Sexuality is Fluid, and I am Living Proof of That

Fantasizing about boys felt like a healing paper cut: uncomfortable, but manageable.

While imagining a future with a man I mistook the relief of companionship for romance, and the anxiety for chemistry.

When I pictured him saying ‘you’re mine’, it felt like being trapped, too possessive, I did not want my heart stolen but at least being kept in a cage would keep me safe.

Dreaming about kissing boys seemed acquiescent, as long as my eyes were glued shut the entire time. This was love, right?

When I saw her for the first time I was mesmerized and I have never wanted to give up custody of my own heart more;

She felt like home, like freedom, and all the discomfort I had assumed was natural melted, just like I did whenever she touched me.

Her laughter reminded me why the earth revolved around the sun and when we kissed it felt like I had found the world’s greatest treasure without even searching for it.

When I imagine a lifetime with her it doesn’t feel cumbersome anymore and I realize it was meant to feel this way all along.

This was a poem about coercive heteronormativity I’d written in 2016, when I used to identify as a lesbian. I’d posted this on tumblr and received dozens of notes from other lesbians telling me the sentiment contained in the poem hit so close to home. Almost two years later, I identify as pansexual and the poem feels almost disingenuous. How can someone who once proudly declared they were exclusively attracted to women not take it back now? In theory, I know that sexuality, along with gender is an abstract concept by virtue of which it is fluid, and that going from lesbian to pansexual or bisexual doesn’t reinforce the stereotype that all lesbians are ultimately attracted to men, but I can’t help but feel like a fraud.

Our society treats queer sexualities as an absolute finalities, if we choose to accept them at all. Unfortunately, the most common acceptance of the fluidity of sexuality is when queer sexualities are seen as “just a phase” wherein people hold the belief that queer individuals can be “fixed” and are only queer due to bad parenting, exposure to popular culture, etc. This mentality is often internalized which is why queer people often find it difficult to identify differently than they used to. One needs to realise that the onus of abolishing stereotypes lies with the oppressors, not with individuals who perpetuate them.

Jahnavi Rudra