Families, Facebook and Finding Balance

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Yesterday I was reading through my blogs, as I do every day, and one of them was this blog. I thought it had some very nice points about the poly community, some things that I related to and some I just thought were useful to think about. As I tend to do with blogs I find interesting, I clicked the two little buttons required of me and reposted the article. I made no comment on it, just posted it. A couple of my friends liked it.

Then this morning as I was at work at obscenely early o’clock I got a notification that my aunt had commented on the post. I cannot quote the comment because she’s since deleted it but essentially she quoted a Bible verse about things hiding in darkness and then said that this article was a commentary on the sorry moral state of our times. I was annoyed but figured my best option was to ignore.

Let me explain about my aunt because it’s important. We’re not close. We’ve never been close. Their family lived overseas for the majority of my life and now do again. Growing up I saw them approximately every two years for five days or so. I remember being more fond of my uncle and never quite connecting with my aunt, although I will say I do remember her making attempts. One year she bought me a game they had as a family that I had particularly enjoyed, she took me shopping at least once, a few things like that. Still, we do not have a relationship as such and we never really have. Which made what followed all the more perplexing to me. She deleted her comment and instead sent me a message.

“Hi, this is aunt S here, instead of commenting publicly on your recent post there, I thought it better to send a private message. I have dropped onto your FB only very infrequently in the last years but the recent article on Polyamory has me a little confused. Can I ask you something, do you consider yourself a beleiver? It’s very unclear and I am just curious…wonder if you would indulge me this?”

I’ll be responding this evening and my response will have nothing to do with her question and only to do with the very true fact that I have no desire to discuss my personal life with family, given the rather delicate situation with my parents at present. But I must admit I was thrown. I have had a number of my father’s relatives on my FB for quite some time but they’re not active and I just sort-of forget they’re there.

See, what it really boils down to is that I’ve forgotten how to be careful. I’m 30 years old and for the first time in my life I feel so very safe and so very cared for. I am surrounded by people who love me and who know me and I do not have to hide or be ashamed. It’s everything I ever wanted and it means I lost my stealth skills. I used to be much better at this. I used to always remember who to say what in front of, when it was okay to swear, what conversation topics were the ones we did not touch in which room. I was better at talking  cautiously when necessary. It was a very different life and I did not feel so much like me and I would not go back. I do not find that I care what my parents know about my life, not for myself. But I have siblings still in contact with them; there are still repercussions on people I love. So as much as I would like to never have to worry again, there’s probably still some need for caution.

I guess the best part of all of this is seeing how time does heal. I never thought I would be able to forget how it felt to be so choked all of the time, how it felt to be planning my every move for safety. Those things were second nature to me and as I began to move way from them and understand how toxic it all was, I thought I would never forget what it tasted like. But the truth is that it’s been only a few years and I’m forgetting how heavy the air can feel. That is overwhelmingly positive but I still have to find a way to remember how to keep an audience in mind.

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