My Bisexual Experience With Loneliness

By now, I feel like everyone’s written some hot takes about the autobiographical manga, My Lesbian Experience With Loneliness. I’m a little late to the party. You would think that, me being me, I would have hopped right on that train, but alas, money was tight and time was short, so it took me a while to finally buy the manga and read it. But now, I’ve finally finished it! And, as I expected, I loved it and found it to be very poignant, relatable, and even inspiring. Although, not exactly in the ways I expected.

I had seen scans of pages from the manga that dealt with Nagata Kabi’s accounts of her experiences with mental illness, as well as plenty of people marveling over how the story was about “more than just being a lesbian” (as if it’s somehow shocking that queer people have experiences outside of their sexuality…), so I wasn’t going in blind or anything. Still, I was really, really shocked to find that most of the things that struck me deepest about the manga involved family, self-perception, and creating meaningful art.

Part of the reason I didn’t fully relate to the more literal themes involving sexuality is probably because Kabi’s first lesbian encounter is…unique, we’ll say. After barely thinking about sex for the first twenty-eight years of her life, Kabi realizes that, hey, she likes girls, and decides to sign up for a lesbian escort service. The story is, of course, far more nuanced than that, but the point I’m trying to make is that I cannot relate to her actual, tangible experience at all. I knew I liked girls since I was about eleven and panicked about it for like, eight years – it certainly didn’t take me as long to come to those conclusions as it did for her. Oh, and I never rented out an escort, either.

This isn’t to say I disliked the uniqueness of her experience – it was refreshing to hear an account regarding female/queer sexuality that isn’t focused around coming out of the closet or high school. I was just surprised by how different our experiences really were. And yet, despite the fact that our journeys to self-discovery were wildly different, I found a lot that resonated with me.

sweet idk why im naming them all this

What I really ended up relating to was that constant pull of disappointing your family. I’ve always, always, always thought in those terms. I don’t even know why – my parents aren’t overbearing, are far from being conservative or pushy, and any relatives who would disapprove of me being me are relatives that I don’t even particularly care about. Kabi’s worries about her parents went beyond just her sexuality – she wanted to have the right job, the right lifestyle, the right everything to impress them. I didn’t realize until I read My Lesbian Experience, but I had been thinking in those terms a lot, too. I’ve always wanted to do something with art and with writing, but worry that if I put anything out that is too personal or too explicit, it will disappoint my parents. Clearly, Kabi got over this fear since she put out a literal book about all of her feelings and about having sex with a lesbian escort. If she can show the world her innermost thoughts about lowkey thinking her mother is hot, than I can put anything I want to put out there and not worry, too, dammit!

sweet

I generally related to the manga’s theme of placing weird expectations on yourself based on what you think others want, especially in terms of sexuality. Before Kabi meets with the escort, she worries about how she looks and what other women like in other women. She gets wrapped up in what she thinks other people want from her again.
I’m guilty of this, too. For a long time, I had this idea in my head that I was only “allowed” to like girls if I was “hot” enough. As in, only if I dressed a certain way, was skinny enough, was girly enough, etc. It’s like, I had this weird need to make sure guys would think my brand of gay was appealing, and I wanted straight girls to see me and think, “wow, I would have never guessed you liked girls! We still like you and accept you, because you’re gay but not, like, THAT gay.”
Of course, it turned out I wasn’t really “gay” after all, but I didn’t really know bisexual was an option at the time, and even though I was still attracted to men, I only thought about girls growing up because I was constantly in a panic about liking them. This made me think I only liked girls since all I ever thought about…was being scared of liking girls.
I’m not really sure what snapped me out of my gay crisis. For Kabi, it was a need to free herself from the shackles of her own perceptions of what she thought others wanted from her, and who she thought she “needed” to be. For me, I think it was just that I always had a secret bet with myself – that if I made it through high school, I HAD to come out. As I saw it, graduation was the prime time to do it, since a) it signified the end of my childhood and I wanted to enter adulthood with a clear head, b) it’s how they did it in the few movies/TV shows about gay teens I had seen, and c) I wouldn’t have to see any of the homophobic little shits every day in class after I did it. So, I came out, even though I wasn’t really ready. It just felt like I was supposed to be, for some reason. Again, it was this weird expectation I had placed on myself based on what I thought other people would want.
sweet nectar
I guess, at the end of the day, this manga mostly just inspired me to put these things out there. I’ve been pretty open about my bisexuality for a while now, but there’s still a lot of aspects of it I never really shared. There’s a lot of aspects of my life I’ve barely even shared with…myself, in a way. Thoughts I still feel like I’m not allowed to have, memories I still haven’t revisited, feelings I have that I still don’t understand. The absolute vulnerability of this manga made me feel like these leftover pieces of myself weren’t so scary and forbidden after all – one day, I’ll be ready for them, and if I’m lucky enough, I’ll be able to explore them along with other people through writing or art just like Kabi did. I want the sweet nectar of knowing I turned my insecurities & deepest feelings into something that resonates with others, too! And now, I think I might be able to get it some day, after all.
sweeeeet nectar

17 thoughts on “My Bisexual Experience With Loneliness

  1. Great article. I still haven’t read this myself yet, though it’s of my list. It is nice to see a story that isn’t a coming out tale or romance set in high school though. I get why they’re needed, but stories where the characters hi beyond those topics are too. Part of that comes down to why I write my own LGBT characters as having already come out; I came out years ago and want to read stories with people that are the same, and I’m certain that others feel the same way.
    Would you say this is an easy recommend and do you know any other titles (not just in manga) that fit a similar mold!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much! The manga itself is a pretty quick read, but it does deal with some heavy issues since it has bits about the author’s experiences growing up with an eating disorder/self-harming. Somehow it doesn’t really *feel* heavy when reading it, though, since everything is so candid, so it’s still easy to recommend. To be honest, I feel like I’ve mostly only read stories that end up being about LGBT teens, but I do know of a graphic novel series about two women who also engage in BDSM that I’ve been meaning to read. It’s called Sunstone and The Backloggers blog wrote about it a while ago and made me want to check it out!

      Liked by 2 people

          1. If you come across anything note worthy, is well worth posting about too. Finding stuff that varies from the normal tropes can be quite difficult. There’s nothing wrong with your heavy stuff of course, but it’s nice to find other stuff too.

            Liked by 1 person

  2. I haven’t read this yet (really should already), but I just love your review! Openly personal reviews are honestly the best kind out there. One review that covers two compelling stories. ☺

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much! I’m glad it’s going over well since I realized halfway through writing it that I wasn’t really reviewing so much as talking about myself. I was afraid that would end up flopping it haha

      Liked by 1 person

      1. That is hardly an issue! Blog posts are all about people’s reaction to a series, and to be honest, I often enjoy reading about a blogger more than a series itself (I can read/watch a series myself if I really want to, right?). Keep it up~ 😊

        Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply to A Nerdy Perspective Cancel reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s