Friday, December 25, 2015


Wrapping Christmas presents at midnight on Christmas Eve but I can't listen to Christmas music. I know I'll cry and I still have things to do before I go to sleep. And I'm so tired of crying right now.
Christmases have always felt bittersweet to me. When I was in school, between the end of semester crunch and preparing for the holidays, my bipolar hit high gear. There was usually some bickering, usually starting between my step-father and I, then branching out from there. But there were always family members I liked, friends,  food, presents, grades, vacation, the promise of a new year.
This year has been kinda a mess. I'm super behind in everything in life. There are no ormanments on the tree or lights in the windows. The first presents i bought were online last weekend. We only bought presents for our tiny human today.
My crazy has been in high gear for awhile as has Ginger's so there has been a great deal of fighting and push/pull. We talked things out tonight and I feel like we're at a better place. I hope that this necessity of a talk didn't hurt her mental state too much.
Even with it, I feel like such a failure. There was so much I wanted to be able to be for her and do for her. I know she's trying really hard to do a bunch of things with her mental health but it's one of those situations where it will get worse before she gets better. I wanted to not be this endless problem and I keep failing. I wanted to be able to be intimate with her in all these ways but I've failed at that too. The ways that involve this new person in her life have so far made me feel used and degraded, and not in that good way. The ways that involve us here make me feel so pressured.
"And we can talk it round again girl
Round and round, round and round again
Or we could leave it out tonight
Leave it out just leave it out
I never tried to trick you babe
I just tried to work it out
But I was swallowed up by doubt
If only things were black and white
Cause I just want to hold you tight
Without holding back my mind...
But no flame burns forever, oh no
You and I both know this all too well..."

Both for the increased intimacy between us and to help everyone's mental state, since coming home from the hospital, I've felt like I have to be ok all the time, like i can't be me. Tonight she said that she doesn't know how she can be romantically with someone where there's always a new problem. My honest response was that with me there is always a new problem. Sometimes I wish it were different but this is how it is now and how it always has been. I can't say it will ever be different. For months now, I've tried and failed. I don't know how to be what they need without breaking myself and I don't know how to be me without breaking her. (He and I seem to be able to reach a better equilibrium. Or it doesn't break him/us like it does her/us.) Then I have big outbursts when it gets too much for me. She said that I'm holding my breath but I can't hold it forever so it is bigger when i finally do breath. I guess she's right.
None of this is helped by the current med situation. My doc and I added an antidepressant to my cocktail. It's only been about 2 weeks though, so I'm in that awesome area where I have more energy but my mental state hasn't been helped yet. So unlike before when I could escape the shitty thoughts by going to sleep, those thoughts are now racing and I am not sleeping quite so easily.

This week when I did have it in me I tried to think about what might help me. Maybe I'm just not thinking very clearly because I'm having trouble coming up with concrete answers to that. I did have a few thoughts and then a few more when talking to Ginger. Some are physical well being issues. Since Ginger hasn't been able to eat the veggies like we were, I have slacked off on that. I need to get back to that. It did make me feel better even if it didn't taste awesome. Honestly nothing tastes awesome right now (depression) so maybe it shouldn't matter how it tastes. I should also either do yoga or meditate at least a few times a week. I'd also like to do some ab exercises and light free weights everyday, maybe make my body feel stronger.
If I wasn't sure before then I really am after tonight that Ginger and I need to go back to how we were leaving things before her new guy came along. For as much as I usually like concrete definitions, it was much better for us just to be what we were, with no expectations in the physical /romantic / sexual realm, and just let things happen when / if they were going to whenever that was. It isn't helping anyone right now and nothing is even happening. On the other hand, I do need to take the reins and be more rigid about scheduling time for us to hang out and not letting anything interfere. If I don't,  we both end up doing our own things and not connecting. She has said she's fine with me being more rigid in this so I will be.

I've also realized that right now I can't be friends with her guy. Whether by accident or by design, all of my poly experiences have been ones where I was either involved with or at least good friends with my metamours.  But metamours are like in-laws. You should be civil, courteous,  friendly, and promote your paramour seeing them, but you don't have to be friends with them. Now you can be. I'm developing a real friendship with one of The Professor's step-sisters, but O don't have to be friends with any of them to be friendly and encourage the relationships there. This is the same.
Now I tried. I really did. I know I exchanged more messages with him and messaged on a more regular basis than I have any of my own friends in the last couple of months.  And he tried too. But we have very different life views and personalities. Even the things we both enjoy we come at from very different angles. But we wouldn't become friends if we met at work. On a deep personal level,  I feel like my particular brand of crazy is ....well, he said that I was an emotional blackhole, because you can't see what's on the other side. He doesn't have the same emotions as a 'normal' person, so my intense and more unpredictable emotions force him to walk on eggshells. I keep trying to force this friendship at a time when I don't even have friends of my own in my life and it's becoming really unhealthy for me. I'm also unable to create good stable boundaries for us because I want to connect over shared interest but that invovles bdsm which means I'm talking about their sex life or bdsm dynamic which is just full of hurt and jealousy for me. Oddly, I often feel compersion when she talks about it because I'm happy for her when she's happy. But this person is a stranger to me and it feels like rubbing my nose in all she and I can't seem to make happen between us.  While I'm sure he brings up me doing things with them as a way of making me feel included, it doesn't. It makes me feel like the only way I could have this with the person I live with,  Co-parent with,  who calls me wife,  is with him. It makes me feel like he or they think I'm something to be used for their games,  like he or they think I'll agree because I like sex and I like bdsm, so of course i would. It might not be their intent, so it's unjustified to be angry or punish them. But it's the result so I need to change things.
I had really wanted to be able to do this for her. I wanted anything with her so desperately that I agreed to anything. Even as it hurt me more and more, I still said I would. Now it's these months later and I'm sure it feels to them like a 180. I am sorry for that and for not speaking up sooner but I couldn't feel like that any more. It's not their fault. I just need to change it. Even if we ever did those things,  I'd have to come to it on my terms, by my own desires, not like this.
I realized I need to write more. I haven't been blogging both because of a lack of time and a fear of what I'd write. I had plenty to say and I did want to allow the racing thoughts somewhere to go but I didn't want to put them where anyone can see them. Everyone has things that feel are too dark or crazy or extreme to share. I need to start writing it down somewhere, even if it's just in a journal for just me. And i need to work on my fiction. I'd love to be able to make enough writing to support my family and stay home. Even if I never make it there, I would like to try to turn all those racing thoughts into something else. (Have you read Gone Girl? Do you wonder what the author's husband thought when he read it? Lol.)
I will still probably publish this and cry. Maybe next year I'll be better at this time. Presents bought and wrapped. Crazy under control. Family more family-ish. "It's been a long December and there's reason to believe maybe this year will be better than the last...." Sadly, I still feel like this year was a bit of a fail.

Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Problem With Encouraging Your Metamours to be Friends

They talk.

If your freedom trumps my desire for security, then my desire for honesty trumps your discomfort. 

Honesty does not include omission or you easing me into things.

We lie to floozies. We don't lie to people we love.

Monday, November 30, 2015

So why am i still so depressed?

I'm right again with her. Or as right as we're gonna be. It feels good though. It's a work in progress in a good way. And i want to support her in all the new and exciting things she's doing.
I'm still right with him. More in love and devoted than ever. Excited about things we can do.
I'll get right with her other him soon-ish. Once i can trust myself not to fuck it up.
And we got news today that is awesome. I'm so excited.
Why did i still go to bed and cry? Why am i still plagued by all the dark thoughts. Why do i still feel like they'd be better without me? Why do i still feel like i won't do anything right? I'm so happy and things are so right. But as soon as there's nothing filling me up, I'm so depressed again.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Doubling Down

I think that anytime you're in any type of recovery it is easy to just know that you can't do it how you used to do it than it is to know how to actually do it properly. It's hard enough to unlearn bad habits, now you are adding on learning new effective habits.

For me, this is especially true when it comes to relationship issues. I just know that I shouldn't do what I did before. I have very little idea of how to do it right. And the secret sauce that smothers it all? That I am not in anything close to a traditional relationship. 

Back story time: So Ginger has this new boyfriend. Well, not exactly new, as they've been online friends and online sexytime buddies for over half their lives, since they were teenagers, but new as a boyfriend. When I was pregnant and she needed someone to talk to, she turned to him and their relationship developed new dimensions and feelings. Before we moved to the new place, so I'm guessing back in May, she brought up to me having him visit. At the time, she didn't know if their online chemistry would transfer to real life. 

As the months went on, we could tell she was deep in the NRE. While I was on maternity leave, I confronted her one night because it felt like she was always texted with him and never really interacting with us and I was worried about her being present, especially as I was going to be going back to work soon. She assured the Professor and I that she was just taking a little vaccation from the world until things really hit, until I was really back at work, that she wasn't going to leave us, etc. 

Right before I went back to work, she met him halfway for a visit in person. It went really well. In addition to the visit going well, she felt reenergized to take on our relationships back home and make them what she wanted. The trouble was that the Professor and I weren't quite there. The Professor was still overwhelmed with new baby stuff and trying to take some of the load off of me as I healed. I was still dealing with getting back on my medications and I felt really insecure and scared about the visit. I had a total meltdown when she came back. It was not how she foresaw it going. 

My way of coping with things that scare me is to pick up the thing, look at it from every angle, think about what might happen with it in the future. Feeling like I can handle the possibilities is what makes me feel secure again. So as I started to try to get on board, I wanted to ask more questions about the future that Ginger was thinking of. When this guy started getting brought up in the spring, he was an internet sexy escape friend. Then it was a visit here to see about chemistry. Then it was a sooner short visit in the middle to see about chemistry and then a visit out here, but he would be her long-distance, vacation sexy-escape friend if things went well. After her visit, it was her long-distance sexy-escape friend for now then maybe someday, years and years down the line, maybe he'd live here. But the more I tried to ask about what it might look like if he was here, the more upset she got because she doesn't work that way. To her, it would break her heart if she planned things and it didn't go through, so all that is sort of hazy and vague. 

We had some hard talks and cried and butted heads but then we really thought we were getting to a better place after a really great Saturday night with the three of us. But then I fucked stuff up. I was at work and I started worrying about hearing them on his visit here. I'm having some serious jealousy issues with all of this. But jealousy is always rooted in deeper things. Mine is too. At the most basic level, I thought if she was going to be with someone else, be in love with someone else, be fucking and topping someone else, that it would be me before it was someone else. It broke my heart when she told me last year that we might not ever be sexual, that it might not matter how much time she had. It poked that wound that was mostly healed when, after starting to talk to this man about topping him, about pegging him, she brought up experimenting with my strapon on me. All the things she brought up using me to do so that she could do with him when they got their brief visits. And I was game because I just really wanted us to be there. When she came back, she was all interested in making our relationship more physical and intimate, but I didn't feel special. I kinda just felt like she realized she wanted more touch and romance that the Professor doesn't really do as much and I was a good place to start. After that crazy Saturday, I did feel more like she wanted me, but that made the crazy worry kick in. I wanted to feel more secure. 

I knew that it would be really hard on me to hear them together sexually while he's visiting. I have heard her and the Professor but that's a little different. Sometimes, depending on what's going on, that is even difficult but I at least feel like that's what I signed up for. I didn't really sign up to hear them in our house with someone else. I would feel weird having sex with someone else here, especially if I thought they could hear, even though I am the only one who know one really cares if they fuck someone else. It's kinda a rule that the Professor can't fuck floozies with us here, but that we'll work to make time for him to be alone or for him to go see them at their place. What I attempted to do was let her know that I was feeling really insecure about this thing but offer ways to help this not be a thing, like get them a hotel room for a day of play, work on making a more soundproof area downstairs, or could they even just wait til we were upstairs and there was a floor between us? Honestly, she's kinda shy about sex stuff, for someone in our lifestyle, so I figured she wouldn't want to be heard either. 

Yeah, that didn't go over well. She tried to be nice about it, but in the end I think it felt like two things to her: that I didn't trust her not to purposefully hurt us and that I was trying to control her relationship with him. At the end of the email though, she said that what she wanted was for us all to live together, that him living somewhere near but in a different place was a poor second choice. Over the course of an afternoon, we exchanged emails and things went downhill from there. Some of the highlights were that she hadn't gotten to think about her needs or wants because from the time she got back she was awash in the needs of the three other people in our home and that when she'd gotten with the Professor he'd agreed that she could pick up and leave to visit anyone whenever she wanted. In the end, I threw my hands up. I wouldn't ask her for anything and we'd go back to the relationship we were good at - running the house. 

I've spent the week since doing really poorly. She and I have barely communicated. The Professor has struggled because he wants things just to be calm and work but we can't go any amount of time without drama. Her boyfriend, who I was developing a friendship with based on our shared love of tv shows, has stopped messaging me and I haven't reached out to him either. My assumption is that he's upset with me for the hurt I've caused Ginger, which is his right, and he's probably got some not nice opinions about me as a person right now, but he could just be trying to avoid the drama and being in the middle of things. And I've been in the darkest hole I've been in in a long time. I finally talked about it with the Professor last night a bit. A good bit of it was the depression twisting everything. The fact that she didn't want me running the show on her relationship, which is what it felt like from her side, was turned into that I didn't warrant any consideration, that my feelings didn't matter to her, that her complete freedom was more important to her than making me feel secure in the thing she and I were trying to do. All of this also turned into that I will never warrant being put ahead of anything else for anyone else. I had thought I would at least come in second for both of them, in the romantic relationship, but all this made me feel like I would never even come in that for her, or anywhere. The only one I am higher than is the cat. I was gripped by the fear that, when the Professor was no longer here, I would lose my co-parent and any child she bore shortly thereafter, and that our kids would each lose a father, a mother, and a sibling, all within months. I felt like not only did I need too much but I needed all the wrong things, which made me fundamentally wrong. I carried all this around for a week by myself. Honestly, I'm pretty proud of myself. I still went to work, still ate mostly healthy, didn't cut. I did cry a whole lot though and I largely did not give two fucks if it bothered anyone else in my house. 

I realized last night that a big part of my problem was that I was just being willfull. I wasn't ready yet to give up being angry or being sad or being fearful, which made it really hard to want to look for solutions or to implement those solutions. But I hadn't really talked to anyone about things because I knew that they'd all just be on my side and "oh she should change what she's doing," which I already knew wasn't a solution at all. I always knew that the bottom line was she wasn't going to change and I wasn't going to leave her. That left me with significantly less options, all of which I was really to angry still to implement. 

This morning, I was reminded of two conversations I had had with Moneypenny years ago. The first was when we were still dating. We had one of those kitchen sink arguments. At one point in the argument, he told me about how there were plenty of things that he didn't like about me and our relationship but he only brought up the worst 10% because he didn't think the other 90% were worth it. But I really wanted the opportunity to work on at least some of the other 90%, so I've tried to be open to hearing those things, to finding out what someone I'm with does want that isn't part of the 10% they're going to argue over or outright ask for. 

The other conversation was a little bit later. I had had the first major blowup fight of my shortlived marriage and Moneypenny pulled out a Dr-Phil-ism: Do you want to be happy or do you want to be right? Especially in these arguments with Ginger, that can be such a big factor. In many ways, the Professor and I can think enough alike that we can see where the other is and get closer to it, though our barrier is usually just that we don't even want to fight each other. For Ginger and I, it often feels like we are on completely different planets. We both want to be right and to have the other person admit that we are right and do what we want. Especially when it is something big enough to us for us to fight about, since we don't really like fighting either. But the thing I knew even as we were arguing was that we were both right. I just have no way to translate that into getting us both what we want or need to be happy. 

{So all of this is alot of writing and I'm not near finished, which is probably going to make my partners cringe when they try to read this. (The Professor has already thrown in the towel by now, I'm sure.) But I needed to try to write it out and see it all together. }

I think sometimes you have to mix a bit of your new skills in with your old tendencies in, but with a new spin on them. I tend to double down on things. I never met an argument that I could not make worse. That's what I did last week too. 'Oh, you're upset and just said this thing that hurt me? Well, fine. I'll tell you all about how upset I am and hurt you back.' But I think that doubling down isn't always a bad thing. Last Sunday, I had told Ginger that we should find time during this long holiday weekend to talk about what she needed so we could see what we could do about that. I meant it then and I still do. This is that 10% shit, so it really needs addressed. If she can be happier and be getting her needs met, maybe it won't be as bad when some of my need spills over. Either way, it provides me with a definite place to start, definite thing I can do instead of wallowing in how shitty I feel. 

As for some new skills, let's just call it a tell the truth, nothing but the truth, reality check. I'll list what I know is true without the depression bullshit. Even if I don't have anything I can do about them right now, I'll at least know what I know. 

The first day I met Ginger, we talked about how poly might be a better way because more hands to help out with children, with each other, with tasks. When we first got together, I really liked having a larger family than just me and one partner and I wanted to add children to that for an even larger family. It's unfair to dismiss this man she loves from being part of our family out of hand. Maybe I'm fighting this because I'm jealous or insecure in my relationship, particularly with her. I do really wish I felt like we were all involved in the idea of bringing this person into our family, especially as things progressed. So I guess I have issue with how she has handled this, even while I understand that it feels like the best way for her to handle it for her, but I don't want that to cast a bad shadow on whether or not he is a part of our family. 

There are serious trust issues in the relationship. Namely, I don't really trust anyone. I'm better than I used to be, don't get me wrong. But I only trust people to be who they are, who I feel they are based on their past. Now, I feel like this makes it not so much their fault and they aren't trying to hurt me when they do something that does hurt me. For me, it shifts some responsibility to me, that I should have seen they might do something like this and worked to deal with how I would feel beforehand. But, no I don't trust that people will act on their best natures or even what they said they would do and sincerely wanted to do. Quite often, I have regretted ever telling Ginger this because, when I tell her I am not capable of other kinds of trust, she only hears that i don't trust her. So when I try to exercise some control of a situation because of my own insecurities and as a way to cope ahead, all she sees is me controlling things because I don't trust her specifically. In reality, these are two sides of the same coin, but in my head it is not personal. 

In the same vein, when I am feeling insecure about a situation, I try to think through the situation and shape them in way that I can handle as a way of coping ahead. I do try to shape them in a way that is beneficial to all, so that no one will mind my controlling or changing some things. At least in this, she only sees this as me controlling things because I don't trust that she will not purposefully hurt me. I do not know right now how to ask for anything regarding this situation, to try to mitigate my own harm, without it coming off like I am controlling her. And I would have negotiated differently about the freedom thing if it was ever a thing we had negotiated. Especially when we are raising kids, yes, I would have issues with any of us just leaving on a trip without any preparation or concern. (The Professor assures me that how I read what she wrote is not how she meant it.) 

I am just not polyamorous in the way that many people claim to be. I fell into a relationship with them and we were together. I loved both of them, so it was polyamorous by definition. But I am more on the open relationship side of things. I want to be able to fuck or play with other people. I might have feelings for these people but it is probably not love like I have for my current partners. Honestly, while this relationship should give me the more freedom for other sexual, dating, or love relationships, I've found myself progressively more annoyed by most attempts I've made at any of the three. Hell, right now, I'm annoyed with most relationships with other people. I have a hard time relating to people right now, with finding people I can actually be all of myself with, with finding people I like hanging out with. My crushes usually last a few weeks and then I want them to find better situations with people who can actually devote time and love to them. I just don't have it in me right now. But I'm realizing more and more that my truth right now is that I love the people I'm living with and I don't really want to love anyone else. I do want to be in love with Ginger again and develop that but I'm not sure we can bridge that gap. But I am seriously and deeply in love with the Professor and, other than Ginger, I do not want to be in love with anyone else. This may change. I may meet someone and just fall, but I don't have all that love to give people like Ginger has. I barely have enough love for the people in my life right now. I've tried and tried and tried to have feelings for other people that were love or love-like but I just don't have it in me. Maybe if I did, I could feel more secure in Ginger loving all of us and staying with all of us, because I could empathize with it. But it is a foreign language to me. No, it's telling a blind person what "red" is. I can see the concept but I can't experience it. I will keep trying to sympathize and support her in this, but I will probably never empathize. I don't expect either of them not to love or be in love with others. I just can't empathize with it myself. Maybe I'm more polysexual and monoamorous (they've always been kinda a package deal, "together they barely make one good boyfriend")? Honestly, even now that I feel better about the situation and more willing to work on changing things, I still feel very cold, cut-off, and detached from almost everyone and everything in my life. Other than the baby and the Professor, I haven't felt a continued connection to anyone for months and months. What's probably even more sad is that, other than this thing with Ginger and a few people I have met in the bdsm community, I don't have a real desire to change that.

I know, I know. That's a whole lot of words to say that I don't actually know how to make anything better. Fuck, I need some sleep. Well, anyway, there it is.

More thoughts about touch

I'm starting to realize a weird ambivalence I have around being touched. A few weeks ago someone told me that she felt like she was that she had a serious touch deficit, like she hungered to be touched. It was something she was only just realizing. She wanted that to change, to be touched more, not just sexually or romantically, but also platonically. I felt an instant revulsions. It got me thinking about how I feel about touch.  Ive written about this before, about how the dates that I had been on, the times that I've messed around with people in the past year or so,how I just didn't enjoy being touched. It all felt so fraught with weirdness and just felt wrong. I'm not even sure why. Well maybe I know. It's really been like this I think since I got with Professor. And maybe is one of those things where I feel like I belong to him so even in situations where it's okay it still feels not okay.
On the other hand there are in situations where it was to be slightly taboo or much more friendly and joking and those times do feel okay. I served at the high protocol dinner for the local Master/slave group. It was held at someone's house and it was a little cramped for all of us subs to be in the kitchen at one time getting the food to take out. We had to touch each other to get around each other. That felt fine. Even really refreshing and comforting. Us subs had to lead the Dom/me we were serving to their place at the table. I was serving the Sir of a woman I am friendly with, as she was guiding the dinner. It was hard to avoid touching the person you were serving at some point during the meal. Both the intentional and accidental touching of him were all fine. They were expected but controlled so it was okay.
The other kind of touch I've had recently has been at work. Sometimes we're in close quarters and you're trying to move around someone so you might touch their back so they don't run into you. There is also the matter of a little flirtatious touch that happens. It's under the guise of just making sure the person doesn't move into you, but there's always maybe that one or two people who do it a little more than others, a little more than is necessary. Or a lot more. There is one person at work, a man who is not my supervisor but definitely several steps above me in the hierarchy at work, who does this. When I was working there before my maternity leave it kind of squeaked  me out when he did this, but since I've been back... I don't know... It makes me feel a little different. I have started pushing the edge back a little. Maybe because I kind of like him. It is a bit taboo, could be completely out of bounds if one or the other of us said something to a superior, but the fact that we are both doing it shows the other that it's okay even though it's not within rules. There's this little bit of charge around it. That might all be in my head, but I enjoy it, enjoy this little game that at least I am playing. But other than the two kinds of situations above, i generally don't feel comfortable being touched.
The last few days have been really hard on me. Hell, a great deal of the last month or so have been hard. When i get overwhelmed or very sad or very angry, i go to my room alone, curl up under the covers. Alone. I've requested that the Professor largely just let me be. I just want to shrink into myself. It feels like that can't be good.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Being an adult

Part of being an adult is realizing that everything has a cost. Even the things thst bring a great deal to your life,  the things that make you happiest, those things still have a cost. Another part of being an adult is figuring out what you are willing to pay for something and trying not to bitch too much about that decision.


Between my work hours and the baby and my unusual situation,  i feel more and more isolated. Laying here crying at 145am on a Wednesday night, Thursday morning, there's not a single person i can call. Even if i felt comfortable calling anyone i knew at this hour, i don't know anyone i would feel would "get it." Everyone in my relationship is dealing with their own bit of crazy and right now we're all upset with the others in our way so I can't talk to them.  (well, I'm not upset with the Professor but he's frustrated with me.)
and everytime it gets like this in the relationship,  i feel like who i am is not ok. Ginger just wants "three weeks where nothing happens." The Professor feels like it's always something, that there's always something wrong and he can't ever just relax.
In this particular instance, i feel like i do alot of work to set things up so they get things they need beforehand and, when i need help to facilitate it, that gets denied. I feel like i didn't ask for much. Now I'm upset and they're upset too. But it will be me who's creating the problem, me who creates drama, me who made this a big deal when it's not. i created a big deal out of trying to make things work for them, trying to do the one thing i could to help with a problem Ginger has and to try to keep things equal. Though I'm trying very hard, whether it's my crazy or my personality or both, things just are a bigger deal to me and i feel more emotional about things than most people but definitely more than my partners. But that isn't ok. I'm not ok. No matter how hard i try i probably always will have more times that feel like crisis to me. Even if i try, even if they only see a fraction of the times i actually feel crisis inside, that is not ok. I'm never gonna be ok.

Sunday, November 01, 2015

To Be Resolved

For the last several weeks I have struggled with creating my new normal now that I am back at work, with the baby at home, while also maintaining my dynamic. I have found that I don't have many people to talk to who will understand what I am going through. There seems to be two strains of advice whenever I express frustration with anything to do with the housework. The one I get most often is "Just make your partners do more." I have grown up around families where this is what the person who wanted more done, more often, and more specifically attempted to do and it never ended well. The person who kept trying to get their partner to do more and do it their way ended up being a person they didn't want to be (a bitch, a nag, an asshole), their partner dreaded everything that came out of their mouth and felt less than and unaccepted, and they ended up doing all those things anyway because it doesn't work. Also, the people that I talk to don't take into account the M/s dynamic that I would like to maintain with the Professor. In fact, in the week before I went back to work, we already hit that and the Professor pointed it out to me. When I was nagging him about his sleep schedule, he peevishly responded, "I am a grown man. I do not need to be told when to go to bed. I will be up whenever I need to be to take care of our daughter, no matter how much sleep I don't get. That's all that matters. But I'm a grown man, not a kid, not your kid, not a sub, not a slave, not a babygirl. I don't need to be told when to go to bed." That's when I realized how insulting it was to him, and to the dynamic that I claim to want. 

Of course, the other answer is to just give up on it ever being clean again because I now had a child. There is a certain amount of this that is true. It isn't going to be as clean as I might have made it before. There will be weird things that are icky (favorite growing up - jelly in the vcr) and found in weird places. And I am learning to let some things go. But even when no one wants to do our dishes, bottles must be cleaned. Once she can crawl and grab stuff, we will have to clean stuff off the tables and vacuum more. Ginger and I must at least have clean work clothes, if nothing else. I am learning to prioritize much more and to let go of things that don't need to be done right now when I am not feeling up to it or when doing it will make me feel resentful. But I also know something these people don't- that I need to have my living space in some kind of order or I will go crazy. When I do my version of things that my partners find to be vacation, like I fall into non-stop tv and movies or reading books until I only get a few hours of sleep a night versus their rereading books they've read before or falling into video games, that is the first sign that I am falling into a depression. That is bad. Keeping my surroundings clean and orderly before I fall into things like that or as I do things like that (like watching tv while I do dishes) is me staying sane. So I can't just let everything go. 

I also really want to keep and expand upon the Master / slave dynamic that I want with the Professor. I know that many of the things that people who call themselves Master or Mistress do is just a lot of work and especially since he is expending so much energy taking care of our daughter that is just too much for him to do. But that doesn't mean that I can't do the things on my end that will make me a better 'slave' and that work to keep me in the right headspace when I am home. I know that he sees and will reward me for that, as he always has. This weekend we have looked at several day collars so I can always be reminded of my place. 

Over this weekend, another issue has presented itself. The Professor and Ginger need to work on their relationship. I cannot magically make it better, but there are a few things I can do. For the last year, everything has been about me, the pregnancy, and the baby. Just like anyone, the Professor only has enough emotional energy to expend at any time. To give more in one area you have to take from another area. I can work to be less work. I can work to deal with my own issues, to have less issues, and to find other places to vent those issues. I can't make him then put that emotional energy to his relationship with Ginger and his relationship with himself, but I can hope that he does.

I will be a good and loving partner to my partners. I will strive to keep myself mentally healthy as much as I strive to keep myself financially healthy for this family. I will let things go that don't need to be done right now if doing them will make me angry or resentful because I know my partners don't care. I will strive to be a good slave, who doesn't require micromanagement to happily, respectfully, and unobtrusively perform my duties for my Master because I know he appreciates me and will reward me in due time. 

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Finite Resources

This week, my first week back after three months off but only exactly 8 weeks off after my c-section, I worked 53 hours, all of them on my feet. I also took care of my daughter during the day, did chores around the house before and after work, spent hours on the phone trying to deal with medical insurance for my tiny human. I have gotten to see my tiny human about four hours a day. I haven't seen my girlfriend since I left for work on Sunday. I have gotten maybe 20 total minutes of sexual contact with my boyfriend. Because I had to go into work on one of my usual days off, the boyfriend and I didn't get to celebrate my iud becoming fully effective today. I had to cancel plans I had for Friday night to go see a movie and visit the local dungeon for the first time with someone I've dated. Instead of spending time with and talking to my significant others, my mom, and the few close friends I have, or just being by myself, I've had to spend 9 hours a day for five days, and 8 hours on a sixth day, in a room full of people I don't know very well or trust or feel comfortable with, being friendly and answering questions about how my tiny human is doing, which just reminds me that I've left her behind.  
A lot of people on the kinky social networking site talk about how they are polyamorous because they have an infinite amount of love. That is most definitely not true for me. The amount of love I have is finite. The amount of patience I have is finite. The amount of emotional energy I have is finite. I wanted an open or at least monogamish relationship. I am poly because I fell in love with him, he already had a her, and I fell in love with her too. But my love, my energy, my time, and my patience are all finite. I know this is not true for everyone but it is true for me. When I have to expend more emotional energy, more time, more love in one area, I have less to give elsewhere. This is exacerbated by being tired, lonely, and dealing with my own mental health issues. All this makes me empty and hollow and callous. 
Right now I might want more sex but there is a part of me that only wants it in the meanest possible way. I want to use someone and not give two shits. I want to find someone who I know can't get sex easily somewhere else and use them because I know they will work harder to keep the sex than anyone else and they will continue even though I don't care about them. I know that sounds horrible, but that's what I feel right now, which is why I try not to look for sex at moments like this no matter how much I want to have more sex and no matter how much that is perfectly alright with in the parameters of my relationship.
Ginger is developing a romantic relationship with someone who's been her friend for over half of her life. As she talked about this relationship and just how she feels about romantic relationships in general, I realized how far apart we are in how we feel and how we look at the world. I would not describe her as naive. She has had a much harder life than I have, hung out with and been protected by some shady characters who loved her in ways even her family did not, and has worked very hard to get to where she is in all areas of her life. Given all this, I find her views on romantic relationships surprisingly ...romantic. She is poly so she can add more love to her life. She and the Professor both feel that they are as made for each other as two people can be. She wants and needs a romantic relationship in her life where she doesn't feel they will leave her.
I don't know how much of this is me just being willful, how much is just being super emotionally tired, but I don't share any of those feelings in my own life. I don't think there is anyone we are made to be with. I feel like my experience has taught me that people will always leave you, even if it is just through their own unavoidable death. It is exceedingly rare that I meet someone that can inspire enough lust in me for me to make time for them and I have serious doubts about meeting someone I'll want to pursue any kind of love relationship with. Even before the tiny human, I did not have extra romantic love to give anyone. I barely have enough for the two people I'm already with.
What sort of scares me is that I'm not even sure when this happened. I used to be much more idealistic. As I write this, all I can feel is the hardness around my heart.
Something he said last weekend has stuck in my head. We had the day alone to play. We've been playing with some new dirty talk stuff and it's been really exciting. He never says something that some part of him, however small, doesn't believe. After a particularly intense discussion about all the things he'd use to show to me how attractive I still am, not just to him but to other people, he looked at me and said, "But you're not hot when you're a bitch." To emphasize that he wasn't just being playful, he followed it up with "You can be vulnerable sometimes."
And maybe he's right. I know that I've had a particularly bad case of resting bitch face this week at work. But I don't have the time or emotional energy to sort through who I can trust here and who I may like, even if I had the time and emotional energy to have more people in my life, in any capacity. With all the complications any sort of relationship at work brings, I'm a bit glad that I'm not hot there. Already dodging one co-worker, who is older than my parents, and who definitely inspiring that emotional sadist in me. I just don't have the time or energy that she needs.  

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

The Calculus of Non-monogamous Relationships

A few nights ago, I wrote a long post about some realizations I'd had recently in my current relationship. When I woke up the next morning, I decided it might be too personal to publish, especially in the eyes of my partners, who are more private people, though I knew I still wanted to publish something that touched on those realizations, however obliquely, as well as address other general issues in poly. This is my attempt at that. Also, my current relationship is all 3- non-monogamous, open, and poly, so that is what I am speaking from. I tried not to use them interchangeably though because they are not the same thing. Non-monogamous covers all three, but not all poly relationships are open (as in an exclusive committed poly triad where those three people are only with each other) and not all open relationships are poly (as in people who have sexual contact outside of their main love relationship, but aren't looking for love relationships outside of their primary love relationship.) Every dynamic is different so your mileage may vary.

Lately, I've found myself in a weird position. That of being a grown-up, one that other people sometimes even look to for advice, as if I was some kind of expert. That is super weird to me because I've spent so much of my life looking at other people who seem to have it so much more together than I have. Half of the time, when someone does ask for advice, I don't feel like I have much of an answer to give them. This is especially true when it comes to issues of non-monogamy. Just because I'm doing it and it is working doesn't mean I feel like I have very good answers. Then again, sometimes I think they're just asking me the wrong questions, questions that I have no answer to, that largely no one has good answers to. That's probably because most people ask me how they can find a unicorn or how they can help their partner find other partners. My answer to that is "fuck if I know. I just kinda fell into this situation. None of us were looking for it but it just kinda happened." No, what I have more answers about is how we're still together, though that might also not be helpful for everyone. Just as with BDSM, I came to non-monogamy and openness and poly with a good deal of theoretical knowledge, only to have found that practice with real people in the real world is very different.

There's a meme I see pop up online from time to time about "Don't make someone a priority if they only make you an option." I've seen this cited by people who came into an open or poly situation that didn't work out for them as how they now view open or poly relationships, why they won't be involved with open or poly people, etc. In fact, I recently had someone close to our family, who is really supportive of our family and our relationship tell me that the whole reason she won't allow her and her husband to be open/poly is because she didn't feel like he would continue to treat her like a priority if he had other options.

Let's get one thing straight right off the bat: I am not the great poly proselytizer. There are a million ways in which it is a lot of work. No matter what version of non-monogamy you are practicing, it is more work and complication than monogamy. If having a relationship with one person means multiplying by 2, non-monogamy makes things more complicated exponentially. It's not calculating trajectories for two objects out in space. It's orbital mechanics for a whole solar system, with planets and moons for each planet. Even within my own little triad, we all have different reasons why it works better for us, but that doesn't mean that it is for anyone else. The people who didn't feel like they were made a priority in the non-monogamous, open, and/or poly relationships they were in are completely justified in not wanting to potentially repeat that by being in another one. 

On the other hand, I would also say that maybe it wasn't the non-mono/open/poly that was the problem. Maybe it was the people involved and/or differing expectations for the relationship. Most of you reading this probably know that The Professor, Ginger, and I had several months of "break" in our relationship at the end of last summer and during last fall. When I would tell people that I wasn't living with them anymore and that I was dating other people, most people responded with some variation of, "So you figured out that type of relationship doesn't work/wasn't for you, huh?" (Though there were a few people who hinted they thought it was over because "well, he didn't chose you," which I largely ignored.) Nope. There were lots of issues. I realize now that some of them were even with how I felt about the poly dynamics, but it was never poly itself. No, most all the issues were ones of differing expectations and unexpected limitations, which I think that every relationship goes through. New relationship energy makes you want to give the moon to your partner and even convinces you that you can. Then reality sets in and it's difficult to admit not only that your partner can't give you the moon they promised but that you can't do it either. Now imagine you have two partners that you can't give the moon to and who just told you that they can't give you the moon either because, well, you're all a bunch of fucked up people with lots of baggage and limitations. I'll admit, I went out looking for someone to give me the moon I thought I wanted. While I met some very nice people, I largely found that they didn't really have moons to give me either, even if I had wanted to take a moon from them. More than that, I realized that all the things my partners could give me, while not the unrealistic things we'd initially promised, were given in love and pretty fucking awesome. I'd already realized that when I then got a moon accidentally anyway. 

One of the other things I think about with the above meme is if the person posting also made the other person's other relationships a priority. When talking to that above person who knows my family personally, I told her that it could be difficult, especially when one of us gets the new relationship energy with a new person, but we really try hard to communicate about our needs, so that no one feels like they are left behind. Some people feel like they are bad at poly when they don't feel compersion (the opposite of jealousy, when you can feel joy seeing your loved one love someone else.) I think it's more in how you deal with the jealousy and/or envy that you will feel at some time. We regularly schedule time where it is just two of us together, in all pairings. Not just "yeah, we sat around and watched tv just the two of us" kinda nights, but nights were you are actively participating with that partner. When I first came into the relationship, I knew the nights that Ginger had off work and respected those as time they had together. Even when I lived with them, I'd often plan weekends out of town or stay at my parents and do laundry on nights that were reserved just for them. As my schedule was much more flexible, the Professor and I largely didn't have to schedule things as tightly, though Ginger and I often had to because our schedules and sleeping hours would clash. The times that I attempting dating other people, I made sure to give undivided attention to them as well. 

Even with all this fairly good communication and compromise skills, sometimes you still feel this tug of "ugh, this thing really bothers me, even though it's unreasonable and there isn't a way to change it." A few days ago, I wrote a long post about an issue I had like that. While I decided the long version was too private to post, I am going to try to summarize my part of it here. For much of the relationship, I was bothered by what I thought was unequal sleeping arrangements. For me, the difference between a casual sexual relationship and a romantic relationship was if I felt comfortable sleeping with someone and did on a regular basis. At Ginger and the Professor's old place, there was a master bedroom with a queen, later king, size bed and a guest room with a double bed. Even once they got a king, it wasn't comfortable for all three of us to share a bed. I didn't usually sleep at the same time as Ginger, so we rarely shared a bed. Sometimes the Professor slept with me in the double bed, but more often than not, he'd sleep in "their room." Now there are many reasons why this was not an unreasonable situation. First of all, because of differing sleep schedules, it wasn't actually like he slept more with Ginger than with me. More often than not, he was sleeping alone. Even more than this though, he had very justified reasons for not wanting to sleep with me. We are both big people and the double bed just isn't big enough for us. Even when we could sleep in the bigger bed in the master bedroom, I snore and talk in my sleep, both of which prevent him from getting much sleep at all. Even knowing all of this, there was this thing that nagged at my brain and said "you aren't equal because you sleep alone." 

When I wrote the post a few nights ago, after we had all gone to bed at our new place together, me in my double bed in my room, them in the king size bed in the master bedroom, I realized that them sharing the same bedroom was actually much better in many ways. For a few months after I got pregnant, the Professor slept in the bed with me every time I was over. (Must be a male "must protect the pregnant lady" urge, combined with the fact that I wasn't snoring as much anymore.) It was really sweet for the first week or so. Then the annoying started to creep in. "Fuck he keeps stealing my pillows." "How did I end up with only 6 inches of the bed?" "Damn, I was really planning on watching some dirty porn and masturbating tonight, but he had to be all sweet and want to cuddle and now he's asleep! When will I start snoring again so he won't want to sleep with me!?!" Then there's that I love having my own space. I got used to having something that was just mine in the apartment that I had for the last year or so. There was no argument over bedrooms when it came to this place. Master bedroom would mean sharing and I didn't want to share. Yes, my bedroom isn't large but it's my sanctuary and I also have the "family" room downstairs for most of my books and such. Finally, just like I need the space to myself, I have realized how it makes their relationship, a relationship I was welcomed into but that already existed, stronger and more secure. We are going through some growing pains right now. While we are welcoming a child into the relationship, it is not how we planned it originally, which puts unique strains on all of our bonds. Ginger is also growing an existing friendship into a romantic relationship, which is unique both in that she hasn't had more than a few dates with anyone outside the relationship but also that there is hopes of it being a long-term addition to the family, not just a passing thing, which is what the Professor and I tend to go for. This is a time that could be especially precarious for their relationship and I want to do everything in my power to help ease that, even if that is just making more space for them to be together, no matter what they choose to do with it or not do with it. I've learned the hard way that I can't "fix" things between them, any more than Ginger can fix things between the Professor and I or the Professor can fix things between Ginger and I. The best we can do is make space and time. 

So what I'm getting at is poly is hard. It can be really fulfilling and I think that everyone should at least know that non-monogamy, open relationships, and poly relationships are things that are out there, even if they decide that it is not for them. And I am completely useless at finding unicorns, as I can't even find an outside FB/FWB that I feel comfortable with at this time when that should theoretically be much easier. It takes people really communicating, even if all they can say is "I'm feeling sucky about x. It may be unreasonable. Let's find a reasonable way to deal with it." As Ginger and the Professor have often said, it takes you wanting the relationship more than you want to not be vulnerable. It takes people who are able to actively put the health of the other relationship(s) first sometimes, even when it doesn't look like it benefits them directly. It takes knowing that every dynamic is different, both those between individuals within the group and the groups themselves. It means that things won't always be equal, or at least won't always look equal, and that sometimes you won't be the priority. At the end of the day, it's about what works, for you as an individual and for you as a group. 

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Choosing The Price You Pay

It's difficult for me to say if my uncle was an introvert or an extrovert. Sadly, I can't ask him now. He did like to spend his time alone, would spend days at the lake, just drifting along in his boat. He loved living out in the country where he could be alone with the stars. But he also had many friends. Not just acquaintances, but people who were close to him. The sister of a friend of his came from 10-12 hours away, so she could help us out while he was in hospice, cooking us food, just being a shoulder to cry on. In those last years of his life, he had a hard time keeping up with all the people he wanted to talk to, between treatments and just being sick and tired, but he tried. 

I am not my uncle, however. I sit solidly in the introvert camp. Being around groups of people drain me. Even being around just a few people can be draining after a while. As the Professor, Ginger, and I plan on moving in together before our first child comes, I know that I will have to lock myself away in my room from time to time, veg out for hours to recharge when I need to. I'm glad we found a place where I won't have to share my bedroom with anyone, even my child. 

I have a few close friends. Two female friends who live in the metro, who I talk to more on facebook chat than anything else. Moneypenny lives four hours away, who I text with a few times a week (maybe) and try to see once a month. TyRoy spends his weeks 2 hours away and his weekends in the metro with his new wife, who I don't get to see very often because of our schedules and who I really should email more often. Occasionally, I'll talk or text with MP, more since I've been pregnant and he's concerned about how I'm doing. That's about it. Here and there, I will text with acquaintance-type people, but that's about it. It isn't a very large group.

I've tried branching out. Last fall, I tried to get out in the bdsm community as well as date through online sites. While I met many nice and fun people, nothing serious came of it. I stopped dating altogether just before I found out I was pregnant and then I stopped going to bdsm community events when my work hours changed and I started dealing with being pregnant. I was very overwhelmed and really retreated from more casual acquaintances, rather than have to expend more emotional energy on anything else. 

In the last few months, once I started to get adapted to this new 2nd shift schedule, I tried once again to find people that I could connect with through online sources. I was really lonely when I got off work, since none of my current friends are usually awake when I get off work. I just wanted someone to talk to, like you would with any friend after a long, tiring day. But I wanted someone who I had things in common with, who it was easy for me to talk to, who I didn't feel like I was always justifying my life to. I wanted someone it was easy to chat with, just like how it feels when you strike up a friendship with someone in any other context. But just like when I was dating last fall, I don't really have the emotional energy or the time in my life to expend on people I don't feel are a good fit for what I'm looking for. I know that sounds incredibly dismissive of other people and maybe it is. On the other hand, during neither period of time did I think that the people I chose not to have relationships with were not worthy people, in and of themselves. Even the people I had the worst dates with or the worst correspondences with still have good qualities and should have friends and romantic/sexual partners who they connect with. Hell, if I had unlimited time, unlimited emotional energy, and wasn't an introvert, I may have had successful friendships or other relationships with them. But I don't and we didn't. And, as much as I don't want to rob others of their own ability to choose to be in my life, I do feel like it is better for them to spend time with and on people they have a chance of a friendship or relationship with, instead of someone who probably won't be able to give them what they are looking for, or at least not for very long before she had to disappear again.

The older I get, the more I see the prices you have to pay for things, the trade-offs that have to happen. One of the big things you learn in DBT is radical acceptance, which is acknowledging how things actually are in this moment, so you can stop struggling with how it shouldn't be like this and start dealing with how it actually is. That means realizing your limitations and the limitations of the situation you are in, so you can either work within that or change how you see the situation. It's where you start to make the trade offs that you have to make to be an effective, not crazy adult. 

Sometimes, it means being selfish, knowing how much you have to give and only giving that to the most important people and things in your life, even when there are other people or things that are just as worthy or deserving. Sometimes, it means hurting other people's feelings, because they want to be someone you take a chance on, just like they are ready to take a chance on you. Sometimes, it means passing up a lot of opportunities, especially ones that you don't think are sure things, for ones you do feel more confident of, only to have those blow up in your face. Sometimes, it means being picky. Sometimes, it means being seen as a bitch or stuck up or difficult. 

And sometimes it means realizing that you'd rather be lonely because the price you'd have to pay to not be lonely is higher than the price you pay being lonely. 

There's one of those cliched self-help sayings that says that a person won't change until the pain they feel to stay the same is greater than the fear they have of the change they'd have to make, or the pain of making that change. For myself, this has definitely been true. I didn't put in the hardwork to change my life until the pain of that life was greater than my fear or change and the pain I worried I'd experience if I changed. Right now, I have to acknowledge that I'm not there in dealing with this loneliness. And I accept that I am actively making this choice. I'm not acting like there are no good people out there, for friendship or romance or sex. I'm not acting like there are not awesome people who would take a chance on me. I'm not saying that none of this makes me come off as a kinda shitty or difficult person, or even that I'm not those things. Just that I'm not willing to make this trade off. At least not right now.

Saturday, March 28, 2015

Restlessness and Pregnancy

'Cause I'm a ramblin' man
I ain't ever gonna change
I gotta gypsy soul
And I was born for leavin' 
-"Colder Weather" Zac Brown Band

So now I am older
Than my mother and father
When they had their daughter
Now what does that say about me?
Oh, how could I dream of
Such a selfless and true love
Could I wash my hands of
Just looking out for me? 
-"Montezuma" Fleet Foxes

We got engaged on a Friday night
I swore on the head of our unborn child
That I could take care of the three of us
But I've got a tendency to slip when the nights get wild
It's in my blood....
At night I come home after they go to sleep
Like a stumbling ghost I haunt these halls
There's a picture of us on our wedding day
I recognize the girl but I can't settle in these walls
-"Runaways" The Killers

Maybe I just don't watch enough female-, mother-, and/or parent-centric movies or watch that kind of tv show or listen to that kind of music but I rarely see / hear things in popular culture about ambivalence from mothers about having children and/or being settled down. At least not after they're already pregnant. Sure there might be the comedy aspects of a movie like Knocked Up, about not being prepared for what pregnancy is, especially when it is an unplanned pregnancy, but I can't think of anything like the songs above, only for or about a woman. 

I don't mean to sound like I'm ambivalent about my pregnancy, because, at least at this stage, I'm really not. I know this is what I want, what I have wanted. I know I'll keep working hard to keep it. I know that we're all going to try to make this work as a family and I really do believe that we can. 

But there is a certain unease with all of this. The restless in my soul didn't just go away when I found out I was pregnant. Of course, it should surprise absolutely no one that I'm restless. The defining characteristic of my biological father for much of my life has been the simple fact that he wasn't there. While my mom was more settled, her answer main method of clearing her head was going for long drives or trips out of town. And we moved more than most people I've known when I was a child.

I remember playing this song for my husband, to help him understand that restlessness:
Leaving - Indigo Girls
Jet fuel and traffic lines
Pulling up to the delta signs
Distant shape of my hometown
Black stain where the wheels touch down

I pick up the morning news
I pass the man who's never shined my shoes
Through security and to the train
That will take me to the aeroplane

Count the miles on the highway
The sum of all my days
There's a postcard, there's a call
And there's a picture for your bedroom wall

But do you ever wonder through and through?
Who's that person standing next to you?
And after all the nights apart
Is there a home for a traveling heart

But if I weren't leaving you
I don't know what I would do
But the more I go, the less I know
Will the fire still burn on my return?
Keep the path lit on the only road I know
Honey, all I know to do is go

A cup of coffee and my bags are packed
The same vow not to look back
Familiar emptiness inside
As the distances grow wide

And though I vow to memorize
The last look in your loving eyes
It's here dusk and there dawn
Oh it's like a curtain getting slowly drawn

But if I weren't leaving you
I don't know what I would do
But the more I go, the less I know
Will the fire still burn on my return?
Keep the path lit on the only road I know
Honey, all I know to do is go

But if I weren't leaving you
I don't know what I would do
But the more I go it seems the less I know
Will the fire still burn on my return
Keep the path lit on the only road I know
Honey, all I know to do is go

Early on in the dating the Professor, after a trip to St Louis was leaving me feeling particularly restless, I remember sitting outside on the bed of my step-dad's truck, smoking, texting with him about what he calls my "itchy feet," which he has too and understands but also knows never really leads you anywhere new, since you're still there no matter where you go, and that is what you are really looking for. 

I think one of the issues when we all lived together was a sort of trapped feeling that I couldn't shake. No matter how much I did want to create a family and didn't mind what I took on by being with them, there was still that restlessness. 

But nobody writes songs about pregnant but restless women, about the dialectic between wanting to settle down/raise a kid/have a family and that restlessness. 

Saturday, March 07, 2015

Growing up and Showing Up

When my uncle passed away, he was living in a trailer. It was a fairly nice trailer, though it was out in the country so there were mice and the like. It was a double wide with three bedrooms, a decent sized bathroom and a good sized kitchen. There was plenty of room for his boat, travel trailer, and all his cars. It was on property owned by a friend from work and her and her boyfriend (now husband) lived in the trailer while they took care of an older family member who lived in a house on the property. When they moved into the house after the relative passed away, they sold it to my uncle. My grandmother visited him once there. Even though he was really proud of the place and all the work he'd done on it, and he loved being out in the country, I think he was also a bit embarrassed. My grandparents had worked hard to give all of us a better life. He is still the only one of us to have a Bachelor's Degree. Living in a trailer *gasp* seemed like a step down or a step back. But he was really happy there and living more within his means than when he'd had a house in the suburb my grandmother lived in, so was it really that bad?

I've been doing a great deal of thinking lately about how I grew up, what the good parts were, what I wish I could have changed, how things might have been different if I or my parents had done things differently. I think that's probably pretty natural for the state that I'm in. Yeah, I'm knocked up. Yesterday makes 17 weeks. I know I haven't written at all lately and that's largely because I either didn't have anything to say or I didn't want to give words to what I was thinking. Yes, it was unplanned and unexpected but not unwanted. It is the Professor's (well, I'm 99.9% sure it is, though I've been honest with him about that.) While he freaked out a bit at first, he's really excited now. Ginger is also on board. I still feel guilty that it happened like this, that she didn't get to go first, but she seems to be rolling with it and not very upset.(As I'm writing this, the Professor is also nesting. He went into the kitchen for something and decided that everything was entirely too dirty. He's currently using the broom to clear the cobwebs off the ceiling. It's super cute. Take my word for it.)

I started a new job last week. It is through a temp agency, though the company does hire on when their HR decides to make people permanent. It's a long-term assignment. Some of the temps there have been there for six months or so. It's in the warehouse for a mail-order pharmacy. Right now, I'm working in shipping but I'll be moving to the dispensary as soon as they get the paperwork finished to register me as a technician with the state. It's full-time hours, with overtime that is sometimes mandatory and sometimes voluntary. I worked 9 hour days since I started and I'm planning on working 9 hour days next week too. While it's not mentally taxing, it can be rough to stand on your feet in largely the same spot for 9 hours. I'm still trying to find shoes that won't hurt my feet, though I'm starting to suspect now that my feet are just going to have to toughen up.

It's also the highest paying job I've ever had. I'm making 50% more per hour than I was making at my last temp gig. I'm making what Ginger used to make at her last job before the shift differential. But there's a part of me that feels like my uncle did when my grandmother came to visit him in his trailer. This job only requires a high school education. Generally speaking, it is working in a factory or plant environment, complete with conveyor belts and rolling lines. While it is probably cleaner than the airplane manufacturing factory my grandfather worked in all his life, it's still the same.

I've been wrestling quite a bit lately with what to tell my kid as s/he grows up. Mostly, I'm glad I went to the amount of college that I went to, even if I didn't graduate and am doing a job that doesn't require a higher degree of any kind. My biggest regrets are that I couldn't manage the depression well enough to finish and that I currently have a larger debt load than was necessary. But I have always loved learning and I wouldn't trade the knowledge I have. On the other hand, like many people in my generation, I feel like I was sold a false bill of goods. I was told that all that mattered was that you went to college, not what you studied, because any degree was worth it, would increase your earning potential and open up new fields. Now, even basic call center jobs will sometimes require a four year degree. Why? It's not like anyone ever learned how to work in a call center from going to college. It shows you can show up someplace for 4-5 years and finish something. That's all. But now that so many people have degrees, it's become the equivalent of what a high school degree was for people my parents' age. The market has been flooded with degrees and it has little meaning anymore.

I've been thinking that what I want to tell my kid (kids, if you include the child Ginger has sometime soon that I'm sure I'll co-parent with them) is that what's important is showing up and finding what makes you fulfilled, whether that fulfillment is in your job or in your life outside of your job. I grew up hearing that you should do what you love. What is that quote? "Do what you love and you'll never work a day in your life"? Yeah, I kinda think that's bullshit. You can choose to work in an area you are passionate about, like Ginger does working in the mental health / social work field, but it will still be work. That's why they pay you. Sometimes you go into something you are passionate about, like The Professor and computers, and grow to hate this thing that you used to love. Maybe you just take a job that doesn't kill your spirit or your body too fast, be a good worker and show up, and walk the line your whole life between working enough to have money to do what you enjoy outside of work but not working so much that you don't have time to do those things.

Look, this job is fine. It provides good money. I'm not doing a job that's reprehensible or kills my soul. While I might not have much energy when I get off work, I am able to get up early and do stuff before work and I have energy on the weekends to do stuff. Yeah, it's not a big career. It's not glamorous. It's not something bigger or better than what my grandparents or parents did. But right now I don't care so much about that. I care that I can be with the people I love and not still be miserable from work when I do it. I care that I can pay my bills and save up a little bit for moving and the baby. I think that younger me, the one who got so upset with her parents who complained about their jobs but weren't actively doing anything to change it and wouldn't move to a new profession, would probably be disappointed in that. Hell, I think my grandma would be a bit disappointed in it too. But a better life is about life being better, no matter how that looks. And the most important part of all of it, whether it be showing up to finish whatever degree you're getting and learning all you can from there or showing up to a job you hate so your resume looks good for the next one or showing up with your family, That's always been the hardest part of the depression- it's so difficult to just show up. You know you'll feel better if you do, or at least that you'll feel worse when you don't and the more you don't show up the more difficult it is to ever show up, but showing up is also a huge part of making it better. As this is something that both The Professor and I struggle with, I know it will probably be all the more important to impart on a child that is half of each of us. I think if anyone is disappointed about any of this, it should be that it took me this long to figure this out.