Many Closets

Coming Out –  a rite of passage reserved for those whose sexuality is contra-indicated by major monotheistic religions? Well No.

Telling people that as a girl I quite liked girls was pretty easy. After admitting it to myself when I realised that fantasing about girls and wanted to be sexual with them didn’t mean I had to give up on boys. I was lucky that the group of friends I was with at the time (age 16) was very proud about being sexually liberal and being bi was de riguer, though most of my friends have gently pottered back to the safe straight fold; additionally I was enjoying being a rebel and the school was expecting to deal with my acting out. I was prepared to tell my father I had a girlfriend months in advance of doing so -but I have never tried to tell him that I like boys too.
More importantly for my present circumstances I have not yet been ready to tell him about the fact I am able to love more than one person. I hope that one day I will be able to explain that my love for W is lifted and filled by my love for B. I am sad that I have not yet been able to explain to my dad that B is such a huge part of my life but for a while yet I think I need to focus on making W a part of my family.

But as closets go, polyamory seems easy -after all the majority of my friends know and seem to feel able to ask me questions, though I have to admit there have been ructions. For W’s sake I try to be discreet but kitten and W herself have been quite open and sometimes the process of people’s finding out and their subsequent reactions have been painful but What’s hard for me is my mood.

I have lived an open bisexual ‘lifestyle’ for nearly 12 years, and been with W for nearly 10 years – even my grandmother knows her. B & I have been together for 3 years and been reasonably open for the whole time. But it is more than 14 years since my mother died, perhaps 16 years since I first self-harmed and definitely 12 years since my first major breakdown and yet I have had only one conversation with my father about it – less than a month ago -and there are so many people I close up on at just the mention of mental health.

It is hard for me to acknowledge that Depression is part of my life. Still in the darkness of my mind I feel that it is a weakness and failure on my part

Depression is my cancer; it has grown on me, malevolent and deadly. It needs to be cut out and destroyed..yet in doing so other corrupted parts might need cut out too – creativity, individuality, independence which are fed and fed upon by my dark moods. The treatment is scary; it zaps my energy, takes away how I look and see myself, makes me want to throw up… And in the end there can be no promise that it will do more than push it into remission ready to rear up again in the future.

Depression is my guilty secret. The ‘thing’ I should have beaten and the view of pity visited upon me. I want to be able to be honest, to accept that its shadows are part of who I am and know that acknowledging that it will always be with me does not mean admitting defeat. I want to be myself without giving in to the darkness and I am afraid.

Depression is the closet I can’t quite clear out. I believe acceptance and lack of judgment, support and hope can help but I am not yet ready to stand up and tell the people I know that this is me.

2 thoughts on “Many Closets

  1. How do people react to you being bi or poly in situations outside your family? Do they treat it as a phase or as something coming from a deep-seated inability to make up your mind? Do you care?

    I’ve been invited to write a piece for an online magazine about my (admittedly brief) forays into polyamory, and I’m worried about the potential for backlash. Thanks!

    • Hi,
      Thanks for the question.

      I guess it would be fair to say that the reactions I have had have been pretty mixed. As a teenager coming out of bi was tough and I got quite a lot of people telling me I was simply failing to make up my mind or not brave enough to be gay; I even got the cliched reactions of people telling me I was just greedy – I am really glad I didn’t try and address polyamory at the same time! It has got easier through my twenties in terms of people’s acceptance and not being judged as just going through a phase. As for Poly, I’m not sure my experience is typical but it helps to be in long-term relationships. Curiously some of the negative feedback I have had has been from people who themselves have one primary partner and a number of casual relationships on the side because they seem to misunderstand the depths of my choice of commitment. On the other hand the fact that I have not simply ditched W because I have someone else in my life has perhaps allayed people’s suspicions I just want to keep my options open and dont actually want to commit
      Nonetheless, some people have been fantastically supportive and most of my friends are accepting if not understanding working on the basis that if we make each other happy and don’t do harm what can possibly be the problem except convention.

      I hope you write as freely as you feel able; I think that many people misunderstand other people’s relationships, in whatever form they take, through ignorance and I hope that honesty can dispel that. Only you can judge your friends and work colleagues but Good Luck

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