Loneliness and Bisexuality
Image Artist: Kinuko Craft
This is how the journey goes for me: loneliness, isolation and desperation. It happens in that order, although it should never have to happen at all. As a bisexual person of colour, my chances for socialising are not that high. Racism, biphobia and misogynoir is an awfully powerful mixture to deal with. I cannot separate myself into palatable pieces others find easier to digest. I cannot and should not even be thinking of myself like that. This is the first part of the journey. I start to make compromises; hell we al do in some ways. But for bisexual people, we compromise when we hide parts of ourselves – our sexual orientation from others just to feel closer,to feel accepted and less of a freak. That trick may work for a while, but to have any kind of self respect means that sooner or later, it will become a stone in our mouth. The truth will out, and even if it only comes out to ourselves, it will still feel like a betrayal.
I am a social person; as much as I need time alone, I still want to be with others. Spending half my life with an immediate family whose numbers were more than twenty people, doesn’t make it easy for me to cook for one, to talk to no one, to always be alone. Rejection is a thing I’ve known; from my abusive family, from lesbians and gays, and white bisexuals too. Loneliness is a thing I’ve had to deal with for so long. Loneliness isn’t just the absence of others, but for me, it’s the thing that leads to isolation and desperation. Loneliness is me sitting in a gay bar and feeling like I have the word ‘Bisexual’ stamped on my forehead, as folks ignore me. Loneliness is me having no reflection of my life when I look in the Voice newspaper, or Ebony and Essence magazine.
Isolation is a structural result of biphobia, racism and misogynoir in LGBT and straight communities. It is a process that makes me actively alone. Isolation silences and squashes my attempts to be a member of communities where I could belong. Now don’t get me wrong – I give a lot of talks on bisexuality, mental health and racism. I write a lot of blog posts, articles and pieces too. But as soon as I switch off my computer, I disappear. When I end my talk, I become an unwanted guest in someone else’s space. Isolation gives more power to biphobia, racism and misogynoir that is directed at me constantly. Isolation is LGBT events that are too expensive for me to ever afford to attend. Isolation is having community events in pubs, when I sometimes cannot bear to be around alcohol or drunk people. The feeling that I will be alone forever is what makes isolation so cruel; it takes away any vision of a future I may have dreamed of, and leaves nothing but silence in its wake.
Desperation is the cold side of the bed when my abusive ex-boyfriend finally left. Desperation is the fact that I stayed with him so long, despite the fact that he said I was no better than a whore. The loss of self respect; the journey I’d been on since loneliness became my partner, led me to that place. There are worse things than being alone – I know that, but I am ashamed at what loneliness and isolation has made me do. I’m not making excuses either. I know that isolation is a tactic many abusive people use to separate their victims from possible sources of help and support. But when I face so any types of oppression on a daily basis, I am often afraid to face the alternatives of an empty room, an empty bed and an empty life.
Another tactic abusive people use is to make you feel grateful for any crumbs of affection and attention they toss your way. It is not easy for me to write this, but I have been there, scrabbling around on the floor, searching for anything to feed my starving heart, even when I knew there was a high probability it would only men a boot on my back. Loneliness, isolation and desperation are weapons in the wrong hands. There is no need for these states to be mis-used, but so often I find that they are. When I exist as an already marginalised person, unwilling to be accepted by the communities I could be part of, I am at risk of being treated poorly. The stone in my mouth; the silence in my home; the distance I have travelled on this journey, are all symptoms of how broken this society is. This is the world where women are devalued, racism is excused, nonbinary folks are ignored and bisexuals are never believed to even exist. This is my world and I am a part of it, clinging to the edge of the flattened globe, trying not to tumble into the dark unknown as I make my way to something more. Something better.