April is almost gone.
I did not find a date. I’m pretty much the most monogamous poly person I know.
April is almost gone.
I did not find a date. I’m pretty much the most monogamous poly person I know.
I want my brain to quiet and simply be.
I want to be alone in the place that teaches me that I am stronger than I think, that I am whole, that I am complete.
I want to sink into the depths of myself, where I slowly, gently, touch those dark corners of my inner core, feeling with my ethereal fingertips, the grit and grime that needs to be purged. Let me sit with it. Make me let go of the pretense, the pressure, the expectations. Give me permission to embrace my imperfection. Take me there. Hold me under the thickness, make me feel the weight of it on top of me, and when I thrash and fight to come up for air, push me down again, and again, and keep me there, until the acceptance of my strength and my choice finally comes, and the pain dims and holds me, like a cloak, and I am free to gather it around me and pull it close. I want to clutch that pain to me, drawing it in closer with each breath, until I am at once, reduced to the very essence of self, and set free from the confinement of everything that is me.
Once I am there, stand guard. Keep me safe and watch over me, until, after a time, you reach down and pull me out. Bring me back with steady insistence, that yes, I am loved. Yes, I am flawed and I am broken and I am imperfect, and still, you see my exquisite resolve to embrace the darkness that swirls within my light. For it is this balance that I desperately crave.
“Everything you want is on the other side of fear.” -Jack Canfield
What I’m really afraid of is that I don’t have it in me to do this hard thing well. That I’m not loving enough, understanding enough, selfless enough. That I don’t have it in me, to do good poly. That I will get too tired; too weary.
Some days I just don’t want to think about it any more. I don’t want to communicate, I don’t want to be mindful, I don’t want to be in it for the greater good. I want to have what I want, what I need, NOW. I don’t want to wait.
I love the theory of polyamory. But sometimes, the practice of poly is exhausting.
Place your hands upon me
like a big tent preacher
and with a whisper
heal all that aches
Put your lips upon my
forehead and glance your
eyes to the sky,
tell me that I’ll walk
again and tell me
I can fly.
Hold me like a revival
and shake the demons
from my skin,
touch me like a fever
and kiss me like
~Tyler Knott Gregson
I am outspoken, opinionated, and difficult. I have a hard, cynical edge. I laugh too loudly, judge too harshly. I am impatient and short tempered. I am independent. Driven. Feisty. Logical to a fault. Jaded.
Sometimes I lay awake in the dark, fighting with the demon that whispers to me that I’m not good enough. Not good enough in my work; not good enough at home. Just not. I crave perfection, and rarely attain anything close unto it.
Then he calls me Princess. He calls me pumpkin, buttercup, cupcake. I am his pet, his strawberry, his lemon drop. He speaks to me, soft and sure: “Kitten,” he says to me, and my world goes silent.
And in that moment, I am me. The very truest me. The me who exists without expectation or pretense. I am not an impatient, difficult woman. I’m just a girl.And I am his.
Everything else fades, and my mind quiets. I exist, in my core, at the center of my body. Waiting. My mind is still. I am his princess: beautiful, treasured, good and kind. I am his kitten: adorable, playful, wanted. I am everything he ever says I am… a deliciously sweet cupcake, a luscious, juicy strawberry, a treasured and loved pet.
And in that moment, for just a moment, what I desperately crave is finally mine. Because for a time, I am exactly what he wants. I breathe him in, and I breathe out perfection.
“It was rather beautiful: the way he put her insecurities to sleep.
The way he dove into her eyes and starved all the fears and tasted all the dreams she kept coiled beneath her bones.”
― Christopher Poindexter
It’s been almost a year since my son was in a fairly serious car accident, and was taken via Life Flight to a hospital in Seattle in an attempt to save one of his kidneys.
Special Man Friend and I had been dating for almost eight months at that point. We knew we loved each other. We had said the words. But I was holding back. Scared. I had almost talked myself into ending the relationship. Despite knowing that I loved this man, it just felt so hard. I did not know what good poly looked like, and I was afraid. I was new to non-monogamy, and Man Friend (let’s just call him SMF) and Meta (his wife) had some specific and limited experience, but Meta and I were still cautiously circling each other, trying to figure out how to relate to each other as two women who shared a significant partner. Because of these two things, I worried that the relationship I had with my guy would not have the chance to progress and that I had hit a ceiling as his “date-night girlfriend”; that the relationship he had within his marriage was the REAL relationship, and that I was just an accessory to his real life. A distraction. A hobby.
The night of the accident was an absolute turning point in our relationship. I texted SMF on the way to the hospital, and within a few minutes, he and Meta had offered to meet me there. No, I said, I thought that my son was doing okay and I would let them know if I needed anything. Within a couple of hours, things became complicated with my child, and the decision was made to transport him to Seattle. I had nothing with me except my purse as I had come directly from work at another hospital, and was wearing surgical scrubs. I was panicked. My guy came to check on us. He sat in the parking lot with me as I cried, before the transport team arrived. Without hesitation, he said to me, “I will come.”
Within an hour, my son and I were in the air flying toward Washington, and my sweetheart had called his boss, packed a bag for himself, gone to my house to pack a bag for me, filled up his car, and was on the road to Seattle. He came. He stayed. He held my hand and bought me coffee. He sat with my son. And after a few days, when my son was angry and hurting, this man, who I now love with all my heart, sent me away to try and sleep, and he walked the halls and talked with my child. I was not a hobby then, and I am not a hobby now.
I am his real life.
I know that having him away from home and with me for that period of time was a sacrifice for my Metamour, and at the time, I felt humbled and grateful, even guilty, that she supported him in supporting me. I felt like I was taking something away from her by claiming those hours, those days, for myself. I felt like I was overstepping my “place” as the girlfriend.
A year later, and my perspective has widened a little. We don’t exist in a vacuum. We can’t. We all live and love within a network where each of us affects and is affected by the others. We give what we can, and we take what we need. Each of us. And hopefully, our little poly universe shifts and changes to meet the needs of each individual, and in the end, there are the resources available to go around when they are needed.
One of the things that appeals to me about polyamory, is the idea of this extended poly network, or as one of my people calls it, “our little poly constellation”. I admit, this phrase makes me giggle a little, as it sounds just a little romantic and idealized. I am a relative newcomer to the concept of an interdependent, loving, and vested group of people who genuinely want good things for each other, but I am slowly relaxing into the thought that maybe, this just might work.
“They slipped briskly into an intimacy from which they never recovered.”
~F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Other Side of Paradise
This Fitzgerald quote screamed at me the moment I found it more than a year ago, when I was well into my relationship with Special Man Friend. He and I connected fairly quickly on a level that took us both by surprise, and to be honest, scared the shit out of me.
I value intimacy. I thrive on trust. Intimacy, to me, is that familiar place that is safe. Intimacy allows me to be vulnerable to another human being. It permits me to exist without fear, without pretense. But it is far from easily attained. I am generally slow to trust people. My guy knows more about me than anyone else does, but even before we reached that level of factual knowledge, the intimacy was there. It’s not something that my logical brain can explain. We just fit. I knew and felt fairly quickly that he was my kindred. He got me, in a way that made me feel protected, understood, and accepted.
At the same time, knowing that he loves me exactly as I am now, I am free to be who I want to be. I am free to decide, through self-reflection, what things I want to change or who I want to be, because I am safe with him, always. If I try something, and fail, he will be there, loving me and tending to my bruises. If I try something and succeed, he will be there, loving me and applauding my success. He is proud of me. This is how he loves me.
Though why he loves me, I may never quite understand.
Some days I feel like I have nothing left of myself to offer anyone. Not myself, not my children, my world. It’s not a melancholy that I feel, it’s a weariness that lays on top of my soul and says, “No more.” No more self analysis, no more self improvement, no more lamentations about everything that is not the way it “should be”. I can’t fix everything; I can’t fix anything.
The issue at hand this week is scheduling. Time management. Claiming a slice of my Sweetheart’s figurative calendar pie. Except I don’t just have to consider him and his schedule, and me and my schedule. There’s Metamour and her needs. And then to complicate that, add in her boyfriend, his wife, and her boyfriend. The suggestion has been made that the six of us sit down together and hash out date night schedules.
Somehow, this feels extraordinarily difficult to me. I know that this extended poly network needs to work cooperatively in order to best meet everyone’s needs. But the idea of having to negotiate, or even simply coordinate with four other people in getting time with my most important relationship, has tipped me over the edge and into an unreasonable and selfish abyss.
I do the work it takes to be a good partner to him, and it is very important to me to have a good working relationship with Metamour. So I will get out my planner, and sit down with these people, these good people, and I will smile and be flexible, and do and say the right things.
(But I don’t have to like it.)
I am not an activist. I do not have an agenda, and I am not here to promote a platform. I do think people should be able to love and be loved in whichever consensual format they choose. And that includes monogamy.
I believe that monogamy is fraught with peril, but all human relationships are. Polyamory is no picnic either, and unfortunately, there are plenty of people out there using the trendy “poly” label to justify poor behavior. Conversely, there are those in the poly community who are sincere and earnest in their belief that “good poly” is attainable and desirable. What rubs me the wrong way about a few very enthusiastic proponents, is an attitude that somehow polyamory is on a higher figurative plane. That polyamory is for the evolved and the enlightened. And worse: that those who choose and desire monogamy are emotionally immature, out of touch with their feelings, and victims of a social construct that seeks to oppress humanity.
I don’t want to be a voice for polyamory. I just want to be a voice for honest and loving human relationships, as I see them in my own world. At this point in my life, I am firmly ensconced in a polyamorous relationship, but I still wonder sometimes if a year or ten years from now, I’ll be just as vested, just as happy, and yes, even just as lost sometimes, in a monogamous relationship.
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