Sunday, November 3, 2013

The Way I Love

Polyamory  seemed to me, for a long time, as something that was other and strange. I was raised in such a traditional manner that I could not see the content and form of the relationships I had with those around me as anything other than the labels by which I called them. Yet, at the same time, there were relationships that I have had that I could not label. They meant so much more to me than society allowed for. There were adults in my life that I loved and cared for, and I knew they felt a similar way about me, but I was stuck with the labels of babysitter or teacher. There was this unspoken rule, or norm, that I shouldn't have a meaningful and caring relationship with somebody outside my family.
I don't recall exactly when this happened in my life, but I remember that after introducing these people in conversations with friends and peers as their societal labels, I felt like I was cheapening the real connection I had.  So I abandoned that practice. I began to, when prompted by a need for conversational context, to label them as someone important to me. "one of the people who raised me" or "an awesome adult I’m close with" became the labels that made the most sense. When I look back on it now, i realize that they were my loved ones, more than many of my extended family members to whom I was supposed to have these feelings for. This realization was the start of my journey questioning who I was supposed to love, and how to integrate the people I loved into my own sort of family.

fast forward about a decade.
I am in an open relationship. I finally realized that all those feelings i had for those people around me were love. That love was not just something that came before sex. That love was so much more.
I had fallen in love, secretly, with one of my closest friends, and it almost tore me apart before I realized how luck I was to have him in my life, and how I couldn't run away from the feelings inside me, even if that meant that I didn't know who I was any more.
Three years later, as I sit here writing this, I recognize that my capacity for love is much greater than what the traditional conservative society into which I was born allows for. I have loved and still do love many of my closest friends. I have had partners who I have and do love, and I have had partners that were just really fun to be around and with.
Sex and Gender, while very important to how I act, have little to do with my capacity for love, or my propensity for physical intimacy, which are completely different things. The people who I really care for  are friends, family, and lovers. The only time I feel like I want to initiate physical intimacy is if I know that my partner wants it, and if I feel like I would enjoy it. The latter be largely defined by the mode of interaction that a person has, I need someone who is gentle but passionate, who can easily flow from submissive to dominant, or at least treat me and be treated as equals, and someone who I can truly communicate with even if no words are spoken.
There are many parts of my life that overwhelm me, and I need a strong and present group of people who I love to support me and keep me from trying to escape. Whether they are a IM or videochat or phone call or a short drive away, without the people who mean the most to me, I could not be where I am today. 
To try and prioritize one version of all the love I feel for those around me would be a disservice to myself and to my family, because those who I love make up my family, the people only related to me are 'extended'.
I guess that means that I could label my self polyamorous. And to the layperson, that would give enough of a  description of my emotional tendencies that it suffices as a label, but it is not something I identify with. I identify as a human being who derives a lot of happiness and comfort from love and from the people around me. Love is a real and visceral aspect of my life, and without it, I probably wouldn't be alive.

wow... the last few months have held a lot of growth and challenge for me. I wrote this first post while trying to wrap my head around my heart in response to the person ive been involved with for around 2 years now got back to the states after a couple months overseas. The thing is, we have always had an open relationship, so when I started to sleep with another person during the first's travels, I didn't think too much of it. Then we kept sleeping together, and the first's return date loomed closer. I had communicated to both about the other to a small degree, but was kinda paralysed. Communication is not my strong suit, especially about my own feelings.

ASIDE: fuck my socialization, i feel the pain and anxiety of my early childhood again as I try and open up. I fail. I just hurt. All I can do is go over what I am trying to say over and over without ever moving my lips. I am lucky to be with two incredible people who can often see my pain and help me. Yet it doesn't always mean good communication. I feel the foundation of my self-esteem shake each time I admit to fear, jealousy, or emotional pain. On top of that I feel redundant; I don't understand what these two people find in me that they couldn't see in each other. Thus, I am feeling pretty worthless. In an abstract way, I am really lucky and fortunate and really want to appreciate these people around me. But in a word: Anxiety.

OK, long story short, the two girls I was sleeping with and opening up to slept together last night. The night before we all slept together and I spent many hours making out and cuddling and touching. But that ended in my crying and putting an end to any sexual contact. I got overwhelmed. It felt like i had taken too much molly; the only analogy I have for what that felt like. I haven't been right since. My belly is in knots, words are caught in my throat, I feel part numb part panicked part trapped. I have never felt this feeling before. I don't know how to deal with myself. As soon as I am alone: my stomach starts rising in my throat and I start to tremble. Just thinking this right now has me sweating and my heart racing.

I am also lucky for the other people in my life. I got drunk last night with a friend and that was really good, I got some stuff off my chest and we just talked and talked. I don't think I would have made it through last night without him. I just can't stop thinking about them in bed. Some of the things I saw, the way they touched each other, the sounds they made, they seemed so perfect together. They seemed to tap into a part of themselves I am forbidden from. I wish I could see that part of them. But then again, that is just how people work. And it is especially apparent when gender differences are present.

I don't know what I was expecting out of this, but I just needed to write some stuff down to try and work out what I am going through. But now I'm heading over to hang out with my partners and hopefully communicate and maybe even alleviate some feelings.

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