I am the Human Experience
I am a Jamaican- Canadian, feminist, spiritual, daughter, bi, friend, niece, cousin, sister, volunteer, U of T Alumni, introvert, thinker, dreamer, learner, plus much more, but first and foremost, I am a human being.
At the outset, I was placed under a label, that of disabled. I was born premature (about 6 months) with many complications; thus remaining in the hospital for 8 months after birth and undergoing many operations before the age of one. There were many “CAN’T” placed onto me in the beginning, such as “She will not speak or walk.” However, I proved the doctors wrong and began speaking and walking (albeit later than usual). But I did it! I believe that I made it through because of all the people in my life that remained by my side especially my mother. She has been my rock from day one.
My mother always encouraged me to do my best no matter the obstacles facing me. These words of wisdom did not work too well in my favour because I then became sort of a perfectionist, which I think can be an amazing trait but also problematic. I always wanted things to be perfect and when they weren’t I became frustrated and anxiety began. Thus, as a young child I grew up believing that, like most cis- gendered females, I would become attracted to a cis- gendered male and that was how life was supposed to plan out. Yet, the moment I began to question my sexuality I realized: 1) life doesn’t always turn out the way you plan, and 2) the act of being unsure is problematic and not perfect.
I began to question my sexuality during high school. I did not date throughout this period, but I did conform to the norm. The norm being what I noticed around me which was females and males were attracted to each other. I of course knew about lesbian and gay, but I had no friends or family members that exhibited one of many amazing intimate partnerships. It wasn’t until my final year of high school that I began a long-distance relationship with a guy and after a year of arguments and apologies he ended the relationship. After that, I like many other women after a break-up, vowed that I was finished with men and decided to focus on myself. As this point, I had begun the rigorous university life, but also began socializing at gay clubs with a close friend ( I also attended my first PRIDE TORONTO event). I enjoyed the clubs because I was able to dance without being harassed by men, and the atmosphere. This was when I realized that enjoyed being around women and felt an attraction. I began to ponder the possibility of whether I was only attracted to women because I was not finding any men attractive. Yet, I would deny myself these feelings and thought because of not wanting to be seen as a disgrace within my family. Thus, I began forcing myself to only be attracted to men because I would lose important people in my life. After a few months, my attitude began to change slightly and I decided not to identify under a label. Were labels really that important anyway? Although I was label free, I would hear comments from family members about the LGBTQ community that were not always positive, and wondered whether I could in fact live my life that way I wanted. At this point, I guess I was a coward and scared. Later on in my final year of university I dated another male but realized once we broke up that I was only craving for comfort of another person rather than actually being attracted to him. Once that ended, I reverted back to being label free and realized that I actually hated them. Personally, I believe that labels are for t-shirts not people. I love all people not matter race, religion, sex, or gender (or none gender) and I really wish that we could all love each other without judgement.
There are many labels – some that are more visible than other- which I automatically get boxed into. Heterosexuality is one of them. Note, I have had the chance to be in a relationship with a female, YET ! So can someone identify as bi without experiencing a relationship or hook-up with another woman? My answer is yes, because I experience the same physiological response to women as I do to men (ones I find attractive of course). I “pass” as how society perceives heterosexuality, but I tend to keep my personal dating life private. However, at this point in my life if asked in a respectful manner I will be obliged to share.
At the young age of 23, I live in the moment, believe that sexuality is fluid, attracted to men and women, but have only dated men. In our current world there are better things to worry about rather than who an individual chooses to become intimate with. As humans we are automatically labelled and judged the moment we are born. With all the labels forced onto me, at the end of the day I am a human being that is filled with love and compassion for others. Love is amazing and as humans we should all be able to love whoever we desire. I posit that we ask insightful questions that provoke insightful answers, and that we ASK QUESTIONS rather than ASSUME. This is my human experience thus far, life is unpredictable so let’s live life to the fullest and stop discriminating against our own kind.
What is The Human Experience? It is the validity in your story and the story of 7,000,000,000 other people in this world. How do you put a label on being human? You don’t. You open your heart and listen. This is the foundation of our publication,The Human Experience, and we want to hear your story. Join us in spreading the diversity of the human experience with the world by sharing your story. Find out how to share your story with the world.