I was raised in a multi-religious household. Although my parents have both always been devote Hindus, they drilled that you can’t truly know what you are until you know everything else. The older I get, the more grateful I am for what made for some very confusing years.

The first time I was raped, I was 17. My life had not been smooth sailing prior, but I was sure of one thing, I liked men, I only liked men. The assault changed me whether I cared to recognize the facts or not.

It is very common for trauma survivors to be overwhelmingly confused about their sexuality post-assault, or become dismissive of sex altogether.

I never applied my parents logic to anything but religion, however, throughout the last 7 years, I questioned if I there were parts of me that I still did not understand.

As an Indian-American woman, I’ve always felt my sexuality was set in stone and non-negotiable. I had to have been born straight because of the color of my skin, or so I thought. So, when I found myself thinking about women as more than just friends, I was absolutely terrified.

As it was, I was already the black sheep of our Indian community, and within my family as well. I never dreamed of Ivy Leagues or a white coat ceremony. In my mind, possibly being gay would put my mom and dad on the map as the biggest failures of desi parents.

I’m 24 years old now, and a lot has changed.

My own mother, the sweet woman who always preached to question what you know, motivated me to explore my sexuality a few months ago. After quarreling with myself for weeks, I decided she was right, but I had no idea how to approach this possible life-changing experience.

Despite being a millennial, the idea of dating apps has made me uncomfortable from the start. Maybe due to assaults, or maybe because of my geriatric lifestyle. Most likely both.

I decided to dive headfirst into my fears and use dating apps to figure out my sexuality.

As an amateur, I was surprised by how many of the popular dating apps were strictly geared towards to straight population. Well, I was and I wasn’t.

I felt a bit guilty about the situation at first. These were real people’s feelings that I could possibly be messing with in my own pursuits. Because of this, after I matched with a girl, I sent a message saying, “I’m not looking for anything, except to figure out which way I’m swinging. Care to help me find out?” I purposely did not send this to men, fearing some were straight and would take this as more of a challenge, or simply sexualize the exploration.

I found that women on dating apps were much more respectful than men and genuinely attempted to carry out conversations.

My only fear I had on dates with women were if they secretly turned out to be serial killers. The same irrational fear applied to men. However, almost all the men were overly eager and seemed to have ulterior motives.

Questioning your sexuality in our judgmental society is intimidating, to say the least, but love is love and a sense of peace, along with that “ah ha” moment makes it well worth it.

Take advantage of that fact that there are a million doors right at your fingertips.

If I were to give any piece of advice, it would be to follow my parents’ footsteps. They’re not perfect, but they’re certainly onto something. Explore and do what scares you.

With that being said, the verdict’s in. I’m pansexual.