Life is different out here. I live in a city in the middle of cornfields. Most of the people out here seem to have an idea about farming, even though they aren’t farmers themselves. They tend to be fairly conservative, fairly religious, and fairly traditional. So me, the poly guy, out here in this city in the cornfields, well… let’s just say life can be interesting.
It’s not that there aren’t other polyamorous people out here; there most certainly are. They’re just really hard to find sometimes. They hide themselves, for a myriad of reasons, though it’s usually to avoid shame. I’ve been looking for the better part of five years now, and I think I’ve finally found a dozen or so in my city. I know there’s more, but people out here are that far in the closet about these things. If their boss, their family, their pastor, their friends, anyone found out who they are, it can get pretty ugly pretty fast. There’s always some tension about not wanting to be open.
And that tension isn’t just here, though it definitely appears to be strong here. In another city, about an hour away, is one of the only poly groups in the area that isn’t focused on one of the big cities. The poly group speaks pretty honestly and openly at their meet-ups, unlike the other groups in the area. I don’t know if that’s just a function of where the meet ups are, or because of the group of people though.
Being closeted doesn’t work for me though. Call me crazy, but I don’t hide well and I don’t lie well. I don’t exactly shout it off the rooftops that I’m poly, but I feel like I’m one of the only openly poly people in my area. A lot of the poly or sex positive people out here have some sort of a pen name or moniker that they go by, to protect their identity. Not me. A few have been hunted and targeted for their lifestyle. Not me. I don’t know if that’s because I treat it as something normal, or what. It does mean that I tend to answer lots of questions about what polyamory is, and what it isn’t.
For the most part, I’ve been fairly well received. I may be viewed as odd at times, but certainly not unlikeable or crazy. I’m a fairly well-adjusted and normal person. Who just happens to be dating four (wonderful!) ladies at the moment. But they’re pretty alright and normal too. I’ve had very little negative reaction, including when I brought it up in the workplace. I worked for a small business here, and everyone on my team knew that I was polyamorous. Some of them didn’t really get it, but no one was upset over, and I didn’t lose anything over it.
Don’t get me wrong, it is something that I have lost some friends over. However, this is something that is a part of me, a really big part of me, and I am not going to change or go back in the closet to make other people happy. I want to be even more open about it. I want to be an activist in the community. And as much as it hurts to lose people close to me, I can’t let them drag me back. I’ve already seen myself inspire others, and it always amazes me, just how much of a difference one voice can make. I want to build a community for others like me, for other poly people.
I also can’t deny this part of who I am. It is undeniably and indelibly part of me. Whether I’m single, engaged, married, or dating a few ladies, that doesn't define who I am. I am poly, and I'm proud of that. So, I’ll stay here in the cornfields and build a community here. I’m not the only one out here. I’ll just try to be the voice that brings us together.