Utah Philips knew alot.

August 22, 2010

The past really didn’t go anywhere. It’s in boulder right now. It was on the phone with me on Friday. It surprises me when I am talking to my lover. I am who I was as much as ever.



November 4, 2009

openthehatchSome days feel longer than others. Yesterday felt like a weight that crushed all my feelings out. I used the f* word a lot. I expressed my most selfish, unenlightened feelings. I tried to reach for the most gallant in me and couldn’t reconcile it with the aching wound.

Things I want: a time machine; fewer emotional conversations; a faster process

Things I don’t want to want that I want: to be okay with her hurting or feel bad too

Things I need: to feel safe with you; to re-center; to celebrate all that we are

Things I feel: afraid; angry; sad; hopefully; safe; caring; tired

Things I remember: that you love me; that I love you; that in the end this is just a moment, among the others.

What is it about Mondays?

November 2, 2009

you don't want a girl like meI keep feeling better, only to wake up on Monday and feel burdened again. I am really trying to trust that I am not making the same mistake. Again. We went to a party on Saturday. I had spent a couple of weeks really focused on it as a date night. Us time- no kids – connection. We had different ideas about what that meant and I just disconnected. I went to the party and spent my time doing my own thing — together and also separate. More like when we met. I played the Chicago soundtrack this weekend and he asked me if it was a warning. He was kidding. And yet… maybe it is. I won’t be physically violent. I have been emotionally and spiritually damaging in the past. Ripping myself back and into myself, little tendrils hanging between me and the other that I slowly either reject or reabsorb. 

I have been reaching out to people in ways I haven’t in awhile. I don’t know what that means. Playing on OKC. Chatting with folks more.I have this part of myself that I am holding in reserve. Waiting to give it back to you or keep it until someone shows me they appreciate and value it.

The Monogamy Mindset

October 23, 2009

readytobereborn2So even though I said in my blog title these confessions are from a “poly” woman, I mostly use that as a shorthand for convenience. I don’t really identity as polyamorous. It’s not “who I am”. It’s “what I want”, in terms of my relationship style, which means I am “in an open relationship”.

People who identify as “monogamous” have a strong attachment to the importance of sex and romance being an exclusive act. People who identify as “polyamorous” have a strong attachment to the importance of sex and romance being shared in appropriate times and ways, as defined by the people involved in the experience. However, I think someone can identify as monogamous and still be in an open relationship.

In a monogamous relationship, the evidence of your commitment is often encapsulated in what you don’t do — have sex or romantic connections outside your couple. Most couples have a variety of ways they show their love and commitment, but when someone breaks this larger agreement, it sends them spinning. There are people who identify as polyamorous who have this “monogamy” mindset — these couples behave like monogamous couples with hall passes for sex. They structure complex agreements to handle the intricacies of this behavior, but in the end, the way in which you behave with other people is a huge part of the evidence of your commitment.

For me, an open relationship is about having the freedom to fully pursue your personal growth with a lifelong partner to support, encourage, comfort, share, and delight with you. It can include the expression of romantic and physical connection with other people, but the larger purpose is to create an environment of opportunity. So someone can have a sexually monogamous desire and practice while still engaging a relationship structure that creates opportunities for independent growth and expression.

In this type of relationship the importance and specialness of the commitment rests less in behaviors with other people and primarily in behaviors towards the other partner.  Because my partner and I are in an open relationship that includes sex and romance with other people, we have some structures around that. Less specific rules about external activities and more rules that indicate respect for our relationship. And ultimately they are rules that easily apply to how we handle money, free time, employment, parenting, etc ..

1. No surprises (we should be connecting both regularly and openly enough that anything about to happen should have been well telegraphed)
2. No decisions in the moment (they can make it harder to remember anything beyond what you want right now)
3. Don’t make decisions for your partner (if they say they want something a certain way, believe them. and don’t engage in behavior that can affect them without their consent and knowledge)
4. Be sure you are meeting the needs of your family and your ongoing commitments first, before you start making new commitments
5. Manage risk responsibly and with awareness of your partner and how it will affect them.

Hearts and Guts.

October 21, 2009

anatomyI don’t wear my heart on my sleeve. Right now my guts are out there though. An acquaintance of mine has an open wound in his side — very thin flesh covers and protects his most vulnerable internal organs. He wears layers of protection and walks with awareness that any random, accidental movement could bring him down and possibly end his life. I guess emotional damage isn’t nearly as dramatic. My life isn’t going to end because I am really, really sad about some things. I do feel like I have this layer of cellophane between me and everything else. It’s part roller coaster, part marathon. These ups and down happen and I want to just curl into a ball. And I have a life that requires I pace myself and I keep on going. Which is most likely a good thing– I think being able to indulge ourselves in our bouts of self-pity is rarely a good thing.

What your risk reveals what you  value.

You spent me without counting the cost. 

I want things, too. I just keep choosing to be here and now. 

I worry that you are so used to being the star and the focus that you think you somehow are entitled. That I don’t have a choice. That you can treat me with disregard and say it’s the nature of our relationship. We are in an open relationship, which means we get the freedom to explore opportunities and delights. It doesn’t mean you get the freedom to ignore me or devalue who I am to you when it’s convenient.

HOA fails again.

October 21, 2009

snow leopardI woke up feeling incredibly drained. I blame the weather. It’s snowing — in October?!? I believe we passed legislation against that — or maybe we just voted in the home owner’s association (HOA) that snow would start in mid November. It seems like no one keeps their word anymore. I will have to file a complaint.

Some things are better left unsaid. Is that hiding or discretion or simple kindness? What you risk reveals what you value. We all have a beast in us that values only our survival; only our happiness; only our needs. I have a friend who is a dedicated pacifist. He won’t eat or use products produced through violence. I think he is changing the world for the better. I know that my life requires a certain amount of denial. Although I do try to imagine the death and destruction in my meals and accept it as part of my choices.

This whole crazy-crazy we’ve been going through, my enchanter and I, is a different kind of death and destruction. It is the violence of our behavior on the beings we have the strongest emotional response to. It’s not a new story — it’s the grist behind the afternoon soaps and the political sex scandals. We have, in all of us, a beast that will take what it wants when we let it.

I voted against it in the last HOA meeting we had. I guess it’s like the snow, another primal force with a mind of it’s own that even Robert’s Rules cannot contain.

Hello mother.

October 19, 2009

blueshoe with heart stalkinsI was in Florida for work last week. Yesterday, I finally made it to the beach. All the Floridians were convinced it wasn’t beach weather, but I rolled my pants up, took my shoes off, and waded in as far as I could go. The first shock of water was like a bath gone cold. As my body adjusted to the temperature, it felt perfect. Salty water soaked through the bandage on my foot and stung the place on my ankle where I’d been bitten the other night and scratched a little too enthusiastically. I sank my toes into the sand and let the water whirl around my legs. The water was a little angry, wind whipping, white caps crashing far into the horizon. Not a swimming friendly ocean. It took most of my willpower not to disrobe completely and immerse myself despite that. Last summer we visited the beach and I closed my eyes and floated in the arms of the ocean for as long as I could hear the sounds of people on the beach. This turned out to be mildly foolish, as I floated fairly far out. Luckily I am a strong swimmer and no harm was done. I knew looking at the ocean yesterday that I couldn’t float again. But I could sit. I have some small regret that I did not. Instead, I waded for as long as possible and then washed my hands in ritual fashion, reminding myself of my inner strength and how it connects to the strength beyond me. And for a time, I was at peace.

2 + 2

October 16, 2009

girlI made this place to contain the lessons of the past. I wish the heart had grades, like school, and I could just review my 5th grade primer, retake the test, and be done. It turns out life is a little more inter-connected. All the ventricles work together to keep things going… blood and breathe are balanced and somehow my past keeps running into my present.

I don’t know why I feel so … kicked? drained? broken? hopeful? I can’t distinguish between my emotions. I just know this is a test for me. Will I repeat the lessons of the past, like an inmate, certain that 2 + 2 must be 47, if I just add it one more time.

I know that 2 +2 is 4.

I know what I need to heal.

I am asking for things I don’t want to ask for. Things I don’t want to need. I am fighting myself, my insecurities, my social conditioning, my anger, my grief, my pettiness … I am accepting myself, my insecurities, my social conditioning, my anger, my grief, my pettiness.

What is skin, really? It’s nothing. It’s a moment. How much is a moment worth? What you risk reveals what you value. I finally understand that saying.

There are questions I didn’t ask. I wasn’t ready. I want you to feel the stabbing of breathes, shallow, deep, each one digging through me sharply, until all I could do was curl into a ball, like a polly-wolly bug, showing only the strongest part of me to the world. Except I don’t really want you to feel it. I just don’t want to feel it, ever again. I would pay a lot for that. Even changing my patterns. Even learning that 2 +2 = 4.

Even taking the leap of faith.

That’s What She Said.

October 5, 2009

girl holding skeletonSo my partner is currently on a ten day journey of learning in Vermont that I am paralleling with my own journey of learning here in our hometown. While he explores the pot-hued college scene to discover his passion, I am learning my well honed triggers and the unhappy outbursts they incite. I hung up abruptly the other day when he told me it would be too rude to talk to me with other people in the car. As he said, “I love you.” I said, “Whatever” and pushed the end button. I know, not my best hour. I apologized and felt pretty awful– not my usual way of being at all.  I wanted him to make talking to me, in that moment when I was feeling ill and vulnerable, more of a priority than the possible discomfort of the strangers in the car. Not super rational. Certainly demanding. And totally understandable.

My wife said she loved me. That she would stand in the fire with me. That she was utterly devoted to making us work, regardless of what it took. She said a lot of things that sounded pretty and would make a Hallmark writer weep. What she DID was walk away. What she did was threaten and extort me. What she did was publicly spew her rage and sorrow at everyone in our world. What she said was worthless compared to what she did.

My husband said he would never treat his children badly again. He said he realized they were the most important thing he’d ever done in his life and he would spend his days honoring that. What he DID was run the moment he felt like someone else could take care of them. What he did was break their little hearts. What he said was worthless compared to what he did.

I realized after we got to talk as a family (finally) that I was just not interested in hearing how much I was loved, how much we were missed. I wanted to see it, too. He’s been gone for 5 days and today was the first time the children have gotten to visit with him. As soon as we completed that conversation, the energy coming off of them had changed, vastly reducing my stress level. I could visibly see them calm down — no more nervously biting their nails or clinging to me. No more slightly drawn shoulders to brace themselves.

I was too afraid that I was being overly demanding, overly needy, to say what was needed — to see their fear. When their Dad moved out, he didn’t talk to them for weeks.  Of course their little hearts are waiting for another rejection. It’s all so wrapped together when the threads got tangled, I have trouble seeing what’s there.

Don’t forget the key.

September 17, 2009

collarI wear  a collar, every day. It looks like a very pretty necklace and most people have no idea what it means to me. Which is fair, since I don’t know if I could honestly explain what it means to me either. Several years ago, I read a book about open relationships and knew it was the path I wanted to walk. A few years later, I learned about kink or bdsm (bondage and discipline, dominance and submission, sadism and masochism) and found the ideas to be equally appealing. The journey from concept to execution was a long one and cost me a wife, a best friend, and a large lesbian community. I guess any journey for self-awareness is going to have its ups and downs.

So, my collar. When I started, I was hungry for all experiences– experiences I had expected to stay secret dreams I never spoke about. The details of those experiences are unimportant. The need behind them, to fit myself into a structure of relationship and behavior system that I found (and find) compelling, is hard to describe. It’s wrapped up in my personality and my sexual being. It is an essential part of who I am and how I move through this world.

And I never expected, really, to be able to fit it into my life. When my fiancee and I moved in together, our relationship was primarily based on a “play” relationship. One where we explored our mutual desires for dominance, submission and so forth. Finding the best way to incorporate that into a day-to-day existence that included children and jobs was tricky. Moving in with his family added complexity, until we found ourselves minimally engaged. Add to that the recent drama we experienced with people in the bdsm community, we had pretty much given up.

Wearing a collar in the kink community is similar to wearing a wedding or engagement ring in the straight world. It means a special level of commitment and connection between partners. It demands another level of respect and consideration. We had tried weekends in that dynamic, none of which had been anything but dismal experiences for all involved. My lover had only had one other partner he had entered into a long-term collared relationship with and that story is too long (and depressing) to retell. Our level of reticence cannot be overstated.

A few months ago, we were at a weekend bdsm event — one at which we remembered how amazing the whole open relationship/play world can be when you engage with the right people for you– and he said, I found something I want to get you. We wandered through the vendor room, me expecting to see a corset or jacket he thought would look good on me. Instead we stopped at a jeweler and he pulled out the collar and said, here it is. I don’t know where the idea came from. I don’t know why. Suddenly, it felt like the most natural thing in the world that our relationship be in this place at this time.

We are still working out what it means to us and how to share that. Somehow, though, the most irrational, spontaneous choice we could have made has been just right.