When I was sixteen I had a crush on my best friend. I didn’t realise it was a crush for years because we’re both girls.
We shared a bed when we had sleepovers and we cuddled when we went to sleep. We snuggled on the couch when we watched movies. We kissed each other on the cheek goodbye. We hugged the moment we saw each other. I always told her she was cute. She was the first person to notice when I changed something about my appearance. Normal best friend stuff, right? Doesn’t everyone think their best friend is the best person in the world? Don’t all girls want to cuddle with their best friends? Don’t all girls get lost scrolling through their friends Facebook pages because they’re just so damn cute? No?
Our parents were so happy we had each other as friends because we were both going through some unrelated shit. None of them ever thought that we were something more. We never had the same rules with each other as we did when we had boys over.
When she got a boyfriend I was insanely jealous. It wasn’t because she didn’t spend time with me anymore, because she would always cancel on him to hang out with me. So I couldn’t place why I was so jealous. So I just ignored it.
Fast forward a few months to them breaking up and her coming out as a lesbian to me. I was happy for her. I was supportive. I was so proud of her for being so brave. I stood up for her when people were arseholes about it.
Fast forward another few months to one of our mutual friends realising she had a crush on me and telling me. I was flattered and it got me thinking. Did I have a crush on her too? It seemed like it, but I knew I liked boys too. I’d had a boyfriend who’d broken my heart. I’d had crushes on boys. I knew that for certain. So why was I thinking this way about my best friend? Could I be bi? No. I’d heard of bisexuality but never anything positive. Bi girls were girls who weren’t brave enough to come out. Bi girls were bi because they wanted to make their boyfriends happy. Bi girls were bi because boys think it’s hot. That wasn’t me. That wasn’t something I was comfortable with. So I must be straight.
My relationship with my best friend stayed the same. We cuddled and hung out and held hands and I felt guilty about it. Especially when rumours about us started spreading. People were saying I was a lesbian too. So we stopped acting that way at school. I wasn’t ashamed, but it wasn’t me. I knew I wasn’t a lesbian.
Eventually I got a boyfriend and she got a girlfriend and we graduated high school and drifted apart.
It wasn’t until years later that I came across the term bisexuality again. In an article I found on tumblr no less. And I read it, a story so similar to mine, about a girl not realising her sexuality for years because there was no bi representation. She didn’t know who she was, except that she liked boys so she must be straight. I thought back to my best friend, realising how much I loved her and that we weren’t just friends. If I was behaving that way with a boy, we would have been in a relationship. I did some research. I practiced saying ‘I’m bi.’ And I finally came to realise that I am. I was 21 when I made the connection of something that I should have when I was in high school.
It all suddenly made sense. Not only my crush on my best friend, but my interest in pretty girls. That when we talked about celebrity ‘hall passes,’ the first ones that came to mind were always girls. It just makes sense.
My point is, this is why we need bi representation in popular culture. This is why characters like Rosa Diaz and Clarke Griffin and Angela Montenegro and Jack Harkness and multiple others are so important. Seeing these characters, this representation, helps people realise that there are other options that aren’t just gay and straight (not that there is anything wrong with either of those). I wish I had seen a character like these when I was a young teenager. I wish I had known being bi was an option and not a negative one. I wish I had seen literally anything positive about being bisexual. I’m not saying my best friend and I would have ended up together, but maybe we could have had something more.