A letter to my bed

My dearest bed… you are recent to my life, only slightly more than a year we’ve been together.

My bond with you was so important I made sure that it was just me and you, alone together, that first night we were together. I had to claim you as mine – singularly and solely mine as I knew that was integral. My life, solitary…my relationship with you must be firmly set that way too.

Since that night you have seen some of the hottest and coldest nights – and I’m not talking about temperature. Highs and lows have been journeyed in your embrace. Your softness has soaked up both the sweat of bodies consumed with the heat of passion and more tears that should ever be spilled.

You have cushioned knees and elbows and faces and muffled screams of pleasure … your firmness giving under the weight and your softness enveloping deeply.

You have held me alone for so many months now…you still proving to be a comfort in the hours of tossing and turning without sleep. You no longer hold the promise of rest for me like you once did… the memories of satisfied sleep after nights filled with snuggling and bodies locked in a fury of desire now faded…. sleep no longer comes to me when I lay down with you… yet still I yearn for you and warmly enter your cocoon of comfort that you do provide…rest for the body if not the mind.

To you, my bed, I thank you for all that you’ve endured and enjoyed with me already and for our future together. *hugs*

Deceptions

Doing some thinking today about cheating and relationships. I am trying to come to terms with feelings of anger and hurt that I have surrounding a relationship that ended, essentially, a year ago after I discovered that the person I was seeing for a year and a half had been less than honest about his interactions with others. I put it that way because we had a relationship that went through some changes that included us being open/poly towards the end of our time together…and yes, you can cheat when you’re in an open relationship.

I do differentiate between someone who has a one off lapse of judgement and cheats vs. someone who knowingly and purposely has intimate interactions with persons that he hides from his partner (s). It hurts to find out that your partner has slept with someone else but it’s a special kind of hurt to discover after a year and a half that you were deceived and manipulated in your relationship.

Someone who cheats and is caught quickly (or admits to it) shows a lack of judgement, possibly could be a liar … but it could also be just “one of those things” that happen. We all make stupid decisions sometimes and everyone deserves a second chance I believe.

However, someone who cultivates a relationship based on lies, from day one, purposely hiding information and asking others to help keep secrets shows much more than bad judgement. That behaviour speaks to a person’s basic nature – to their character and to who they are in their core personality. Pathological liars will ALWAYS manipulate other people and situations to ensure that their needs and wants are satisfied – regardless of how much they hurt the people in their lives, even the people they “love”. When you find out that someone who you trusted for so long and that what they told you as truth was in fact all calculated deception it hurts on a level that is deep. The sad issue is that people like this will simply repeat the same behaviour again – with the next person.

It makes you question every aspect of your relationship. When they were going for coffee with that person, were they really? When they just went out for a movie with that person, did they really or was it more? Personally, it turned me into someone distrustful and jealous and petty as we tried to work through seeing what could be salvaged. The truth of the ensuing many months was that, for me, there is no coming back from that level of deception. I have forgiven and moved through issues of cheating in other relationships but this was different. This spoke to my very ability to trust *anything* that came out of this persons mouth. Without trust, there’s no way that a relationship can have any chance.

The mind moves on faster and easier than the heart; but eventually, the heart does catch on and let go. It hurts to lose what you thought you had but when the truth is that you never had what you thought you did… it’s no loss.

Be The Change

This song is out recently and I finally had a chance to really listen to it. I’ll be honest that it brought me to sobs because of it being a subject that is close to home. (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mINGKrtG3iw )

There is a lot of talk about this generation being more open and accepting and the discriminations that we all faced growing up being largely a thing of the past. The facts are that this isn’t all that true. While these issues have gotten better with every generation we still have a ways to go. The horrendous facts are that kids do hide who they are, they are afraid to be who they really are and sometimes they make choices to not be here at all rather than live with who they are.

We, all of us, whether you’re the up and coming generation – just graduated, about to graduate… whether you’re the parents or the grandparents or the friends…we all have to not only sit back and think that people can be who they are… we have to *show* that it’s ok…

I’m talking about not only sexual orientation but gender identity and the whole realm that those encompass. Growing up is a gauntlet of emotions and trying to figure out where you fit. If you don’t fit inside your own mind because your mind has been shaped to reject and shame who you are – it’s hell.

“that’s gay” “faggot” “queer”… used to indicate a derogatory insinuation… are these ok? Simple, they’re not. Think about the 16 year old boy who hates himself for having sexual feelings for another boy or the 15 year old girl who can’t stand her body because it feels “wrong” when you toss those terms about. How would you feel in their shoes to hear how you identify being used to insult?

I was talking with my younger son a few months ago and it was during Pride weekend. On the radio they were playing the top 100 songs “in no particular order – cause who says a countdown has to be straight?”… He asked what “straight” meant because the sentence didn’t make sense to him. So I explained how the term straight is used usually to describe when 2 people of opposite genders love each other and are close to each other. I then explained (as best I could to a 9 year old) the terms gay, lesbian, bi-sexual, transgendered etc… It was a long conversation lol! He asked lots of questions and some were very pointed about same sex couples. He asked why a man and another man couldn’t marry each other if they loved each other… he asked how someone knows if they’re gay or straight…questions that I tried my best to answer.

The most amazing question he asked was simple though… “Why do they have to call it different things? Love is just love. Whether it’s 2 boys or 2 girls, it’s still just love. It’s not gay love or lesbian love or straight love. It’s just love”

Please make it just that simple.

Relationship options

The terms are varied; Single, married, partnered, dating, poly, open, triangle, quads, fwb, the list goes on and for every term there are a myriad of definitions based on interpretation and how people chose to practice their relationships.

For me, I identify as non-monogamous as that seems to be the best way, for me, to describe my preference for being “singleish” and with people I care about in my life and as a part of my intimate life. So, I’m going with non-monogamy for the rest of this writing as that really does encompass what I see as the umbrella term for my relationships. My opinions only, and I can’t speak for anyone else.

For me (because I can only speak for my point of view) being non-monogamous has been both a tough acceptance to come to and a natural one. A contradiction maybe but life’s like that. Not for the reasons of jealousy or insecurities (although those do happen- again, that’s life) or such but more for over-coming and accepting that how I feel most comfortable in relationships with people isn’t the “norm” that society has made me feel like I should want.

A few years ago, after the end of my most recent marriage I took a long hard look at what I wanted and part of that introspection was to look back and be honest with myself about when I was happiest with regards to relationships. In that honesty with myself I came to realize that I was truly happiest when I was “single” but had a few close relationships. At the time I didn’t know the word poly or the concept of open relationships really. I just knew that I didn’t want a single “partner” to the exclusion of all else. With the exception of the times during my 2 marriages, I was always “single” in my view and had usually 2 or more “friends with benefits” as I called them then. I was always open with the persons in my life that they weren’t the only ones and that I had others that I not only spent time with, but was intimate with as well. I didn’t go into these relationships thinking about ethical non-monogamy or any such things – I just lived my life and treated the people I had in my life with respect and openness. They always had no issues with the way things were and in most cases they were involved with other people as well.

Having recently (about a year ago) come across a local poly group through a friend and getting a chance to meet and talk and explore I find myself finally comfortable with acknowledging that different things work for different people and that for me, this feels right. We’re all different. Not better or worse or “should be” or “shouldn’t be” in certain types of relations; just differently wired.

So, you live, you learn and for me, that means that have had to make some decisions. I decided to have some standards for having people in my life in an intimate way so that my emotional boundaries and respected and if they aren’t – that’s my responsibility to make the decisions that need to be made so that I am happy and healthy. Whether that be ending a relationship or altering how that person fits in my life and what emotional attachment they have to me, the choices are never easy when the heart is involved.

My take on non-monogamy is simple. For me, it must be done with respect, integrity, honesty and empathy. I’ve spent too much of my life learning about myself and have reached a point of emotional maturity that it’s not acceptable to me anymore to allow treatment of myself as anything less than respectfully. That means that if you know that your way of practicing non-monogamy is so vastly different than mine that it’s going to cause emotional hurt (for either one of us), then respect yourself –and me – enough to be honest. Sacrificing your morals or what practices you know you need to be healthy and secure in a relationship will only end in disaster. Been there, done that… won’t do it again.

My solitude and my independence are my grounded space. I very much enjoy solitude, I love living alone and being “single”.

Companions and people to share my life and love with, maybe even my heart, yes.

A “one and only” to fill and complete me… I’m not incomplete, I’m not a half empty vessel to be made whole, so no, I will take an accompaniment to my life, thank you very much but nothing more… no finishing touches needed here – I’m all that I need…now, wants are another matter altogether 😉

That be a single partner sometimes, that may be multiple partners sometimes. At different times in my life I may want different things and different structures of relationships. All of that is ok and perfectly “normal”.

The constant throughout all of this is Me. The realization that I am whole and complete and ok being single opens up the ability to have others in my life and know that no matter what comes or goes, I am always there for Myself. And that’s all that I need.

The Fairy-tale, deconstructed

So here’s how the hetero-normative fairy-tale is delivered to us as we grow up:

Girl grows up; girl has doubts about her beauty and therefore, her value and worth…whether anyone will ever love her; Girl meets boy; Boy and girl fall deeply in love; birds sing the praises of their enduring love, stars sparkle more brightly, flowers bloom brighter and all previous issues are swept aside, never to worry either of them again; Girl now has Boy who will protect her and cherish her and life will go on happily ever after.

So we are conditioned to believe that all we need to be ok is a mate. A singular, all-encompassing mate who will fulfill all of our needs and wants. A partner who will love us unconditionally and forever – and who we will love likewise.

Now the screeching sound as those visions hit reality…

Is it any wonder that we have a society of young people (don’t worry, us more mature persons are just as messed up) who struggle with feelings of self-doubt and a sense of lack of fitting-in?

What if you’re a girl who likes other girls “in that way”, or a boy who like other boys “in that way”… or what if you like them all and can’t chose, and don’t want to have to make choice for just one option.

What if your body has packaging of one gender and your mind has the wiring of a different one? Or if your mind feels neutral, regardless of what body it dwells in? Gender neutral or asexual… you still need and want love and companionship and connection but not “in that way”.

Or what happens if you are a girl or a boy who wants the fairy-tale? Are you “less” than others who push against it? You find yourself accused of setting back the “cause” and you are held to ridicule for buying into the brain-washing. But what if it IS what you truly want? Then have it.

The possibilities of how our minds and bodies are connected and wired and respond is almost limitless so how do we fit in to a societal structure that is constructed on such a narrow base of “norms” and expectations?

My feelings are that we all don’t fit no matter what. There will always be someone to judge and someone to ridicule or hate or dispute your right to be who and what you are and to live your life and loves your loves with who and how you want.

So live and love how it makes you feel true to you. Respect yourself first and foremost; don’t sacrifice your own beliefs, morals or ethics for anyone else. And remember, you get what you put out there.

Finally

Relationships; they tend to have a shelf life that determines the level of hurt you feel when it’s over. I’ve been the one dumped, the one doing the dumping and also have been one half of a relationship that just dwindles on its own and dies a slow and quiet death…ending with more of a whisper than a bang… a simple acknowledgment between the two of you that it’s course has been run.

I have been in a relationship that has been going through a transition for almost a year now and the insight I have gained is invaluable. A friend told me about 6 months ago that I have gone through the classic “long-term” break-up; essentially, breaking up and reconciling enough times that when it does finally, really finally, end… it feels ok. That it might still hurt but you know that it’s the right decision. I can’t say I agree with that entirely because the fact is that almost a year into “broken up”, “back together”, REALLY broken up”, “not together but kind of together”, “definitely NOT together” …it’s exhausting and draining… the emotional turmoil of wanting them and not wanting them at the same time. The hurt of knowing that you love them and have wanted, so much, for it to work…and knowing that it never can. Finally recognizing that truth and realizing that the ache inside to see that person and have them near is fading. Feeling that the sting inside when you see them with someone else isn’t as sharp…that’s when you know that it’s simply ending as it should. Being able to look back on the amazing times – the connection, the experiences and the moments that meant so much…Being able to look back on the hurt and the pain and the moments that broke my heart. Knowing it’s over finally….Finally. Friends now with memories of what was and that’s all. And feeling good and right about that. Finally.

Character

char·ac·ter noun

1. the aggregate of features and traits that form the individual nature of some person or thing.

2. one such feature or trait; characteristic.

3. moral or ethical quality: a man of fine, honorable character.

4. qualities of honesty, courage, or the like; integrity: It takes character to face up to a bully.

5. reputation: a stain on one’s character.

Character, integrity, honesty, ethics, morals, values. These are words that we throw around and muse on how much they mean and how important they are.

“You are known by the company you keep” is an old adage and really does speak volumes…

We all make choices in life. We all justify those choices. Sometimes we are able to compartmentalize our lives and fool ourselves that we are good people who have done things that we’re not proud of because we “had to”. Because life left us no other option but to lie or to deceive or to cheat. The raw truth is though that we always have a choice and very often we tend to make the choice that, at the time, is the easy way out of situation. We let someone else take the blame rather than own up to a transgression; we help gossip along that we know isn’t true because it makes us look better; we hurt someone else even though we know it’s wrong because we get something we want out of it.

Or… we stand by and see all this in a friend or a lover or a partner… and we still keep them in our lives…even when we know that their character is not in line with who we are and how we strive to live our lives.

True, it’s not all black and white; we all engage in behaviour that isn’t always exemplary. But there’s a big difference between a bad choice made out of fear of loss or itentional deception and hurt.  Such as hiding something from a partner because you fear them leaving if they knew the truth…that is coming from a place of internal pain and fear and they do that with the intention of sparing themselves pain. Someone who proves time and again however that they will lie, cheat and deceive to further their own agenda and get their own needs fulfilled – at the expense of whoever gets in their way – they are coming from a place of intending to hurt and cause pain to others. Some will argue that intentions don’t matter, just the action but to me there is a difference.  While intention doesn’t make something right or better than the other…it does, for me, make the difference between being able to decide if someone is worth keeping in my life. Maybe not as close, but still there…or cut them loose completely.

It’s when we’re finally honest enough with ourselves to stop and look at who we surround ourselves with that we need to make the really tough decisions. Decisions about whether we’ll take the easy way out and just keep on with relationships and associations with people we know do not align with our own values and morals and whose ethics are so far removed from ours or… whether we’ll do what we know is right and make the choice to distance those people from our hearts and our lives.

It may mean fewer friends or losing someone (or a whole group of friends) but I believe in quality over quantity. There are things that compromise is all right for, and some that it’s not. Every now and then it’s good to look around and make sure that those who are a part of your close circle are truly those who belong there.