I will never forget watching Titanic in the theatre. I was seven, and like every girl in the 90s, I was obsessed with Leo.
But when I saw Kate Winslet on the screen, my heart started doing flips, too.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realised my love for practically everyone.
I grew up in a conservative Catholic household.
I remember feeling guilt for swearing in my head and that members of the church left for their sexualities.
None of it made sense to me because if God created them, why wouldn’t we love them?
I also thought, if he didn’t love them, I definitely needed to put those thoughts of girls away.
I did put those thoughts away, despite my crushes and fantasies.
I began my first gay relationship at 20 years old.
Until then, I had been in relationships with men, and the idea of dating a woman was still being pushed down.
I had kept in contact with a friend from middle school through Facebook.
She had been out for a while, and I began to develop a crush on her.
A part of me thought, “Oh, I shouldn’t. Just keep dating guys,” but a bigger part of me decided to go for it.
We dated for two years, and she was an incredible partner.
Our relationship was still met with friction.
My mom was constantly calling me a ‘dyke’, and many people started labelling me a lesbian.
I knew that I wasn’t a lesbian. That label didn’t feel right, despite the immense love and respect I had for my girlfriend.
I felt like a walking paradox because I was still introducing her as my ‘friend’.
I felt trapped in this web of figuring out my identity, which left me miserable.
I wanted to fit the standards of others as well as staying true to me. I failed.
After she and I broke up, I didn’t date anyone for two years.
I figured that being single would bring more clarity to my sexuality.
I also wanted to be alone and find out who I was.
After a while, I realised that I wanted to be in a relationship.
I joined a dating website and put bisexual as my sexual orientation, which brought me into a world where straight couples wanted a third, a ‘toy’.
I know that kind of dynamic works for a lot of people, which is amazing, but I didn’t want that.
I eventually found my next ex, a man.
Before he and I got into a relationship, I was beginning to feel excited.
Maybe I wasn’t really into girls. Maybe everyone was right: it was a phase! My mom wouldn’t call me a dyke anymore!
It was going to be perfect.
It wasn’t perfect.
He kept bringing up the idea of me not being gay anymore. That I didn’t have to be with anyone else.
Reflecting now, many years later, I recognise it as abuse and am glad that I didn’t stick around.
After all these sad relationship stories, don’t feel sorry for me.
I now know my worth and that I’m bigger than any label someone assigns me.
I know that I’m attracted to people ranging from Marilyn Monroe to Frank N Furter.
There’s nothing wrong with me. I’m going to keep loving whoever I want.
I’m always going to be pansexual.