Thursday, August 1, 2013

Out

I have made a decision. I am going to stop hiding the person I am, the choices I make, and the beliefs I hold dear. I have hidden these things as a result of fear. I still feel that fear. I am terrified of losing friends. Clients. Family members. I am afraid of being personally attacked (and I don't just mean verbally). I fear being singled out, denied my rights and safety, hunted down and abused for things over which I have little or no control.

But I will no longer lie about them or keep them to myself.

Today, I blend my business and my identities. Today, I "come out."

I am polyamorous. This means I have multiple committed, loving relationships simultaneously. It also means that, sometimes, in addition to those, I have casual relationships (these can, of course, turn into committed ones). Right now I am dating two men, both of whom I have been with for about a year and a half. I love them both deeply and cannot imagine my life without either. They both have other partners as well. I have written fairly extensively about polyamory in this blog, so if this post is your introduction to it, please feel free to peruse my old entries. I hope they will be informative and enjoyable.

I am bisexual. I don't know when I realized I was attracted to women, but in retrospect I have always felt things for women that I couldn't describe properly. I have dated only one woman, and then only casually, but I quite enjoyed it and I hope to do it more in the future (with her or with others, or both). I have been repeatedly rejected by women who refused to date "newbies," which I still do not understand. I have also been solicited by a number of couples who wanted to be able to fuck the same girl. I have turned all of these people down. My sexuality is not a stereotype or a trope. I am a person, not a trophy.

I do not believe in a god. Not only that, I genuinely believe there isn't one. I am not agnostic. However, I'm not manic about it. I don't require that you disbelieve in any gods. I don't really care about gods or religion. It has little to do with my life. I make my choices about right and wrong based on the good or harm they cause, to others and/or myself. I am not lacking a moral compass just because I don't believe in a deity. In fact, I believe my choices are more moral and more guided by principle now than they ever were when I was a Christian. Additionally, disbelief in an afterlife has inspired me to do more with my life. I know this is all the time I have. I refuse to save up my great acts for some promised heaven. I intend to do good with my life, not hope for better after death.

I am a feminist. I know that women continue to be treated as inferior to men, in both personal and professional situations. I despise the culture I live in that encourages rape, reduces men's sexuality to that of a wild animal, and exalts the virgin as some sort of demigod. I am the victim of multiple sexual assaults, as nearly all women are. I am furious that this is the case. I hate that we live in a world where "no" may mean no, but silence means yes. I hate that women are seen as meek, caring, quiet, creative creatures while men are seen as strong, aggressive, outgoing, analytical ones. I hate that people want to classify everyone as "male" or "female" and respond to them as such. I find it silly that many people take my interest in cars and the military to be indicators of masculinity. I find it equally silly they think men shouldn't wear skirts. I find men in skirts amazingly sexy. Yes, skirts, not kilts. Although I find men in kilts amazingly sexy too.

I am kinky. I like pain and domination, in a sexual way. I also find the community that has built up around these desires to be fairly incompatible with my views regarding feminism, so I am no longer active in it. This is an ongoing struggle for me. Luckily, I have found partners who continue to play with me in private settings, so I can keep this part of my life fulfilled.

I experiment with drug use. I used to be totally against illegal drugs of any kind. However, I spent my time in college in a dizzy haze of booze. I realized that the government's approval of mind-altering substances has nothing to do with their effect on my health. I have come to understand that drug use and drug abuse are not synonymous, and that certain substances can enhance or change your views of the world. I see these as positive, affirming, creative experiences. I continue to refuse addictive drugs like heroin and cocaine, because I am aware that I am the type of person who can easily become addicted. If I feel that I have explored my mind and surroundings as much as I can, I may stop using drugs. I may not. I don't understand why they are illegal.

This list is not exhaustive, but represents the greater part of the things about myself I have kept from people. Mostly I have not lied. Mostly I have been vague or silent. I have often told myself I was protecting you by these actions, sheltering you from difficult truths you were unprepared to handle. I was truly protecting myself, but it was a comfortable lie to tell. In doing this, I have underestimated you. I have devalued your intelligence and empathy. I have not given you credit for being able to make the same choices I have made. For that, I am sorry.

I want you to know that I have not made my choices easily or lightly. Some of the things I described above I cannot change. Some of them were incredibly painful to realize. Please understand me: these things are important and I have considered their ramifications carefully.

And that's why I am scared. I fear rejection, as all humans do. I fear judgment from those I love. I fear violence from those I know poorly who find my life to be unacceptable.

But it's important to me to be open, honest, and transparent. I will employ this policy in ALL aspects of my life. I will never force you to talk about these topics, but I will not lie or be vague if they come up. If you ask me about them, I will answer honestly.

I hope that this will deepen the connections I have with people who are important to me. I hope that you will love me more, not less, for saying these things, for making known these truths. This is the real me. Not that person you thought you knew before. Not the image I have let you believe was real. This one.

I respect that this is not everyone's wish. To that extent, if you have ties with me and you fear the things I fear by being associated with me, I will protect you. If you are a close friend or family member and you need me to be quiet about these things for the sake of your job, your friends, your community, or something else important, I totally will. My choices are not your choices, and I will not force them on you. If you are my client and you want me to just please do the job you're paying me for and not mention the rest of my life, that's completely acceptable. You won't hear from me about my personal life.

But you know now, and I know you know. And I will stop hiding. I will stop lying. I will stop pretending.

From now on, I will simply be. And I hope you will love me for it.

15 comments:

  1. You are amazing, and beautiful, and brave, and I love you. I hope everyone is kind and generous with you in light of your new honesty and openness. Thank you for being the incredible person that you are!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for always supporting me! Knowing you love me gives me a lot of strength. You're always the calm in my storm. I love you so much.

      Delete
  2. Very well articulated. We haven't talked in years but reading this, I want you to know how proud I am and how envious I am that you have the courage to be so forthcoming and open about who you are. Thank you for sharing. All my love...

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It's great to hear from you! Thanks for your kind response. I hope you're doing well!

      Delete
  3. Good for you, Elizabeth. Your friends won't abandon you. Anyone who does may eventually come around. You never know. I think there are all kinds of benefits to living an authentic and transparent life. There may be losses that come of this - but there will be many, many good things too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, John. So far the response has been overwhelmingly positive. It's possible I just haven't heard or known about the negative, but I'm going to pretend there isn't any. :)

      Delete
  4. You are an amazing, brave, woman who knows herself.

    I am very glad to know you, poly sister!

    You Rock!

    David

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. David, you're a major inspiration to me. You're always so full of joy and passion. And you're honest about yourself, even when it hurts. Thanks for being my friend.

      Delete
  5. This post is an inspiration. I love how vulnerable, brave and honest you are. And in doing so, make the road easier for those that come behind to "come out" of all of their closets.
    ((hugs)) Thank you, Elizabeth!

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm proud of you for being you, and for being strong. I love you and am so happy you're a part of my life. I feel very lucky to be part of yours.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love you! I'm very glad to have you in my life. You mean the world to me.

      Delete