I honestly haven’t been avoiding these challenges, but when Warrior has a long weekend at our house I have a hard time finding the mental space to write. And as he and I negotiate whether he’s moving in after his divorce, these are the things that keep me hesitant.
Anyway, all of that is to say that these challenges have been on my mind this weekend but I haven’t gotten around to writing them.
Day 3: Write 3 nice things about your body.
This one is definitely one of the hardest for me. My body is a source of significant angst for me and it’s hard for me to admire myself or to ignore the faults for the beauty of this vessel. So, for this one I had to imagine what I might say to a lover or a friend in giving them a compliment or gushing about what I love about them.
- I love how soft and silver my hair is. I have good hair days more often than not and I love my silver streaks, even the silver poking out at the roots. I love that it’s given more texture and depth to my hair. I still love the streaks of red, the patches of black. But silver actually has made me look younger.
- How can anyone not enjoy my breasts? I mean they aren’t perky and taut, but they are soft and infinitely touchable. Even my gay leather brothers love snuggling close because of them. And for the lovers who pay attention the right kind of teasing, the right kind of play can induce orgasms.
- I also really love my eyes. I want my eyes to communicate what may be difficult for me to find words to encompass. They change color and turn a bright sea green when I cry. While others prefer my smile, I like my eyes better.
Day4: write three nice things about you that aren’t physical
Umm…that might be harder because while my body is superficial, there’s a shred more objectivity. I can compare against others (“Why yes, we agree that your boobs are rather extraordinary compared to a, b and c!”) and I can piggyback onto the components bestowed upon me. But internal stuff, well, I could think that I’m nice and kind, but am I really?
But I guess that’s true point of this exercise–to say something candidly nice about ourselves without the safety net of knowing whether it’s true. It’s about embracing that it’s true for us.
- I value my spirituality. I care deeply for my calling in life, for the meaningful connection to ritual and symbolism. I feel called to serve a more divine purpose in life, to serve as the hands of the goddess, to be devoted to the service of humanity and to give of all of my talents, all of myself to this calling.
- Of all my talents, I have an inane gift for acceptance. I’m not easily scared by the darkness of others. I give love through my unconditional acceptance of who someone really is in their soul. I try to abandon judgment and shame but my acceptance doesn’t always mean approval, it is just a loving embrace of their path and their humanity and the vulnerability and trust they’ve placed in me.
- I likewise find my greatest courage comes in moments when I am at my most vulnerable. I am always willing to risk being seen especially if it might help someone else find their own courage or light. I am willing to face my fears, to use my voice, to connect to others, to wade through darkness even if I make a fucking fool out of myself because the risk of staying hidden becomes larger with each passing day. Visibility is vulnerability. And I am secretly so proud of myself each time I can show trust in the compassion of others.
Day 5: Treat yourself to a food you love.
Every Sunday Husband and I have been sitting down for lunch to plan out our menus for the week. Today I had a huge craving for G&B’s Fish n Chips. Half order of prawns, chips, a side of curry sauce and a Bloody Mary. It is quickly becoming my favorite part about Sundays. They now know my order too!
Tonight is about my truth. My whole self out on display, unedited and unfiltered (let’s call it mildly filtered to be safe). This is the part where I start writing and don’t look back.
It feels like fall here these past couple of days. Cool thunderstorms and mild nights. The sounds of crickets during dusk reminds me of growing up in Pueblo. Nights like this were state fair nights, where I could hear the sounds of the midway join with the crank and bounce of low riders up ass up into the air. We lived half a mile away, so the sounds would keep me up at night just like Christmas. We would walk to the corner at starlight and watch the fireworks that would go off at the end of the rodeo. The whole block would watch. And I’d hear the crickets chirp between the bangs of launching rockets.
It meant summer was over.
And what a summer this has been. National tragedies like Orlando and the shooting deaths of black men by the men in blue sworn to protect them. In a year already punctuated by the deaths of our heroes and fallen comrades in authenticity, we are at a turning point. Where we go from here will matter so much more.
Tonight I am sitting on the back step inside the house. Smoking and drinking a glass of wine. My wine cup is stupidly simple because it’s sturdy and makes me feel luxurious in a down-home, could-give-a-fuck way. I picked 4 of these up at Ross or something for like $2 each. But I love it. It’s corny and vintage and it’s all mine.
I really like the idea that things belong to me. Help define me. Are a part of my identity. So why do I choose polyamory? Because it’s more like a feeling that this person belongs in my life not that they are possessions that I hoard. They contribute to who I am. They have a thread of importance that stays with me throughout my life. That pieces of us will always reside in each other.
Even when that hurts like hell.
I’m exchanging messages with Husband about what kind of pizza he wants. I’ve given up on cooking today. I had a kid therapy appointment and an EMDR session for myself. Hence the smoking. And the wine, I guess.
All the while I’m deciding not to worry that my menstrual cycle is off or address the jealousy I feel at the birth of a friend’s baby. I’m a monster, I know. But I put off hanging another baby until I “addressed my health issues” and with my youngest now 12 years old I feel like I missed my chance.
My cat, Starbuck (or her psuedonym: Princess Fuzzy) is peeing in her box right next to me. It’s disgusting and oddly cute because of how much she trusts me. I don’t sleep well without her nearby me, so I guess you could say I trust her too.
The boys (Husband, Warrior and DistractaMonkey) are watching the Major League Lacrosse championships. I stepped away because I found myself yellin at the tv and fuck me, I’m not one of those moms.
So, I smoke, write on my tiny screen, and drink. And think about all the ways in which I am totally not ever going to turn into my mom.
A few weeks ago I talked briefly about being in the midst of an early personal spring. Whenever I have break-throughs like this, sudden realizations of patterns and purpose, I want nothing more than to capture that feeling, bottle it, keep it safe.
I keep wanting to capture these feelings, because I don’t want to be without that joy of discovery for very long. I don’t want to fall back into old patterns of self-doubt and disappointment about my life and especially my path. It would be so much easier if I could just bottle it and hang onto it for those moments when I’m down and out, succumbing to the darkness of the overwork and drowning in the sorrow of feeling stuck.
But that defeats the point of having those emotions in the first place. The point isn’t so much to capture as it is for it to make the hard work, the suffering, the darkness all worth it. It provides more motivation to keep moving forward, to slow down the progressive bad habits that have kept us stuck in the first place.
Today I found myself longing to capture that joy again. After a long conversation with the person I consider to be my soul sister, I had such a strong sense of clarity that even Warrior talked about how inspiring it was to see it.
I kept trying to capture it, to not lose it. Especially because it’s a day off for me and I don’t want the stressors of work tomorrow to interfere with the enormous job I have ahead of me. But that worry of losing it interfered with my ability to actually feel it. It took me out of the moment of joy and into an immediate space of worry and dread.
So tonight, I’m making a conscious effort to just be present in this moment and this sensation within. Enlightenment won’t make a difference if I don’t fully embrace it when it shows up.
So, it is says anything about the gravity of this topic, this subject line has been sitting here since October of 2011.
Hello. My name is Bella. I’m polyamorous and I’m afraid to date.
Is there a support group for people like me? I have been polyamorous for almost 9 years now and for the past 4 years I have been afraid to date. I have been avoiding discussing why for a very long time, but like most things if I don’t just delve in and say it publicly, it will never get parsed out and thus never truly change.
A while back I had started a blog called “Love Priestess”. It was a name I came up with shortly after I was outed because I felt my particular message, my calling in the world was better served from the perspective of a Priestess of Love. Back then my partners and I were actively engaged in what we called a Love Movement. Even though all of us have gone our separate ways, I believe with my whole heart that we each are pursuing that movement in our own particular ways. Yet, my way has always been a bit unclear to me. Love Priestess fit at the time, but I haven’t been grasping the full potential of what it can be and more importantly who I can be.
I am blessed in so many ways. In particular I have a knack for romantic and intimate interpersonal relationships. They have always come easy to me. I’ve never been in a position where I’m “looking for love” or “waiting for the One”. I have blessed that those opportunities have always shown up on my doorstep rather magnificently. And each experience, each lover, each blessed being in my experience has been beneficial to my life. Even the ones who have hurt me. Each person I’ve encountered, each person I’ve shared myself with, including these partners who created this Love Movement together, has had an impact on my life. And if anything my life has been characterized by the relative ease I’ve had in embracing transformational shifts in relationship dynamics. A really fancy way of saying I flowed so easily with relationships that I always counted it as my most abundant blessing.
But something changed about 3 or 4 years ago that kept me from fully embracing the abundance that was being offered even in this relatively easy part of my personal life. I used to attribute it to any number of factors and triggers from being hurt by a messy break-up or “growing up” or gaining weight or whatever seemed to excuse my feelings of sadness and disconnectedness. I was no longer welcoming of that abundance of joy, pleasure and shared oneness. And even though I’ve blamed everything and everyone (especially myself for that), I couldn’t really get down to what was at the root of it all.
As some of you know I’m in the process of studying for the bar exam in my state. I have my law degree and I want my license. Yesterday, while on the phone with my husband I realized what I want to do to once I have my license and how I want to craft my life and my career. It’s actually not that far off from Love Movement as we might think. I have always wanted to change the world, but I finally have a way of making it happen…and forging a new path for law, policy, relationships, conflict, and acceptance of self. I haven’t fully fleshed out the idea yet, but I know in my heart that it’s what I’m meant to do.
But to do it, I’m going to have to consent to be in the spotlight.
That terrifies me. I have this image in my head that in order to accomplish what I want to accomplish, what every cell in my body is demanding of me, I am going to have to allow the spotlight to shine on me. Each time the spotlight has swung in my direction over the years I’ve run away, escaped and hidden in the shadows. The shadows, the darkness is a safe place for me. I shine brighter in the shadows. But eventually if I want to create the transformation I want…and if I want to be able to do it my way, I am going to have to finally consent to remaining in the spotlight.
And the spotlight is where my abundance lives. It is where the abundance that I once enjoyed in multiple relationships went to reside. It’s been drawing me there. The richness and fullness of my emotional, physical and mental life is waiting for me. I only have to overcome my fear enough to enter that circle. I have to be brave enough to let the light cascade down my body, exposing my soul and my life, my love and my vulnerability…because ultimately those are my strengths and that is how I can lead, can transform, can create. While I will always be comfortable working with the shadows, I cannot and must not dwell there.
Instead, my work, indeed the world I want to live in requires me to step fully into the light and to be seen and heard, to learn from others and lend my aid to those still lurking in the background, held back by their fear, guilt and shame.
This is my Love Movement.
This morning I participated in an online “oneness” meditation with hundreds of other people from around the country. While others had this immense feeling of well, oneness, and awakening, I felt something that has been virtually inaccessible to me for the past several years: my own light. I get glimpses of it from time to time, it shines through brightly only to fade silently into the twilight of my own fears and anxieties. While I have been a healer to others over the years, able to see the invisible energy centers twirling and dancing within, I’ve never been able to see my own. Until the meditation today.
Today I sat in the silence of my own truth and was able to see why I’ve grown so distant from myself, why it has been so hard for me to trust…not just others, but in particular myself and my own skills. Here is what I saw: Read the rest of this entry
It’s been a while and there is so much to discuss (Prop. 8 decision, bar exam, queer kinksters of color, polyamory, scening, upstart fucktards who pretend to give a shit but are really masking their own insecurity and narcissism, etc). But I’ve had a few epiphanies over the past few days and weeks that I think a few of you might be able to relate to, so I thought I would share.
Most of you reading don’t know me quite well. I often make that mistake when writing here. I forget sometimes that this isn’t LiveJournal where strangers become friends through investing in and commenting to a piece of writing that they see in the safe space of “Friends Only”. Here I’m utterly exposed (which should explain the lack of photos on this site—maybe I’ll add one just for some flair) and you have no context for why I’m saying the things I do or what I’ve gone through in my journey. You only get scant pieces of the puzzle. Some of you do know me, but not enough of you to be able to fully relate to my experiences or perspectives. I’ve been very pampered on LiveJournal with a small little following (that once peaked at 500 followers) that were eager to gobble up the latest slice of drama that I had to dish out. Drama Diner Special of the Week.
So here is some context: Once upon a time I was a dating a man in Texas. I was his first openly poly experience and he was my first stable poly experience. He was the first man I ever called husband other than my actual husband. It was a fantastic life, separated by way too much distance. He had someone in his life that was a thorn in my side…sometimes more than that, more often less than that. He had been dating her when we met and dropped her shortly after and now he is back with her after our relationship became flaming shards of the happiness we once knew.
During my relationship with him I had gotten mad about something she said or did and she emailed me. I don’t even remember the full content of what she wrote but the line that I do recall is “You create your own drama”. It set me off faster than anything I had experienced before. Next thing I knew I was raving through my office, unloading my anger and rage on every piece of paper and furniture I could find.
That’s how most of us react when we hear a truth about ourselves that we don’t like. That’s how most of us react when it’s shoved in our face so unceremoniously. It’s a shadowy side of denial.
Yes, I said truth. I didn’t admit it at the time, but I….she….he…all of us create our own drama. We choose to see the world a certain way through our own lens of experience. We justify our version of this vision with the victimization we think we’ve endured. It’s not that I create drama, I would say to the imaginary version of her, if you’d stop bringing it to my door there wouldn’t be any drama. Lookie there, me making myself the victim in all of that. In truth, I was indeed creating it or at the very least feeding it, in that particular scenario because I was intervening in a fight, argument or situation that frankly was none of my business and had nothing to do directly with me. In other scenarios it was because I thought I was defending a loved one. In others it’s because I wanted to make my opinion known (as if somehow my opinion is superior to anyone else’s). And in others I was reacting with the first impulse that came into my head that I wasn’t making conscious choices that would benefit me in the long-run.
I take responsibility for the fact that I built my polyamorous relationships to be inter-dependent, to have a sense that what impacts my loves, affects me as well and vice versa. But I think this was taking the idea of interdependence a bit too far. Too often my partners or I would literally take a statement made to one of us as a personal affront against all of us. We all lost potential partners over this…over this insistence of creating our own drama or at the very least prolonging the already existing drama.
But it’s not just when the “honor” of a loved one is at stake, we do it in our everyday lives. We take it all personally usually because we’re either prone to seeing ourselves as the victim or we are insistent that we are not the villain. We do it in such a variety of ways I’m sure we hardly notice it. That guy who cut you off on the highway this morning, I’m sure you’re convinced he did it on purpose. The bill collectors who won’t leave you alone have absolutely nothing to do with the fact that you are overwhelmed with the amount of debt you have; they’re harassing you! The friend who is upset with you for not calling on their birthday just needs to get over the fact that you’re just way too busy and important to be attentive to their needs. I mean, like OMG, can you really believe how horribly mistreated and misunderstood you are? And it’s you and only you, right?
See, everyday we make excuses for our behavior and thoughts. We point fingers at the alarm clock that wouldn’t go off, at the boss who just doesn’t like you, at the overbearing mother who won’t respect boundaries (my personal go-to), at the ex who judges you for everything you say, at the kids who just don’t respect your authority. It’s all excuses. We constantly say how “drama-free” we want to be, but we rarely consider how often we are pulling ourselves into that drama, creating it from the ground up with our reactions and often over-reactions to things. How sometimes we’re making excuses to cover up for our own fears and insecurities, our own mistakes and inadequacies. We figure the world is going to judge us, so we judge them first. We impose our self-righteous rage on them before they can point out that we brought this upon ourselves.
Kids, we let drama get to us because it gives us the satisfaction of feeling like we are right. In this big, bad world of unfairness and inequity we are constantly subjected to people and situations that are out of our control. By giving in to drama and creating it we feel some power even in the midst of an acclaimed powerlessness. We can stomp our foot and stand our ground no matter how ridiculous the issue or insignificant the battle. And let’s face it, drama even when it’s self-imposed is exciting. It brings up rage and anger, euphoria and competitiveness. It gets the blood pumping and keeps us on our toes. And when we get really good at creating it, we know just what buttons to push to make it a show-stopping worthy display. And when someone isn’t bringing it to us, we resort to trolling our own lives to create it. Regardless, it gives us a reason to check twitter every 10 minutes, to ignore the mundaneness of laundry and dishes and fills the space left when our favorite tv shows (like MadMen or Walking Dead) are on an extended hiatus. It’s living on the edge: a maddening, harsh and wantonly critical precipice.
But there is a difference between feeling like you’re right and actually doing what’s right. What happens when you realize that living on the edge isn’t what it’s cracked up to be? What happens when you finally want to grow some roots into solid, soft soil?
The past few weeks have been eye-opening about the bar exam. If you want to really examine a drama of my own creation it is that one. I have made every excuse in the world for why I didn’t pass back in 2003 and 2004. And some of those excuses actually were self-critical judgements of my own decisions and lifestyle choices that created its own massive amount of drama. When a former professor told me two months ago that I could pass the bar exam this year I started really examining what that might look like. It’s not about luck. It’s not about whether I’m smart enough. It’s about letting go of all of the drama I had and was continuing to create about it. Being on the precipice of success and failure was no longer cutting it for me.
I was presented with a choice.
I could choose the same old life: living paycheck to paycheck because my law degree makes me overqualified for most types of jobs and I’m simultaneously underqualified for other gigs. Or I could choose something different. I could go through the hard process of figuring out where my problem areas are and I could get up and try again. I could keep calling myself a failure or I could stand up and create my success.
We each have a choice. We have a choice to step back from the edge, stop listening to the whispers in the wind, start to care only about those arguments and battles that truly have an impact on our passions and well-being and address those issues like adults. All it takes is finally making choices that match our intentions of “no drama”.
Feeding into the larger drama machine only keeps you trapped in a world where there are only victims and villains. Life isn’t a fairy tale. There is not good vs. evil. There is not a battle between the wicked queen and the innocent princess. But our cultural story encourages each of us to view ourselves as the victim of our situation. We even compete with each other to see who is most victimized and therefore most deserving a 2nd chance. But what happens when we acknowledge that we are not just victim but villain as well. What if this whole time we’ve been playing against ourselves? What if we have been playing out this grand drama inside us so we can avoid facing those insecurities, doubts, fears and troubles that have grown from our experiences? What if we are really sabotaging ourselves, our dreams, our relationships? What might you be able to accomplish if you spent that time fixing the drama within yourself?
Last night was rough. In fact, the past month has been rather difficult. Isn’t that always the way the way December is? Full of expectation and despite our best attempts disappointment creeps in. However, when the new year fell upon us, I was full of hope and faith for the coming year. Even though I’ve been doing my best to stay positive in my life despite a lack of money, business, and meaningful new connections in my life, I was hopeful. But fighting a lifetime of guilt, negative thought and un-deservingness takes a toll on a girl. Especially when she’s already laid up with a fever and gut-loathing cough.
So last night was a rough night. Opting to skip sex for the night in favor of being able to breathe easily, I laid there as Warrior quietly and swiftly fell asleep. And that one negative thought came blasting through the silence of my room.
You’re not a good person, Bella.
Of course it’s not true….is it? But i’ve believed it for so long, allowed it to influence so many of my relationships and allowed it to fashion a life of self-sacrifice that I hardly notice when it comes into my head. It’s easy for it to come into my head. And despite all the safety nets I’ve constructed and defense mechanisms to combat this message it just kept blaring through my head.
You don’t deserve these people in your life, Bella.
There it went again. Compounding and adding to the ill-settled silence in my room. Soft breathing from Warrior next to me. 2:37 a.m. Despondency started settling in. No matter how much I tried to imagine myself as deserving and loved I couldn’t see past the hypocricy I knew I was being accused of miles away. I had been passive-aggressive. And while I have my reasons for how I acted, I knew there was no going back. But instead of standing to how I felt, standing to what I did and accepting the present as evidence of my strength, I started succumbing to fear.
I could go on and on about the things I tell myself in the middle of the silence. I could go on and on about this history…not just where it came from but who it has impacted. But the fact is, for all my attempts at positive thought lately, I still have to wrestle with this darkness in a meaningful but healing way.
After I ran out of the room and cried in our garage for an hour, I came back to Warrior’s loving arms. He wrapped them tight around me and reminded me that I am beautiful. I am loved. I am intelligent. I am intuitive. And despite what I think my actions over the past few weeks have shown my courage and my strength. I had him repeat those to me over and over until I fell asleep crying on his chest.
I woke this morning from a detailed dream of a wedding and decided that 2012 is the year that I achieve balance in the different areas of my life: mind, body, soul and heart. These all need to be aligned. And the only way I can really do that is to confront the voices of my past that keep me stuck in a never-ending trail of un-deservingness, deprivation and starvation. I experience all of these things on an intimate level in each area of my life. Whereas before I was willing to allow it to dictate my actions and keep my loved ones pushed away, today I am willing to face it, confront it, heal it and finally move forward into a realm where my thoughts and words are creative and not as destructive as they once had been.
This is the resolution this year…to feel healthy in my mind, in my heart, in my body and in my soul.
I know some will panic about this year. Not me. Not today.
Today I am building miracles.
I am creating joy.
I am savoring the goodness.
Today I am expressing the calm.
I am loosing the wild woman.
I am approving the chaos.
Today I am mourning the silence.
I am praising the release.
I am cherishing the gratitude.
Today I am spending my energy on the blessings yet to come. I am walking in gratitude and joy for the years spent in Love. I am honoring the old and renewing my faith in the new I am proud and whole. Mighty and assured. I am grateful for all that has been and all that is still yet to come. I am open and unafraid of receiving the blessings of the future for I know I am protected. I am alive. Today I am free to live in the truth and beauty of bliss. I live with integrity as I challenge my old beliefs. I am growing and becoming wiser with each step I take.
Thank you for reading. Thank you for listening. Thank you for your thoughts and commentary. I look forward to spending this new year with you!
I’m not a doom and gloom sort of girl. Never been good at that. Sure, I can see a storm coming like anyone else. I’m not blind. But I’m also not the type to panic needlessly. Or at least that it is my aim. I got an email the other day with these words “Three things to do before the end of 2011”. A spiritual lifehack. I’m down for that. But the timeline bothered me. Before 2011 ends. What if I don’t turn in the assignment on time? Will I miss the spiritual woo-woo bus to salvation? What if I fail?! OMG panic.
*Let’s conveniently ignore that I used the term “OMG” in print. Eww*
Anyway, it directed me to this site and briefly described these three things:
- Align all your energy and commitment to your biggest dream
- Step into your Soul Purpose
- Move forward from your wholeness, not your fears
While the site does offer insights into what the author believes is a massive transformation of spirit and global energy (which I do not dispute) the steps are so simple, so attainable, so easy that I wanted to go into a little bit of detail about what it means to me and why I think the time couldn’t be better for us to start applying these principles to our lives. Read the rest of this entry