the things you leave unsaid

I think this may be the post I carefully haven’t been writing during the last few months’ near silence.  Because sometimes it’s what you’re not saying that really matters most.  It’s easy to witter on about knitting*, and post pretty pictures of sunsets; not so simple to write about love, and the way you want to live your life.

“Everybody’s a bit bisexual,”  was yesterday’s quote of the day (part of another conversation where I left the important things unsaid… I’m good at that…)  Well, maybe, but to put an Orwellian spin on it, I think some of us are more bisexual than others.  And the older I get, the farther left I’m hanging on that spectrum.  I really truly thought I was cool with this.  That’s the story I spun around myself: look at me, a kid from Chesterfield, sleeping with men and women!   No repressions here!

It’s easy enough to feel gay, self define as gay, blog gay (rule number 1: the internet is Not Real Life…), but living gay?  It’s one thing when you’re young, free and single and working in possibly the gayest university department ever (why, yes, anthropologists, I’m looking at you…), but fast forward 15 years to life as a respectable member of the community in a northern village, with children?  Really, not so much.

You want to experience truly deafening silence?  Let your guard drop for a moment at a PTA meeting, allow one tiny honest remark about preferring women to slip out.  One day you’ll laugh, but not until you’ve secretly cried yourself sick.  Easier to keep on pretending you’re into men.  You’ll lose all self-respect in the process, but at least someone might talk to you in the playground.

By the same reckoning, it’s easier to keep on living in that dead relationship: it’s the price of a pass in to the fringes of social acceptance.  Sometimes I wonder why I’m bothering to raise a brood of free-thinking individuals; why I’m preaching tolerance and acceptance, encouraging them to stand up for what they believe in, to live their lives true to their own selves, and to allow others to do the same.  Why, when I’m too scared to do that very thing?


(*Here, have a knitting picture to lighten the tone.  I think the birds are only gay in an early C20th sense.)


That is what’s in my head today.  Now… the sun is out, and so should I be…



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17 responses to “the things you leave unsaid

  1. jo

    Oh Love.

    Sending it.
    Recommending it.
    Communicating it.
    Give people a chance to accept it.

    By the way, did you know I was gay?
    Yup, big ol’ dyke me.
    (Knew you’d be shocked).

    Sending strength,

    • This comment made me smile, laugh out loud, and like myself just a little better when I read it just now in the playground…

      • jo

        Very pleased to hear it!
        Now do be a poppet and come visit. It’s noisy, down and dirty and even a bit crass here, but I know Lots of people who lean left and the love that dare not speak its name is positively multiloquent in these ‘ere parts!

  2. dawn

    As you say when you’re young it’s so very much easier – I really struggled with leaving Andy even though I knew it was the right thing just because it was scary and meant upsetting people and saying I/we weren’t the people that some people thought we were. And that was way more straightforward than your situation.
    Many hugs and much love

  3. Nell

    Re. your last paragraph you do it because of that memory of being yonger and braver, because hopefully you will bring them up and they will be brave enough to live lives true to themselves and because maybe just maybe it might help you be brave too.
    Which you are btw just to have been exploring all this.
    Much love xxx

  4. Jo (for purposes of the feedback Jo 2)

    Sexuality may define who we would like to sleep but it doesn’t define who we are; people are people and yes ‘us’ northerns may seem less open to things that by one way or another seem ‘out there’ but that would be the minority – surround your self with people that you love and remember What people think of you is non of your business. Be proud of who you are – easier said than done, I get you, I know. But you know what don’t surround yourself with people who get you down, yes the playground as a mother is just as bad as the playground when your a teenager. But you know what once again having substance in life is what it’s about not worrying about those who have no bareing on your happiness, sorround yourself with those who let you fly. one of my favourite quotes at the moment ‘ I am the master of my fate and the captain of my soul’ you are you don’t ever let anyone take that away from you.

  5. Oh the playground – they should be banned, I am sure the psychological damage playgrounds inflict is far greater than the benefits to our children!

    More seriously, you are who you are. You can’t be anything else, but you can make your life miserable by trying. Why do you raise a brood of free thinking individuals – because you are one and because you know the world will be a better place with more people like those you are raising your children to be.

    Standing beside you.

    • Liz

      Very similar to what Carolyn said, I read this on a blog earlier today – it was on an entirely different subject, but I think it also applies to you:

      “You are who you are and there is nothing wrong with that. People will judge and label no matter what you do, so you might as well be doing what you want to.”

      *hugs* Your real friends will still love you even if you sprout a couple of extra heads.

  6. Catriona

    You are being honest, which is extremely important. And if people in the playground don’t talk to you, that’s their loss. You have many other friends who aren’t so narrowminded.

  7. Stella

    “Why, when I’m too scared to do that very thing?”

    1) It’s wasn’t something previous generations generally did (By that I mean bring up children to be tolerant)
    2) You know that not everyone is preaching tolerance and acceptance to their children, even now.
    3) You were a controlled child, controlled even more than most of your peers, brought up to care more about what others might think than your own feelings. Free thinking and putting yourself first was met with abuse, and now has fear and guilt attached for you. It hasn’t stopped you from doing it, it’s just made it a hell of lot harder for you than it is for others.
    4) You are not only worrying about how others will behave towards you, but also J, BG, that Boy and LG. It’s a big weight to carry. I suspect if you pick it up you’ll find it’s packed with sand, but has a hole in the bottom…

  8. You are who you are. We are all that, but I think self-acceptance comes more easily to some than to others, and with your history, it will be and is very difficult for you. And sometimes we hide from ourselves and aren’t honest about who we are, and that just hurts us even worse. But you are incredibly brave and strong and a super friend!

  9. Today is the first day ive ready your blog and im so glad i found it. What a strong and brave post, i found it really moving and thought provoking. Such a pleasure to be a part of.

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