This isn’t really a coming-out post since I’ve already shared my secret with most of my friends and family.
So my friend, this is a post for you – who didn’t know about pan-sexuality, you – who’s looking for validation for your feelings, you – who needs to discover yourself and a community to belong.
I’ve always felt comfortable as a girl. Maybe not in the wearing dresses or makeup sense, but as in the comfortable with my girl parts sense. I identify as female. But as a teenager I was wickedly confused when I started to have crushes on both guys and gals.
In the small group of friends I had in high school, I was told that bisexuality was bullshit – if you liked someone of the same sex then you were gay and that’s the end of it. I never questioned that since I had always dated guys. Until my first girl crush.
She was one of my best friends and I absolutely adored her. She was gorgeous and badass and I loved her taste in clothes and music and wanted to hang out with her all the time. And….I really, really wanted to kiss her.
This feeling wrecked me. So was I gay? I mean, I really liked guys too and was sexually attracted to guys. But I also day-dreamed about making out with her. Was I just confusing intense friendship for romance? Would I start to have sexual feelings for anyone that I got close to, regardless of their sex? The lines were starting to get blurry. I felt so stupid. Maybe my hormones were just out of control. Maybe I was misunderstanding affection. I didn’t have friends that were out (at the time) so I had no one to confide in.
One day I decided to fuck it all and told her that I thought she was beautiful and I was falling for her. She confessed she liked me too, in a way that more than friendship. On the night we finally kissed, it was magical. It wasn’t weird. It was thrilling and comfortable. But pretty quickly after our relationship began, it faded. She wasn’t really into it. And I was heartbroken.
For the next few years I dated a few people, messed around with a few more, all the while, still unsure of what I was. I felt like a impostor in the gay community, but I wasn’t exactly straight.
Then one day on Facebook a friend of mine posted about being Pan – loving people for who they are and what they mean to you, regardless of their gender or gender identity. It’s means being able to form a beautiful connection with someone and have that blossom into romantic relationship. I was screaming at my computer screen “This is me! This is me!”
I was in tears. There was a name for my entire history of relationships, for my feelings. I hadn’t been confused, I hadn’t been a phoney, I was Pan! I immediately headed to Google and was blessed to find countless articles all describing me. Everything finally made sense. It was so cathartic to not have to question or replay times of my life that haunted me.
I was already married to a man who identified as a man, who also knew about my past relationships and how I struggled with accepting myself. I ran to my husband and read the definition to him. “I had no idea this was a thing! I thought I was just weird for so long!” He hugged me, in the tightest hug I’ve ever had, sharing this moment of discovery with me.
I am so lucky that I was able to share such a special and tender moment with my husband, who I have always been able to share myself without any judgement. And now I know, this beautiful person I married, had he been a she, or anything in between, I would have fallen in love just the same, and it would remain the best decision I’ve ever made.
Teen Vogue explores the definition in this fantastic article, which is definitely worth a read.