I’ve been “out” as someone a bit bent pretty much since I realized it was a reality for me. My friends all had similar reactions: eye-rolling and “Yeah…and?” The only raised eyebrows I ever got were in reaction to my follow-up revelation that I was submissive. Everyone assumed I would be the one throwing the whips, not the one kneeling in obedient submission.
Hey, not everyone understands, right off the bat, how hardcore ya gotta be to be submissive or engage in consensual slavery!
I came out to my Mother around…I dunno…2002? It was in the course of a discussion where we talked about a lot of buried history, some old stories, some long-buried issues that rolled to the surface and we put to rest some old bitterness that I had only shortly before figured out how to untangle and let float away.
Mom asked me, specifically, a question that would lead to my outing myself about being involved in kink. Before delving into the deep-end, I let her know that my response to her query would open up some areas of my personal life she might find to be more info than she wanted. She verified sh was in it to win it, and so out of the bag came the cats.
I never had a fear about being “out” online. I have no kids, my life-path leads me in such a direction that I can make a point of being out, to represent those of us who lead alternative lifestyles and cannot be as free as I am able to be. Social media, as powerful a tool as it is, has also lead to some moments of disappointment. I’ve had some friends and family who have declined to maintain public friendship with me, because they don’t want to have the guilt by association of being my “friend.” Most disappointing was when several kinky friends removed me from their friend’s list because they weren’t out to their family and “didn’t want to explain to my parents how I know someone like you.”
That, by the way, is an almost verbatim quote from someone I once called a friend, who is married to someone also involved in the BDSM community. To say I have issues with that type of attitude barely covers my feelings.
All this is to say I was scanning my Facebook page and realized I now have two people listed as “Family” there. That number has been higher. And that column has been empty before.
All this is to say, thank you.
I cannot take for granted that it is a unique honor to be fully myself across the board. I don’t have to “change gears.” I don’t wring my hands worrying about what my “vanilla friends” would think of me. My friends are lawyers, doctors, ministers, rabbis and priests, social workers and sex workers, writers, actors, singers dancers, bankers and geeks and nerds and everything in between, and I trust them to love and care for me, regardless.
On Christmas Day, I wound up having a good long chat with my Mother. It started off as a catch-up thing. I wound up sharing with her some tough stuffI’ve been processing of late. And she listened with sympathy, and helped me ground myself again. In the course of our talk I had a realization that I our relationship has had many switchbacks, but that I now chose to be in her life. I though it might seem weird to say so, but I’m trying out this honesty thing. I shared with her that, despite the ups and down and out0and-out-outs our relationship has had, I was very happy that now? We choose to be in one another’s lives. Not because of the obligation of blood, but because we see past that to genuine love bolstered by choice. I was a bit surprised to hear that sentiment echoed back. “There sure are times I’ve said ‘I don’t get that kid!’ but I am glad we can chose to be in each other’s lives.”
I have to say “thank you” to all of the people who stand by me, regardless of who I am. My friends and my family, the one into which I was born, and the family I have chosen, set the bar pretty fucking high. You all inspire me. You set an example for those who have people in their lives who walk narrow, thorny paths. You challenge those who reject others based on their lifestyles or who they are. You challenge them by loving unconditionally.
So thanks again, to my sister and my cousin, and to my friends who ARE willing to say “Yeah, my friend is kinky. And I love her.” I love you, each and every day.