It’s four whole days into the new year. For almost fifteen years I’ve celebrated the end and beginning of each with two resolutions: one resolving to better myself in some way, the other to learn or try something I’ve always wanted to before I die. But this past New Year’s Eve, I found myself wanting to shrug off this tradition. The idea of taking on two more tasks seemed monumental, overwhelming. I had too much on my plate, I thought. I was too tired, I complained. I don’t care anymore, I said. Hearing the words ringing in my ears, I knew that was a lie. I cared, desperately. My resolution was made months before, on a humid summer night. Watching a falling star flare and burn a trail through the dark, I told my beloved who I was, and who I wanted to be. I wanted to make it happen. So, with my usual exuberance, I plunged right in, thinking that determination would see me through this like it had so many times before. But as the months rolled on, it became a monolith standing before and above me, crushing me with its mere shadow.
I’ve always prided myself on being so damn open and honest about my sexuality. With few exceptions, those who know me know I’m bisexual, that it’s not some trendy affectation for me, but a real orientation. I thought, Surely nothing is harder than this, and I did it—me, the shy, dorky, ugly little duckling. Now I’m a swan. I rock. But I don’t really. For me, my bisexuality is old hat; so, too, is any prejudice I experience. It rolls right off these greasy feathers of mine. I think I surprise people when I admit that I’m not really outgoing and self-confident. To be honest, in some ways I am. My sexuality is something I’m more than confident about, and I’m absolutely obnoxious with confidence about my intelligence and capabilities. But inside I still feel like the ugly duckling, and nothing and no one has been able to change that. I myself try to ignore that malevolent little whisper that tries to strangle my voice, paralyze my body and mind.
Two whole fucking paragraphs to introduce my body dysmorphic disorder. I might as well toss in the recent definitive OCD diagnosis, too. Where was I going with this? Oh yeah, I’m being open about my mental illness. This isn’t a cry for help or pity (as a control freak, I can assure you I’ve got it all under control) but feel free to tuck a few dollars in my garter if you’re feeling the urge to be charitable. When I first started seeing a therapist, my greatest fear was not that I was mentally ill (I knew), but that this knowledge would undermine my sexuality and everything else about me should others know of it. That Tourette’s (something I was sure I had, but might turn out to be something lovely called chronic vocal tic disorder, if it isn’t part of my OCD. Jeez, aren’t I the disorderly one?) would invalidate everything about me. “Gay? Nah, she’s just crazy.” “Eccentric and creative? Nope, she’s totally mental.” If I can’t be honest about this, then I can’t possibly be honest about my sexuality, because sex doesn’t just define me, it’s a part of me and everything about me. Showing just the confident side of myself isn’t real honesty.
I’ve lost a lot dealing with this, but when I think of all the things I’ve missed because of it, I know that yes, my resolutions for a better life and something new are one and the same. I never robbed myself of my New Year tradition before, and I haven’t this time. My first and foremost resolution has always been—and always will be—a resolution for evolution. And as part of that, honesty, too. (Oh, yay.)
This is 2007, the Year of the Female (Yin) Fire Pig. In spite of its silly name, I dedicate it, and my efforts, to my beloved. May this bring the change we’ve been hoping for.