Sunday, 3 February 2013

I want the world to know

This might be the most important blog post I have ever written. It is certainly the most difficult one, and the scariest one to post. I've been meaning to do it for well over a year now, not managing to summon up enough courage to actually write and publish it. But I think the time has finally come. I want the world to know.

So here goes. Some of you already know, some of you might have guessed it, but many of you probably have no idea. I am polyamorous. It means that I am capable of having romantic feelings for several persons at the same time. And I'm doing it, too. All the time. Emotional multitasking, in all its confusing glory.

It is important that you understand that this is simply a part of who I am. I did not choose to be polyamorous, as little as you chose to be homosexual, heterosexual, monoamorous, brown-eyed, or whatever. I cannot say for certain for how long I have been polyamorous. Maybe I always have. I did, at any rate, not realise it until a few years ago. At that time I had never heard of the concept 'polyamory', and nobody had explained to me that it was not a sign of mental sickness or a character defect to feel that way. I felt absolutely terrible, and was convinced that however I tried to approach the problem it would result in me living the rest of my life in utter emotional misery.

Then when I finally in desperation talked to a friend about it, my friend (who is rather knowledgeable in matters like this) told me that there are lots of people who feel this way and that there is even a word for it. Moreover, there are people who manage to live openly with it, happily and without shame. At first I was skeptical; how the heck could that actually work in practise? It was just so far beyond my current world-view that I could hardly grasp it with my mind. But I did feel it, and after a surprisingly short mental struggle I managed to accept myself for what I felt, for what I was, and a tremendous weight was lifted off my shoulders. It brought such a fundamental feeling of peace, to be able to see myself clearly for the first time, and to accept myself for who I am. It brought me a happiness and self-esteem that I still carry with me every day. It is really important, I believe, to accept yourself for what you are. Otherwise you will never get the rest of the world to accept you.

So that was the first step. I had realised how I worked, and chose to stop considering myself an abomination, as soon as I became aware that it didn't have to be that way. I cannot change how I feel, you see. Gods know I've tried, but I could as well try to change the orbit of the moon. Feelings are beyond my conscious control; strong, wild and untameable. All I can do is try to live with them.

So that is what I have been trying to do for the past three years. This, in contrast to being polyamorous, is a deliberate choice. I have a suspicion that quite a lot of people are polyamorous to some extent, but very few practise it openly. The latter is not so surprising, since it is not really socially acceptable to have feelings for and be romantically involved with several persons at the same time. It is due to these pesky ideas about that "true love" can only be something between two people who promise each other sexual and romantic exclusiveness, that are so deeply rooted via Christian values in our culture. Books and books could be (and have been) written about it, so I will refrain from writing a kilometre-long harangue about the bloody stupid morals of our time right now. Suffice it to say that I am utterly convinced that it does not have to be this way, and that the times would be all that much better off for changing.

But although the rules appear to be set in stone, I will not stand for them any longer. I choose my own way of living my life now. From my cloud of idealism I dream of anarchy, and in the meantime I have several romantic relationships with people who are aware of the situation, and who agree to live like this openly and without shame. To be fair: it is tricky at times, since there are no well-established rules and expectations to fall back upon. But we make it up as we go along, and learn from our mistakes. It has its pro's and con's to live this way, certainly, but for me it is the only option if I want to be true to myself. And I do, so very deeply. I do not ever want to lock up my feelings inside a cage of shame again, and feel both suffocated and incomplete like I used to.

It is hell of scary, yes. But it is an adventure, and it is both interesting and marvellous. The hardest part of it is not working around jealousy. It is not trying to manage time so that nobody will feel neglected. It is not the confusion of being in love with so many at once. No, as always it is the expectations, judgementalness and reactions of society in general that are the most tiring and difficult to handle, at least for me. I haven't actively tried to hide the way I live, but I have been scared to talk openly about it. Mostly out of fear for not being taken seriously. Responses along the line of "it's just a phase you're going through", or "you'll grow out of it eventually" can actually hurt much more than open denunciation. I have no reason to believe that my emotional constitution will drastically change in the future, but even if that were to be the case, why should the love I feel right now be considered less "true" than if it had been directed towards one person exclusively?

It does not wear thin, you see, it does not work like that. Love generates more love, that's the whole wonderful truth of it. And if you consider such a sentiment to be a sign of moral deprivation, then it's your bloody loss. If you cannot take me as I am, then I am not sorry to say that I do not have a place for you in my life anymore. You may not share my views, but please accept and respect the way I am and choose to live my life. I will not apologise for anything, and rest assured that what I do is not causing you harm in any way.

There. Now I am officially out of the cramped, dark closet and can smell the open air. Why am I doing a recklessly brave and possibly stupid thing such as blogging about this? Why not keep it private (whatever that means)? Well, partly for my own sake; to yet again push myself out of my comfort-zone in the hope of gaining some understanding and possibly a little respect for who I am and how I choose to live my life. But also for the sake of every potential polyamorous person out there who, like I once did, lives in the agony of a firmly planted delusion that there is something wrong with them. There isn't. It's okay to feel this way, and there are ways to live an awesome life with room for all the splendid love that can fit inside of you.

The world needs to know. So that one day we can all live without fear of the judgement of friends, relatives and strangers, however well-meant it might be. That's why I'm doing this, in the hope of spreading some knowledge and making the world a little bit of a better place. On the basis of that sometimes it's better to light a flamethrower than to curse the darkness.

Now, dear reader, if you have read this far I have one thing to ask of you. Writing and actually posting this monster of a confession is one of the very scariest things I have done in my life. I would therefore be ever so thankful if you would care to write a short comment at this post (or send me a private message if you know me). Just a word of support would suffice, or even a "fuck you" if that more closely resembles your sentiment on the matter. Or ask me a question if you're curious about something (though I won't be sharing any relationship details or names here). Not because I crave attention, but because it would be nice to know whether I have any friends left after going out in the open with a thing like this. Yes, my neurotic tendencies really make me worry about that for real.

That's all. Now I'm going to post this, and hope that I will dare showing my face to the world tomorrow.

Love, love, and so very much more love,
Winterdragon

13 comments:

  1. I don't really know you, and I was sent this link from my boyfriend, who is also poly. As you asked people to comment, I will try to write something.
    I am, myself, monoamorous and I have never genuinely been in love with more than one person at once. But that doesn't mean that I would ever want to keep someone away from someone they love, or are attracted to. People are different, and that is okay. My love for my boyfriend and his love for me are not altered by his emotions for anyone else, and with him I'm the happiest I've ever been.
    I'm happy that I got the chance to read this, and I just want you and everyone else to know that I support you (and everyone else) in being who you are.

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    1. Thank you so much for your support and for sharing your story! It really warms my heart to no end that even people I do not know very well understand and express their support.

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    2. Hanna, I think that you are awesome.

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  2. Welcome out into the light. It really is better here. And it is sheer unadulterated wicked joy to see the face of people when one says, "Oh, hi, haven't seen you for so long! This is my boyfriend, and this is his wife and their child, oh, and over there's my girlfriend, shopping with her boyfriend."
    Priceless.

    I have only one word of caution: Never limit yourself for another. Never. It will not end well. Even if it hurts letting go, never again strangle yourself.

    And communicate. Always communicate. Overcommunicate if you have to, but never keep quiet.

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    1. Thank you so much! It sounds like a wicked joy indeed, I hope I shall dare to say such things soon. The most I have endeavoured so far is to in passing refer to a loved one as "one of my boyfriends", or more cryptically "my statistically significant other", which usually just results in bemused expressions.

      I will not limit myself for another, I assure you. I made that promise to myself a few years ago, and I intend to keep it. Small compromises when it comes to practicalities, maybe, but not on the very fundamental levels. I try to be very clear that if someone wants to have a relationship with me, it has to be on my terms. And if those doesn't match or cannot be accepted by the other then that's a shame, but I will not sacrifice myself for it. And there shall be no forbidden feelings, because that simply doesn't make any sense.

      Communication is essential, oh yes! I've learned that one through hard experience. It is a constant challenge to keep open and emotionally available, but it really is the only way.

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  3. Got this linked on facebook, I know several people who are poly and don't hide it. They shouldn't have to hide it either, while i'm not poly and would never date somebody who is, as long as they are happy and the people they're with are happy, then it's none of anyone's business.

    The reason I wouldn't date somebody who is poly is not because I disapprove of it, but because I can't do that. I don't do sharing to that extent, and I refuse to ask somebody to try to change something which is so deeply a part of them.

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    1. Thanks for your comment! It sounds like a sound sentiment, and I applaud you for knowing yourself well enough to make a conscious decision like that.

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  4. Jag såg länk till den här bogposten på facebook via en gemensam bekant. Jag är själv också poly och ganska så ny i det hela så jag vart nyfiken och bestämde mig för att läsa (fastern jag borde sova).

    Bra skrivet, och modigt.


    Här är min historia:
    Jag hittade poly genom att jag blev uppdrager av en polyperson. Jag har aldrig behövt uppleva den skammen som du beskriver. Och till en början var jag alldeles nöjd med att folk inte visste, det var inte som att det var hemligt, bara att jag inte sa något, så därför visste ingen.

    Men sen kom rädsla. Vad händer om folk får veta och inte accepterar mig? Så jag vart less på att vara rädd och tog tag i mig själv och berättade för de personer som är viktiga för mig, och jag fick enbart neutrala och positiva reaktioner. Och sen var jag nöjd med det.

    Men nu har jag börjat tänka att jag ska vara ännu mer öppen, inte för min skull utan för andras skull. Så att andra poly slipper att vara rädda.

    Men just nu har jag nyligen flyttat till främmande land (Frankrike) så vi får väll se när jag vågar ta nästa steg.

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    1. Tack för din kommentar, och för din berättelse! Jag tror att alla tjänar på att vi vågar vara öppna i längden. Lycka till i Frankrike, och var modig!

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  5. Modigt! Jag är glad för din skull att du vågar vara ärlig mot dig själv! Det behövs mer acceptans i världen, och jag tror att människor som vågar göra sig hörda (som du) är ett viktigt steg för att åstadkomma detta. :)

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    1. Tack för din kommentar. Öppenhet och acceptans for the win!

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  6. I love you just the way you are, my beautiful daughter:-)!

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