Something that people may not know about me: my marriage to Poseidon is not a secret. It isn’t something I broadcast, exactly — it’s not something that comes up in casual conversation, for example. Coworkers know that I’m pagan (at least, some of them do) but most people make assumptions about the nature of my relationship with Beth, and we don’t really often go through the effort of correcting them, because for all intents and purposes their assumptions aren’t really wrong. I don’t introduce myself by saying things like, “Hi, I’m Jolene. I live with four cats and one very expensive dog. My life-partner is Beth, I like to knit, and I think the characters I write about are real to one degree or another. I’m a polytheistic devotee to Odin and Poseidon, and by the way, I married Poseidon X years ago.” That does, actually, sum up my life pretty well, but it’s not how I go about greeting people. At the same time, I don’t hide my marriage to Poseidon. I’ll admit that I still sort of hem and haw at times about calling it that. (I’m married to Poseidon. I’m one of Poseidon’s wives. Poseidon is my Husband. I’m a flipping godspouse) The rule of thumb for when I start to get uncomfortable about the terminology? He makes me use it. Because, by the gods, words are not going to get in the way of what IS, between u/Us.
Obviously, Beth knows. My other Family knows — They witnessed the marriage, after all. My father knows, because he was there, too — the only of my then-departed kin that I know of who was there for it, in fact. We were sort of on the outs at the time, so he didn’t have an active role in the ceremony, but there was no giving away of the bride, anyway. My brother knows, because I’m not sure there’s anything I keep from him. But also, my mother knows. Really, any blood family who reads my blog regularly will know, but I specifically told her, when my ex and I broke up, when I was moving in with Beth, why it happened, what had changed, and what this might mean for my future. I shared with her my excitement over finding another person called in such a similar way that I could get on with. I was excited about this cloister that we were going to have, even if it is a semi-cloister. It’s our partial cloister, and we could not embark upon this lifestyle without the support of one another.
This is not meant to come across as value-judgment about others keeping their marriage to gods or spirits private from their family — no way am I in a place to pass that kind of judgment, even if I admit that I don’t understand keeping something so huge so quiet. We all know I do not compartmentalize well — that’s actually part of my Living Out Loud theme, with this.
I’m openly pagan — because it’s safe for me to be so. I’m openly pro-sacred marriage — because it’s safe for me to be so. I’m openly in this weird spot on the sexuality spectrum and in full support of LGTBQ-rights because come on, they only want to marry other humans (in whatever number configurations) without being threatened, I married a flipping Olympian, who the hell am I to have an opinion about anyone else? and also because it’s safe for me to be so.
I’m openly all these things also because too often I find myself wanting to disappear into the background. Living out loud — dressing in a way that does not blend me into the background, wearing a veil, writing about the things I write about . . . I’m not trying to build myself up into something great, or someone who is all that. But I am saying, hey, this is the way I am. This is what my life is. These are the things that matter to me, and these are the things I won’t compromise on. I do this because on the one hand, Poseidon deserves it. He deserves to be talked about, He deserves to be adored, and He deserves for people to know that He is approachable, that He is kind and loving and compassionate, that He is there, that He is here, and that He Loves. He loves. I do it also because there are people who can’t talk about these things, or who aren’t comfortable talking about these things, or who don’t have access to other people living their lives as they are called to live them. And, I do it because it helps me be more me. Because, while it’s so long ago now, I think of having to squish myself into a container of who others wanted me to be, and my skin crawls. I think of what I am, what I do now — nothing grand, nothing huge, nothing world changing. Like Theresa of Lisieux, I’m a little flower for my god, and I don’t want to be anything more grand than that — between being able to help Beth, and being able to provide for our family, and being able to write, and having my devotional practice, and being available to my gods and spirits, and I can’t imagine doing it quietly. I can’t imagine not writing about it. I can’t imagine not sharing parts of it here. Nothing has helped me in the process of surrendering the fears of vulnerability more than writing about those vulnerable pieces for mass consumption. I don’t know that anything could take the place of that . . . and I’m here, doing this, writing this, living this life out loud (as it were) because of Poseidon.