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Tired of Hiding

Posted by on November 22, 2012

This is probably going to be the hardest public blog post I’ll ever write in my life. When fear consumes you and prevents you from being true to yourself – from telling the people who matter the most to you who you really are, because you’re afraid of how they’ll react – then you’re no longer living. You’re in a perpetual state of being emotionally challenged. I go up and down, back and forth, trying to be happy with myself without letting people know everything I identify as, and then I slide down into self-loathing because I feel like I can’t be who I am.

Part of the problem is society. Living with the assumption that I’ll be like the ones who told their family and then were disowned, even if evidence shows me that both my family and my husband’s would be more inclined to accept me no matter what, because they understand that’s what love is. But fear overrides that. My siblings aren’t the issue. My sister already knows, and my brother is so open-minded that I know it wouldn’t make a difference to him. Plus, he’s not religious. It’s the religion that scares me, and I hate that, because I have so many religious friends who also know who I really am and they accept me, too.

Growing up, I always thought my Dad was open-minded and accepting of everyone. When my parents separated when I was 9, he stopped going to church, and came to appreciate God in a different way. When my mum died in 2005, he went back to Catholicism, and has become more deeply involved in the church than he ever seemed to be in the past. It feels like that involvement has shaped him into a person that sometimes I don’t recognise from my childhood, but then he’ll say things that are so comforting and just what I need to hear that remind me why he’s the father I love. Understandably, I don’t want to lose that. But we share different views on marriage equality, and so I worry how that might extend to how he’d feel about me if he knew everything there was to know.

When I met my husband, his family welcomed me with open arms. My mother-in-law especially came to feel like a a second mother to me, especially since I no longer had my own. She’s there for me when I need her, too. I got married in my husband’s family’s church. They’re all Christian, and though I do not identify as one myself, and they know I generally don’t go – though have enjoyed my brother-in-law’s sermons – they’ve accepted me anyway. They feel like my family, too, and again, understandably, I don’t want to lose that. I worry about risking my children’s relationship with their aunts, uncles, cousins and grandparents, just because I want to be honest about who I am, out in the open.

But I’m tired of hiding. It’s exhausting, and mentally draining. I have so many friends who know – here in Malaysia, some friends back home, and pretty much everyone who’s met me online, because in my private haunts, I am honest about who I am. But it’s not enough. I want to talk about it unrestrictedly, because it is that deeply important to me. It’s personal. It’s a subject I’ve written about in my novel and I don’t want to talk about it in an abstract way, I want to talk about it on that personal level.

So I’m coming out, unequivocally. I identify as bisexual, and have done since I was about 16. Yes, even when some of my high school friends questioned me about being attracted to other girls. I lied and/or implied that I was straight. It didn’t seem to be the accepted thing, and I didn’t want to be seen that way. It’s easy to keep that assumption going when you’re married to a man. No one questions it. I’ve not lied to my husband about it, ever. When he found my profile online (which is how we met), my profile clearly stated that I was bisexual. He didn’t care. He accepted me. That acceptance is so important to me.

I’m not sure how many people reading this will understand what it means. Why does it matter what I identify as if I’m married to a man anyway? Marriages are monogamous after all, aren’t they? It’s not like I’m going to go around having relationships with women, too, is it? Except this is a false assumption built by society. Yes, there are plenty of bisexuals who prefer monogamy. But that’s not the only way. Have I had a relationship with a woman since getting married? No. But my husband would let me if I wanted one, if I found someone I wanted to be with like that. By the same token, I accept that my husband can also seek out other relationships. I don’t have a problem with it because I love him, and I know he loves me, and to me love is about freedom to be the person you are, not about having society’s assumed controls placed on your partner because that’s just how it’s “supposed” to work.

It is my hope that revealing this won’t actually change the way people I care about see me. If others want to judge me for it, that’s their choice. I don’t want to spill any tears over people no longer liking me just because I happen to have some attributes they don’t like.

If I’m lucky, my hope will outweigh any fear I had that prevented me from writing this sooner.

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Dominica has a strong interest in exploring diversity in media, seeing people subverting corporate control of creativity through crowdfunding and indie publishing, and spending as much time as she can travelling the world and discovering culture. This is what she most regularly blogs about. In her spare time, Dominica is primarily focused on long-form improv theatre, and writing and publishing speculative fiction. You can find links to some of her free and published stories and screenplays on her writing page, or check out her pirate time-travel novel Adrift. Though born and raised in Australia to American parents, Dominica lived in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, between 2008-2014, until she moved to the San Francisco Bay Area. She also has a background in web programming, filmmaking, and stand-up comedy. For more information, check out her about page, or any of the specific pages about her various creative pursuits in the links at the top of the page.

7 Responses to Tired of Hiding

  1. cara

    Do you know what makes me furious… Is that society has made people feel like this should be kept secret… Seriously what u do behind closed doors (provided u aren’t hurting someone… Unless they want u too :P ) should not be anyones business… You wouldn’t snub a friend because of how many people they have slept with in the past so why would you because of the gender. Good on you for “coming out” but it annoys me that you have to. Even the bible is about acceptance and tolerance

  2. Tara

    So much respect for you and this post. Sending you lots of love and support. Revealing yourself is terrifying, but hiding really does wear you down in the end.

    <3

  3. Kaye

    We love you Dom – unconditionally!

  4. Kayce

    I’m so glad that you have decided to be honest openly. Keeping secrets and hiding is exhausting. I’m so proud of you. You’re an amazing person, and you remind of your mum.

  5. Siobhan

    One thing I always admired about you, Dominica, was that you stood by the courage of your convictions and you were strong in who you were as a person. I hope that writing your post has taken a weight of your chest and has given you peace of heart.

  6. Siobhan

    One thing I always admired about you, Dominica, was that you stood by the courage of your convictions and you were strong in who you were as a person. I hope that writing your post has taken a weight off your chest and has given you peace of heart.

  7. Georg

    Hi Dom. It is a pretty safe bet that you are not alone in your situation. I have plenty of friends who do not identify as any one sexual orientation. The one thing they all say is that when they fall in love, they do so with that person, regardless of their sex. Just be who you are and stay true to yourself. That is what others see and respect :)

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