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
There’s something that happens to a woman after a certain age. She has to shed her skin and become a new woman. Reinvent herself. So many think that reinventing should mean “re-claiming”. I did. That’s what I was trying to do for such a long time. I was trying to reclaim myself. Reclaim the sexuality that I had not just flaunted but frankly earned through all those years. But instead, I am trying to keep the door open a redesign, a reinvention. But in order to do that I have to lose that part of myself. I have to shed that skin.
(If my mom were reading this she would be mortified that I’m using a snake analogy to make my point, but I think for women it makes sense.)
I wish I knew when I first felt this slipping away. I used to kid with my lovers that I hit my sexual peak at 27 and it was all downhill from there. It wasn’t. But add a good coat of shaming and a weekly dose of disappointment and you find yourself asking what is sexy anymore. Read the rest of this entry
A Loose Woman Speaks
I have burned with you in the fires; I have resurrected you from the despair. I’ve held your hand in the depths of your darkness. I’ve given you light to lift you. I’ve been here each time you’ve prayed out loud or cried silently.
Sweet and bold. Powerful and quiet. I will never leave you, my Love.
Blissful and melancholy. Radiant and cursed. Sensual and familiar. Rough and blessed. Vibrant and smooth. I embrace your duality and all the space in between.
Strike at the soul and be consumed within these flames.
For the past few days I’ve been reading posts about polyamory. For full disclosure, I do describe myself as polyamorous (poly). And I suppose I identify sooo much that people have accused me of being a poly advocate. I would actually describe myself more as an advocate for healthy relationships. No matter what form they take. I don’t necessarily advocate poly for everyone, but instead I use it as an example of a relationship structure that not only works for me but works fucking well for me.
And here is a quick summary of my relationships: I am legally married to one man, let’s call him Husband and we have two marvelous children. I am spiritually married to another man for the past 3 years, let’s call him Warrior, who is legally married to another woman (and she has another partner as well). I date both women and men and those that identify in between. So does Warrior. Husband is only now starting to consider getting involved in other relationships. Husband and I have been poly for 7 years this July, which is more years we’ve been poly than not (we’ve been together for 12 years). So, yeah, poly is working quite well for me.
Over the past few weeks, I found myself getting hyper defensive of what I’ve been hearing about poly lately. Maybe this is how the rest of the world feels when their relationship dynamic is under attack. Except, you know…they’re the majority and still have power, control, rights and shit. Most of the people making complaints about poly have been either those who are new to it or had a terrible experience with it. Anyway, I thought this might be a good place to start a blog about relationships, sexuality, culture and where they all intersect in my life.
This is by no means a coherent or even competent defense of poly. It’s just a reaction. A knee-jerk reaction that wasn’t at all appropriate for the person who originally inspired this…but was something I needed to say after redefining over the past year the way in which I practice poly. Again, I don’t advocate poly for everyone…but I do advocate conscious relationship building. Read the rest of this entry