Tuesday, December 31, 2013

A Quote and a Song for a Happy New Year!

“It doesn’t matter if we’ve been prepared or trained or certified or if we’ve been delayed for years. What matters is if we can listen to our own unmitigated possibility with our whole being. For this will enable us to begin, the way one day of rain and one day of sun will start the flower in its destiny to bloom. In deep and unexpected ways, saying yes is a form of listening that brings who we are and what we experience into true meeting. Saying yes is the beginning of all flowering.” Mark Nepo, Seven Thousand Ways to Listen

Here’s to everything new, loves. Midnight kisses to all.

One Resolution: Give Each Adventure Time to Be Special

Yesterday, I was settling in to make gingerbread cookies and I realized that Sweetie had taken the rolling pin. This was one of those unpredictable divorce-grief floodgates, and suddenly I was a mess. Yes, I could get my own rolling pin, but I didn’t want to have a separate rolling pin from her. Etc.

That grief widened out into tears for everything that’s gone past this year, and it got overwhelming. I realized that I never took quite enough time to soak up the emotions of each thing. I often (sometimes literally!) ran from one person to the next in order to minimize feelings about them—negative or positive! Maybe especially positive. There was no need to come to terms with the depth and nuance of one relationship when I was spanking and sparkling onto the next! It sure was fun but it repressed some of the experiences and turned others into neuroses.

So yesterday I got stuck and sad about all of the things that happened, all of the adventures that went by so quick. The way that one love/hurt/infatuation/grief bled into the next and everything got all tangled up. It was a beautiful mess, but I’m not sure that I honored each experience enough.

I am going to stop pretending that everything doesn’t mean everything to me. In the coming year, I will stop and let myself feel every emotion that comes with every adventure. I’ll share those feelings when I can and whether they are returned or not, I’ll coddle them, love them, kiss them and put them to bed, or let them go. I will not spend any more time trying to pretend things are not a big deal to me. Things are a big deal to me, and it’s time to let that be who I am.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Single Life Week Four: A (Mostly) Good Christmas and a (Mostly) Bad Date

My favorite thing about this last week was going to Christmas at my own local Unitarian church—usually I’m out of town so I’ve always missed it. Since I went by myself, I expected it to be sort of a solitary, reflective evening—I stood at the cookie trays long enough to watch all of my peanut butter blossoms disappear and then made for a pew, drew myself inward and listened to the choir warming up.

Then this couple I’ve been crushing on for like a year walked in, all vitality and smiles. They happened to choose a pew with room for one more, so I made a beeline to go sit with them. Just as always, they were rosy-cheeked and friendly, either full of natural well-being or having just smoked a bowl, or both. We chatted about their pre-church walk in the woods and their upcoming holiday plans. I learned that they live nearby and often have brunch at the little place down the street from me, and promptly invited myself along. I found out that he grew up Unitarian and asked him what is was like to have so much less shame. They’re both musicians for a living and I was a little intimidated singing next to her since she’s a voice coach, but actually we sang together beautifully.

We giggled, grinned, and sang our hearts out through the service, singing all of the verses of the original carols with capital G God left in—not always the case with Unitarian songbooks, but I liked it. The packed church was beautiful and reverent as we passed the light from candle to candle for “Silent Night.” I felt so grateful to be home and then and there I committed to making my own church part of the yearly Christmas routine.

It made me so happy to have spent that time with the cute couple, not in a hitting-on-them way but just enjoying them and seeing that real, playful, spiritual love is a possibility in this world. I liked sitting next to their love and knowing it was real, knowing that I’d put myself on the right path toward finding it for myself.

As I walked home that night, the thought came to me clear as Christmas lights: “I’ve moved on.” It felt like I was walking into a new life. According to every Christmas movie ever, it’s a terrible tragedy to be alone on Christmas, but that moment of hearing myself felt just as festive as any other part of the week. Just listening to the chime of my own soul was a quietly awe-inspiring thing.

Christmas day, as I’ve already written, was pleasant but sad towards the end. I was glad to welcome Sweetie over and eat out favorite things, watch some Project Runway and do our family calls. In true Cindy Lou Who fashion, I didn’t miss presents at all, not the giving or the getting. I felt simple Christmas joy in my heart.

The night was rough, though, lonelier, and in the dark I started to scroll through all that was missing. Christmas falls on one of the longest nights of the year, and it really felt like it. I was glad to be home safe and warm to grieve in my own bed, and when I woke up the next day I was glad that it wasn’t Christmas anymore, just an ordinary day.

Friday I’d made a date to meet an OKC guy for the first time—he was cute and I was glad to entertain him as a possibility. We met in his (Slightly upscale, compared to mine) neighborhood. He could have been the ghost of everything I thought I wanted when I first started dating guys—tall, gentle, beardy, hipsterish in a well-scrubbed way, fairly inscrutable.

He was pleasant enough but I didn’t feel a spark or a pull, so I was somewhat surprised when he invited me down the street to his apartment, ostensibly to meet his cat. I’d already made up my mind that this could be a casual sex afternoon and if that’s how it turned out, and that’s how it turned out.

I loved his apartment. It was boyish and dark and full of pop culture toys. I could imagine taking many naps there. The very sweet orange cat was ensconced on a pillow beneath the window next to a Kermit the Frog doll. “That’s his sleeping friend,” the guy explained.

He (the guy, not Kermit) got very familiar very fast, so fast that I felt like “Huh?” but I went with it. It’s amazing how quickly bad decisions can was over me sometimes, like I’m in the cast of Girls or something. Not necessarily a good look at 39.

His dick as big but the rest of him was just kind of too smooth. He touched me sort of gingerly, like he wasn’t sure how to work me. He kind of fucked me like he thought I was fat and I feel apologetic to myself for the distasteful way he moved my belly aside—Dear Belly, I love you, I’ll try to never let it happen again. His couch smelled like cat pee and when I had the sex-moans that sounded like sobs, he said “Don’t cry, baby,” and I think I might have actually rolled my eyes at him.

I was getting off and bored silly at the same time and I told him he could be rougher, but I don’t think he could. He had these amazing big hands that couldn’t smack convincingly, what a waste.

Eventually we admitted that it wasn’t working and parted ways with no drama at all. What a blessing, a bad match that only lasted part of an afternoon. He tried to make noises about being friends but his number was deleted (I’d never even put his name in my phone) before I was half a block away. My only regret was that I never got to ask him why he had a set list of Hall & Oates songs on his fridge. Was he in a Hall and Oates cover band, or had he been to see a Hall and Oates cover band on a night significant enough to warrant the posting of a souvenir? Or had he been to see Hall and Oates themselves? Ironically or unironically? I’ll never know.

I felt wretched as I walked back to the bus stop. After all I’ve been through, all of the genuine and special moments I’d experienced, how did I let meaninglessness slip in, as it were? The simple answer is, I wanted a penis in my vagina, and he certainly provided that. Also now that I think about it, I was trying to gloss over some deeper feelings I was having about other characters. Not a good strategy, but nothing to feel terrible about. Though I wouldn’t repeat it, I’m kind of turned on writing about it (Pause for personal time…) and I’m glad I took a risk even though it didn’t pay off. They can’t all be beautiful stories. Though I’m not going to make any pronouncements swearing off vanilla guys or casual sex in hipster apartments, I am not, in fact, on Girls. I am a grown-ass woman who knows she doesn’t have to settle for disconnected. On (slowly) to the next things. Especially after hearing this in the supermarket really cracked me up and made me love my weird life:

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Year End Heart Inventory 2013: Melancholy and Gratitude

Before I settle in to paint and plan and make my goals for the new year, I’m giving a little time to melancholy. My heart hurts for everything that’s gone past. Even though most of the people in these stories are still around, I miss discovering them, feeling all the hope and imagination I had when we first met. Though I wouldn’t change many things, I still grieve for lost possibilities.

I named 2013 my Year of Connection, and at times that felt like a terrible joke, a colossal failure—indeed, there’s still a fortress of bitterness inside me toward The Man and the Scary Party, and relatedly my inability to resist Steampunk Guy made a nice thing turn into a gaping, unresolved loss that it just shouldn’t have been. I wonder sometimes, if I’d said no after the third or fourth text, in which he said “friendship isn’t required” for sex, if I’d just has the faith to admit to myself he’d never be what I wanted, would we have ended up friends, or would we at least be able to share a dungeon  with him? We’ll never know. Curiosity and lust pulled me toward him and I can never regret where it took me, to some of the most amazing scenes, to emotions I may never have experienced otherwise—he pushed me out of my comfy not-enough existence, whether he liked me at all or not, which I suspect he kind of did. I think he tried to fit just like I did. I think he’s gone because he didn’t like hurting me.

I can’t let the haywire things take away from the fact that it really WAS a Year of Connection. None of the connections except The Man really feel quite lost, and there were so many relationships that blossomed and grew all year, in spite of my up-and-down-ness, there are people who keep getting closer.

Though things didn’t work out romantically with Mr. Sweetheart, he has remained a loyal friend. I can still plan to call him, gather up my markers and draw as we catch up on our lives. He’s even one of the people I can call if I’m a tearful mess. (Dear Everything, Please let me spend much less time this year as a tearful mess!) I’ll see the Sweethearts in a few nights at New Years Eve, and there may even be some shenanigans, but even if there aren’t, it’s comforting knowing that spontaneous sexytimes at a festival can lead to real and lasting bonds. Which is good, because I aspire to many more festival sexytimes.

Speaking of the Sparkly Festival of Awesomeness, Mr. Shiny Eyes stayed a good friend too. He is always willing to share his life with me, to listen and lend me strength.

Cute Master and Pretty Slave have given me so, so much. They gave me the truest expression of bisexuality that I’ve experienced so far. That assured me that I do have a place in this world, that what I want and prefer really matters. She convinced me to treat myself like I’m worth something, and I often do. They both have given me so much joy and happiness, such an unexpected warm, safe place to be naked and sing Beatles songs. I’m so grateful for that, and as friends I love them very, very much, and I don’t think that will ever change.

Did you ever wonder what happened to the Huge Handed Fireman? I only saw him once after our Labor Day encounter: He was at a munch, scrolling through pictures in his phone, laughing to a friend. When I asked to see what they were laughing about, he showed me a picture of an obese patient he’d rescued sprawled and naked on a gurney, almost certainly unaware that he was being photographed. HHF may have been trying to reform the Scary Party, but it seems he’s one of their blackhearted ilk. I think I’ll try to stop being surprised when sadists are mean.

The other September crush fared much better. Cutest Boy sent me a heartfelt Christmas note, letting me know he still reads me and offering support and encouragement. We struck up a conversation and though he is still beyond off-limits, (Please let 2014 be a year without unmanageably jealous girlfriends!) it was good to feel that the friendship is still there and know that the whatever-it-was back in the fall actually meant something. I still have warm feelings for him and I hope they find a way to be happy, that he finds a way to be who he is.

Speaking of the warm feelings, I haven’t heard from Mr. Sweetface since we exchanged Merry Christmases, but I hope I do before too long. He feels genuine and makes me happy and it felt really nice of Mrs. Sweetface to share him with me last weekend. Whatever else happens, that Christmassy playdate will always be a favorite.

And then, of course, there’s Sweetie. I miss her very much. We spent Christmas day together and it was such a mix of comforting and sad. We watched a movie about a couples’ brunch that coincided with the end of the world, that seemed about right.  Some days, I feel so glad to be free and be her friend, and other days I feel completely devastated that she’s not here to bring a cup of coffee to. I think that New Years may be a challenge because last year it was so much about her and our ropes. Before we finally gave up, we had some wonderful times, and those are what sticks with me now that the fighting is over.

Last week I was out at the local erotic reading with Winggirl One and a gentleman came up to us to say he liked the story I’d read, the one about my date night with Pretty Slave and Cute Master. In the ensuing conversation, it emerged that she and I had both played with CM, and that we’d spanked each other etc. The gentleman said “Wow, I have to get out more.”

That made me realize just how lucky I am to be in this particular story. I’ve gotten to do things that many people only read about, only do in their fantasies. It’s been a year of the most beautiful, sexy, strange connections and I get to keep every single memory, in my heart and in my hoo-ha. So I’m ending the year with sadness, yes, but also with gratitude—for everyone who shared him- or herself with me, who gave me pleasure and friendship and support, I love you. I love you no matter where you are now, no matter what happened. Thank you for touching me, for helping me grow, for turning me on, for being in this magic year with me. Thank you for being in my life. I wish you every single wonderful thing.

Friday, December 27, 2013

A Little Metablogging: Toward More Private Play

I felt the same way last year around this time, maybe it’s a hibernation thing: the urge to experience my adventures without blogging all of the details right away. I’m going to keep posting and writing, but I think I’d like to keep some things to myself for a while. Processing all of the emotions and details of scenes with you has been productive and fun, but at the moment I feel protective of my experiences, like I need a little more time and space to take them in. Transparency is a wonderful thing, but one-sided super-transparency is quite a leap and a little too vulnerable for where I am at the moment.

I feel so deeply grateful to those who have opened themselves up to being written about. It’s been so generous and trusting, and I’m sure I’ll ask it of them (and of myself) again in the future.

I’m curious to see what will happen if I let my feelings develop without giving everyone involved access to them, if I let my mistakes go undocumented for a while.

Maybe it’s the new bed or the excellence of my time with Mr. Sweetface last weekend, but I’m having a taste for private play as well. This is not to say I won’t play publicly a million more times or on New Year’s Eve, but there’s something about the safety and comfort of home, of bed. I want to explore that for a while and see where it goes. Playing privately seems like a nice way to let in some more (or just a different kind of) intimacy and affection, to make room for more expression and trust. Just another way to practice, to get my feet under me for whatever adventures come next.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

A Pretty Optimistic Calendar for 2014

Not kittens this year, but still. The only drawback is, I don't think that's enough little stickers that say "play date."

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Merry Christmas, Dear Readers!

I love you very, very much and I hope that whatever holidays you celebrate, whether you are alone or with family, friends, and lovers, you are feeling whatever you're feeling, and also feeling loved. That's where I'm at this morning.

Also, I don't remember a Saturday Night Live clip that's made me this happy in...ever:

Monday, December 23, 2013

Single Life, Week Three: A Good No, a Wreath, and a Special Occasion

Last week I was feeling like I had to build myself a new world, so lost that I wasn’t sure where I fit in in the universe. It is amazing what a good no and a good yes can do!

I’m not driving up to my sister’s for Christmas. It seems like I should be able to do it, but the idea gives me a stomachache. What I need most in the world is rest, and it seems like this winter break I am going to get it. Luckily, since modern times are sometimes awesome, it only took one post on the family facebook page and I was free. Christmas Eve and Day might be sad without my niece and nephews, it may bring out the divorce grief, but if it does, I’ll be safe at home where no one will be impatient with my emotions. I may be gleeful or somber, jolly or sobbing, but no matter what I will be warm and at home.

I’m glad to have acknowledged that things are different this year and made taking care of myself the highest priority, even if it means a lonely couple of days. Plus, I’ve never been to my own church for Christmas, so I’m looking forward to that. Making the choice to stay home felt amazing, and I’m proud that whatever else has happened, I’ve made myself a happy place to live.

In the process of tweet-bragging about my choice, I somehow accidentally dialed Mr. Sweetface, the rope-top friend who tied me to his wife a few weeks back. I texted to apologize for the misdial and somehow that led to him asking me for a playdate on Saturday. I gave him a resounding yes, bought some lacy new underpants, and was delighted to have visions of spanky snuggles dancing in my head as the last week of school before Christmas eked loudly by.

The next nice thing that happened was that my mom’s yearly wreath arrived. I opened it on the porch, not wanting it in my apartment, and was about to put it on the curb for someone else to find when I had a change of heart. It was all pearly white, with ribbons that said “hope” “joy” “love” and “peace.” It was too nice of a wreath and too nice of a gesture. I called and apologized for our fight, and she apologized too.

I think it’s time to change what I expect from my mom, to accept her genuine attempts at being loving, even as I distance myself from confiding in her. She’ll never be the trustable comfort I’ve always wished she’d be, she’ll never approve of my shenanigans, and it’s time to just let that be okay.

Sweetie, who happened to be over dropping off the car for the weekend (We’re sharing the car while I save up for my own. It’s not too bad.) helped me hang up the wreath and then went home.

Saturday I cleaned the house as much as I could and managed, for the first time since Sweetie moved out, to do the laundry and groceries by myself. For some reason, I’d been having a mental block about it—don’t know why I express grief through chore-aversion, but I’m glad I’m getting past it.

Mr. Sweetface was the first guy I’ve had over since the apartment became just mine, and the first (spoiler alert) man I’ve had in my bed since the year 2000. He was such a good choice. Though we both got good and spanked, it was mostly about warmth and snuggles, getting to know each other and feeling sleepily festive. He’s the one who helped me string Christmas lights over my headboard.

The thing about that playdate was, it was so easy. He is a spa day of a Dom and a sweet boy of a bottom, (So glad god made switches!) an emotionally generous talker who had me completely at ease. I remarked on my lack of anxiety or fear but started to think I should make that less remarkable, to stop being surprised by kindness and just keep letting it come to me.

There are moments sometimes when things are just working, when can feel the current that runs beneath things, when I feel life taking me forward without struggle or worry. Could be the endorphins or the chocolate I ate while spanking him, but I think it might be Christmas spirit—a new kind of Christmas, especially for me.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Single Life, Week Two: Welcome to District 14

“There is no District 12.”

I am certainly no Mockingjay, and my cute, overheated, modestly Christmas-decorated apartment and tough-but-fulfilling job are not quite a bombed out dystopian village, but I related to Katniss at the end of Catching Fire. She’d done what she had to do, she’d been brave and good, but the woods that gave her comfort were gone and she was headed someplace she’d previously thought was a myth.

I only had to save myself, and there’s a lot left that gives me comfort, but my marriage is behind me, my family feels like a death-trap thanks to the looming presence of my creepy mother, and the social cushion I tried to create within the poly and kink community isn’t really making sense.

It may be heartbreak making the Regular Dungeon feel like the Scary Party, but I suspect it might be something else. I fit within the ideals of poly and kink, wherein it’s supposed to be about expression, honesty, and communication, but the way I’m finding it actually practiced doesn’t exhibit those ideals at all. Thought many of my experiences this year have been life-affirming and good, I’ve seen so much (unintentional, I think) cruelty, judgment, carelessness, and emotional perfectionism that I don’t quite see where I can fit.

After that conversation with my mom where she berated me for not “behaving correctly” by having emotions she didn’t approve of, I realized that that’s what a lot of my relationship experiences have been about—trying to correct my feelings so that people would think I was nice enough, detached enough, openminded enough, that I wasn’t a threat to people’s narrow expectations or (apparently fragile!) relationships. I had to ask one lady to stop reading me because she just couldn’t stand the moments of frustration and would send me paragraphs of emotional correction until I felt like I might lose my civility. The worst mistakes of the year were made when I tried to tamp down my emotions but they just kept pushing to the surface like demanding sidewalk dandelions.

It’s not just the negative or “needy” emotions that have been met with fear, it’s positive, playful emotions too. Look at the way Fireguy scrambled to control my writing about an amazing, life-changing scene because he was petrified of his submissive’s jealousy, at The Man deciding I was a Glenn-Close-grade-stalker because I was nervous about meeting his wife, at the Steampunks making being excited for a playdate into something shameful and threatening.

Even the functional playpal situations only work as long as I don’t write too rhapsodically about people. Being able to keep people in perspective is a wonderful skill that I may never master and that I’m very grateful to have practiced this year, but it’s kind of sad knowing that playing with Old-Timey Guy has only worked for all this time because I’ve never gotten excited enough about him to get Punk Rock Girl’s hackles up. Pretty Slave and Cute Master, wonderful as they are, would ditch me the second I fell for one of them. Which would make sense, actually, in the monogamous world, but feels hurty in one where I still sometimes kiss them. I do know it’s a real friendship, but one that comes with its own guillotine.

As the judgy voices of blog-reading not-quite-metamours simmer down, I think that openheartedness and enthusiasm are two of my best qualities. It’s just that I keep putting/finding myself in scenarios where they’re not matched or welcomed, and that’s when they start to feel like crazy. According to one of the many, MANY How I Met Your Mother episodes over the weekend, the “Dahmer/Dobbler divide” hinges only on whether the feeling is mutual—what looks romantic in requited attraction can certainly start to look creepy when the feeling isn’t returned. So I guess if I want to value my romantic side and not keep feeling grossed out by it, I need to get rid of unrequiteds before they become a thing—like, three texts in if possible. It’ll be hard but probably worth it.

So I’m not sure where it’ll leave me, but I want to stay out of situations that call for the artificial tamping-down of emotions. There’s enough of that in daily life, why opt for it in relationships? More than anything, I want to find myself in situations where openheartedness isn’t met with fear and distrust.

Anyway, so my therapist, who maybe doesn’t have time for dystopian young adult novels, suggested that we make a plan to get me to District 13, but I explained that the residents there are very guarded and conservative from their years of subsisting underground.

So here I am in District 14. So far its accomplishments are modest: A small but very sincere Christmas tree, getting the bills sent on paper because I like paying them with stamps and envelopes, trying to figure out a holiday that won’t be too much pain to take. It will take a long time to build something stable, authentic, and unoppressive, but this is a start.

In the meantime, two gold stars:

1. That night the dungeon didn’t work, I left. I didn’t force myself to stay and keep being a sparrow bashing into the plate glass window of them. I had a bad feeling and (with the help of my super adorable friend) got the heck out of there. That is always to be rewarded.

2. Saturday I got asked out (actually, asked in) by a tall, beardy Beatles fan (“I spend my time thinking about…What I would say to Paul McCartney if I met him.”) and I asked him if it could wait until after the holidays because I’m having a spate of introspection. He said sure and I was so, so proud of myself for slowing down and taking the time I need. I did have all of those very urgent sitcoms to watch!

There’s still the matter of what to do about Christmas. I don’t want to make the 5 ½ hour drive to my sister’s, but I’m worried I’ll miss my niece and nephews too much if I don’t.

Yesterday Sweetie and I were in the Target picking up nonperishables for the food drive at work and we strolled through the Christmas section. I got the most AWFUL feeling in my gut and lower back until we walked out of that section. Day to day, I have a fair amount of Christmas spirit going, but something about the day itself is making me sick and afraid.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Thanks, Mollena.

To add to my collection of things to read on that distant day when I decide to head back into the world: This Letter to Self by Mollena Williams. Especially: ""When you are told you are “Too needy / loud / quiet/ small / fat / old / young / dark / light / jaded / inexperienced / difficult / easy” remember that has NOTHING to do with you and EVERYTHING to do with what is being 
projected onto you.

Friday the 13th is Forgiveness Day

It's a holiday I made up. Every time Friday the 13th rolls around, I listen to this Big Star song and try to do all of the (usually self-) forgiving that needs to be done. This time, I may just have to settle for listening to the song.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Nice Affirmation With Snoopy on It

I can't imagine being attracted to anyone any time soon, but when I do, I'll try to remember this. For both love AND like. Except, I have to admit, some of the things I tried to be were really fun to try to be!

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Is It Weird That I Asked My My Ex-Wife to Pick Up My Christmas Tree? I Don't Care

I used the snow day today to start making next year's goals and to tackle two tasks that were giving me single-girl anxiety: dying my hair (next time going to a salon like a grown-ass woman) and putting up the Christmas tree. Those things done, plus a nice talk with Pagan Boy, helped soothe some of the sting and worry. On to the next things!

Monday, December 9, 2013

Single Life, Week One

That janky dungeon night was just a sliver of what the first week of single life was like—although at the moment I’m still feeling dark and soul-separated, most of the week was fine-to-lovely. Sweetie finally moved out the Sunday before last, and that was such a wistful, sad, nostalgic night. That night I took the opportunity to finally watch Blue Valentine (I’d always joked that if we watched it, we’d have no choice but to get divorced…) and feel all the sad things, but I also felt like we were much more awesome than that couple—that bar’s not superhigh, but still. After that, I cleaned my apartment and listened to Minx and Lusty Guy’s handfasting ceremony on Poly Weekly and that gave me something to hope for.

The week was stressful because I’m going through a series of evaluations at work, but that gave me something to focus on besides heartache, and the evaluation went okay. The woman whose maternity leave I was covering came back and moved all of her stuff into her new classroom, so it was a week of making myself at home and gaining closet space.

I love the feeling of getting the apartment arranged just for me. I’ve been settling in, decorating, and moving furniture around, putting away reminders of the relationship and getting ready for the new. By the way, artsy types, if you have any artwork to lend or donate, I’d be much obliged!

And then there’s the new bed. All I want to do is be in it, and sometimes I fantasize about getting somebody (or somebodies) to come over and break it in, but I think that might be a while. I’ve spent many a content hour wrapped up in my new comforter reading library books—that’s actually what Saturday was about, before that other stuff: home. Nesting and snuggling in here, I get a deep and true sense of well-being. Maybe the key to surviving the bad parts is to draw inward for a while, let it be about just me, not worry where I’ll fit in in the world, try not to be scared that it’s all gone. I think that’ll help. I’m almost certain that the world and its parties will still be there when and if I can heal.

How much should I be allowed to hang out with Sweetie? Yesterday it was so snowy, and I was so tired, and I had to get the groceries and go to the laundromat so I called her for help. We had a very pleasant afternoon slip-sliding to the Target and reading magazines while the clothes dried. I don’t know if this is allowed but it made me feel better. Maybe I don’t have to be all the independent at once? I don’t know, but I know I’m doing my best.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Oh Wait, It Wasn’t My Drama

I’m sorry to revisit the same stupid playdate-that-wasn’t over and over again, but it’s still weighing on me and it’s still taking away my fun. This seems to be the month of unpleasant conversations that give me lots of insight—this morning, when I touched base with Steampunk Girl to apologize for not saying hello and tell her that I miss them, I found out the truth about those cancelled plans: It wasn’t my expectations and drama that he was aggravated with, it was drama and expectations that she invented and projected onto me.

It turns out that she was upset that I hadn’t cancelled after she explained that I would need a more loving situation for my first ass-time. In fact, I had cancelled, but then I uncancelled when I realized that we weren’t the same person and didn’t need the same things. I felt perfectly capable of doing the gentle breaking-it-in parts myself (I think we’ve established that I’m awesome at that!) and taking care of the emotional parts on my own too. There are many other valid reasons besides love to play with somebody, and in this case I chose him for competence, chemistry, and release. And also because (I thought) he was my pal. I think I’d have rocked at that playdate, if the planning process hadn’t turned crazymaking.

She was then bothered when I declined to have my first anal time with Cute Master, which she’d deemed a more loving situation. Actually, it probably was, and CM may still get the honor, though it would only be in the most casual and matter-of-fact of ways. But even if CM WAS the better choice, who in the world was SHE to decide that? Whose asshole are we talking about here?

It was also her issues causing the schedule mess—she thought I’d have all this “aftermath” that he would have to deal with, even though I’d already taken responsibility for that part and asked him to just tell me when he was expected home. All that I’d really asked for (besides wanting to make him cupcakes) was a time-margin away from the school week so I’d be more relaxed, a high sex-to-snuggle ratio, and to be treated gently about the scheduling part.

I did romanticize the friendship, but that doesn’t mean I expected more than friendship. Regardless of my feelings, I never asked him for anything that went beyond the bounds of an FWB or play partner. And even if I did, all he had to say was no, there was never any reason to put me down and e-yell at me about it.

All this time I’ve been feeling like I failed to be friends with them, especially with her, but they were the ones who dropped me over one mismatched set of expectations, most of which they’d invented. They were callous, mean, and defensive all along. It if weren’t for something she decided I needed and shouldn’t have, the plans would probably have come and gone, a nice story and a happy step along the way, and I could have kept my muse and friend. But I guess if he let all that happen to me, then it was never really a friendship to lose.

I wish this had been a conversation with him and not a way-after-the-fact whisper-down-the-lane with her and more stupid paragraphs. I wish he would have acknowledged that I deserved better, that I had the right to prefer whichever partner I preferred, that just because her first time meant “loving” and “aftermath” didn’t mean that mine had to. It’s helped to realize that for all of my mess, I’m actually much more self-contained than she is, and certainly less insecure.

Of course any good poly reader could say that all of this would have been avoided through direct communication and a more transparent approach by all parties, but I knew those things weren’t there for them from like the second date and I proceeded anyway. I hope that I can treat myself more humanely in future partnerships—how many times have I said that?

As for the dungeon, TPG was so sweet and posted pictures of her bruises just as if I were a real Dom. Hopefully Old-Timey Guy will forgive me for running out, I’m sure he had a million other fun things to do. I may not go back for a while but when I do, I hope that I can find the brave person I used to be there, or at least find myself able to cry soulful tears.

Not Fitting In at the Regular Dungeon, Not Getting Over Them

I wasn’t ready to see Steampunk Guy. I walked into the party happy and excited but when I saw him across the room and we kind of shrugged hello, the wind went out of my sails. I tried to do my best and be a part of things anyway. Old-Timey Guy asked me to play, which made me really happy since I usually ask him. I asked The Puncher’s Girl (Actually they broke up, so she gets a new nickname if I end up going back.) if she would like a spanking and she got very happy about that.

I was okay for a while, feeling confident in my Christmas Snoopy underpants and red satin heels even though he was right nearby. I thought about saying hello but I knew if I got too close, I’d feel the pull and I’d be even further from over him. Plus I’m probably still too angry to form words. Luckily there was a paddle and a lovely, squirmy ass on which to express some of the anger—she was more than okay with this, and I thought could make it a good night.

Then Steampunk Girl got there and my heart twisted up into even more untenable knots and I asked TPG if we could please be somewhere that’s else.

We went to a far corner of the room and snuggled, held tight and had co-aftercare. I let the tears come, but even they were hollow and disconnected, no real soul behind them. I felt like every part of me was cut off, like I was ugly and unworthy to be part of things and would never connect to people again. I felt like a failure, for not staying friends, for not getting over them, for not figuring out how to be what he wanted.

I felt like a creep and a freak for the fact that they have this effect on me. All he was supposed to be was a casual partner WAY BACK WHEN and I was supposed to treat her as a friend. But what came from seeing them was the distilled essence of the fear that I will always be alone, that I’ll never be worth as much as she is, that the universe forgot to make people for me, that I am too ugly and worthless to be loved or even remembered by a man. I wish I could’ve made all that go away and acted like a normal person, but I couldn’t.

TPG said “You shouldn’t have to be any more vulnerable than this, let me go get your clothes.” She helped me to get dressed and then she took my hand and led me out of the room, all bundled up and as fast as we could go.

I was too vulnerable last time I tried the dungeon, too. Maybe it can’t be my happy place anymore. I am scared to death that I will never be happy and sexy and brave again, that this person, cut off and scared and getting fixated on people who were not supposed to be a big deal, is all I’ll ever be.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Overachieved on Self-Care, Good Start on December Goals

I don't know how long it'll be 'til I can head back out to sexytimes adventures, but in the meantime going easy on myself is pretty fun. These library books won't read themselves, and sleep is the big fantasy lately...

Sunday, December 1, 2013

First Single Thanksgiving: In Which I Tell My Mom to Fuck Off

Phantom-limb Sweetie sensations aside, Thanksgiving was mostly lovely. The meal itself, held at my mom’s new house in the middle of nowhere, was subdued but delicious, and I got to have lots of quality time with my niece and nephews. My sister and I did our yearly tradition of Black Friday shopping, less for the deals than for the time together.

But while all of that was happening, Sweetie, with the help of my aunt, was packing up the apartment and moving over to the new place. I decided to drive home a little earlier than I’d planned to in order to help her and because I was homesick for my own apartment—as much as I love my sister’s family, her house is perpetually cold and dirty, in contrast to my usually neat and overheated place.

The divorce-grief was manifested by the most first-world of all first-world problems: somewhere in the course of getting in the car, I lost my little pink iPod, which was all loaded up with podcasts to keep me company on the five-hour drive home. I knew it was in the car, but I couldn’t find it. It was a similar feeling to the end of our last visit, when my phone died and Iwas gripped by the temporariness of everything—not sure why my electronics areso insistent on being metaphors for loss.

I felt really not-okay as I started driving home after a half-hour of searching the car. I drove in silence because I was mad at the radio and I couldn’t stand that I was finding meaning in a Miley Cyrus song. (Sorry, but “Wrecking Ball” is actually a pretty good song…) A couple of hours into the drive, I stopped at a rest stop to pee and search some more.

When I still couldn’t find it, I knew the grief had to come out, so I called the only person who could understand—Sweetie. She listened kindly as the sadness came out in gusts—why is the world so cruel, I asked, that they don’t even make this kind of iPod anymore? Why are people so horrible and why do they make things change so fast? And then I apologized, for the millionth time, for not taking care of her, of us, for being no-good. And, as the years had taught her to do, she listened. I cried about how far from home I was, but I realized that all I had to do was get back on the road.

And then my call-waiting beeped, and I wish I wouldn’t have answered it. I told my mom about the sadness I was feeling and she was supportive at first, but quickly became frustrated:

“You know you’re ruining my Thanksgiving, right?”

“No. I am not here on earth to ruin things for you. I never was. I am sad because I’m breaking up with someone I love very much.”

She then suggested that I go back to Sweetie, and I fucking lost it. What kind of a mother tries to send her daughter back to someone she once JUMPED OUT OF A CAR to get away from? For that matter, what kind of person would have, a year ago, sent me back to Sweetie after she locked me in the house, blocked the door, and refused to let me leave? My mom told me I couldn’t do better then, that even if I found somebody new, I’d still be the bad person these things happen to.

“WHY would you SAY that?” I shrieked “Why would you try to send me back to an abusive relationship?”

“You’re not going to find anyone better. I think you romanticize men, they’re not what you think they are.”

“I’ve never understood why you thought I couldn’t have a guy, but I deserve what I want just as much as my sister does. And being bisexual is not just going to go away.”

Contempt dripped from her voice as she said “So, what, you want a husband and a wife?”

In a little, tiny voice I said “That would be awesome…”

“Well, I have to tell you, that’s a recipe for destruction. And you’d better fix yourself before then, because whatever (Sweetie) did, men are so much worse.”

“There is nothing wrong with me!”

“Well, do you think you are behaving correctly right now?”

“What are you TALKING about? I am thirty-fucking-nine years old! And yes! I am grieving because my partner of twelve years is moving out, and I am TELLING YOU TO FUCK OFF.”

I turned off the phone, threw it in my purse, took a deep breath, and got on the road. The sun was setting and I was fueled by anger this time, though no less bored sans-podcasts.

I am almost glad that I had this stupid conversation, just for the insight. I don’t get the idea that my family has that I can’t be with a man—I kinda thought it was in my head, but I can’t believe she said it out loud.

But more importantly, when she said “You have to choose to get happy right now, or you will never be okay,” I started to get why I keep getting in situations where it’s expected that my emotions be tamped down, and why I feel so oppressed and trapped by them. She texted while I was driving to say that even when I was a baby, she would feel like a terrible person whenever I was upset, and that explains why I feel like I’m being a bad girl whenever I’m having negative emotions, whenever I’m less than sunny about things.

What bothers me the most is that she isn’t trying to “make” me happy for my own happiness. She needs me to be her own (very narrow) version of happy so that she can consider herself a success as a parent. It has nothing to do with me at all—I am not a person to her so much as a score sheet that she can compare with her sisters’ children and find lacking. I am amazed and disgusted that she could take something as heart-wrenching as a divorce and make it about her.

When I got home, Sweetie said that my aunt had said similar things about me and the men and how I was sure to find them lacking. Where did this “Who would want one?” manhating thing come from, and how can I get as far away from it as possible?

My mom kept sending texts about wanting me to be happy, and finally, I said this:

“I am happy a fair amount of the time, but it’s for reasons you don’t approve of, and it’s only because I accept the negative emotions too. I am blocking you for the time being so that I can take care of myself. See you at Christmas.”

But I’m not sure I will. Why do we spend the holidays at the ground zero of self-doubt? Maybe there’s a better way to celebrate.

The whole thing made me appreciate Sweetie and myself so much—this divorce isn’t about hypothetical future partners, it’s about knowing that we both deserve so much better than we have done to each other. We are doing such a loving thing, and instead of berating us for it, they should throw us a fucking parade.

I’m relieved to realize there’s no rush to be happy. I just have to take care of myself enough to survive and heal. Rather than trying to “behave correctly” and go about with false holiday cheer, I’m choosing to honor my twelve-year relationship by letting the sadness come, even as I do my best to move forward. I can be the compassionate person who accepts all the emotions, who treats myself as human.