That Loving Feeling is Gone
Racist white folks broke my heart. Power wasn’t just unbalanced in our relationships, it was positively skewed. My choice of partners for a quick shag, wham bang, see you later, could be wide as I want. Yet anything else; deeper relationships, down on one knee proposals were for white folks and their polycules alone.
When I realised I could not be Polyamorous in this society, I felt like a failure. Poly wasn’t something I did – it was who I was. Had I lied to myself all this time? Surely love conquers all? My heartbreak was a brutal crack in the core of my being. I knew I’d never recover that loving feeling, the full expression of how I navigate sex and relationships.
I’ve experienced racism all my life, yet nothing could have prepared me for racism from people who said they loved me. I cannot imagine the cognitive tangle of thoughts and actions that lead to such a thing, but down in my bones, I knew I was never seen as a full human to them. My breasts, my heart and my lips could express my love in acceptable ways, but my skin would forever undermine all of that in their eyes.
I have received white tears, white guilt, but never white respect or action when I was bereft. I just get silence.
Most of my partners have been white. My two black boyfriends both put me in hospital, but white partner’s violence was a slow terrible poison. How could I fight against an assumption? What moves can combat neglect? When my every action paints me as the angry black person, what do I do? How do I react?
Letting go of things hurt, but it means my shoulders no longer slump from the strain of carrying such a heavy load. I can now walk upright instead of wishing I were taller, less bent over. My arms and my hands are empty for the first time – empty and open to embrace whatever comes next. And if nothing comes, I can hold myself.
When white Poly people don’t see People of Colour as human, we become disposable. We don’t consider the feelings of a piece of paper – we write on it, use it up and when we are done, throw it in the bin and pick up another sheet. This is what happens to Poly People of Colour. White folks fetishise us, especially if we are LGBT+ and/or into kink. We are hypervisible in a sea of white faces, but once we serve our purpose, we are ignored, neglected or mistreated. We are never primary partners; we are interchangeable and something to add spice to your white vanilla world.
Poly People of Colour are at a disadvantage. We face many issues that white people never will. Most of us don’t have the family, money, energy or time resources white people have. We are more likely to experience domestic violence, sexual assault, poverty and physical/mental issues. We shouldn’t have to factor in a broken heart to all of the above.
My identity of Poly turned into an identity of trash. Rejecting the label will lead to yet more isolation for me, but it will be an honest isolation instead of the pretence of community and belonging. I do not want to be a square on someone’s bingo card of experiences. I deserve better.
I have so much love to give. I don’t want to close off my heart because of racism, but what choice do I have? You may not want to marry me or anyone else, but I ask white Poly people to be upfront and honest with your desires. Don’t tell me you love me if it isn’t so. If all you want is a hookup with no contact after, say it. I may turn you down, but I’ll respect your honesty. Right now I don’t respect you at all.