Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory



I feel as if I’m in some sort of No Man’s Land. I’m doing much better than even last week as far as pain goes, but my body is tired all of the time, if not utterly exhausted. I’m starting to realize how many things I need to take care of, things that were necessarily ignored in the weeks after my car wreck. The idea of catching up and returning to real life is a little overwhelming right now. But, I figure, that the first step is acknowledging my trepidation and then moving forward.

My doctor said I needed two more weeks away from work, so that is a big relief. I was worried about how I would be able to handle the demands of bedside nursing at this point. I’ve started to drive again, and my palms get sweaty and my heart speeds up a little, but I am not paralyzed by fear of another accident, even though it is in the back of my brain. I suppose that part is a natural consequence. We learn from experience.

I went to see a counselor last week, just to be proactive in dealing with some of the stress that I’m feeling start to pile up. The weather has been dim and gloomy and I worry that some depression will sneak back in without me realizing. Being proactive is difficult, when what I want to do is stay in bed and baby myself and my injuries, which is a horrible plan, I know. I have let a few friends know about my concerns, and have given them permission to prod me a little if I begin to withdraw. In addition, I am on the look- out for a light box, to hopefully lessen the effects of the seasonal aspects of my mood.

Writing this status update, is my personal declaration that it’s time to return to real life. It’s time to focus further out than making it through the next 24 hours with as little pain as possible. It’s time to do some hard things, like look for a new car, and deal with the bills from the accident.

Being a grown-up is hard.


Ginger Must Die.

My name is not really Ginger.  But you knew that.

Ginger is a fabulous name.  I adopted it when I entered my local poly/kink community.  I chose it for my red hair, and because I always thought that Ginger Grant from Gilligan’s Island was the epitome of womanhood.  As a girl, I knew I was more of a Mary Ann…wholesome and spunky, but I longed to be a Ginger…sexy and desirable.  I loved the name Ginger, It was pretty, it was appropriate, it was easy to remember.  I adopted it on my various poly support message boards, and when I wrote, it was the natural anonymous pen name.

I have worked hard to keep my Ginger persona separate from my Given Name personality.  I move between these two worlds without even thinking.  In the kink community I have rarely talked of my children, or of my career.  And it’s not because I am worried or fearful of being “outed” in some sort of witch hunt.  Being Ginger allowed me, for a little while, to not be the mommy, to not be the responsible RN, or the good daughter.  I could try on different personality characteristics,  and discard what didn’t feel good or right, like cheap drugstore lip glosses.

Ginger is brave and sassy.  She flirts and charms.   New people don’t scare her at all.  The idea of speaking in front of a group of people doesn’t even phase her.  She is sexy and outgoing and magnetic, and all those other things that I always felt I lacked.  When Ginger speaks, people listen.  (They may not always like what she says, but at least they hear her.)

All those bad ass and brave things which I think are so polar opposite of The Real Me, needed to have a name, needed permission to come out.  I am Ginger.  But I’m also a girl who was born in 1969 and was named after a Barbra Streisand song. Last week, my father told Special Man that I had always been The Perfect Child.  That was true.  And it was a huge burden.  Ginger came with no history, no baggage, and no expectations placed on her by anyone.  She liberated me, and I was able to pick and choose who I wanted to be.  Being Ginger simply allowed me to shed some of the fear that I always attached to stepping outside of my comfort zone.  Being Ginger allowed me to get away from the terror of not being The Perfect Child.  The Perfect Woman.

But you know what?  I am imperfect bad ass.  I married young.  I had children.  I survived a bad marriage, I graduated from nursing school at 36, I’m raising my family, alone, and I work full time.  I reframed everything I knew about relationships and love, and I allowed myself to love again.  I allowed myself to be loved.  I’m doing big and brave things that I never thought I would do.  Never thought I could do.

So Ginger, here’s to you.  It’s time for me to own all the different things about you that are truly a part of me.  My Mary Ann and my Ginger.  My wholesome and my sexy.  My little girl and my vixen.  And I don’t have to be perfect at either.

I can be imperfect.  Isn’t that glorious?

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Guest Post: a simple transparency

 Gratitude to the local poet who penned this piece, and granted my request to post it here.  I find her words amazingly descriptive and beautifully concise.  

all that was apparent
to her
became transparent
to you
dried up daisy chains of
pinches of color
whispers of dead leaves and
delicate petals to remind me to
and i know that i
when i recall your mechanic oily fingers
and your shirts smelling like sawdust
and a freshly harvested mint field
how you drew me a clawfoot bath
and showed me pictures of beauty queens from 1932 and1925
making me feel pretty and
special-because you said I looked just like them


Beyond The Love Polyamory Summit 2013

I will be in Ohio in November to take part in this new national Polyamory conference, and I couldn’t be more excited!  There has been a lot of work and effort put into making this a memorable and enjoyable weekend, and I can’t wait!  Check it out, come if you can, and pass it on!  Early bird pricing for about another week…

(And if you DO come, shoot me a message and let’s meet up…I’d love to put some faces to some readers.)




I choked.

Special Man and I were at dinner with Dad and his long-term girlfriend. And I was emotional and not feeling well; I had all but decided to let things go for another conversation, another day. After all, why did Dad need to know anything about my alternative relationship structure? Who the hell cared?

We sat at dinner, eating a fantastic gumbo, and chatting.  My ribs were aching, and it was only the second time I had been out since the car accident ten days before.  I was idly wishing I was at home in bed.  Special Man and Dad carried the conversation easily, and I was content to mostly listen, and comment occasionally.

And then my father, in all his wisdom (or fatherly sixth sense) said, “So is there a reason for this dinner?”

And there it was. I hadn’t seen it coming. I couldn’t speak. I started to cry. It was stress, it was emotion, it was fear.

SMF asked me if I wanted him to talk and I nodded. I had no words.

Of course Special Man said all the right things. He expressed his love for me and his commitment to me. He talked of honesty and openness. He spoke freely of not knowing exactly what our relationship would look like in another two, or five years, but that he could not see his life without me in it in some way.

I wish I had a transcript of the things my father then spoke. Amazing and beautiful things about how I deserved to have this love and tenderness. Insightful and wise things about owning my choices and my adulthood. Thoughtful and kind things about reassuring my children when we get to the point of being completely out.

As we parted, he hugged Special Man. “Welcome to the family,” he said. And I know he meant it. Then he told me that he loved me and that I was a good girl.

It was like a damn Lifetime movie.

I spent most of the next day trying not to over analyze and second guess everything that had been said, or not said. Today I feel relieved.  My Dad loves me and that’s all any little girl wants to know.

Funny thing is, I haven’t felt like a little girl in a long, long time.

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My dad grew up in an unhappy, sometimes violent, certainly emotionally abusive family.  His father essentially abandoned his family when my dad was 16.  He left for another woman, with whom he’d had an affair and subsequently married.  My dad swore he would never ever do that to his children, or to the mother of his children. Ever.

The promises we make ourselves to preserve our sense of honor, can come back and make things hell for those we love…and for ourselves. My father grew up, and like his father, also had an affair.  My mother was apparently aware for years, but due to an unrelenting religious point of view regarding eternal marriage and a fundamental belief in unconditional love, she waited, and watched, and prayed that he would leave the girlfriend.  I don’t know all the details of the heartache, the conversations, or the promises made.  I do know that he maintained his extra-marital relationship for almost ten years before he and my mother eventually divorced.

My dad is the best example I know of someone who made bad decision, after bad decision, and then decided it was enough. He was a distant father, difficult to please and very critical.  Looking back now, as a grown woman, I see it.  I felt the criticism that came off of him in waves, and it was never really about me.  It was him.  It was always  about him.

At some point, in my thirties, after he and my mother had ended their marriage, something shifted for my father.  He  apologized.  To everyone.  He was humble.  He told his children he loved them, and he told them often.  He hugged more, he criticized less.  He made sure that he was always available to his grandchildren.

He showed up.  

Tomorrow night, Special Man and I are going to dinner with my father, and his significant other, the same girlfriend he has had for fifteen or so years.  The irony here, is so exquisite, it makes my teeth ache.  This man, who I grew up afraid of, and intimidated by, who was never able talk to his children, or be true and honest with himself for years, and years, is who I’m choosing to come out to as poly.

It’s time.  I don’t know how he will react.  I suspect he will be sad, yet supportive of me as a person who makes her own choices.  I don’t know how quickly I may choose to tell the rest of my family.  My sister, the Beautician, is aware that SMF is married, and she and I have talked about what it means to be poly.  She thinks the whole thing is weird. She feels I am being taken advantage of.  As for the rest of my family…it’s only really my mother who scares me. She will be at once heartbroken and righteously indignant.  She will wonder how she failed me. She will more than likely tell me that Jesus still loves me.  She may not talk to me again for some time.

But that is a worry for another day.  I have no fear of my father any more.  He loves me, and will continue to love me, even if he does not understand or agree with my choices.  I’m okay with that.

Because I believe he will continue to show up.

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So I drove five and a half hours last week, to Bend, Oregon for a date with a man I had never met in person.  This is not something I would typically do, but there were a few different reasons I wanted to do this.

The Sheriff and I connected through OKCupid.  He is smart and funny and he has a nice smile.  He has a good vocabulary, spells well, and I didn’t feel pressured that this long distance coffee date had expectations attached. (Truth be told, I knew we both had expectations, but I was comfortable, he was comfortable, there was just good mojo all around.)

Sheriff is from a tiny town more than nine hours away from me.  Tiny, like twenty thousand people.  When I heard this, I told him it sounded like the town of Mayberry, from the Andy Griffith Show, and that I was just going to have to nickname him Opie, or, alternatively, just Mayberry.  Apparently neither of these were masculine enough for him, and he requested (demanded) I at least give him Andy, after the Sheriff of Mayberry.  Yadda, yadda, yadda, Sheriff had a good ring to it, and this is often how my brain works.

I think we were both good from the moment we met.  It was comfortable conversation that we fell into, and an easy kind of rapport.  We had been intermittently chatting online, and by text for a couple of months, so it felt natural to be with him in person.

One of the reasons I chose to go on this far-away date with the Sheriff, has to do with my relationship with Special Man.  I think I need more of something, though more of what, exactly, I’m not sure.  I wanted to experiment, I wanted to explore some different options. I have a deep level of intimacy with and love for SMF.  It takes a lot of work to maintain that.  I miss him almost all the time.  Not curled-into-the-fetal-position miss him, but I often feel as if I’m waiting for the next time we can be together.  And really, between his work, my work, our family obligations and everything else that constitutes Real Life, I’m not sure how much more of myself there is left to give to yet another person, even an additional casual relationship.

I’ve heard the term, “poly-saturated” before, and I love it.  I like the idea that each of us, who identify as non-monogamous, may have a different level of poly- saturation.  While one person may easily integrate two significant relationships and one casual relationship, another person may be content with one significant and one casual. Of course there are any number of combinations and possibilities, and I want to find that balance between my needs and contentment, and my abilities to maintain my connections.

It was a good date, we stayed overnight in Bend, and I had a good time.  I was a little unsettled, being with someone new, but a preference for familiarity and stability is part of my fundamental personality.  However, all in all, it was a very low-key, easy experience.  There were many conscious pauses, where I took note of my feelings and and then filed them away for later processing.  When it came near time for me to head home, the Sheriff asked me if I could stay another day.

“Maybe,” I said as we walked to breakfast.

Part of me thought it might be fun.  Part of me was ambivalent.   The Sheriff was engaging, attentive, conversational, and complimentary.  But I missed Special Man.   I knew that he would not be comfortable with this change in plans, had I decided at the last minute to stay another night with a new man,  but in the end, I chose not to stay another night because I just couldn’t be comfortable with it.  It felt too new, too unfamiliar, and I didn’t feel like I had the energy for twenty-four more hours with a brand new person.  I needed to be back on familiar ground; my town, my bed, my children.

The unfortunate encounter between a tree and my car on the way home from Oregon, necessarily caused me to delay my thoughts about this date.  I like the Sheriff, and I may see him again.

But I’m still looking for something.




Is this even a real word? Language evolves to meet the needs of a society or community as it changes over time. When I Google Metamour definition, the first thing that pops up is an entry on Urban Dictionary. Next you will find a plethora of polyamory related web pages, in fact the 11th and 12th entries link right back here, to Poly Nirvana.

Metamour relations can be tricky.  They can be downright difficult.   I liken it to in-law relations, mainly because I still view many things through the glasses of traditional monogamy, in that I make sense of  poly things by relating them back to mono things.  Anyway, you don’t choose your in-laws, and while it isn’t absolutely necessary to be best friends with them, it sure does make things a lot more peaceful, and a lot more fun if you do genuinely enjoy each other.

So what’s the etiquette for interactions with a metamour?  Should you meet early on in the relationship or later? Should you give them a card or a gift on their birthday?  Is there a basic assumption of obligation to your partners’ other partners, as there would be with, say, a mother or sister-in-law?

(I don’t have the answers to any of these questions.  I can offer no deep insight.  I’m figuring it out as I go, and, I’m afraid, not very gracefully.)

The latest of my less than gracious reactions to a metamour, included me, sitting with tender feelings and a bruised heart, because although I have had an abundant show of support and love in this week since my car wreck,  via text, internet, and in person, from both friends, and family…. I hadn’t heard a word from CC.  I didn’t need anything.  I didn’t want anything. If I had texted her for any reason, I know she would have done what she could for me.  But I didn’t want to ask.  I wanted to be one of her Important People, and if the roles were reversed, I thought, I would have contacted her immediately, and I projected that onto her.  My feelings were hurt.

It wasn’t fair for me to put that on her.

But I stewed about it for a few days, as I began to feel more and more isolated, with my slowly healing body, and my labile emotions.  I felt left out and forgotten, as SMF made another date for a big party that I had been looking forward to, and was now not going to be able to attend.  I was mad.  Mad for reasons that I was making bigger in my head.  I was left out.  Circumstances had conspired to shrink my universe down to my body, on my bed, in my house.  And life went on for everyone else.  And I wanted someone to stop and notice that I was missing.

We really are the centers of our own little universes.  It’s easy to realize that the world doesn’t revolve around me when we are talking about things or people far away and unknown to me.  But it takes self awareness and mindfulness to stay on top of the fact that there are lives that overlap mine, that affect mine, but that I am not a priority.

So I had a meltdown, or rather, several small meltdowns.  Both Special Man and CC tried to fix it.  But it was too late, and I had to start putting myself back together.  I’m processing.  I’m being gentle with myself.  I’m trying not to berate myself for not handling this unexpected speedbump better.  I wanted to run away from everyone last night, especially SMF,  and there was a small sane part of my brain that switched into logical nurse mode and said, “Wait. This is the pain meds, and the trauma to your body and to your spirit.  Wait.”

So I waited.

The anger faded, but the hurt is still there.  I am weary of taking care of myself.  I want to be kissed on the forehead and tucked in to bed.   I want to know that when I wake up, someone who loves me is still there, waiting for me.  I want to be taken care of.  Just for a little while.

 “She hoped to be wise and reasonable in time; but alas! Alas! She must confess to herself that she was not wise yet.”  ~Jane Austen, Persuasion

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~Pills and Pillows~

I have at least a dozen thoughts moving through my consciousness right now.  I am overwhelmed.  My body is mending; my emotions are bruised. My head hurts.  Everything hurts.  Every once in a while, I’ll flash on some image or feeling from the accident and I’ll cry hot tears for about two minutes, and then it’s done.  Until it happens again.

I’ve spent the week in bed, watching marathon episodes of Mad Men and Orange is The New Black.  I found a PBS produced documentary on Wonder Woman that was fantastic.  I watched the clock, waiting for the next pain pill.  I forced myself up and down the stairs, twice on the second day after the accident, and three times on day three.   Today I didn’t count, the stairs just came, gently.  I stared at the screen of my laptop, wanting to write, but felt scattered, unfocused.  I managed the necessary phone calls, to my work, to the insurance company, to my doctor.  I slept, and cried, and waited for the time to pass.

This week was the second anniversary of my first date with Special Man Friend, and it’s the sole relationship milestone that we celebrate.  It was important to me.  It came and it went in the middle of this haze, and now it is over.  Gone.

I’m hypersensitive and crabby, teary and stir crazy.



A funny thing happened on the way home from my date with the Sheriff.

I wrapped my car around a tree, three hours away from home.  It was daylight, I was wearing my seatbelt, I wasn’t texting or distracted.  I had glanced out the window to see if an upcoming business might be a good place to stop for a potty break, but when I looked back at the road, there were two vehicles at a dead stop on a one lane highway and I could not brake fast enough to avoid them, so I went off the road, yadda yadda yadda; embankment, airtime, tree.

It was horrible and scary and I’m still processing.

The trip itself was enjoyable, and Sheriff proved to be pleasant and interesting company.  For some reason this damn concussion is preventing me from writing about anything with clarity of thought, so I think I’m going to sleep now.