Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Absorb~

Metamour.

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.


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~Pause~

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.


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~Burn~

Last night, after dinner out with friends, a margarita and a few bites of Special Man’s Cancun Platter,  I sat with him on my bed as he went through his laptop and compiled a list of music to make a CD for me to take with me on a quick road trip.  He was doing something nice for me, I think, in part to show support for the fact that I’m driving several hours for a date with someone new.  Someone he knows I think is smart and funny.  Someone he knows must have caught my eye, as he is of the (fairly accurate) opinion that I am picky, (though I prefer the term selective).  I know he worries and is protective of me.  He asked me last week, why drive, when there were probably 300 men I could connect with, within a fifteen mile radius of my house; why this guy? (That’s when I told him that the Sheriff was smart and funny and I liked him, and that didn’t happen very often, which may have made him nervous.)

I like to verbally process things.  Special Man is different.  He will listen and discuss and analyze with me when I need or want it, but his process is very different.  He works through most things quietly, and internally.  I’m still learning this.

I think burning this CD for me is his way to poly up and show me that he’s good, even if he’s uncomfortable.

I love that.

(More about the Sheriff later, and no, he’s not actually a Sheriff.)


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~Birth~

I get paid to watch over women during childbirth.  It is incredible, and amazing, labor-intensive and sometimes heartbreaking.

There’s a moment, when a woman realizes that this thing she is doing, is really happening, and there is nothing she can do to change it.   In this moment, there is a look of panic on her face, as her eyes lock on mine, and I hold them there.  I do not look away, and I say to her, I know.  Sometimes she will fight it. She will try to get away from it. But eventually, the realization comes to her: This is mine to do.  

I love watching women change during childbirth.  For that brief period of time, rules of polite society are put aside. As she sinks deeper into herself, she cares less about what is happening outside of herself.  She is focused on one thing.  It’s raw, and it’s honest, and sometimes it’s ugly.

After years of this work, I was taught a new lesson this week.  I observed a girl, in her first pregnancy, labor so beautifully, so instinctually, so powerfully that I was stopped in my tracks.  I was awe struck by her peace, and by her connection with the process and with her body.  The way she moved, as she worked through contraction after contraction, could not be taught.  No class or book could ever standardize the way she gave herself over to this thing that she had never experienced before.

After many (so many) hours of labor, and many more hours of pushing, during which she was completely present, for reasons completely out of her control, I ended my night with her in the operating room, numb from the chest down, covered in blue sterile drapes.  She could not move, as her baby was pulled from an incision in her abdomen.  She had done everything “right”.  She’d had no medications, as few interventions as possible, and good labor support.  She had walked and squatted and used gravity to ensure safe passage for her infant into the world. She did everything within her power to get that baby out the way she had planned and desired.

And it was not going to happen. It didn’t happen.  She didn’t get the natural vaginal birth she desired, and had worked so hard to give herself and her child.  I was disappointed.  Perhaps a little disillusioned.  I wanted so much to see her get the beautiful moment when she pushed her baby out and heard him cry.

It is easy to become cynical sometimes as a caregiver.  I see so much that makes me roll my eyes.  People in ridiculous situations of their own choosing.  People in horrible situations through no fault of their own.  Women who are so caught up in themselves, that they choose meth or other drugs over the lives and safety of their babies.  I’ve heard the wails of women who are told that their perfect, almost ready to be born, babies have simply stopped beating their hearts, and there is nothing anyone can do.  And then I’ve watched, as those dreadfully still and silent children are born.

I’ve sent women home either giggling or tearful, because I’ve told them that no, their water did not break, that they simply wet their pants.  I’ve sent women home angry, because I cannot predict, nor influence the time and the day that their labor will start.  I watched a woman punch her stomach and call her unborn child stupid.  I’ve been snapped at by women who later apologize; I’ve been sworn at by women who never apologize.

We get the hand we are dealt.  The cliche is appropriate.  There are things we can control and there are things we can’t.  Knowing the difference, and making the thoughtful choices when they are ours to make is the secret to contentment.

I only hope I’m playing my own cards wisely and thoughtfully.

Something about this particular patient made me remember what it is that I love about what I do.  I’ve lost some of that over the years, and I want it back.  I came home after this delivery exhausted and aching and a little melancholy.  At the same time, I was content, and I was happy.

I’m a lucky girl.


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~Twitch~

Dear Potential Partner (girlfriend, boyfriend, fling, hook-up, or play partner) of Any of My Partners or other Persons Important To Me, Current or Future:

When our paths cross, I will shake your hand, and smile and be honestly pleased to meet you.  I am sure that there are lots of good things about you, things that my partner sees and enjoys, and may even love about you.

I want you to know, that I may be slow to find these things.  I will regard you carefully.  I will watch you from a distance. I will keep my ears open when anyone speaks of you.

I am protective.  I worry that someone I love will get hurt.  I will not think that you are good enough for my Loved One, until you prove to me that you are. I am not jealous, I am not being a bitch; I am not here to sabotage your relationship, whatever form that may take.  I’m careful, and I do not trust anyone quickly or easily, even people who are attempting to get close to me.

I am cautious.  Do not mistake this caution for cattiness.  I am not afraid of being replaced by you. I am secure in my unique relationships.  I have worked hard to develop meaningful ties to my people, and I continue to work to maintain those bonds.  You will make your own place, and find your own space with your Important People.  Eventually you may find yourself close to me, and my mamma bear claws will twitch when new people come around you.

(Or maybe you won’t.)

~Ginger


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~Addendum~

After a brief text exchange with Special Man, in which I told him that it was pretty “shitty” for him to say that I was being disingenuous, when he wasn’t out either, he clarified that he was speaking for himself, and how it felt that he was hiding a big part of his life, specifically, from my children.

I’m so on the fence about this whole “being out” subject.

I must mull.