Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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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.


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~Hi~

I’ve got holiday burnout.

(What?  Already?)

Yep.

I think my enthusiasm tank was running low after Georgia’s surgery, which I haven’t written much about.  There were complications.  She’s fine.  Mostly.

Yesterday we had our “official” Christmas dinner.  We did it early. I am working the Christmas holiday this year, which means I work 12 hours on Christmas Eve, and 12 hours on the night of Christmas Day.  And that’s really okay.  It’s my turn, and I’m fortunate, being in healthcare, that I only work every third Christmas.  Anyway, Special Man and CC came for dinner and movies.  I had a puzzle for the kids.  Rabies kitten the kids had named it, for the whipped cream froth on the kitten’s mouth (from drinking hot chocolate, while wearing a Santa hat, of course).

It really was peaceful. Low key.  Nobody had to entertain anyone.

I am working on my own peace. I’m starting to feel like the crotchety old lady who is always yelling at the youngsters to “get off her lawn!”  Everyone kind of annoys me.  It’s not a pleasant state to be in.  Friends, family, strangers.  I want them all to go away;to go live their small lives away from mine.  People are loud, and stupid.  They say stupid things and make stupid choices with their stupid faces.

So do I, I suppose.

This will pass.  I’m being nice to myself.  I’m managing expectations for a quiet low-key Christmas with the kids.  Mostly though, I’ll be asleep on Christmas day.

And that’s okay.

My poly has settled into something that doesn’t feel like Poly with a capital P any more.  It’s just life.  It just IS.  It’s a good place to be.


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~Cookies~

I stayed up late last night, baking mediocre cookies and building a gingerbread house.

I was so tired.

I didn’t want to bake cookes.  I wanted to have cookies for today’s monthly poly potluck, which was a holiday cookie exchange, but I am not a baker.

I should stick with what I know. I should have just bought some amazing bakery cookies and put pretty bows on them.

The gingerbread house, was an obligatory holiday thing I needed to do for the kids.  It came from a kit, and it wasn’t a big deal, really, but I had promised the kids we would do the decorating today, and I wanted the house to dry overnight.  So I did it.

When I woke up this morning, my throat was hurting, along with everything else. I was tired and a little weepy. Special Man Friend suggested I stay home from the potluck.  It was such a relief. I had a running list in my head of other things that needed to be done.  Leo needed a book from the library for a book report and new shoes for his band concert this week.  Georgia needed patches sewn on her Girl Scout sash.  The gingerbread house needed it’s candy decor, and it’s Necco wafer roof. There’s laundry, and a clogged bathtub drain, and I’m back to work tomorrow night and Georgia needs a blood draw and prescriptions picked up and I’m nowhere near ready for Christmas, and I’m trying to keep my head above water, but it feels like I’m drowning.

Just like almost every other single mother out there.  This isn’t a poly thing.  It’s a me thing.

SMF stopped by just little while ago and brought me cookies.  Special flourless peanut butter cookies, because he knows I love them and too much flour makes me feel sick.  He’s having his own stress, and wants to withdraw. He says I’m pretty good at not letting him though.

“Oh yeah?” I said. “That’s just because I kick my feet and throw a fit if you do.”

“That’s not a bad thing, Love,” he said.

*Good answer.*

So today I got a few things done, and left a few for tomorrow. I made an easy dinner of breakfast burritos, watched a distracting show (*”Helix”*, a series from SYFY that is available on Netflix, two thumbs up for solid entertainment), and I’m almost done with the Girl Scout sash,

(Here’s to small victories.)


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~Easy~

Thanksgiving was wonderful.  There’s no other word for it. It felt happy and comfortable.  My house was full, the food was delicious, and my kids didn’t embarrass me. After years of parenting, I figure if my children know this one rule, it covers most behavior:  Don’t embarrass me.  Fortunately, they can all quote this rule without any prompting.

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Special Man and CC were here, and I had a particularly nice time being in CC’s space, and having her in mine.  I think we’ve finally made it to an authentic commitment to each other, as a part of this bigger picture of our individual relationships and how they affect us. It’s not just about being polite any more, which we were sometimes (too many times) not very good at.  Anyway, she is a much fancier cook than I am, and she made some amazing food, the kind that you take pictures of.  I’m the mother of many teenage boys…I made the basics, and yes, that included stuffing from a box.  Somehow it all worked together, my instant potatoes and gravy, side by side with her spinach gratin and pumpkin cheesecake.  I think that while cooking is her thing, getting my kids fed and happy is my thing, and everyone was satisfied.  We even had a ham and turkey.

I thought it was interesting that while I am fully about time and simplicity when it comes to food, It was important to me to have a pretty table, and nice dishes.  I conceded with super nice, heavy clear plastic plates, but we had tablecloths and candles and a few festive decorations, and we ate together.  It was a nice balance of formal and easy. I loved it, and everything just worked together.  My green bean casserole, with the canned soup and those exquisite fried onions, sat side by side with CC’s fancy brussels sprout, apple, bacon, almond, cranberry dish, and everyone was happy.  (Well, I was very happy.)

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CC’s partner of a few years was also here, as were SMF’s sister and a date.  We had sixteen people and I didn’t stress out too much. I stressed out just the right amount, actually. The kids played Rock Band, we put a movie on, we colored with markers.

I can’t wait to do it again. I’m thinking about maybe instituting a monthly family poly dinner.  Sometimes small, sometimes larger, but just with people we are genuinely connected to.

Tomorrow is Georgia’s big surgery, and so I am in preparation mode.  SMF is here, after struggling each of the nights before the last two surgeries, I finally just came out and asked him to be with me the night before this one.  Monday night is generally the night he spends a few hours with Mrs. A, and I kind of wondered if it was unreasonable of me to even ask for him to be here instead of there.  And I decided, after two horrible “night-befores”, where I felt overwhelmed and worried and stressed out and alone…that it was better to say what I needed, and how I was feeling, and what I thought would help.  So here we are, I’m packing and puttering and baking banana muffins, and he’s working on job-related stuff upstairs, and everything feels just a little better.  He’s my people, and I’m glad he’s here. It’s nice to have a friend here, and he’ll stay tonight, and leave straight for work in the morning.

I’ll be on my own tomorrow, while Georgia is under anesthesia.  Special Man couldn’t take the day off of work.  I’m disappointed, but I don’t feel alone.  I’m important, and I’m loved, and I can do this.  Three major surgeries in eight weeks…  I’ll be relieved to celebrate New Year’s this year, with these behind us.

Good night.  Time for sleep.


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~Touch~

 

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I named him Leo, after Leo McGarry from West Wing.  He was born ten days before I started nursing school, and he’s an enthusiastic, energetic, creative, affectionate and loving kid.  This sucks.  I’d like to say, all’s well that ends well, but right now even my bones are exhausted, and Leo just told me I should take a shower.  I guess two days of stress and worry can make a momma bear a little frayed around the edges.

And stinky, apparently.

Yesterday was a long day, with surgery lasting just over three hours, and a long recovery period complicated by violent vomiting that would not stop.  He was given drug after drug, a fluid bolus, acupressure wrist bands that might help (they didn’t), more drugs, and, when a kind nurse told me she was trained in “therapeutic touch”, and offered to work on his energy, I said bring it.  (I wish I had a picture.)  She was a very kind woman, who didn’t bat an eye when he began to throw up during her healing session.

We tried more drugs.  Finally. Peace.

And then my important person was there  I had almost tried to let him off the hook earlier in the evening. He texted me right back.

::I need to be with you, kitten. I’ll be there in 30 minutes::

(He calls me kitten sometimes.  It’s my favorite.)

He apologized for getting upset when I told him I wasn’t happy he was leaving town this week.  “I wasn’t thinking,” he said.   He isn’t going anywhere.  And, in three weeks and six days, when it’s time for Georgia’s surgery, he’s taking a personal day at work so he can be with us.  And that is how I want my relationships to work.  Communicate, adjust and readjust, move forward.  I’m fortunate that I get to recognize these small milestones, because that’s how I see them, as important little relationship mile markers.   Look at us, I think sometimes.  We are really doing this.

Tonight CC and SMF were both here.  She sat and crocheted, he ordered sandwiches and managed the bedside table for Leo.  I sat on the floor, my arms wrapped around my knees and did not cry.  It was easy, this being together, and in my exhausted state I felt emotional, and raw, and grateful.