By Andrea Ortiz Ortega
Graphic via Jennifer Xia of Voices of Gen-Z
If searched up on Google, sexuality is defined as, “a person's identity in relation to the gender or genders to which they are typically attracted; sexual orientation,” but I think this is an oversimplification. This definition does not take into account people's individual experiences and- most importantly- how fluid and ever-changing sexuality really is. My personal experiences with sexuality have been a bit of a rollercoaster, but they have given me a lot of insight that can help others with similar situations or those who are just beginning to become curious.
I have been thinking about my sexuality ever since I was very young, even if I didn’t realize it at the time, and I will probably be thinking about it until I die. From a young age, I knew I had an attraction to girls, but my lack of knowledge and exposure led me to believe that I was just your normal eight year old with normal feelings towards people of my same sex. Even as I grew older, I was very adamant about the fact that I was straight. I convinced myself that girls were just pretty and I was attracted to the masculinity of a man. All of those ideas were very detrimental to my self-esteem and caused me to not want to outwardly express my feelings towards anything, which is something I still struggle with.
After 16 years of life, quarantine rolled around, and that is when my real journey began. I had started to become more curious about everything. I researched politics, the environment, even witchcraft, and of course, almost anything and everything there is to know about sexuality, gender identity, and gender expression. Around this time, I had gotten closer with some friends I didn’t really talk to before, and I am glad to call them some of my closest friends now. Their confidence in themselves paired with the knowledge I had just gained about sexuality and identity caused me to rethink all of my previous takes on my sexuality.
At this point, my story is sounding like that of a movie, where everything is resolved and I live happily ever after with the holy grail of knowledge- a newfound, perfect understanding of my sexuality. However, that idealization is far from the truth. About nine months of quarantine have passed, and I am nowhere near knowing my sexuality. That is why I wanted to share my story in hopes of helping others who face similar uncertainties. After this time of self-discovery and all the other fun and confusing experiences that come with it, I decided to not put a label on myself and my sexuality. I did this because I knew about sexuality’s fluidity and because I did not want to restrict myself to a label. A lot of people I know have hopped from label to label, and that is completely fine and normal. But knowing myself, hopping from label to label would cause me to have a literal identity crisis.
There are multiple reasons why I told you my story. I wanted to show you, who might have had a similar experience to me, that you are not alone. I wanted to put it out there that you can choose to not label yourself, whether it be because you aren’t sure who you are or are not attracted to, because no labels really seem to fit you, or because of any other reason in between. You are still valid and you deserve the respect that everyone else gets. Most importantly, I wanted to convey that you don’t owe anyone a “perfect” answer when it comes to the question of sexuality.
As I mentioned before, sexuality is not like math, in which there is always an answer that will never change. Sexuality is ever-changing and it is rare to know what it is and have that answer serve you for the rest of your life. I hope that whoever is reading this realizes how truly daunting of a task it is to have to go out of your way to try and figure out who you are, knowing that there might never be a true answer. Finally, if you are going through something even remotely similar to what I have been going through, know that you are strong and that with any conclusion you come to, or even if you don’t come to one at all, you are valid and human and normal in every way, shape, and form.
Written by writer Andrea Ortiz Ortega