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“Dang, he’s cute.”

“My ideal man is wholesome.”

“I want a boyfriend.”

These statements all roll off my tongue, instinctively and effortlessly. Makes sense because they’re all true—just not the full truth. Yes, this man is objectively cute with a capital “C”…but so is that woman. Yes, I would like to date a man who is generous and thoughtful…but these qualities would also be reflected in my ideal woman. And yes, I’m single as fuck so I would like to be cuffed…men are acceptable, but women are most certainly preferable.

I have lived my life shielded by half-truths like these, assertions about myself that are technically not lies if we’re going with the dictionary definition, but tread into that territory by omission. I tell myself to not feel guilty, that the portrait I have painted of myself is still factual; I’ve just “forgotten” to paint some extra strokes—people are none the wiser, so what’s the big deal?

“Every time I deliberately decline to complete my truth, it’s an admittance to myself that I’m afraid…”

Ultimately though, it is a big deal because deep down, I know it’s not a mistake; it’s a conscious choice. Every time I deliberately decline to complete my truth, it’s an admittance to myself that I’m afraid, that I’m embarrassed, and that I want to avoid these unsavory emotions at all costs, even if it means type-casting myself as a purely hetero girl until it’s a reflex. Even with my closest friends who I’ve managed to confess to, I still default towards heteronormativity—always talking about the men in my love life but seldom the women. When I do try to fill in the gaps, the words get stuck in my throat, struggling to escape and more often than not, I swallow them, so that I can continue to hide within the comforting embrace of heteronormativity.

I give myself countless excuses to rationalize existing through half-truths, and by far the loudest argument is why should I feel the need to externally express my queerness if I have internally accepted that this is who I am? However, the fact that I’m having this internal debate in itself is indicative that despite all my half-truths, I have been lying to myself, even if I haven’t been explicitly lying to those around me. I’m tired of living like that though—it’s time for me to freely live my full truth. 

Bridget Ma is a college student based in Seattle, WA who occasionally dabbles in the creative endeavors. Currently, she is passionate about design and learning how to longboard. Instagram: @manameisbridget

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A zine for young people, by young people.

HopeIRL is a project of Hopelab, a nonprofit social innovation lab based in San Francisco that works with young people to co-create tech products that improve health and happiness. 

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