37 year old Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) is a long time lover of many. Having grown up with family acceptance and involvement in a "commune" and having been involved in two separate triad relationships and still forcing herself to committ to a monogomous (failed) marriage, Rhianon has finally begun to accept her own needs, wants and desires. Focusing on the communication and honesty necessary to navigate the shadows and the required humor needed when one begins to explore her deepest being; Rhianon Leto shares her experiences as she travels the many paths of self discovery. Come along and join Rhianon as she explores the whys, whos, wheres and politics of polylife.

Previous editions of this column can be found in the Monthly Columns Archives.

WHAT Closet???

It took me 36 years, alot of heartache, very special men and women and some important life lessons to get me ready but finally; I have begun a journey - one I hope to share and along the way maybe someone will not have to feel the anxiety or the fears that I have had since I first began loving others. I want to invite you to laugh with me, learn with me and grow with me. I have only recently learned that I am not "badly behaved" or "seriously broken" but instead I am simply poly, and always have been. Accepting who I am has actually changed some of the behaviors and attitudes that were causing me problems and causing me to feel bad.

Along the way I am sure that you will learn things about my life, but really the details of my life are not what’s important here, what is important is the unique lessons that I am learning. What’s important is how my learning to accept how I am made, has made me a better person and caused me to accept myself. I have lived so long being confused and not understanding why I couldn’t be a "good wife" or a "good girl" or why can’t I just be a lesbian and find a girl friend??? Right after my second divorce, from my second monogamous disaster, during which I had very very close girl friends, who lived in our home at times and whom I loved but never touched; I had yet another “situation” in which I fell in love with a couple. But everything about us was based on “one amazing drunken night” and that, as you may know, never works out. But it did cause me to finally accept that this, having more than one love/lover, is what I wanted, this is what I needed but based on my experience was not a possibility.

During this time I began to accept what I am and what I am capable of - I just didn’t believe I would ever find anyone like me. Not that they weren’t out there but just that we were all so well hidden that finding “others” was impossible.

During this time I wrote this:

How unique can one person be? And when you have decided that you are “so unique” that there is no one like you, what do you do? Give up? Carry on and celebrate your uniqueness? Wallow in your loneliness? Then what happens when you discover that you are not so alone, that there are others like you? Do you cry with relief? Do you scream in anger for all those years that you suffered? Do you skip along and join them? I have done these things and so many more in trying to understand myself and then learning that I am not the only one with these feelings, longings, hopes and desires.

It took me so long just to accept that the things I wanted were things that most people don’t understand. I tried to want what everyone else has wanted and I was empty and self destructive. I have learned that I just have to be who I am and if that means that I am alone then…well…that would have to be the way it was.

Then one day it happened, as things usually do for me, I "accidentally" came upon the term “poly lifestyle” I wasn’t looking for it, it was just in something I was reading. Curious I looked up the meaning, as I do with any word I don’t know, and found a whole new world. I sat in front of my computer, in my unusually empty home, and read and read and read about people who know me, really understand what I feel. People who are open and honest about what they are and how they feel. Good people who had desires, hopes and dreams just like mine, and they weren’t evil or depraved (well a little but in a good way) ~ they weren’t part of a religious cult or some long lost culture. They were simply people with the capability of loving more than one. There were many different versions and thoughts and ideas, a vast sea of possibilities became open to me.

And I cried. I cried for hours - I was emptied of all my shame and loneliness and filled with hope. I was so relieved and scared and excited, I couldn’t believe what I had just happened upon, and so began my journey. I made the choice to open the door, step out of the dark closet and into the warmth of a community that understands the world the way I do. Many of us are still hiding but I have found that there are people hiding in groups and not alone. I have done some serious soul searching, I have considered society and all the ramifications of "coming out of the closet" - and so out I go...the world is a-changin’ and society is learning to accept things that are different as long as they are good. And this IS a good thing. We ARE good people. Maybe someday none of us will have to hide at all, but for now at least, I don’t intend to hide from myself anymore. So please join me, if in no other way - in spirit, as I explore who I have always been and the me I am just learning to know.

Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) is a contributing writer as well as a member of this online Community. She can be contacted here or through our message board Forums.

Rhianon Leto (aka lightningbttfly) ; November 10, 2006


folks have read this article.