Hello everyone, my name is Ari and I'm a new member to this group. Hopefully I could find some support for the tough situations I'm dealing with.
To start off, I'm male, 18, feminine, and bisexual as well as an atheist. It's hard being all of these things and living in a conservative state like Texas. The only person I've been able to talk about these things is the only atheist I know, my former psychology teacher. I have acquaintances at school, but so far have failed to make any lasting friends. I'm a senior and only have 7 weeks of school before graduation. My personality is very caring, shy, and generous but can be energetic in small groups where I feel comfy. Most of the laughs and smiles I make are unfortunately fake as I grit my teeth from the pain I feel inside.
I can start a conversation rather easily with someone but I can't seem to maintain a strong bond. This is probably due to people in the past taking the personal information I've shared and using it against me. To be completely honest, I really won't miss anyone from high school and want to start anew in college. Depression and overthinking are a common occurrence throughout the day. I typically stay at home and mostly stay around my older sister yet I really feel like I don't have personal space of my own. The only times I'm truly alone is late at night, as it is now, and when everyone is out of the house where I can think in peace. For most of my life, I've been a loner.
To expand upon my bisexuality and feminine nature, I definitely do not openly share this info in most cases. I came out to my parents and sister when I was 15 in an embarrassing fashion which resulted in neither disapproval nor comfort. Initially, my parents thought it was just a phase but I suppose they accepted it by now. We very rarely talk about the subject and I know they think it's a sin so I don't bother making them feel anymore uncomfortable as they probably already feel. I'm bisexual in a pretty confusing way; I'm more physically attracted to women and more romantically attracted to men. The most fitting partner for me would be a rather feminine guy, in appearance, that has a caring attitude like me and similar interests. Sometimes, I think that these standards are too specific and demanding especially since it seems that many other feminine gay/bi men seek masculine men. So far, I haven't been in any romantic or sexual relationships so the chances of getting my ideal guy feels even further away.
As far as my femininity level, I've worn nail polish before, been in a dress, despise all hair on my body except the eyebrows and hair on my head. The only issue is that those have been isolated incidences and I have way too much fear to think about showing this to anyone. I look like an ordinary guy, but these desires aren't just whims. Sometimes I'm tortured by these thoughts because I really want to be what I imagine myself to be but can't due to fear of harsh discrimination. If being bi wasn't confusing enough, this need to be feminine has been around for a long time before I was even aware of what it meant. It's a part of my being that I wouldn't be allowed to express in most places along with maintaining a job, if I had one, and it kills that part of me.
I've been an atheist for about the same time I realized my orientation. I'd rather tell people I'm an atheist rather than bisexual because I'm more shielded and prepared for those tricky, offensive, or invasive questions they may ask. I'm proud to be an atheist because all religions are the same to me and "God" is merely a human concept that can be used to explain what you WISH to be true. There could be something out there more powerful than us, but it probably wouldn't fit the label of "God" since the term "God" was conceived by earthbound beings who has yet to discover much outside their own world. I do not believe in the supernatural whatsoever. Every time I see a movie trailer for something supernatural it says "inspired by actual events" and I just think it's a tactic used to get people into that afraid mindset. We are very psychological beings and we often experience things that probably aren't real such as revelation, intuition, and out-body-experience. Due to our psychological nature we could easily believe in things that really aren't there at all.
Lastly, overall life has been lacking much joy and love. My joy and love started declining after I left elementary school and it became gradually got worse. The worst year of school in my life was junior year. I was bullied pretty badly and even attempted suicide one time because of all of the stress I suffered. No one in person knows that I tried to kill myself. No worries though, I haven't gone that deep in depression again and have actually been deterred from the act because of the fear I felt. My life by no means is uncomfortable in the physical since. I'm fed, clothed, sheltered, and have the little extra luxury of having a computer and such. I very rarely ask for anything and save money scrupulously. Although, some may argue that this is enough to be happy, it certainly is not. I have virtually no emotional support from my family (mostly because I don't speak about anything) but my parents and sis aren't the way to go because we are too different. I am definitely the black sheep of the family and sometimes worry about other family members who have not yet learned about these things about me. Sometimes I just hurt so much it feels like I have not where to go most of the time... This just means I'll have to find my own means of venting these negative emotions such as here.
Do you guys have any advice? I know it's a pretty long writing but any support is appreciated. I'm finally breaking the silence in this group that has lasted over a year surprisingly. :)
First off I want to give you a hug.
Texas is a rough place to be an atheist (speaking from experience) and the public school system can be a rough place for anyone who the general populace considers an "outsider."
I can tell you that things do get easier. College is filled with a much more accepting bunch, and even if folks don't agree with you, they're generally a little more mature about it than your average high school kid. I blanket this over your sexuality, gender identity and atheism.
There are exceptions of course, I'm 30 and still come across southern Xtians who feel it is their place to set me straight. I've had some scares too...but overall things get better ten-fold once you are away from high school.
You'll often hear, "Don't let fear control your life."
It is advice worth listening to. Confidence in who you are helps others learn to accept, know and love you. Fear gives people the perception that they can manipulate you into being the person they think you should be.
If you want to find love, don't be afraid of yourself. Be the person you want someone to love.
I know I sound like a greeting card, but believe me when I tell you, it can be an amazing world out there.
It's good to hear that most of the suffering I know now will finally ease up when I go to college. ^.^
Have you thought about going to college in a big liberal city? That's what I would do. Cut loose and take time to find yourself. It sounds like you've got balls. You've got nothing to lose.
It's not a big surprise that the rednecks surrounding you don't understand who you are. They can't even tell chance from the supernatural.
My advice would be to try and socialize more online. I know it's not the same, but at least it could be an outlet until you ditch that swamp of ignorance. I'm sure just writing your post made you feel a little better.
You can add me if you like, Cadence.
Thank you, grumpy Dan. I'll gladly add you as a friend! :D
Where I live in Texas, it isn't really bad but some classmates at school I know are very religious and one guy in particular preaches to people everyday. It's really weird because before high school I didn't think the stuff from church would come into the classroom. I hear from my science teacher "There is definitely a creator", my counselor suggesting the Bible when I told her of my non-belief and orientation, and some people walking around with Confederate hats and no one will say a word. I live in San Antonio and I rate it as semi-conservative. Austin is more liberal, but there is no shortage of small towns in Texas who still hate African Americans. I'm African American myself, but considering the towns I could've been in, it really isn't that bad.
(disclaimer) I'm not lgbt or texan. But I noticed there are a few lgbt support orgs in your area. Even if being shy has been a handicap for you (as it definitely has for me), I'd strongly recommend going in person to see if it's possible to make any supportive connections, even if it's only to visit their offices for a few minutes.
And what kOrsan said. Keep finding online support.
Thanks for the thoughts and hugs you've all given me. I very much appreciate it. :)
Right now I'm just trying to focus on myself more in order to improve myself. I just want to do the things I wish to do and not what someone else wants anymore. I think I'm slightly getting better at it gradually but thanks again for all of the support. :)
The world is a big weird place, and if you look around you'll quickly see -- from presidents to paupers -- pretty much no one has a fucking clue on what's going on or how to live a good life. While there are some things for which society is more likely to ostracize you, don't ever let other people con you into the idea that there is a right way for you, as an individual, to live properly. Other people can give you advice and opinions, but at the end of the day you need to live by your own convictions... in my opinion.
It's okay to be closeted about stuff if that's what feels right. It's okay to be out. Just try to decide based on what makes sense for you, not based on what other people find convenient. It's also okay if other people don't understand. Some will, and some won't. Some will shy away and some will feel closer for knowing you a little better. Some will be entirely indifferent for better or worse.
While some degree of butch/ femme dynamic exists within the gay male community, there's quite a gradient on self-image and preference. Keep in mind that even a more feminine guy who thinks more masculine men are great eye candy doesn't necessarily want to date masculine guys (or at least isn't necessarily opposed to dating less masculine guys). There are a lot of variables at play. There are a lot of cases with gay men where like attracts like.
There are pros and cons to seeking relationships within the queer scene. The most notable con is that only a single digit percentage of the population is queer, and only a percentage of that group will be romantically appealing to you. The plus side is due to that difficulty, queer folk in some scenes take greater steps to put themselves out there to meet partners because the statistical odds of meeting the right person by random chance seem dim. More people in your generation are openly queer than any older generations.
It's good to find LGBT groups to spend time with. It provides an environment in which you can feel like less of an odd duck, and you are more likely to find people who accept and understand what it's like to be queer. That said, some of the people who will be the most tolerant and understand you the best are straight, and some LGBT people are bigots against other queer folk (I've seen unfortunate bi and transphobia), or exhibit other forms of bigotry (racism, misogyny, misandry etc.). All I'm saying is, people are people. Cliché as it is, love yourself first and spend time with the people who accept you: haters can go fuck themselves.
It's fine to explore slowly. If you have the chance to live by yourself in the future, it might be a good experience for you. You don't have to worry about anyone seeing what's on your computer or your browser history, not just in terms of sexy images one might browse, but anything personal relating to your sexuality of love life. You can bring a guy or a girl home and no one needs to know unless you want them to. You can order women's clothing online if you want to experiment and try things in the comfort of your own space. Or even if you aren't into cross-dress specifically, more risqué or queer clothing/ makeup/ whatever which piques your interest. If you like it, push the boundaries at your leisure. If not, don't. Those are just examples with the point being it really gives you some breathing room to find yourself.
Be cautious, not paranoid.
Terms like gay/ bi/ straight/ cis/ trans/ femme are useful. They help get someone in the ballpark of where you are coming from. Just don't feel like you need to be conformed to or confined by these words. Same goes with terms other people apply to you. Some may insist, for instance, that you're not bi, but rather gay. They're expressing a thought and you can take it for what it is, but it's not for them to decide and you don't have to be bullied into other people's expectations.
You sound introverted. There are a lot of stereotypes with introversion, but it's not a bad thing in the slightest. It just means that certain social connections will be more rewarding for you than others, not that you aren't social. You may not be introverted, but just keep in mind that you don't have to like or force yourself into types of social interactions you don't enjoy. Well, every now and then you do, but not normally.
Depression can creep in recurring cycles for some (not all). Even if it's subsided at the moment, keep aware of the signs so you can either seek help if needed, or weather the storm by keeping perspective. It may not be an issue in your case (I'd hope not), but just thought I'd throw that out there.
Lastly (though I could keep rambling), the people and experiences you may enjoy most in life could very well fall into the realm of things you have yet to even dream of. It's good to have ideals and desires, but keep an open mind to enjoyable opportunities which pop up along the way. If you meet a man or a woman who is nothing like you thought you'd want from a mate yet makes you happy, see where it goes. Even if it does end in heartbreak, that's practically a rite of passage regardless of sexual orientation.
Those are my opinions. Take 'em or leave 'em.
Thank you very much for the very elaborate explanation Kris. This must've taken you a while to write. What you wrote makes so much sense to me and I'm aware of all the things you've mentioned yet it will take more mental practice to accept these facts of life. Then again, I'm only 18 and haven't had much life experience yet but I fully understand what you mean. I still subconsciously marginalize myself in a concrete image and I'm trying my best to break this bad habit.
Anyway, thanks again for your support. :)