Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Personality~

The Type A Personality: “The theory describes a Type A individual as ambitious, rigidly organized, highly status conscious, can be sensitive, care for other people, are truthful, impatient, always try to help others, take on more than they can handle, want other people to get to the point, proactive, and obsessed with time management. People with Type A personalities are often high-achieving “workaholics” who multi-task, push themselves with deadlines, and hate both delays and ambivalence.” (from Wikipedia.Yes, Wikipedia.)

(That’s me.)

I try to pretend that I’m an easy going, flexible, easy personality…but I am not. (And I don’t think I ever really fooled anyone anyway.) I’m a do-er, a fixer, a take action kind of girl. I will make things work, or die trying.

So today, I am letting go. I am my own girl, my relationship is mine, and it is good and strong. I can’t be so vested in the end product (whatever that may be) that I’m distracted from the love I have today.

“Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue. Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”
~Rainer Maria Rilke

So all you little Type A’s: Take today for what it is. Find joy, and release expectation. It’s exhausting trying to micro-manage absolutely everything, isn’t it?


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~Cheater~

I was getting ready for a date, in that slow, enjoyable manner that girls mostly love, when they are allowed to pamper themselves. My daughter was quietly watching, with a lipstick in one hand, and a small mirror in the other.

“Who is your date with? Special Man Friend?” she says.

“Nope”, I say, “a friend named Mike. You haven’t met him.”

She tilts her head and mockingly says this:

“Oooh. You’re a cheater.”

A cheater. Charlotte was in kindergarten at the time. Not even six years old yet, and she had the party line of our modern social construct of relationships, down pat.

Her mom was a cheater.

No, I told her. It’s cheating if you are a liar and I’m not a liar. SMF knows I am going out to dinner, and guess what…he even knows Mike. I explain that he knows I might even kiss Mike, and that he thinks that is a good thing. I tell her that sometimes I go out with other boys, and SMF goes out with other girls. He likes me and he likes them too.

“That’s cheating.”

“Where did you hear that?” I say, mildly frustrated.

She tells me the name of a popular “tween” type show on a popular kids’ cable channel. (Think big mouse.) She tells me a classic tale of male best friends who both want to be with the raven haired, teeny-bopper, female lead, and the hilarity that ensues while everyone is lying about who is seeing who.

I sit and look at this little girl. I get it. Sometimes, just sometimes, I do feel like a cheater. I feel as if it would be just easier if my loyalties could simply reside with a single person….and if all of his relationship efforts were focused on me in return. But I’ve got my feet planted just outside the box of monogamy. I could step back into that box today if I wanted to.

But I don’t want to.

So I smile. “It’s okay, sweetie,” I say. “When you grow up you can decide if you want one boyfriend or three boyfriends, or a million boyfriends!”

She wrinkles her nose at me and giggles.

(And I make a mental note to cancel cable.)


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~Microscope~

So this happened yesterday:

My little blog got reviewed….

Initially I was suspicious. My throat got tight, and I could feel my heartbeat speed up. (Also, I kind of wanted to throw up.)

Intellectually, I know there are real people who read what I write, and have opinions. I am absolutely sure that some Dear Readers think I am full of shit and write like a third-grader. (I am also aware that there is a solid little group of readers who sort of like me. Which makes me happy.)

However, all of a sudden I knew, “Holy hell, people are looking at me.”

And I froze.

As I painfully made my way through the review, I began to relax. My heart rate started to slow. It’s a good review. I felt scrutinized, but I was okay. It’s a long read, but as I neared the end my throat clenched yet again.

The anonymous author of the Sexuality In Art blog states he/she has met me, but I was unaware who (he?) was. Then the author drops a bit of personal information about me that assures me this is a true statement.

I’m not sure how I feel about this. I live in a small-ish place, and while some of my friends are aware that my blog is indeed mine, I have tried to stay fairly anonymous. I attended a “Non-monogamy Discussion Group” last week, and I am certain, from the review, that the author was there. There was no talk of this blog during that meeting. Someone put the pieces together, at some point, as to who I really am, and what I do, which makes me nervous. My anonymity allows me to write. My anonymity gives me freedom. I believe I am nearing the time when I will be completely out as poly, and out as Ginger as well. But I am not there yet.

That is all.


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~Tears~

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition and of unspeakable love.”

~Washington Irving


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~Hit~

I have been waiting (with bated breath, yes) for this new little blog of mine to hit the magic number of 5,000 visits. Today, It. Has. Happened.

I want balloons and confetti to drop on my head! (Okay, not confetti. That stuff lingers. I’d be pulling it out of my curls next month.)

I always wanted to write. I always thought I could write. In college I took a creative writing class. It was one of those ~Sit Around And Deconstruct The Process~ classes, which meant a lot of talking and sharing and criticizing and that just didn’t work for me. I was a small girl, with an even smaller voice, and after I turned in my final portfolio, my professor wrote across the front page:

“If you can write like THIS, why didn’t you participate in class?!”

Some people just don’t get it. I couldn’t speak. I couldn’t participate. I was timid and scared and the idea of speaking outloud to that room of forty-ish people made my stomach hurt. I knew I could write. I also knew that the things I was writing were unlike anything I was hearing in class, and that terrified me.

I don’t know why 5,000 feels like a magical milestone for me. I stayed up late last night waiting for it. It didn’t come until this morning, and as I sit here quietly, with my coffee in front of me and my son making toast, it’s a glorious moment. And it’s mine.

I hope everyone gets moments like this.

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~Word~

Oh, how I love words.

Words hold power. A word can instantly represent a thought, an idea, a concept. I find language fascinating and beautiful. All at once, a word can mean different things to different people, and there is no better example of this than when learning the language of PolyLand.

Let’s look at the word Secondary.

I have never had so many conversations about an individual term, it’s meaning, it’s implications, or it’s effects on a community, as I have with this single word in the last two years. I came into the Poly world, bright eyed and idealistic. I didn’t particularly love the word secondary, but it didn’t bother me either. After all, I thought, that’s what I was. Not first. Secondary.

As I slowly got my footing in the poly community, both locally and online, I became more aware of the baggage and assumptions tied to this word, especially from couples in a primary committed relationship. Ironic, but this is the power of language. It can be subjective. It can be limiting, and it can be misleading. If my partner were to say, “I have a primary, and I have a secondary,” there is a myriad of meaning behind those words. Some of it may be accurate, depending on who you are and what your experience and interpretation of those roles is. Much of it will be inaccurate.

This is especially damaging, when an established couple sees the Secondary role, as disposable in the big scheme of things. (The big scheme of things being that their “Primary” bond is always, always the priority, and must be protected at all costs, even at the cost of the secondary. Because secondary is not as important as primary.) There may be rules and mandates placed on the secondary relationship in an attempt to clearly delineate boundaries, and regulate feelings. The secondary is seen as temporary,or transient. Disposable.

I am secondary. But I am not second. I am not “less than”. I am cherished and important, and I am a priority. There came a day when Special Man Friend turned to me and said, “You really are my Other Significant Other. Don’t forget it.”

The power of those words hit me hard. I had bought into the Secondary terminology, and all the expectations, no, all the limitations, that came along with it. On that day, in that moment, I released the labels, and all the definitions that I had allowed other people to put on me. I may still use the word here and there, but I use it without judgement. In fact, one of my most popular posts uses this term. But my relationship is mine, and it stands alone, it is not defined by you, or by your words, and it is not less than simply because I got here last.


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~Out~

Special Man Friend thinks that we should be out to my family and kids as polyamorous.

What that means for me, is that my children, who know know him as my almost-two-year-boyfriend, would have to reconcile the fact that I am very much in love with him…and that his wife is okay with that. Not just okay, but supportive, just as SMF is with her and her boyfriend (who also happens to have a wife.)

I don’t quite get the urgency in declaring our alternative relationship dynamic to the masses, because believe me, my family is huge, and this will be The Gossip for a long, long time. And for what? Authenticity? Honesty? Why is not knowing this piece of information a bad thing?

Why?

I have a fantasy of entangled lives. Living openly, in and out of each other’s houses, family dinners, birthday celebrations. (I also have a fantasy of winning the lottery, but I never expect that to actually happen.) Metamour is SMF’s wife, and I would love to be able to have a sister-wife relationship with her. That would be my happy place. And if I was lucky enough to find another love, with another man, I would want us all to live happily ever after. Don’t laugh.

Yes, I said it. Sister-wife.

I know of no other word to effectively describe this desire. Of course, the fact that I was born and raised a staunch Mormon surely has spawned this vocabulary choice. Regardless, this is not something I think that Meta wants. We have coffee occasionally, and we have had some good conversations. But I believe she prefers to compartmentalize. She supports SMF in his relationship with me, but she doesn’t necessarily want to cultivate a friendship with me. Sometimes I look at certain women, who I feel a kinship with, and I wonder how different things might be if Meta and I could be close. (Metamour: a partner of a partner. This term has become popular in the poly community, and though I don’t love it, there’s no other word that I can find that is specific to this situation.)

Which brings me back, full circle, to this notion of Being Out.

On this day, at this point in time, my only motivation for full disclosure to my children and my Big Fat Mormon Family…would be hypothetically, if Meta was going to overlap our lives more. If she wanted to be present in the lives of my children and myself. Special Man Friend and I have been together for a significant period of time. My children know him. SMF is worried that the longer we wait to put this fact on the table, the harder it will be for the kids to understand. To be okay with something that is just downright weird. Their mother loves a married man. And his wife is okay with that. Some days that seems weird even to me.

Hell, most days, that seems weird to me.


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~Pride~

“What’s the Pride Festival about anyway?” she asks, this chestnut-haired, spitfire of a daughter, from the back seat of the car. ”It’s about being proud of who you are”, I say, “no matter what. It’s about being proud of how you look, and the things you like, and the things you do. It’s about being proud of who you love.”

Charlotte is quiet, so I explain to this small girl that she will be seeing a lot of new people, and probably some interesting things. We devise a subtle code, if she wants me to take notice of anything or anyone particularly unusual.

I grew up in an extremely religious, uber-conservative family. My conditioning began at birth, and only in the last few years do I feel that I have completely let go of some of those ingrained judgements that were laid on top of me by my parents and my religious culture, and that were then perpetuated by myself, in my adulthood. I thought I was open-minded and non-judgemental, but in reality, I was simply tolerant. Polite. I saw those with a same-sex orientation as worthy of my compassion, though I’m not sure for what. Their plight? Their confusion? Their sin?

As we wandered the booths and navigated the crowd, my daughter, at age seven, didn’t see sexual orientation. She didn’t see confusion. She saw people. All sorts of people. And her squeal of delight when she saw a young man wearing a pair of earth toned butterfly wings, holding the hand of another man, was a simple display of pleasure. He was proud of his wings. And she was fascinated. She still talks of the man in the beautiful wings. How pretty they were, and how happy he was. How proud he was of who he is.

I heard through the family grapevine, that my mother could not understand why I would “expose” my children to “people like that”.

Sigh.

Because I want to do better by my children than you did with me, Mom. Because by telling me that it isn’t okay for “those” people to be who they are, you are also saying that it isn’t okay for ME to be who I am.

And who I am, is good. And I’ll be damned, if I feel “sorry” for anyone who lives a true life, and knows who they are. It has taken me a lifetime to be the person I want to be for my children. I want them to see the butterfly wings, and the happy humans, and I want them to be proud of who they themselves are. I want them to be proud of how they look, and the things they do.

And I want them to be proud of who they love.