I Did Not Choose To Be This Way
My first heterosexual feelings dawned on me when I was ten years old. I had a crush on literally the boy next door. His name was Chris, and he was in the same grade as me. My older brother was friends with him, and when he would go over to Chris's house to shoot hoops with him in the driveway, sometimes I would come by just to "bug" them. We also carpooled with him along with a number of other neighborhood kids, and Chris would make it a point loudly to call me "worm" and "slime ball" as he sat in the back seat with my brother and laughed. I guess he must have liked me too.
The following year in my junior high school yearbook, he wrote,
Its been a bummer having you arround. Sometimes when the fog rolls in I get the smell that your arround.
A pretty typical romance between two ten year-olds, I suppose. Looking back, what stands out most in my memory of those days was the effort I had put into hiding my feelings for him, trying to disguise them from others and even refusing to admit them to myself for a long time.
There was really nothing to be ashamed of. I was a girl who liked a boy, and he seemed to like me back. What's more, I knew that all the other girls thought he was cute, so there was nothing wrong with my choice. What troubled me, I think, was the way these feelings had taken me by surprise. They sort of crept up on me when I wasn't looking, and by the time they became so full-blown that Chris and I were hurling abuse at each other on a regular basis, it was too late to do anything about it.
In other words, the feelings seemed completely out of my control. For a person like myself who dislikes being out of control, it was bewildering and downright scary how they just invited themselves into my heart without my permission, and then refused to go away.
I have read many stories that sound just like mine, about a person's first crush in elementary school and the dawning of the strange feelings that come with it, except the stories I have read were about the dawning of homosexual feelings, the moment when a person first felt attracted to someone else of the same gender. This made me wonder, what makes the difference between the heterosexual and the homosexual experience at this period of a person's life? Why is one person's feelings directed toward someone of the opposite sex and another person's feelings toward someone of the same sex?
Frankly, I haven't the slightest idea. I don't embrace the theory that people are simply born one way or the other, but I don't believe homosexuality is a matter of mere choice either. This is partly because I know I didn't choose to be the way I am. I don't view my heterosexuality as some grand moral achievement. At the age of ten, I never contemplated my physical make-up in light of its procreative end, so as to strive to fulfill my God-ordained destiny. In fact, I had very little notion of God back then, since I did not grow up in the church. My heterosexuality is something I can honestly take no credit for, because as far as I am concerned, it just happened to me.
Posted on November 19, 2000
© 2000, 2004 by Misty S. Irons