Last week I tweeted out something that may have been a little more cryptic than intended:
Coming from the person who announced his engagement on Facebook by saying “In the parlance of our times, I liked it, so I put a ring on it,” this tweet was definitely #onbrand, but maybe not on point.
Since my blog is a better place to unpack things than Twitter, here goes.
Yes, I’m bi. No, this isn’t news to me. I’ve had some pretty clear ideas about it since high school.
But I grew up in a community where most of the people around me at that time didn’t see bisexual as a valid identity. It was a transition, like poking one foot out of the closet.
The one person I opened up to about this at that time reacted with a fairly forceful argument that amounted to, “Chris, you’re not gay.”
That wasn’t what I was saying, but that’s what they heard.
That fundamental misunderstanding lived rent free in my brain. I let it silence a lot of questions for a while. Even when I consciously knew better, or had a stronger grasp of who I am, it was hard to walk away from those doubts that had taken root long ago.
So why say anything now?
Because I couldn’t not say it any longer.
As somebody who survives with depression, and has a pretty regular fight with imposter syndrome, honesty and objectivity are essential tools for me.
I need to be honest, because being able to have that baseline is helpful in keeping me going. And being able to be open with other people helps me feel connected to others. When depression is at its worst, I often try to isolate myself.
When I was teaching Intro to Media Writing, I used a quote from Socrates when talking about understanding how to write fictional characters:
The greatest way to live with honor in this world is to be what we pretend to be.
It was always about helping students think through this notion that people are more complicated than they seem, and that for someone to be a character worth admiring or emulating, they should have some consistency between what they show and what they believe.
If I continued to pass as heterosexual, I wouldn’t be living honorably.
I’d prefer to live honorably.
For my kids, who are going to have their own feelings to work through as they get older. For my spouse, who deserves my honesty and to know that I feel secure enough with her to be vulnerable.
And for the people who were like me and had more questions than answers, who might need to see somebody claim an identity in a way that makes them feel they can lay claim to it, too.