Our Friend is Here! is a guest feature at The Quiet Pond, where authors, creatives, and fellow readers, are invited to ‘visit’ the Pond! In Our Friend is Here! guest posts, our visitors (as their very own unique character!) have a friendly conversation about anything related to books or being a reader — and become friends with Xiaolong and friends.
Pride Month is a month-long event at The Quiet Pond, where during the month of June, queer authors and bookish content creators are invited to celebrate being queer, queer books, and their experiences of being a queer reader. Find the introduction post for Pride Month at The Quiet Pond here.
Everyone’s journey and experience of ‘coming into’ their queer identities is unique and different to one another. For some people, they know it from an early age and, for others, it may be something that they realise with time and perhaps even in adulthood. It’s important to remember that how some people feel about their queer identities can sometimes be a fluid and changing thing. Some people may figure out their queer identity and feel comfortable with the label for a long time, but for people who may be questioning, labels may change as we find others that feel more comfortable and more like us.
I’m so excited to have Nicole visiting us at the Pond today for Pride. When Nicole reached out to me and told me that she wanted to share her story, I felt really honoured that she could visit the Pond and share her truth with us in a safe space, so I am, again, so honoured that I’ve been given the privilege to host and share her words with you all. Nicole visits us as a magenta, purple, and blue (which is pretty thematic of her piece!) dragon holding a quill with her tail.
As always, before I share Nicole’s piece, I’d like to take a moment to share with you all a little bit about her work as a blogger and writer for all of our friends out there who might only be meeting Nicole for the first time.
Nicole’s Blog, Thoughts Stained in Ink, and her Work as a Writer!
Nicole is a SFF book blogger and the heart and soul behind Thoughts Stained in Ink! If you are ever looking for a science-fiction fantasy book recommendation, then you can find a plethora of reviews of SFF books at Nicole’s blog. You can also find the tags that Nicole has done and she also writes some interesting discussions – in particular, I liked her discussion on ‘How Being a Blogger Changes You as a Reader‘.
As well as a book blogger, Nicole is also a writer and an editor! She has written multiple fantasies, which you can find here, and she’s also currently working on an adult feminist epic fantasy! Moreover, you can also hire Nicole as an editor; she provides editorial services as well!
Nicole: My Belated Journey through Questioning to Bisexuality
content warning: mention of masturbation, mention of pornography, questioning, internalised biphobia
This is a post I had no idea I’d ever write. It’s a post I’m not even sure how to write, let alone put into words or try to understand. But it’s something that I’ve wanted to write for a while now and something I need to, because I want to be wholly myself, at least somewhere; even if I can’t do so everywhere.
I’m recently accepted that I’m bisexual.
And… I’m struggling with it.
Which sounds like a weird admission, right? You should be overjoyed to figure out your own sexuality, to take another step in your own sexual journey and realize that a part of you that has always been locked away, hidden, unrealized, now has the room, permission and recognition to be accepted and realized. But there’s a lot of reasons I feel so conflicted about my own sexuality, especially this very recent greater understanding that I’m not how I’ve always identified in the past.
I think part of the reason I’m not completely overjoyed is because I don’t feel like I’m bisexual enough; that this newfound sense of self is somehow misplaced, fake or a lie, because I didn’t realize it until I was 28. While in a very healthy and happy ‘heterosexual’ relationship with my boyfriend. How can I be bisexual when I’m already in love with a man? How can I be bisexual when I didn’t realize it until I was almost thirty years old? How can I be bisexual when, even after accepting it, I feel like I’m only sexually attracted to women, while I can be both sexual attracted and imagine a future with men (and especially with the man I’m dating)?
Some of this, I can answer and process quite easily. I grew up in a very sheltered and conservative household. I didn’t even fully realize it at the time, because I was also a very privileged white girl. My family hardly ever talked about politics because so much of it didn’t affect us directly, being white and lower class (and eventually middle class). It just wasn’t a common discussion. My parents didn’t really talk to me about sex (except not to have it) and I grew up in a pretty white neighboorhood, with a Christian upbringing. You didn’t have sex until you were married and, when you married, you married a man. This is what I grew up to believe for the first half of my life.
When I left for a liberal college, it wasn’t a huge awakening of how sheltered I had been or how self-serving and white-centric my views used to be. It didn’t crash into me like a wave that takes you by surprise when your back is turned, knocking you over and drenching you with such force, you can’t remember a time when your body was dry instead of wet. It was more like a slow blossom of a flower that had always wanted to bloom, but was never given the right environment to do so. The more I connected with those unlike myself, the more my worldview grew. The more my worldview grew, the more open-minded and accepting I became—and the more questioning I did of myself and what I used to believe—until I fully blossomed into the intense, opinionated liberal feminist I am today. I am very proud of her and proud to be her.
Yet, that still wasn’t enough for me to even think of myself as someone who could like women just as much as I like men; as someone who was anything but straight.
Despite masturbating to fantasies involving women since I started masturbating.
Despite enjoying porn related to lesbian couples instead of male and female couples.
It was too ingrained in my head that I couldn’t love a woman, because I needed to marry a man. That’s what God intended, isn’t it? (Newsflash: it’s not. Jesus wouldn’t spend His energy crafting me into this complex individual with free will and a mission to love greatly and deeply, only to hate me for loving a woman when I was a woman, too. I may not label myself as Christian anymore, because too many of my beliefs don’t match what the church taught me, but I do believe in God and I believe He created me to be exactly as I am, loving who I am. How could He punish us for that?)
I never even considered that, when I noticed a girl in high school, that I might be attracted to her. I always wrote it off, when I’d sometimes catch myself staring too long, it was because I was jealous of how beautiful she was, since I was fat and couldn’t be beautiful like her (yay body image and self-esteem issues thanks to societal pressure and dumbfuckery!). I wrote off my fantasies as meaning nothing—especially since no boys liked me either, so I was going to die alone anyway, so who cares what I masturbate to alone? It doesn’t mean anything, I am still totally, 100% straight.
*stares directly into the camera*
I graduated college and didn’t meet my current (and only) boyfriend until I was 24 years old. Slowly, we fell in love, and we’re still very much in love today. I hope I get to spend the rest of my life with him, because we’re a pretty damn good match and I’ve never met someone who is so accepting and wonderful as him. I’m damn lucky.
Yet that didn’t stop me from fantasizing about women.
But still, that wasn’t enough for me to wake up and realizing I’d been mislabeling my own sexuality for my entire life, repressing an entire side of me simply because I had grown up believing it wasn’t the way things were “supposed to be,” since I’m nothing if not stubborn. Instead, the realization came almost as a surprise, when two things happened.
First, it’s when Loora Wang’s TikTok videos went live and I immediately was absolutely, ridiculously attracted to her. I remember watching them and my body literally shivered and my first thought was, “I would totally let her fuck me.”
It caught me completely off-guard. It was the first time I ever admitted to myself that I wanted a woman to do something sexual to me; that I could possibly enjoy something like that, even crave something like that. It was the first time I didn’t write it off as jealousy of her beauty or try to add the caveat of, “If I weren’t straight, I’d totally let her…” that I used to add in college.
I didn’t think too much of it, until I started noticing other women I was very sexually attracted to. Lauren Babic, as she screamed during her “Chop Suey” cover (to be fair, I was also ridiculously attracted to the other two singers and the male drummer, so…) Deepika Padukone in Goliyon Ki Rasleela Ram-Leela (though, I also noticed Ranveer Singh and um, hello to both of them, particularly in THIS SCENE). Kassandra in Assassin’s Creed: Odyssey.
Pair this sudden intense sexual attraction to multiple women, plus the fact that I’d secretly decided to try and hook up with a woman if my boyfriend and I ever broke up, “just to see what it was like,” and, well…it was hard to deny the fact, unconsciously or not, that I’m 100% bisexual.
Realizing that was freeing. It was like a weight was lifted off my shoulder and I could look at myself in the mirror and say, “Hello, there you are. It’s nice to finally meet you.” Yet, in the same vein, it was terrifying. It was guilt-inducing. It was saddening.
Terrifying because how could I ever tell my conservative family that, if I broke up with my boyfriend, I’d want to try dating a woman? Me, their “perfect daughter,” their firstborn, the one who had all the pressure put on her to get straight A’s and do everything right and never fuck up? The one who disappointed them when I started getting tattoos and surprised them by listening to screamo music, especially when it didn’t turn out to be a phase from middle school (I mean, I do have a sleeve now and plans for more, and I still adore all my punk bands, after all). Sure, they’ve accepted that is part of who I am and they still love me (I’m not trying to make out my family to be these horrible people, because they aren’t and I love them dearly), but this is more than just body ink. This is something that could go against their own beliefs and while I think they’ll always love me, I just…I dunno how they would respond. I really don’t.
Guilt-inducing because I realized this when I’m already in a relationship. Especially after I realized how it also made me sad, because I feel like I learned this about myself too late. Because of my upbringing, I never even considered listening to this part of me, despite the quiet whispers and subtle hints trying to wake me up. I never thought of exploring my sexuality. And I found who I hope to be the love of my life before I could ever know what it feels like to be with a woman. And that makes me sad, because I’m pretty sure it would have been amazing. Of course, then the guilt comes back again after that, because I am already in love and how can I complain or be sad for something I’ve missed out on when I’ve found what I’ve been looking for my entire life?
So, there are a lot of emotions going on. Ultimately, I haven’t come out to my family yet. I have to my boyfriend, who has been so understanding and supportive and loves to send me bisexual memes now when it comes across them, instead of just straight ones. I came out to my best friend, who cried because she was so happy that I was able to accept that part of myself and grow in such a way. But not to my family. Or my siblings. I’m not sure I ever will, especially if I do end up marrying my boyfriend and never have an opportunity to explore the biggest what if of my life.
The question you might be asking now is: then why are you coming out to strangers on the internet? To the blogging community you’re a part of? To the writing community you love?
A few reasons:
- While I’m not ready to come out to my family, I did want to be able to talk about this; to process it with others. I…I didn’t want to feel so alone. And I felt safe doing so in this community and thought I might find support here. I hope so, anyway.
- I’m also a writer. And while I’ve written about a gay couple once and lesbians a few times in some short stories, I’m pretty sure my future novels are going to feature more bisexuals now. More people who are questioning. More who are uncertain. More people who aren’t straight. And as someone who is straight-passing, being in a ‘heterosexual’ relationship, if I were to ever be published, I wouldn’t want to be forced to come out to defend writing those kinds of characters. I know these kinds of things have happened in the book community before, where questioning readers and reviews force an author to reveal a part of their identity that was kept private before. I didn’t want that to happen to me. I wanted to come out on my terms.
So…yeah. My name’s Nicole, I use she/her/hers pronouns and I’m a SFF writer, blogger and freelance editor over at Thoughts Stained With Ink. I’ve been part of the book community for a few years now and a writer for many years more.
I’m confidently bisexual, despite how many mixed feelings come with that discovery.
I wanted to share my story in case anyone else out there doesn’t feel like they’ve earned their sexuality. You have. For anyone who doesn’t feel “enough” in their own sexuality. You are. In case anyone else is struggling or questioning themselves or discovering their sexuality later in life. That’s okay, you’re still valid. To anyone who has to keep a part of themselves secret, whether it’s for their own safety, their own comfort or because they just aren’t sure how those around them will react. I see you and I hear you. I hope this post made you feel a little less alone. This is my first year ever celebrating Pride as a member of the LGBTQIA+ community. Thank you for listening, thank you for accepting me and thank you so much to CW and everyone at The Quiet Pond for allowing me to use their platform as a safe space, when my own blog couldn’t be, for something like this. I can’t express how much it means to me and how much I needed it.
It’s good to be home.
About the Book Blogger and Writer
Nicole Evans is a writer of fantasy and science fiction. She is currently unpublished and is working fervently to get the “un” removed from that statement. With seven books under her belt and more on the way, she loves to write about destined heroes who fail anyway, twisting classic tropes on their heads, animals who feel more like people and, hopefully, about characters and worlds for you to have an opinion about.
She really can’t wait for you to read these stories.
Considering she has run out of space for putting rejections letters up on her wall, Nicole now uses her spare time doing the typical things that nerds do: blogging, dying repeatedly during video games (which she believes is retribution for the characters’ she’s killed), wishing she was the character she is currently reading about and trying to fight off the real world by living in her own head, with varying degrees of success. Nicole has a degree in Creative Writing and a minor in Film and Media Studies, and works as an an academic advisor by day and a SFF editor by night.
Pride can sometimes feel like a fraught time for our questioning friends, so I hope that all of you know that, however you may feel about your queer identity, you are queer and how you feel is valid and okay.
I want to thank Nicole for sharing her story with us today and for also giving us at the Pond the privilege and opportunity to share her story. I hope you all enjoyed reading Nicole’s story, and perhaps found her story resonant.