The cages we build for ourselves.

The cages we build for ourselves.

Monday night was amazing for me.

I went out to a local slosh with 70+ other kinksters. I got to spend time with someone I’ve not seen in WAY TOO LONG, thanks to the pandemic and other mitigating factors. I talked with three people who said that Dating Kinky has helped them connect with others in some way (SQUEE!), and I had some brilliant conversations.

And one of those conversations touched on a project I’ve been working on, about how we label ourselves, and why that matters, and how it affects how we think and behave.

A few years ago, I met this attractive new kinkster. Not unusual for me. Didn’t see them again until last night (If you’re reading this, I’ve got your name now, LOL!). They’d sort of dipped their toe into the scene, then got relationshipped (tale as old as time!), and now they’re back.

And they mentioned in passing that at their first play party, they began to wonder how they should define themselves. Because it seemed like every label had it’s own set of boxes and boundaries that they weren’t sure they wanted.

(I’m paraphrasing.)

And I get it.

Because that’s what labels are. They’re shorthand for a set of words, beliefs, descriptions, and ideas. And when we label ourselves, we’re applying those to who we are.

And when we do that, our oh-so-helpful brains want to make us right, so they adjust our behaviors and ideas to match our “new” beliefs.

Which is great, most of the time.

Not so much when those labels bring with them limitations that we aren’t fully aware of or haven’t really thought through.

I’ll give you an example of my own beliefs that really tripped me up.

Polyamory.

I’ve read all about polyamory. For years. I’ve lived it. And I believed that I was DOIN’ IT RONG.

Because nearly everything I’d read had talked about jealousy and NRE as HUGE factors in polyamory. And I didn’t experience those the same way others did, the way they talked about them and described them.

So I kept trying to make my experience look like others’.

Well, maybe not so much in the jealousy part—but I did for a while label my envy and possessiveness as jealousy. But the NRE. I thought that if I didn’t have it, I wasn’t giving my people the “REAL polyamory experience.”

And the strange part about this?

I didn’t realize that those were actually my thoughts.

I just had a vague anxiety that I was not “enough” or right.

Any of you ever felt that?

No? Just me? Good. smiles

It me took a moment of clarity and inspiration to realize that I’m not like everyone in how I think and love, and therefore my polyamory would not be like everyone’s.

DUH.

But once I actually took time to think about what I believe about polyamory, I stopped feeling anxious. And I started using the word nonmonogamous as my primary descriptor. And monoromantic (I feel romantic and twitterpated with one person at a time, while still developing deep, intimate relationships with many).

I also still use polyamorous. And pimptress and cuckoldress…

And I unlocked my cage.

By finding the more specific labels I needed. For me. For my life and my freedom.

It was that simple.

But it took me realizing that the cage was there first. That it existed.

And also understanding that it was of my own making.

Over the past week or two, in comments on my writings, several people have mentioned things that have caged them. Sometimes labels others gave them. Sometimes cages they have made themselves, from their:

  • Sexual orientation
  • Gender
  • Kink roles
  • Personality traits
  • Astrological signs

Etc.

Which is fine! 100%. Until you find yourself rattling those cage doors and wanting out.

In which case, you may want to redefine your labels and yourself, and set yourself free.

What are your thoughts?

Have you taken on a role or a label that ended up stifling you? Do you have one or a few now that you are feeling might be a bit too restrictive? Have you left some labels or roles behind as you’ve pursued different options for yourself?

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