But I can’t hide my real self from the world forever
When I started writing on Medium, not quite 2 years ago, I took off a lot of masks that I tend to wear in my everyday life. Sure, I’ve got a nom de plume, but that has allowed me to be open about all kinds of things that I don’t get to talk about much otherwise — polyamory, group sex, dating a professional companion (aka an escort), having a Twin Flame relationship with a married man, falling in love with a woman, double penetration, writing erotica, etc. — and that’s just the sex stuff.
In my everyday world, I also don’t get to talk much about things like my near-obsession with the dominance hierarchy aspects of patriarchy and the classless and egalitarian ways of our pre-patriarchy ancestors which has led me down a path of extensive research and writing on the subject. Here I’ve found a tribe of kindred spirits and people with a lot of similar interests, but out there IRL, I have to be a bit careful about what I say to whom because a lot of what I’d like to say, they don’t really want to hear about.
Don’t get me wrong, it’s a pretty good tradeoff to at least have some places to really be myself even if they are in electronic spaces, but even then, I sometimes have to pay for it in the form of trolls and haters who want to shut down my voice. But for the most part, I can be who I really am online, even in spite of them. In-person, it’s a bit more of a game of concentration, trying to remember who is safe to say what to. It makes me really tired sometimes.
I have several close friends who know about our polyamorous life and my other partner Nat, as well as our lover Tamara. It’s just that some of them don’t really want to hear about it — like ever. It’s too out of their paradigm and so as a consequence, I’m supposed to just keep it to myself. When I went out for drinks a couple of weekends ago with 3 women who know the deal about my real life, I felt like I could possibly let down my hair a little, but it wasn’t actually the case.
They all talked about the men in their lives, but unless I was talking about my husband, James, I wasn’t really being encouraged to share. I can do a bit better with them on an individual basis, but it’s still sometimes a guessing game about what is OK to mention. My one friend Jenny is affirmatively interested in the offbeat aspects of our lives, including the sexual aspects, but she lives in another state and I only get to hang out with her once or twice a year. It’s like a breath of fresh air when she comes to town.
I’m pretty close to my sister-in-law, but I guess because she finds her own husband (my husband’s brother) so trying a good bit of the time, she doesn’t really want to hear about the other man in my life besides James, much less the other woman. There’s a lot to like about her, but she does tend to be a bit of an Eeyore. When I told her about how surprised I was at what I’d made on Medium last year, her only response was, “You’re gonna have to pay taxes on that.”
Needless to say, I haven’t told her that I’ve made nearly that same amount in the first two months of 2020 already or that I’ve recently signed two freelance writing contracts. What would be the point? I’m not trying to brag to her. I’m trying to share what’s going on in my life and asking for someone who claims to love me to be happy for the things that I’m celebrating.
Writing is something that has been an important thing to me for a long, long time and it’s just now that I’m getting some real traction with it to the point where I can say with a straight face that I am indeed a writer. She knows that, but maybe because writing is important to her too, she feels a bit competitive. She’s not actually doing any writing herself right now, but more than that, it’s not a competition. Sigh….
Tamara is someone I can always count on to talk about anything and everything with and to always be happy for me, just as I am always excited for whatever is going on in her life that is lighting her up at the moment. Nothing is off the table, nothing is uncomfortable. When I told her that I was going to be writing erotica for a German company, this is what she said:
BABE!!!!! That’s so fucking amazing!!!! Congrats my special, beautiful, nasty (in a good way) PUBLISHED WRITER!
Who wouldn’t love a woman like that?! When she got a spread in a national tattoo magazine, my support for her was similarly jubilant. I want to be excited for the good things that the people in my life are experiencing and I really want them to reciprocate. I don’t know why that is so much to ask?
But even if they don’t, I think I’m going to still have to start spreading my wings a little bit. I’m having lunch with some very nice but also very straight-laced women from my neighborhood very soon. They’ve already gotten used to my pink hair, so maybe it’s time to tell them that I’ve started writing erotica? That’s edgy but not too scandalous, and at least that way I can share a little bit about what I’ve really been up to since I’ve seen them last several months ago. Otherwise, there isn’t that much that is interesting to report.
I think the worst that could happen is that they look really uncomfortable and don’t ever ask me that again. Hopefully, it goes better than that and I can have at least one more outlet to begin to be a bit more myself in public because it gets really old trying to remember what is okay to talk about in which situation. I know that other people’s hang-ups are about them, but it still doesn’t make it any easier. I’d prefer not to make the people around me uncomfortable, especially since I genuinely like them in other respects.
My SIL, the Eeyore, is a pain in the butt sometimes, but I still love her like my own sister, and so I put up with it. My other friends who don’t always understand my life or my choices are worth those friendships in other ways as well. A few years ago, I had one who made it clear that she was no longer worth the friendship, and I cut ties with her. It’s hard at times being an outlier and being an edge-pusher in a fairly conformist world, but at least I have partners and lovers who really get me, as is.
And I guess, if truth be told, the only one who is actually putting tape over my mouth is me. I want to be accepted and I want to be understood, but if I’m leading people to believe that I’m someone that I’m not, I can hardly blame them for not really getting who I actually am. There may be some who won’t be accepting and there may even be some who are judgmental, but more and more, my life is about the parts of it that I censor from most other people. Pretty soon, I’m going to almost back to where I was before I began writing on Medium.
Maybe this is the next phase of authenticity school, not just figuring out who I really am and finding a place to own that, but owning it more openly more of the time with more people. I’m proud of who I am and of the kinds of things that I’m doing with my life. I have a lot of love and a new aspect of work that is simply blossoming. I’m happy and proud of myself and I should be able to share that with the people in my life.
I’m not going to keep beating my head against a wall with people like my SIL, but I’ll bet that if I keep reaching out, I can continue to make some inroads with some of the other people that are in my life, or maybe even meet some new ones. It’s a little bit daunting, a little bit scary, but as Anaiis Nin once said, “And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” I think that day is getting closer every day.