Allie: What is different about your life now than what you expected as a teenager?
Kay: Firstly, that I'm still alive. Enough crap happened to me in my teens that I honestly wouldn't have been surprised if either I'd killed myself, or something or someone had done it for me.
I hadn't expected to become chronically ill in the ways that I have - I was pretty much Mr Fit at that point, despite the stupid/bad things that I was doing to me or were being done to me - see above.
I was still expecting to become a biologist of some description. While my interests in science in general have continued, my career path (oh, don't laugh!) has involved doing many things that I wouldn't have considered probable.
Probably the biggest and most amazing difference is that I've been in love with the same sweet guy for over a decade. I honestly would never have dared to hope for that.
Allie: Why/When did you decide to become poly?
Kay: There was no one moment, no conscious decision or realisation - it dawned slowly, with succeeding relationships, that whatever mechanism it is in people's heads (whether structural or cultural) that makes them monogamous, it wasn't present in me, so in that sense I always have been poly. In or out of a relationship, I was just as likely to develop crushes, sober attraction, or love for someone. The only decision for me, really, just like with being queer, was "So are you going to try to pretend this isn't happening, are you going to sneak around and do it anyway, or are you going to be upfront about it?" I'm much with the upfront :)
Life's too damn complicated already without having to bear the burden of deception as well, whether it's deceiving oneself or anyone else. I don't think I ever came out about it, as such, it was more that as I realised I wasn't the only person who felt like that, that I could talk about it and share experiences and ask for advice, that I developed the vocabulary to think and talk about it coherently.
Allie: Say you were given the option to erase hate from the makeup of human beings - in that no one would ever hate anyone else ever again. Would you do it? Why or why not?
Kay: This is a tough and very important question, not just for me but for everyone. I'm almost tempted to say that I would, because I think that to the very greatest extent hate is at best a useless emotion. I don't think I actually understand hatred if it's to mean anything more than 'vehement dislike' - or, rather, I don't understand the impulse to injure the hated person or thing that follows as a consequence. There are people whose policies and stated aims I vehemently disagree with, and I'll work to change their minds, to prevent them putting their policies into effect, I'll demonstrate and march, I'll fundraise, I'll petition - but would I firebomb their homes, torture their pets, beat them to a pulp, call for them to be exterminated? No.
I can conceive of circumstances where violence is the only remaining option. I hope with everything I have I'll never experience them. I think I could kill, if I must, but I don't think I could torture. I hope I couldn't. And I think that's the difference. If I could, I would keep the human potential for righteous anger and the capability to react with force as the absolute last resort, but without cruelty, without malice, without prejudice, without vengeance, without dehumanisation. Those things I would abolish.
Or does that smack too much of having one's cake and eating it?
Thank you for three fascinating and very rewarding questions!