This week has been extra-specially rough on my emotional state for many reasons, one of which is the expiration date of my time in this house.
I hadn’t cried about it yet until last night.
Last night the tears came.
Last night I said the words out loud, “I hope I made the right decision,” but it’s not just one decision. It’s so many decisions. About this house, about my intermediate plans, about my job, and about what I want from my life.
There’s a lot of turmoil involved in all of this – with the move, and the job, and even some other stuff I don’t care to share at this time.
But there’s a lot of change. A lot of transition. A lot of insecure footing. I’m the author of my story, and I’m closing up a pivotal chapter without any idea how the next chapter begins.
But there is a difference between this time and the last time I was in a similar situation.
Last night I drew a parallel between my transformation and the transformation of this house into my home three and a half years ago. “I feel like I was born here,” I said. In a way, I was. This version of me. Phi-is-me and everything she’s accomplished…
I could die tomorrow knowing that my existence made a difference beyond what I can even imagine.
So, as insecure as my footing may be, and as terrified as I am about moving back in with my parents for an undetermined amount of time, I still know I’ll get through it. I know I’ll survive it. I know I’ll emerge from all of this strain to find myself in a better place than I was in before. Maybe not right away, but eventually.
I struggle with this next part because I know if I lay my problems side by side with other people’s problems…my shit is inconsequential.
But for right now….
In this very moment….
I need it to be okay to admit that there’s a knot inside my chest and a slight emotional paralysis and I’m very, very scared.
I went to sleep when my candidate suggested that we do so. I can understand her not wanting us to be awake to bear witness to the hour in which she conceded this election to a reality television show star.
But, I woke up a few hours later and couldn’t help it. I refreshed the NPR page and saw that the nightmare was, in fact, a reality.
There are those who earnestly voted for him. And there those who refused to vote for either of them. Some of the former are people who fall into the category of “people I love,” distasteful as it might feel at the moment.
I keep hearing Haley Joel Osment’s voice in my head: I see racist people. Some of them don’t even know they’re racist.
Those same people are now calling for the “reunification” of the America they worked so hard to divide and segregate. They’re also the ones daring to question Secretary Clinton’s class for not making a public concession. WAIT, WHAT? NOW ‘CLASS’ IS IMPORTANT TO YOU?
There’s so much I want to be able to post on Facebook, but I have to be more careful and measured there, as the bonds of family could potentially be at risk. I did manage this, though:
I will defend my rights and the rights of the people I care for. Understand that I will not be forgiving of those who work for or support the dismantling of hard-won rights of women, the LGBTQ community, or people of color. In the coming years, watch what you consider to be a “joke” because we won’t be laughing. “Locker Room Talk” will not be tolerated. “She can’t take a joke” will not be tolerated. Hate speech will not be tolerated. I am setting my boundaries as a woman and as an ally to those who are frequently marginalized by a society that decided it no longer had to hide its ugly side. Be mindful of these boundaries if my continued presence in your life matters.
And it goes for people here, as well. Most of those who remain on my friends list now are not people who would give me cause to worry about any of this; but a few months ago I did unfriend someone for making a joke at the expense of trans people.
I see the emboldened already calling for us to get to work to make a difference in two years during the midterms and again in four if/when this country holds another election. And yes, …absolutely, yes. This experience, this election, has been a wake up call for me. I now see a truth that I was blind to before, and I saw it months and months before yesterday’s election.
This country is racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, and intolerant.
I didn’t want to believe that and my head was in the sand, but it is no longer.
We got passive. I got passive. I relied on shit just working itself out.
I want to be wrong about this. I want nothing more than to be absolutely wrong about the doomsday scenario that is playing out in my head under four years of a reality show regime.
Fuckin’ rub it in my face if I am and I will gladly take it because this is one instance where I REALLY don’t want to be right.
I am scared. I know so many of us are. But, as I said earlier tonight – the scared will only last so long. Soon, the anger will set in – and with it, the drive to push back and reclaim the relationship I want to be in with my country.
Until then, for those who are frightened and for those whose lives are far more at risk in the upcoming four years because your outward appearance doesn’t blend in as well as mine does; know that I and so many others like me are in your corner. Call upon us as allies and let the strength of our voices together keep you as safe and protected as we can.
“She said she was afraid that I might find someone better than her and leave her behind.”
I’ve run into this concept a lot over the last few years of reading about, learning about, and befriending those practicing a non-monogamous lifestyle. There’s that titillating idea that we can be open to new relationships and bonds, but it still comes with the scary “what if?” passed down from lifetimes of comparisons, competitions, and insecurities.
That one sentence that I read in a chat room conversation with a man who is very carefully considering, discussing, and exploring the possiblity of entering into a poly-style relationship with his wife made me think of how often I’ve heard similar fears, not just from monogamuggles like me, but from people who identify as polyamorous themselves.
And I realized it was like the polyamorous boogeyman. The nightmare scenario. The “I let my partner do this and it backfired in a most spectacular fashion” trope.
It happens. I know it happens. It’s happened to friends. Hell, it happened to me.
We can set up all these failsafes, right? Rules. Agreements. Protocols for relationships. Hierarchies. Check-ins. Vetoes. Family meetings. Counseling.
They’re like condoms for poly-style relationships. They might help keep you safe, but the only way to really be sure is abstinence from relationships entirely.
And we all know how great abstinence-only education works in preventing ….anything.
I don’t have a solution for this. I mean, I do. It’s trust. But trust isn’t foolproof. Especially if you’re in the habit of trusting fools.
I keep coming back to the same thought on this: the only person I can control is myself. I know my intentions in a relationship and I only get involved with people who exhibit the same reverence for honesty, communication, and integrity that I try to live up to in my own life.
So when he tells me he’s polyamorous, I believe him. I don’t entertain fantasies where he’ll suddenly choose me over anybody else because that is not the man I love. That is not the type of man I’d love. I wouldn’t respect a man who would treat the people he loved with that kind of disrespect.
I trust that the man I’m with would never do that. Not to me, nor anybody else he’s involved with.
So, I asked the guy in the chat room what his take was on his wife’s concern. Did he think it was a possibility? Was there a chance he’d meet someone else who would fit so well by his side that it would eclipse the years of love and commitment to his existing partner?
And he answered honestly, that it was a concern. That he couldn’t be sure, having never been in that situation, how he would feel or how he would handle it. Massive props to him, by the way, for being honest enough to admit that. I would trust someone who was willing to dig deeply enough to face an uncomfortable truth.
Sometimes the monsters under the bed are all in your head. Sometimes they’re not. The only way to know for sure is to put your feet on the ground and move forward.
The first time she felt his blade wasn’t during a scene. They were standing around, talking and he saw his knife on the table. He picked it up and pointed it at her. She didn’t flinch. Taking a step toward her, he pressed it against the side of her arm, near her shoulder.
She barely registered the sensation of cool metal against her soft skin. What she did feel was the pull of submission as her mind was cleared of whatever it had been she was saying.
He cocked his head to the side and moved the blade up to her chest, tracing a light line across it. She held her head back and just maintained eye contact with him.
“Does it scare you?” he asked.
“No,” she responded quietly.
He moved the blade up and pressed the edge two inches below her left earlobe. “This knife against your throat doesn’t scare you?” His eyes were focused on hers.
“You don’t scare me.” She held his gaze, holding very still.
Satisfied, he retrieved the knife and set it back down on the table.
“Interesting,” he said.
She was laying flat on the bed, naked from the waist up. He was crouched over her, with one knee on the mattress, dragging his blade across her breast. Slowly, methodically, he grazed different areas on her arms, chest and neck. Her eyes were closed and her breathing soft and shallow.
With her eyes closed, he could study her face without her seeing his reaction to it. Those lips, full and wet. He pressed the flat of the blade against them.
“Kiss it,” he said. She complied.
Leaning down, he replaced the steel with the gentle warmth of his lips.
Her response was to kiss back, but not in a way he’d experienced before. There was a primal hunger to her now. A yearning he’d not tasted on her lips before that moment. He felt himself being drawn in by it, succumbing to her need.
He pulled back quickly, and held the knife against her throat again. Her were eyes open now, the passion in them ignited.
And as she now held his gaze he realized that a few inches of steel was all he had for protection.
It used to be so easy to say “I love you.” For more than a decade I could say it whenever I felt it, knowing it would be received well.
And what did it mean, anyway? That I care. That their happiness is valued. That their sadness affects me. That I want good things for them. That I feel like I am one of those good things.
And what did I expect back from those words? Nothing. I don’t need the “I love you, too.” Before he was ready to respond in kind, my ex used to say “I know.” That was good. It was as good as “I love you, too.”
Because I felt it from him before he recognized what it was. I felt that he cared. I felt that my happiness was valued. I felt that my sadness affected him. I felt that he wanted good things for me. I felt like he knew he was one of those good things (until he wasn’t).
I don’t know when those three words got weird. It’s not like anybody told me “Hey, don’t say that,” but I get the sense that I could say “you matter to me” and “I care about you” and “your happiness is important to me” all I want, but if I were to condense it into those three particular words, it might scare the flying fuck out of the recipient of them.
Suddenly a phrase that has always brought me pleasure and happiness is a source of jarring fear. OH MY GOD WHAT IF THEY KNOW I GIVE A SHIT ABOUT THEM?
The phrase has power, but I think it’s just arbitrary power. I received an email the other day and in it, someone said “I love you.”
And I went WOAH NELLY, WHAT THE FUCK? And then I calmed the fuck down.
Because I broke it down. And all that email was saying was: you matter to me.
And I’d already known that I did.
I cried at a silly love poem yesterday in which a Dom loved his Brat with all her bratty ways.
There are reasons why things like that trigger me.
Here are some of them:
Conversation with my Husband:
“I can’t remember the last time we had sex.”
“It wasn’t that long ago.”
“It hasn’t happened since before my last birthday. That was six months ago.”
“No, it hasn’t been that long.”
“Maybe this weekend.”
“You said that last weekend.”
“I’m a failure as a husband.”
“You’re a wonderful husband. But it makes me feel like you don’t want me.”
“Of course I want you. You’re the sexiest woman I’ve ever known.”
“Then why don’t you ever want to touch me?”
“I love you. I love you so much. I know you’ll leave me some day.”
“I’m never going to leave you. Never. I just want to feel wanted.”
“I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
“You won’t ever be without me.”
Tags: dead bedroom, neglect, emotional manipulation, depression, communication, marriage, sex, codependency
With the first guy I rebounded with after Husband passed away:
“Are you going to be there?”
“I wouldn’t miss it. I’ll be there.”
“I know sometimes you don’t feel up for it, but I’d really love for you to be there.”
“I’ll be there. Nothing could keep me from being there.”
Tags: neglect, lies, depression, broken promises, rebound romance, grief, needy, clingy, disappointment
The day I knew it was over with that guy:
“Where is he?”
“He’s probably not coming.”
“Has he called?”
“It’s your birthday.”
Tags: neglect, sadness, friendship, breakup
With the second man I’ve ever loved – the one who shattered my heart:
“I don’t want to.”
“Please don’t make me.”
“Say it, now.”
“I love you.”
“I don’t know how to respond to that.”
“You don’t love me.”
“I don’t know what love is. I don’t know if I love you or not. But I’ll promise you this – no matter what, I will always be your friend.”
“Then just acknowledge my feelings. Tell me you know.”
“I love you, Sir.”
Tags: emotional masochism, doormat, BDSM, love, emotions, vulnerability, fear, communication, long distance relationship, star wars
“I want to talk to you about something.”
“How would you feel if I took on a second sub?”
“Yeah, just online only.”
“I guess that’s fine. I love you, but you’re on the other side of the planet. If you need more than I can give you, I don’t want to stop you.”
“Are you sure?”
“Just promise me one thing….”
“I get to be your favorite.”
“That will never be a problem.”
“I love you.”
Tags: poly, long distance relationships, broken promises, communication, emotions, regret, love, submission, idealism, emotional masochism, unrealistic expectations, doormat, codependency
“I’m coming to meet you.”
“How long will you be here?”
“Three months is as long as I can legally stay.”
“I love you.”
“I know. Look. I can’t promise you I’m going to love you when I meet you.”
“And I’m not sure if I’m comfortable having sex with you.”
“I understand. I love you, Sir.”
Tags: excitement, anticipation, fear, emotional masochism, unrealistic expectations, doormat.
“She’s coming to visit here a week before I fly out to you.”
“I’ll call you every day.”
Tags: No he didn’t.
“I have something to tell you.”
“I told her I loved her last night.”
“I’m happy for you.”
“Yes. Because now you know how love feels, and you’ll know if you love me too when you meet me.”
Tags: This is not going to end well
“I unpacked your suitcase.”
“You should have told me yourself.”
“You left the open box of condoms in it.”
Tags: That was fucked up.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because you’ve been here three days and you still don’t know how you feel about me. I think maybe you just don’t love me. I really thought you did. I felt like you did. But you love her. Not me. You’re living in my house, sharing my bed, and you go downstairs each night and tell her you love her. And all you can tell me is that you know.”
“Let’s just go home.”
“I brought you here because I wanted to tell you somewhere special. I do love you. I’ve always loved you. I will never stop loving you. I loved you before I flew out here, and I knew it the moment I saw you at the airport.”
“Then why didn’t you tell me?”
“I’m telling you now.”
Tags: timing, vulnerability, emotional sadism, fear, catharsis, vindication, relief
“I’m in pain. It’s really bad.”
“I need to drive her back to her car.”
“It’s REALLY bad. I don’t know if I should go to the hospital.”
“I need to drive her to her car and I’ll come right back.”
*30 minutes later*
“I’m sorry. I have to drive her all the way back home [350 miles away]. She’s distraught and she can’t drive herself.”
“I’m still in pain. The cramps are horrible, I think it’s going to kill me.”
“I’m sorry. I’ll get a bus or a flight home tomorrow.”
Tags: That wasn’t even the first time.
“I don’t feel comfortable being myself when she’s around. She gets uncomfortable when you kiss me. She doesn’t even like it when you look at me.”
“Don’t worry about her. I’ll handle her. You be yourself.”
“It won’t end well. She’ll throw a tantrum like she always does.”
“I told you I’ll handle it. You don’t have to worry about it.”
Tags: unrealistic expectations, communication, emotional manipulation, I told him so
“Look, maybe just don’t be so touchy feely in public.”
“You told me I should be myself.”
“It makes her uncomfortable.”
“You said you would handle it.”
“You were grinding on me.”
“I WAS NOT GRINDING ON YOU. That’s not even a phrase you would ever use. You got that from her.”
“It doesn’t matter. You do as I say.”
“Apparently, I’m the only one who does.”
Tags: Straw, meet camel’s back.
“It’s over. When you come back, your stuff will be packed.”
“I can’t believe you’re choosing her over me.”
“It’s for your own good.”
“You never loved me.”
“I will always love you. I keep hurting you, and I can’t keep doing that to you.”
“Then why are you picking her? Because she’s more of a challenge? Because you have to work harder to get her to do what you want?”
“I gave you everything you wanted, and you held back everything I wanted. You wouldn’t even fuck me.”
“You should be.”
Tags: I should have started letting go then.
“Hey. You called?”
“I hadn’t heard from you in a week. It’s Christmas. I thought you’d have reached out.”
“So, nothing is wrong?”
“It’s my first Christmas without him. I’m not doing well emotionally today.”
“You should reach out to your friends.”
“I thought you were my friend.”
“I’m tired. Going to bed.”
“Fuck you. Goodbye.”
Tags: broken promises, asshole behavior, last time we ever spoke.
And I haven’t gotten to the recent stuff.
There’s a reason why I’ve spent the last few days choking back tears.
Because the good girl never wins.