Which path do you intend to take, Nell?' said the Constable, sounding very interested. 'Conformity or rebellion?'
'Neither one. Both ways are simple-minded. They are only for people who cannot cope with contradiction and ambiguity.'
---Neal Stephenson, "The Diamond Age"
Recently I have found myself looking back on the pain I have suffered throughout my life and this year in particular, when I had a miscarriage, got the measles, lost my job and relapsed into a Bipolar depression.
In retrospect, I realise that somehow I have walked away profoundly grateful, no matter the sadness I have had to deal with. Things could have been a hell of a lot worse. I could be dead.
When your tightly controlled little universe comes crashing down around you, you have to confront who you are deep down in your heart. I did not truly know who I was until this year. I did not know what I had in me.
Had it not been for the trials of this year, I may have lacked the deep confidence in myself needed to pluck up the nerve to face society on my own terms. All of us should be able to do that at some point in our lives.
I know now what I have to do with my life, and to do that there is a matter I must address that I have been neglecting for some time.
"If I was gay, there would be no closet, you would never see the closet I came out of. Why? I would have burned it for kindling by the time I was 12. Because I know with all certainty in my mind, there is nothing wrong with being gay, and you know it." - Henry Rollins
Hello, World. I am bisexual, polyamorous and agnostic.
For those who are unclear: Bisexual means I can love both men and women romantically and intimately.
Polyamory is the practice of having more than one romantic partner at a time – what I call "equal opportunity polygamy".
Agnostic means I'm still thinking over whether I believe any of the literature passed around regarding various deities and philosophies of life.
"You people and your quaint little categories." — Captain Jack Harkness, Torchwood
Some of you may know this already. To those of you who do I want to send my sincerest thanks for being the kind of people who's tolerance and non-judgemental attitude has bolstered my courage and helped me reach this point. For the rest of you I apologise for having lived a lie for so long – you deserved better from me. I shall endeavour to correct this fault.
In the spirit of new beginnings and making New Year's resolutions I am, this year, stepping up and making my voice heard. My attitude to all comers is the following: Everyone has an opinion. Opinions are like arseholes - everyone has one. You are permitted to have a different one than me.
As long as you do not threaten my right to life, happiness and reasonable freedom of choice, and I likewise do not threaten yours, there really is no cause for us to argue. I respect people who have strong convictions. I am someone who has strong convictions myself.
I am not a militant individual. I have always considered myself more of a lover than a fighter. Having been someone who was until fairly recently deeply convinced of the validity of my own monogamy, religion and straight sexual orientation I can say this: I feel these choices each have their own benefits and detriments and everyone should have the freedom to pursue whichever option they should deem congruent with their own particular beliefs at any given time.
In other words: I got no beef with any of you.
"If you don't stick to your values when they're being tested, they're not values: they're hobbies."
— Jon Stewart
I do not believe that religion is defunct and irrelevant. Rather, I truly have not made up my mind and must investigate further before drawing any conclusions. Tell me what you believe. I really want to understand if I can, even if we do not agree.
I do not reject monogamy as a concept. I just do not believe that I am monogamous. I think it is an immensely wonderful thing when two people can be happy with the love of only one another for the rest of their lives. I just can't seem to color inside the lines of this particular colouring book.
Let none of you, for a moment, question my love for my husband or his for me. Between us we have the very deep and passionate love that abides for a lifetime. I fully expect to be laid to rest beside him when I die. But we do not own each other's lives.
Juno's Dad: 'Look, in my opinion, the best thing you can do is find a person who loves you for exactly what you are. Good mood, bad mood, ugly, pretty, handsome, what have you, the right person is still going to think the sun shines out your ass. That's the kind of person that's worth sticking with.'
Juno: 'Yeah.... And I think I've found that person.' - Juno.
As for bisexuality, well frankly, I am as surprised as you are. Until just this very year I had never in my life experienced a burning passion for a female member of our species. Based on this fact I had mistakenly (despite much experimentation on my part) supposed myself to be straight.
To have one's perceived gender identity alter at the age of 27 is rather disconcerting, but in retrospect I realise now that I had always been as I am. I just simply hadn't met a woman I felt a strong enough affinity for to break the social conditioning I had had as a child. Upon arrival of said woman I was required to alter my opinion of myself.
“When the facts change, I change my mind.” -John Maynard Keynes
And so I come to the heart of my message to all my readers out there.
All the ways that my life has been a royal fuckup has taught me that life, despite my deeply idealistic personality, does not always work out like a movie script. If you want to have a happy ending to your life you're going to have to get off your behind and grab victory from the jaws of defeat.
You need to fight for who you are, because who you are is exactly what the world needs. If you are religious you can believe it is because God created you for a purpose. If you are a secularist you may justify it by saying that diversity in the population encourages robustness of the gene pool.
Whatever. I can't make you believe anything. I can tell you what I believe: I believe that you matter. All of you. Not for the person you pretend to be, but for the one that you are. I know, because you matter to ME.
Yes, I mean that it the most global sense. There may be as many people on the planet as grains of sand, but if any one individual is standing before me, you can bet your bottom dollar that I give a damn about them. Don't you? Do me a favour and go read 1 Corinthians 13 one more time.
Ender: "No human being, when you understand his desires, is worthless. No one's life is nothing. Even the most evil of men and women, if you understand their hearts, had some generous act that redeems them, at least a little, from their sins." - Orson Scott Card, "Speaker for the Dead"
New Year is usually a time when we all question ourselves and look back with joy or regret at the year that we have lived. For those out there who look back and feel a great sadness for whatever reason I want you to know that no matter how terrible the events or circumstances, how obscure your life, how grave your sin or how old the enmity there is always hope.
"Do not go softly into that good night" - Dylan Thomas.
I am a manic depressive and as such I can tell you I know what it is to feel hopelessness. You don't try to commit suicide three times unless you've had a brush with your own internal Dementors. Yet I believe happiness is something that can be manufactured, like a McGyvered solution, from the smallest of paperclips and a bit of bubblegum. Never stop looking for it, especially when you are in pain. It is the stuff that meaning is built out of. It is the stuff that helps us survive the darkest despair.
That, and whatever psychiatric drugs float your particular boat.
"You know what I do when I'm feeling sad? I stop feeling sad and feel awesome instead." - Barney Stinson, How I Met Your Mother.
In a universe filled with entropy, with a society full of judgement and hatred and agression, being different can be dangerous. Here's the thing though: We are ALL different.
"A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects." -Robert A. Heinlein
For all of you out there who feel like you are living in a closet and you're not letting your little light shine, I invite you to come join me at the bonfire this New Year and let the motherfucker burn.
Originally published on halcyonpage.blogspot.com