by Lavena Burke
The last time I came out to my family, which was actually to my mom and sister, it was not received as well as I had hoped. I admitted that I was no longer Christian and that I did not wish to follow any organized religion. My sister was kind about it, but never really comprehended my purpose for change. It felt like my ideals were being tolerated, but not accepted as an option. My mother, who often proclaimed that we could tell her anything, took it the worst. Her questions were demeaning and condemning. When I would try to approach the subject, she would insinuate that I had become a devil worshipper. Yes, it was harsh. I thought if they couldn’t accept my spiritual choices then, perhaps, they might not accept my Polyamorous love life either. When you experience something so profound, though, you want to share it with those you love.
When people meet the person they want to spend their lives with, they share it with family, and friends; and now, thanks to social media, even strangers. The loving couple is doted upon and blessed with well wishes. Those who dare to love differently, however, are not so warmly received. My fantasy would be to tell my family about my second partner and have them say, “I am so happy for you. I would love to meet him when he visits.” I want him to be embraced and appreciated for what he adds to my life. I want them to know that I have been careful in my decision. I want them to remember their love for me and examine how far it actually goes. Hopefully it reaches from the depths of their hearts, far past their religious notions and traditional beliefs, directly to me. You know, love, for real.
Love, the real kind, is not always experienced in these situations. Sometimes people’s souls are damned to hell and minds are questioned for sanity. My fear is that my own family will think it is all for sex; and will judge me accordingly. I fear I will be outcast and my child’s wellbeing scrutinized. A pastor, or two, may be called upon to look in on me, to make sure I am not possessed, or something equivalent to that. I will not have the freedom to tell others on my own terms; everyone will already know so that they might pray for my depraved spirit. I know these fears appear extreme, but these are the images that haunt my thoughts. I am afraid it may become my reality.
My reality is that, my family will, likely, assume that it is a phase. My mother will want to know if my son is aware of it and whether or not my husband approves. My sister will not understand my desire to love someone else because she is a big supporter of my relationship with my husband. She will ask a lot of questions and at the end of the conversation will wish me well. Neither my mother nor my sister will condemn me. They will hope that I get over it, but will love me all the same, knowing that I won’t. Telling those two will be the first step to telling the world, I am Polyamorous.
Some days I want to shout from the rooftops that I have discovered a part of myself that is so wonderful and freeing. My family is important to me, and I want them to share in my happiness. I know that it is naive of me to think that everyone should just accept my lifestyle with the same enthusiasm. Not everyone will get it. However, I do not ever want to feel like I am hiding who I am, or that I am ashamed of my second lover. I will be patient in sharing my news. I will let it be exposed naturally and will not be afraid of anyone’s reaction. I understand that my life is really no one else’s to live, but I want to share it. I just have to remember it will all happen in good time.
Written by Lavena Burke
Edited by WritetoMind