National Coming Out Day logo, designed by arti...

All my life I have been the “unique one” in my family.  At the age of 5 I was determined to be the next Reba McEntire, and it didn’t get any more normal for me from there.  I don’t think it was any surprise to my family that I chose some sort of alternative lifestyle.  I think the main question was which one I would pick and when.  That being said, I never really came out to my family about any of it.  If anything they outed me to themselves.

I have been a decidedly practicing pagan since before I moved out on my own, and my daily practices before that all had pagan flavour no matter what I called it.  I never hid my alter, my tools, or my jewelry.  No one asked.  My dad did ask me once to light a candle for something for him, but beyond that no one mentioned it until I was wedding planning.  No one had heard of a handfasting, and my mother-in-law had been telling people we were having a “traditional Celtic wedding”.  With a guest list of Catholics, Lutherans, Protestants, Jews, and a few others thrown in for good measure, we expected some questions, and we worked hard to put together a ceremony that was both true to our spirituality and not alienating for our guests.  In the end we heard nothing but good about our ceremony, and it was everything we’d dreamed of.  I guess, in a way, it was our coming out, and we did so my showing how beautiful our spirituality can be.

I’ve felt my sexuality from a very young age.  I don’t think there was ever a question in my mind or heart that I was Pansexual, even if I didn’t have the words for any of it.  My mother never told me I was wrong, and it was just who I was.  I never felt the need to have a “coming out”.  I did try to talk about it a few times, but it never resulted in anything memorable.  Though he had heard me use the word “girlfriend”, the first time my father and I ever discussed it he had met my girlfriend and was more concerned about the trappings of polyamory than anything else.  That was the same weekend Hubby and took him to his first Pride festival.  He wasn’t particularly comfortable, but he went along with us and did what he has always done as my dad.  He watched and listened and didn’t judge or protest.

Our talks with our respective families about polyamory was as close as I have ever come to “coming out”.    Hubby just up and mentioned our girlfriend in conversation one day.  My dad asked me on a visit from California because my grandmother had taken to reading my blog and had given it her own twist.  In each case the conversation was calm and pretty well received.  Both parents met our partners at the time, and once they were sure we were being safe and that we were both happy with the arrangement they were fine.

A lot of my lazy “coming out” process can be attributed to social media.  I only have the energy and time for one Facebook, so all my friends and family get to see the same online persona.  I have had cousins I didn’t know paid that much attention tell me they think it’s really positive how I live.  This past summer I had a really relaxed conversation about polyamory with my grandmother, dad, and a cousin, and no one seemed weirded out about it.

This has been my experience more often than not in my family, and for that I can be grateful, because I know it isn’t the case for everyone.  I am in constant awe and appreciation that I can discuss men who are not my husband with my mother-in-law and she doesn’t even bat an eye.  I feel like I could tell my dad I like to paint myself purple and roll in marshmallows and he wouldn’t judge me unless it led to some kind of jail time.  I’ve never felt the need to make a grand gesture of “coming out” because I’ve never felt like I wouldn’t be accepted for being who I am and acting accordingly.

There is a saying that “coming out” is something we do every time we meet someone new, and it’s true.  I do it whenever I mention my husband and my girlfriend in casual conversation.  I do it whenever our whole family goes somewhere together and I don’t introduce our partners as “friends”.  I do it when I wear rainbow or pentagram jewelry or someone sees my poly heart tattoo.  I do it by how I live, because I refuse to censor myself for strangers.  If you ask about my family, my holidays, or my home I will tell you the truth.  This is just the way it is for me, no matter what day it is.

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