So, as you can probably see on your right, there’s a nice box saying ‘Who is Xarra?’ which says I am:
Polyamorous, hetroflexible, agender, female bodied, egalitarian, human, gamer, larper, blogger, writer, photographer, bed hogger.
But recently, I’ve been questioning whether I’m ‘enough’ to fit some of those labels. Looking at me from the outside, you’d probably see a monogamous, straight, married with children, woman.
Currently I’m only dating/seeing M, my husband, so technically I’m in a monogamous relationship (he’s not seeing anyone else currently either). I’ve also only been in one other relationship at the same time as dating M (plus a kind of fling), so I’m not exactly experienced in multiple relationships. Hell, until I met T at University I’d never really been in a proper in person relationship (glossing over the online stuff) and we split up so I could date M. So I’m not really experienced in relationships in general. So I sometimes feel writing a blog about relationships and polyamoury is a little ambitious.
But I’m still very much in love with S and L still, even though I’m not dating them, and I do have experience with polyamory. I also think the main cxriteria for being poly is being able/willing to love/date multiple people and identifying as someone who is happy in multiple romantic or sexual committed relationships; I fit that criteria quite neatly and don’t see that changing any time soon.
Then there’s agender. I’ve worn dresses a few times recently, and I’ve actually liked the ones I’ve worn (with leggings, I loathe going barelegged because shaving, gusts of wind, and sitting down) and they’ve made me feel, well, feminine. Usually I slouch around in trousers (plain black for work, jeans, or jogging bottoms) and some form of non-buttoned top or t-shirt. I have zero interest in wearing most masculine coded clothing as I have a mild phobia of buttons – koumpounophobia if you’re interested – and men’s clothing involves far too many of them generally. I do, however, steal my husband’s t-shirts and socks, and I think I still have socks from other relationships around too.
However wearing the clothes generally coded to a gender doesn’t make you that gender. I have a friend on Facebook who looks stunning when they dress femme – and they have to remind people of their pronouns when they do so. They’ve made me realise that dressing to look good isn’t betraying my own mental image of who I am. I’d like to try binding at some point and be more androgenous, which my body (OK, breasts) isn’t really made for, and if I was more adventerous or got over the koumpounophobia a bit more, I might try wearing shirts. Particularly for LARP – one of my characters is also agender and I’d love to portray them better at events.
I also worry that I’m only adopting the idea of being agender to be ‘cool’ and ‘modern’ which would be a very bad thing to be doing, but I genuinely feel no real pull either way mentally, I only go by female generally because, well, that’s what I look like and it’s far easier. I really don’t want the stress of being a Mx at work and it would be a huge nightmare in my personal life. I think my ambivilance towards being any gender extends to not being bothered what other people see me as – although I would be irritated if I was fully femme dressed up and someone thought me male!
Regarding hetroflexible, I vary between that label and bisexual, but I’ve never actually loved or been intimate with a woman. So, do I really count as bisexual? I don’t find every woman attractive (but then I don’t find most men attractive) and there’s only been a couple I’ve thought I’d like to date – none of whom are currently interested. I’ve also only done anything with women in teenage fumbles when I was a teenager and much as I enjoyed them, that was many years ago now. There’s also the interesting question of if I’m agender then what do terms like bisexual and straight actually mean?
But the fact remains that I can find women attractive, I do like the feminine form and the body parts that are generally coded as female by society, and I’d definitely be interested in getting to know the right person with those body parts. I do wonder if I would be better to label myself as pansexual and sapiosexual as it’s the person rather than the gender that interests me and that I fall for, and I suspect there’s some inbuilt societial issues I have that prevents me from looking more openly for a non-male partner.
I think that to a large extent we have to use labels to identify ourselves (see my previous post about labels) and I try to limit myself to ones that are recognised by other people. We’re in a culture now where there’s hundreds of labels being created for people’s identities such as pomosexual and quoiromantic as well as things like demigirl which I have considered IDing as (due to the wondering if agender is right for me). Personally I think that it’s great that there’s so many possible identities, but also worry that we could end up with so many that you need a dictionary – or the Internet – to figure out what someone means or who they’re interested in. A lot of the time it’s only relevant if someone is someone you’re interested in, but it also affects pronouns, titles and other social interactions.
There’s also no rules on when a label is ‘allowed’ to apply to someone. There appears to be certain social expectations that if you ID as straight, you’ll be interested in the opposite gender, and if you’re polyamorous you’re open to more than one relationship, and (as I often mention) language falls down if you don’t stay with some commonly understood meanings to words. Although there’s a whole load of connotations, some unpleasant, that can also be placed on words due to common usage – poly does not mean swinger or whore, although it doesn’t exclude poly people from IDing as those if they want as well. I think I can justify to myself the labels I use – and it’s only to myself that I really need to do so.
Ideally that box on the right would have one word – ‘Me‘ – as that’s truely the best thing I can use to describe the mass of cells, thoughts, and possibly soul that make up my brain and body. However as that doesn’t actually describe my interests, gender, relationships or anything other than the fact I’m something that has a self identity, which makes it a pretty useless word to explain anything about me to you. I also utterly fail at writing, photographing and LARPing a lot of the time, but I still claim those as valid identities for me. So for now I suppose agender, hetroflexible and polyamorous will do – with the caveat that we are all constantly evolving – and I think that I’m ‘enough’ for them and they are for me, at least enough to be understood.