Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Aftermath~

Christmas afternoon I wandered around surveying the damage, taking a few pictures. The ham dinner was done, the presents unwrapped. Children lounged here and there, and all I wanted was a nap. My youngest had burned her arm on a hot cookie sheet, and I had forgotten to put the candy canes on the tree on Christmas Eve, but all in all, it was an uneventful holiday. I’m determined to start earlier next year with the shopping and preparation. The kids and I had a conversation Christmas morning about doing a Thrift Store Christmas theme next year. Everyone seems excited about it. We shop second hand often, so I think it will be fun for all of us.

Now that we are through with Christmas, I can turn my attention to my New Year’s party, and then, just a few days later, my baby sister’s wedding. I still have more than a dozen centerpieces to put together. I need to work on a non-cynical smile for the reception as well. I’m happy that Special Man Friend will be with me that day, and I’m sure I will have a few secret giggles at the irony of the situation. I expect my ex-husband will be invited. My mother has taken him in as a lost soul, and gives him a lot of emotional support, though not as much now as in the past. In fact he lived with her for some time after we divorced, and I think that put a big wedge in our relationship. It felt like a betrayal.

Last night I spent the evening at CC’s boyfriend’s home with his wife, Foxy. SMF and a few other friends were there as well. We played Cards Against Humanity, and I laughed and laughed and it felt glorious. SMF and CC left early, and I stayed late, eating good food and drinking good drinks. I was informed that I was a horrible drink mixer, and I’m now resigned to letting Foxy make my drinks, forever. I curled up under my brand new Wonder Woman blanket, given to me by MSquared and Foxy, and we talked about silly things and serious things and everything in between. It was lovely. The blog even came up, when MSquared told me that someone had asked him a while back, how it felt to be “famous” because he had made it into my blog. That made us laugh and laugh. We talked a little about OKCupid, and someone mentioned that you can delete all your answered questions and start over, and that your matches will change, as well as the people you see. I think I may need to do that. It’s time to meet more people. To expand my circle. There are some things I want that I do not have now.

It’s time.

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~Eve~

I remember the electric anticipation of Christmas Eve when I was a small girl. Christmas was magic at my house. My mother lived and breathed Christmas. We did not have a lot of money, but Christmas was absolutely monumental.  Toys laid out from Santa, everywhere; stockings overflowing with treasures. My mom loved it. Sugar cookies and a  gingerbread house every year.  When my sisters and I woke up on Christmas morning, the tree was magically covered with candy canes that had not been there when we went to sleep.  It was a wonderful touch.

I am getting a little bit excited this afternoon, though in my own muted adult-ish way.  Tonight my kidlets and I are having a fun “appetizer dinner”, and the meatballs are already working in the crockpot.  Special Man Friend is joining us, and it’s a little bittersweet, because I had hoped that at some point CC would be included in life with my kids, but we just aren’t there.  (I used to say, we aren’t there YET, but there’s been a shift within myself the past few weeks, and I am realizing that maybe we won’t ever get there.)  But I am excited about having him here tonight.  Last year at Christmas, he was out of state with CC visiting their families.  The previous year, we had just started dating, and were nowhere near considering sharing holidays.  Shoot, I had no plans to even introduce him to my kids at all.  Ever.

The holidays have been a challenge this year.  I know a lot of people struggle.  For me, its an overwhelming sense of pressure to be good enough, to do enough, to make things fun and perfect and memorable.  Generally, I consider myself a failed perfectionist, and I have to fight the tendency I have to give up and do nothing, lest I risk failing at doing the perfect thing.  It’s a little bit ridiculous.

Tonight we are going to just chill out and eat, and decorate waffle cone Christmas trees with canned frosting and candy.  We will drag our pillows and blankets downstairs and cuddle up in front of the Miracle on 34th Street (the one from the 90’s, its my favorite!).  I can’t wait.


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~Fast~

I’m just a little lost amongst the Santas and the teenagers, the cookies and the headaches of life. I’m both excited and uncertain about the upcoming year, but in this moment, all I am thinking is, “Is Christmas over yet?”

I’m kind of lonely.  I need to do something about that.


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~Give~

This evening, as I was sitting staring at a blank computer screen, idly considering whether to write about my recent anti-poly state of mind, or my excitement about my New Year’s resolution list, the doorbell rang. It was just before nine pm, and I had just put my youngest two to bed. They ran past me as I walked down the stairs, and I called after them to get back in bed, which they either did not hear, or simply ignored.(I’m fairly certain they just ignored me.) By the time I got downstairs they had the door open, and I could see a giant gift basket that the two of them were struggling to drag into the house, as they giggled and called for me to hurry.

Inside this big wicker basket, decorated with red garland, there was a pile of food: a ham, salad, rolls. There were pies and chocolate. There were gift cards to the movies, and one for an arcade near our house. There was a necklace with a black and pink kitten charm. A few other small things that showed personal knowledge of our family were included.

These words were written on a card:

“Merry Christmas. We learned years ago that our family enjoys Christmas more when we give gifts to others rather than each other. Gathering this basket for your family has given us an excuse to gather together brothers and sisters who rarely see each other and has given us a purpose that united us and made us feel good. We didn’t choose your family because we think you are needy. The decision was pretty random, but we think you’re great and hope you have a wonderful Christmas!”

People are amazing. Merry Christmas, friends. Do something nice for someone this year. Something big, something little, it doesn’t matter. Do it for yourself.


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~Inspiration~

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I’m having technical issues. Creativity issues. Inspiration issues.

I wanted to do a pictorial. It’s not something I do, or rather, have ever done. I always enjoy pictures in other blogs, they seem to add a taste of reality to the people I like reading about. Without boring you with the details, please enjoy this one single picture of my two youngest eating breakfast before school on Friday. Special Man commented on my “good eye” with this picture. Taking pictures is something I’d like to explore more in the next year. I’ve been contemplating my New Year’s Resolution list, which I’ve come to look forward to more and more in the past five years or so. It’s exhilarating to think about the potential for change and the possibility of new and good things to come. Someone recently suggested I try twelve goals for the upcoming year, and that sounds like an awful lot but I’m a little bit giddy about trying it.

Yesterday I had a big cookie swap party planned, and it was a huge success.  Mostly, I count it as a success because I managed to give my kids something they really wanted to do: a big gathering with friends and family.  And also, because my head didn’t explode from the stress.  I had planned the most casual, low-stress (I thought) thing that I could think of that was festive and would accommodate both a large number of people, and a wide age-range.  I’m disappointed that none of my siblings could be there, but there were cousins and grandparents and friends everywhere.

The stress came from this cookie making.  I had scoured Pinterest (yes, I do love Pinterest) for an easy, yet impressive holiday cookie recipe.  I found something called Oreo Cookie Truffle Balls.  Perfect, I thought.  Different but simple.  They turned out to be different, yes, but they were anything but simple.  Halfway through the first batch, I knew I needed a Plan B.

Enter Special Man Friend, stage right.

(On top of everything else that has been going on, I’ve decided that my body needs to be off of gluten.  Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know it’s kind of the trendy thing right now, but I have been wheat and grain sensitive for years, and have gone periods of time avoiding gluten, and I know that for me, I just feel better when I am eating whole, simple foods, and staying away from it.  In addition, I am working towards positive solutions for this depression that keeps dancing around me, and I figure if my physical body feels better, I will feel better in general.)

SMF rescued me with gluten-free peanut butter cookies, and he didn’t even blink an eye over it.  He got the ingredients from the store, he let the kids help roll them out, he did it all.  Then he braved the local dollar store with me, on a Saturday no less, ten days before Christmas, so that I could pick up coloring books and crayons for the cousins to have during the party.  He wasn’t phased.  Or rather, he may have been phased, but he didn’t let it stop him from doing what needed to be done.  And he didn’t take it out on me. I found myself expecting an explosion or a meltdown from him, and I think that was simply a residual situational expectation leftover from my childhood and my marriage.  I really wanted to tell SMF that we should just forget the coloring books. That we should just go home.  That the traffic was too bad.  All of this, in an effort to avoid the explosion or meltdown that I thought was just under the surface. Of course, he’s a different man than either my father was, or my ex-husband is.  And he hasn’t ever given me cause to expect those negative reactions.  It’s fascinating to me, the patterns that we train ourselves to recognize and feel and react to.

At the end of the party, as SM was walking out the door, my mother caught him, and asked him if his intentions toward me were honorable.  She used those words.  I think she may have been making a friendly and light joke, but he and I looked at each other, and then he said something like, “Of course they are, I love this lady.”  “Good,” my mom said.  He and I walked out the door and laughed all the way to his car.  We giggled about alternative things we could have said to her, that need to be said to her, but that was not the time.  Honorable intentions?  “Why yes,” he could have said, “I love this lady.  And my wife kind of likes her too.”

Now that would have been entertaining.


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~Week~

This week has been a killer. And by “this week”, I mean just the last four days or so. In a nutshell:

1) The weather has been ridiculous, even below zero. I’ve always said, that if there was a hell, MY hell would be freezing. I strongly and utterly detest being cold.

2) My son’s car needed a new starter, which I did get done, and apparently, a new gasket-thingie and new tires. Which will have to wait. (The gasket is just leaking, don’t panic.)

3) I’m planning a cookie swap party on Saturday, and I’m not sure if anyone is coming. The kids and I will have a good time regardless. My family is not as close as I would like, and I thought this might be fun, but I fear I’m putting too much weight on it.

4) I floated downtown to the big sister hospital on Monday night, which always makes my brain hurt because I don’t know where anything is, and I don’t know the other nurses, so nobody really talks to me.

5) I came home Tuesday morning from work to a very cold house, and a furnace that proved to need to be completely replaced. Which led to service technicians, space heaters, farming the kids out for the night, no sleep for me, and a brand new furnace, which was installed on Wednesday.

6) I got a new puppy.

Pictorial forthcoming, featuring both the puppy, and the expensive new furnace.

~Ginger


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~Guilt~

Writing therapy may now commence.

Guilt has always puzzled me.

I mean, I understand it, in context of my conscience keeping check on my morals. Lying, cheating, stealing, or maliciously hurting another human being, would all be appropriate triggers for guilt.

So why then, do some of us feel guilty for being happy? What the hell is that all about? Am I so cynical, that I believe that my happiness will always come at the expense of another? Or have I simply bought into the statement I am often telling my children, that “someone always, always has it worse than you do…”?

Today I’m a little sad and frustrated. I’m also feeling guilty. Guilty that I’m not able to do everything my kids want or need me to do. Guilty that I’m tucked into bed on a snowy Saturday morning, listening to music and being cozy, when I should be cleaning house. Or baking Christmas cookies. Or any one of the other hundreds of productive things that are always hanging over me. Most days I’m content to know that as a single mother, my kids have a place to live, plenty of video games, and they shower when they should. Yes, sometimes they eat cold cereal for dinner, but they don’t ever have to go to bed hungry.

But today I feel small and inadequate.

I try to be mindful and present in my relationship with Special Man, but I can’t help but feel sometimes, like my happiness is at the expense of another. If he’s with me, he’s NOT with her. Am I taking that away from her? I want to be happy wearing the necklace he gave me for my birthday, but then I am self-conscious that it will make her feel bad. I feel guilty for my happiness.

And I hate that.


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~Being~

Special Man came and took me for a drive Saturday night. I knew he was coming over and I had mixed feelings about it, because my head was not in a good place. Poly is hard. Some days I daydream about returning to a monogamous mindset and how much easier that might be. Sometimes I yearn for the mind numbing routine of societal relationship norms.

We drove an hour up into the mountains. We parked in the pitch black off the main road.

He knew I was upset. And still, I’m not sure what that was all about. There were a few small things that were bothering me but my reactions were amplified and internalized. He tried to get me to talk but it was too difficult to put words to something I did not understand myself. He tried to touch me, to connect with me, to understand what was in my head.

I wasn’t having any of it.

After some talk, and some attempted cuddling, I vented some of my frustrations by seeing how hard I could punch him in the chest. (Hey, I never claimed to be the enlightened Goddess of Healthy Communication…) The good news, is that apparently, I can throw a good punch. The bad news is that he is still stronger and bigger than I am, and he soon had me pinned in some manly wrestling hold.

“Say you love me”, he said sternly. “Say you love me, and that everything is going to be okay.”

I turned my head away.

“No,” I mumbled. “No, I’m not saying it. I don’t want to. I don’t want to say it.”

This went on for a minute or two, and the more he insisted, the more I felt like the little sister who was being forced to say “Uncle” so that her big brother wouldn’t spit in her mouth. We went back and forth. Finally I broke.

“I don’t want to love you anymore.”

And the struggle left my body, and I started to cry. His eyes found mine, and he said, “Ah. There it is.”

I continued to cry, and soon I quieted. “This doesn’t change anything,” he told me. “This doesn’t change how I feel about you at all.”

“It’s too hard,” I whispered.

“No,” he said without hesitation. “It’s hard. It’s not too hard. And I’m not ever going to make it easy for you to run.”

And it was over.