Sometimes friends who are also readers express worry about having to change plans or other logistical stuff they think might not be up to my exacting specifications. I always feel so sheepish when that happens, nobody should have to feel self-conscious like that, and I and I don’t ever want anyone to think their OWN logistics don’t matter to me. Besides, purely platonic situations are never what triggers schedule-related panics, at least not lately.
Okay, so I really, really love to plan. I don’t just make my schedule, I curate it, and I do cling to it for comfort. Part of that’s just being poly and being a busy teacher lady, but also, I just spent a lot of years not doing what I want to do with my time, so I want to make sure I’m using it to get what I really want. Because, like most grownup people, I have such limited time for social stuff, any item I’ve written on the calendar is special and there for very specific reasons. I’m starting to understand that it’s not that deep for most folks, and that’s probably okay.
Part of calendar fuss is just good old-fashioned existential angst. Since I was about seven, I’ve been preoccupied with the finiteness of life. Nonetheless, I managed to, even after I remembered I was bi and realized I was poly, put off dating for about five years. I threw myself into work and poetry and art and expected those things to fill the holes left by missing relationships, by ALL OF THE VERY MANY missing penises. I avoided myself for so long, afraid to risk humiliation (at least that’s decidedly behind me), afraid of losing Sweetie, holding on to her for the safety when really we were the most unsafe thing.
It is my fault that I left the best parts of myself off the calendar for so long. I think that’s why I have the ongoing fear of the people I’m attracted to forgetting me—there’s such a bigbig part of me that I forgot, that I willfully ignored for so long.
Like all of the roadblocks, this one is about grief and being angry with myself. When I got explodey with Mr. Sweetheart over the summer for forgetting it was Wednesday, when I was overly vehement with Mr. Shiny Eyes for even flirting with the idea of switching to another Friday, it was partly from knowing those relationships couldn’t give me what I need, but I think I was also giving voice to the parts of me that are angry at being pushed aside by me and Sweetie for so many years.
Also there’s the more literal fact that I forget to give myself enough time alone. I’m half-introvert and I’m surrounded by people almost every minute, and it’s nobody’s fault but mine when I don’t make time to read magazines, hike, or just go to bed early.
But mostly, there’s this: I really do think that people might forget me, that I’m so unremarkable that I might just slip through the cracks of everyone’s full lives. With platonic friends, there’s an easy fix, I just pursue plans tenaciously and I’m as flexible as I can be. Noreally! Just ask Angel Face—he’s been in NREtown for a while and it sometimes takes several false starts until we have plans—this doesn’t stress me out at all.
But with sexytimes or romantic interests, it’s harder to fight the conviction that there’s always somewhere better to be than with me, the idea that they don’t think of me at all unless I’m present. This is why god invented pressing “like” and why I enjoyed the Cutest Boy so much—his texts were so constant that I barely had a chance to worry that he’d forgotten about me—and he was happy to tell me I was unforgettable any time I needed. A recipe for addiction, but still.
If I really like someone, a day on the calendar makes me feel more anchored to them. It somehow means that they are less likely to find something better and drift away. Writing a name on the calendar is like tying one end of a string to the balloon of them and tying the other end to my wrist.
For the years when I forgot/tried to squelch my guy-liking side (and all the kinky stuff that emerged along with it!) when I tried my heart out to be gay and monogamous, when I left entire body parts unexplored and neglected, I think I owe myself an apology. How’s this:
I’m sorry that I took so much away from you and that you’re only beginning to find out how much you’ve been missing. I’m sorry I shamed you and let you be shamed, treated you so narrowly, harshly, and judgmentally. I’m sorry that I marched you through so much unhappiness when you could have been yourself and free. I’m sorry I defined you by tragedy, by defensiveness, by the things your stupid mother told you. I’m sorry I deprived you of all the penises for so many years, and I promise you they’re not suddenly all going to disappear again. I will try to never take away another thing because of meanness or fear or overprotection.
I’m going to do my best to try and get you everything, so I need you to just forgive me, chill out, and have a little more faith.
As for the part where I think people will forget me, I’m trying to note all of the evidence that the best ones haven’t and won’t so that I don’t freak out when a cutie misses a call or doesn’t agree with me on the definition of “a couple of weeks.” Though it sometimes weeds out things I feel lukewarm about, I’m not going to let calendar fuss take away the stuff I really want. Lately I’m forced to admit that some of the best stuff can happen without planning, provided that I’m wearing cute underwear and/or am willing to grab someone’s hand and pull her into a parade.
But I’ll always be impressed as all getout by an asker-outer, by anyone who’s willing to be written in ink. Like reading me or “good girl,” it’s just another way to my heart.