Compartmentalization

That’s not what I meant to say. What I meant to say is that having different identities in different social contexts is not necessarily the same thing as being closeted. We all have different facets to our personalities. By assuming different identities we get to explore those different aspects of our characters.

People are complicated. Sometimes they are contradictory. Different social contexts call for different ways of being and acting. Sometimes I say things in one persona that I would be embarrassed to say in others. Is that legitimate? Should we be bold enough to express all of our personality traits in all contexts? That seems dumb. We act differently towards our intimate partners than we do to our parents, or strangers on the subway, or our coworkers.

Or maybe it is cowardice. I am not closeted in my primary identity, but I am not vocal about my perversions either. I attend activities at my local LBGTQ resource centre (reading groups, walking groups), and I sometimes discuss these activities with straight people, but somehow I manage never to bring up that these are LGBTQ-themed activities. That seems like cowardice.

So I do whatever I can to keep different social contexts in my life separate from each other. When these contexts collide (for example, when somebody in one social context shows up in another) then things get weird and uncomfortable. Clearly I am not a well-integrated person. But being well-integrated is complicated, and life is unpleasant enough.

One reason I have started blogging here is that my other identities feel restrictive. There are things I feel I cannot express in those contexts. But even at this early stage, I can tell there are things I cannot express here either, and if I stick with this persona I can tell that the list of discomforts will grow and grow.

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