I want to gather your darkness
in my hands, to cup it like water
I want this in the same way
as I want to touch your cheek –
it is the same –
the way a moth will come
to the bedroom window in late September,
beating and beating its wings against the cold glass,
the way a horse will lower
his long head to water, and drink,
and pause to lift his head and look,
and drink again,
taking everything in with the water,
Category: a Relationship: Titan
Adventures in Amsterdam is a series of updates about my time in Amsterdam from July 12th-August 12th attending the Summer Institute on Sexuality, Culture, and Society at the University of Amsterdam. This is a four-week certificate program focusing on eight topics around sexuality and sociology.
Yesterday was the end of the first week of classes, which also means the end of the classes I’ve had this week. Next week the two classes we move on to “Adolescent Sexuality” and “Sexual Politics in the Netherlands.” Both will be fascinating, I have no doubt, but I’m expecting the third week to be my favorite. You’ll understand why when I get there, I think.
I seem to be more outgoing here. More confident. Less shy and more expressive. I go through phases, of course, and there are times when I need to be quiet and alone and introverted, but there is something about having something to do every day that helps me. It’s different than back home, where I can spend an entire day–or multiple days–at home without interacting with anyone except for Onyx.
The lesson of the trip so far, though really of the last few weeks including before the trip, has been one of “worthing” or worthiness. What I mean by that is life seems to be conspiring to remind me of how worthy I am to be in it, and how worthy and relevant my work is to the world. I have struggled with this for a long time, as long as I can remember. I have been working on this and working up to this for a long time as well, and I have been slowly chipping away at the walls I built up around me during childhood. Chipping away at those walls that kept my tender heart safe, that kept me safe from the pain and grief of rejection and ridicule, but those walls that also kept out joy and belonging. As Brene Brown says: “you cannot selectively numb emotion,” which I would extend to you cannot selectively numb experience (though that’s basically the same statement, isn’t it?).
I have allowed myself to be disregarded and walked on because I got used to it. I put on a strong facade well, but inside I have been terrified by life. I have been terrified at fucking up and doing the wrong thing, making the wrong decision, saying the wrong thing. Of course often this experience means I keep myself from doing what I need to or want to. Often this experience paralyzes me into inaction. Often this experience keeps me from showing my full and true self to those around me, even those close to me.
I am sick and tired of living my life this way. I’m done. I’ve been dedicating myself to opening up, to connection, to vulnerability, in an intentional and conscious way now for a couple of years, and working to find the right direction for many years before that, and now I’m ready.
I’m ready to stop selling myself short and really embrace my strengths, rather than just focusing on my weaknesses and where I need to improve. I will still recognize those things, I will still work toward improvement, but I do not need to ignore the strengths in order to change the flaws. (In fact, I believe embracing the strengths will help me change the flaws; funny how that works.) I’m ready to stop cowering in the face of my own abilities.
I’m ready to stop inconveniencing myself for other people in hopes it will make them like me. What is inherent in that is the assumption that I’m not worthy of being liked, that I have to trick people into liking me because I am not good enough. I still want to offer my help to people and inconvenience myself for them at times, but to make it a common practice when first getting to know someone is just not useful. The reasons behind it are not useful.
A lot of these realizations come out of a relationship that blossomed and then wilted before I began to talk about it on here. I’ve had a draft of that up for months now and haven’t known what to say about it, which may have been a sign in and of itself. These are realizations I have needed to make for a long time, and there are more where these came from, but it’s a start.
I want to open you
Show you the beauty that lies within,
Help you fill the void inside you,
That empty place
that can be full.
I want to crack you open
like a pomegranate,
Taste your bittersweet juices
Until my fingers are
stained with you.
I will lift you up to
the mirror of my soul,
Reflect you back to yourself
So you can see all that you can be.
I will not heal you,
That is your work,
But I will point you to the key
So you can heal yourself.
For a large part of the last year Onyx and I were monogamish. There was occasional makeouts and things with other people, but even though there were a few people we were interested in I couldn’t think of venturing out into another relationship at the time. I was a wreck and thoroughly closed to myself. I could barely let Onyx in and the idea of a new relationship was daunting and terrifying.
Since Onyx and I got together we have never been strictly monogamous. Our flavor of non-monogamy has shifted many times over the years, but more often than not we have only been in a relationship with each other. When we first got together I had another long-distance relationship I was in, though that was not particularly healthy and stopped before we moved in together. For a long while after I moved in with him we were monogamish or poly-theoretical. We were not monogamous, but we weren’t actively seeing anyone else or seeking out additional partners. We flirted with a long-distance N-style relationship with a couple friends of ours at one point. Then Marla came along. We shifted into the triad and then to polyfidelitous together. Once that ended, and after our time apart, we have basically been in an open/non-monogamous relationship. We have played with/had sex with people, but we haven’t really been in any other relationships besides the one between us. This began to shift a few months ago.
At the end of September I met a couple of people at a weekend ritual workshop and began to date them. The concept of meeting someone or wanting to play with someone at the ritual was so out of my head that Onyx and I didn’t even have a conversation about the possibility beforehand. It was unexpected, sudden, and intense with both of them in completely different ways. Luckily, even though the ritual was in Portland, they both live in the Seattle area and so we have been able to continue seeing each other. More on them in other posts, though.
In light of those new relationships budding another friend and I started dating as well. She and I began talking about dating before my father died, but due to that happening it got postponed until recently. Due to extremely busy schedules and both of us having multiple partners we haven’t been able to spend too much time together, but we are working on it.
Onyx recently began dating another person as well. This is someone I am close with and knew before he did. I introduced them, which is amusing to me. It has been really lovely to watch the two of them beginning their relationship, especially since I have much love for both of them.
Historically in our relationship he has been much more open and relaxed about me seeing other people than I have about him seeing other people. He has also had more interest in the last year or two for other people than I have. For a while after the triad, once we got back together, we were primarily wanting to explore new relationships or play partners together rather than separately. I didn’t know why it was so daunting to me at the time, but there were many things going on with me and it was difficult to play with someone else with him. It has been really good to have this shift to poly happen with me finding multiple people to build relationships with after not feeling much interest for that. Having the experience of being the first one to venture into a new relationship has helped me be comfortable with his new relationship as well.
Our communication abilities are the best they’ve ever been (and I hope to continue to be able to say that as our relationship progresses), so we have been able to talk about any issues, jealousies, envies, or whatnot that come up. Because of this our experience with poly this time is much different than the last.
Each of us seeing already-poly people who have at least one (usually many more than one) other partner is really helpful as well. We aren’t exactly new to polyamory and non-monogamy, but neither Onyx or I had much positive experiences with it before now. Being in relationships with people who do have positive experiences with it, who can handle their shit, who have good communication skills, and who are seeing other people so they aren’t focused exclusively on one of us has been exceptionally good.
I currently only have express consent from one of the new people mentioned in this post to give them a name or talk about them in depth on here, so look for upcoming posts about him. More consent will be asked for, so eventually I will not have to only speak in generalities. For now, though, know that there will be more poly-focused posts in the future.