Possibilities are not guaranteed

Sometimes I see a pattern – people who want to know if it’s possible to be happy in a mixed mono + poly relationship, and …well, it is…but it’s not a guarantee. There’s not a “Follow these eight simple steps, and you will be a happy monocorn for EVAH!” There’s a lot that has to do with issues of compatibility. A lot of times it’s not so much the polyamorous aspects of the relationship that cause the problems…the problems already existed. The polyamorous aspects of the relationship expose them.

Whether it’s possible to be happy or not sometimes depends on how you respond to those exposed problems. And sometimes even if you did everything perfectly, it still won’t work.

All relationships are a gamble. Poly. Mono. Something in between. Something on another spectrum entirely. There’s no guarantee that it will work indefinitely. You can only succeed if you try, but even then…it’s not guaranteed.

We think “successful relationship” means “never ending.” If a relationship ends, it’s automatically a “failure.”

I don’t think that’s the case. I have learned something profoundly interesting about myself, my needs, and my wants from every relationship I’ve ever been in that didn’t last. Did that make them failures?

Not if the goal is to keep growing.

I’m so happy with my current poly partner that I don’t doubt there are people who hate me for it. My relationship is amazing. I often feel like it’s unfair how happy I get to be all the time.

But I don’t for a SECOND hang my hat up on the way it is right now and expect it never to change. That change might continue to include the two of us in a romantic entanglement together. I sure hope it does. I anticipate it will for a long while.  It might not.

I don’t try to predict the future. I live in the now.

Today, I am happy.

Ask me again tomorrow.

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Putting relationships on “hold”

I have such a visceral reaction to the phrase “put my other relationship on hold” in the poly discussion groups. It’s usually a phrase uttered when the following scenario applies:

The hinge in a “vee” has developed a solid and happy relationship with one partner that going swell, but everything in their additional relationship is falling apart. Some versions of that sentence would include “….everything in the additional relationship is falling apart because of the other one’s existence.

I’m trying desperately to stay away from calling either relationship “other” or “first” or “second” because I’m trying like hell not to imbue any of this with implied hierarchy.

My reaction is to the idea that you can put someone you say you love on “hold” because someone else you love is struggling. I don’t care where on your relationship flow chart they live.

The phone company puts me on hold. My partner does not. If you can put your relationship with me ‘on hold’ then we have no relationship. That’s how I roll.

But, I realize that this visceral reaction to this phrase stems from a past experience I had, in one of my early attempts at poly with someone who made a LOT of newbie mistakes that I see playing out again and again in the advice forums.

His relationship with me was solid. The more solid we were, the less stable she was. So when she struggled, he would “dial it back” with me in order for her to get stable again.

Guess what?

She used that. She used it regularly. Every time her jealousy would flare up, she’d have a panic attack or get herself into trouble or blatantly break one of his rules (these were both D/s relationships) and he’d dial it back with me to help her recover.

I’d complain to him and try to reason with him. “It’s like if there’s one kid who always follows the rules and another kid who’s constantly breaking them, so what you do is take away the toy from the good kid and give it to the one throwing the tantrum in order to shut them up.”

“It’s that saying that the squeaky wheel always gets the grease, but if you don’t pay attention to your other wheel you’re going to end up with a flat tire.”

He’d say he understood and things would change, but then he’d keep doing it. He’d keep rewarding her tantrums by denying me. When she felt like she’d “won” then she was fine again.

Guess what I did?

I started having panic attacks. I mean, it worked for her. Why wouldn’t it work for me? But, it backfired. I hadn’t set a precedent for having panic attacks, so when I had them I was told I was “faking” it, and to pull it together.

I wasn’t faking it. I was trying to control something I couldn’t control that I SHOULD have had some control over. The protocols and boundaries of my relationship should have been something he and I discussed and agreed upon together. Our boundaries and protocols should have been the foundation of stability upon which our unique relationship could be built independently of any other relationships he was building with anybody else.

But he kept allowing someone else to pound cracks into our foundation.

And, here’s the fun part… Usually, it’s the “primary” or the “first, and more established” partner that thinks they have a say in how their partner conducts their other affairs. In my case? I was the first one there. She came in three months after me, and it only took three months for her to completely destroy us by shedding the light how little control and integrity he really had.

So now, when I hear people wanting to put one relationship “on hold” I want to tell their seemingly dispensable partner, “RUN. RUN FAR AWAY.”

As the late Patrick Swayze declared, “Nobody puts Baby in the corner.”

Phi-ty Shades Darker (SPOILERS)

I decided to smoke some pot and document my live reactions to the film 50 Shades Darker, which is now available on HBO, BTW.

Below is the result.



There WILL be spoilers here



Oh good. She’s still stammering and timid.

I guess asserting herself with her former Dom didn’t give her any confidence after the last movie.

Boss should not be looking at his employee that way. Predatory as fuck.

Her coworker clearly agrees w/ me the way she just shot their boss that look.

Ok. She’s walking into an art show. She seems surprised that she’s the model in all the photos. does she not remember posing?

WOAH. Friend tells her that if he had asked before choosing all the photos of her she would have said no, so he just did it anyway. way to model good consent practices!

someone bought the whole collection of her overpriced images in a gallery. I WONDER WHO

OH MY FUCKING GOD.

“you bought all the very overpriced giant pictures of me? ” His response. “Yeah. I don’t like the idea of anybody gawking at you.” EX GIRLFRIEND WHO LEFT ME.

boom. she ordered her own dinner. that shows him who’s boss! So he grins and says “fine” She didn’t need your permission, asshole.

“I can’t do this if you won’t talk to me” Smartest thing Anastasia has ever said.

She seems to understand the basic tenets of good communication. It looks like after the last movie, she got herself a fetlife account, read a bunch of blogs and educated herself. Learned good practices and terminology. Too bad her Dom didn’t do that.

I don’t understand – she’s not meek or timid at all with him she so skittish with everyone else in her life. Of all people, he SHOULD make her feel jumpy.

Aww shit. That “laters baby” thing is back

That was such a weird exchange between coworkers. I think the sexually harassing boss is gonna be the villain.

You are NOT her boyfriend. You can’t just call yourself her boyfriend.

“he want’s what’s mine” OMG. I hate everything about this guy.

If she had agreed to that dynamic, this would be a very different story. I’d be like, “good for them…that’s so awesome they found each other!” But he’s trying to force/manipulate her into thinking his brand of domination is “the way it is.”

He’s buying her employer.

now i understand why they did the scene at the beginning – the flashback to his abusive childhood. It’s to let audiences feel sorry for him – to be able to forgive him for being an utter douche once he admits he needs therapy and relinquishes the need to be controlling after the revelation. People love salvation stories.

Six and a half minutes in – first sex scene. Let’s see how they do.

I just had a massive epiphany about how i used to view sex and submission.

Oh. Okay, so the sex scene starts with him giving her oral. No lie….that’s pretty titillating. I just lose my groove every time there is dialogue.

yup. sex scene is steamy.

Ok. She just called it his “kinky fuckery.” He did not know what that meant. Supports theory that in between movies, she got a fetlife account and he thinks he invented kink.

“I make that kind of money every 5 minutes. keep it.” Re: $24K. Our heroine rips up the check. SO HE HAS HIS ASSISTANT FORWARD $24k INTO HER BANK ACCOUNT. she is asking him how he has her bank account info.

Next scene – they’re having a nice lunch and she’s dropped the topic of HOW THE FUCK HE KNEW HER BANK ACCOUNT INFO.

I prefer when foreshadowing is more of a nuance. It’s less fun when they’re beating you over the head with a clue.

Yes Anastasia. He’s bad news. Follow your instincts. WALK AWAY.

He’s straight up willing to kidnap her. carry her kicking and screaming if she doesn’t go willingly.

without that scene making you feel sorry for him at the beginning, this same movie would have been listed under “thriller” instead of “romance”

this movie just exploded codependency wide open in my brain. another epiphany.

Why are you trying to understand him, Anastasia? what other than all those traits you just called him out on has he shown you?

OK. don’t know what just happened. have to rewind and start the scene over again.

He’s having her draw a box on his chest in lipstick. and it’s hurting him way more than makes sense. and then he says “those are my boundaries.” I don’t know what the fuck he means. Her response is “i can live with that.” Does she know what he means? WHY ARE THEY FUCKING AGAIN? THEY WERE JUST HAVING A VERY IMPORTANT FIGHT.

Did I miss the scene where she consented to ANY OF THIS? ’cause i thought they were still negotiating.

He’s gonna have her wear ben wa balls to a fancy charity ball.

is he taking her to a real charity ball or is it like one of those Eyes Wide Shut parties?

okay his mother is there. i guess that means it’s not a play party.

His disdain for his sister ….it’s a disdain for all women except the ones he can control.

She bid $24000 at the charity gala on the item he donated (a week say at one of his homes) . His response “I don’t know whether to worship at your feet or spank you.”

Oh. Next sex scene now. “I want you to spank me” Let’s see how this goes.

ok. i have to pause this. They inserted a line of dialogue for him to remind her she has a safe word. Because his character has come off as non-ethical from the getgo, the only reason I could think that he would do that is to lure her into a false sense of security that she is safe with him. What I really think happened? The writers remembered that were were supposed to think this was a sexy movie, not a scary one – and that was supposed to calm us down. So they throw him a line that is not in line with his character as a form of exposition.

Wish they’d gone the other way around. If she had confirmed she still has a safe word – then she’d be supporting the “anastasia got educated on fetlife” theory AND make her a stronger woman ( who can still totally submit).

HOW ABOUT A LITTLE WARMUP, MISTER?

he took the ben wa balls out of her on camera. i wonder if parents and their offspring watch this movie together in theaters?

there are so many boundary issues in this movie

codependency epiphany, the sequel.

they’re setting it up that there’s this young woman who is the villain, but i think it’s the creepy boss. she’s not been to work since the fourth scene. They developed his character too much in order to drop it.

By my calculations they’ve fucked twice since she painted that red lipstick on them. how is this his first shower? It’s been at least a day!

No, it doesn’t mean he loves you. It means he feels abandoned by his mother and looks to control women in order to make them stay because he equates staying with love.

Mini epiphany on the narrative how a woman “saves” a man by loving him into good mental health is just another part of a larger narrative that leads back up into patriarchy. But I won’t get into that now.

sketchy boss is back, being sketchy.

aah. he’s back to becoming unhinged because someone who never agreed to his terms isn’t following his orders.

that’s what that enabling mentor/mistress of his “helped” him with. He’d have gone full rapist if she hadn’t intervened with a “code” like Dexter’s father did. His emotional imbalance causes him to want to control women, BDSM channels it into something less illegal.

Just tell her, it’s a spreader bar. “walk before we run?” A spreader bar is “advanced?”

every time he fucks her he comes off as so cocky.

Unf. I need a spreader bar.

THIS SCENE IS HOT.

mmmm….having memories of recent evenings. I really need a spreader bar.

Pulse racing. the scene is over. i think i need to pause and get some air before i go back to trying to follow a plot.

Gonna go make some food that’s not sugar for the rest of it.

OK I’ve made a delightful tuna salad. It’s so good. Gonna smoke a little more and take on part 2 of this fascinating feature.

Yes….the difference between fights and conversations to Anastasia is that the questions she asks get resolved in conversations. In fights, questions can be answered by proxy with his penis.

Creepy boss is NEGGING her, professionally.

If this were real life, this boss would be the next one with allegations coming out about his harassing behavior.

yes. trap your female employee in your office and use threatening sexual language around her. good plan. especially since her boyfriend (if we’re calling him that now) employs you

“i can make you come like nobody else has” called creepy boss from scene one.

“he tried to touch me”
“Im gonna kill him”
“No no no please don’t go”
“OK.” [ to bodyguard ] YOU GO KILL HIM.

He changed the subject on her. He’s a master manipulator. She was talking about wanting to keep working and he’s convincing her to move in by being all awkward about asking.

I can’t see any of Christian Gray’s actions as genuine.

She made a valuable contribution at work and then apologizes for it in the next scene.

I want to believe it’s on her merit but i think he’s a manipulative jerk…..yup, she just questioned it too.

how could anybody be in a relationship with someone whose motives they can’t trust and are constantly questioning?

He’s making her take off her panties at the fancy restaurant
bet he starts fingering her in the elevator with four other people in there….

called it.e

takes notes that’s something for my fantasy rolodex

they just stole this straight out of working girl

LIKE STRAIGHT OUT OF WORKING GIRL. THE EXACT DIALOGUE.

“I expect to you to call me anna. I don’t expect you to fetch me coffee unless you’re getting some for yourself, and the rest we’ll figure out as we go.”

ok. chick with a gun. the ex submissive is the villain?

omg this is soooooooooooo fucked up.

omg

omg omg omg omg

i can’t …this scene is too layered and horrible.

he deescalates woman with gun by telling her to kneel.

bet his narcissism has a raging boner right now.

“I would have done anything to dissarm her.” except call the police and let a stalking victim know that your ex is mentally unstable and dangerous.

not disarm. SUBDUE. He used the word subdue.

“yeah, she scared me – but you scared me more.”
.
.
.
She had a gun. She should have scared you more.

“Don’t leave me” most honest thing Christian Gray has said all movie long.

OH THERE’S THE SHOE. I’M NOT A DOMINANT. I’M A SADIST.

Oh honey. There is sadism and there is sadism. What you are is fronting.

It’s Seattle at night by the water. I feel like that shirt she’s wearing is not warm enough to be outside without shivering.

I was wearing a flannel robe this morning in LA and chilled.

she’s turned on by his muscles. I guess they’re so good his character doesn’t matter.

He’s lying to her.

is his plane going down?

helicopter….. oh, now the’ll set him up to be either super heroic and cool under pressure, or faced with a life and death situation that he can’t fully control, he’ll totally have that epiphany he needs.

they had him be not totally controlling in the scene before we see the cliffhanger w/ the helicopter going down so we worry about him. if we’re worried about him then he can’t be a bad guy and this goes back to being a romance and not a thriller.

So, basically, the difference between a romance and a thriller is empathy for the antagonist.

she’s having way more of a reaction to the possibility that he died and finding out he’s alive than she did with having a loaded gun in her face.

ugh. she said yes. should have suspenseful music instead of romantic.

OOH Hot shower scene. the music tells me this will be super steamy.

Yeah. Yeah. It is. …oh wait. idiotic dialog. Never mind. BUT now we’re in his dungeon – i.e.: “the red room”

Blindfold…..check.
Leather cuffs…..check.
Oil? What’s he gonna do, give her a rough massage?

this looks a lot more sensualist than sadist, mister.

but yeah. the actual sex scene is hot. and i’m uhh….gonna need a minute.

So, his mentor/dominatrix was mom’s good friend. mom seems oblivious. Was this known information from the first movie?

He says “please” in front of company, but it’s “Come up here a second, please” Not a question (will you come up here?), but a directive. The please was an afterthought. That’s a character flaw (in my opinion). Some people might dig that.

though i’m unclear if she said yes to a D/s relationship or just yes to marriage. cause if she said yes to his request for a full D/s relationship then the above would have been fine.

showdown between the ex mistress and the fiance….OOH AND MOM COMES IN WITH THE FIRST CORRECT MOVE ANYBODY HAS MADE IN THIS FILM: Kicked the abusive fucker to the curb.

It’s pissing me off that the kinksters are depicted like such unhealthy, unstable, unsavory people. KINKY PEOPLE ARE NORMAL PEOPLE. This is making it seem like the cure to all their emotional trauma is giving up kink.

What they need is therapy and education.

but they would need that whether or not they were kinky

I heard “Be mine. Share my life with me. Bury me.” Turns out he said “marry me” but the first way I heard it would have been interesting for an ending.

creepy ex boss is back and now he’s wearing guyliner and leather and stalking officially

OH. that was it. That’s where it ends. ROFL that’s a HORRIBLE place for an ending.

Definitely feels like one book cut into three movies. These story breaks are chapter breaks. Not book breaks.

Well, that was super fun! Now I’m going to figure out how to copy/paste all of this into a blog post 😀


EDIT::


afterthought: I don’t think his gun-wielding, homicidal former slave is in a mental health facility receiving the best care. If that had been an option, he’d have done that for her in the first place. Controlling personality that he is, he would not allow for the unreliable outlier like an uhinged ex playmate threaten what he was working toward his next conquest. No, he was too worried his big secret would get out. So instead of calling the cops and alerting Ana that she was in danger, he took it upon himself to protect her. He know he could always control the ex, by making her kneel, and feel like a fucking hero.

But now that she’s already played that card, he has to do something to control her. So, during that time he was waiting for her to strike, he bought an institution and filled it with his own doctors. She’s in a prison….probably meant to look like mental health facility, but a place where he owns the doctors and she never sees the light of day again

Family Holidays for the Non-Anchor Partners

I run a group for “monocorns” – a word I coined to describe monoamorous people who are comfortable and happy in relationships with polyamorous people.

This morning one of my fellow monocorns posted something – and, though I don’t feel quite as strongly about it as she does, she is spot on about the struggle that certain “family holidays” like Thanksgiving and Christmas pose to those of us who aren’t the “visible” partners to our partners’ families.

It’s not a monocorn specific thing, either. Anybody out there who doesn’t hold “primary”, “anchor” or “nesting” status with their partner(s) might feel the struggle of a day like Thanksgiving.

I adapted. Thanksgiving isn’t a Thursday holiday anymore. Now it’s a Friday. Christmas happens several days later. Sometimes New Years eve is a day earlier or a day or two later, as well.

But, I won’t pretend that it’s not difficult on the day of.

If you are the nonmonogamous partner to someone you are not seeing today – it’s probably a good day to let them know that you wish you could. At the very least, it’s a good day to acknowledge that it might sting a little for them when they’re not sitting next to you at the table. Even if you wish YOU weren’t at the table because, hell yeah – families can be annoying. It’s having our partners there that makes some families more tolerable.

And for those of us who are spending these next few family holidays without our partners by our sides…

I guess all I can say is “I understand those feels.” I hope that for you, like for me, it’s not so much pain that it overshadows everything amazing you have with your person.

Wishing you all a pleasant evening, whether you spend it with your family, your friends, your pets, or with Netflix.

Roller Coasters and Trampolines

“How does one deal with the ups and downs of a poly relationship?”

My immediate thought upon reading this question is to wonder how one deals with the ups and downs of ANY relationship?

How do you deal with the problems in your monogamous relationship?  I spent more than 10 years in one.  We certainly had problems.  I believe the way we dealt with them was to identify them, communicate them, and attempt to adapt.

Now, I’m in a poly relationship.  We have a few ups and downs.  Not a huge number of them, but they exist all the same.

Does the poly part make a difference?

Seems to me that if it weren’t that, it’d be something else.  Relationships have ups and downs.  It is known.

But, are you on a roller coaster or a trampoline?

Do your ups and downs have forward motion — or do you keep revisiting the same spot over and over again?  Are there new twists and turns and challenges to overcome together, or are you trying to achieve some sort of flight stasis by pushing yourself into taking higher jumps?

Gravity is always going to bring you back down again. Trampolines are a fairly binary activity – your feet are either in the air, or on the mat – and there is a very short amount of time that you spend in either state as you travel back and forth between the two.

Roller coasters are different.  Roller coasters can be frightening, and disorienting, and for some people – completely off limits; BUT…

Roller coasters  have nuance.  And the amount of time spent soaring to new heights, or hurdling through a loop-de-loop varies.

My first roller coaster ride was Space Mountain at Disneyland. I had just gotten tall enough to ride, and everyone was always talking excitedly about it.  Already pretty geeky by then, I loved the futuristic feel and “story” that they’d created around the line to get onto the ride itself.  It looked and felt right up my alley.

I didn’t know it was a roller coaster, though.

I really didn’t know it was a roller coaster in the dark – where you couldn’t see the tracks.

I hated it.  I didn’t see one of the twists coming and by the time I walked out of the attraction, my neck had stiffened and I was in tears.

I was completely unprepared for the roller coaster and developed a fear of all roller coasters based on that experience.

My first poly relationships were a little bit like that.  I wasn’t well prepared – we hadn’t communicated effectively, and I was a little bit in the dark with what their expectations were.  I just knew that they didn’t give two flying craps about my expectations.  They were gonna do what they were gonna do, and if I got hurt – it was my own fault for wanting…what….light? a road map? A sense of where we were headed?

For years I swore up and down I would never date another polyamorous person again.

Years after my first Space Mountain experience, a friend convinced me to go on one of the kiddie rides at another theme park.  This was a short roller coaster that just rolled along with a couple of ups and downs, but no loops or quick turns.

I enjoyed it.  So she said, “If you like that, then you should try Colossus.  It’s basically just like that, but bigger.”

So, I agreed.  Colossus was a staple at this theme park. It was one of the oldest and largest wooden roller coasters, and it didn’t have any loops either.

I loved it!

“Well, if you like that….then you’ll LOVE Revolution! It’s the same thing, but with only one loop.  You won’t even feel it!”

By the end of that day at the theme park, I’d tried every roller coaster there was, including the newest one – Viper – which had multiple loops, corkscrews, and even one that went backwards.

 

Roller coasters still had ups and downs and even took me for a loop;  but, out in the light of day, I could see the tracks ahead of me, brace myself for the scary bits, and enjoy the rush of coming out the other side unscathed.

And the slow progression into the larger rides helped, too.  I was able to take small steps at a time.  Try it out and see if I liked it.  There was no pressure to get on any ride – just a suggestion that if I liked the last one, the next one would be just like that, but *more.*

Roller coasters have ups and downs, but (with the exception of Space Mountain) – you can kind of see them coming.  And you deal with them the way you deal with them.  Put your hands in the air, and scream…..

Okay, maybe not – but you anticipate, communicate, and adapt.

There was another attraction at the theme park a summer or two later.  By now, I was emboldened.  I fucking *love* roller coasters, I’m going to try them all!

This one was called “Free Fall.”  The car took you up like 30 stories high….and then just dropped you.  There was no warning.  No forward motion. No feeling of the track guiding the way.  You were just falling, trapped in a carriage, unable to even see the person beside you.

I never went on that thing again, nor any other attraction that featured anything like that.

If the ups and downs of your relationship are more like the free-fall than the roller coaster, then …yeah, I don’t know how I’d cope with that, other than to get off that ride and never get on it again.

And if your ups and downs are like being on a trampoline?  Well, some relationships are like that in the beginning.  The same fights, and an exhausting workout..  If there’s never any forward movement, my choice would be to slow down and climb off.  Eventually it’s time to rest.

But, if your ups and downs are more like a roller coaster…well, again.  Roller coasters have nuance.  Is it the peanuts coaster in the kiddie park – where your biggest fight is over the baseline status of the toilet seat?  Is it like Revolution, where you have a couple hangups that take you for a loop, but you get through them fairly quickly?

Or are you on Space Mountain, and coming out of the experience with a stiff neck and face full of tears?

Depending on your answer is how you deal with the ups and the downs.  Regardless, it’s important to remember that all relationships have ups and downs, and polyamory in and of itself isn’t the “villain” at the center of it.

Sometimes you’re just not compatible with the passenger in your carriage.

 

 

 

Taking Flight

In the past week I’ve successfully been suspended twice. By “successful” I mean I went up and I came down and there were no injuries. I lasted somewhere between 10 and 20 seconds up each time.

Have I suddenly learned to love suspension?

Naaaah. I wouldn’t say I love it. I still prefer being down on the ground, for the most part. Though I do love me a partial…

But I trust the two people who I’m allowing to practice their suspension skills on me, because they’ve invested a considerable amount of time learning from reputable and respected rope teachers in our community. And when I mean a considerable amount of time, I don’t mean a half-day class and some at-home practice.

I mean hours spent in monthly supervised instruction followed by practice followed by supervised approval that they’d picked up the appropriate skills and technique before moving forward.

I’ll say this: sitting through the class where they learned safety and technique for their first suspension (a side suspension) helped me a lot as one of the people putting my body on the line for this endeavor. I was able to understand with more clarity why certain things are positioned in certain ways or in certain places in order to maximize safety (and comfort…which is minimally maximized in a suspension to begin with) of the bottom.

I’ve sat through one-off rope instruction as a bottom before. They teach how to tie the knot, which I don’t pick up very easily. I’ve tried to follow the steps but I lose them as soon as it’s over. So, generally, when I’ve been the bottom in a class before this, I’ve not taken away much from it other than the wonderful sensation of being tied.

But, in these classes, I am learning too – especially from the instructor who teaches from the bottom position – on which ways to position my leg, for example, for the best results in a well-tensioned thigh cuff. I also was able to better understand what areas I should feel the pressure in, and whether or not there’s a need to panic if my fingers go tingly.

Little by little, I’m becoming more able to articulate what I think would work best for my body and my endurance level. I want the hip harness on first, for example, to limit the amount of time my body is in a stress position once the chest harness goes on. Or which leg goes up because one is stronger and more able to withstand carrying the weight of my body for the five or so minutes that the rest of the uplines are being secured.

It makes me feel like a true partner with the person I’m tying with. This isn’t only about them and their goals. It’s about our goals together.

The more I’m able to understand how to help my partners customize these ties to my body, the more comfortable I feel with the thought of taking flight. One-size-fits-all rope has never quite suited me.

Which brought me to this conversation the other night with my partner as we came home from our first successful suspension together.

“Maybe by my 40th birthday, I can be a piñata!”

I can see it now. By next July, I should totally be able to withstand spending …what, like a whole minute? Maybe two in suspension? Then he can beat me with, with something fun…like a hollow plastic bat. Big noise, but little pain. And I can hold handfuls of candy and fling them about the room!

It’s a fun thought. Who knows if it’s something that could happen or not? I don’t even know what’s happening tomorrow, much next be in a position to plan for next summer.

But, I like that I’m learning something and I like that I’m pushing myself a little out of my comfort zone with the help of two people that I trust will think no less of me if I feel like it’s too much and have to stop.

That trust alone is 60% of what gets me off the ground. The rest is just rope.

phi-is-me, too.

On National Coming Out day, I saw a lot of people coming out about a lot of things. Most of them came out about their gender identity or sexual orientation, which I have been informed is the focus and intent of the day’s existence. Some came out about their relationship orientation if they were non-monogamous, but most of those did so in conjunction with one of the gender or sexuality outings. Some came out about their mental health, and some came out about their STD status. Again, mostly in conjunction with one of the above.

A few people, unfortunately, came out as cis and straight and those people really just cannot seem to let something be not about them for once.

I didn’t come out about anything. When I saw someone out their polyamory I thought about it and opted not to. 1) because National Coming Out Day isn’t about me, and 2) because technically I still do not identify as polyamorous, even though my relationship is and coming out about my partner’s lovestyle isn’t what this is about. When I saw someone come out about having HSV2, I thought about it, but opted not to because 1) National Coming Out Day isn’t about me, and 2) National Coming Out Day isn’t about me.

But there was another thought that went through my head. It was about the repercussions of coming out on my “phi” account on FB or here on FetLife where all of these things I might have come out about (if it had been appropriate for me to do so) would have no effect on my life or livelihood.

Am I really “coming out” about anything when I’m on the account where I’m already open and out about everything?

And I realized just how accurate my FetLife handle turned out to be. See, originally I wanted to just be “phi” but that one was taken. I tried a few different options, but in the end, went with “phi-is-me” because…rhyming.

But after last week, I had this epiphany….it was the understanding that, in a way, phi really is me. The most authentic me. The me that can be completely honest about myself and not suffer the consequences of speaking out, so I’m free to do so without fear and without holding back.

Enter this week’s #MeToo campaign.

#MeToo, I posted on Facebook under my phi account.

But not on the account that bears my legal name. Not on the account that shares friendships with my boss and my coworkers and my parents and my grandparents.

Not there.

I realized that for every #MeToo we were looking at on social media, there were countless who were still hesitant to post.

Think about that, for a second.

For every #MeToo someone posted, there are countless who didn’t.

Why?

Maybe out of fear or shame. Maybe because once again, it’s a campaign aimed at raising the voices of the victims rather than a campaign aimed at exposing and shaming the actions of the perpetrators.

I’ve seen the backlash. I don’t disagree with it. I also don’t disagree with the campaign itself. The silencing of victims’ voices helps create the environment under which this epidemic continues to spread.

So I didn’t join the chorus on my main account. I don’t want to be questioned by my family, who don’t understand the concept of “boundaries.” I don’t want to have to “prove it” to my father who didn’t believe me when it happened in front of his face. I didn’t want to have to explain it to my mother, whose entry-level narcissism would make it about herself either why I didn’t tell her or how she could have not known.

I didn’t want to walk into work today and have my coworkers and colleagues treat me with pity or any differently than they ever have because suddenly they realized the magnitude of this epidemic.

So maybe I didn’t help. Or maybe I helped myself.

Either way, it doesn’t matter, because by now it shouldn’t surprise anybody to know how prevalent sexual harassment and assault are in our society.

I knew. It’s not news to me.

But, that was the point of the campaign, I guess. To open the eyes of the people who didn’t already know.

So, now they know.

What are they going to do about it?

My guess is nothing. My guess is absolutely nothing.

But their kids might. Or maybe their grandkids. And if this world lasts long enough for them to have great grandkids, ….maybe by then people like me won’t need to hide behind an alter ego.

But for now, there’s phi.

phi is me.