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Some thoughts on being out

One of the many questions that inevitably comes up in almost any poly discussion group,usually multiple times, is the question about being open about being polyamorous.

The same thing comes up in kink-related social groups, and I imagine in just about any other alternative sexuality group you can name.

Now, I'm a big fan of openness and transparency. There are a lot of reasons for that. On a philosophical level, I do not believe there is anything to be gained by pretending to be something you're not, and I don't see how deceiving people who would shun you if they knew the truth actually benefits anyone. (To my mind, if someone--your family, say--loves you only so long as they don't know the truth about you, then they don't actually love you. They only love an imaginary projection of you, and that love is conditional on you agreeing not to do anything that might spoil the projection.)

On a practical level, it's hard to find other people like you when everyone is closeted. If I am polyamorous, and I'm in a room with ten other poly people but none of us are open, all eleven of us might be thinking "Wow, I wonder where I can go to meet other poly people? It's so hard to do!"

But there's one objection to openness that I hear all the time, and that's what I'd like to talk about here. A lot of folks say "I'm not open because it's nobody else's business how I live my life." And to some extent it seems true, but there are problems with that idea.

Before I talk about those, though, I'd like to back up a little and talk about the way I grew up.

I spent my elementary and middle school years growing up in the rural Midwest. This is where I lived:

See that clump of trees on the right? It's where my old house is. We lived outside a tiny town called Venango, Nebraska, population (at the time) 242.

I've written about a trip I took as an adult through Venango, with lots of pictures, in my blog here. Time has not been kind to the town. It's half deserted; many of the houses are boarded up, and the school closed a long time ago. The most eerie thing about it is the total and complete absence of children. We stopped at the playground behind the school when we visited it. All of the playground equipment is covered by a fine dusting of rust, and when we turned the merry-go-round, rust drifted off it in flakes. I have to think that if there was even one child left in the entire town, the playground wouldn't be this disused.

It was no picnic for me growing up there. I was the stereotypical geek as a kid; I was into model rocketry, and I owned a TRS-80 computer, the only computer of any sort in a 40-mile radius. (I know this because the only other computer within any distance was an Apple II belonging to the owner of the business my mother worked at in the next town over, about 45 minutes away; he used it to do bookkeeping.)

There were eight people in my middle school class, the largest class the school had seen in years. While I was teaching myself the basics of aeronautics, electronics, and Z-80 assembly language programming, the main topic of conversation among my peers were the relative merits of the Denver Broncos vs. the Dallas Cowboys--a discussion that often involved a great deal of heat but never seemed to get resolved, no matter how many times it was hashed out.

So it's safe to say I grew up alienated from all the people around me.

Which is pretty unpleasant. I was able to partially mitigate the fact that I had no friends when my parents got me a 300 baud telephone modem, and for quite literally the first time in my life I was able to encounter, if only in a crude way, people who were kind of like me.

As alienated as I was, I still had some things going for me. One of the things I noticed growing up was the casual, offhand racism that permeated the Midwest; the people around me were quite confident that whites were better than blacks, even though most of them had, quite literally, never once met a person who was black. Even as an outcast, I still had some measure of privilege; it's hard to say how much better or worse things might have been had I been a football-loving African American, or (worse yet) geeky and also black.

My parents moved to Florida when I started high school, so all at once I went from having eight people in my class to having two thousand. For the first time in my life, I met other people who were like me. I was still something of an outcast from most of the folks around me, of course; the fact that there were other geeky, nerdy people in the school didn't mean we weren't a distinct minority. I was still introverted and painfully shy back then, but at least I had a social circle, something that was totally new to me.

What does this have to do with being out about polyamory? Quite a lot.

After my first year in college, I made a conscious decision: I did not want to be introverted or shy any more. I deliberately and systematically set about learning the skills that would get me there. I started choosing different kinds of people in my social circle. If I found a social situation that made me uncomfortable, I deliberately kept putting myself in it.

It was about this same time that I started realizing that I was kinky and poly, as well. Prior to starting college, I wasn't a sexual being in any meaningful sense of the word; I barely even recognized that boys and girls are different.

But even before I was interested in sex or relationships, I still knew I was polyamorous, though there was no language for it. The stories about the beautiful princess forced to choose between her suitors never quite made sense with me; if princesses live in castles, which seemed axiomatic to me when I was a kid, why wasn't there room for all of them?

As a person newly interested in sexual relationships, that idea stayed. Why on earth should I expect someone to pledge her fidelity to me, simply because I fancied her? On the face of it, the idea just made no sense.

Growing up alienated seems to have had a positive side effect; I found out that being isolated from a social circle is inconvenient, but it isn't fatal. I learned that I could find ways to interact with people like me, first online and then in person. And I learned that things like "being shy" and "having poor social skills" weren't death sentences; they were things I could learn to cope with and skills I could acquire.

So in that sense, having an isolated childhood didn't really leave that much of a mark on me. i was resilient enough to make choices about who I wanted to be and then find ways to be that person.

In the 1990s, which is positively antediluvian as far as the Internet goes, I started working on a Web site. (The Wayback Machine only started capturing the poly section of the site in 2000, for reasons I don't completely understand.)

The goal in making the site was to create the resource that the younger version of me would have found valuable. When I actually started doing this polyamory thing, I didn't have the advantage of being able to learn from other people's mistakes, which meant that I had to make my own...and while experience might be the best teacher, sometimes the tuition is very high.

The site became a whole lot more popular than I expected it to be, which pretty much finished off any chance I might have to be quiet about being polyamorous. Not that there was ever much chance of that to begin with, but still.

So I've never been closeted. Not even a little bit.

Which takes us back 'round to the issue of what business it is of anyone else's.

On the face of it, "it's nobody's business who I'm involved with" seems to make sense...except that, in a very real sense, it is.

We live in a society that sanctions only one kind of relationship, and tends to stigmatize others.

When a person wears a wedding ring and says in casual conversation "My wife and I went to dinner last night," that person is validating those social conventions. He could say that it's nobody's business how he conducts his romantic affairs, of course; but the simple act of wearing a wedding ring is a public declaration of a very specific kind of relationship. And it's hard to talk about the things we do, even casually, without talking about the people we do them with, and what those people's relationships are to us.

When folks at poly get-togethers talk about being closeted, by far and away the most common thing they talk about is being afraid of other people's reactions to learning the truth. Essentially, it boils down to a very simple idea: "I want to control information so as to control the way people interact with me." The fear of being shunned, and the extent to which people are willing to jump through hoops to control information and to create the impression of normalcy in order to avoid that fear, is sometimes quite remarkable.

I've never had the fear of how people will react to me for being polyamorous (or kinky or anything else). I'd like to think it's because I'm, like, all evolved and stuff, but it's really a lot simpler. I know what it's like to be totally alienated from my peers. I know that I can survive it. I know that I can create my own social circles and my own family. I've met that monster under the bed. It has no power over me. If there's a monster under my bed, fucker better pay me rent, just like anyone else living here.

I realize that I am in a privileged position about this. I work for myself; I don't have to worry about a conservative employer firing me if they find out how I live my life. I'm not in the military. (Under the Uniform Code of Military Justice, adultery is a crime, punishable by dishonorable discharge, prison, or both.) I am not financially dependent on a family that would disown me if they found out. I don't have children who might be vulnerable to being taken away, or an ex-spouse who can use polyamory against me in a custody hearing.

So I can be open about who I am, and I don't have to worry about suffering for it.

And that's kind of the point.

In a world where it really was nobody's business how we conduct our private lives, nobody would have to worry about these things. Nobody would have to worry about getting fired or getting a dishonorable discharge or losing children because of being polyamorous. The fact that there are people who do have to worry about these things means that much of the world tries to make it their business how we conduct our romantic lives.

Polyamory, and homosexuality, and BDSM, and all kinds of other non-socially-sanctioned relationship structures are perceived negatively in part because people don't often see them, and it's easier to vilify something that you don't see every day. Like the racists in Venango who'd never laid eyes on a black person, when you don't have the experience of seeing something yourself, it's easier to project all your own fears onto it.

When those of us who have a privileged enough position to be able to live openly choose to do so, we help create a visible face for polyamory that makes it that little bit harder for others to vilify or marginalize us. So in that sense, it very much is other people's business what I get up to; by creating institutions which can be used against folks who are polyamorous, they've made it that way, whether we like it or not. By creating the social expectation that people in officially sanctioned relationships can advertise their relationship status but people who aren't, can't, they've made it that way.

Columnist Dan Savage started a campaign aimed at teen gays and lesbians called "It Gets Better." Part of the campaign is to do exactly what edwardmartiniii talks about in this essay: namely, to speak up when we see something wrong.

If the alienated, disenfranchised me from 1977 could see the me from 2012, he'd be amazed. The person I am today is the person the elementary-school version of me fantasized about being, and more.

But it took a lot of work to get here. And that's why it matters. By being open about who I am, not only do I live my life without compromise, exactly the way I want to; I help make it that much easier for other people who, right now, don't have a social group where they belong. I think that everyone who, like me, is in a position to be able to be out without risk, does a service to others by choosing to be so. It does get better, because we make choices that help make it better.


( 32 comments — Leave a comment )
(Deleted comment)
Jul. 21st, 2012 09:31 pm (UTC)
Shyness and introversion aren't necessarily the same thing. It's possible that I have always naturally been an extrovert, but having no peer group and no opportunity for socialization masked my extroversion. I certainly came out of Venango with a powerful sense of fear at new social situations, so it's tough to say if being energized in social situations came with choosing to be more outgoing, or was hidden inside somewhere all along.
(no subject) - roguebaby - Jul. 23rd, 2012 05:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 21st, 2012 12:06 pm (UTC)
I work for a megabank. They actually have strong LGBT links to the community and are a good employer (internal PRIDE networking groups, benefits packages that cover domestic partners and so on). They claim to support diversity... but if I came out to my current boss about my kink/poly nature and if he started to discriminate then I very much doubt that they would do much 'cos it's not on the "list".

(Despite this I do wear my "Story of O Slave Ring" on my ring finger; no one knows what it symbolises, though!)

Do you see attitudes to kink and poly changing so that they become more mainstream supported?
Jul. 21st, 2012 02:14 pm (UTC)
Beautifully written, and a wonderful post, thank you.
Jul. 21st, 2012 02:31 pm (UTC)
I'm in a partial closet. My close friends and a few casual ones know about the family situation. My mother does. (I sort of had to tell her when it looked like she was going to be a Step Grandma, a role she warmed to.) My husband's workplace knew, when he worked there. He quit, so being fired for anything wasn't an issue.

Really the only people I'm strictly in the closet to, is my workplace, and my grandmother. Workplace is kind of self explanatory. I don't think it's appropriate to go deeply into one's personal life there anyway. Some do. I choose not to. Do people know I'm married and I have a bunch of house mates? Sure, but I wouldn't tell my co-workers about my bedroom habits if I were monogamous, nor go into detail about my dating life if I were single.

As for my grandmother, I'm not afraid she would stop loving me. In her case I'm more just knowing that she wouldn't understand no matter how I explained it. It would bother her. It would worry her. I choose not to burden her with it. She's in her late 80's and I would rather enjoy what time is left with her without her asking me if Brian is forcing me to have this kind of relationship, because in her mind men are the ones who would desire such a thing. I can wish things would be different, but that's just how it is.
Jul. 21st, 2012 05:54 pm (UTC)
Hee. I was discussing this article with two of my sweeties here and my grandmother was the first person to come to mind for all of us. She's the only person in my blood-relation family to which I am close that doesn't know the nature of my poly family. Last fall, the three of us took a trip down to NC to visit my dad and some of the family. (The short version: dad was about to start his forth round of cancer treatments and ... well, we all knew that this was likely to be the last time we'd get to see him alive. We were unfortunately correct.) Grandma had met the partner with which I live several times before and was glad to meet our friend. We tried to be careful, but I'm pretty sure 'sweetie' slipped out at least a few times.

A few weeks later dad died and my live-in partner and I were back in NC for the funeral and other arrangements. Grandma asked how our friend that was with us was doing and said that she was really sweet. At the time I took this as normal family conversation, but I got to thinking about it later: Grandma isn't dumb. She also knew that my dad sometimes had more than one partner at a time, although I'm not sure I'd call him poly exactly. I think she might have known more about the situation than any of us realized!

No, I'm still not going to sit down and tell her all about it, nor about my other partners, especially my boyfriend. I agree with you: I don't think she'd stop loving me, but I don't see the need to inflict worry on her at her age. My mother used to worry a bit, but I honestly think seeing some of how my poly family looked after us when dad died helped alleviate some of her fears. No, she still doesn't understand it, but she knows we're all happy and that we're taking care of each other.
(no subject) - ashbet - Sep. 11th, 2012 12:05 am (UTC) - Expand
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Jul. 21st, 2012 03:14 pm (UTC)
This was a fantastic read that really got me thinking a lot.
I'm married, I wear a wedding band, my husband wears a wedding band, we have kids and conservative parents, but we have a lot of freedom in our relationship to love others. Of course many people do not approve, but we don't care. Truth be told that as we get older we are undoubtably settling together more as a closed unit, but controlling each other and policing each others feelings is something we're both strongly against. Many times I have thought how wonderful it would be to be in love with more people and have a much larger family unit. If I felt that way now, I would embrace it completely and unapologetically.

For many years of my relationship with my husband I had other boyfriends and one very specific long term serious boyfriend, our relationship only ended because he moved away.
Personally, I see nothing wrong with any kind of adult consenting relationship. It should all be embraced. Whether you're monogamous or poly these are things to be celebrated, because when lifestyles and love are present people should feel open and safe.
Jul. 21st, 2012 03:42 pm (UTC)
I think there's a difference between being out and being an activist/evangelist.

Being an activist/evangilist involves things like having a website people refer to, actively telling your story and writing posts like this one. Speaking at events, organizing meet-ups and retreats. Being profiled in the media. Basically, being a poster child for a term for others, usually strangers to you, to see. These are all important things, and I'm very happy that people are still willing to put their lives out for others to see. I am also happy that I was able to carry that banner for a short while for poly, and now a bit for location independence. The impacts are widespread, but also carries a risk of the people your message reaching putting you into a 'them' category - as you're not as real to them, as say a close friend or brother. It's easy for folks to see activists as somehow gifted with special powers to be different or deranged & not like most people.

Then there's being out. And that's being out to your friends and family, co-workers. The people you interact with in your life. This is a very powerful thing and also carries a great deal of risk if the people in your life don't accept you. The people who really do love you are influenced more deeply by seeing you live your life as you wish. I deeply honor and respect people who are bold enough to be casually out in their every day life - the impacts of this are huge, even if their intentions are not of spreading a message. Just being yourself has a powerful message, and impacts people in your life more than you may ever realize.

I've actually met more poly folks 'in the wild' since I left the more organized poly world - just by being casually out. Just in telling the story of how I met Chris and casually referencing the poly parts, tends to open people up to revealing their 'secret'. Poly is all over the place, and it's amazing how just a casual use of language can help you discover them.

Some days, I feel inclined to be more of an activist and be willing to be on stage to talk about my lifestyles (poly, technomadism, etc.). And other days, I just don't feel like sharing. Even a small thing, like a checker at the grocery story asking where I'm from can lead to a half hour conversation. And sometimes, I just don't feel like opening that up - I just want to get home before my ice cream melts.

All and all, being 'out' and being an activist/evangalist has benefited me personally - by helping find my tribe of like minded people. And as a side benefit, helping others consider there are alternatives to the defaults they've always assumed. But being an activist has also created a barrier sometimes to 'follower's seeing me as a peer and being approachable as a friend, and not just a mentor/influencer.

Edited at 2012-07-21 03:46 pm (UTC)
Jul. 23rd, 2012 05:10 pm (UTC)
I'm curious if, in your isolated and alienated childhood, you never feared lynching? Never felt like the other people didn't kill you for being different only because they were distracted by something else?
Jul. 24th, 2012 03:34 am (UTC)
The "without risk" is hard - it really does come down to each individual, including their fuzzy predictions. Those chosen to be out though, nod of the hat for paving the way. I'm lucky to have grown up with the internet, able to reach out and lurk on forums where people in similar situations had a lot of insight. Very, very lucky.

I'm young - I've told maybe about 20 friends my age, and I've encountered no problems (except for a now ex-boyfriend who felt like I logically deconstructed his notion of love and romance as a two person thing). My big problem with being "out" is I'm completely invisible. I live with my singular boyfriend, and haven't had two relationships at the same time. Being out is more work, and explanation, that just being myself. Hm.
Jul. 25th, 2012 03:12 am (UTC)
*nodding vigorously*
Bear with this comment being written blind to other people's comments.

Thank you for writing this. There is SO MUCH of it which echoes my own experiences. I've been both sides of the closeted situation, and I discovered in the process that it is intensely sanity-draining for me to attempt to maintain closetedness.
My poly family was on NYC cable TV in the early 2000s, and I was very out; I was a college student studying physics and there wasn't a reason in the world to bother hiding who I was.
Later, in 2006, when Big Love was on TV, we were interviewed by the Salt Lake City CBS station - but this time, I had them blur my face, because at that time I was a public high school physics teacher, and a first year teacher far from tenure. The process of grad school for education (which transitioned me from hard research science to teaching) put me in a closet, and the psychological impact of spending just one school year unable to refer to my partner as "wife" (she was legally married before we met, and we were ceremonially handfasted, but nothing legal - because bigamy laws), being unable to offhandedly mention things about my personal life in the presence of coworkers, was just so very damaging. And it's led me to make very different kinds of choices about my life since then; everything comes from a more-centered core of "what can I do that remains honest to myself and openly honest to the world?"

I'd say I'm lucky that I can be open; however, I feel more that I'm willing to bite the bullets of very different social acceptance in order to retain my sanity [such as it is, and as squirrelly as it may be to keep hold of already].

This is in sharp contrast to my brother, who is also poly, but is deeply closeted about it to his first/legal-wife's family; his second/"unlawful-"wife's family I understand to have only partial/limited awareness of their poly status.
EbonyMermaid [myopenid.com]
Jul. 27th, 2012 10:33 am (UTC)
This blog post reminds me of my experiences.

I have found that after having a bad/so-so experience in one place such as junior high before high school or first/second munch before third munch that I had a firm intent in mind that things would be different next time around.

It has always made a difference.

After growing comfy and forgetting that first intent, I sometimes forget and facing a new situation backslide into a quietness that is unnatural to me. Remembering intention is important.

When I came to university, I was away from a somewhat denying and suppressive energy in my mother. I was also away from friends I'd known a while, who I felt would be surprised at my awakening in certain ways. In college, I treated these parts of myself nonchalantly. I joined the pagan group openly. I joined the LGBTQ group openly (I even ended up on the executive board).

And it was treated as an everyday thing by those who I called my friends.

I hadn't discovered the word "polyamory" though that was how I viewed relationships.

Oddly enough I neglected the geeky side of myself woefully in college, a part that I had reveled in during high school.

I have never been a "shy" person but rather outspoken. However I have boxed myself into the "shy" persona in new situations where I was unsure of myself. I let the uncertainty stop me from reaching out and saying "Hi!"

I am on the verge of a change in my life that could present a better job and another chance to step into the world being more myself now than I was in the past.

I will remember intent and openness as I go forward.

As for sharing about my relationships openly, perhaps I may have pictures of more than one lover at work but I always have a work/life boundary. I don't generally see co-workers as friends though there are exceptions. I have been more likely to share my poly nature with spiritual groups I have been apart of and kink groups. And there's never been a twitch of surprise. Though I see your point about visibility.

Edited at 2012-07-27 10:39 am (UTC)
Aug. 1st, 2012 11:54 pm (UTC)
I've decided perhaps you could use a comment from someone closeted IRL to balance out all the ones that are living openly, and hopefully provide some insight into the road you didn't take through life.

My parents are politically-conservative, religiously-moderate Catholics. They provide a loving environment but are prone to freaking out about minor things. The rest of the family has similar leanings, and all my friends who weren't of conservative bent moved away or dropped out of touch over the years.

Growing up, I've drifted away from the faith into Wiccan and Native beliefs, realized I'm not entirely straight, but bisexual, come to believe that polyamory is a practical approach to relationships, and taken an interest in controvertial hobbies like BDSM and furry fandom. I've tested the waters as to how my parents and family might react to me coming out about these things by casually mentioning them when they appear in the news.

When you carefully broach the subject of say, homosexuality to someone and they freak out on a rant about "perverts" and how they're disease-ridden and/or deserve violence, well, that's a pretty good sign not to come out to them. When your continued survival depends on their good will, providing your food, medicine, shelter, clothing, transportation and even the communication to write this post, the risk of coming out is very high. I chose not to play the longshot 10% chance it will go well.

So it's rational to live the lie as long as necessary. Even if it's years.

I've been aware of a lot of the issues you point out, such as this circle of family and friends doesn't love me but a fake illusion of me. Or that ironically if I came out I would become that Other they fear, and might make it less exotic and fearful. I even think of all the missed opportunities I had to live life to its fullest by pretending to be more "normal" than I am. These things leave me with a lot of regret, but not as much regret as doing without food and shelter would.

I can live with it because I have plans for the future. I've always known "it gets better". When I get a job, move out, have my own independent income and finances, then I might come out. For the first time in my life I'll be in a position where it won't matter whether my family know who I really am or not, and free to choose who I come out to, and do it on my own terms.

If my parents accept me then, it won't necessarily be a sign I could have come out to them all along, because they were more high-strung in the past about hot topics and have mellowed out over the years. I may in fact be approaching the first time when I'll be independent enough and they'll be open-minded enough, for coming out to them to have a positive outcome in the end.

I can easily see how someone might have to remain closeted with not just their parents and birth family, but their employer and coworkers, perhaps their whole lives (or at least until retirement). Yes it sucks, yes it's a raw deal all around, but when push comes to shove, most people will do what it takes to survive.

Edited at 2012-08-01 11:56 pm (UTC)
Sep. 18th, 2012 07:11 am (UTC)
Hey, an awesome piece, I liked it a lot, most particularly because of your very flexible recognition of diversity and constraints, of the power of openness and of honesty.

That said, I stalled at the intro briefly on this bit:

"On a philosophical level, I do not believe there is anything to be gained by pretending to be something you're not, and I don't see how deceiving people who would shun you if they knew the truth actually benefits anyone. (To my mind, if someone--your family, say--loves you only so long as they don't know the truth about you, then they don't actually love you. They only love an imaginary projection of you, and that love is conditional on you agreeing not to do anything that might spoil the projection."

It seems to capture so much that challenges me in a single short paragraph where the rest of the essay just comforts me. Permit me to muse in return on those challenges.

1) There is much to be gained by pretending to be something you're not. I'm sorry but that seems such an obvious truth to me that I wonder if you're intending irony? Or your musing is simply head in the clouds? So much of life around us functions, and power is distributed to and by people pretending to be things they are not. The entire professional world is replete with it, the legal world, never mind the bleedingly obvious - the world of entertainment. And much, very much is to be gained by this.

2) Deceiving people who would shun you if they knew the truth actually benefits everyone! A truth I thought to be similarly obvious to the previous one. It benefits the people who would shun you as shunning someone is not good for them, doesn't add to their joy in life or benefit them, and benefits you because being shunned isn't fun. To be sure it's survivable (you survived it, I survived it, many survived it and yes, you weren't hurt by it, nor was I, nor were many, but neither was it buckets of fun and having buckets of fun instead is clearly something to be gained)

To be continued ...
Sep. 18th, 2012 07:12 am (UTC)
Re: Awesome
Continued ...

3) Love is conditional. I find it one of the most incredible fantasies that it's not. Well, OK, I back down a little. Love is a four letter word, that is all. And it means a great many things to a great many people and in that family of things are unconditional things, and conditional things. And whether you say love is unconditional or conditional reflects perhaps your focus in that family of things or your bias or fantasies. As a parent I can tell you that the love of your children comes as close to feeling unconditional as any, but let me assure you that the unconditional stuff is what's left after you discover your child is an unrepentant serial murderer who subjected and continues to subject victims to lengthy ordeals of torture and abuse, violent, sexual, and more, including children, and animals, has chosen to contest the world record for mass of metal carried in body piercings and the rather more mundane area of skin covered in tattoos and has chosen to violently aggressive and challenging imagery to cover their body in, and further they have torched your family home to the ground, abused and murdered after lengthy ordeals all of their siblings, and keep you holed up in a cage for ten years before being caught, and laughing maniacally the whole way, and receiving certification in court as to their alleged sanity (which you say well question at this point, but let is test the unconditionality of your love to the extreme for a moment). I'm sure a more creative writer could add some more challenging prose, but you get the point I'm sure. That the love you have which remains at that point for your child, is what is unconditional. And I feel it fair to suspect that for many parents, perhaps the majority, perhaps not, that will in fact be functionally zero. That what is left that might be called love is of a memory, and not of person. I'm sorry if that seemed extreme, but I have an issue with this seemingly common fantasy that conditional love is somehow less valuable or interesting than (the fantasy of) unconditional love. If you find people how love you as an outed whatever, it is in no small part because they love what you have outed as or that you outed. Some of them, will in turn harbor anger towards conservative society for the judgments it inflicts upon us (which is an understandable anger, my point being simply that the love you find in outing is not unconditional either!).

4) To suggest because of this conditionality that they only love an imaginary projection of you not the real you, presupposes something very challenging, which you in fact go on to admit it seems. It presupposes that there is a real you. A static kind of thing that is different to the imaginary projection. I put it to you in equally philosophical terms that the distinction is questionable, that there you can run your life attempting to discover the "real you" (not an uncommon paradigm) or you can run your life attempting to define the "real you" to make it, to sculpt it, to drive it. One is mode of discovery and the other a mode of construction. The real experience of life is somewhere between them for most I suspect. Discovering what is, discovering what is inside us, what is around us, and then exerting pressure on both to make them in turn what we would choose them to be. In that latter endeavor we typically have more control over what is inside us, can sculpt our own thoughts and feelings far more easily than those of others. But others in turn outnumber us and shifting the way a 1000 people think just a little is as much perhaps as shifting the way you think a lot.
Re: Awesome - bwechner - Sep. 18th, 2012 07:12 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Awesome - bwechner - Sep. 18th, 2012 07:15 am (UTC) - Expand
Re: Awesome - tacit - Sep. 18th, 2012 08:20 pm (UTC) - Expand
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