I came to a realization a few nights ago regaring something I’ve sort of mentioned in a previous post. As the baby of the family I was constantly reminded growing up that I was known to some only by my other relationships. I was her sister or his daughter or so on. Since then it’s always been a little bit of an irritation for me. I don’t want to be known by my relationships I want to be known as me, as a whole person, as myself.
I discovered when leaving Juneau for the first time that I had that opportunity. I was no longer bound by the familial or other relationships I was locked in to in my home town. I could be as flamboyant and outrageous as I desired, or I could safely lurk in the shadows, and no one would be the wiser, they wouldn’t have any information about me before I gave it to them.
When I moved to Salt Lake City to be with Onyx I fell back into that role. I was Onyx’s girlfriend, known by my relationship, known by association. Needless to say it irritated me again, and that irritation (among other things, really) kept me from getting to know some people I wish I had. I didn’t see the whole picture.
Upon deciding to return to Seattle I worried quite a bit about being known by my relationship again. In the few months I was gone (and some in the previous year) Onyx developed or strengthened a number of friends and acquaintences and I have been wondering how I will or won’t fit into those. I don’t have to fit in to all or any of them, but I’ve been wondering about it and wondering how my meeting them through him, being known by association, would affect my relationship with them. I realized, though, that this is more my issue than anyone elses.
When going to Tristan Taormino’s workshop at Babeland on Making Open Relationships Work, afterwards when I was able to talk with her, I introduced myself to her in relation to two things: I reviewed her awesome porno Rough Sex, and she knows my older sister. She also recognized me from Twitter as I @replied her regarding attending her workshop. Thinking about it afterwards I wondered why, when I spent so much time worrying about being known by association, why would I knowingly and purposefully put myself in that situation?
What I came up with was a bit of a happy revelation. First, specifically for that situation, she had other ways of associating me other than my sister, which made it a little safer, but I also knew that would be something which would help me stand apart. It was a way for her to remember me, being a help to me rather than a hinderance.
This is only the most recent example, and the rest of the events of the day definitely contributed to this as well, I think, but this is what made it snap in my head.
I’m responsible for making myself a whole person in the eyes of others.
It seems so simple, it seems ridiculously simple, it was one of those “duh” moments where I would have smacked myself on the forehead if I had not been lying in bed in the dark next to Onyx when I wanted to be sleeping but my mind was too buzzy to turn off yet.
What does it mean, though, really? It’s more than just what it says, because I knew that, but it’s the way that sentence applies to this situation that I hadn’t yet put together. Basically it means I need to stop assuming people have preconceived notions about me, stop worrying about what they might possibly already think about me or what they might possibly assume, and actively work to make sure they see me as a person if I care enough to do so.
I mean, I knew it was my responsibility to do so, but instead of embracing that as meaning I should stop worrying and just do it I let my worry overtake me and stop me from even trying to make myself a whole person because I was pidgeonholed into this role. In reality, while I’m sure there are plenty of people who do see me “just” as Onyx’s partner or “just” by my familial relations or whathaveyou, the assumption that someone I don’t know my own self would do that is vastly unfair.
I think this is a step toward becoming less isolated and more outgoing, caring less what people think, being more comfortable in social situations, and being more comfortable to be the real me.