Discrection and Compartments

I've been lucky in many ways. For almost my entire adult life I've had
the luxury of being "out" to everyone close to me. Although it wasn't
by choice, my parents found out all the gory details of my relationship
pretty early on. When you live in a family comprised of one man and two
women, the neighbors notice. We even came out to the school. I've
never held a job where it mattered one way or the other if people
figured out what was going on at home. I couldn't afford to. Having an
unorthodox living arrangement and having appeared in adult films come
together to make things not worth hiding.

So why don't I have this same luxury now? Basically, because our wife left us.

Nowadays I am living a much more conventional life. It is just myself, Master, and our three kids. I am his partner in public and now nobody gives us funny looks. There is no longer any question as to whether I am the nanny, or the sister, or something even weirder. Everyone assumes he is my husband and acknowledges me as his wife although I have never used those words with the people we encounter.  The kids' teachers tell us how wonderful it is that we can all parent together and give the kids more love. Ironic I think that this is such a beautiful situation in the eyes of the new school, but the old school viewed three parents living together and parenting as a detriment.

I no longer have the luxury of staying home with the kiddos, and I have a professional job in a professional setting.  That's wonderful because it means we are slowly getting our lives back in order, but it does come with a cost.

Lately I feel that nobody knows the real me. I may not have a wife anymore, but I am still bisexual and poly oriented. I am still kinky and need and want direction and guidance. I am still submissive. This is still the life I expect to lead and direction I expect to see our family travel in.

Worst of all? I can't ever let it be known that I am going through personally difficult times. The people around me all day every day can't know that I've lost someone I consider a life partner and that I am struggling to rebuild my life. I just have to act like this is normal.

I suppose some of it is still in the open. Some people have figured out there is something odd going on since my youngest "step" child is only 3 but I've been with my partner for six years.  Coworkers scratch their heads when I talk about how involved I am in the parenting of my "step" children. People still let it be known they think I take on too much of the household management when I happen to let slip a regular detail of our lives. So they know I am submissive and service oriented.

They know Master has a lot of control. They just don't know why, and I can't defend myself or him. I just have to keep saying how happy I am and hoping they believe me and don't see me as an unwitting victim. This really bothers me.

I don't really have an answer to this.  I have never figured out the lines in this regard. So it's all new territory for me.

Oh, and I just found out I am in trouble today for using too many cell minutes. But of course, I now need to go on with my day and not let anyone know I'm having a rough day because I have no way to explain it. Have I mentioned I am terrible at this?

6 thoughts on “Discrection and Compartments

  1. Mija

    There are few things that are harder for me than hearing my family, especially Paul, criticized by people who don’t know them. It makes me say really cold things in order to re-estabilish distance because honestly I don’t want them to be comfortable doing that. But then I know you’re more open then I am and that may well be a better way to be. Work is tiring for me partly because I’m never really comfortable when I’m away from home (school was the same when I was a child). I feel guarded and surrounded by strangers.
    The funny thing is, no one usually notices at work that I don’t talk about home (well, I do talk about my extended family slightly more — I don’t mind people knowing a bit about my childhood, but can’t ever seem to talk about the present in a meaningful or honest way). They’re all so busy talking about their spouse and children.
    The part of your entry that was so thought provoking is this idea that by losing someone, something I know both you and your master are still mourning, your family has become “normal” to outside eyes. I’d guess that makes the distance between home and away feel even bigger than usual.

  2. Bridget

    I am sure no one notices the distance other than me. There are lots of off limits topics, but as you said everyone is busy talking about themselves.
    I think you are also right that appearing more normal to everyone else makes the feeling that much more intense. I also think it may have to do with not being very well suited to a corporate environment anyway because I don’t like having to put walls up. I’d rather just surround myself with people I can be close to, you know?
    I didn’t this very well in in this post, but I think the biggest problem I have with it is the stress. I am not good at censoring myself and wondering which detail may be acceptable and which detail may not. I’ve spent so many years being fully open it is hard to know what others may find bizarre.
    For instance – I once mentioned to our IT guy a quiz I’d taken on okcupid (to do with identifying serial killers vs. programmers). He didn’t care about the quiz content but said, “okcupid? Aren’t you MARRIED?” That never even occurred to me to censor, and there have been other instances similar to it.

  3. sparkle

    Well, why DID you take the quiz? Was it because it was funny? Were you not married then? I wouldn’t have censored it, except maybe (if I’d thought about it) to use the word “online” in place of “okcupid”. I mean, the only *really* wrong response would have been “Well, I wanted to find a hot chick for my Master.”
    I’ve been thinking about this for days. I think sometimes we all slip, and the trick is in how much we do NOT overreact to the slippage. One time I told someone that it hurt when I sat down. I then had to explain calmly, at the responding odd look, that I’d done a lot of work outside and had used muscles that hadn’t been exercised for awhile.
    Not to mention, the first time Chris buggered me (how can you say that politely, even to a group of perverts?) he left the lube on the couch and his uncle came to visit…
    Mija made a good point about people talking about their spouses and children. I try not to talk about mine either in a professional setting (though you wouldn’t know that from Facebook or twitter or my blog, heh). In fact, it feels ODD when Amory’s name comes up in conversation with a colleague, or someone asks about her. To some extent, I think there are good vanilla reasons for not constantly chattering about the family at work if you can leave it off — it does detract somewhat from one’s professionalism. On the other hand, you want them to know enough about the family to feel sympathy when you one of them breaks an arm (or something) and you have to leave mid-day and get to the hospital because etc etc.
    To finish off this totally unfocused comment, I think that in most situations there are good valid vanilla reasons for doing something that you are doing for relationship reasons. I feel as though I’m saying you need to learn how to lie… but you need to learn how to lie. (But not to HIM, I mean at work.) Or, at least learn to role play Pleasantville while you’re at work.

  4. Bridget

    I’ve been thinking for a couple of days about how to respond to this. I am not sure I really have anything to add, but I wanted you to know that I think I get where you’re coming from.
    The thing is, it isn’t that I can’t lie. Like you I have to explain myself all the time when I slip and it isn’t a big deal. For instance, the okcupid incident I mentioned I had no trouble explaining I was on the site for the quizzes and thought it was funny. That’s no problem.
    The thing is, and what I think this really comes down to, is I don’t want to. I agree it would be completely unprofessional to discuss my kinky and alternative lifestyle at work. I agree there is no reason for it. But, that doesn’t change the fact that I hate it.
    Maybe that is why I am really best suited to staying at home, or working in the adult industry. It is silly to me that I can’t acknowledge those things in my life which are most important to me.
    It’s funny, I went out to lunch with my boss to celebrate my birthday and she started asking me about my family. I mentioned that one of my coworkers had joked that I was Amish because we didn’t get TV channels. Later the conversation moved on to my kids (people find my having 3 kids at my age shocking), and she wanted to know how I dealt with their mother. I told her that I get along fine with their mother and we do a lot of parenting together. Her response? “Wow. So you’re not just Amish, you’re Mormon too.”
    What that indicated to me is that no matter how discrete we try to be, people who are important to us stand out. It may not be professional, but honestly I don’t think professionalism is necessarily the gold standard for how we should conduct ourselves.
    Gory details? Nah. Basic concepts such as, “I am a parent (as opposed to the nanny).” or, “These are the people I am sharing my life with.” are another matter all together.
    Maybe not totally related, but on the flip side of this I used to have trouble with the idea that I’d never get to go to an office Christmas party with either Master or CC. Not because I wanted to go to the party per se, but because it meant I could never be fully acknowledged in their lives. This is the same sort of thing, just reversed.

  5. dykegrrl

    Not because I wanted to go to the party per se, but because it meant I could never be fully acknowledged in their lives. This is the same sort of thing, just reversed.
    I was surprised at how much this post resonated with me, given that I’m able to be fairly “out” in my day-to-day life (one of the few advantages of being too disabled to work).
    I don’t necessarily talk about discipline with everyone, although quite a few of our friends know about it. We kind of cheated with some of the friends, by attributing my need for discipline to me being multiple, because it’s way easier for them to accept that non-adult parts need discipline than that an adult does.
    But there’s still the strain of needing to keep some things closeted for W’s benefit. Technically, her workplace is not allowed to discriminate based on sexual orientation. But at the same time, she had enough trouble the one time she admitted to students that she was a lesbian that we’re both immensely careful now. And that’s just about being a couple, not even the parts about discipline.
    What’s funny is that being my disciplinarian has really improved W’s skills in the classroom as well, because she’s had to learn to be much more authoritative, consistent, all of that kind of thing. But it’s not the kind of thing one brings up in a performance review. 🙂

  6. Sandy

    I understand how you feel Bridget. I think being poly, kinky, and a parent is hard. You want to be normal and accepted by the world even though your family is so different that most people can hardly accept it, let alone understand it. Sometimes though you just have to be who you are.
    When my 9-year-old daughter began to get close to my Master and his other submissive she finally asked me one day if she was his ‘other’ girlfriend. We were in a small coffee shop having some much needed mother/daughter time. I sat there and explained to her what it meant to be poly and how the three of us loved each other and wanted all of us to be a family some day. She told me our family was like different pieces of a puzzle and when it was put together it would be beautiful.
    After our conversation the two women behind us stopped at our table and told me that I was a wonderful mother and had a beautiful family. I know they heard our whole conversation. I was proud then, that I was teaching my daughter to not be ashamed of having a different kind of family.
    I guess my point is that you are not alone. There are some people who understand that there are many different family dynamics. I also somewhat understand what you are going through. When our other partner left the relationship I felt lost. I was as crushed by her absence as he was, but didn’t feel valid in expressing my emotions to others. No one really seemed to understand. It must be so hard for you because your relationship was much longer. I hope it gets better for you.


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