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.
Continue reading “My Bisexual Experience With Loneliness”