For a lot of people, the moment they discover that they’re not as straight as they believed themselves to be, it can be one hell of an “Oh, shit!” moment and that, as an understatement of sorts, can be a motherfucker to process and I had always wondered why so many people would react as if they looked in a mirror and saw that they now sported a third eye or something, just as I’ve thought that this moment can be attributed to a kind of disconnect in our thinking.
We know, even generally, that not everyone is straight and have our own thoughts about this, from “Who cares as long as that person is happy?” to “What’s wrong with these deviant heathens?” Most people are pretty damned sure that while there are people who find they’re not so straight, they’re not ever going to be one of them…
Right up to them having an “Oh, shit!” moment of their own. That they’re having one really isn’t unusual, believe it or not, but it can be such a shock to one’s system that the first reaction is usually panic, followed by a gazillion internal questions asking themselves just what the hell is wrong with them – or what’s gotten fucked up in their life – that they’re feeling and/or thinking this way.
The thought of this clashes heavily against our social programming, part of which says, basically, “Thou shalt be straight – no exceptions, no excuses!” and because of this social programming, it’s the reason why a lot of people look at those who aren’t straight kinda funny but even while acknowledging that, okay, if that’s what floats your boat, it ain’t got shit to do with me because I’d never do some shit like that and there’s no reason for me to even consider it.
Knock, knock, Neo – the Matrix has you. Some people say they don’t think about this at all and without realizing that if you’re not thinking about it as a thing to do – or in any other context – um, you’re actually thinking about it albeit in terms of what you’re not of a mind to get into. One of my favorite discussions are those that go along the lines of someone saying, “I don’t think I’d like that!” and my asking them, “Okay, but how do you know you wouldn’t like it?” The resulting discussion gets interesting when people start finding analogies that go along the lines of all those things that one doesn’t really have to do in order know they wouldn’t like doing it, oh, like those folks who think that eating sushi is gross and because sushi is just raw fish.
You can prove to them that, nope, sushi isn’t “just raw fish” and sushi, as a cultural food item, isn’t really about the fish (or whatever) – it’s about the rice – and many items that accompany the rice are, in fact, cooked and that the California roll, as a sort of classic example, doesn’t have anything raw in it except some veggies.
The “Oh, shit” moment can get really bad because some of us just don’t ever think that something like this could happen to us…. which, of course, is in complete opposition to how we know we feel. It’s the moment that causes great confusion and many often say that, as far as they know, they have no reason to be thinking and/or feeling the way they are.
So… how does one cope with this moment? First, don’t panic; you might think there’s something wrong with you but there really isn’t. Next, don’t make that moment worse for yourself by thinking about what, if anything, you gotta do about this – that’s kinda putting the cart before the horse. Likewise, don’t pile more grief onto yourself by wondering what other people are gonna think about you in this because, in that moment of discovery, uh, the only person who knows it is… you.
You see, the “Oh, shit!” moment is an emotional reaction and what makes getting through this moment so difficult for many people is that one needs to think intelligently about this – and intelligence/logic does not do well against strong emotional responses – ever. So, at first, just try to stay calm because, again, nothing is happening to you that hasn’t happened to a whole lot of people over the existence of the human race.
What’s the reason for this… change? Honestly, it could be anything and if there’s a “good” thing about this, it’s that a lot of people can actually find a reason for this change in their thoughts and feelings – if they can chill out enough to let their intelligence work the “problem” and not let their emotions run around like their hair is on fire. That reason isn’t always easy to find and the one that cannot be so easily explained is that, er, um, not being straight is just in our DNA – it’s just how we can be and a “trait” that’s been “programmed” into us over the course of our evolution as a species.
At this point, I like to mention a classic science experiment done many years ago where some researches taught flatworms a trick – and that couldn’t have been easy – and one that flatworm “mastered” the trick, they cut the poor thing up and fed it to other flatworms… who then learned the trick the original flatworm was taught going forward through their flatworm evolution.
See, gay folks kinda/sorta had it right when they say they were born this way… because we all are. Social programming seeks to inhibit this behavior and while many gay folks say they have no choice in the matter, well, sorry, but they’re mistaken because one must always choose to do… or do not. Many people actually do feel the pull toward not being straight and choose to do not and mostly because we’re taught not to behave like this – that social programming thing again.
A lot of the panicky feelings get dealt with once a person realizes that, duh, they’re not the only one who has felt like this and that realization comes home to roost when a person “simply” remembers that, oh, yeah, there are a lot of people who aren’t straight. Yeah, some people remember this but their minds have convinced them that despite knowing this, this is just impossible for them to be feeling/thinking these things… and that includes denying that this is exactly what they’re doing.
The psychology is utterly fascinating – and is at the root of the whole “being in denial” thing you may be aware of; the reality of life often severely clashes with our perception of self and that which we believe – or don’t believe.
So instead of running around inside your head like the proverbial headless chicken, try to stay calm so you can think this out. Try not to keep telling yourself this can’t be happening because, duh, it is happening and, importantly, just because you’re having this “Oh, shit!” moment doesn’t mean you have to do something about it. You just might feel that need to do something but, again, choice plays into this more than some care to admit but while you can find a million reasons not to do something, that doesn’t make the feeling go away; at that point, it can be difficult to not let this dominate your thinking.
The hardest part is acceptance – this is how you feel, what you’re thinking and if there’s a reason for this, you’ll eventually become aware of it and a lo to those “usual” reasons can be found in many of the scribbles I’ve scribbled about being bisexual. Many people cope by understanding that while getting into this just might have merit or is otherwise interesting, there are a lot of reasons why they can’t – or shouldn’t – do anything about what they’re feeling/thinking and, honestly, a lot of people find themselves all fucked up in the head because they’re thinking about doing as well as worrying about what others will think about them and more so since it’s well-known what most people think about those who aren’t all that straight and, yes, even if it’s just in their thoughts.
It’s one of the life experience things that teaches that thinking and doing aren’t the same things despite our belief that if you’re thinking about something, that has to mean you plan on doing it. It’s that moment in someone’s life where I always suggest that one thinks first before giving into the compulsion to act, which, admittedly, is pretty damned powerful.
So think first… then act if you must… or if you can. If you can’t, don’t worry about it; there are a lot of people who are very bisexual and not of a mind to do a damned thing about it, not because they can’t but because they’re just comfortable knowing that they can find men and women attractive and even sexually alluring.
Doing is a whole different thing but I’ve found that until a person can comes to grips with their new-found thoughts and feelings – this is just how I’m thinking and feeling – that “Oh, shit!” moment can go very badly for a lot of folks to learn that, well, this is how they’re feeling and what they’re thinking and, again, more so because we’re taught to never think and/or feel about not being heterosexual.
All of this sounds easy – and I’m the guy who will be very real with you and tell you that it isn’t… but, yeah, some people actually do just take it in stride and these thoughts and feelings are just an “intellectual exercise” for them. It can help to be able to talk with someone about this – and that’s not all that easy to do but, thanks to the Internet, there are all kinds of sites (and maybe even there’s a app for this) where one can talk to other people who are having their own “Oh, shit!” moment and working toward coping with it.
If you’re able to talk to someone else about it, that’s a good thing but if not, let your intelligence run things and try not to allow your emotions to make you insane over this.
In this, know that you’re not as alone as you might feel; you’re not weird – well, perhaps, no weirder than you normally tend to be – you’re just experiencing something that, until this moment, you never thought – or had reason to think – would be something you’d find yourself dealing with. You can deal with this and how well you do depends on how determined you are to settle it all down in your head and really understanding that doing is optional – you really do have a choice in the matter and if it’s determined not to be in your best interest to do, then don’t.
Maybe all of this helps or explains things, maybe I’ve not done a good job at explaining something that isn’t always easy to explain; as always, I’m just the guy who will bring stuff like this into the light and tells you that having an “Oh, shit!” moment can happen… or not but if it does, just don’t panic. It may not feel “normal” but the fact that there are literally billions of people who aren’t exactly straight in thought and/or in deed should tell you that it’s a lot more “normal” than you think it is.
And what are the odds that these billions of not-so-straight people are actually wrong? Give that some thought, if you’re of a mind to and maybe all of this will make better sense and even more so when you approach this moment intelligently and not making yourself nuts playing the “what if” game with yourself or otherwise thinking that you’re not as human as everyone else on the planet is.