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What My Momma Taught Me About Sexual Orientation

blue roundI’ve never written about this, so I am going to need lots of love and encouragement. I have no doubt there are going to be some haters. There always are. More than anything I sense my growing fear is the rejection of those people that I like and care about… but with authenticity comes risk, so here goes.

My first girlfriend’s name was Sara. I loved her. She had pale skin and long brown hair with giant green eyes that looked like the color was stolen from the underbelly of a tropical leaf. Her teeth weren’t straight. They overlapped a little and her lips would curl back over them as her mouth turned into a smile. We would walk for hours barefoot in the creeks near our homes and would explore the trails around our neighborhood. We shared secrets and held hands. We stole kisses and talked about dreams and were as carefree as two girls with families like ours could be.

As much as I’ve struggled to come to terms about some of the more dysfunctional things about my childhood I can say with certainty that my mom taught me well concerning sexual orientation. She taught me that I don’t have to choose to check a box. I could dig deep into myself and be still. I could listen to what my heart told me. Isaiah, my brother, and I were taught this:

You fall in love with a person, not their gender

I was raised to believe that what makes a person is not their sexual organs or even their gender expression. That lesson afforded me the freedom to discover that I could love and be attracted to all kinds of people, and that the sexual expression that follows connection and love was neither heterosexual or homosexual. It was simply an extension of loving a person and wanting to express that love physically.

Though my story takes a brief pit stop into the world of fundamentalist Christian dogma and a quick dance with shame about my identity, the same truth has always stayed cemented in my heart. It found itself buried under the imposed beliefs of those who taught me “marriage (and true love) is only between a man and a woman”, but it wiggled itself free of the dirt of bigotry and grew in spite of the polluted soil. You fall in love with a person, not their gender. 

So I have.

I have fallen in love with girls and one boy. I married the boy. I don’t know if it is an anomaly. I don’t know if I should have married a girl. I don’t know. I don’t think about it. I don’t feel like I need to extrapolate my choices that way. He asked me to marry him, I loved him, wanted to be in a relationship, and I said yes. We had kids. We built a life. I don’t know the answers because I am not interested in taking on  a title or quantifying my connection with people to make myself more understandable to the world. This can get me in trouble. It makes people uncomfortable. “So you are bisexual? Have you ever had sex with a girl? Why did you marry a man? Do you want to leave him for women?” I don’t answer these questions. These questions aren’t asked because someone cares about my quality of life, the quality of life of the people I love, or ethics…. they ask because someone without borders feels an awful lot like a threat or they are curious.

My mom has known my whole life. My mother-in-law knows, my best friend Sadie knows, my sister-in-law knows, my husband knows, my sister Paige knows, and my kids will know.

And now, I guess, you know.

I don’t talk about this much openly because I live in a small town with small minded people. They struggle to understand my interracial marriage, much less a marriage with a member who has a mixed orientation. I was never cut and dry with any kind of definition. My personality, my race, my skill set.. I’ve always been a “bit of this and a bit of that” but mostly I’ve been about love and kindness and connection.

I am learning to be okay with it. I hope, one day, the world will too.

 

 

 

 

59 Comments

  1. I love you. (But I’m not IN LOVE WITH YOU… you know… just to be clear.) :)

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    1. Haha! Don’t worry…. I don’t have a thing for GINGERS ;)

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      1. HEY NOW! What’s wrong with us?!

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        1. Bahaha! Absolutely nothing ;)

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  2. I am so proud of you. REally. Its hard to talk about sometimes, especially when you KNOW people may not get it. I am in a mixed orientation marriage, too. My husband is bi and its hard to discuss with even our close friends sometimes. You are loved, you are supported.

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    1. Thank you for sharing! I think it can be much harder for men. People seem to be okay with women who have fluid sexuality but not okay with men. Misogyny, I think.

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  3. I also am bisexual and have been pretty open about it since junior high with both family and friends. My last serious relationship prior to meeting and marrying the man who is now my husband was with a woman. Some people seem to think that being bisexual doesn’t involve monogamy (why I don’t know). I’m not heterosexual because I’m in a monogamous relationship with a man any more than I was homosexual for being in a monogamous relationship with a woman. Growing up in this area and not fitting into anyone’s little boxes hasn’t been easy but I’ve always tried to be true to myself which is what really matters- though I’m sure you already know this :)

    Thanks for sharing <3

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    1. Oh Zilla! Thank you for sharing that with me. It can be SO hard to live in this area and be so “undefinable”. People have such painful and strong reactions to it. I’ll hold onto people like you and people who value authenticity and vulnerability. Fuck the rest of them ;)

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  4. I am so, so proud of you and I love you dearly, even if you apparently don’t have a thing for gingers. I’m sending you a proper, heartfelt response on fb. Just know that you rock my world and I am sooo proud of you!

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    1. Thanks Sass!

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  5. What a brave post. I do think that part of striving to be authentic is the willingness to be open and intentional. In the end, why define love, love is bigger than any of the messy little boxes humans seem to enjoy. Stand in your truth and anyone who doesn’t appreciate and honor that truth can take a leap. Love, love, love this post.

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    1. Thank you so much. People want me to choose and I don’t think I can. If I could, I don’t think I’d want to

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      1. How can you choose? Like we have any control over who we’re attracted to. One of my very best friends once explained to me that she liked the term queer better than lesbian because even though she had never been in a relationship or involved with a man, she did not feel she could say 100% that she would never be attracted to a man. The world is shades of gray.

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        1. I identify as queer.

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  6. I also identify as queer. As a trans person who presents masculine/male and is attracted to people with all sort of genital makeup and gender presentations – calling myself queer allows me the freedom to explore and love a lot of different people. I’m in a relationship with a cis female right now, and sometimes we appear to be straight to the public – it’s not usually a concern to me, because the general public is not an entity that i’m longing to be close to. the people who love and care about me and my family know me and understand my gender and sexuality positions. they are the only people i care about. thank you for this post!!

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    1. Thanks for sharing! I know some of my trans friends really struggle in this world and that breaks my heart. I have also been guilty of wanting to label people, of wanting to have a definition. I have challenged myself to move out of that paradigm, though. I hope you stick around here eBomb.

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  7. I learned a long time ago that the world is not black and white. I grew up in a small-minded town with a small-minded family so I get how judgmental it can be. My family has gotten a little better since I started bringing my gay friends around. Haha!

    Anyways, if everyone fit a small town’s definition of “normal,” the world would be a boring place. I like you how you are.

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    1. Thanks Holly! Thank you so much!

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  8. What a wonderful affirmation of who you are, giving light to the parts that we all might not see because of our biases or blinders. I’m so glad you’ve had a supportive family. So glad to celebrate all that you are!

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    1. Thanks so much Deb! What has been so hard is when I’ve wanted to identify as queer, but people look at me confused since I am married to a man. Then I launch into this diatribe about “no labels” and just turn people off. This post feels like a manifesto for me, I am moving passed freaking out into, “hell yes, I just wrote that!”

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  9. You are Beautiful- inside and out. I’m proud to have you as a friend!

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    1. Heidi! Sniff! Do not make me crrry!

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  10. This article seems to be an extension of who you are, a person who tells it all and shares what is on her mind at the time. It may not always be easy, but you always do it.

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    1. Ain’t that the truth. I DO keep a journal. I DO have some private thoughts… swear!

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  11. Have loved and admired you since I met you-and this honesty just makes me love and admire you more! Hopefully one day the world will understand as we do!

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    1. That is because I pay you with candy.

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      1. True. Candy and awesomeness.

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        1. Its hard to beat!

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  12. I’m glad you are comfortable enough with you to share this…and honestly? It doesn’t change a thing in my mind, and I guess that’s the point, yes? It doesn’t matter who you love. Period.

    So go be the you that you are, freely.

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  13. This is my first time on your blog and i’m so happy that and proud that you feel so confident and secure in yourself to share this with all of us. Your mother is a wise woman. :)

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    1. Thanks Gloria and welcome! I think my mom is a pretty great lady. We’ve had our issues…. if you read back you can see that in further detail. But all in all, I am thankful for her.

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      1. I’m also thankful for your mom. ;)

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  14. This is lovely and brave and wonderful. As always, thank you for your honesty and truth and transparency. Love you my friend.

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    1. Love you too Sadie-Boo :)

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  15. Jasmine,

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings on this. I am very proud of you for being able to do so with your blog world. You have tons of love and encouragement from me for being brave and taking the leap!!! The thing that grates on my soul is that we as human beings continue to need support, encouragement, and such just to disclose something so beautiful and pure as stories about our love of others. Alas, I live in reality, and I get that it is still this way.

    So, I stand by your side. I respect you. I see you as you are…and it is spectacular.

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    1. Cavanaugh! Such kind words! Thank you!

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  16. I adore you and I could care less who you love. You are glorious as is.

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    1. Thanks boo!

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  17. It is a beautiful idea, to love a person for who they are! You Jasmine are beautiful! Thanks for sharing your life with us and keeping it real, como siempre :)

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    1. Thanks for your love and support Arelis!

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  18. First of all, damn, you are SUCH a good writer! Your words so amazingly convey your feelings and your truth. Your bravery in disclosure is inspring. Mwah!

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    1. Thanks Mary. I like to think I am a good writer…. which is why I am writing a memoir. Having people tell me makes it feel more real. Thanks!

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  19. Oh my gosh this was brilliant. Thank you for sharing. It makes me want to share my story, or at least figure out where to share it. My blog is not an option. You are wonderful, girlfriend.

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    1. Thanks Amiyrah! I think you are lovely as well.

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  20. I know that there are many who probably find this “weird” or are uncomfortable with how you view your sexual orientation, but it really sounds quite natural to me, and rather than feeling bad for you, I somehow envy that you can so easily have intense feeling for both sexes. It just makes you more of a loving person. You fell in love with some guy. It could have been another woman. Or whatever. It doesn’t really matter. I am more curious now how this played out growing in a smaller southern town where this type of lifestyle is not generally accepted.

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    1. Well… I did a lot of hiding and still do… but that is something I should explore. It would be great to write about.

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  21. I’m someone who’s loved both women and men and is now married to a man. It doesn’t change my orientation or mean I’m straight or mean that I gave anything up to be in it, either.

    So, there’s two of us here :)

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    1. Elan! Thanks for the comment! And thanks for sharing about yourself. I don’t have a community for “people like me” in my area… so it feels good to be building one on my blog :)

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  22. What an amazing post!!! So glad you shared! -CbLOVE

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    1. Thank you SO much Annette! It is a frightening thing to share… especially where colleagues can read it.

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  23. well said my friend! Thanks for being so courageous to share! :)

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    1. Thank you Emmi!

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  24. I’m reading this now as you shared it on FB and it doesn’t phase me or strike me as anything critical. If anything it makes me adore you more and wish I knew your momma. Also? Whassup with the anti-ginger bit? I mean, COME ON NOW!?! ;)

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  25. are you taking applications for sugar mamas? I’d love to be yours.

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    1. Haha! I love you Pammy Pam ;)

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  26. I <3 you for this post. Thank you so much for sharing this with us and for being so open. Also? Like Andrea, I wish I knew your momma too. She understands love.

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    1. She is crazy as hell, Lauren… but she got some things right ;)

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  27. […] with… but unequivocally I never felt that pause where I had to explain what it meant to be a “queer woman”. I found myself not being the token black or queer. I found myself talking about things that I was […]

    Reply

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