Living multiple identities sometimes cannot be avoided; it is a matter of the most basic survival desire. When there is an option and people still choose to live within multiple identities they seem to exist in a state of ‘edginess’.
A negative of living multiple separate identities is that you could open yourself up for multiple separate bouts of discrimination, but not always. I guess it depends on just how good you become at splitting your personality and reality. It needs perfect balance.
Balancing acts were never my strong point but I have honed the skill of a high-wire tight-rope walker over the years – because I had to. I learnt to live ‘edgy’. Everything that I did was at high speed and intense (thankfully some of the intensity has stayed with me, although the need for speed is diminishing).
At church and in the community I was permitted to share my spirituality and elsewhere I tried to find a safe place to share my sexuality: in the later endeavour I failed for many years. It was only in the last decade that I shared with one of my siblings the fact that I had been far too close to succeeding in suicide that she realised how strenuous it was becoming for me to manage my separate identities. My eldest sister was the first safe person in my family that I chose to come out to. I managed to start breathing as a whole person then.
What I didn’t realise for many years was my coming to accept my wholeness was the opening up of the fragmentation of my family as they dealt publicly with their new position as a relative of a gay person. They then took turns inhabiting multiple identities as they went into the closet I had broken free from.
Being allowed to be yourself seems such a simple desire (as so many people do this without a second thought) but for some of us we are still pushed to the edge of sanity and society and forced to wear the straight-jackets of multiple personalities.