely that it was unveiled. The light revealed my bisexuality.
Falling in love with a woman was not a choice I made or a trend I was following. It was not in my control at all. It was a force greater than me and greater than anything I had experienced before. Acting on my feelings for another woman became essential to my personal evolution. It became nearly critical to my survival—or that was how it felt at the time. And if I had denied it, I would have denied myself a joy that would have left me desperately searching for it for the rest of my life.
Experiencing that joy changed me, deeply. I began to come alive in ways I had never known. I became more empathetic and accepting. I became more mindful and wise. Never before had I been attracted to a woman, and never before had I been attractive to a woman—until I met Sara.
Knowing that a woman found me attractive definitely lit a spark in me. And now, I see more beauty in all women. I see more beauty in me. Just as Michelle Obama named her book, Becoming, so am I becoming. I am becoming more humble, enlightened, and mindful—every day. I am becoming more caring and more careful, more “not giving a sh*t” and more wild.
Unfortunately, I have also become more vulnerable and afraid, as I am now personally aware of the discrimination that the LGBTQIA+ community faces—something that had previously always been a distant concept to me.
It wasn’t always easy to embrace my new discovery. I was embarrassed and ashamed at times—and confused. I didn’t want to feel this way or to turn my life upside down. I certainly didn’t want to be different. It made me angry that I couldn’t control my feelings. I had always been able to control most things in life—not this time. And in a matter of months, my life changed. Everything was different. I was different.
My children have been witness to their mom’s evolution. They have been lucky to see love in all its form. And through it all I have tried to be the parent I want for them. I have tried to be the parent I would want for myself in this situation. I am incredibly grateful that they have been beside me on this journey. I am grateful for the joy and for the struggle this journey has given us—for adversity is the vehicle to compassion, empathy, and a radical existence.
During my own childhood, the AIDS epidemic was thought to be a form of natural selection to eliminate all homosexuals from the world. In 1986, the Catholic Church published a letter stating that “homosexuality may seriously threaten the lives and well-being of a large number of people.” And it wasn’t until 1987 that homosexuality was not considered a mental disorder by the American Psychiatric Association.
My children will have a different story to tell. It will be one of acceptance and appreciation for people and love stories of all kinds. Exposing kids to many different people is important. And if you think a child can be recruited to become gay, you’re wrong. Exposing kids to queer people does not make them queer. It only suppresses and limits a child from becoming who they will eventually become anyway.
The revelation of my bisexuality created an awakening inside of me that is about so much more than sex. It has been about me raising my head and my vibration. It has been about making myself a priority. It has been about becoming a better human and truly becoming me.
When my true self was revealed, it allowed me to release the rigidity and inhibitions that were created by my previous expectations and rules. I outgrew the old mindset I thought was necessary to have a successful and happy life. I became happy in spite of and because of my bisexuality.
I became bisexual when I was ready to become me, when I was ready to see me, when I was ready to choose me.
I fell in love with a woman when I allowed myself to become the person I always wanted to be. Me.