Poly Nirvana

Love, Life and Rational Polyamory


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~Happy~

I have a therapist, who I have seen on and off again since 2008.  He’s wonderful at reflecting back ME, to myself.  I use him when I need to focus.  Sometimes I use him just to verbalize what I already know, and need to hear out loud.  I saw him this morning.

“When are you happiest?” he asked me.

“Right after sex”, I said.  That was easy, I thought.

We talked about my tendency to overthink and worry.  We talked about how I hate it when Special Man tells me to be a duck, as he does, often.  (As in letting things roll off my back.)  We talked about how his nonchalance about certain (many) things is at odds with my natural stress patterns, and Therapist suggested that we may even be amplifying our differences in an effort to counteract the other.  We talked about how I’ve cried more in the last two years than I probably have in all my previous years, and Therapist thought that was a wonderful thing, because I’m not “closed up tight” any more.

“You can’t fuck all the time,” he said.  Damn, I thought.  “Your homework is to be aware of what you are feeling, and find some other things that make you happy. Try something new.”

Tonight I came across this, and I wanted to share it here, but I couldn’t embed it.  Take a few minutes to follow the link, especially if you are a broken girl, like me.  It’s sweet and sentimental, but even my cynical side was smiling.  

 http://ppnets.com/201309/124451/C-S-LEWIS-To-love-at-all/=1


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~Unblocking~

Today SMF teased me a little about slacking on my writing.  It’s nice to know that he keeps an eye on my blog, and is interested in reading what I write.  It also blocks me sometimes, from writing things I might share if I was truly anonymous.  I almost always work through it though, generally by sitting on a draft for a few days, wondering if it’s too much to be posting, until I pretty much say Fuck It and post it anyway.

A few nights ago, I woke up in the middle of the night out of a really bad dream, which ended with a mob of people chasing me, as I screamed  Special Man’s name.  There was much more, but as I lay awake, my mind kept replaying that feeling of panic, as my brain tried to analyze it.  Eventually I went back to sleep, only to wake up from a second nightmare revolving around CC, my Metamour.

I don’t know what’s going on in this little head of mine, but obviously my subconscious is trying to work something out.  I have been aware of feeling especially alone this week, and as I lay in the dark, by myself in my big bed after the second nightmare, I had such a sense of singularity, and it felt thick, and it felt heavy.

We talk in PolyLand about no single person being able to fulfill every need and want for one other.  We speak of exploring different loves and of allowing relationships to be what they are going to be; of allowing ourselves to love and be loved with no expectation of What Is Supposed To Come Next.  I love Special Man dearly, and shockingly, I’m realizing how long it has taken for me to confess this, even to myself:  He can’t give me everything I need, everything I want.  He has nurtured me as I transitioned from a broken girl who didn’t believe in love, into this open, wholehearted woman who is still growing.  He loves me with everything he has, and I do not believe that he holds any of his love or emotion back from me.  I have been happy, loved, and satisfied.  But I need more.  And he cannot give it to me.  I get lonely and my bed is empty.  I thought for a long time that things could be different.  We talked of him spending two nights a week with me, on a scheduled, regular basis.  We talked of more domestic entanglement, of more down time together.  Somehow that read to me as security, stability.  Safety.

But after hearing another couple at a local non-monogamy discussion group talk about the way they split time between households, and feeling a stab (or ten) of envy,  I have decided that I have to make peace with the fact that this kind of arrangement may not be in the cards, ever.  Our relationship is wonderful, for what it is.  I am happy today.  I need to release those expectations of him; of us. If having someone to share my bed with is important to me, I need to find that, somewhere else.  Logistically, Special Man simply has a full plate.  I know I am a big part of that, and I have no intention of being without him,  I guess it’s back to OKCupid for this girl.  Sigh.  First dates, how I loathe thee…  

On another note, today I booked flights for the poly conference in Ohio in November.  I’m happy that I will have SMF with me the whole time, and we are both looking forward to meeting people and exploring the bigger poly community.  In addition, my darling friend, the Divine Miss M. thinks we should take a trip ourselves up to Calgary after Christmas.  (I really do hope she’s serious.)I h  ave things to look forward to.  I have people to look forward to.  Despite the car wreck and all the other chaos that has clustered around me of late, I have a good life.  I have good intentions, and I try to have a good heart.  All the rest of it is just details.


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~Returning~

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.


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~Spoken~

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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~Patriarch~

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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~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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~Write~

About a month ago, I was referred to on another website as a “blogger”.  Oh pish posh, I thought, I’m not a Blogger.  That sounds kind of serious, like some kind of commitment to have something to say, all the time…  I’m just fooling around a little…

And then, a few days later, it hit me.  Holy fuck. I’m a writer.   

Every day I write.  I can’t stop.  I wake up in the middle of the night composing sentences, and I speak these sentences in my head, as I lay in bed, staring into the dark.  I have a voice, and I have a hundred stories to tell.  Sometimes I think if I can’t write, I will implode.  These stories and sentences will become heavy and dark as they melt together into a mass of tangled words that will never come out.

When I sit down to write, I go into my head and pull out one of these sentences.  I watch, as it appears in front of me, like a magic trick that only I know.  I choose the words, the rhythm, the flow.  My power is in words, and these words are gloriously mine.

When I was a young girl, there were things I knew, without ever being told.  I knew that there was so much more to me than anyone thought. I stayed quiet and good in the world, even as I was screaming in my head that I had something to say.  I knew I had a voice, hidden underneath all of the rules and restrictions and expectations of a false perfection that had been assigned to me.

Today is my declaration of intention.  I’m a writer.  And writers write.  I’m not afraid of it any more.

“There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”   ~Ernest Hemingway


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~After~

I came out of an ugly, sixteen year marriage angry and exhausted.  A lot of my anger was directed at myself.   I had worked so hard to be the wife who didn’t upset him, the woman who didn’t look at him the wrong way, the girl who didn’t say his name in That Tone Of Voice.  As time went on, it became harder and harder to keep the peace, and I was too tired to walk on the eggshells any more.

So I left.

Fast forward to Friday night.  This very last Friday night, August 24, 2013, at approximately 6:15pm, Mountain Standard Time.

Special Man was upset.  Irritable, tired, and a little snappy.  It doesn’t happen often, and it didn’t last long.  He had worked himself up over something I’d said, or not said,  that, to him, looked and felt very different than the actual conversation we’d had a few hours earlier.

I don’t think this exchange lasted much more than ten minutes, before he apologized the first time.

But I couldn’t get over the sick feeling in my stomach.  I told him to just take me back to my house and go home.  He told me no, we were going to dinner, and he kept driving.  I felt like I was going to throw up.

He apologized again.  He said the words, “You’re right.  I’m sorry.”

And I couldn’t get away from it.  All the unspoken things my voice hadn’t let me say for all those years, with a completely different man, were sitting, clenched into a knot, at the base of my throat.  I kept swallowing, and trying not to cry.  I felt afraid, and I felt hopeless.  I had failed to make this man I loved desperately, happy.   I was doing it wrong, and I had messed everything up, because I hadn’t anticipated his unspoken needs.

Even as this anxiety was taking hold, my brain was soothing me, feeding me all the logical and rational comfort that it could push onto my neuro-transmitters:  He is not that man.  He is not your husband.  You are not going to pay for this later.  He loves you, he adores you, and HE IS SORRY.  

By the time we got to dinner, he had not only apologized a third time, but it was over for him.  He was relaxed, he was happy to be with me, he was affectionate and conversational.  He had moved on.  Gradually, I thought it was over for me as well.  We had dinner, and then we spent the rest of the evening in my home with good conversation, plenty of physical touch and periods of comfortable silence.

The next day I woke up feeling unsettled; restless.  He was home with Meta, and as I went through my day I just felt off.   Work necessarily kept him unavailable to me, but I found myself needing to connect.  We had a brief late dinner that night, and though I felt alright, there was a thought playing on a loop in my brain.  What if I say the wrong thing? 

He called me on it.  “What’s going on in your head?”

I didn’t know, I wasn’t sure, I couldn’t say.   I started to cry.

“My stomach still hurts from last night”, I said. “I can’t come down from it.”  And then, “Maybe I have PTSD.”  I giggled and tilted my head away from him, wanting to make things light and make things better.  (I’m pretty skilled at deflection.  It’s a gift.)

He just looked at me.  “Maybe you do.”

I couldn’t speak.  “He would go after me for hours,” I said, so quietly, I wasn’t sure he had even heard my words.  I looked away from his eyes, and slid my sunglasses on so that the very busy Mexican restaurant would be spared my breakdown.

“I’m sorry,” he said, again.  “I don’t want to ever make you feel the way he did.”

I tried to tell him, that it wasn’t him, it was me. I wanted to tell him that I was broken and ruined, and maybe I’d never be fixed.  But I couldn’t speak.  He looked at me, and I looked at him, and I stayed silent.  He didn’t look away.

Special Man held my hand, and smiled, and I could breathe again.  He led me outside into the parking lot of the restaurant, and we wandered around a small gathering of  classic cars.  I fell in love with an exquisite, deep red ’53 Corvette.  I stood there, with a man I loved, appreciating a beautiful car, on a summer night.  I wasn’t ruined.  I was loved and cherished.

(Also, I really wanted that car.  I’ve never lusted after a car like that.)

Conditioning is a powerful thing.  The present  reaction I was having to conflict with him, was reinforced by a past bad relationship, an unpredictable, sometimes violent man, and a scared voiceless girl.  I am not that girl anymore, Special Man isn’t that man, and this is not that relationship.  There are so many “inspirational” quotes out there, that speak to not living in the past, not letting the past determine your future, yadda yadda yadda.  I did a quick Google search  for some kind of quote about reconciling past and future,  and I thought my teeth were going to fall out from the sickening sweetness of the sentimentality.

Except for this:

“What’s past is prologue.”  ~William Shakespeare, The Tempest

It just IS.


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~Preach~

Once upon a time, there was a Southern Baptist man who told me he was polyamorous.

An hour into our first date, I knew that he was a liar. He had a wife. And she thought they were a happily married, monogamous couple. I was sad and cynical and bitter after my divorce, and for some reason, of which I am decidedly not proud, I went out with him a second time. Then a third. He fascinated me, as I tried to find my place in a world I was new to. I was newly single, I had walked away from the religion I was raised in, and all of a sudden, I was searching to find something I believed in.

I didn’t make any vows, I thought. This is all on him. So I quietly had an affair with a married man for almost nine months.

This man symbolized everything I was, at that time, pushing back against. He wasn’t just a Southern Baptist, he was a minister with his own congregation. He was married with a pregnant wife. He had a position with the local right-to-life organization.

I had a friend tell me, that the irony was so ridiculous, he couldn’t get over it. “Religion completely fucked you over,” he said, “And now you’re fucking a preacher.” I didn’t feel anything. I felt numb. I wasn’t attached to him, though I enjoyed our conversations and our time together was pleasant. He expressed much more moderate views of the world to me, in private, than he did to the public. I felt like he was one person with me, and another away from me. Maybe this was how I justified what I was doing. We joked that we were therapy for each other.

After about six months, I began to feel that I was wronging someone. I was wronging his wife. I was wronging myself. I had found the boundaries of my own personal morality, not a forced set of moral laws set on me by a church or a god, or a society. I was a human being, and human beings should be kind and do right by each other. Even if you didn’t make any vows to them.

After another few months we parted, and I didn’t look back. I didn’t love him, though I wished him well. I told him I hoped he would figure out a way to be true to himself, and to honor his wife’s expectations of their marriage. I don’t know what choices he subsequently made in his personal life, but he continues to lead his congregation, even writing in a public forum, about the dangers and immorality of adultery. I don’t know if he’s a hypocrite, or simply a sinner with good intentions.

I suppose it doesn’t matter.

I am hesitant to post this, even as I know that nobody can judge me as harshly as I judge myself, but it happened, and this experience pushed me to figure out who I really wanted to be, and how I truly wanted to live my life. This was my first introduction to non-monogamy. It wasn’t ethical, and it wasn’t honorable. But the idea was planted, this possibility of open, consensual, loving relationships, where everyone was doing their best for each other and for themselves, and this vision both enthralled and terrified me.

And that hasn’t changed. The concept of polyamory absolutely thrills me.

But some days I’m still a little scared of it.

The end.


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Guest post: Reflections on “perfect poly” by an accidental metamour.

Much love to my Meta, CC, who wrote this, and who should be very proud that she is finding her own way, to her own poly.

My husband and I are each two years into our own extramarital relationships, and I still have trouble self-identifying as polyamorous. There are probably people who would place my situation firmly in the “polyamory” area of the nonmonogamy spectrum, and yes, I follow the poly boards and dutifully attend poly discussions and events in my community, but I’m pretty positive that my ideal relationship configuration is not a “true” poly one. Oh, I’ll say I’m polyamorous, but only while I stare guiltily at my feet, unable to lie while maintaining eye contact.

I, for one, never set out to find a relationship that asked me to share the kinds of roles traditionally filled by a life partner with anyone else. When I arrived at the idea of us actually dating other people instead of just fucking them, I pictured us, complete and whole in our own primary relationship, enriching our own lives and the lives of our partners, who would also of course be complete and whole themselves. I didn’t want the responsibility of meeting the entirety of another person’s relationship needs. I was (and still am) concerned at my ability to meet the needs that a second person expects from a life partner. I was (and still sometimes am) scared that I’m not emotionally equipped to watch my husband play long-term, sole partner to someone else. I didn’t (and still don’t) consider that “true” polyamory.

And that’s what I thought we were doing. When my husband and his first girlfriend parted, she said she needed more than he was giving her, and he said she was asking for more than he was willing or able to provide outside of his marriage. That was comforting to me, because for my entire adult life, my sense of who I am and what I mean to others centered on my relationship with him. I had always relied on an unshakeable confidence in my position in our shared lives to keep me anchored as we opened our marriage first to physical and later to romantic encounters with others. Maintaining a division between primary and secondary relationship roles in this way made me feel safe because it delineated an area for other interactions that was separate from the particular spaces we occupied in each others’ lives.

So it was a difficult moment for me when I realized that, so slowly as to happen without noticing, he had become someone else’s only significant relationship. Any relationship needs she might have would, then, be falling on him.

To this day I have no idea whether this realization caused in him a similar feeling of trepidation and fear, but I was terrified by this knowledge. And yes, resentful that he’d deviated from my vision of what I thought poly was going to look like for us. As those feelings increased, so did the belief that I was “doing it wrong.” Feeling guilty about committing “bad poly” only made me feel more scared and resentful. Wash-rinse-repeat, until the only feeling I was capable of was a grim determination that someday I would either be a better person and be able to accept her, or they would break up. Or that I would prove such an utter failure at relationships that I would have no choice but to leave to spare him from my incorrect and dysfunctional emotions.

After all, if I was really okay with poly, wouldn’t I be happy for him? If I was really okay with poly, would I sink into a depression every time they had a sleepover date? If I was really okay with poly, would I make mental lists of all of “our” restaurants that were now no longer “ours,” or any of the other things people complain about when they vent about their new partner’s awful spouse?

I’m sure that early on he had tried to discuss with me my feelings about their relationship growing more and more serious, and I’m sure that I smiled and nodded and apologized for my wrong feelings and we put off further discussion until I was “ready.”

And we all three spent a lot of time sitting around waiting for me to feel better. To their credit, they were both much more compassionate than I was able to be with myself, but the unstated assumption that entire time was that eventually I was going to “come around” and be happy with the situation. I eventually came to the idea that my feelings were so incorrect, so broken, and so deeply-held that I would never, ever be that “better person” we were all waiting for me to be, and I threatened to hurt myself, partly in a last-ditch effort to show them both I knew how I felt was wrong and that I was sorry for feeling that way.

But you know what I never thought to question? The “okay with poly” part. I hadn’t wanted to be in a “real” polyamorous relationship in the first place. And it didn’t occur to me that it was okay to feel that way, to take some time to feel resentful or disappointed that things hadn’t gone the way I wanted. Instead, I had focused on how badly I had been “doing poly.” It was like someone had gone and signed me up for something I hadn’t really been interested in doing, like running a charity 5K, and then being mad at myself for being tired and winded, and feeling guilty that I wasn’t a better runner.

I’d love to be able to run more than a block, I’d love to be one of those people who likes running, but I just don’t. I DIDN’T WANT TO RUN A GODDAMN RACE TODAY.

But once I was able to say that out loud, to admit that I had found myself in a situation I would never have gotten into on purpose, things got a lot better for all of us. Now my only regret about our relationship is that I held on for so long to the idea that I was just wrong, and that I made things so much harder for all of us by trying to cover my feelings in guilt for not achieving “perfect poly.”

Finding myself in the middle of a race, running alongside the person I love most and the person who he makes feel happy and fulfilled, running for a cause that’s important to both of them, I’m surprised to find how easy and natural it feels. I might not have set out to run. I didn’t have the right shoes with me, and I may have to stop every so often to take giant heaving breaths, but I’m doing it.

Having someone sign me up was just a thing that happened, not a mistake or a way to “get” me or an opportunity to watch me fail or a test of my okay-ness as a person.

It just is. And I can keep running.