(Aside: This is a piece I wrote for the Matrix magazine that I am the junior editor of.)
When the cheating starts, the fighting, the lying, the crushing anxiety. When the fear sets in, and the threats start coming in waves and you want to crawl inside yourself and never leave. When you hide yourself, not your face or your body but you, the colorful, nurtured, lively you. The one who dances in fields in their dreams and has flowers in their hair.
No that person is hidden underneath the shame. Underneath the lies.
The biggest lie is that there is only one way to love.
I was told that loving was limited. The prince and princess and their one love.
Heterosexuality. Monogamy. A singular unity between two people.
This is a lie.
I was scared to question my feelings. I was scared to share with my friends my doubts. They’d say: “No, there is no way you could be a lesbian.”
And I say lesbian because, yet again I thought, it can’t be possible for me to like more than one. I must be greedy. Lustful. Out of control. I must be ravenous for some kind of contact.
But I’m not. I just have a capacity to love more than one gender and more than one person. And that was a well too deep for me to look down into, and when I did look I thought it was just an illusion and it was actually shallow. Shallow as if being more capable to love more than one gender and more than one person was crippling to my heart.
Then, knowing that monogamy and heterosexuality was an incapability of mine, I was unable to love at all.
I’m sorry about today.
I know it felt off. I was off.
Honestly, when you walked in, my heart skipped a beat like it was February still and we had just met. I was awkward, and I didn’t know how to look at you.
I think my page refreshed in my heart or something. Like I’m falling in love with you over again. Not as if I had fallen out of love with you, but I had fallen into stability with you before, and then disaster struck it’s usual course with me and I fucked up. And I told you.
And maybe it’s better now, I’m honest, I’m here, I’m trying my best but I feel like my best isn’t good enough. Like my best won’t ever be good enough.
And I know you know that too, you said it yourself today. “If only it were easier”.
Simplicity is unattainable in a relationship, nothing is simple when it comes down to human emotion, there are too many variables and inputs you can’t discern one from another because they are inseparable. Life is tangled in us, like I am with you, and I get farther and farther drawn into your life the more I think about you and keep you.
So I’m keeping you. On one side, it is because I am so tangled into you that I feel like to be without you here in the wilderness of the world I’m putting myself in I need you, more than I’ve needed anyone (other than my family). I need you to be here to love me, to help me, to make me feel like I have a home, to make me love someone else like I know I can but thought I never could, you’re here to watch me fuck myself over but still love me after it’s all done.
On the other, I am keeping you because I’ve never tried so hard for a relationship ever before you. I’ve never put my all into someone like I have with you, I do you know? I gave and continue to give everything to you. And maybe that’s a bad thing, maybe it’s a good thing, but those words don’t actually mean anything. Good and bad are the worst descriptions anyone could ever use.
So let me try again.
Maybe it’s gonna kill us both. Maybe staying with you will tear my insides apart because everything I have is all in my head and other than that I’m worthless. Maybe it’ll kill you to put up with that. It’ll bring you to the point of madness because I’m so damn difficult.
But maybe it’ll teach me how to be here. Maybe it’ll teach me how to edify and not feel superfluous and actually do what everyone says the right thing to do is. Love you, love you forever, love you for always, as long as I’m living, my man you will be?
Sometimes I just cry though, cry and cry, and cry and I can’t stop and I don’t why I’m so sad. So I blame it on the fact that my freedom that I used to know is gone and I feel guilty for everything and I feel like the smallest slip with shatter the world I’ve built with you and it’ll be over and I’ll have to go home because I’m such an emotional wreck.
I think without you I would be suicidal. But you already know that.
I’m might be either way, but I know post-you, I don’t know how I feel.
Because obviously, right now, I’m not in post-you mode. I’m present-you. I’m here, I’m honest, I’m trying my best, and you are too. I don’t know if you are honest, but I’m pretty sure you are, I know when you lie. I don’t know if you are trying your best, because I know you are in a slump right now. I’m hoping you can come out of it and get yourself in the right direction, wherever that may be.
But now, I’m present-you and I’m crying every time I see you, and I’m crying even when I’m not seeing you. And I was crying in the beginning when the curvature of the earth was separating us and I was crying because I knew what I would come to, but not knowing what the future held scared me so goddamn much I couldn’t even voice my fear because I knew you wouldn’t understand.
It’s not easy having a brain that never stops, a mind palace that is infinite. I’m stuffing my closets in my brain with things I can’t say to you because they will upset you. I’m hoping when I’m with you and I’m in my head that I don’t walk past them and smile, because that happened today and I knew it would make you mad to know about the things I stored away in there. They are becoming blue memories because of you, when they used to be golden, funny and light.
I don’t want to ignore all the good things, but right now those are too easy to see, which means they are in such plain view they are hiding the things I probably need to pay attention too. I’m trying to pay attention.
You can’t pay attention. I don’t know how I’ve adapted to that, I guess adaptability truly is one of my greatest strengths. But with your ADHD I don’t have to change my personality and DNA. I don’t have to change my frontal lobes neuron language. But being monogamous, that is trying to tell me to change my DNA. I don’t think that way. I never will.
Since you told me you didn’t like red, I haven’t worn a single thing red. Some how that small phrase you said months and months ago stuck with me, and I recalled this:
I’m not saying this is true, but I’m finding it hard to not relate with.
I know you have changed me, which isn’t a surprise. I’m glad you’ve influenced me. You’ve helped me to see that life can be simple and you can be happy. You’ve helped me understand street smarts and how to avoid scary things. You’ve helped me see what I dislike. You’ve helped me learn how to trust.
But you’ve also instilled the knowledge that I know a simple life will never satiate me. I’ve tried. I’ve pursued the simplicity of monogamy, the easy life of school, job, boy friend. Which would evolve into : Employment, marriage, children. Retirement, settlement, grandchildren. I don’t think I want those things in the white picket fence, sepia filtered sense that you do. Life is rainbow too me, everything is something different than you thought it was, I don’t see things as black and white with rose colored accents. I see it like a flower child from the 60’s would. Like someone tripping on acid but retaining a sense of self.
Deanna pointed out something interesting last night, she said: “It’s funny, how you like being caged by things, but not by people.” She referred to my love of clothing and obsession with belts and accessories; the fact I can’t sleep without my retainers (AKA teeth cages). Being caged by people, or restrained physically, (as you well know by now) makes me fall apart and have a panic attack. Then she said to me, “Take this and apply it to what is happening with you and Shane.”
11.22.15 I can’t be caged. I knew this before with Cameron. See, he and I started our relationship right before he flew out to school his freshman year to Stanford University in California. It was magical and amazing and I was in love with him. But I also knew that I couldn’t be with him if he was away, and it would be wrong of me to keep us monogamous. I also knew inside me that I would never stay true to that anyways. I was 15, but that feeling hasn’t changed.
Fast forward four months and he is back from school, we see each other and fall back into the pattern of things, we are intimate and it’s wonderful, but we also talk for hours and simply enjoy one another. It’s nothing comparable to you of course, you are the absolute opposite of him, which is honestly great. If you were anything like him I wouldn’t truly love you, I would love the shadow of you but be holding onto the memory of Cameron.
Back to 2013, Cameron left, he went back to school and I was alone. We didn’t discuss our terms, we didn’t need to. He knew I would be with other partners, and I knew he would too. At the time I was 16, and I wasn’t interested in getting any more involved with someone longer than a night. Maybe a week. The point of dating was lost on me.
That summer, Cameron returned and he asked me to be his girlfriend, but he already knew my answer, I think he just wanted to show how he felt. I said that when he was here, and we were talking affectionately he would be my boyfriend, but when he was gone, and we had space he wouldn’t be. But this did not mean monogamy. No, I was with other people, and I told him that. He knew and knows that I am a free spirit that won’t be tamed. I even told him stories and struggles that I had with other partners and friends and he shared his, as my friend.
Friendship comes first, if I can’t talk about the intimate matters that happen with others or the intimate thoughts I have I am not fully expressing myself. As strange as this may seem, I find that story telling is my way of expressing, sharing, and showing my loved ones what is going on inside me and around me. I don’t know if this “socially acceptable” because as you say, “Kissing and telling is just wrong” and the like… I don’t see it as “kissing and telling” I see it as having an experience and telling someone about it, just as if I had climbed Mt. Hood with you and I told my mother. My definition of kissing and telling is like being a huge gossip whore and involving people in your business that shouldn’t be involved. But you see, by my definition, telling you the experiences that I’ve had isn’t being a gossip whore, it is sharing my life with you, a person who is very much in my business and I in yours. If you considered yourself not involved in my business I would be offended and run off dramatically like in the movies (or like a twelve year old).
So Cameron and I continued in this way. No labels, no monogamy, no terms and conditions, just that we were friends, who loved each other very deeply, and knew that without each others support (in what ever way we gave it) we would be sad.
The summer before I met you, Cameron was very entangled with me, but I had no idea how to feel. I went from “please stay” to “I never want to do this again” to “come back”. These emotional swings are still baffling to me, but maybe I was just tired of the condition-less conditions. Our unspoken rules were eating at me.
Now I told you that Cameron and I were still “on” when I met you. I mean you can’t tell me I was doing something wrong because Cameron and I weren’t monogamous. And for all purposes I would have stayed “on” with him even after you asked me to be yours because he was just south of you on the other side of the country. He wasn’t going to fly to see me, no way, but he and I being “on” just meant that I was still hearing “I love you”‘s from him. Because he loves me. Me, me. He isn’t like my crazy x that is in love with the idea of me as a pony, fetishized and objectified. Cameron loves who I am, and I love who he is.
Then I told him one fateful night via text (because I am obviously the worst human being. Hypocrisy beyond compare), that I was trying monogamy out. Let me emphasize trying. Not to be confused with doing and achieving. I’m still trying.
11.24.15 Whatever decisions we talk about, whatever thing we are working on, it is always your way or the high way. Sex, food, sleep, conversation, anything. Everything I do is to accommodate for you. I can’t be changing all that I am and all that I think about for you. I need freedom of thought, I need freedom of speech, I need freedom to be the person I am without being afraid I’m going to hurt you by telling you something from my past. I can’t go on accommodating for all that you can’t handle or refuse to handle. I am complicated and difficult, I recognize that, but can’t you comfort me? Can’t you understand that I love you more than I’ve loved any one else in my lifetime and I want to be with you, but I can’t because I am not who I want to be with you.
I’ve thought long and hard over this, and delicately so. I thought about how I would feel after, post-you. I know both of us will be fine. We will live on. Life goes on. I will always love you. I will always love the taste of your skin, the feel of your arms around me, the way you smile when you are truly happy.
I made my choice to be post-you. I’ve decided and you can fight back all you want. But I’m taking the highway option.
You say I can have you and be monogamous, or be without you and be polyamorous. Well, there isn’t an “or” for me. I AM polyamorous. I DO love more than one person this very instant and I will always love more than one person because that is just how I love.
One day, maybe a few months from now, maybe a year or more, I’ll say hello to you again. And I want you to know I don’t want to cut you out of my life, my heart, my soul, and my mind, no I want to stop the cycle of pain I’ve been experiencing. I want to heal us. Because ever time I’ve had suicidal inclinations, every time I’ve needed support, it never really went away. It isn’t your fault that I have these feelings but it is your fault for triggering them.
I’m not saying this to be awful, I’m saying this because it’s true. Every time I “make a mistake” that I know will hurt you or could hurt you I feel like I’m worthless. I can’t feel that way, it’s driving me to the edge.
I want the best for you, which I know you might think “It’s you! You just need to change!” Well if I need to change to be with you, then I am not what is right for you.
1.2.16 So I love you. That’s undeniable. I have been trying to sort out all the things left unsaid and all the thoughts I had.
I’m thinking of the plans we made together, that look like old memories now. Obviously, neither of us know what the future holds, but we can at least write an outline.
When we met, you said you wanted three princesses, and my heart immediately jumped and I responded in a way I had never reacted to that future thought. In the past, (I know dredging it up again) I had always cowered away and scoffed at people’s proposals of children and marriage. I thought it was nasty. But, when you said that you wanted children in the sweetest way I’d ever heard someone talk about children, I had a feeling I was going to enjoy you.
It was the first time I let myself contemplate a future with someone. The first time I let my mind and heart wander over a thought and actually commit to this fluffy cloud idea. I call it a fluffy cloud idea because it is unpredictable and can change fast. I like those kinds of ideas though, as you know.
I know this must suck. I write and write, and write… It’s awful. I hate to do this to you, but I’m trying to find closure. Which probably doesn’t exist. But I’ll keep trying for our sake’s, I don’t want to lose you.
^^gross, “I dont want to lose you” is the nastiest— I take that back, the nastiest phrase I’ve heard is the one you told me while we were in your bed: “I’m not angry, I’m disappointed” HOW COULD YOU? we talked about that god awful phrase and cursed its existence and then you go and use it! In all seriousness.
Don’t you dare tell me that again. Don’t tell me you are disappointed. Find a better word.
Exemplia gratia/για παράδειγμα
- Crest fallen
You get the idea.
Anyways. I want you to know I don’t hate you and I don’t want to cut you out of my life like I have done to so many soul-sucked person. Being soul-sucked doesn’t suit you, I prefer you being soul-filled.
In so many situations every little word or deed is romanticized. A small kiss that feels like nothing can be turned into something with hollywood fireworks and crescendoing background music. Or having dinner with someone can be romanticized to seem like a glowing easy going thing when really on the inside you are desperately trying to hide the fact you are extremely insecure with yourself while eating in front of others and thinking: “Is there stuff in my teeth?”, “Did my noodles fall onto my lap?”, “Is he/she looking at my butt/boobs?” and “Why cant I just relax?”. Life is much more complex and less fluffy bunnies, unicorns, butterflies and flowers like some people would imagine it to be.
Don’t even get me started on making out or any escalation of it. It’s not all “ooh this is nice” it is a lot more than that. Sometimes you are going to accidentally kiss someone’s nose awkwardly, or do something that person doesn’t like when you are the one who is supposedly good at what you’re doing.
When people say: “I love you,” it can be so misinterpreted now. I say it to my friends all the time to show that I care about them and I say it also to my closer people that I truly see them and adore them for who they are, I don’t mean it in the “I am in love with you and want to have your babies” kind of way, if I did I would actually say that. Maybe more like: “I really really do love you, and I can see us going places and doing things and ya know we should…..get serious.” Why I introduce this is because in English we don’t have 1 word for different types of love, although we do have the idea and feelings of them in our culture. There is Romantic love, but not a separate word for it. Fraternal, Paternal, Maternal and Sororal love but we don’t usually say to people: “I love you fraternally!!” that would just sound really weird. Although in other cultures there are separate words for fraternal, maternal, paternal, sororal and romantic love because they are all different emotions which deserve individual definitions. This definition problem is what makes saying “I love you” so hard, because once we say the romantic “I love you” there is no going back to how things were.
Friends can help each other. A true friend is someone who lets you have total freedom to be yourself – and especially to feel. Or, not feel. Whatever you happen to be feeling at the moment is fine with them. That’s what real love amounts to – letting a person be what he really is.
THIS ONE ROCKS:
Time is too slow for those who wait, too swift for those who fear, too long for those who grieve, too short for those who rejoice, but for those who love, time is eternity.
-Henry Van Dyke
I connect deeply with this: