meredith

I do not describe myself as a spiritual person. I call myself atheist and areligious. But I had an experience over the past week that I realized can only be described as spiritual.

Every year, I go to a camping retreat with some friends, and we connect over the course of a week. It's a lot of people, and there's a lot of activities, but the magical thing about it is the intentionally created community. Most of these people I only see at this annual event, but they are wonderful friends and dear to my heart. Many others are people in my local friend group, whom I see every few weeks or so when we hang out, but spending time with them 24/7 is an even deeper connection.

It's occurring to me, this year, that this really is a spiritual event, it touches a part of my soul that doesn't normally get touched. I'm usually okay with not having a spiritual component to my life; I consider it related to my neurodiversity and don't think much about it. But this camp is different, and I think I understand why people find spirituality in other forms so meaningful.

I don't think I could re-create this experience with other people or in other places, and I'm not sure I want to. But I do love having the experience every year and I'm glad we're back after a couple of years off.

Equal rights for others does not mean fewer rights for you. It's not pie.

But also, the reverse.

The Washington Post has published yet another edgy article about polyamory and once again we're clutching our pearls on both sides of the aisle.

Wait, you can have a wedding if you're a throuple?!

Oh god, not another completely superficial article about polyamory.

What caught my eye, though, was not the polyamory, although the focus on triads and the superficiality was once again tiresome. Instead my focus fell on the following.

And as a genderqueer, pansexual person holding this ceremony in 2015 — before same-sex marriage was legal throughout the U.S. — Rachael wanted to stand in solidarity with queer people who couldn’t legally marry their partners, Rachael said.

As long as Obergefell stands, my complaint here is pretty moot, but I will say it anyway: people having heterosexual marriages is not what kept queer marriages from happening. There are 1,138 federal rights associated with marriage, and anyone who wants them should avail themselves of them. There are plenty of reasons not to get married, but “because my friends can't” is not a good reason. What does that actually do? Does your state somehow grant rights to queer people based on you not getting married? Have your queer friends said “look, I know you want those 1,138 rights, but it makes me sad, so you shouldn't get them” to you, in so many words? This form of “solidarity” is bullshit, it means nothing.

My wife and I got married in Connecticut in 2009. It was the first state to offer marriage (as opposed to civil union) without requiring residency, so we drove up from Virginia and did it. Of course the piece of paper meant nothing back home – and indeed, Virginia had some very restrictive laws on this – but it felt good to us to be married. In 2013, we began filing federal taxes as married when the Defense of Marriage Act fell, and in 2015 we became actually really married when Obergefell was passed.

Would any of my straight friends getting married prior to 2015 have changed any of this? Absolutely not. I'd much rather they have voted, donated, and contacted their officials than “stand in solidarity” with me.

There is a very real possibility that Obergefell will be struck down at some point in the future. If that happens, I don't expect any straight folks to get divorced to “support” me. What good does that do? You'd have to have a whole lot of divorces to have a tax impact, and that's not going to happen.

Straight people, I don't care if you're married. You refusing to buy a pie does not mean the government is going to give me your pie. The fact that articles are still talking about this seven years after Obergefell means people still don't understand this basic concept.

I fight brain weasels a lot. Sometimes I call them sock puppets, or “The Assholes.” Sometimes it's three times a day, sometimes a dozen, sometimes a hundred. Every day, there are brain weasels to fight.

I attribute most of them to my anxiety, but more and more, I'm starting to realize that Rejection Sensitive Dysphoria is a large part of my life. I frequently check things I want to say in public with someone else, because I'm afraid I will be perceived badly for what I say. This applies even in communities of friends – I'll DM a friend I trust because I'm afraid the friends I'm less close to will dislike me if I say the wrong thing.

I'm constantly tripping over the fear of being disliked, of being alone, of being hurt. How I have made it to 41 years old, with a very good career position, and multiple happy long-term polyamorous relationships, I have no idea. I suppose I'm stronger than the anxiety and RSD, but damn, it's been a rough journey.

Those aren't the only brain weasels, of course. But they are probably the hardest ones. They've been eating at me harder than usual for a couple of weeks now. I'm very glad I have busy summer ahead of me, I hope it distracts me.