Patchwork: Bisexuality and Myth-Making

Patchwork: Bisexuality and Myth-Making


    When I was reading Paula Rust's article "Who Are We and Where Do We Go From Here?: Conceptualizing Bisexuality"*, I was struck by her observation that most people, including many bisexuals, see bisexuality as a combination of hetero- and homosexuality, rather than a distinct identity in its own right. She notes that the bisexual woman is missing "not the recognition of any particular experience, but rather a recognition of the holism of her experience." People see her relationships as either homo- or heterosexual, ignoring her experience of herself as a (complete, whole) bisexual person.

    Considering this, I want to say, Yes, I do need a holistic recognition of my experience, because I am a whole being - I am not fragmented. But then maybe I am fragmented. Maybe we all are, maybe we all go on day to day with a patchwork sexuality, cobbled together from our dreams and the differences and similarities between the lovers we have known. We all, no matter what our orientation, have many loves, many selves through our lifetime. I find that gender is not always the most salient difference - or similarity - between my lovers. So am I, as a bisexual woman, any more fragmented than anyone else? And yet I have tended to prefer being in relationships with both genders at the same time, which sounds very dualistic. I am not sure what this all means.

    Neither am I sure what it means to have a model of bisexuality, a divine model. Can such a thing exist without being, of necessity, polyamorous? I can think of a divine triad instead of a divine couple - or I could imagine a god/dess who is bisexual - Aphrodite, say - or perhaps I could imagine that all gods are bisexual, pansexual, beyond categories, that any of them might love a man or a woman or a transgendered person.

    But what is lacking from these is still the gay myths - if I understand Aphrodite to be bisexual, then I must create myths in which she is a lover of women, since there are already many which show her as a lover of men. Or if I understand all gods to be bisexual, it is the same-gender-loving stories that will remain unheard, invisible, because they have not yet been told. These are the stories which need to be written.

    And yet we - that is, queer people - are all so scared to write them. We are all so scared to write our own stories, our own myths, to become the Creator; afraid that we will not tell the stories well enough; afraid our stories will not truly express what we believe; afraid that we will unintentionally uphold stereotypes; afraid that we will truly invent something new and that everyone will tell us we are crazy; afraid that we will be seen as irrelevant/ marginal/ radical/ uncompromising/ threatening/ too different; and most of all afraid that no one really wants to hear our stories.

    Each of us knows, knows in our head, what kind of spirituality we are looking for, what kind of myths we want to write, what kind of truths we want our stories to embody; this comes to us from our politics, or from our learning, or from our consideration of the world and the people around us. But myths come from the heart and not simply the head.

    And what if the heart is a patchwork thing, how then can we create a myth of whole cloth, a seamless myth?

    Maybe it is a patchwork myth we are looking for. Maybe the patches of the myth come from each of us, from our imaginations, different colors and shapes and textures, each one a whole myth in itself but also a fragment of the larger myth. Maybe when I say "we" I am referring to dreamers of all orientations and all sexualities; maybe our sexuality is not the most important part of the myth we are piecing together.

    I do not know yet what it may look like. I do not know that it will ever be completed. But I am struggling to begin. I am beginning with myself.



*Paula Rust's article is found in Closer to Home: Bisexuality and Feminism, an excellent anthology edited by Elizabeth Reba Weise.

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