The Current

sweeping-street-scene-of-terraced-housing-mary-evans-picture-librarymargaret-monckMore than two years ago, I wrote an entry in a journal I was trying to keep, hoping that one day, I would be able to write with as much passion as I did when I scrawled The Kiss, when I was just 16. I had forgotten about that journal entry, and reading back, it dawns on me that I have recently done so and more than once.

One of these was I have Lived a Week, the other is about to be copied below as part of a tirade about music and memory, although this poem is about neither, and I will save the rest for another day.

This is very specific for one person in my life, and one day they might understand. There was music that went along with this at the time, and  one day I might do a post about that, but for now, a track that I have just discovered, says it all better than I ever could:

London Grammar – Oh Woman, Oh Man

10th December 2016 – The Current

We have lived opposite each other
For three years.
The road between, a raging torrent
Of discovery.

Your house faces mine and I see you
Looking out.
Sometimes you twitch the curtain
Or peer through the letterbox.

Twice you have thrown open the door
And stood on the threshold,
Even joined me in the middle, but retreated after
We have briefly entwined.

I left my house a year ago. It’s cold here
By the roadside.
I locked my door behind me without
A second thought.

There is a presence in your house that
Feels me waiting at the curb.
It rages quietly inside, knowing that we
Are the same.

Occasionally she speaks and you listen.,
Closing the door.
But we are the same. You and I, Her and I.
It confuses you.

And still the curtain moves to the side.
You can see me there.
I am waiting in the middle of the road
With my hand outstretched.

I refuse to go inside, although it rains.

 

 

Once the words drip from your mouth as poison, they cannot be regathered and mixed as honey

This post doesn’t feel as though it’s finished. At times I may edit, or rewrite with a pointer back to this page. It’s poorly worded and rambling. I seem to have a knack for ending up in situations which are difficult to write about. I’ve been musing about this for several days really, and when I start, it ends up being full of personal stuff. So here is the appropriate disclaimer:

I had another break up. I’m going to call this person Ashley, for the sole reason that it’s gender-neutral and I’m not dating anyone who is actually called Ashley! I had been seeing Ashley since Autumn. It was good, and sweet and dirty and kinky. But something was missing that I couldn’t put my finger on, and after my girlfriend ended it three weeks ago, Ashley noticed that I was withdrawing and eventually dared to ask, even though they knew the answer would likely hurt. What resulted was an attempt for me to not drown in guilt, and for them to not be bitter. And in the end, our relationship goals had probably really been the same, but with Ashley overstating them to make me feel valued at a time they was concerned I didn’t, and me holding back because I thought they was feeling more emotionally towards me and didn’t want to make them feel misled.

So, with that in mind for context, how do you decide that it’s over?

When you are monogamous, there is often a ready-made reason to end things. “I’m married, I can’t love you”, or “I need something serious because I don’t want relationships that will confuse my kids”. I’m not saying that it’s easy to end a monogamous liaison, just that there is often a reason or a way to do it that might not hurt somebody as badly. (Also, I’m really not talking about serious relationships where you have built a life with someone, as this is almost always going to break someone’s heart).

I didn’t really expect to have this sort of dilemma with polyamory and I’m not sure why I thought it would be so different. This isn’t going to be worded in a way that adequately describes my confusion or depth of feeling here, and I’m not really looking for answers. As always, this blog is a tool for me to process rather than give or receive advice. But how on earth do you decide when something is over?

Polyamory is something I’ve only been exploring since the end of August, and it has changed me in a lot of ways already. I am more confident, feel sexier, have an actual social life for the first time in years, that doesn’t revolve around my ex husband’s friends. I’ve discovered that I’m a nice person, someone who people enjoy spending time with. It’s been pretty illuminating really. But despite that, I’m now on my third ‘break up’. These have all been very different, although I’m beginning to think that the one I’ve just had, is me seeing my first one from the other side. And it’s horrible. I feel like an awful person. I’ve essentially broken up with somebody for no reason. Not a crap reason, or a made-up reason. Just no reason at all.

il_570xN.1177750056_lbz5
An as-yet ungiven birthday gift.

Ashley is a wonderful person, full of light, intelligence, fun, conversation flowed as though we’d known each other years. Time passed in a blur of chatting, and accidentally keeping my son awake through giggling. We had kinky fun in bed and in public play spaces. I enjoyed spending time with them. But something was lacking. It wasn’t within them, as they did nothing wrong. They were thoughtful and kind and fun. But my brain wouldn’t create an emotional connection beyond friendship. Maybe it was timing, as I met my previous girlfriend at a time that I would otherwise be developing a stronger connection with Ashley. But the result was that for the latter part of our time together, I felt guilty. Guilty that although I liked them immensely, the emotional need was given to someone else. Although we had a great time together physically, the butterflies and stomach in knots were somewhere else.

On balance, this was the better relationship out of all three of the ones that have ended. Nobody was gaslighting or lying, or relying on being good in bed to get me hooked before leaving. Nobody was pushing me away after inviting a stronger romantic relationship. Nobody was suggesting that this could be more than it was. It was the healthiest out of all three, for sure. But for some reason, it wasn’t right, and because I know myself, and my tendency to fall in love quickly or never, I think I knew that it would be ‘never’, and the relationship became harder to focus on.

Again, this piece has become about the personal rather than the hypothetical, so I will try again. How do you decide when something is over? If there is no abuse, you like spending time with the partner, you have time to fit them in as often as you both want to see each other, neither of you is preventing the other from meeting new people, you have no expectations of the other, you enjoy your sex life with them… On balance, everything is fine, great even, how on earth do you know when the time is right to let them go?

Is it when you are more enthusiastic about new people? Because that could be confused with NRE. Is it when you know they can’t comfort you? Because that could just be self-sufficiency, or physical distance. Is it when you decide you won’t fall in love? Because couldn’t we have remained friends and lovers? Is it when you struggle to tell them details about your dates with other people? Because that is really just about not wanting to shove the passion with someone else in their face.

Either way once the words drip from your mouth as poison, they cannot be regathered and remixed as honey. By which I mean, it’s almost impossible to take something as negative sounding as “I don’t feel romantically towards you”, and turn that into a positive. The best that can be achieved is a crass “It’s not you, it’s me”, which is unbelievable even when it’s completely true,

I guess what I’m trying to get at is: Polyamory gives us opportunity to be open. To throw ourselves widely to the world and invite love in. To ask people to try and love you, and to let them into our lives in return. But I feel as though to then end a relationship, when I have practically declared myself an emotional Open-House, I have to close a door to one person. And no matter what my reason is, it’s going to feel like a slap in the face to them.

I liked Ashley a lot. But I felt more urgent passion with someone else. I liked Ashley a lot, but I wanted to stare into somebody else’s eyes. I liked Ashley a lot but I can talk fantasy books with someone else for hours. I liked Ashley a lot but I wanted to crawl into somebody else’s heart. I liked Ashley a lot, but wanted to keep somebody else safe. These ‘somebodies’ aren’t even all the same person, and on balance, my relationship with Ashley was the best, when you take these aspects as an average.

But my words can’t be taken back. And my open heart makes this worse than if I was monogamous. I think most poly people, especially the ones I’ve dated, would understand if the love of my life declared himself single and in love with me. They would all understand that the strength of love would be reason enough to at least give a return to monogamy a try, and we would part as friends. But my open heart makes my inability to fall in love with this person make them feel that the fault lies with them. They feel that they have not been enough. And somebody is left a bit more broken than before. And now I’ve seen both sides of the same type of break up and both are hard for different reasons. Now, this feels like it needs to come along with growth and self awareness, but when I was on the other end, I was destroyed, my confidence battered, I felt less-than. I don’t want to do that to someone else by simply being honest about my feelings.

So when there is actually nothing wrong, how do you decide when it’s over?

Personality Types

1 (1)

This week you called me unique,
Amongst anyone you have ever met
You are older than me, that’s a lot of people.
You being you, and me being me,
I had to ask outright.
“I have no clue whether that’s a compliment
Or a veiled way of calling me annoying
-Maybe I should piss right off”.
“It’s a compliment”, you said. “There’s no one
Like you”
BOOM
Explodes my head. Again.
I was on the phone when the message came through.
I was [this close] to reading it out to a client
In my utmost surprise.

“Original”, you said.

I can’t read you. To others, you are totally opaque
And you know it.
I am granted a vague translucently.
Enough insight to confuse and delight
In equal measure.
We can’t even voice what we are to each other.
It can’t be compared or explained.
Or lessened. It is as important as we make it.
More to me, less to you, I think.
But, today I had a bad day, a sad day,
And at the end there was a surprise hug from you.
And throughout the day, coffees that I didn’t ask for
Lined up on my desk.
Both reminded me that this is more than words.
That somewhere, you care.

You are unique, original to me.

Prompted by discussion of this article The Definition of Hell for Each Myres Briggs Personality Type,

On relearning how to write

Disclaimer: In calling myself a ‘writer’, I am discounting the fact that I did not write anything for many years. I wrote in my teens, and most of what I flick through from then makes me cringe. The first thing I wrote in a long long time was I have lived a week after an incident which filled my heart.

A few weeks ago, I tried to write about something completely different, but what came out was a description of how I couldn’t write, and why.

 

When I was young, and struck dumb
By the unwieldy nature of my Passions,
I wrote.
I wrote and I wrote.
Every night, journals and poems
Of the contents of my head.

Lines to Process my Loves, my depths.
Lines to capture the phantasmagorical desires.
Lines to recall my dreams.

As I aged, and became Happy,
I lost connection with my pen.
I no longer have a favourite.
I type, instead of scrawl.
Writing is Work.
Emails,
Texts,
Words for Facts.
Words for Lists.
Words for Clients, for bosses,
For other people’s birthday cards.

Instead of:
Words for Passion
Words for Pleasure
Words for loss, and love, and longing.

Somewhere, I became Happy,
and Writing became a chore.
My Happiness had a capital.
And by the time I needed to write,
I had become afraid to choose a pen.

My world has drawn mists around me.
I talk and talk, but this requires Real Words.
Indelible words.
Not shifting speech or idle chatter.

And now, I’m learning to write once more.

Lines for Lovers, and More Than.
The first time I turned the page to write,
I cried.

On Polyamory and Sadness

I have been a member of a parenting group for over six years. A wonderful set of women, who were due to birth within the same month, and so went through pregnancy, babyhood, and in some cases, even literal labour together. The group has begun to wane as some become more confident in their parenting, and less in need of support and assistance. A core remains, along with others like myself, who check in a few times a week, sometimes reply, and very occasionally post themselves.  For the most part, I have been supported and lifted by these people, apart from one instance when I felt that I was horribly slut-shamed, and left the group for a few months. Interestingly, this instance was shortly prior to discovering polyamory, and when I rejoined the group, I was reticent about explaining my new lifestyle. I think it’s safe to say that while I’m generally accepted, I am somewhat an enigma within a gaggle of families which are mainly made up of married women with at least one child, most of whom have not been single for at least 8 years.

The other day, there was a “Search and Rescue” post for me. This is when someone who normally posts frequently is noticed as being absent for a time, and a post is thrown together to check if everything is ok. I jumped on board to let the lady know that I was fine, but had been left feeling a little low after a break up.

At this point, I realised that most of them don’t really know what this means, and despite it being my second ‘poly break up’, I hadn’t really had a chance to unpack my sadness very much. To them, the end of a relationship would be a make-or-break situation, as it had been for me, eighteen months ago. A breakup would mean the end of an existing lifestyle, a housemove, splitting up a family. I get it, I do! I’ve been there! But I feel that they don’t get me anymore.

I had tried to explain the concept of polyamory to them, but now realised that for the most part, they will just see it as ‘sleeping around’. Even if I move in with somebody, they will not understand that there can be real love or meaning if I’m prepared to see other people, or even worse, prepared to ‘allow’ them to date others. How could I possibly be sad? This isn’t really a post about their understanding of polyamory though, more about how I am approaching my sadness, and how I feel that this is much healthier than previous relationships.

Disclaimer: In all three of my long term monogamous relationships, I have been the one to end things. This has probably skewed my feelings toward confusion and guilt rather than sadness or loss. However, in all of my “Covert Polyamory Attempts”, as I shall call them (CPAs: the times I have fallen in love with new people while being in a monogamous relationship, and thought I was a bad person), it has been the other person to put the breaks on and end things when I have desperately wanted to see what could happen if we had space to grow.

When I have previously experienced a break up, or an ending of a CPA, I have felt terrible for weeks. It has felt as though there was no end or beginning to my grief. I have lost weight and appetite for days. I have been snappy, or retreated into myself. I have cried and been unable to sleep. The world may as well have ended.

This time, I felt positively shitty. Horrific. For two days. Two.

(The time before, my first poly break up, I felt worse for longer, even though my depth of feeling was less, mainly because he left me feeling as though he was open to a deeper relationship, even suggesting that he look over my CV with a view to suggesting me for a position with his employer. And then he took it away, leaving me with a huge sense of personal rejection.)

This time, I felt worse, I did. And I’m still sad when I think of her. But I have been able to place her in a mental box which doesn’t need to be opened. This may sound unhealthy, and perhaps there is a better way to explain it. I have talked extensively about this break up with several people, and worked through what it means and why it has occurred. I don’t feel as though there is any more unpacking that needs to be done with this box. I can seal it up, neatly packed with the things that came along with her, and pop it away in my mental attic until I need it again. Which will only be if she would like to reapproach our relationship.

I think that monogamous people would look at me this week, and even more, last weekend, and imagine that I had no feelings for this woman at all. She couldn’t possibly have mattered to me. Good grief, I made other plans and went through with them all. I filled my time. I didn’t mope. I didn’t even cry at work.

I was supposed to spend Wednesday night with her (before Robin Hobb Day). But I couldn’t, so I saw somebody I was going to date the week after instead. This does not negate my sadness.

I had a hot date arranged for Friday and went through with it. We even discussed the break up, as they had met each other through another previous partner. I didn’t cry, and I liked the new person enough to arrange two further dates which I am looking forward to. This does not negate my sadness.

I was supposed to see her at the weekend, but as that was not going to happen, I shoehorned in a Polyamory Meetup in a town over an hour’s drive away, then a party afterwards, in which I laughed, hot-tubbed, drank gin, and snogged too many very attractive people. Maybe one or other of those things could go somewhere one day but excitement over this does not negate my sadness.

I entertained a guest at my home on Sunday. We talked about other things. This does not negate my sadness.

Throughout the entire time I have been exploring polyamory, and for all over a year before that, I have held in my heart a special person, (a CPA, if you will) who cannot be in my life more than he already is. And this still breaks me every day, and every time I see him, especially as there is no mechanism there for me to understand how he feels for me. But my ongoing heartache there does not negate my current sadness here.

This morning, I re-read the letter that I sent her (of which I kept a scrawled copy). And I had to wipe my eyes. I could listen to the piece of music which now represents our relationship in my head, and I may sob with grief. But then I can put it back in the box and go about my life. Her Song: In Un’altra Vita, by Ludovico Einaudi.

Recently, I have come across other people saying the same. A friend of mine is coming to the end of an extensive relationship with a person that he has loved deeply. He was upset enough that he admitted on the group we are in that he cried at work. But at the same time, he was flirting with other people and having fun, and falling deeply in love with somebody new. The thing to take away from this, for people who are new to polyamory, or learning about this to better understand someone who is living a polyamorous lifestyle, is this:

Polyamory is not the same as having an open relationship. It’s not even about having more than one relationship, as there are all sorts of reasons why people can’t. It’s about being open. Open within yourself, to the possibility of love. And open to allowing other people to love you to the best of their own ability. Sometimes this means you’re going to have all the fun. Sometimes this means that you are going to have all the heartbreak. And sometimes, they come along at the same time. Side by side, hand in hand. They can’t easily be seperated. And just because you see somebody smiling, or excited about a new connection, does not mean that the person they were sad about has disappeared from their mind, or no longer matters. Just that for a while, the good feelings are able to overshadow the bad. More openness means more possibility, more fun, sometimes more sex, and definitely for me, more love, more care, more community.

And a little more sadness.

 

 

On a Day with my Son.

Spider-Boy
My son, almost three. Within a few days of this poem.

Your fingers wrap around mine,

A love story of a sort.

Incessant chatter holds me fast to the moment,

Even as we move through space.

You query everything.

Yesterday, a dandelion clock,

Today the phones, lined up in the shop.

A modern-world child,

A child of All Times,

Versatile, perfect.

 

***EDIT***

I found the rest of the writing that went along with the above poem.:

22/09/2014

Today I experienced some real joy as a mother. Motherhood is a wonderful journey, but occasionally thankless. For a change, today was almost perfect. My son charmed a bus full of elderly folk, was beautifully behaved in town, and while sitting in Cafe B, he insisted on many cuddles and uttered the most beautiful phrase of his own accord. “I love you, Mummy.”

My darling son. Nothing in my life mattered much before he came along, and if he left, nothing much would matter again.

Tonight, writing is a struggle already. I thought it would be easier than this to get words out onto paper. Sometimes I have such incredible thoughts, colourful plots filling my head, but they last only moments before disappearing. Perhaps, I think, I should write letters instead of fiction. Letters to my Boy as a testament to my love for him. Describing the feeling of his dry, warm hand enclosed in my own, or his grasping fingers tangling in my palm.

I wish today could have lasted forever in some ways, but he is already in bed, exhausted after a rare day with no nap.

I have lived a week.

When I woke this morning,

It was seven-fifty.

A Saturday.

An exact week to the minute

Since I woke in your arms.

Or it would have been, if we had slept.
I’ve lived a week since I held

Your supple body next to me.

Since you could not get enough of me.

Since you wanted to drink me in.

Since you smiled in the dark.

Since I knew you felt this way too.
I can’t even begin to fathom

How you can keep this in.

When every glance my way,

Every Smile

Betrays you.

You look at nobody like that.
I’ve lived a week since you loved me.

I’ve lived a week since you kissed me.

A week in which I have filled myself with

Lipstick Armor,

Skirts which show you what you’ll miss.

I’ve lived a week since every word

Betrayed You.

I know I’m more than what you have.

I could offer you all and Extra.

Passion

Delight

Love

Fierceness.

I am the Wolf.

I am the Wolf

And I could devour you.

And even so, leave more of you that you have now.

I am the Wolf.

I could snatch you whole from your bed,

While taking nothing from you.

I am the Wolf

And I have waited a week.

It has been a week.

It will be forever.
(December 2016. For a person who has been important to me for a long time.)