I had a post all written up and ready to go today, but I wanted to share this instead. It’s an open letter to several people I know, a letter I cannot send right now. Maybe, someday, I will have the courage. But until then, I will keep it here in the anonymity of the internet.
Thank you for the lovely dinner last night. The spaghetti was delicious, and the cake was the best I’d eaten in a long time. I love how our kids get along. The boys really enjoy playing with each other, and I know it makes you happy to see my daughter in all of her sparkly pink and purple glory. I was greatly amused by the stories you and your husband shared about your travels.
I’m afraid I may have judged you in the past. I thought you might be like the other moms at our little school. The “popular clique” moms. The ones who always look through me to talk to their friends standing behind me in the parent pick-up area.
But we’ve been growing closer. We’ve gotten chances to chat at soccer games and school events, and I’ve come to realize you aren’t one of the Stepford moms that populate our small town. Our boys have grown close these few years.
And I want to be closer to you, but there is something I need to tell you.
I’m queer, and my husband and I are in a polyamorous marriage.
And this is something I can never share with you, because I am afraid you will not let my son be friends with your son anymore. Because of the weird double standard here in our society, where violence is fine but sex is taboo. Where if my husband was cheating a lying, it would be somehow OK, but an open marriage is a terrible sin.
If I could, I’d tell you how we ended up here. How I could never, ever imagine a life where I am not married to my best friend, the man I fell in love with at 17 and have been falling in love with ever since. But I was dating another girl when he and I met, and, to be honest, it seemed perfectly natural to not choose. I didn’t see why a choice was supposed to be made. I’d tell you of the years of depression that, looking back, I believe stemmed from me trying to hide this side of my life in the guise of a perfect Christian wife. I’d tell you of the cracking and crumbling of that faith, and I’d tell you of the gentle loving woman whom I did not deserve who loved me anyways, and who brought me, blinking, into the light of loving myself and others. I’d tell you of my patient, loving husband, who’s been there the whole time, helping me through the hurt and teaching me how to love.
I’d tell you we aren’t predators, that our kids know no more of our intimate lives than any 9- and 5-year-olds would. I’d tell you this is a community that protects the children within, because of the pure hatred and misunderstanding that abounds on the outside. I’d tell you that my poor children have 4 parents to boss them around and that the sweet woman you know as their “auntie” is actually my husband’s mistress, my boyfriend’s wife. I’d tell you we aren’t monsters, that our marriage is not on the rocks, that it is, in fact, stronger than it ever has been. We’ve had to build communication skills, work through issues of trust and jealousy, and we have come out far stonger for it.
And I thought, perhaps, you’d be someone who would understand. You have travelled internationally, you were raised by the sweetest lesbian couple I have ever met, and I was just this close, last night, to telling you. When you asked what I blog about, for one split second, I thought about telling you. But I held back, scared, and when I was talking out the evening with my husband, he told me of some comments you made, and I’m glad I did censor myself. Kind of.
We spend so much time, anymore, with other families like ours, that I forget how closed off the rest of society still is. And it makes me sad that I don’t feel I can fully trust you, not yet at least. Not here, in this small town, with small children… I’ve made long strides away from what one partner called my “walk-in closet”, but I know it’s still there and would love to welcome me back, if I was willing to go.
Maybe someday, you will see this letter, dear Friend, and we will laugh over how silly I was. Maybe you will hug me, and reassure me that it was all in my head, that I had nothing to worry about. Maybe you would be the type to love me anyways, and continue laughing with me. And I would like that, very much.
You see, there is a terrible irony of living a life of limitless love. Sometimes, people hate you for it.