Monday, April 6, 2009

It's not FOR you.

So I had lunch with a old and very dear friend of mine and I said something offhand about the gay clubs in our area and how they, like the rest of the local nightlife, pretty much sucked. And she said, "Well, you wouldn't be able to meet guys you could date there anyway."

Yeah, she doesn't know. It just never seems like the right time to tell her. She is just so straight and vanilla that I can't imagine saying to her that I like girls too. That the most important and intimate relationship in my life right now is with a man and a woman, a married couple. That being a "third" makes me happy, that it feels right to me, not anxiety-laden and consuming like my monogamous relationships have been but easy and joyous and whole.

I've never not told her about the people I'm seeing before. Not being honest with one of my best friends bothers me, but I just didn't want to sidetrack our relaxing lunch with the drama of my sexual orientation. I think she would accept, but I don't think she would understand.

Excuses, excuses.

I feel divided in the presence of people who do not know I am bi, feel sharply the difference between their perception, their assumptions, and my reality, clashing like bones out of joint. Every step I take into my real self feels in a way like a step away from my old life, my old friends, and I don't want it to be like that. But I must be afraid that the real me will be even more of a stranger to them, exposed, their changeling friend. I am not someone else entirely but I fear that the aspects of me they do not know will eclipse everything else for them. I worry that I will become their queer friend instead of their friend who is queer, that they will begin to think of me as this exotic creature, talk about me over their dinner tables like I'm a character in a novel and provocative sitcom.

This is not a psychodrama I am living. It's not a sexual comedy. There is nothing performative about my sexuality. This is my real life, this is me out on a limb every day it seems sometimes, trying to find my way to myself, to what I really want and need, to human connection, maybe even to reinvent what love means to me. This is me possibly getting hurt in so many ways, with this new nascent relationship and new kind of intimacy and newly acknowledged desires, and with my old relationships and friendships. I may seem daring but I know, believe me I know, exactly how far I have to fall.

It is important to me that those whom I'm close to know who I am. Paradoxically, I don't want it to be a big deal to them, even as it is a big deal to me.

I want to be seen in full. My queerness is part of that. It is not all of me but it is inextricable from who I am, who I've always been, the person I'm only just starting to get to know. And yet, wanting to be visible, I do not want to be on display. I don't want to embody queerness for a titillated audience. I want to educate, not be educational. Subject not object, dammit!

But I'm not sure if the two can be separated. If I can walk between those lines. If I have any choice or control at all of how I'm seen in this respect. And that's why I stay silent sometimes.

I'm afraid they'll stop seeing me as human.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Rien! This is a great post...some interesting thoughts! I understand your dilemma... those fine lines between just not bothering, purposely not disclosing, and being political. Sometimes it is just downright annoying to feel I have to acknowledge and explain my queerness and make myself visible while heteronormativity (and it's close cousin, homonormativity) remains invisible, the norm, the unspoken, the taken for granted. And being poly on top of bi almost forecloses any feeling but that of being a spectacle!