" Once you've come out as a pagan bisexual married leather dyke..."

"...everything else in life is that much easier"

The above is from the Calligraphic Button Catalogue, which always has lovely badges that say anything I want to but with more wit and fewer words.

I find that I tend to attract people who are on a Quest. A Quest for identity, a Quest for self, and what that self wants, who they are, what they need to thrive. Oftentimes, this Quest (I capitalize it because it's important) is spurred along by my own knowledge of myself- in fact, I've had "wow, the way you know yourself so well is amazing" said to me both by sweeties and clients alike.

This is, in a way, linked to the previous entry on emotional boundaries. I'm generally startled by people telling me how well I know myself, because to me, I try to straddle as many identities as possible. I wouldn't say it's impossible to label me, as I don't think it's ever impossible to label where you're at *right now* if you know what you feel *right now*. My tastes vary all the time, depending on where I'm living, where I'm at in my cycle, who I'm dating at the moment, the weather, and pretty much any other variable. While I'm pretty noncommittal to any specific labels (Domme, Goth, female, gamer), I'm very comfortable with the umbrella terms you could use to describe how I live my life and with whom.

Even then, they shift and change- I currently use nonmonogamous to describe myself, as while I can and do love multiple people, I think nonmonogamy covers more of my relationship style- I don't feel comfortable using bisexual as I believe in more than two genders OR sexes- I'm definitely kinky, though where I fall on the scale at any given time is anyone's guess, including my own. Identity is a slippery fish- I'm just usually content to let is swim free rather than trying to grab a hold on it. Maybe they're attracted to the fact I'm able to let it go, anymore, with ease- I can enjoy good old fashioned missionary sex without worrying I'm going vanilla, or date men without wondering if I'm still queer.

I've realized, though, that I've tended to struggle to have compassion around people who are really genuinely confused about where they stand. For me, it's never been a question. I'm kinky. I'm not monogamous. I'm queer. I've generally had a good idea about these things, and what they've all meant has changed through the years, but they've always remained present.

But what happens if you don't have a identity that's outside of the "norm"? I mean, most of the people around me are some minority or another, and have at least one term they can point to and say "yeah, that sort of describes me" without too much waffling. But what about the people who don't?

I guess on some level I was thinking about how, even as a woman, you have to think a lot about identity because people will expect you to have something to say about feminism. Are you the sort of woman who's political, or not? Stay at home mum, working mum, or non-breeder? Are you butch, or tomboyish, or feminine, or femme? I think women think about this stuff a bit more because we're judged just as much on presentation as we are on what we think and say, and therefore identity is a lifestyle choice in a lot of ways.

Guys aren't really expected to pay a lot of attention to what they wear. There are certainly ways in which an identity can be formed- I mean, most secondary schools/high schools have cliques that'll sort you, at least for a while, into a prep, a jock, a geek, a drama student, a nerd, a burnout, etc, and boys can dress the part the way girls can. But looking at my yearbook, the girls are easier to peg as to where they fit in- they pick a label and really get gung ho about it. There are guys, generally straight, white, middle class guys, who drifted from group to group, not really fitting into any of them but also not distinctively banned. Blank slates, they sort of became anything to anyone, like a social chameleon.

I wonder if that happens a lot to the clients I see. They tend towards being blank slates, looking eagerly to me to write on them, to uncover who and what they are, what they like, what they want. I can only hold a mirror up to them and hope they see something there, or let them sample a range and hope they can use it as a jumping off point.

I know for my partners- TB definitely, the girlfriend and E as well (I'm not sure where T stands in all this though I imagine he's got a closet full of identities, like I do), they're looking to either define or redefine themselves. I, who pick up and discard identities like I do panties, wonder what it must be like to not know how to begin to describe yourself, or what it must be like to try to move from one box to another. I just grab a few accessories, make up a name for the new me, and go with it til I get bored or til it no longer feels like it suits me. I guess I can do that because I have umbrella terms to work under. It doesn't feel like I'm super aware of myself, but maybe that's what superwareness is... knowing, more often, what you're not, versus what you are at any given time...?

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