Brave

Christin

“Hi, my name is Nicole” she said, taking a drag off of her cigarette.

I don’t know why, but I always insisted on going out to sit with the smokers, even though I never did.

It was her first week on the job. She was nervous, I could tell.

“I’m Christin. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.”

She was a hard worker. Even though she was young, maybe 18 or 19, she worked just as hard, maybe harder than the rest of us. Like she had something to prove.

Our job wasn’t easy. Providing care to those that were incapable of caring for themselves was both mentally and physically hard. The turn over rate was high, the ones that stuck around were the ones that really cared.

My guess is she wouldn’t last more than a month, after all, most didn’t.

A few weeks later, Nicole was still around. We ended up working the same shift one Friday night.

“I think my girlfriend cheated on me,” she said, with her back to me while she flipped the burgers.

I looked up from cleaning up the latest juice spill off the floor, “ Why, what happened?”

“I don’t know. She is being real shady and not returning my phone calls.”

I was never good in these situations.

“Sorry to hear that. What are you going to do?”

“I don’t know.”

Over the next few months, Nicole and I began to hang out more. We joined a gym and began working out together. Mostly, we would sit on the bike machines and gossip about the latest drama at work.

“Did you know Pedro and Analisa are seeing each other?”

“What? When did that happen?”

And that’s what we did. We talked about everything. Work, life, my failing relationship, her failing relationship. Nothing was off-limits.

Overtime she became a good friend and confidant. Our friendship grew and so did my feelings for her. I would lay in bed at night, trying to sort out my conflicting thoughts. I have had flings with women before in my younger years, but none ever felt like this. Yet, I was still in a relationship with a man, but it just wasn’t working.

 How can you deny what you feel?

I couldn’t.

One night after leaving work, I knew I had to do something.

After almost a year of denying my feelings, I literally could do it no longer.

“Would you go to the movies with me?” I texted, my hands shaking as I sat in my car.

“Sure, I would love to,” she replied quickly.

My heart raced as I felt my face grow hot.

What was coming over me? I hadn’t felt like this in a very long time.

I felt alive.

And that’s how it all began.

I wish I could tell you it ended just as nicely as it began but it didn’t.

We stuck it out for a few years, had some really great times together but in the end we went our separate ways.

This was a particularly hard piece to write because I have never acknowledged my bisexuality in a public forum such as this. Sure, my close friends know, a few family members, but that is where it stops. It’s not that I am ashamed but it is very difficult to explain an attraction to both men and women. Some people think it’s a ploy to “have your cake and eat it too.” Which is absolutely not the case. For me, it is seeing beyond the gender and loving the person.

 So, today, I take the other foot “out of the closet” in hopes that someone might need to see that it is okay for them to live their best life, with both feet out of that stuffy old closet, in the light, and with their head held high.

 “One day we won’t have to come out of the closet.

 We’ll just say we are in love and that will be all that matters.”

Ellen Degeneres

Here is a little historical background on pride month.  For those of you that don’t know what pride month is, it started in 1969. The Stonewall riots in Manhattan, which occurred in June of ’69, were a tipping point for the Gay Liberation Movement in the United States. Since then, LGBTQ (Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Transgender, Queer) pride month is celebrated, with parades and events to recognize the community as a whole. It is a symbol that everyone should be able to be who they are and to love who they want.

Jennifer

I do not remember the exact date Christin came out to me. It was back in the early days of Apartment B-303 where this seventeen-year friendship began. We were staying in for the night, having some drinks and food. Alphonso was going to invite a few people over, nothing too fancy. Christin and I were both off from work. We were just hanging out, watching t.v pretending to clean so when Alphonso came home he would not throw a fit.

An episode of Sex and the City came on. Pretty typical in Apartment B-303. I forget the exact episode, but it prompted  the conversation of “Have you ever been with a woman?” While turning the pages of Alphonso’s fashion magazines, I laughed and told Christin “Please, I cannot even find a guy, plus, I do not think it’s my thing.”

Christin was in the kitchen, my back towards her, still flipping through Alphonso’s ten dollars an issue fashion magazine. Christin was trying her hand at some new appetizer, but since there was no chicken or baking involved, I had high hopes! “What about you, have you ever been with a woman?”

There was a bit too long of a pause.

I turned around, looking at Christin, “OMG YOU HAVE BEEN WITH A WOMAN?!”

She gave a nervous kind of laughter. A laugh that I know today means “yes” but back then, we were still getting to know each other.

Quickly, I threw the overpriced fashion magazine across the room, turned off the t.v and got up to join Christin in the kitchen.

“Tell me! I need details!!

As Christin was musing up some sort of concoction that would resemble some sort of dip, she both honestly and bravely told me about her past. I listened with intent and curiosity, then, felt the need to ask “Well how come you have never tried anything with me?”

As she covered the “dip” with plastic wrap, she looked at me, laughing, “It does not work that way Jen!”

 

2007

When Christin and I left Apartment B-303, things changed. Gone were the days when we would stay up late into the early morning hours. Lunch at our local diner and pool at our local dive bar were safely secure in the past. Life brought us new sets of responsibilities. Christin and I lost contact for a while, then through the magic of social media, specifically Myspace, we were brought together again.

As soon as we became “Myspace Friends” we picked up where we left off and have never looked back. I was in the middle of planning my wedding. Christin and I would spend hours on the phone talking about wedding decor and new babies.

This is when I first heard about Nicole. Christin met Nicole at work, and they were pretty inseparable. At this point, Christin and Nicole were living together, and although not always easy, Christin was happy. That’s all that mattered.

Christin and I had come full circle from the days of Apartment B-303, and although change is never good, this type of change needed to happen for us.

2018

Life once again took us in different directions. Christin is no longer with Nicole, and well, you guys already know my story.

However, Christin’s story is just beginning. You see, in light of June being Pride month, Christin once again has made the honest and brave decision to write about her story. This is Christin’s first time writing about her bisexuality. It was not easy for her, she was hesitant, she is prepared for the judgements. But, that is where I come in, I will shut them down real fast.

Coming Out takes courage. Coming out take bravery. Unfortunately in these days and times, Coming Out takes strength, so we, every single one of you reading this, we are going to support Christin. We are going to cheer her on when all she wants to do is hide in the corners of Facebook. We are going to show her support, we are just going to be.

Thank you Christin, thank you for being Brave.

 

 

 

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