The Other Person in the Room

I like blogging about my opinions. I like taking my opinions out of my brain and putting them in little observational vials where I can poke and prod them, and others can poke and prod them with me.

My poly self was raised on Franklin Veaux’s thoughts about poly. I very much hope that there might, someday, be people raised, in part, on my thoughts about poly. As much as I want to be able to offer useful advice about poly (and the other things I write about), though, there is another reason I write about it that shapes how I write.

I was in a discussion about being poly and out not too long ago where I talked about one of the things I think about when I make the decision to be out about something, poly or otherwise.

When I think about coming out to people, I worry. Especially when I talk a lot about depression, about chronic pain, about my personal issues, etc., etc. I worry that people won’t want to hear about it, or will think that I’m being weak or whiny. When I talk about poly or BDSM, I worry about people thinking it’s immoral, or that I’m bragging, or that I’m doing it wrong.

In light of these insecurities, When I think about being out about something, I try to think about doing it for someone else, instead of for myself.

When I make the decision to talk about poly or kink or depression or chronic pain, I think about doing it, in part, for the other person in the room. I try to imagine that there is one person – in every conversation, every thread, every blog post, every panel – who is exactly like me. One person who is depressed or anxious or poly or kinky or chronically ill who just can’t stand to talk about it.

I think about those moments in my life when another person spoke up about being the same as me, and how relieving those moments were. Suddenly some part of me would become warmer. Where that part had felt fearful and brittle – where I had kept that part in a little house in my brain with a “Beware of dog” sign in the yard, and a reminder on the door that read “No one can know.” – something changed. Maybe that something was just that I felt a little bit more comfortable with myself and my parts. Maybe it was more than that. Either way, that warming is always a positive thing.

I try to talk about the things that I’m afraid to talk about. I try to talk about the things that I’m worried will come off as weak or whiny or shameful or difficult because maybe there is that one person, just one other person in the room who will feel a little bit warmer for my having talked. The more worried I am, the more that I hope I will find the courage to talk, because the more worried I am, the more worried that other person in the room probably is, and the more my talking may help them.

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This is a big part of the reason why I try to talk about personal things, instead of just opinions. It’s a part of why I blog, and it’s a part of why I think everyone should blog. We all need company, and even if you aren’t very good at writing, and you don’t have any strong opinions about things, and you don’t have any wisdom you think is particularly useful, you are still like other people. You can still be company.

You can still be that person who is just enough like me to make me feel a little less alone, and even if I have nothing else to say, sometimes I can be that person who is just enough like you to make you feel a little less alone.

Even if all you can be is company, that is a big thing to be.

So don’t just write when you’re happy or inspired or any of the things you think people think you’re supposed to be. Write when you’re sad. Write when you’re depressed. Write when you don’t know what to do. Write when you can’t handle things anymore. Write when you’re afraid.

Write when you are unacceptable.

Write for the other unacceptable people in the room.

By ResearchToBeDone Posted in other

One comment on “The Other Person in the Room

  1. Thank you! I have been unable or unwilling to blog for a while now, I think because I have to say something meaningful and while I am slowly dragging myself out of a depressive pit I have nothing to share but misery. High five other person in the room!

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