0

Glitter and Gold

I will admit, I’ve been procrastinating on writing this because I can’t think of a name for the new guy in my life.  I’ve come up with something I think will serve as a good placeholder though: Enigma.

I met Enigma at a friends’ burner camps’ event out in the woods back in late spring or early summer of last year (the last fundraising event before our regional big burner event)  – I went there and Diplomat came with me (reluctantly).  I drank and did my introvert social thing – go out and talk to people, retreat, come back with backup, retreat, then get caught up in conversation with someone, and, for a bit, the rest of the world becomes fuzzy.  Diplomat and I were standing near the campfire, talking to folks, and we ended up talking to this one guy that somehow drew me in.  I get swept into conversation and flirting (weird, me flirting…) and Diplomat peels away, leaving me with this guy.  Eventually I go to find Diplomat because I wanted to fuck him in the sex tent before we left (there’s a mildly amusing story to do with this, but that may be for another day).

After we leave the sex tent, and both kinda wander off to do our own thing, Enigma and I find ourselves talking again.  I mentioned that I was cold (because I dislike completely redressing after undressing) and the man takes off his overshirt and gives it to me.  It was big on him, so I was swimming in it, but it really helped.  He ends up peeling off and I end up walking around the party in his shirt.  After an hour or so, Diplomat and I were both getting tired, so we go to say goodbye to our friends, and I try to find Enigma to give him his shirt back, but only find him busy in the sex tent, so I gesticulate that I’m leaving the shirt right outside the tent.  I’m bummed that we didn’t get to exchange info other than names.

I consider trying to track him down through friends on Facebook, then consider that that may be a little too weird, and try to just live with the fact that I may never get to see/talk with someone that I had had a fabulously engaging conversation with at a fun party.

Apparently the universe had other plans, even if it was a bit slow in implementing them.  This year, at about the same time, I went by myself to a party held by one of the camps who had thrown the party I went to last year.  I mostly just went to get out of the house, socialize with people I like, and to ogle the pretty people in their undies – so sue me, I’m a voyeur.  And who was there, but the mysterious man who I thought I’d never see again.  We fell back into conversation, first in a group context, then I braided his hair in the sex tent (not a euphemism).  This time, this time we exchanged contact info before we left and end up setting up a first date for early in the second week of June.

Holy shit was I nervous when that date came around – when it’s easy for someone who doesn’t know me well to figure out that I’m nervous, that’s quite a thing.  But things went well.  We got coffee, I got dinner, then we wandered around the downtown talking.  I hoped that it would result in a second date, but wasn’t holding my breath.  The next week, he ends up accompanying me to get the second part of my most recent tattoo done, and we get dinner afterwards.  So, for awhile, he was the only person who had seen my tattoo all finished, and I liked how special that was, so I left it that way.

After this point, we were texting at least semi-regularly, so it didn’t seem out of place for me to mention in the last week of June that I was nervous about a conversation with Moss (that ended up with him breaking up with me).  He offered to help/talk with me afterwards and I told him that I would let him know.  After Moss left, I ended up messaging Enigma and asking if the offer for help was still out there.  He said it was and came over to my place and we cuddled and talked and I processed.  A week or so later he asks me where we stand and I say that I don’t know how much I can put into a relationship while I’m still processing the end of that one, but that if that was ok, I might have more certainty in a short while regarding what I could offer.

Things pick back up in July.  We end up going to the “local” lavender festival mid-July, which was a ferry ride and a drive away (turns out we both love ferry rides), which gave us plenty of time to talk.  We explore the festival together, share an elephant ear, he got lavender plants for culinary purposes, then we went out to one of the farms, where he took pictures of me in the lavender (an expressed desire) and of the lavender itself.  We end up having to take the land route back home because the ferry was too busy.

Then we went on the most gloriously empty-trailed hike up north the next week, and we finally end up expressing sexual interest in each other (and end up making out several times, among other things).  We talked about mental health stuff (both his and mine) in great detail on the way up to the trail (after a communication confusion got us off to a later start).  On the trail we had a lot of great conversation – including about my gender stuff – and a load off my mind (I had been worrying about whether my fledgling interest in pursuing things of a sexual nature with him was just one-sided).

In the following weeks we have a date an average of once per week.  In early August we agree that we’re dating and later on we talk about what that means to us and what each of our intentions are with regards to a continuing relationship with each other.  At that point in August, we are talking most days of the week, and are definitely in each others’ lives in an involved way.

We’re now in September and the trend of growing involvement in each other’s lives is continuing.  This Sunday gave me great potential hopes about how we will spend time and what our future will look like (together).  No spoilers about details!

 

0

The whys of beginning

My therapist seems to be rather curious about my relationship with Moss, possibly because it has been on my mind for the last couple months, trying to resolve what has come up.  So she asks me about the beginning of things – what drew me to him, what the spark was, why I was interested in continuing it.  And I started thinking recently – what about the other folks in my life?

So, roughly in order of when I met them (as I think that’s more relevant to this particular subject), here we go.

Trydaen – I met him about eight years ago and we started dating a bit more than six years ago.  The initial draw was that he was so full of new facts and information and seemed so smart.  The spark was that he was (and is) very passionate and full of enthusiasm and had such an adorable smile.  I want to continue with him because I learn something new every day with him, without fail.  I want to continue with him because I want to see who he becomes as he gets older and I want to be a part of his life for that.  I want to continue with him because we have similar goals in the long term, and have discussed what that means for us.

Moss – I met him about four years ago – I think shortly after Minx’s death.  I’m not sure of the exact timing.  We started dating a bit more than a year ago.  The initial draw was that he seemed very confident – a bit on the cocky side, but not overly so.  The spark was the kisses and the sense that there was something going on under the surface.  We kissed a lot at parties for a long while – nothing more, as the situation was not conducive for a long while.  I want to continue with him because I enjoy finding out what is under the surface – the more I dig, the deeper it seems I can go.  I want to continue with him because I know he’s willing to put in work to be with me.  I want to continue with him because I want to keep exploring where our dynamic will go.

Ember – I met him a bit short of four years ago, but I can’t remember which of two occasions it was.  We started dating about five months ago.  The initial draw was the pretty hair and the shared interests.  The spark was, oddly enough, not getting to kiss him, because, well, relationships are complicated.  I want to continue with him because he’s a good cook.  I want to continue with him because I don’t need to worry about how things are going with us.  I want to continue with him because the cuddles and conversation before and after sex are delightful – he comes from a different place than I have, so I get to see the world from a different perspective.

Lola* – I met her about two and half, maybe three years ago, at a local play party.  I remember complimenting her on her shoulder tattoo and when she turned around and responded, I thought that she had such a pleasant voice and that she looked very sexy in the corset she was wearing.  We started dating about a year and a half ago, but have been in an odd sort of transition phase for the last couple months, so I am uncertain where we will end up.  The initial draw was the tattoo and the curiosity about the person behind it. The spark was a sexy party  – me watching her play DDR with great enthusiasm.  I think, actually, that enthusiasm was the spark.  What I am certain of is that there are reasons I want to continue having her in my life.  The first being her bright energy – she fills up any space she’s in with such light that it is hard to be gloomy there.  The second being that she is great to cuddle with – I love wrapping or draping my arms around, over, and under her.  The third being that there are a lot of places where we complement each other, where we knit well together, even if there are some places that we do not.

Diplomat – I met him about two and a half years ago for the first time (which, sadly I have very little memory of), but re-met a bit short of two years ago.  He is, oddly enough, the only person on this list that I didn’t know for more than a year before we went out on a first date.  We started dating one year and ten months ago.  What drew me to him was a mutual nerdiness about Shakespeare and the willingness to do that in public.  The spark was having touch as a mutual love language – I hadn’t realized how much I missed touch until we spent time touching.  I want to continue with him because I love seeing where he has grown and changed in the time we’ve been together and I want to see where that goes, but that’s only half of that equation.  The other half is his encouragement of my own growth.  I want to continue with him because I want to see more of that goddamned smile.  I want to continue with because there are so many places for us to travel to, to take in together.

I hope none of these come as a surprise to the named folks who do even occasionally visit my blog.  Or if they do, I hope it’s a pleasant one.

None of these are all-inclusive.  It would be the height of foolishness to even think I could capture all of a relationship and what I value with a person in a single paragraph.  There is so much more to each of these stories, more than even I have words for.

* I am including Lola because she is still a part of my life even if we are trying to figure out how that will work out for us, if it can.  And because I love her and that will continue to be the case even if things don’t work out at all between us.

0

Compersion & Envy/Jealousy

Compersion is a complicated thing for me.

Let’s start out with the simple stuff.

The definition of compersion according to Wiktionary is:

  1. The feeling of joy one has experiencing another’s joy, such as in witnessing a toddler’s joy and feeling joy in response.
  2. The feeling of joy associated with seeing a loved one love another; contrasted with jealousy.

The one I’m mostly using for this post is the second one, although I do have to make it abundantly clear that I do not agree with this portion: “contrasted with jealousy”.  For the longest time this was the definition I used, so I thought it was something that I didn’t experience because I definitely deal with jealousy.

But as Page Turner notes in her post “Cultivating Compersion Can Be a Helpful Distraction from the Pain of Tackling Jealousy and Insecurity“, the two concepts can exist alongside each other.  In her words:

You can feel happy that your partner is happy and also feel insecure, overshadowed, displaced, envious, or any of the other things that masquerade as jealousy.

I realized what compersion was like for me watching my partners with their other partners.  Whatever else I felt about my relationship with my partner at the time, I was always happy to see them getting cuddles and kisses from the other people who they care about.

Envy is a big part of what made compersion a hard thing, until I figured out a good strategy for dealing with whatever is making me envious: looking into the situation, figuring out what I wanted (because, for me, envy is usually an expression of me feeling like there is something missing in my relationship or the situation), and asking my partner for whatever I felt I was missing.  The other part of this is having partners who I know genuinely want to work with me to help resolve these issues in whatever way it is possible for them, or, if there isn’t a possible way, will at least actually listen to me.

This is not to say that my envy has been solved.  Far from.  It comes up for me often enough.  And sometimes there isn’t an easy answer for it, other than just sitting with it, like in the few cases where me having what I am envious about isn’t possible or isn’t something long-term me would really want, but short-term me has feels about.

One example of this that comes up is being envious of my metamours for getting more time, especially casual/non-date time, with my partners because they live together.  Dissecting this, there are a couple things that can come up:

  • Not feeling like I get enough time with my partners, especially non-date hangout time.  I can ask for time.  Hearing that there isn’t any more time to be had is disappointing, but in most cases I can deal with that.
  • The privilege of being the person who is assumed to be default/most important by most of society.  Of being part of the unit that Christmas cards are addressed to, who are invited to parties, who don’t have to be hidden from anyone.  Not much of this can be addressed, other than the last bit – and that, not easily.  Monogamy as default is a bitch.
  • Wanting to live with someone.  This is not really an issue for me, mostly because I am uber picky about who I live with.  It took me years before I was willing to move in with Trydaen, and a couple more before I actually did.

The whole thing that brought this up?

Seeing a note from Eve to Moss because she was heading out of town.  Less than 10 words.  I felt envious that she was in a position that missing him isn’t the case most of the time (that it is so different that it is worth noting).  But as that felt out, what remained was joy.  Joy that she loved him, joy that she left him a note, joy that he had her in his life, and joy that they are there for each other.  Even though I am not sure if that if I had left a note that she had found, that the end result would be joy.  Didn’t matter at all.

0

Fluid Bonding – Initial Decision Making

So I was reading the polyamory subreddit earlier today, like I often do, and came across someone asking this question: What were some questions about polyamory you wish you’d asked in the beginning?

Someone posted that the question they would have asked would be: “How do I navigate fluid bonding networks when I don’t have hierarchy in my relationships?”
(potentially NSFW, after the break)

Continue reading

0

NaNoWriMo 9 – Going Out

So after therapy, I decided to head out to the meet up that one of the larger local polya groups does in the city. This wasn’t exactly unprompted though… Ember had asked me the day before whether I was going, and I had been undecided, basically dependent on how I felt after therapy. After therapy I did a quick check-in with myself to see if I was good to go out (yup, had the energy to socialize) and I headed out.

I got myself parked, then got myself lost trying to find the place – sometimes Google Maps does not really help when you’re on foot, despite how much you want it to. After I got there, I shed my coat, and joined a group of my friends who were near the door, just to say hi. Ember spotted me and came over to greet me with a hug and a kiss and a whiskey to have a sip of (good stuff, but I like peaty). I went over to the bar, the bartender flirted a little with me and I flirted right back, and got myself a single of the same.

I hung out with Ember for awhile, after checking out the rest of the event upstairs. I bumped into three other friends at the bottom of the stairs on my way up, said hello and did hugs, and flirted a little bit with the second gal (she’s cute and I like her). Upstairs wasn’t fitting my mood, so I went back downstairs to put down my stuff and socialize. It is a marvel watching people being flirty and friendly with other people when that’s their element. I mean, it’s fun watching people in their element, period.

I drifted back towards Ember after a bit and we went to go say hi to his partner Seafoam, and I had a super awkward moment with her as we were waiting to talk to her when I went to look at something off the table. So, not a great thing – not sure if I’m deal with a case of genuine bad stuff or whether my anxiety brain is blowing it way out of proportion. Stood and chatted there for awhile, then Ember and Seafoam left and I kept chatting with people.

Eventually I finished my drink and went and got a rye Manhattan at the bar – the bartender asked if I’d ever tried one with Rittenhouse. I wasn’t sure, so I said no. And he made me quite a good Manhattan. I sat down at the bar for a bit and started chatting with the guy who was a couple seats down, mostly just small talk, him asking about the group, but engaging enough that I stayed there for longer than I had intended. After that I went back over and spent most of the next hour chatting with the group of friends who were by the door.

About 15 minutes before they left, in comes someone I haven’t seen for years. And she was happy and that was super infectious. So I stayed there and chatted for most of the rest of the night, listening to her stories about the good things that have been happening in her family medical dramas. The guy at the car eventually came over to join the group and we all stood and chatted for awhile before I started coughing. Something was irritating my throat, so I went over to the bar to get some water. Then other people in the same area started coughing too. The cute bartender went outside to see what was going on and found out that someone had pepper-sprayed someone else a block or so over and it had come in through the vents. So we moved our group back further into the bar and sat there and chatted until closing time.

I forget sometimes how much I like flirting with people I’m comfortable with, and after a drink or two, people I find cute. I can be an incorrigible flirt when I’m relaxed and comfortable in my surroundings. I wish I’d figured this out earlier in life – some of my early 20s might not have been quite so awkward.

0

NaNoWriMo 8 – New

So… I think it’s time. I’m adding my new guy (and his peeps) to my polycule chart. I’ve been hesitating for a while because I don’t know what to call him (there are a number of appropriate ones that I’ve come up with) and because we’re trying to keep things pretty casual (we’ll see how well that works down the line…). I started seeing him about 13 weeks ago and we’ve been going on dates every couple weeks, pretty regularly. I’ve known him for several years now – the kind of knowing that involves conversations at mutual friends’ parties and larger scale play/sex parties and some sexual tension. The timing had never been quite right before, but now, now I’ve been open to different kinds of connections for a bit and that opened up that possibility. And wow… yeah. The chemistry is awesome.

What I’ve decided on for now namewise, and I reserve the right to change my mind, is Ember.

0

Update

So, as you may have noticed, I haven’t written in awhile. It’s not that I haven’t come up with a million awesome ideas for posts, including some awesome ones bragging about the cool people that I know and/or love, but I have been out doing things, doing people, doing work of all sorts. And clearly, not writing.

Depression hit. I struck back by starting light therapy in the mornings and getting more regular about taking Vitamin D. It seems to have died down quite a bit. My anxiety levels are still a bit higher than normal, but depression has mostly abated, giving me some more summer time to make connections and socialize before it gets bad. If it gets bad…. It feels fairly mild this year, honestly. We’ll see, come November through January.

Bit #1

Moss and I had a really tough conversation on this last Monday. I had hyped myself up to catastrophization levels and was sure we were done for. I even talked to my therapist about it pretty extensively – her two big remarks were to be ready to let go of the relationship if my boundaries couldn’t be met (I’m not sure I was, which is what I told him when he asked if I had been) and to talk about the difference between something being urgent and something being important. I talked to him briefly that weekend to nail down plans and asked if I had anything to worry about in regards to the conversation – no, no agenda.

We had a lovely picnic in the Arboretum by the water, first in the sun, then in the shade. We settled into our normal conversational cadence – smooth, easy, flowing, no pressure. Then we talked about the situation at hand, about what our needs were, what we wanted going forward. And my fears were eased – no, no break-up. In fact, I think we came out of the whole situation more solid than we’ve been for a month or so.

I had the overwhelming feeling I do sometimes, when I can’t hold a thought or a feeling back – that it is overwhelming my mouth and I can’t but speak its name and nature. And so I did – I told him that I loved him. In the five seconds that followed my brain did an amazing thing – Anxiety hyped me up “What if he doesn’t love me, what if that makes or breaks things, what if it is too big a feeling to handle?”, but Reason stepped in and said “So what? You’ll figure it out with him, you’ll communicate about it, everything will be fine”. And everything was fine. Everything was more than fine. And yes, not going to keep you in suspense – the feeling was very mutual.

So far things have been going well enough with Eve on his end, even after talking with her about the situation and what he and I had talked about together. It gives me great hope!

Bit #2

So, I’ve been trying the casual dating thing with a few people, each of which has been going very differently, but each has some continuing potential. In order of first dates:

#1: He’s super fun to talk about politics and the local poly community with. Decent kisser. Some sexual chemistry, but unsure where I want to go with that. Even if we just ended up as friends (maybe as friends who fuck? I don’t know where this is going, really), that would be a good thing.

#2: We knew each other through a local lunch group that I organized awhile back, so we’ve had opportunities to chat before. Quiet, but worth the listening to. He’s a bit hard for me to read, so I’m not 100% sure of the level of mutual interest, but he seems to keep wanting to see me and he spoke well of me to Lola at an event they both attended. Even if it only ends up being a friends who go out to things thing, it would be fun.

#3: We’ve known each other for a couple years, but yeah, life can be complicated, especially when it comes to poly. I always thought he was cute and enjoyed when I’d see him at events. He is actually one of the cutest poly stories I have – we were in the hot tub at a party together and we had been talking for a bit, flirting for a bit, and he leans over to whisper in my ear that he would really like to kiss me right then, but things were too complicated at the moment. A couple years later, let me tell you – that kiss was fabulous, if a bit delayed. Also, I was thinking about this later, but he’s the first person I’ve fucked on the first date (not counting people I fucked before the first date and people for whom there was never a date). So yeah… fun stuff. I will be glad to see where this goes.

Each of these has at least had second dates and has a third scheduled.

Bit #3

Inspired by my therapist I’ve been turning over in my head if I want to try to actually get a travelling notary public business off the ground. At my last session/my first session in awhile she had asked me about my work stuff and had suggested marketing my skills, as a paralegal and my notary public license, to GRSM (Gender, Relationship, and Sexual Minority) people, particularly the LGBTQ community, as having someone who is one of them around could be a big mark in my favor.

I would have to do a few things to even have a chance of getting it off the ground – stop procrastinating on getting my notary stamp/seal, look into getting a business license, get a phone number independent of my personal cell number, set up a separate email address and basic website, set up bank account stuff, and I am absolutely sure I am missing something – but I looked at the market in my area and it seems like there is space for more notaries before the saturation point is reached.

There is plenty of space for expanding services in different directions once I get stuff off the ground, but this seems like a possible and doable thing for me.

Bit #4

Things seem to have stabilized on the gender front, a bit – it tends to be fluid, but a lot of the time my gender ends up manifesting as, “Do I really have to pick a gender?” or as “Not today, thank you” or something ridiculous, like “fuck your binary gendered”. I am getting a bit more finicky about having people use my correct pronouns and am starting to go on mini-tirades in my head when I am in a situation where I am forced to pick one (bathrooms being my most common example). But yeah, I think this, like everything else about me, is going to remain fluid.

Bit #5

The woman who took care of me from basically birth to kindergarten and occasionally after, is dying of cancer. She probably doesn’t have much longer. The common impression seems to be that we’re talking maybe double digit weeks, if not a few months, but soon. On Sunday there was a party in her honor held at the home/complex she’s living at – a “celebration of life” thing. So I drove about an hour and a half to get to see her, probably for the last time. It amazed me how small and frail she looked, like I could almost break her, but her mind and sense of humor were still as sharp as a tack.

The whole event gave me some perspective on how far life has taken me away from my early days. Her son, who is somewhere around a decade older than me always seemed so tall to me when I was a kid (and looking at the old pictures). But he is actually around my height, probably an inch or so shorter (and I am 5′ 3.5″), It left me wondering how much of who I am is because of this woman, and losing that will be a blow.

I’m still doing a fair amount of processing on this and probably will be, off and on, for awhile. But that’s what I have for now.

So yeah. I will try to write more often, but because we’re heading into winter I can’t exactly promise that.