When I was younger I was always dying to be in the spotlight. I was the first born and first female born on my dad’s side in 45 years. My parents put me on stage at 2, and I never left it. I studied theatre in college and was a bartender until I had Raye. Attention was like a drug to me. I thrived on it. Then with the creation of social media I figured out how to carefully craft uplifting messages throughout the week and post them mainly to get that same high in the form of “likes” and comments.
When I got pregnant with Raye that shifted. With the heartbreak of ending my relationship with Dave I wanted to be a recluse. I didn’t want the attention anymore. I had for so long portrayed myself as a on out and proud lesbian- only to be outed as polyamorous through my pregnancy.
It’s crazy, the lesbian community hates bisexual women. They think that inevitably if you are bisexual you will leave them for a man. That you will never be satisfied with them. For so long I hid in plain sight. Dave was “my best friend” or “my ex boyfriend” to those at the bar. Even though I have a female preference if any of them caught wind that I may still be attracted to him I would never be able to find another girlfriend.
When it became public that I was pregnant (and single) I was thrown into the spotlight more than ever before. I had people looking at me with pity- that I couldn’t keep a man. I had many women outraged that I had been “living a lie”. Others were confused thinking I intentionally got pregnant through a donor alone.
Overtime though, this pity and anger turned into great admiration. I was “so strong” to do this alone. Even though- in my heart I was believing in some fallacy that maybe I’d have her and he’d realize he was wrong and we’d live happily ever after. After I had her, we were nearly local celebrities. Everyone seemed to know my story. People would stop me at dinner and say “is that baby Raye?” I had a ton of support from people I had just barely met. I worked two jobs, with an infant and always had volunteers to watch her.
When I would go out people would buy me drinks and talk about how beautiful my baby was. People I never spoke to would give me their numbers in case I needed anything. People would tell me how nice it was for me to be out because I needed a break.
Then I started dated Jake. Again, I at first, hid him in plain sight. Eventually as we became more serious people learned of him and again I was in a quick fire of questions. “So are you straight now?” “Does he know about your past?” “Are you going to marry him?” “Do you still like girls?” There was never a “How was your day?” “How have you been?” Everyone always asked things that were way too personal for bar friends. No one offered to help with Raye anymore. Now that I had Jake I didn’t need help.
When people learned I was pregnant with our daughter it was even worse. I was getting lectured about birth control. I was getting told at how lucky I was that he loved Raye. I was still getting asked about my sexuality. Once I had Reid people were suddenly judgmental if I went out, or had a beer. I should be home with my kids. I longed for small talk. I was so sick of being in the spotlight, now I just wanted to be invisible.
The social media aspect of it has changed too. If I post pictures of my kids I get over a hundred likes within an hour. My more conservative friends have come out of the woodwork. I keep getting told by family how nice it is that Jake came in my life and “changed me.” I am no longer allowed to be considered gay- or even bi. People in the poly crowds don’t consider me to be poly anymore because I haven’t dated anyone else in a while. And when I do talk about the marriage, people are confused on if I’ll be happy because I “used to be gay”.
It’s crazy. I’m no more gay or straight than I was before. I still am attracted to women. I still am a polyamorous person. The only difference is the main guy I’m with is visible, I have kids, and we are making a commitment to each to each other.
I don’t know how we can be so progressive in so many ways and so ignorant in others. I don’t know why we have to continue to judge relationships and parenting styles. I look back at all those years of dying to be visible and I now wish I could fade into the background.