I am both pansexual and poly. And I suppose I am still more in the closet about that than not. I already know I’m not going to publish this post as widely as my others. I am still afraid of the backlash. I fear bringing this out, because I still worry about what people think. I worry about my husband’s job. I worry about my children losing friends because their parents don’t approve of me. All those reasons to stay tucked away in the closet, to suppress my true self and go along with the rest of society. I’m pretty sure I do, in fact, have friends that would virtually stop speaking to us if they knew.
I grew up in a small town in Texas. I lived a fairly sheltered life. I learned to go along as best I could. I think it is because of this lack of exposure to other ideas and concepts that I did not identify myself as poly until I was nearly an adult, and not bisexual until even later. Pansexual is a term I only recently found out about. When I found out about new terms, they always opened up new doors, gave me “Aha!” moments that let me identify a part of myself that was previously confused and unsure.
I found out about polyamory first. My reaction to the concept was, “Duh! Why not?” I’ve never truly understood jealousy and possessiveness, not as I see them everywhere in our culture. What difference would it make to me if my husband had a girlfriend? He’d still be my husband, he’d still sleep with me and support me and our children. His going out on a date with somebody doesn’t take anything more away from me than his going out for a beer with friends. Never having felt all that connected to Christianity, I certainly don’t have any connection to Christian values on this. I don’t see any mystical significance personally to sex, monogamy, chastity, etc. Faithfulness I would define as fulfilling obligations, to not abandoning somebody when times get tough.
I didn’t find out about the concept of bisexuality until after I was an adult. I knew I enjoyed looking at women and finding them beautiful, but the “Aha!” moment happened when I was out on a first date. (Only date, really. He was skeeved at the thought of being a secondary.) We were sitting in Denny’s, waiting for a table, and a cute girl walked by. We both watched her. Then he watched me, watching her, and said, “I take it you swing the same way I do.” I had no idea what he was talking about, and he had to explain. There it was: bisexual, an explanation and an open door. I’m finding it so incredibly hard to put this into words, but it truly was a part of me that was there, but didn’t even know expression was even an option.
I’ve had a few girlfriends since then, but since having kids, it seems all those opportunities vanished. A lot of that is me, going back into the closet to protect my family. Because I worry about offending people and disrupting our social circles, I keep everything inside. If I think somebody looks or smells good, I hide it, I bury it and stomp on it, because I’m afraid to express it. It’s like walking on eggshells, because what I really want to do is hold hands, give hugs, kiss and be cuddly and friendly when the impulse strikes. Since I can never tell when that will be okay, I never do it. Somebody has to hit me over the head to convince me that they’re flirting, and even then I don’t know how to open up. So I wander through life treating everybody like they’re the local Bible study group leader.
It’s not like I have time in my life right now for a full-on relationship, even a secondary. It would just be nice not to be stifling myself quite so much, if I could conquer that fear and find a way.