“Othering” aka pointing the finger at others~ another rant… sorry kids

It has become more and more apparent to me this semester that our society is obsessed with the idea of Othering and marginalization. As humans we seem to continually feel the need to point our finger at someone else and say “you do not belong. you are too weird.” Why? What do we gain from this excluding of others? A feeling of self-righteousness? A feeling that no matter how awful we are as an individual, that there is always someone out there that is fatter than us, dumber than us, not as cool as us, freakier than us, more outside the box- so that we somehow can feel like we’re included in “normal” society. Excuse my language, but fuck that!!!

No one is normal! And trying to be normal is selling out who you are. We should embrace our differences! We should be proud of the body we’ve been given. We should celebrate our quirkiness, our off-kilter way at looking at the world. We should look in the mirror and truly study the planes and angles that make up our physical being; because you know what, no one is exactly like you! Even if you’re an identical twin sharing the same dna, there are still intrinsic differences between you. And rather than admonishing them, you should be rejoicing in those differences. Why do we feel like we need to be clones of each other? That to be accepted into society we need to fit into this one teeny tiny very specific little box. Screw that noise! I want to bust open the sides of every box. I want to spread my wings and laugh in the face of normalacy.

I navigate pretty damn well within the construct of this reality. I work and go to school. I’m graduating with high honors. I have an amazing relationship with my partners. I have wonderful friends. I’m working on my issues and continually try to help others in whatever capacity they need. I’m open and honest with people and I’m comfortable with who I am. Shouldn’t that be a good thing? Shouldn’t it be a positive thing that I have a loving relationship with my amazing husband, and that we are able to communicate effectively and have a marriage and a love that works for us? It’s OUR lives. The only people that what we do affects, is Alan and GG. We’re just living our lives the way we see is healthy and functional for US. For our little familial unit.

But I refuse to hide in a closet because I dont’ fit into some little mold that others expect me to be in. I refuse to act in whispers and hushed tones and deny who I am, or whom I choose to love. I think I have the same right to love and show my love, just as any straight, heteronormative, monogamous couple. What, I should lie and cheat on my husband like “normal Americans?” Because that is what is acceptable and “normal” and “healthy”? Uhh… no. No it’s not. I don’t want Scot and I get a divorce. Neither one of us want that. We are incredibly in love with one another. We communicate probably better than most couples do. But because it’s “too out there,” “too outside the realm of normal,” then we should all of a sudden desist. Live a lie? Not be who we both are as individuals and as a couple? I didn’t hold a gun to Scot’s head and say “You have to do this.” Yes, when we got back together I told him that this is who I still am (as I was this way when we first got together so many years ago). And we discussed what our life was going to be like when we got married. We both went into our relationship with full disclosure and full responsibility and total honesty with ourselves and with each other. That’s why our marriage, and our polyamory, works so damned well. Because we talk! Why did he agree to marry me? Because he loves and accepts ALL OF ME! He accepts me exactly as I am. He isn’t trying to change me!

But apparently some people think that we should not be quite so public about our polyamory. Yes, most of my family knows that we’re this way. But I don’t usually talk to them about it because I know they don’t want to hear about it. We try not to “flaunt” our lifestyle in front of our families because we know it would make them uncomfortable.  And as much as it hurts Alan’s feelings that he will never be accepted by my family, that they think he’s somehow breaking apart my marriage, he continues to not only stick by my side, but only wishes the best for my family. It hurts him that we’ll never get to have a “real” wedding. He’s never been married before, and if he stays with me, he’ll never have that traditional ceremony that most couples get. He won’t have any sort of legal right with me. And that’s not fair. We’ve been together for over two years now, and my family doesn’t even want to acknowledge his existence. Or if they do acknowledge it, they want to sweep it under the rug and heaven forbid outsiders know. Heaven forbid I want to bring him to Thanksgiving dinner. So instead, Scot and I have to duck and dodge, we have to run interference and do all these weird dances to make sure that we try to accomodate our families and make them feel as comfortable as possible. In the meantime, we both feel like we’re not getting to be truly ourselves. This is further made crystalline apparent now that GG has entered into our unit. Because now, like Alan, she’s going to have to suffer the same pain and rejection; and that absolutely kills Scot and me and Alan.

You know…. love is love. Bi-racial couples faced segregation, othering, marginalization, and oodles of heartache back in the sixties and seventies. Finally in the 80s and 90s they started to feel the comfort of being able to walk hand in hand inside a mall or down a road and not have to constantly look over their shoulder to see if someone was making some snide comment or gesture. The gay rights movement has suffered the same heart wrenching path. I smile every time I see a same sex couple walking around hand in hand. Because I know they battled so hard to have that freedom, to not have to worry quite so much about expressing their love. Every time a group becomes included in the “norm,” another group has to take the place as the outsider. Trans people, the kink community, and poly people are now the outsiders. We now are the ones that will be pointed at and hated and misunderstood. It is time for us to link arms and stand up for our right to love the way we want to love. We are going to have to lead the way, carve the path as so many Others have done before us, so that one day newer generations can have the freedom to love and be accepted the way we are wanting to be right now. We’re going to have to face bullying. We’re going to have to face ridicule and hatred and bigotry and people just not getting us. We have to band together and show our faces. Show that we’re not just freaky people with purple hair, we’re not just pierced and tattooed weirdos, we’re not strange people. We’re in fact the white guy in the power suit, we’re the English teacher teaching your children, we’re the doctors fixing your wounds, and yes, we are also the weirdos that you’ve already been casting out our entire lives.

I have always been the weird one. I have always been “Othered.” I have always been the strange one that doesn’t fit in, or get picked for any team. I’m the one that gets overlooked. I’m used to not fitting in. But I refuse, let me repeat that, I fucking REFUSE to let anybody tell me whom and how I should love!!! That is not YOUR right! You do not have that power or authority over me. You do not have the right over anybody but yourself! You don’t like the way I love, or whom I love? Fine. That’s your perrogative. Dont’ be my friend. Don’t be around me. If you want to hate me or ostracize me for whom/how I love, fine…that’s your business. But that’s also YOUR loss. I only want to surround myself with people that will love me and accept me for exactly who I am. My being polyamory is NOT A FLAW! It’s not somethign that I should hide or pretend I’m not. I am proud of myself dammit! It’s taken me 36 years to become comfortable with myself. I’ll be damned if I’m going to let anyone force me into a box or change me. I will not give that sort of power to anyone.

We are all human. We are all different. Instead of casting out people because of differences- which causes wars, heartache, fighting, and general negativity all around- why not say hey, you’re different? that’s awesome! If that’s a childish way to think, then let me be innocent like a child. Because it’s the adults that are screwing up this planet.

Yes, I’m pissed. I’m not going to apologize for being mad. Nor should you apologize for being hurt, frustrated, angry, etc., when people try to put you down, when someone tries to say you don’t belong. You know what, I’ll take you in. You can belong with me. No matter who you are, I will accept you. Because that is actually the Christian thing to do. Beyond that, it’s the RIGHT thing to do. It’s what we’re supposed to do.

I love you dear readers. I will not tolerate hatred. I will not tolerate exclusion. I will not tolerate anyone Othering anyone for being just who they are. And you shouldn’t tolerate it either.

~Polyleigh

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4 thoughts on ““Othering” aka pointing the finger at others~ another rant… sorry kids

  1. Great post. It really does take time to accept being different to yourself, though once you do, it’s so rewarding. Thanks for sharing!

    • Thank you for reading! 🙂
      And you’re right, it takes a lifetime for us to learn to accept ourself just as we are. And it is work. As humans we go back and forth between acceptance, denial, changing, and rechanging.

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