For those who don’t know, chisma means gossip and is pronounced “cheeze-mah”. And I’m going to be super upfront about the fact that I *live* for chisma. Do you know someone’s drama? Do you need a safe place to unload it? Hello, here I am. Let me listen. I will not interfere. I will not judge. I will listen, wide eyes, munching on popcorn and nodding or gasping on cue. I cannot tell you how much I cherish chisma.
So when Eilan was giving me the deets on his office drama – I was *there* for it. I was drinking it in. Relishing the details.
Until the details started to take the shape of my own insecurities. “He really just wants someone to partner with, you know? She stays home all day. She doesn’t do anything. She is totally cool just being supported.” And he glances at me, and instead of the side eye part of me is always expecting to imply that I am not doing enough, the look is easily interpreted as “thank goddess my partners are awesome” and I had to mentally take a step back.
Like, he does know I am home all day, right? And that I have been (falsely) accused for years of having no ambition? And that as our children are rather young, I’ve got at least a decade before I have any plans to pursue any career outside the home. I *often* do not change out of pajamas. It’s been a month since the last time I wore make up and I am extremely contented being supported.
And he does not and has never seen it that way. It is not his money it is our money. He has said, multiple times, that he cannot afford me. I’m not just a sexy lady parading around the house in my pajamas making half baked plans to get the body of a super hero while downing my 3rd cup of coffee while my body pleads with me to drink some water. That’s who I see in the mirror. He sees a badass who nurtures his offspring while making multiple dinners because god forbid the littles eat something other than peanut butter and honey sandwiches. He sees a woman who keeps the house running while he is out working so that he can come home and just relax. He sees the woman who makes sure all of our bills are paid on time so he can focus on work and family and have a hobby. He sees the woman who does yoga cards with the kids at night which somehow almost always involves pretending to be a family of cats that need to curl up together and snuggle because apparently thats what cats do. He sees the woman who gets up in the middle of the night to gently guide our offspring back to bed, or at times, open the warm covers and hold them for a while after a bad dream. He sees me teach them how to sound words and add double digits and try to get them to remember the shape of Europe. (“I remember that one! It reminds me of syrup!” – 5 yr old) He sees what I do. He sees me and all the effort I have poured into our family over the past 8 years and he never looks at my lack of a paycheck and thinks “this is a woman without ambition” but that “this is a woman who has decided that for now, her energy and ambition is better spent in the home than out of it and I am so thankful for her”.
He sees my stretchmarks and thinks “my kids made those when she grew their bones inside of her”. He sees my saggy boobies and thinks “she nursed them for 4 years to give them the best she could”. He sees me close my eyes and count to 10 when I cannot even with the emotions of a 5 year old capricorn and sees me apologize when I don’t catch myself in time and teach said capricorn the meaning of sarcasm. He sees me hunched over my computer reading the 328249248th article on childhood development and trying to figure out next year’s history curriculum. He knows this “job” of mine is demanding. But because of him, it is not thankless.
Because of him, when I see those stretchmarks in the mirror and feel the gentle, constant tug of my stretched out boobs, and see the *now trendy* dark spots under my eyes from another night of broken sleep I can hear, ever so faintly, the words he has repeated to me over and over and over. “You are sexy.” “You are beautiful.” “You are worthy.” “I love you.” “I appreciate you.” “I choose you.”
Until it builds into a crescendo that covers my existence and writes the words “YOU ARE SEEN” over my skin and over my sky and over my eyes. Until meaning flows from my fingertips and covers everything I touch. Until I begin to believe it. Until I let it transform me. Until my guilt is washed away and I’m laying on the living room floor just BEING and feeling the sun slowly trace its way across my skin as it flows across the sky.
And because of some (not okay) things that have happened in the past, because of accusations made against polyamorous partners (that non monogamous men are not family men and do not value their partners and that polyamorous women are just being abused and don’t know it), I need everyone here to know that this is my chisma.
I’m not saying we don’t fight or get our feelings hurt or have really, really, really shitty days. I’m not saying we don’t have misunderstandings and work to do on our shadow selves and trauma to heal on our child selves. I’m not saying we’re always great parents and great partners. I’m not saying there is no conflict and its nothing but shiny happiness behind closed doors. We’re people. With flaws. With baggage. With children who have intimate access to our buttons and hands that looooooove pressing them. With hormones and prozac and endless work to keep. going. forward.
I’m saying that I can consume gossip with gusto because the biggest conflict in my own life is the fact that I need to learn to see me how my partners see me. I’m saying that if it weren’t for the fact that I am hilarious, my life would be exceedingly boring. Polyamory is not inherently dramatic. I’m saying there is something fucking *magical* about being loved for who you are and not having to hide the fact that you want to go to bed at 8:30 and your partners giving you a kiss and crawling into bed 3-5 hours later after they have been *themselves* and awake and doing stuff. I’m saying that the biggest challenge in my life right now is my own brain and the pile of laundry that I swear to Hathor never gets any smaller. Ever.
In the end, I think don’t think I’m writing this for my polyam fram, or other moms, or even women in general. I think, actually, that I am writing this for those who don’t understand that “alternative” means “authentic” and nothing else. My alternative life is more boring than most monogamous relationships I know of for the simple reason that I am more fulfilled than my monogamous counterparts. Less is expected of me because it is understood that I cannot *and will not* fulfill all of my partners needs and that I need to spend a significant portion of my energy fulfilling my own needs.
And to be clear, I don’t think that polyamory is better or a more valid option than monogamy. I just think those that embrace polyamory are more likely to embrace authenticity and authenticity is the key to fulfillment. And doing the work. And learning how to communicate. And doing shadow work. And nurturing our inner children. And accepting our full selves (even the parts that live for gossip). And accepting our flawed and still perfect partner(s).
We don’t do this for the drama. We don’t do this to be “different”. We do this so we can live our best lives. We do this because it’s who we are. We do this to make our lives *easier*, not to make your life *harder*. We do this because we cannot stand the thought of another generation of children thinking that something is wrong with them. We do this because we are burdened with the weariness of a hundred ancestors and have no more capacity to do anything other than LIVE.