I have always known what shape I wanted my life to take, but I didn’t always know what it was called. Like a hazy view of the distance that’s slowly coming into focus as you move closer. Sometimes I knew it because I was clear about what I wanted, but other times I knew it purely because I knew what I didn’t want.
The things I knew for certain were that a) I was a woman, despite the number of ways that I was told I didn’t fit perfectly into the box labelled ‘woman’, and b) I knew I was attracted to people who aren’t men. The latter took a bit of figuring out to find a label that worked for me and the confidence to use it, but I never felt pressured and the journey was fun. I also knew I was not interested in the life path I saw most often all around me and on television/in movies; one partner exclusively, moving to the suburbs, and having kids.
My 20s saw a lot of questioning as, in the late 1990s and early 2000s, all around me I saw ‘women’ defined solely as gossiping creatures who liked make-up and shopping, and wanted without any shadow of a doubt to be a mother. I sat there, with my subscription to Auto Express, photography hobby and complete disinterest in procreating, confused and wondering how I fitted into all this. There were not many ways to be a woman at the time. Or, at least, not many that were shown to me.
As I got older, I realised that being a feminist was not incompatible with some of the more traditionally feminine things I had loved while growing up, so I embraced them rather than running away. I found my personal style, learnt how to use make-up, and realised the power of the queer femme who reclaims things that mainstream society tells us are ‘superficial’, ‘pointless’ and ‘weak. I have also realised that, despite the inevitable dirty looks if I walked into a queer space with a partner who’s a different gender to me, being attracted to men doesn’t make me a bad bisexual.
I know what I want, and it’s not what I’ve been told I should want. I’ve found my own path and I really hope that you have too. Assume nothing, question everything; do what’s right for you.