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For Whom Is the Sea?

For whom are we allowed to mourn,
To wet our faces and be forlorn?
Is it law alone to have that bond,
Or be also by extension fond?
Are friends and lovers to be set out,
Apart from the saddened devout?
We grasp some memory's last straw,
About one caught in death's true final awe.
Set adrift on some grey and forlorn sea,
Please recognize among the crying be,
Some people whom you cannot see.

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Words of Affirmation

So I recently retook the 5 Love Languages test (I like to, semi-regularly) and got these as my results: 
9 Physical Touch
8 Words of Affirmation
7 Acts of Service
6 Quality Time
0 Receiving Gifts

None of which was a surprise. In previous years Words of Affirmation and Physical Touch have flip-flopped, but I think some of that does depend on what relationships I’m in at the time. Other than Receiving Gifts (is nice, but doesn’t really make me feel loved), they have always been tightly clustered. I think some of that is because they don’t differentiate between giving and receiving Love Languages and mine are somewhat different.

I give a lot of lip service to Physical Touch as one of my main love languages, but don’t really talk much about Words of Affirmation. Partially because the fact that that is up there on the list makes me feel needy and dependent on people – I need you to affirm me – with the hidden subtext being that I can’t affirm myself. Which, frankly, is bullshit.  I am a solid enough rock on my own – I built myself back up after I fell apart when Minx died and gathered a lot of tools to keep doing so along the way.  I can do me just fine.

The truth is, I need to hear it from others. I need to hear that the people I am with appreciate me, appreciate the work I put into our relationship (whatever its nature), find me worth spending time with, love me, and find me attractive (if that’s appropriate for the nature of our relationship). I can’t live with just assuming it – I need to hear the person say it.

I used to, and to a certain extent still do, have issues asking for these kinds of things, because it feels like I am putting words in their mouth and that’s the last thing I want – I want genuine expressions. The one way I’ve gotten around this is asking for affirmations in general – tell me I’m pretty, tell me what you like about me, tell me what you like about my brain, tell me why you love me – and most of the time that works.

I love words. I love the way words feel and sound in my mouth and to my ears, so hearing the good that people I care about think of me instead of having to assume it is very affirming and heart strengthening.

With Trydaen, I was very explicit in the beginning of things – if you love me, please tell me that you love me as often as you feel it – and that has worked really well. Sometimes it does feel rote, but I know that he will not lie to me (too much effort and no real reason to do so), and sometimes he will not say it when I tell him that I love him, and I’m ok with that. I trust him to be genuine.

The tricky part with this is that I am not always super great at giving Words of Affirmation as a love language. I think this is partially due to not knowing when an appropriate time to say these kind of things is and a fear of looking awkward if it is an inappropriate time or situation. Or saying something that seems rote, because I say it often.

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More Than Two 4.5

What makes me feel cherished, loved and secure?

In no particular order:

Having regular scheduled get togethers with my partners (the more entangled/involved the relationship, the more likely I am to want this to actually be on a given day that is ours.  With my more casual partner, we just see each other when we can, with the understanding that we want to keep doing that, but we’re both fairly busy people.)

Random touch – reach for me when we’re out walking,  give me a hug, cuddle up next to me on the couch, put your head in my lap

Random communication – reach out to me when you’re thinking about me, even if it’s just to check in or share something that you think I would like.

Occasional gifts – whether it be a physical object, time, or service, just giving of yourself to me occasionally makes me feel really loved and cherished

Active/communicative listening – when I say something or share a story, a problem, or a bit of advice, acknowledging that (even if it isn’t anything you’re interested in).  I’m not asking for right away, just at some point.

Tiny celebrations – celebrating the little anniversaries, the little victories in life with me makes me feel like I am important to you

Integration – The one thing that makes me feel the most secure in my relationships is working towards integrating me and our relationship into your everyday life.  There are a number of forms this could take: introducing me to your other partners, introducing me to your friends, taking me to events that matter to you, introducing me to your partners, inviting me to events with my partners, including me in pictures that you keep around, you spending time in my living space and you spending time in mine, opening up lines of communication for me (if/when needed – not a matter of depending on that in the long-term, just mostly as an introductory measure), and spending time with our cule as a group, just as examples.

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More Than Two 4.1

Why do I have romantic relationships? What do I get out of them?

I have romantic relationships to fulfil my desire for romance.  More, I have them because romantic relationships tend to have an emotional intimacy that I crave.  Not to say that I don’t get emotional intimacy from non-romantic relationships – I have, and I do.  But in this case I have someone to build a story with, to build something with.

I have a certain metaphor that I like to use that explains a lot of how I view love.  I’ll give a short(ish) synopsis.

Love As A Home

When I start a relationship with someone we start building a metaphorical house together, starting with the foundations – what do we want our relationship to be, at the moment or moments we start it?  What concepts resonate with us so much that we want to incorporate them into our relationship?  Where do we have space to grow, in the context of the relationship?

Once we have this laid out (no matter if it changes, just the initial layout) we can start building.  

Do we want to have a sexual relationship of some sort?  We build one room for that.  

Do we want to do kink together?  If so, what kind, in what roles, etc.?  We build a room for that.

Do we want to go out on dates?  If so, how often do we have space for? We build a room for that.

Do we want to spend time just cuddling?  We build a room for that.

Do we want to travel together?  We build a room for that (maybe on wheels?).

Do we want to give each other big hugs?  Room for that.

Do we want to nerd out about Doctor Who, music, politics, cats, whatever?  Room for that.

And so on, and so forth.  For each thing, we build rooms.  If we agree that it is a big thing to both of us, we build a big room.  If it’s a thing that we agree that is not a big thing for us right now, we build a smaller room.  The idea being that this gives room to change and grow as the relationship changes and grows – we can remodel and resize rooms as we see fit.  It encourages purposeful communication – do we agree on these things?  Do we agree on what size we want the room to be?

If we don’t agree, then what can we build that may work for now?  Because we can revisit it until we find consensus, or find a space that works for the both of us, even if it isn’t ideal for either.

Also, my house with someone doesn’t interfere with their houses with other people.  We have our own space to develop our homes and they will all look different and will all be unique (because all relationships are).

In long term relationships, like with older houses, we need to be sure to keep up “maintenance”.  We need to keep having these conversations, keep up with each other as things change in our lives.  We can’t just let it go, and hope for the best for too long.

End

The main point being – I love building these houses with people.  I like the romance rooms.  That’s why I have romantic relationships.

To clarify – this metaphor does not just apply to romantic relationship, even though that is the context that I developed this metaphor from, back when I didn’t have a great idea how to contextualize my non-romantic but still meaningful relationships.  I do want to come back to this idea of non-romantic houses, but this post is already quite long, so I’m going to leave it be for now.

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Tarot Card Spread

I’ve had this deck of cards for awhile and I finally came across the best chance to do my first past/present/future setup this morning – I thought about this birthday weekend with my polycule, about each one of them individually, what they bring to my life, what I value about having them in my life, and about our current relationship and the possible trajectories – then set out three stacks and drew a single card from each of them.


Past: The Master.  “The Master in Zen is not a master over others, but a master of himself.  His every gesture and his every word reflect his enlightened state.  He has no private goals, no desire that anything should be other than the way it is….In his eyes they find their own truth reflected, and in his silence they fall more easily into the silence of their own beings….  Together they create an energy field that supports each individual in finding [their] own light.”

Each of came to each other, to this weekend, with our own past, our own efforts to improve ourselves, our own inner and outer relationships.  We have been working on building relationships with each other, with building our group as a whole, building a space that we can each find ourselves with the help of others

Present: Ripeness (9 of Rainbows). “When this card appears in a reading it indicates that you are ready to share your inner riches, your ‘juice’.  All you need to do is relax right where you are, and be willing for it to happen.  This sharing our yourself, this expression of your creativity, can come in many ways….  No special preparation or effort on your part is required.  It is simply the right time.”

I am actually quite glad this showed up and where it showed up.  It means that it is time for me to grow myself, to grow and evolve my relationships (romantic, familial, and platonic) in amazing ways – I think this has been in the works for awhile, but I think I agree that now is the time.  I think it is also awesome because I have been growing my efforts to read, write, and learn code for awhile and I like the idea of this all coming to fruition.

Future: Totality (5 of Fire). “We may feel that there are too many things to do at once, but get bogged down in trying to do a bit here, a bit there, instead of taking one task at a time and getting on with it.  Or perhaps we think our task is ‘boring’ because we’ve forgotten that it’s not what you do but how you do it that matters.  Developing the knack of being total in responding to whatever comes, as it comes, is one of the greatest gifts you can give yourself.  Taking one step through life at a time, giving each step your complete attention and energy, can bring a wondrous new vitality and creativity to all you do.”  “When you are not total, whenever you are in the head – thinking, brooding, calculating, cunning, clever – you are not total.  Slowly, slowly slip out of those moments.  It is just an old habit.  Habits die hard.  But they die certainly – if one persists, they die.”
This coming after the Present gives a great bit of caution as well as some optimism.  The caution: to not try to build and grow everything in the second section all at the same time – to give myself time and space to do so with each person and not try to push things to go too far.  The optimism – this feels like my meditation and yoga may be paying off in reducing my stresses in relationships with people in the future and build upon what we already have, may be helping me continuing into the future in seeking peace, within myself and with other people.

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More Than Two: 1.3

How important is my desire for multiple romantic relationships?

To me?  To the universe?  To my tiny chunk of the universe?  I assume that they probably mean the first….

It is not the defining feature of my existence, but it is very important to framing my paradigm.

If I had not had doubts about my high school boyfriend’s jealousy, tied to any idea of me being anything other than just his, we might have stayed together for some time when I was at university and I would have lost the chance to explore that part of me.  To current me, that seems unacceptable.

There are so many people that I would not have met, so many opportunities I would not have had the chance to have, so many decisions I could not have made without it.  Everything in my life has been touched by it – I would not be where I am without the opportunity and desire to pursue romantic relationships.

I would not have had the chance to fall in love with most of the people I have in my life.  There are only two people I have had romantic love for that I would have had the chance to pursue: my first boyfriend and Musician.  The others have had such a profound impact on my life, on how I see myself, how I see the world around me, and my daily life – both now and in the past – that I am not sure I would be the person I think of as “me” without the ability and desire to pursue multiple romantic relationships.

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More Than Two: 1.2

Do I feel there can be only one “true” love or one “real” soulmate?

No.

Let me clarify.  This idea goes all sorts of ways for me, none very good.

Like most American kids, especially AFAB kids, I grew up with the fairy tale, happily ever after, one true love idea, fed to me by Disney.  Boy meets girl, they fall in love, and get married.  End of story.

But a few things in my life have thoroughly disabused me of this possibility, at least for myself.  

The first one I can remember was when I was volunteering at a summer Girl Scout day camp, probably about the second or third year I did it (so I was about 12 or 13).  The volunteer structure was sort of a mentor thing – they had adults and older teens supervising and mentoring the younger volunteers.  We all had a space away from the campers where we could sit and relax for breaks and meals.  During one of those break periods there were a few of us hanging out there and one of the older teens said something that has stuck in my head for the years since: “There is no such thing as one true love or a fairy tale ending”.  That shattered my brain, clicked a switch that I didn’t know existed.  One of the weirdest things about this experience is really how it has panned out now: I got back in touch with her, when she moved back to Seattle, oddly enough through a poly speed dating event.  And I am casually dating (one of) her partner(s) now.  It seems to have all come around in an odd sort of circle.

The second was my introduction to the idea of polyamory and multiple relationships shortly after I started college at 18.  It was paradigm changing to learn about this idea and read about the long term relationships and the people who made it all work out.

The third has been more of a span of time, rather than a fixed point.  Through the last three of four years I have been through a mess of things and only started to really socially stabilize this last year or so.  But through that period I found love a handful of times – none lesser or smaller than the love I already had with Trydaen.  And my love for people has changed and grown over those years – not just romantic love, but familial, platonic, sexual, and companionate.  Knowing about the breadth of love has made it impossible to ever be satisfied with just one love, forever and forever.  Even if I end up with only one partner, I know that there’s a lot of love out there and that love will never be alone, ever again.