I've been thinking about “flaunting” again – as in “do you have to flaunt your sexuality?” and how we should be all closeted to protect ever-so-delicate Hetlandia from our presence. And it irritates me in so many ways – and one of those ways is the cost of it.
I don't just mean the emotional cost of having to hide, the repression, the shame, the self-hatred – but the actual effort of constantly running your life through a filter.
I think we all know that filter. Even though a long time ago I decided to be as out as was physically possible and refuse to hide or duck my head any more, that filter's still there and it still gets applied. I'm not brave enough or foolish enough or have nearly enough energy to do away with it completely.
And that filter is tiring. Every question has to be passed through it, evasions and lies considered, examined and discarded or adapted. And damn if that isn't tiring, even now when I largely shut the filter down and try to answer without it – it still fires up and activates the closet instincts. Before when I nearly always used the filter it was even more draining – because everything someone said to me or I said back had to be run through the filter to ensure that the BIG DARK SECRET was hidden.
Just looking at today and the conversations I've had and the things I've been asked the filter has kicked in, even when I've turned round and kicked it out.
“Who's that in the car?”
Filter: my husband, no wait people argue about that, civil partner? How about just partner? Boyfriend? What's going to cause least agro? Friend? Acquaintance? Hitchiker! What car? There is no car! Deny the existence of the car! Wait, no, it's a stranger! AND HE'S STEALING MY CAR! Or, maybe just say his name, don't mention any relationship, that'd work... assuming I just picked up random guys...
“What did you do over the weekend?”
Filter: spent all day with Beloved debating decorating the living room... no! That's gay relationship AND interior designing! We were having sex no, damn it how is that better?! Watching TV. Alone! No with women. No, I went out caving, yes I spent the weekend caving! Spelunking all the way... damn it, is that an innuendo? Without men! No, with women! Alone? Can you spelunk alone? Damn it – I spent the weekend alone, reading. In my living room – which is a cave! And totally undecorated!
Ok, maybe these are more panicked flailing – though gods know I've done enough of that in my time and activate the filter enough and sooner or later you're going to get the odd panicked flail – but the constant picking and choosing of lies, what's the most plausible, what's the most reasonable, what will result in the least questions, what will stop future questions, what's going to need backing up? And there's the constant worry with lies – the need to keep track of them. What if later in the day I say I spent the weekend watching cheesey DVDs rather than reading in my cave? You have to keep track of the lies – and that gets harder and harder (stop it. Yes you were, you know you were). as the lies get more elaborate. And ye gods that is TIRING
And these are just 2 questions. Today I've answered multiple questions about my birthday plans, talked Christmas shopping, spoke about how a problem with my computer was fixed, discussed hair dye, spoke about 4 things Beloved had told me about, my kindle addiction, what I had for dinner last night, that I had to go shopping at lunch, why I'd prefer someone to use a different word choice (AGAIN), why I've lost a pen – and these are just a few off the top of my head.
All of these questions, answered without lying, would out me. They would all reference Beloved, my relationship or simply being gay. They all necessitate the dreadful sin of “flaunting” my sexuality. And that's before we get to simple things like the awful crime of kissing/touching and the dreadful decisions of whether it's ok to sit next to him or not – can we go out to dinner together or do we need to bring more people so it's not a date? Am I stood too close? Whose watching, who can see is anyone upset/angry/sitting on a cactus expression?
So, yeah, here's little ol' me “flaunting” my sexuality because not “flaunting” is a lot of work. I just don't have the energy not to flaunt.