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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!

 

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Honest, lovable, and painful

Yesterday Moss and I had a talk scheduled. I knew there was a good chance it would end in a break, but I had to be optimistic (because I wasn’t sure how I could get through my work day otherwise). We got together after we both got off work and wandered around a local park together. Then we stood and talked. He said that he couldn’t bear to drag me around while he figures out how he wants to deal with his pain and depression, and awfully abusive/stressful work situation. That it isn’t about how he feels about me because that hasn’t changed. That I was asking for reasonable things that he just didn’t have the ability to deliver on at this point in time.  That I deserve better than how things have been going.

So we talked a lot (at the park, at a local community garden, and for a little time back at my place) to try to figure out shit, to reaffirm our feelings for each other, to reaffirm what is true for us. Cuddled and held each other. Tried to figure out what was still on the table for any kind of relationship moving forward (at this point, sex, love, cuddling and affection, just not that kind of commitment).  I’m honestly more than a bit proud of him for taking care of himself, though I am worried about his depression.

I think he’s having some issues seeing past the depression, guilt, stress, grief for the long-term relationship he lost and the dreams he had for that.  Grief that was never really dealt with in a healing way.  I also feel a bit guilty for knowing that it’s possible/likely that I’m not going to be the only one swept up in this – Eve may be as well – because it’s not a matter of it being me that’s the problem, it’s the idea of commitment to a very uncertain future that’s the problem.

Commitment.  An odd theme recently in my life.  Painfully so.

I’m really at a loss here. Usually when relationships end for me, I had reached the point that I had stopped planning ahead for the relationship. That’s usually one of the biggest signs for me that things are going to end soon. But here… here I hadn’t.  I had plans and dreams, even if they may have seemed a bit far-fledged with the distance we’ve had between us recently. So I’m mourning that which may never be. The tiny and the grand plans.

I don’t want the new spark – I wish I did.  I want this relationship.  With its flaws and triumphs, sorrows and joys – for better or for worse.  I wanted the chance to see him heal and grow from inside a partnership, because I know how beautiful it can be.  But I don’t want someone I love to hurt, so if I have to watch the growth from a few steps back, then there I’ll be.  Even if I want more than is possible at this point in time, even if I’ll probably always want more – this is my chance to move past what I want (in the way of a relationship with him), and to be a supportive, caring, loving friend.  Maybe it’ll happen again.  Maybe the timing will be closer to right at some point (and I plan on being around if it ever is).  But I can’t build my life on maybes, waiting around for him to want me in his life again in that way.  What I can do is to be what I can be for him, for no other reason than because it’s the right thing to do.

I love you babe, truly and deeply.  And I always will.  And if you ever want to run away with me (even if just for a short time), you know where to find me.

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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.

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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.

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More Than Two 5.3

What does “commitment” mean to me, and why?

I think I covered this fairly thoroughly in my last post, but as a refresher:

I define commitment as dedication to sustaining and continuing the relationship (even if it needs to change nature or substance over time).

I used to say that I was bad at commitment, mostly when I was thinking in the monogamous sense, that commitment meant staying with one and only one partner and not letting my thoughts stray.  Obviously, at a certain point in time I had to revise this because this definition simply does not work for polyamory.

When I think of commitment, I think of my parents.  My parents have been married (monogamously) for let me see… 31 years.  They love each other and have worked through their share of problems, both with each other and with raising my sister and I.  And even now that my sister and I are full-grown adults out of the house, they are committed to each other, to giving each other space to be exactly who they are, even though that was more limited when my sister and I were still living at home.

I also think of my uncle and aunt.  They have been divorced for somewhere between 15 and 20 years now, but they were committed to raising my cousins in a healthy environment.  They were committed to finding peace with each other, even after growing apart, partially for the sake of my cousins, but partially for their own good.  They have been each other’s fans for a long time now.  Their relationship changed drastically, but they still worked to sustain and continue their relationship as human beings.

I have these models of longevity in commitment in my life, which may explain why I prefer longer term relationships, even if we end up transitioning to friends or acquaintances after we decide to no longer be together.  It also may be why some of the longest friendships I’ve had in my adult life have been with my former metamours; just because we no longer had a shared partner, did not mean that we weren’t committed to each other.

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More Than Two 5.1

Why do I have relationships with other people? (see also 4.1)

I have relationships with other people because I seek deep connection and varied connection, the kind that you just can’t get from just one relationship.  It also gives me a chance to give of myself, to open myself up.  Relationships challenge me to grow in a way I just can’t quite do (or have reason to do) on my own.

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More Than Two 4.6

What makes me feel afraid in relationships? Why?

I feel afraid when I don’t have scheduled time, a plan to schedule time, or a definite continued interest in scheduling time together.  When this drops off, it tends to be the death toll for a relationship, so I get afraid when it happens in relationships that I am emotionally invested in.

I feel afraid when I realize what will break us up.  In the past, this has meant that the relationship has less than 6 months left.  And if I’m still emotionally invested in the relationship, then this is painful to my very core.  Now, I’m not sure whether this is an example of a self-fulfilling prophecy, or just something that happens to happen every time, but it hurts.  To clarify, this is not an “I think this may be the case” or “this may cause a split” because those are usually addressable or short term.  When I have this realization, it has been an ongoing issue that seems irresolvable.

I am afraid when people yell at me or corner me with their bodies, especially men and other folks with deeper voices, even if they have no history of raising a hand against me.  This reduces me to a gibberish mess of crying and defensiveness.  If I’m already feeling vulnerable, I will just curl into a ball and disappear (mentally and emotionally) to protect myself.

I fear being in the position that I have to borrow/take money from my partners.  It took me a lot of time and effort to separate myself from my parents financially and, to me, that marked my final step into adulthood, not being financially dependent on any other adult to make my way in the world.  So to put myself back into the position where I borrow or take money from my partners makes me feel like less of an adult – when I do, I have to set up strict schedules for repayment so I can control some part of the process.  

However, I realize that some of how I choose to live my life depends on other people financially – I live in a house where my rent is income-based, so I depend on people to pay their rent to still have a place to live, and I tend to be the person who pays less often when I go out with my partners because I make less money.  I feel better about these because I know that these are adult transactions and that we all entered into them in full knowledge of what they meant to our lives.  And they can change if they need to.

I am terrified of the idea of the people I love dying.  I already lost Minx and that was devastating to me – there were months where all I could do was just put one foot in front of the other and get through that day.  And the next day.  And so on.

I am scared when people stop talking to me.  I understand and can usually reassure myself if someone just needs some space, but if they just drop off the map or only talk to be about banal things, I feel like I am no longer interesting to them and why are they in a relationship with me if I am no longer interesting to them?  And…brain weasel circus!

I feel afraid when a partners’ other relationships are going poorly or they are having conflict, especially if they are relationships that preceded my relationship with them.  I don’t want to be the cause of any relationship splitting, even if it is really indirect.  And I do tend to personalize this kind of stuff, regardless of whether it makes any sense to do so or not.  Stability tends to be better for everyone’s emotional health and I hate seeing people hurt.