It was pride weekend here in Chicago, so there was a lot of socializing going on for me. Specifically, Caroline and her husband had a poly barbeque on Saturday night, and Jamie had a bunch of people over for the parade (she lives right off of the parade route). I think that I am just now getting out of the cloud of booze and sun exposure from this weekend, and returning to something close to a normal state.
At Caroline’s barbeque, there was a point where I met some people who I hadn’t met before. Forgetting that this was blatantly advertised as a poly event, I checked in with her to make sure that it was cool to be out with her friends. In the end, we discovered that I had actually met these folks before, so it wasn’t even as big of a deal as I had initially thought.
And then at the parade, there were again some folks that I hadn’t met before, so I checked in before I stated making some social faux pas in mixed company. I don’t want to go about making people uncomfortable about interactions without some polite communication about where folks are at. I don’t want to make my friends go on some long explanation of what is going on with their weirdo friends, or inadvertently out them to people they wouldn’t want to be out to. Now, granted, this was at the pride parade, so there is already a level of acceptance built in there. But I want to be nice to everyone, and let them work their way into poly issues if they would like.
Except this is kind of a lie. Because there is totally a part of me that wants to throw polyamory around and maybe freak some monogamous people out. I believe in advocacy and awareness, and what better way to raise awareness than to be out and loud and let people take away from that what they will. And I want to be the person doing it, because I believe in these ideals so much that I want to be the loudmouth. I’m happy to be the one up front. I felt this all the more at pride, where it was about owning the way that you are and the way that you feel, and it felt really antithetical to have to couch my identity where there were a ton of people out on the street doing exactly the opposite.
But I don’t want to cause strife, and I don’t want to be a jerk about this all the time. So I do try to walk the line in-between. I’m super happy to talk about poly ideas and stories with folks once I know that they’re open to the idea. And maybe I’ll try to push those boundaries and hope that the people I’m talking to are thinking about these ideas in a way that they might not have done before. But out of respect for my friends, I’m happy to use a bit of tact before I start running my yap.
I think there’s always going to be a part of me that is going to out and loud and try to be a voice for awareness. I hope that at some point that part of me won’t need to feel this way, because there won’t be so many folks to freak out. For now, I’ll guess I’ll keep walking that line and let that part of me out once in a while.