Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Flight~

Wendover, Nevada.

Oh my goodness: A thirty eight minute flight on a plane which was filled with excited and chatty senior citizens.  Special Man Friend found a dirt cheap weekend package, and apparently it’s very popular with the over 65 crowd.  It’s been a good giggle. (I know I’m no spring chicken.  But come on!  I’ve got fifteen years until I’m even sixty!)

We are here until tomorrow.  It’s been good for me I think.  Mostly the sleep.  SMF played poker last night, and I slept from 8:30 on.

Wait.  Maybe I am ready to be part of the Senior’s Fun Tour.  Darn.

SMF saw Mrs. A several times in the last week.  It was hard for me.  I hate that it’s hard for me.  I am trying to be gentle with myself. I have been able to relax more about his weekly date with her.  But midway through his third time seeing her in a week, I just had reached some kind of critical mass.  It doesn’t matter how secure I am in the fact that he loves me.  It doesn’t matter how reassuring he is.  It doesn’t matter how many self-love techniques I use, or poly books I read.

I am a poly girl, with a mono- minded heart. I work hard to be happy.  I am loved, and I know that SMF will be there for me, whatever I need.  But man, it’s hard sometimes. I  am not sure how to navigate this specific issue. In three and a half years with him, I haven’t ever had to deal with him having three dates with someone else in a single week.  It sounds silly when I type it out, but it is not silly. I am a good person with real feelings.  I have to forgive myself for struggling, because the last thing I need is to be mad at myself for having feelings.

So do I suck it up and deal?  Do I ask him to slow down a little for my sanity?  Do I just wait and see if it happens again?  I think this week may have been a fluke, but I was completely blindsided by the intensity of my discomfort.  CC is out of town, and there has been so much going on the last few weeks, that date nights have been moved around and his time with Mrs. A has been inconsistent.  I tell myself that he has consistently been there for me, and I am not losing time with him.

But there’s still part of me that is uncomfortable.  I think I’m afraid.  Afraid that he doesn’t have room for all three of us, and that I will get the proverbial boot. Afraid that she is cuter, funner (funner is totally a word), thinner, newer, smiley-er, easier, simpler, sexier… happier.     And who wouldn’t want to be around someone who was happy.

Things have been really heavy lately.  Special Man has not once, batted an eye about taking on what he can in an effort to support me, and to support my kids. He is my best friend, and my biggest supporter. The bulk of my life falls on me, and he knows that.  But when he steals me away for a cup of coffee, or lets me cry while he holds me, or takes the kids to the library he gives me the chance to breathe.  The chance to regroup.  The chance to find some peace again.  He honors his commitment to me.

That’s what my logic tells me.  I wish my little emotional heart would listen to my amazingly logical brain.  Damn heart.

I’m sitting on the fringes of a noisy, smokey casino, with a very bad cup of coffee, while he upstairs in our room, stealing a nap for an hour.  (The biggest shock to my system on this little trip has been the smoke filled casinos. In Idaho, you can’t smoke in public places unless you’re in a designated smoking area, so this level of second hand smoke is making me nuts!)

Tomorrow we head home.  I feel good.  I had a doctor’s appointment a few days ago (a follow up for my cancer history)  and she found a few things in my bloodwork that we are hopeful will be able to be corrected with changes in medication and , supplements and I’m making a six week recovery plan to deal with the physical and emotional aftermath of the last few months.

I feel positive.  I’m looking forward.


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~Onward~

Sometimes a really horrible thing can quickly shift your focus.  Reorder your priorities.  Give you some clarity.

I’ve applied for a new job with a local hospice.  I’ve made some peace with Mrs. A.  I’m determined to love my people and let myself be loved.

I’m also not sleeping well.  I dream all night, every night, and while they are not classic nightmares with monsters and dark threats, they are very busy and stressful dreams that startle me awake with a pounding heart and a racing mind.  I dreamed I found a suicide note, taped inside a yellow freezer.  The note was black, the writing was white.  It was from my exhusband, and I have no idea what the words said.  But my mind keeps turning the dream over and over in my mind.  I am purging, processing.  It is exhausting.

On Thursday Special Man is taking me away for the weekend.  Just a border town, a big hotel casino. I have naps planned.  Naps and reading.  Food and sex and then, more naps.  People watching with a virgin drink in front of me.  I am so excited.

This past Sunday, Special Man and CC came for brunch.  We made it a Valentine’s theme, and yes, I know it’s still January, but I wanted to enjoy some red and pink paper crafts and do a little holiday decorating, and kids love themes, so I bought paper and glue and stickers and we cut and pasted and made a big mess after we ate waffles and strawberries with pink whipped cream.  It was great, it was easy, and it was enjoyable.  We plan to try and do brunch monthly, and I am looking forward to it.  Relationships take effort and nurturing.  I want the kids to be comfortable with all of us together, just as much as I want to be comfortable myself.

I feel something akin to separation anxiety from SMF this past week.  I tell myself it’s understandable, he says the same thing, considering the intensity of recent events.  I fear that I am clingy.  I fear that I will suffocate him with the sheer volume of need for him that I feel right now.

People leave.  People leave, and then life continues on.  I feel so…small.  That’s it.  I just feel small right now.


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~Love~

I told him once, that I loved him desperately.  He replied that he did not love me with a modifier like desperately.

I was crushed.

I get it now.  If desperately was truly how I felt then, it isn’t how I feel now.  The adjectives I feel on this day, in this minute, are infinitely more interesting and accurate.  I love him intensely, solidly, joyfully.  I love him effortlessly.  Easily.  I love him with my body, and I love him with my heart.  I love him for who he is, and I love him for who he isn’t.  I love him with a wholeness that I haven’t felt with anyone else.

Special Man Friend came to me last weekend, within a couple of hours of hearing of my ex-husband’s suicide.  He came and he didn’t leave.  He kept me together, so I could keep my children together.  Every minute, of that weekend, he loved me, exactly how I needed to be loved. He was present, available, and emotionally connected.  He fed me coffee, and held my hand, and talked me through the shock, which lasted nearly two days. He offered to drive us to the funeral.  He loved and listened to my kids. I saw his almost-tears, when Georgia said to me, “Mom, don’t get mental illness and kill yourself, ok?” and then turned to him and said, “You either.”

He loves me.  All of me.  In the aftermath of the first day, as I drifted to an exhausted and fuzzy half sleep, I said to him, “I love you, Dave.” 

Which, is not his name.  It is the name of the man I loved, in another life, so different and long ago from this life, that I barely think of it.  In the rare times that I do think of him, I count myself lucky to have had the strength to leave him and make a new, better, happier, safer life.  But then I said to SMF, “I love you, Dave.” 

I was mortified.  I tried to apologize.  I told myself, in my exhaustion, that this was unforgivable.

“No”, he said, with all the love for me in his voice that could ever possibly be there. “No. It’s okay. It’s time to sleep.”

And he curled around me, and loved me as I finally slept.


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~This is what remains.~

The note said, I’m sorry if I left a mess.

It didn’t say, I’m sorry I left a mess. That single word, IF, left me fuming.

(Today’s emotions are brought to you by the Second Stage of Grief: ANGER, and by my First Night of Real Sleep in ten days.)

If?

Of course you left a mess, you bastard. You left people confused and hurting and picking up the pieces of a life you chose to leave behind. You made a choice for yourself, and in doing so, took away the choice of every single person who cared about you, loved you, disliked you, or even hated you.

You have no idea what you have done to your children.

But I do. I got to say the words, over and over, to beautiful faces who only ever wanted their father to be okay. To be happy. To be healthy. To be present.

I have to tell you something. It’s very bad, I said.

Your dad died last night.

The look of horror on my child’s angelic face was one of the most raw moments I have ever lived through. I still cannot think of it without feeling a mixture of bile and hot tears in the back of my throat. One of my others, in his moment, sucked in a breath of air so sharply, that the silence of his exhale left me wondering if he had simply ceased breathing all together.

This is the mess you left behind.

He killed himself.

I had to say it. They had to know. And I had to tell them.

You left this mess, but I get to clean it up. And I rejoice, you fucking bastard. I rejoice in the glorious children who remain, not because of you, but in spite of you. Do you hear me? These kids are wonderful and smart and funny and bright and shiny and WILL move forward, IN SPITE OF YOU.

I got to sit at the funeral, my arms around my children, helpless to fix what you’ve done.

Our daughter cried tiny tears, which she wiped quickly away with the single tissue crammed in her small hand. She didn’t want me to see. When I reached over to brush the hair out of her face, she pushed my hand away, and moved her body so that the space between us was larger. She’s only eight. It’s too much, it’s too big, and I hate you for doing this to her.

This is the mess you left. This is my mess.

They are not your legacy. I won’t let you have them. They are not monuments to who you were. They are a testament unto themselves, and to the beauty and resilience of human beings who are able to survive ugly and difficult pasts. The mess you’ve left? That’s now part of their history, their story. And this is the worst thing you could have ever done to them.

And I am sorry. Tomorrow, or next week, or maybe next year, I will feel something different. This is what the books say. This is what my therapist assures me.

But today I get to be angry.

Bastard.


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~Once~

Once upon a time, I fell in love with a man.  I was twenty-one.  It was time to get married, and he said he loved me back.  The stars aligned, just as I had been raised to believe.

I called it love.

We were engaged after three months, married after another three.  It was tumultuous.  He was challenging.  He was also challenged.

Three years into our marriage he was diagnosed with Bipolar disorder.  I don’t know if it was Type 1 or Type 2, I could never keep it straight.  I lived with it.  The type was irrelevant.  We held everything together for years.  It was a loud, angry marriage, and it lasted much longer than it really should have.

His mental illness eventually cost him everything.

Friday, I spent the afternoon telling each of my children that their father had committed suicide.

I have a lot that I wanted to say, to write, but I find myself wordless now.  I am holding it together for them.  Special Man was here most of the weekend, and he is holding me together.  These kids are amazing and strong and wonderful, but they are not okay right now.

They will be though.


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~Footing~

Life is messy.  It just is.

I started writing my blog because I needed to think out loud.  I needed to organize my thoughts, in words, sentences; paragraphs.  Along the way people noticed, and that was good too. I got feedback and validation and support.  I heard from people who liked that I was so honest about the sometimes downright weirdness of polyamory.  As if I could be anything else.  I’m not an expert.  I’m not even very good at it.

I’m tired.  And there’s no sun in the sky.  There’s been an inversion that makes everything dim and gray.  Today I had all my lights on, my windows open AND my lightbox on, in an attempt to get some UV light.  I wanted to go to bed and just lay there.  Instead, I made my bed.  I got dressed and ran two small errands, and had my hair done.

I’m exhausted.

I fed the kids, I finished editing two photo shoots.  These are successes.  I should feel productive.  I should feel good. Instead the voice in my head keeps a running list of everything I didn’t get done.

I’m okay.  (There’s not an actual voice in my head, I’m just a little depressed, not hallucinatory.)

Things are very rocky with Special Man Friend and me.  But I don’t think I trust my judgement right now.

And writing that, just now, actually makes me feel a little better.  I don’t need to do, or decide, or figure anything out right now.  Not tonight.  Not tomorrow.  He’s not going anywhere.

Now if I can just remember not to go anywhere either.


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~Review~

I haven’t been able to eat today.

I’ve tried. My brain says eat. But I feel sick. Sick with that dread feeling, when there’s so much spilt milk that you are certain you will never be able to clean it up. There will always be another spot, another drop, another puddle.

In the Mormon church, there’s this scripture, about how there “needs be opposition in all things.” It’s used to comfort people in hard times, but also to make people feel superior when bad things happen. I think when I was a girl, I mixed up the scripture with Newton’s law, the one about “equal and opposite reactions.” If you get really good things in life, then you have to get really bad things too. That’s balance. That’s life.

The problem with this theory, is that there is no real balance. The starving, dying children of the world, do not have anything equal, but good, to counteract the fact that they are dying in multitudes. I suppose you could balance out the starving masses with the obese video- game playing children of the world who have plenty to eat, but I doubt that’s what God, or Newton had in mind.

I had a really, truly, to the core, rough year. It could have been worse, I am very aware. I had three children, each with a rare cancer syndrome (which they were gifted by me), undergo major surgery; all three within eight weeks of each other. As sole emotional, as well as financial caregiver, I am utterly exhausted. I keep telling myself to be grateful that nobody died. To be thankful that nobody needed long courses of chemo or radiation. I’ve reprimanded myself for emotions that range from feeling sorry for myself, to downright anger. My emotional reserves are depleted, and yet, the emotional demands on me remain the same. I’m still the mom. I’m still the grown up. I still cannot escape.

I am not really coping as well as I expected.

Add to the mix, a very intense relationship that almost ended, and several strong friendships that ended very badly, and it all makes for a very bitter girl, who is tired, and simply cannot lift her head up to see over the walls she has built in order to protect herself.

I sat in the hospital, in the dead of night, so angry at one friend in particular, because I loved her with all my heart, and she should have been there for me, and she should have been there for my children. I know her heart, and I feel the loss of her every day, and I know my kids miss her too.

Everyone leaves. Everyone changes.

This is the lesson I’ve learned this year. People can be mean. And people includes me.

For 1209 days, I have been loved by a man who is just as broken as I am, though I may have finally built my walls high enough to keep him out too. This beautiful man, with eyes the color of root beer, looked at me last night and told me he wasn’t sure we should be together. The light was fading from his eyes.

I’ve finally figured it out. It doesn’t matter if I’m poly or not poly. Not one bit. It only matters that I can accept the love and happiness that he gives me, for what it is, without fear of the pain and uncertainty of what might come with it. Will probably come with it. Because for every action, there’s an equal and opposite reaction. You take the good with the bad.

Because this man makes me happy. He sees good in me. I’m a better person, because he holds up a mirror and doesn’t let me look away. In the mirror I see a scared girl, who can almost always hold everything together, until she can’t. And he isn’t afraid to tell me that I’m starting to drown, and he can’t come with me.

“If you give up,”  he said, “if you drown, I can’t let you drown me along with you. So please, swim for your life.”

So I’m treading water, and trying to decide which direction to go.

I don’t know what to do, I said.

“Breathe,” he told me.

I’m breathing. It’s all I can do.