The Mother Fucking Ship

Heyo. It is all of 4:30pm and I feel drunk tired. *To be super clear, no alcohol was consumed. Just an appropriate description for my level of exhaustion.*

Thank you, PMS. And a deeply flawed view of myself. And a struggle bus of exhaustion from being up with my kids for a total of 2.5 hours last night.

Before I go to bed insanely early and/or zone out into my switch – I wanted to take a minute to try and explain what it is like when being a (mostly) sane person trying to navigate hormonal fluctuations (or straight up deprivation – thank you lack of seratonin).

It’s not like the hulk. We don’t just become irrational monsters in a matter of seconds. It’s 100% not like the tampon commercials. Plugging up my vagina with cotton does not make my hormones plateau nicely or take away the horrific cramping. I have never, ever wanted to play tennis or rollerblade as soon as my lady bits were stuffed up.

It is like being on a ship, in the ocean. It’s like getting used to the dip and tilt and getting your feet beneath you. And then, without warning, the boat changes course. And you tilt. And you adjust yourself. And then another course change. Another struggle to right yourself. Some days the boat stays on course, and it’s smooth waters. PMS is like storms that have no warning and you go from seas as calm as glass to 30 ft swells in under a minute.

Add in depression, or anxiety, or any other host of complications, and those swells can be relentlessly trying to wash you off the boat entirely.

It’s not about having to tip toe around us. It’s not about trying to figure out what mood is going to strike us next. Or placating us with chocolate. It’s about understanding that we are trying to hold onto ourselves in a storm that you simply cannot see.

And acknowledging that your inability to see it does not make it not there.

I don’t start crying randomly because I cannot control myself. But because my boat just tilted so hard in the sad direction that my feet got knocked out from under me.

I don’t yell because I like being irrationally angry and making life difficult for those around me but because my boat’s warning sirens just started going off like a nuclear bomb dropped and I cannot figure out what’s wrong even though the warning lights are telling me that EVERYTHING is wrong.

I don’t withdraw because I enjoy being distant but because the wind started pushing me around and I feel very small and unable to be loud enough to be heard through the storm.

Ideally, we would be the captain of our own ship. We could brace for impact, we could set the course and see it through. But even with Prozac, and therapy, good friends, and supportive partners, healthy eating, and meditation – even on the days we can point the ship in a direction and stick it through – we cannot control the water. We can only try to keep from drowning. To keep from slipping. To keep it steady.

Today was a hard day. My ass is bruised from the number of times I fell down as my boat careened out of control.

But I go to bed proud for one simple reason: I got back up. Every time, I got back up. Through the tears. Through the sadness. Through the fog. Through the pain. None of it was stronger than me.

Happy Yule

One of my favorite things about decided to live my own life and do things my own way is the fact that you get to literally make the rules of your home.

For us, this means that the 1st of November is the beginning of the Yule season. I am aware Yule does not technically begin until December 21st. I don’t care. For me, Yule season starts today. I put up the tree (this year got delayed due to some circumstances but should be up within the week!). I decorate with twinkle lights. I bust out my slippers and my crochet projects and we start Harry Potter marathons. My favorite season of the whole year. We feast and we mourn and we vote and we hope and personally, I try not to have a breakdown the first week of December trying to panic buy everything still on my list despite the fact that my bank account is alarmingly empty.

Which is why this year, 95% of my Yule shopping is done already. There is a secret santa I have yet to get, and Eilan’s gift doesn’t release for another two weeks, but other than that – done. I’m not trying to brag, or lecture. I’m just letting you know I am pretty damn desperate to avoid that particular yearly occurence.

It is also important to note that we do Yule differently than any other family I know of. Eilan in particular sees no merit in the waiting until Christmas day scheme. He is getting his present the day I get my hands on it and come Christmas day he remembers. The kids get presents throughout the season, every other week or so, until they get their last, and usually most wanted, present on Christmas day. This leads to ample playtime for each new thing, plenty of time to clear out of their old toys with for each addition, and a bliss filled season rather than a season of pining for a single moment that is often not as amazing as the movies make it.

Today being the first day of Yule, the kids got their first Yule present. A tent swing. Totally a thing, get your own on amazon. And if you live somewhere that has 9 months of summer and 3 months of “not summer” in which you can actually stand being outoors, get it. We spent hours out there today. It was glorious.

All of this to be said, today I got a surprise Yule present. Today, when I woke up, sitting in my inbox like the miracle it is was an apology from a friend who wanted to mend. My first, and best present all at once. I am still a little in awe.

The dissolution of our friendship almost a year ago was extremely painful. I cried. I hurt. I cried a little more. I also learned about sitting with pain, moving through it, not needing to understand in order to respect, and never taking the wonderful people in your life for granted. I learned the extremely difficult lesson of just letting go.

And also took a deep look in the mirror and realized, painfully, that I was largely responsible for the issues that had arisen between us. And that before anything could be fixed, I had to work on me. Sadly, that was not the day I put down the bottle. I mean, I went a good like 4 months without it, but it wasn’t until last month that I actually reached out to a sober friend and asked for help. That I said I could never, ever have a drink and just have one. It was something I could do once, but not now. And am not only aware of it myself, but am open about it. Nowhere to hide.

I had no intention of fixing that relationship. I firmly believe that people have every right to leave your life and that when they are firm, to be respectful is to allow them their space. So I was completely taken by surprise when that beautiful e-mail arrived, and humbled with an apology I could completely understand. Instead of doing the logical thing, and waiting for my emotions to regain a sense of calm, I immediately reciprocated with my own apology and open arms.

And was then promptly spammed with baby pictures which, due to my high regard for my friend, will not qualify has “better” than having our friendship back, but a solid tie is as much as I’m willing to compromise.

I’m not sure how to end this one. Perhaps it is simply to say that sometimes magic really does work when you make it for yourself. And that moving through hurt and pain and change can make room for what you thought you lost forever. And that babies are stupidly, absurdly cute and I feel personally attacked by it. Keep them gummy smiles coming kids. My ovaries are not glowing bright enough.

Goddess

Until this moment, I have always judged Arthurian legends for being a tad bit basic on their divine involvement. Like, Greek? Crazy shit happening literally all over the place. Women are being raped by swans who are actually horny gods with boundary issues. People are being born out of other people’s heads. There are psychotic monsters just rampaging on different islands hoarding all kinds of treasure. But Arthur was apparently just a stand up guy who saw a hot chick in a lake. She was *kind of* divine, maybe. Not to much detail. A lady. A lake. A sword. A quest. Basic.

Truth be told, I haven’t swam in a lake since I was about 13 and got burned so badly I was couch ridden for three days while I peeled.

But last week, she took me to the lake. She put our stuff on a table swarmed with (what I later learned) were mayflies and held my hand down to the beach. I am not about this nature life. I struggle. There are bugs and sun and the water is clean but its still lake water and there are definitely living things in there. Living things that are peeing in there. Living things with teeth. But for her. I’ll do it for her.

And while crossing my arms and slowly, so, so slowly, wading into the water, I understood the Arthurian Legend.

She was a goddess. A woman in her power, life dripping from her, streaming around her, revealing, reveling, hugging her, holding her – I have seen the divine. Floaiting in the water she communes with the spirits and taps into her own depth. Arising from it, her body shouts of the life she has brought into this world, all she has given for that life, all she has enjoyed, and all she has endured. She is not hiding in the water, it screams her truth.

A truth so full of raw beauty that the world, my world, is bent in her reflection.

And for a moment, I can see clearly. I can put down the lense that I learned my whole life and see.

Is this what we look like? Goddesses. Beautiful and soft and strong and fucking radiant. That’s what I’ve been trying to fix this whole time? Trying to change my body to fit into something… smaller? Tighter?

…why?

Why on earth would I want to change that? Perfect. Absolutely perfect. Without flaw. Divine. A gift to the world. An avatar of mother nature herself. The personification of grace. Lines that flow endlessly and circle around and wrap around you, an invitation to bliss.

The kool-aid became dust in my mouth and in that moment, I loved the body I had. I realized that I too am a goddess. And I want to lie down and float in that knowledge until I too am one with the earth and all her gifts.

If she had walked out of that lake with a sword I’d have moved heaven and earth to make a utopia on earth to keep her safe as well. Then again, the sword isn’t that useful in this day and age. And she needs to be safe. We all do. All the avatars of mother earth are crying out for justice. Perhaps I did get my holy quest that day. A goddess smiled at me and changed me from the inside out. A goddess took my hand and showed me the truth about myself and the world around me.

There is nothing basic about that. Just a woman in charge, quietly changing the world.

2020 You Fickle Bitch

I have so many reasons to genuinely dislike this year. Obviously. It’s been a dumpster fire of a year globally. And it’s not even half over.

But I don’t feel the need to list the ways everything has gone off the rails. We’re all acutely aware, and have been hit hardest in many different ways.

Thing is, I’ve learned that going off the rails isn’t always a bad thing. Like, metaphorically, it is, obviously. Trains belong on rails. Life doesn’t.

So when the stay at home order hit, rather than be apart, my metamour moved in. Best. Plot Twist. Ever. I went from 100% mono to 100% not trying to be labeled because I’m living that spectrum life. I went from 100% heterosexual to 100% exploring romantic, not necessarily sexual love. And my life is so much richer for it.

I’m 100% over the competition. She is beautiful. She is graceful. I feel as if I live every morning just to make her laugh. She is not a foil to my glaringly less desireable traits, nor is she a compliment to my many admirable qualities. She exists wholly outside of me. Her own being. Her own life. Her own sphere of creation. And I love her. And he loves her. And he loves me. And she loves me.

Competition was taught to us in order to make us feel as if someone has to lose. As if there are no win win solutions for what plagues us. And I’m here to call bullshit.

As I continue my education of who I am, relearning history from the perspective of the ‘losers’, and questioning everything that is taken for granted in this fucked up culture, I am realizing just how much we have lost.

And how much there is to take back. Families are not supposed to look one way. Love is not supposed to be an unchangeable, inflexible chain around us. Love is as big and beautiful and ever changing as we are.

I’m not saying commitment is a bad thing, quite the opposite. I’m saying refusing to leave room for growth is detrimental. Forcing love to look a certain way for the sake of fitting in, ignoring your personal needs in favor of what society has convinced you is ‘right’, will hurt you and everyone you care about.

I’m saying I’m done giving even the slightest consideration to what I have been told is ‘right’. And have become deeply skeptical of anything that I have ever or will ever be told is ‘God’s will’. Because it’s almost always the will of greedy, old, white men.

There are win/win solutions for almost every problem we face, so long as your definition of winning isn’t domination/control/hoarding wealth/needing others to tell you how correct you are. There is enough food for all of us (if we stop throwing the extra away). There are more than enough homes for all of us. More than enough resources. More than enough love.

Things I do find there to be a shortage of: therapists with non traditional hours. Someone work on that.

And what I will not accept anymore are the lies. The lies we have been fed a steady diet of for as long as we can remember. Capitalism is the best way. You can pull yourself up by your bootstraps. Family is blood relatives. America is the best. America is a Christian nation. The Bible is unchanging. Black on black crime. Soldiers give their lives for our freedom. We are free. We are the free-est. The most important life is the unborn life. Police are the good guys. Binary gender. Binary sexuality. Beauracrisy is an unavoidable part of life. You are worth what you do/provide/make/work. Wisdom of white elders. Politeness is more important than truth. Compliance is more important than truth. We need to be saved.

The goal for the rest of my time here on this earth is to one by one dismantle the hold those lies have on us, reveal them for the corrupt and controlling evils that they are, and burn it all down.

And honestly? I kinda feel like that’s the whole energy of 2020. It’s brutal. It’s brutal because of what we have done up to this point. It’s killing us because of racial and wealth inequality that white people have refused to make reparataions for over centuries. Because caring for your neighbors has become political. Because we have been convinced that freedom means doing whatever we want whenever we want instead of getting what we need when we need it. Because spending money on war is always acceptable but spending it on keeping people alive is somehow absurd. Because we have been killing the planet carelessly for more than a century to line the pockets of a handful. Because there are individual members of our planet who could end poverty and choose not to.

You know what, 2020? I’m here for you. I might die. I hope to heaven I lose my white priviledge. I have listened to the sounds of others crying for us to burn it all down and the flames have changed me. Let’s do this.

What It Doesn’t Mean

Thick as a brick in the mud = me trying to appreciate the nuance in people’s “communication”.

I am an introvert who has two young children to homeschool, a homeschool group I volunteer in, a home to maintain, a partnership to cultivate, and wonderful friendships I cherish, and I’ll be darned, a book to write. So, admittedly, sometimes, things or people can fall by the wayside and it can honestly take me months to notice. Which is why the vast majority of my friendships not only acknowledge this, but work similarily. It is not unusual for us to drop off the face of the planet for a while when we become wholly focused on more demanding aspects of our lives. The return is always met with joy and much catching up.

But sometimes, things can change so much in the silence that I find myself feeling as if I misunderstood something. Which makes me intensely anxious. I don’t always do social cues that well, which is another fact I usually have in common with my closest friends. We have admitted this lack to each other and try to make up for it, being extremely clear and blunt with each other.

So when I ask a friend, point blank, if I have done something wrong or if something needs to be addressed and get nothing but silence… my anxiety goes through the roof. I can lose a whole day, or many to this.

And as I get older, I genuinely don’t have the time for this. I cannot miss multiple days of school for my kids because my anxiety is too high for me to focus. I cannot sift through months or years worth of memories trying to find the moment I “messed up”.

Because if I have a super power its sticking my foot in my mouth on accident. Literally. Know this about me. I will absolutely say the wrong thing and be oblivious about it. But if you tell me what I said and how it was wrong, I will take it heart and make sure to not say it again. I care about your feelings, I’m just shit at nuance and social cues. It’s not lack of empathy, but my brain being thicker than a stick in the mud.

Thinking non-linearly is as exhausting for me as a crossfit workout. So I try to be up front about it. And my friendships have gotten remarkably less rocky as time has gone on. As I’ve come out of my shell. As I’ve found my trusted friends who accept me as I am, and my family as it is. But sometimes, miscommunication still happens. Feelings still get hurt. Communication breaks down.

I say all of this to allow myself the room to process the conclusion: we don’t always get answers, or resolution. Not everything is as cut and dried as I like to keep my world. Sometimes it hurts and feels shitty and there’s nothing to be done about it. Breathe. Let go. Move on. And don’t waste time reaching out when all you’re going to get is the cold shoulder. But also don’t waste time building up resentment where there might not be a need for any.

Because, importantly, not every narrative needs to have a bad guy. Not every story has a right and wrong. I try my hardest to not be the bad guy but I’m sure I’m known as “that crazy bitch” to at least a handful of people. And frankly, probably super justifiably. I hurt people, acted super irrationally, ghosted, and straight up shit talked for YEARS before I got my shit together, went to therapy, and got on meds.

Does that make me a horrible person? Of course not. I wasn’t trying to do wrong or cause pain or mess up. I was shit at communication, had (have) fairly severe anxiety, and often times straight up struggled to function at all. Does that invalidate the pain of those I hurt? Absolutely not. And for most of them, they are probably much better off without me in their lives and made healthy decisions.

That, however, doesn’t make me the wicked witch. It just means I’m human. And frankly, that my communication was “Friends” level ridiculous for nigh on a decade. Ah, American society.

In the same way there are people I have absolutely cut off and cut out for my own mental health. They are not bad people. They are good people with families and love and their own path to follow. Just not next to mine. Boundaries are not surrounding yourself with ‘good’ and cutting out everyone who is ‘bad’. This isn’t Christianity, nothing in life is that black and white. Its finding the grey that works with yours and letting go of the grey that doesn’t.

It’s about holding space for the healing of relationships, but not holding your breath for them.

And acknowledging that it’s really fucking hard. And hurts. And makes me want to eat Oreos. But instead, I’m going to leave it here, on the page.

Need vs Control

I started writing about needs vs expectations the other day, and while it is a worthwhile point to get to, I stumbled upon the difference between need and control as well. A classic example is this: there are definitely nights where I need my partner as I fall asleep. I need him close, need to feel his presence. But honestly, once I fall asleep, I’m set. The only reason to ask him to stay while I sleep would be to control him.

And to ask that of him, night after night, would be to disregard his needs. He’s a polyamorous night owl for heaven’s sake. Every night he reads to our children, whether he is home or not. (Yay for facetime!) Constant, unending presence is not the only way (or even healthiest way) to show commitment, devotion, or love.

And for the life of me, I do not get why some people have a problem with that. “Sit here and watch me sleep, partner.” If I need him upon waking in the night I will let him know. But I wake almost every night. Children destroyed my bladder and frankly, my dog also has a tiny bladder. If he is home when I wake, I am thrilled. If he is not, I am just as contented knowing he is still surrounded with love and having his needs met.

Just because he is not next to me does not mean he is far. He is always with me and I with him. And they are with him too.

I cannot meet all of his needs. I am an *earlier* riser and my body has serious issues if trying to stay up too late. I get extremely nauseated. It makes staying up with him stupidly difficult. But he doesn’t guilt me about that. He respects it, and lets me meet my own needs before addressing his. He also knows I have to get up in the morning with the kids, and me being exhausted is a disservice to our family.

There are absolutely mornings where he and I will get up early to share a coffee together (hopefully) before the kids wake up and those days are magical and cherished. But there are just as many where he has to be up early for work and the kids and I sleep in. Or where he was out late with another partner and he sleeps in after the kids and I get up.

Not controlling your partner is, to me, the only way to love them fully. It is the only way to tell them, “I love who you truly are, not who I want you to be. Not an idea I have of you. Not who you might be one day. But who you are.”

I think it is also important to understand the difference between a need and an insecurity and to not ask our partners to fulfill our insecurities. They can’t in the first place, only we can do that. But to ask them to do that is harmful to the relationship. To ask them to talk to you, to communicate, to listen, to hold your hand while you heal – those are all things we can and should ask our partners to do. But to place our insecurities and past hurts on them and insist that they are the keepers of those feelings – it’s sitcom level unrealistic.

“I wouldn’t feel this way if they would just -” Stop right there. That road doesn’t work. Instead, perhaps, start with “Why do I feel this way when they – ?” YOU need to know the answer so that YOU can address it.

I got caught up in this in one of our earlier relationships. She and Eilan were doing great, but I constantly felt left out. And I was having trouble communicating that. I wanted him to stop going over to her place so much, despite the fact that he went after I was asleep. It made him defensive when I asked him to stop because he didn’t understand – I was asleep. He was trying to meet my needs. And I was infringing on him meeting his for no reason.

What I should have asked is ‘why do I feel this way?’ Then I could have articulated that it felt as if they were both pouring far more effort into their relationship with each other than their relationships with me. And that would have been a healthy starting place, rather than being demanding and defensive without any communication as to why.

I’m not trying to say that feelings or insecurities are invalid. I’m saying there are healthy ways, and unhealthy ways, to work through them with your partner(s).

And for fuck’s sake, please remember that no matter how in love you are, or how long you’ve been together, you partner(s) cannot read your mind. Just say it.

Mono In The Mix

If I could go back and tell myself one thing about starting polyamory it would be this: don’t worry about fairness, worry about what you need. Balance is not the same as equal.

I thought, to be healthy, we had to have the same things. Equal time with different partners. It was only fair.

It was horrifically imbalanced and met none of my needs. It almost broke me.

Two years down the road and I’ve learned a lot. About myself. About my partner (that’s right, singular). About what I need, what I want, how to communicate, and how to identify the difference between a need and an expectation.

I’m a homebody. Eilan is not. I need way more sleep than Eilan does to function properly. I’m monogamous. Eilan is polyamorous. And *gasp* these two things are not exclusionary. In fact, they are complimentary. Because they are authentic.

My need to be monogamous, to be wholly devoted to one person is simply how I am. It’s how I function best. I love to surround myself with friends and loved ones but deep down, I have one partner.

Eilan is polyamorous through and through. His best and most authentic self has many partners of varying commitment. I love this about him. We are not together ‘despite’ his polyamory. We are flourishing because of his polyamory.

Because of polyamory 1) our communication has increased tenfold. We both went to individual therapy to deal with the things affecting us and learned how to communicate with each other. Now we can not only talk to each other and understand, but truly share who we are and our desires and needs without fear of backlash or emotional reactions.

2) Our sex life is incredible. I’m not going to get too personal about this one, because there are lots of poly blogs and pages that focus on sex and this isn’t one of them. But not shockingly, learning how to communicate and feeling free to express ourselves has led to fucking amazing sex.

3) surrounded our children with so much love. Eilan and I were married and had children before we started this road. We get asked frequently ‘what about the kids?!’ and it just makes me chuckle. Yes. They are suffering so hard by having a variety of trusted, loving adults who adore them. It is so rough. We might never know how they manage to cope.

4) led to incredibly liberating introspection. When you strip everything that you have been told, taught, forced to repeat until you believed it was your opinion, you’re left feeling quite exposed. But also free. Free to try things you never would have. (Threesomes can be awesome.) Free to express yourself authentically. Free to follow your heart. Free to find your own spirituality in the world. (Turns out I am very much not a Christian. I’m a witch!) Free to try things once, or even a few times, and decide it’s not for you. (I am monogamous. Tried the triad. With some absolutely amazing women who are dear friends to this day. Just not my jam.) And my personal favorite, free to be as weird as you fucking want to be.

5) polyamory has brought so many amazing women into my life. (Eilan is straight, so his partners are all women.) Some of my absolute best friends are his current and former partners. Ambitious, creative, kind, beautiful, amazing women I would not have met otherwise. These women are beyond incredible. And I love them.

I love polyamory. I love what polyamory has brought to my life. And I love knowing that I am monogamous and secure in my relationship. Because we are different people with different needs and so, so much love for each other.

And that’s really what I want this space to be about. Our differences and how they bring us together. I want to be a safe place for poly families, poly parents, poly curious, and poly lives to be accepted and cherished. Polyamory is not just about sex and frankly I’m tired of the lack of representation of poly families. Of the beauty of metamors. Of the wonder of knowing yourself.

That’s what we’re here for. So tell me about you. Where are you in your story? What have you learned? How do you feel?