Sunday, January 08, 2006
How transparent does my life have to be?
There are some things that are obvious about me. I'm clearly white, clearly female, clearly fat, clearly adorable. So those things, I have no control over. Other things, well. Here in the Deep Deep Deep South, everyone assumes I'm also a good Baptist girl, just like them. That I'm not isn't readily apparent. Do I tell them I'm not? Usually, yes. If the conversation comes up, I just tell them I don't go to church anymore. That usually leads to more questions, but I can generally deflect those with a "it's not god that's the problem, it's the church" which generally gets people to launch into a story or 12 of nasty 'Church Folk' they've known and soon they forget all about my not going to church anymore. So, that much is pretty easy. Do I tell them I find the Divine easier to access when I conceive of Her as female? Uh. No. That's likely to get my lynched around here. Or called a witch. Not that I mind that label too much, it's just not accurate and I figure most people around here are confused enough about witchcraft and paganism, I don't need to add to it. But anyway, how much responsiblity do I have to let people know how I really believe?
There are personal safety issues to consider. Most people around here wouldn't do anything but look at me funny and promise to pray for me. But there's always the idiot, drunk redneck who could get some crazy notion in his head to do Something About It. I don't worry too much about work backlash, since I work for Big Company and they know they could get sued for religious discrimination. And most of my friends have at least some idea of how I believe. And yet...is that enough? Actually, most of my friends are pretty cool about it. I've become the de facto go-to girl about /any/ non-Christian religion. (Because, clearly, I know just soooo much about Judiasm. Or Buddhism. Or Islam. Actually, that does kinda irk me. Any non-Christian faith around here just kinda gets lumped in with every other non-Christian faith. *sigh*)
Also, with my sexuality, exactly how out am I supposed to be? This one is harder for me than religion, because frankly I'm more likely to get physically hurt over it. It's truely astonishing how must resistance and bigotry there is around this place to anyone whose not completely Vanilla Hetero. Again, it's the default assumption. People see me and assume, oh, she likes men. Well, yes, actually, I do. But I like women too. And sometimes, I like women more than men. Sometimes, I like men more than women. It's not an easy thing to explain to people and people don't like to be confused.
Some of my friends know I'm bi and some are really pretty damned sure, I just haven't actually said it to them. If I showed up at their house one day with a girlfriend, it would suprise them exactly none. At work? Eh. No. Not really. It's not a secret, exactly, I just haven't ever brought it up. And when I thought about it, someone would come up and make a really awful remark about 'those gay people' and that shut me right up. Which may be cowardly, but I just don't want the extra drama at the office. I call people on the comments, don't misunderstand me, I've just never said they applied to me in particular.
My family? Ha. No. Not going to be telling them anytime soon. Unless I meet a woman I want to spend the rest of my life with, anyway. Then they'll just learn to deal. I think my mother would be...okay, with it. She wouldn't like it, but she's very very good at denial. And she's gotten much better at accepting that I'm an adult and have my own life and she doesn't have any say in it. My father though, I think it would break his heart. And that's a hard thing to deal with. My father and I didn't have a particularly close relationship when I was growing up. I didn't turn out the way he expected his little girl to, I think. I was extremely headstrong, decidedly not girly, hated the very rural life he was living, dove headfirst into all sorts of things that scared him to death and generally did whatever I wanted and didn't care what other people thought about me. On one hand, he's insanely proud of me. On the other, he doesn't know how to handle a daughter who doesn't act like a girl is 'supposed to.'
We're much better now, though. My relationship with both my parents got a hellava lot better when I moved out of the house all those many years ago. Now that my brother has finally given them a grandbaby, things are pretty close to peachy. (Because if they looked at me for a grandchild one more time, I was going to scream. You'd think the fact that I've been telling them since I was 12 that I didn't want children would have given them a clue, but no.)
And yet...and yet I know I can't tell them this. I would, like I said, if I meet the woman o'my dreams. There are limits to how much I'm willing to protect them and sacrificing a good relationship is not one of them. But do they need to know otherwise? If it would cause them pain and cause nothing but drama for the family, is it really worth it to lay all the cards on the table?