1.6 A Different Kind of Love

This is honestly one of the hardest things I’ve ever tried to write about, because in hindsight it still doesn’t fully make sense to me. Trying to figure out how my relationship with Sarah developed, and eventually ended, is like trying to read through foggy glasses. I know the answer is right in front of me, but it is still so unclear. So here is what I think happened.

When Sarah first reached out to me and told me she cuts, I wasn’t sure what to say. We weren’t very good friends, and she was kind of strange. Reckless, silly. I tend to take myself very seriously, though I’m not as bad as I used to be. So really, we didn’t have a lot in common.

Fast-forward a few months, and you end up at my story 1.5 Being There For Sarah. There I explain how she ended up hospitalized the day I wasn’t there for her when she needed someone, the first time she told me she thought she was suicidal. From then on I was always with her, talking about things, and trying to help when I really had no idea what she needed. Her parents liked me because I would help her talk about things, and that’s how they discovered she was hearing voices. Sarah was very sick, and I was always terrified. She started seeing a counselor, and that helped her a lot.

About a month later, I went on a family trip to the U.S.A. and we were texting. She at some point said “are you in love with me or something?” I’ll admit that I was confused. I had strong feelings toward Sarah, I was very protective of her, and I definitely loved her as a friend. But something more? I’m not a lesbian, I thought to myself. Still, though, I was having strange feelings that I had never experienced before. We continued texting for another 5 days or so, and all the while I couldn’t get that thought out of my head. I wanted to kiss her. I knew it wasn’t right, but I couldn’t shake that feeling. She said when I come home, I should come over to her house. And when I did, she wanted me to make a move. I agreed.

So when I got home I went to her house so we could have a sleepover like we had done before. We sat on her bed, and there was definitely tension in the air. We didn’t really talk about it. I gave her a necklace that I had bought. I was wearing a matching one. It was a silver wing. I thought a wing would be right for her, as I knew she was always hoping for a way to fly away. Ironically, we were both religious, and she said it reminded her of a guardian angel’s wing.

And then… I summed up all of the courage I had, and kissed her. It was my first kiss, as well as her’s.

Sarah and I were together for six months before I left for military training. We even went to our graduation together, and didn’t care that people knew about us. We told each other “I love you”. We were happy, most of the time. We fought a lot, though, and she often had breakdowns. She wasn’t healed, and being with me just seemed to make it more complicated.

In the end, we broke up. When I got home, we were both very different, and I couldn’t handle it any more. There was also a guy I met over that summer away, and even though he treated me poorly, I saw him as an escape from my past and a reminder that I was normal. I also knew it was very temporary, so I didn’t see many problems with it. I cheated on Sarah, and I felt really guilty. I tried to break up with her on the phone, because I was far away and didn’t want to feel guilty. She broke down, and begged me to stay with her. I was scared she would hurt herself again, so I vaguely said we could maybe talk about it later, but I knew my mind was made up. I didn’t want all the problems that went with being her girlfriend anymore.

Now, I know some people are probably wondering how I could kiss her, but still be straight. Am I bisexual? Well, no, not really. I thought I was, and when Sarah’s parents forced me to tell mine about me and her, that is what I told them. They really disapproved. Of her, of the idea of having a gay child, and more fundamentally, they disapproved of who I was. I felt broken by this, because I felt like they didn’t love me anymore.

Luckily I have some friends who are gay, and they helped me and accepted me, no matter what I was or wasn’t. To them I was the same person I had always been, and even though I may have been making a mistake there, they let me make it. Sarah and my close friends were great about it, although we knew we were making them uncomfortable at times.

I think sexuality is a spectrum. On one side is “completely straight” and on the other side is “completely gay”. But in between there is a range of people who are mostly attracted to one gender but also are attracted to the other gender. Right in the middle is bisexual with no preference. I think I’m mostly straight, but I do have tendencies towards also being attracted to women, and that was the part that Sarah brought out in me.

The important thing here is that despite all that I’ve been through, I don’t regret being with Sarah. Sure, it was hard. And people will probably never look at me the same. I know my mom still judges me for that, even though it was a few years ago now. But I learned a lot about myself from being with Sarah, and I know she learned from me too. Even if I just learned what I don’t want in a relationship, that’s still a good lesson. As for Sarah, I talked to her once a while later, and she confessed that she thinks she is in fact a lesbian. Which is fine too.

You are who you are, and there’s nothing you can do to change it. In fact if you try to fight it you will only end up miserable and in a life that you hate. So embrace who you are, and be yourself. There is no “right” way to be.

Figure out who you are, and embrace it. You are unique, and the things you think are weird about yourself are what make you who you are. Don’t let anyone tell you differently, or tell you you are wrong.

And if people do try to tell you you should be something different than what you are, that’s really not the kind of person you want in your life anyway.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

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