Dreams are dangerous and wild things but, once captured and tamed, powerful insights to who you really are. I had the classic American dream: growing up, finding Prince Charming, getting married and living in a nice house with a white picket fence, two kids, and a dog. As I got older that dream of mine faded away until, one day, it no longer nexisted. The funny thing is, I can pinpoint that day exactly and how it changed my life.
I was a sophomore in high school and, after overcoming the stresses of my freshman year and having made a name for myself, I was quite content with who I was. I wasn’t the popular cheerleader Barbie that everyone adores, but that was OK. I was me, and I was finally beginning to accept that. Years before, elementary through junior high, I was the kind of kid that was constantly insulted and teased. High school had been a new start for me, and I was proud of it. I seemed to ooze confidence myself, and however it happened, it drew others to me that shared my same interests. In other words, I had real friends. It was the most amazing feeling in the world, to have friends, to belong! I was me, really me, and I completely belonged.
Then it happened. I was at band practice, as usual, watching the marching drill from the sidelines. I can’t remember what exactly caught my eye, but the next thing I knew I was totally entranced by the brass section. Maybe it was one of fate’s silvery threads; whatever it was, I was under its spell. Did I just see what I think I saw? Yes, yes I did! It was the weirdest thing: there was a green trumpet. Not gold, not silver, but green!
“Wow!” I thought. “That’s just awesome. I wonder what kind of person actually plays a green trumpet.” And there you have it. The day that changed my life all started with naïve curiosity. What can I say? It was so hot outside that my skin was melting into puddles on the pavement, I was absolutely bored out of my mind, and a green trumpet (and the owner of such) offered a pleasant change of pace in the monotonous tone of my day. I know, it sounds crazy, but from the first moment I saw the midday sun glint off that emerald instrument, fate’s plan had already been set in motion.
From that day forward I made it my goal to talk to this unusual trumpet’s owner; a shy girl with short red hair who, as far as I could tell, went from school to band and then home every day without talking to much of anyone. Surely there was something more, wasn’t there? After all, green trumpets aren’t exactly a dime a dozen. Little by little I made my approach to her.
“Hi, I’m Kaci,” I smiled at her one day. “That’s a cool trumpet. How’d you do it?” Not much of a conversation starter, but then again, I’m not much of a “conversator.” Plus, after weeks of planning, that lame line was the only thing I had actually come up with.
“It was dipped in this colored metal. It’s pretty interesting actually. I don’t see anything like it down here. Oh, by the way, my name’s Amanda.” Amanda! Deities be praised! My trumpet player had a name! Amanda! Great! And… now that I think about it… an accent… hmm…
“Down here?” I asked. “Where are you from?”
“Massachusetts,” she replied, “up near Boston.” (Tweet! The drum majors blew the whistle to call us back to attention.) “Hey, I gotta go, drill is fixin’ to start. Talk to ya later?”
“Sure,” I answered, grinning ear to ear. “I’ll write you a letter. See ya!” So, I met a new person. What’s so big about that? Why was I so happy? I meet new people all the time. And what was with that “I’ll write you” thing, did that sound as stupid as I think it sounded? It’s just a new friend, gosh Kaci, get over it. But this person was different, I could feel it right down to my bones.
Just from that first short conversation I knew that Amanda and I were going to be great friends. I don’t know why, just something about her “clicked” with me. She made me feel alive like nobody else did. And, keeping with my promise, I did write her. That’s where our friendship really took off. We started writing each other back and forth, two to three notes a day, and with every word that was written I could feel us getting closer and closer. We had the funniest debates at lunch that carried over into our letters. “Yankees” versus “good ol’ country boys,” Mass. versus Texas, “y’all” versus “you all,” and even taking opposite sides in the Presidential election. And, in all of the stupid things we discussed, we told each other secrets that we had never uttered before to a single soul.
It got to where writing just wasn’t enough. I mean, we’d take pages and pages up and still have more to say. So, we started to call each other and talk on the phone for hours. Either the phone would ring the minute I got inside from the bus, or I’d rush to the phone as soon as I got in the door. And if anybody thought our notes were random, our phone conversations were even worse. I remember the most unusual, and the longest, conversation that we ever had started off talking about Interview with the Vampire and ended up with us debating Catholicism. It was kind of creepy because it seemed as if all I could do was think about her. I even went to sleep at night and dreamt about her. I had never had anyone that I could talk to like this before.
Anyway, after months of getting to know each other, Amanda started to tease me, always inquiring about whether or not I was gay. It came out of nowhere, and didn’t bother me at first because she was always joking, but when she kept pestering me with the topic I started to wonder. I’d say certain things and she would just jump in and ask me about my dating preference; it was the oddest thing. One of my friends would do a stupid thing and I would say something like “but we still love you” and she would pipe up with “are you sure you aren’t gay?” I’d ask myself why she was so adamant about this subject, but I couldn’t find any reason for it, so I just blew it off. A little while later I found the answer I was looking for.
A week before Christmas break I could tell that something was weighing on her mind. She had become really snappy and more reserved than usual. It got me worried so I tried to talk to her, but every time I tried she shied away from me. I had no clue what was going on with my friend, and it was really bothering me. All of a sudden she started to get really “chummy” with everyone but me. From my point of view it seemed like she was avoiding me in particular and it really upset me. Another one of my friends, Layla, found me crying one day after lunch and asked me what was going on. I told her that I was worried about Amanda and confused because she wasn’t telling me a thing and I knew something was wrong.
“Babe,” she said to me—and I’ll never forget this—“she didn’t tell you? I thought you were like her best friend.”
“Tell me what?” I asked.
“It’s not a big deal or anything, but she’s told a few people that she’s, well, you know, bi. Maybe she was just afraid to tell you because she thought you would see her differently or something.” Bi? As in bisexual? Wait, back that up a minute, explain. I didn’t get it. What was the big problem? True, I was kind of shocked inside, but it really wasn’t a huge issue. This was the big secret she was hiding from me? This was the reason she wouldn’t look me in the eye? Didn’t she know that I was going to be her friend no matter what?
After Layla’s “confession” to me, I started to look at things differently, life differently. I had always thought that, well, bisexuality/homosexuality was an understood “taboo,” so to speak. But… Amanda? That was different; she was different. I had to think about this and piece some things together now. That’s when I started to take a good look at my life and myself.
Almost immediately I began thinking about me, and who “me” really was. I spent hours in my room after school picking my thoughts and feelings apart until I felt like I finally understood myself. And, when I thought about love, I thought that love should have no boundaries, not even gender. So, I looked deeper and deeper into my heart and found that I loved. I loved Amanda, deeply and passionately; I truly loved her. That’s all there was to it. So many different doorways she had opened up for me, so many lessons she had taught me, it was totally logical that I loved her. With many conversations and “discussions” between her and me, I came to some important conclusions about my life.
First of all, I learned that “wrong” is not always wrong for all people. Some people’s “wrong” is sometimes someone else’s “right.” True, you just can’t run out and kill somebody and say it’s right, but some people’s outlooks on dating preferences are bound to differ. And some people might think that the other people’s dating lives are wrong. It’s what that individual believes in their heart that makes his or her own moral code on the matter.
Second, maybe this whole bisexual thing wasn’t as bad as I first thought. Come to think of it, how can you ever be expected to find your true soul mate if barriers of gender stand in the way? There is an old Native American legend that when the world was created two souls lived in every body so that nobody would be lonely. And then one day a huge earthquake shook the land and the two souls were separated into different bodies. Now every lifetime the souls search the corners of the earth looking for each other so that they may be whole again. Now, what if those two souls got separated into bodies of the same gender? Should they still be kept apart and doomed to search for their other half for thousands of centuries more? I don’t think so.
In fact, that brings me to the third big conclusion I came to about my life: I was, and in fact am, bi. Once again it seemed to be the only rational explanation for everything that I felt. So, to end the awkwardness in the whole situation I came clean to Amanda, and we eventually started dating. It seemed that it was uncomfortable for a lot of my friends, our friends, at first, especially when they had never thought that a sweet innocent girl of my nature “swung that way.” But, I can honestly say that it really wasn’t the least bit uncomfortable for me. It was as natural as breathing and writing and talking and walking. For the first time in a very long while, I actually felt whole.
I guess that you can safely say that my whole outlook on my life in general changed. I saw things in a whole new light. I began to question the world around me. For so long my life had been filled with childlike hopes, dreams, and fairy tales. Now it consisted of emotions, ideas, and, yes, even heartbreak. Before, I would have longed to go back to those days of childhood, days of sweet ignorant innocence. But I now realized that children were not always innocent, and that reality was not always cruel. I used to sit back and watch the world go by, crying from my safe perch far away from reality. I used to wonder what happened to all the fairies and knights and unicorns that made everything all better. I used to wonder what happened to me and why life had to be so complicated. But now I knew. Life changes, people grow up, and sometimes you have to make your own fairies and knights and unicorns to make the world better. I learned that things aren’t always what they appear to be, and sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to find the real truth. But I think the most important lesson that I learned was that your dreams don’t always have to stay the same.
No longer was I content with sitting on the side, waiting for my prince to come and whisk me off to that classic suburban palace; maybe that prince of mine would be a princess, and maybe I didn’t have to wait. Maybe I could just take that extra step out into the world and look for what I want. And then maybe, after finding that, I could just go out and take it.
That dream of mine, this new twist, is powerful, and it does say something about me. I’d like to believe it says that I’m not afraid of being different; after all, just how boring would the world be if we were all alike? I believe that I have finally found who I am. True, my dreams have changed, but that’s OK, change is good. It’s still my dream; it’s still me. The best thing is that now I know who “me” is: an intelligent, bisexual girl with a little bit of a wild side, who stands up for what she believes and goes after what she wants. I’ve learned that white picket fences are always a good start, but sometimes you have to see the sun shine off that green trumpet to be able to look at your dreams from another perspective and truly understand yourself.