bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

Month: February, 2013

Drawing you into existence.

Sometimes, I wish that I could sit and write all day.

So much stuff on my mind.

But I wake up every day promising myself that I’ll get to the mundane things, like folding laundry, or sorting out the filing cabinets, but then, things occur to me.

I get ideas.

I have epiphanies.

Connections between things begin to strike me, and I have this incredible need to write them down…because I fear that I’ll forget what it was that I meant to say, what I sought to remember, and everything seems so fucking important.

Not so important as to share with the blogosphere as much as it’s important to me that I don’t forget the connections that I came to.  I feel like I am remembering a lot of stuff that I had previously forgotten, lately.

So, I write in my notebook -my paper journal – and I promise myself that I will flesh it out later, and I hope that I don’t forget where I was going entirely, if I should find myself going back -after I’m done with the laundry — to read that rough outline of thoughts.

~~~

And other times, I get the urge to draw…and I wish that I could draw well enough to convey what is without words.

In that, too, sometimes I wish that I could sit and draw all day.

So this is me making a placeholder, of sorts, about a specific hit-me-like-a-ton-of-bricks moment that hit me this morning — about when I was younger — like age 11 or so — and how I used to draw incessantly.

And the subject matter concerned one particular thing.

There’s a connection there, today.

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Five pages, out of order.

I try not to be melodramatic, but I think that it is easy for me to be so.

Perhaps it is my temperment.

I received this letter in the mail — from Letters in the Mail — and it was five pages long.

I was excited to read it, but when I opened it, I realized that the pages were out of order.

I read it in the order that the pages had been folded, all the while, trying to decipher which page led to which other page, until I had some idea of how it was supposed to be.

When I finished reading, I briefly considered reading it again, but then I felt lazy, thinking that the one time through had been good enough for me.

~~~

The letter was written by a writer who has books published (though I’d never heard of any of them).  The letter was about metaphors, especially Jungian metaphors.  While reading it, it seemed to me to be a jumble of thoughts really — because the pages of the letter were out of order, I’m certain — but even so, that letter got me to thinking.

That letter struck me as being a good metaphor for my life right now.

Yes, my life does seem like a long, rambling letter with pages out of order, and only now I am figuring out in what order the pages are supposed to be.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?  I’m finally figuring shit out, right?

Well, I suppose so.

But, the melodramatic part: this should tell you a little bit about how my brain works, and about my old habits of perception.

I paid money for a divination recently.

I’d been meaning to get a divination for quite some time now, but I was always afraid to, for fear of the answers that I’d get.

But the answers that I did get were quite lovely, actually, and helpful.  But I wouldn’t be me if there wasn’t at least one part that got me to over-thinking, and showed me for the melodramatic, worried sort of person that I really am.

The reading, in part, pointed out that some big changes were coming this spring, but not to worry, they are the changes that I had been seeking.  (Which was nice.)  The winter of my life is over, as it were, and what I wanted for me life is about to…manifest.  There’s going to be a change in seasons — a spring is coming, if you will.

My first thought, however, when I read that, was full of *anxiety*

(I sense your eyeroll, here.   It’s OK.  I’ll wait.)

Here’s a truth about me: I am unlikely to think in terms of what I might gain when I hear that what I want is about to manifest, I think about what I might be forced to give up (or, possibly, lose) in the transaction*

Yep, that’s me, focused more on the negative.  This is a bad habit – my fear of loss** — that has blocking me for YEARS.

So, with that in mind, I swear to gods, what I really should get tattooed on my forehead is:

Let Go of Fear

It has become a most annoying prevalent mantra for me.

It has literally become the BadWolf of my life.

It is what has been repeating in many ways, over and over, trying to drill it into my soul.

Everything has been converging to that, and whether or not, I’m actively looking for it, it’s there.

Be open.

Let go of what doesn’t help you.

Let go of what hinders you.

Let go of what blocks you.

But there’s also that Fear, that insidious whisper:  What are you willing to lose?

That’s a good question.

(It’s hard work for me to think of the other side of the question, though:  What are you willing to gain? — an the attendant thoughts of worth and efficiency and whatnot.  Those thoughts are usually 30 or 40 spaces down the list, in my thought processes.)

This is me admitting it.

Now excuse me while I go try not to forget what I wrote here and keep my promise.

~~~

*(It is not difficult for me to think about situations of choices in that way.  Every choice that one makes has a price.  The loss is always hard, and the gain is always vague. My father used to call it something else, but I think of it as a misanthrope economy.)

** Loss of what, you ask?  Loss of control.  Loss of security.  Loss of sanity.  Especially, loss of sanity.

 

But wait, there’s more.

After writing the entry about what I did get out of my weekend (mostly), there were a few things that I didn’t get out of my weekend, as well as a few things that I realized quite late in the weekend (Sunday night/Monday morning) that I had been downright dodging/avoiding.

For one thing, V and I never did have much of the Big Conversation that I’d been planning on having with him, due to two things that I hadn’t counted upon:

1) Even though V had told his employer’s project managers that he was not available to work, conference, or take calls from Thursday, February 15th, to Monday, February 18th, clients called on him anyway, sucking up eight hours of his time on Saturday, and four hours on Sunday. It seemed that nothing could be done about it for several reasons, as everyone on the client end seemed to think that he’d honestly meant that his availability would be open for those weekend days only, rather than every and any other weekend this month. So, despite shaking my fist at the Universe a few times, I came to the realization that, maybe, I am not ready to discuss these matters, and/or he might not be ready to hear this sort of discussion as of yet. Because every time that I tried to begin talking about the subject, his phone would ring, and any time he tried to set aside his work-brain thoughts to listen to me, his phone would ring with yet another work-related distraction. (At one point, after having told him about my Loki-lookalike friend from the elevator, he suggested that I might as well find my other boots and go enjoy myself a bootblacking, because he was scheduled for a call. Again.)

2) The other thing that kept coming to the forefront was V’s obvious and pressing need to socialize. Several times, the same situation kept arising wherein he would become so distracted by the presence of others — whether they be old friends, new acquaintances, or some individual smoker standing outside looking for a light for their cigarette — that I quickly started to wonder if I was ever going to be able to get his completely undivided attention.

Well, it seems to me that the Universe said NO to that this weekend. Gods, did it ever. And oddly enough, I had an interesting dream on Monday morning that involved this very thing, causing me to consider the very excuses that I have been making in order to keep from meaningfully engaging with an Other who seeks to engage with me.

So…touche, I guess.

~~~

And the lesser, but still worth-mentioning thing that I intended to do but didn’t was to get over myself and introduce myself to Del Tashlin. I’ve been reading both of his blogs – and leaving comments here and there — for somewhat over a year or so now, so I suppose that it might be appropriate to introduce myself, lest I seem like a stalker, no…?

It seems like such a little thing doesn’t it? But yes…it’s true.

And several opportunities arose wherein I could have introduced myself, and yet, I did not. I kept promising myself, next time, next time…and yet I.Did.Not.

I was even in the elevator with him and yet I did not say a word.

What the hell, right?

So, I tell myself one word: FUSION.

Let’s hope that I keep my promise then…I will introduce myself to Del Tashlin at Fusion 2013.

There. I said it. For all of you to read. And now I have to make it happen.

~~~

who was it for?

OK, OK, that’s enough complaining.

I also wanted to point out that I won/bought something at the NCSF silent auction that was totally not for me.

I still can’t figure out why I was drawn to it so — and even though I bought/won two other items (both were things that V was wishing for me to have) — but I most certainly drawn to have this beautifully decorated metal purse/clutch/accessory thing. It is decorated with polished stones: carnelian, yellow jasper, green/pink jasper, quartz, etc.

It was so not me. I think that V was shocked that I wanted it.

But, for some reason, I had to have it. It was crazy.

Maybe it was for Freyja…or something.

When I unpack it, I’m going to put it on Her altar.

Weekend.

I had a good weekend.

As it is with me, not everything that I planned to do actually happened, but a lot of what I needed to happen actually did. 

There is a lot for me to process.

It was heartening — and important — to see V in an environment wherein we could really focus on each other.  We did get to have some of that time.

I could have used more time to really focus on V, of course, but sometimes, the Universe has other plans.  That’s where the ‘let go or be dragged’ comes in.

Some of it was really mundane, but necessary, concerning something that I’ve been struggling with for a while on how to receive service from others gracefully and without guilt…and I received some of that (twice!) in the bootblacking chair.

  In this way, it was nice to make a few new connections, and as much as that can be difficult for me, I forced myself to make that happen, much to my own amazement.  And the Universe rewarded me for that.

Classes: I had other commitments, so I hadn’t really expected to have much time for classes, but I did get a few in: One in particular, Playing with Past Trauma, was lovely.   The instructor gave me much food for thought — and even though the class was in line with concepts that were already familiar to me — it is always helpful to consider another person’s angle on this often controversial topic.  I was also glad to see how well the instructor handled the disagreement/discussion on personal responsibility/accountability.  Always a plus!

The second class that I felt lucky to squeeze in was on Sunday, titled, Dark Goddesses and the Path of Submission, taught by Anya Kless.  Again, I probably wouldn’t have been able to attend, had V not had an unexpected work commitment that bled into a few hours, and I was left at loose ends for a time.  But again, luckily, I can say with certainty that it was definitely an opportunity that I did not expect.  Again, this topic left me with much food for thought and gave me some information which led to several interesting connections concerning my own personal praxis.  (Though there was a certain aspect to the class that made me wonder if I should have grounded and centered before arriving, as I left with my head feeling as if it had been split open, to some degree.  Thank heavens for the lunch break that followed.)   And, concerning the realm of my social anxiety, it was good that I was able to hold myself together enough to have been able to introduce myself to her without too much trouble.

As for other learning experiences, I did find myself facing certain things about the past that I hadn’t really intended upon facing, and most of that concerned discussion of J, and what had happened with us.  I tried to be fair, but I’m certain that I came across a little more emotional that I had previously intended, but I am grateful that I handled much of what I’d needed to release without bursting into flames.

All in all, it was a good weekend.  I saw a great drag show (the Kinsey Sicks), had some long-awaited deliciously carthartic play with a dear friend, tasted some great booze (Jamison is my new ‘boyfriend’), and ran into a delightfully attractive transman who was a dead-ringer for Loki in the hotel elevator…who ended up being a very accomplished bootblack.  I was truly blessed to have received lovely service in hir chair (even if it was another situation wherein I found it difficult to completely ‘let go’ — I am grateful to have allowed myself an experience that I won’t be kicking myself for avoiding later. )

(Hail Loki, teacher of the painful and graceful lessons.)

 

 

 

Found. Poem.

Have you ever heard of a found poem?

This morning when I was cleaning the kitchen, I found my son’s word list. It is the 11th Dolch sight word list (for 3rd graders) given to him this year. I don’t know where his teachers draw them from, but this week’s list:

List 11 |draw |together
Wash | clean | please
Show | grow | thank
Hot | best | wish
Because | upon | many
Far | these | shall
Live | sing | laugh
Love |

when combined with his list of problem words/sentence phrases (pencilled from last week on a separate sheet of paper):

With me
Before
You will / you will
And you / For me
I am your
From a / people
and (in clauses)
Love

make for a pretty interesting ‘found poem’:

You draw together with me
Wash clean please before
You will show. You will grow. And you thank for me
I am your Hot best wish
Because upon many
From a Far these people shall
Live and sing and laugh
And Love

~~~
Pretty neat.

From my paper journal 2-10-13

(from my paper journal 2-10-13. Raw contents below)

It is 3:30 AM, and I’ve got things on my mind.

The other night, I had the opportunity to ask someone any question that I wanted…for free…but I could not think of anything to ask that was ‘safe’ for me to know. I want answers, sure…but when faced with such a lovely opportunity, I felt that if I asked something that had been really weighing on me, I felt that one, possibly two things would happen:

a) I would get an answer, and be disturbed by it. Could I handle the answer? Such as the comment, Oh do you really want to know? ‘cause once I give you an answer, that means that you’ll have to deal with the issue at hand, which is the issue you are asking about, isn’t it?
.
b) No matter how I feel about the answer, I do feel that my asking would definitely mean that I have to deal with it. In some ways, I feel that the asking would require opening the door to dealing with things that I might not want to deal with right now. Sometimes I think I have enough on my plate.

But still the conversation was a good one.

And it gave me other food for thought, and caused a musing which I am working out here:

At one point in the conversation, my divine friend muttered, Oh well, but you are married.
As if I thought his interest in me was not legitimate.

(Wait now, there’s a traditional monogamous response. But if it was not – and monogamy shouldn’t come from me because my husband and I consider ourselves poly — I realized another angle that he could’ve been getting at.)

I realized that – while it might have been a tad bit disrespectful – I could have shot back, Well, so are you. You are married to someone, too — and several dozen others, I might add –so what is your point? You want to talk about monogamy?
I’m not monogamous. I’m polyamorous.
(Ah, l’esprit d’escalier…where were you?)

(But that is where I wonder if the human filter comes into play, too, but I’m going to put that discussion aside for right now.)

Either way,I suppose that it would have been disrespectful calling my friend out like so, but there may be a kernel of something else embedded in his statement, because further on, I recall there being some difficulty. “He’s talking about things that I don’t understand…”

And I for one was curious about these things that weren’t understood, and I wonder if they have anything to do with the thoughts that kept me awake tonight.

Much as the world doesn’t need more categorization, I do think that it is human nature to try to categorize anyway. It helps our understanding, this need to break down situations into smaller, easier pieces.

There is talk of hierarchies and how they are bad, and some polyamorous people might even insist that all of their relationships are equally weighted in polyamory. Some of these poly folks dislike using terms such as ‘primary’ partner and ‘secondary’ partner, because that implies that the ‘primary’ is the most important relationship, and furthering that logic, doesn’t that mean that a secondary is…’second best’?

In theory, no…but in practice, maybe, yes. Does anybody ever want to feel ‘second best’?**

Our egos say ‘no, of course not.’ But polyamory done in reality does cause one participating in a polyamorous relationship to confront, or at least unpack, one’s views on that very situation. I would hazard to guess that most people participating in polyamorous relationships today were raised by parents living in a monogamous relationship, and so, just like polytheistic pagans who come from monotheistic religious backgrounds, people living in polyamorous relationships are also dealing with the first step of unpacking what having multiple partners is going to mean to them, and to the people in the relationships with them. And that can be hard work, trying to create a working relationship dynamic that involves several people, rather than just you and one other person. One must examine one’s personal values and priorities in relationships. One must hone one’s communication skills. Lots of thought and action needs to be done in order for any good relationship to work, let alone, a polyamorous relationship to work.

This is where I might get a little personal when I point out that I believe that the polyamorous relationships that have a greater potential to go awry are the ones that begin with a couple who are *primarily involved* in a term-committed dynamic with each other (whether it’s a long term committed relationship, a BDSM structured dynamic, or a marriage), and a third party (or parties) become involved.

There doesn’t even have to be love involved; the key is the commitment, or perhaps even the intensity of the existing relationship. Some poly people call this ‘opening up’ a relationship, and if one started from a committed primary relationship, it definitely is.

Why do I say that there is so much more to go awry? Well because in any structured committed relationship in a couple – egalitarian or not – the dynamic involves people placing significance on another, or at least, resolving to pay some significant attention to one another. Whether they formally promised to or not, there is the assumption that each is seeing the other as important, special, what-have-you. We are in a relationship. We matter to each other. We are a team; we are a two person dynamic.

But here comes a third person. Now that third person may be single, or may be in another relationship themselves (with or without varying levels of commitment), but in that third person wanting to have a relationship with one (or even both) of you, that third person is going to have an impact on the existing relationship of the couple(s) involved. This is why there is a saying in polyamorous circles that the three important rules of polyamory are:
1. Communication
2. Communication
3. Communication.

And I would also say this about a lot more than polyamorous relationships – any relationship with human beings can always stand to involve better, if not more, communication.

And I will tell you that the first thing that essentially comes up is attention. And this is where the math agony comes in. The primarily committed relationship might have had a factor of two. Even if it wasn’t a perfect 50-50, it was there.

You are my partner, and I am your partner. Whether or not you talked about it, your relationship required you to involve that one other person in your math calculations every day. That person (your partner) may have only gotten 30% of your time and attention for the day, because your partner might be competing for attention against the 70% of your other daily time and attention commitments (job, kids, daily commute, household chores, etc), but there was an unspoken resolution that you were going to spend some portion of your day at least being aware of each other’s existence, even if it’s only in thoughts, rather than physical presence.

But here’s this third person, who wants to have a relationship with you. How much time/attention/commitment does s/he get? That third person and the relationship that s/he represents, is going to require a piece in your personal equation, as it would be with any other commitment in your life. To be fair, is it a factor of 3 now? Maybe, maybe not. How important is s/he to you?

If I was going to be mathematically PC about it, I’d say that the third probably deserves at least a third of your ‘relationship equation,’ right?

But, speaking as a person who has made these mistakes, people aren’t always able to fit neatly into mathematical equations. Sometimes, one partner – and the relationship –requires more attention/time/commitment than others.

In my personal experience – especially in the relationship that ended as of late – you can believe that you have a nice three-way egalitarian relationship, and you might even have that, to some degree. The goal is that all of your partners feel loved, cherished, and important in your life (and in each other’s lives, as the case may be.) That is some smooth sailing polyamory. You’ve accomplished a delightful almost magical synergy when everything falls together, and you’re all in sync, even if you are not involved with each other. (Even though, supposedly, we were involved with each other.)

That’s where communication comes in. You can’t have synergy if there is a lack of communication anywhere in the system. That creates a gap between what you believe you have and what you actually have in terms of the relationship, and that can be a problem. I will be honest, that commitment to honest communication is a very important part.

But when two becomes three is the hardest part.

Even if the situation wherein ‘the initial primary partner has an issue with all the attention/significance lavished on another partner’ is a more common thorny issue in polyamory, there are other issues that can – and sometimes do – crop up often.

In my experience, the above situation is cake compared to this one:

This is when one partner has to convince one of the two in your triad that the existence of the main relationships –or other significant relationships – shouldn’t create a crisis of belief.
“You have a primary/significant/term relationship that existed before I came along. That means that I am not as significant as the pre-existing one.” ( Or as it is more commonly put, “Oh well, but you’re married. I don’t want to be anybody’s secondary…”)

Though, I believe that these two scenarios actually spring from the same issue at the heart of it: relationship imbalance.

Is this monogamy talking? Or at least, a line of thinking framed in a monogamous paradigm.

That, my friends, gives me all sorts of feelings today.
Are relationships in polyamory actually equal?

In theory, yes. In practice, perhaps, no
.
Even if you don’t use the words ‘primary’ and ‘secondary’ and what have you, the hierarchy can still be there in some slight way. Most would assume that a husband/wife, by its socially sanctioned definition, is more significant than a boyfriend/girlfriend.

But it depends on how you define those terms. And as it is with any socially significant word (a signifier, I suppose) husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, there’s an emotionally charged social shorthand that can be extremely difficult to get around.

For example, if you had asked me several years ago, did I want to have equal relationships with more than one person, I would have told you yes.

So why did I get married?

For many reasons, but not because I thought that my husband was going to be the single, most important person in my life, possibly for all time….which is how a lot of folks (polyamorous included!) see the emotional meaning of husband/wife.

I see being a wife differently. I definitely see it as a term of commitment – I made a significant commitment, and I wear a ring as a tangible sign of that commitment – but its meaning, to me, is not nearly as singularly narrow a definition as what most people might think.

Do I feel naked without that ring? Yes, but I think that it is more likely because I have been wearing it for 20 years, so it has made its mark on my finger.

And yes, I believe in marks.
And I believe in the weight of them.
~~~
So, how does my polyamory relate to the Gods?
I am attempting to sort that out.
~~~
“Oh well, but you’re married.”

Maybe the angle my lovely friend wishes me to consider is this: He doesn’t want to be my third; he doesn’t want to be my secondary, either. He wants himself and any and all work that he requires to be of primary importance.

Marriages are commitments. Marriages tangle wyrd. Marriages require negotiation. Marriages carry social and emotional weight.

I was arguing in my head right then, and I think on this more and more as the day goes on.

Well so are you. You’re married as well. I can think of at least three marriages of yours that I could read about in most university libraries.
And then, dozens more that I’ve heard of…and even if they aren’t all written down for me to read, I’ve no doubt that you’ve left your mark on ALL of them.

So, I’m polyamorous. It’s not like my marriage gets in the way like you might think.
~~~
Or does it?

Does he know how much this connects? I realize that I have a little bit of leftover rage that I’m feeling…that not necessarily at him, but definitely at those words.
Rage towards recent ex who tried to shut me down with those very words.

(Isn’t that what she was screaming? ** Oh, well, but you’re married! You. Wouldn’t. Understand.)

I could never understand, in her opinion.
Because I drank the KoolAid.
Because I wore the ring.
Because I made a commitment. ( Marriage was, oddly, a commitment that she could never make, she insisted, as she called me from the restroom of a VFW in Atlanta. She was attnding the October wedding of an ex-girlfriend of hers. I hate weddings, she said.)

I never knew what she meant, but that was her excuse. That was her block. She saw it as such a separation. The fact that I was married to someone had so much meaning, even though I was married to a man, and she often claimed that she loved him too.

I did not know what she meant when she screamed those very same words at me that night, or why she wanted to punch me while saying them…
But I opened my mouth and I let my own self go to a very dark, surreal place, and let’s just say that, we had our own Heathir-senna right then and there.

All the words just poured out.

And I left.
~~~
“Oh well, but you’re married.”

I wrote that all out just now –about J and that night that we broke up — and I don’t know if I want to laugh or flail.

The words that I said to her that night felt like the truth, even though they hurt us all very badly.

I have never made anyone that I love cry as hard as I did that night, but there was something also very necessary about them.

I remember what I said.

I hope that I don’t soon forget.

(But now the question remains – for my sock puppets to debate endlessly I guess –)
If there isn’t any such thing as a coincidence:

Why would he choose those very words to say to me on a Friday night, over a month later?
~~~
I read with interest Del’s latest entry about sacrifice and spiritwork.

And highlighted for me, again, is the message that the Gods will remove what gets in the way of the work.

~~~
And so I ponder Del’s entry, my sock puppets and I.

I cannot sleep and I cannot stop for my pondering of All These Things.

I am pondering about Loki, polyamory, spirit work, the meaning of ‘opening up’, and the nature of these coincidences that may or may not be… coincidences.

And I know — because hopefully, I am learning — to hold my tongue on asking any direct questions until I figure out as the whether or not I can handle the answers.

But as the questions come up, I write them on the whiteboard, because it is something worth thinking about.
~~~

(http://youtu.be/V8rtJRlLdI8)
If I get it all down on paper, it’s no longer inside of me,
Threatening the life it belongs to
And I feel like I’m naked in front of the crowd
Cause these words are my diary, screaming out loud
And I know that you’ll use them, however you want to

~~~~

But despite everything, there is love.

Chime hours.

It’s become an every day occurrence that I am awakened between 3:00 and 6:00 AM.

I’ve seen others ascribe some mysterious meaning to this, but I’m not certain that I can any longer.

Sometimes, it seems that it has always been this way, and that is the reason that I often found myself being the employee that was often tasked with either closing the store (midnight to 2 AM), or opening the store (6-8AM). Both of these situations almost guaranteed that I’d be either going to bed by 4 AM, or having to be awakened by 4 AM or so.

Other times, I would almost want to blame it on my children when they were babies. Each of them always had the best feeding at 4 AM or so, and so 4 AM became my favorite, quiet ‘bonding’ time of my day.

I think about my childhood, and its night terrors, studying in college, hanging out with ‘night owls,’ adapting to feeding schedules, or simply working first shifts, and third shifts, and it feels like I’m just trying to adapt to a very real situation.

I am going to be awake — for whatever reason– between 3:00 and 6:00 AM most days.

I will admit that, over the years, I found myself getting very dependent on sleeping pills to attempt to sleep through the hours between 3:00 and 6:00 AM.

But I’m not going to fight it any more.

I should just accept it.

I do have to say that there is something to be said for watching the sun rise.

Sannion makes his point much more eloquently and succinctly than I ever could. I seek to embody this every day, and especially every time I seek to make an offering to the Gods. They deserve our best, and I strive to give just that, each and every time.