“I now see how owning our story and loving ourselves through that process is the bravest thing that we will ever do.”
― Brené Brown.
I was sitting in the most boring math class ever, almost on the verge of passing out when I got a text from Aditi. “Hey!”, she said and the butterflies in my stomach decided to have a blast. Aditi was a new student in our class and even though I don’t believe in love at first sight, I knew I felt something the minute I saw her.
Seeing the text made me think of the confused and naïve 17-year-old me. Then, I just started suspecting if I liked girls. But, I was dating a boy, and boy did I like him. I had a million questions but didn’t know who to talk to. So like any teenager, I took to the internet – the answer to all the world’s questions. I read a lot of articles over a few weeks and all of them led me to be extremely fascinated with human psychology. I would sit for hours reading, just to understand more about how our mind works, yet my thirst for knowing more wasn’t quenched. I remember thinking to myself, ‘this is what I want to major in.’
Well, I know I am not the only child in this world whose parents did not accept their career choices. But hey, having this conversation with my parents was still extremely difficult. I lucidly remember my mom saying, “What? Do you want to do psychology? Are you even thinking straight?” “Your grades are great in computer science and math. Your mom and I think engineering is the better-suited option for you. This degree will give you a steady job and income, a way to be independent. What do you think psychology will get you?” my dad continued. I tried to reason with them for as long as I could, after which I told myself that they were never going to care.
Over the next few weeks, I looked at engineering colleges with my parents. I nodded every time they asked me a question because all the energy I had was going into making sure I did not break down. I did not know what to say to them to make them realize that all of this was making me miserable. But as a few weeks went by, I did a lot of thinking and we looked at more engineering colleges, I thought that maybe thinking that my parents were right about knowing what was best for me, accepting that I had to do engineering and that it was a better-suited career choice for me would make things a lot easier for my mental health.
I thought that things were in fact getting better, but giving up my dream had more effect on my life than I was noticing. I was in bed most of the time. My social life was a mess and my diet was unhealthy. All in all, I just found it difficult to find a reason to put a smile on my face.
But little did I know staying in bed all the time would change my life for good. As I was trying to keep myself sane, I was also extremely bored and needed a way to escape my reality, and what better way to do that than through movies and TV shows. I vividly remember binging ‘Greys Anatomy’ just to fangirl over Derek Shepperd. It was my 10th episode for the day and it was on this episode they introduced Callie Torres to the show. She just left me enchanted. This was the moment I knew I wanted to figure out being bisexual and wanted to explore more about myself and my preferences.
I knew coming out to someone who wasn’t me or the internet was going to be very hard for me. But if it was my boyfriend, I thought that he deserved to at least know this much about me. Arjun and I were together for 7 months and I thought of him as a very caring and understanding person. But the way he reacted when I told him about this shocked me. After listening to me patiently, he said “You are joking right?” I stared at him, not expecting this kind of reaction. At least from him. “Oh, so you are one of those delusional people too? You know bisexuality is just a phase. You don’t know what you’re talking about. Okay, this is it. I cannot be with someone like you.” he said and stormed out.
That one sentence broke my heart into a million pieces. At first, I was sad, and on the verge of crying, but as I went home I kept feeling better about this. I was hurt yes, but I felt unchained. It was as if a heavyweight had been lifted off of me. He reacted in the worst way possible, and deep down I knew that I was worth a lot more than such a person. I deserved better, and this gave me a chance to find better. And I was happy about that.
The sharp sound of the lunch bell pulled me out of my ‘flashback’ putting an end to the longest math class ever. I went over to Aditi’s desk with my lunch box and as I sat with her eating and cracking lame jokes, I thought to myself, “If it wasn’t for everything that happened I wouldn’t be here with her.” And that just made me smile.
Through everything that was happening, I pushed myself to do more, pushed myself to get out of bed, go out with friends, talk to more people, and always have a smile on my face. While doing this, unknowingly I grew to accept myself. I accepted that engineering was my major, I accepted that I did not fight harder for my dream, I accepted being bi, and that gave me more power than I realized. I now know that I am a lot more than someone who doesn’t understand or love me for who I am.
Even now not all days are happy, there are days when things hurt and trigger me, but I get myself through it. I stay in bed, watch a few movies, but then I pull myself together and push myself to be happy.
If you all thought this was a story about me falling in love with a guy or a girl, it wasn’t from the beginning. It was a story about me falling in love with myself. It was one hell of a journey and not something that came naturally to me or something I am good at, but it is something that I know I will cherish forever.
– Inspired by the book “Let’s talk about love” by Claire Kann