I Love Who I Love
as told to

When I was 8, I was raped by our security guard on the way home from school. I can remember every detail of the attack like it happened yesterday. I know how he smells. I can remember his face. In my teens I was almost raped by a neighbor during a family holiday. I remember telling him I was HIV positive and that stopped him.

These events have definitely affected my sexual orientation. I don’t trust men easily; I find it very difficult to connect physically with men. Sex with men is painful. Penetration is painful. I know every encounter I have had with a man since my childhood is clouded by these experiences, coloring my responses to his touch.

I never envisioned being with a woman. It just happened. I fell into my first female relationship, without knowing what emotions and distress it may cause in the future. At University, I met this girl through a pal, and one fine day at a party, as I lay on her lap, with the heavy base beats vibrating through our bodies and me in an alcoholic haze, she leaned over and told me she liked me. I didn’t understand her. I responded I liked her to; she was a very cool person. She repeated. No, I reeeeeaaallllly like you'.

It clicked.

The only thought through my mind at that time was of my mother. I didn’t question the right (or wrong) ness of anything else about this girl. And then one of her friends dared us to kiss, and well, after that - I continued following her around the house asking for another kiss.

I had a torrid affair with this woman for months; she was actually seeing someone at the time, and we cherished every minute of our stolen moments together. She took me through great emotional highs and lows. I craved her attention, her body like nobody else before. I spent little attention on studies, sneaking off to meet her whenever the opportunity arose. I drank like a fish and smoked like a chimney. I drank to stop thinking about this relationship, I drank to stop thinking about the fact that I was having a secret affair with a woman and I drank to help keep the party going. I didn’t think of myself as gay though. I thought it simply must be about her. After a while the steam fizzled out; our fast lives and the pressure of keeping our relationship a secret wore thin and I walked away from her. I needed time to regain myself and salvage my life.

So I refocused on school. I graduated. I got a job and moved. I dated a man. I cared for him a great deal; he was gentle and patient with me. After several months, I finally surrendered to him physically – it was slow and sweet; but I think there was still some hesitation on my part. It was something I did with him, because I believed it came with the territory of dating. I didn’t particularly hate it; but I didn’t particularly love it either.

Then, I met her - she triggered something in me. She was hosting a party at her house and I was crashing the party on the arm of her uncle. I was instantly attracted to her. I drank her in; her words, her laughter, her body. As the drinks continued to flow during the night, the music became louder and the dancing more raunchy. There was an air of sex that night, as beautiful women gyrated their hips; pressing their bodies against each other to the throbbing beats. I kept my distance, stood back and drank it all in. The women were gorgeous and I felt the electricity among the group; sensing that this maybe a “different” set of women. I left that night, with a sense of happiness from meeting these amazing women, hoping that I would continue to build a relationship with them.

I thought of her a lot. I wondered when I would meet her again. The moment finally came a few weeks later. And over drinks and too much laughter, she made her move. I was surprised and elated – I know I would never have had the courage to take the first step. I spent the whole weekend at her home. When I made love to her; it was easy and natural. I was in heaven! When we first started dating, it took time for me to resolve the “old” me with the “new” me. I tried to understand what this meant; what did it say about me that I was now dating another woman. I thought the first girl was just a phase and so the fact that I willingly entered into another relationship jolted me a little bit. When I tried to find the “reason” behind this; when I tried to figure out the logic I got confused. But when I listened to my heart; and the rumblings in my stomach whenever she was around - it all made sense. And as time went on my love for this woman continued to grow. I realized I started having thoughts of forever with her. And when I said I love you - I knew. I knew I wanted to spend the rest of my life with her. And so I focused on this relationship. I focused on her and on us.

I still don’t think I am gay, at least not in the standard version of it. I refuse to put labels on my identity, to pin myself down in a box, and then feel weird about the fact that I don’t meet all the requirements. I have not found the right term for me out there, something that captures my feelings and self identity fully. I love who I love. I don’t get bogged by the gender. I don’t get bogged by what I should call myself, bisexual? Lesbian? Right now all I know is I love my woman.

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