Archives for posts with tag: love and lovers

It’s a good morning. It was a lovely weekend. There’s not much else to say about either of those things. 🙂 I miss my Traveling Partner so much this morning; the weekend was delightful, romantic, connected, and satisfying. I sit here smiling to have a partnership with someone of such heart, intelligence, compassion, and competence… who loves me in return. Pretty splendid. 🙂

We didn’t just fall into this Love, of course; we built it. We built it on choices, using values, and verbs, and good communication. We treat each other well. We support each other. We set and manage our boundaries, each of us, and we each respect the other’s. We take delight in each other’s joy – even when we aren’t sharing it, even when it isn’t about us, even when we “don’t get it”; it matters most that the other person feels something so beautiful. We recognize they are having their own experience, and value each other’s agency as individuals. We nurture each other, and support each other’s goals, and each other’s work. Authenticity. Real respect. Reciprocity. Consideration. Compassion. Openness.

My “Big 5” values became most clear to me as I learned to understand what makes this particular relationship so profoundly good compared to others I’ve had. Respect, reciprocity, consideration, compassion, and openness are my Big 5 relationship values. I (now) build all of my relationships on a foundation that rests on these values. Why not? They are strong and steady, and foster solidly good relationships. Notice that “trust” isn’t there? Yeah… I am not convinced that “trust” is a strong value on which to build human relationships, personally. Honesty, sure, “trust? Not so much. I often hear tales of hurt, deceit, and woe, in which lost trust, or misplaced trust, or a lack of trust is a feature, and people somehow manage to feel fairly terrible that something they could have seen coming caught them by surprise. I’d prefer to know people, to see them as honestly as I can as who they actually are, based on behavior they actually provide, every day, as sample material. I don’t find it helpful to require people to affirm they are something other than they are; it only sets me up to be surprised and injured, when they turn out to be the person they have been all along. Better to see them clearly, accept them as they are, risks and flaws and all – and work to mitigate the potential harms in other ways, or walk on. For example: a friend known to gossip? Yeah… don’t share information or secrets with that person (and if they are doing you harm, are they a friend, in fact?). That’s a very simplified example, but it works with all sorts of character flaws.

Asking people to be someone they are not, however well-intended, then staying around to bear the consequences every time they disappoint us, or treat us badly, is one of the stupidest relationship models ever, of always (or so it seems to me). Choosing relationships with people who don’t share your values is fraught with complications and predictable painful moments. Sure, you can ask for change, demand it, even expect it; but the change is theirs to choose or to make. We make better choices when we are honest with ourselves about the people around us. Seeing them honestly, and recognizing who they are for real, without talking ourselves into anything, is a great beginning. I value authenticity… and real is still real if someone is really out of step with my values, but I don’t choose them for a partnership, or, maybe, any association at all, so there is real value in seeing people as they are as much as possible. If, for example, I know someone builds their life on deceit – why would I ever choose to become entangled with them romantically, however pretty they are, or funny, or willing to say nice words to me? Me, personally, I would not. It just doesn’t make sense to do that. I get the fuck out of there, fast, if it seems I have become involved with someone who’s relationship values, themselves, are so out of step with mine as to hold potential for emotional or physical injury. At least… I do now. It took practice, and a lot of self-reflection, and there were verbs involved.  🙂

The weekend with my Traveling Partner contrasted sharply with goings on in other lives, shared with me while catching up with this friend, or that one. Other People’s Drama. I listen. I can’t say I “understand”, exactly; I choose differently. I mean… I “get it”. I’ve been there. I’ve been the one hurt by lost trust… in the context of a relationship in which “trust” was a soap-bubble built on a fantasy that existed only in my head, in a relationship wherein a simple honest look around me would have told me the truth about all the lies. lol Yeah. I’m laughing. I’m laughing because crying about it is unproductive. Don’t like being lied to? Don’t make relationships with people willing to lie to you. Begging for their honesty and offering them your trust is… well, it’s what they’re counting on, because they are likely gonna lie to you, if that’s their way. Just saying. That’s how character works; people are who they are, based on the values they hold, themselves. Only. What they say to other people about their values is not relevant to the values they actually hold. The honesty I know I need to be able to “trust” most is my own. 😀

Not my circus, not my monkey. 🙂

This weekend, particularly, was super low drama; my partner and I enjoyed each other. Drama stayed outside our small world with each other. although there was plenty out there. It was a lovely break to share. Weekends do end, though… and… look at the time! It’s already time to begin again…

…You can too. You have choices. There are verbs involved. You can start again now – or any time. You’ll probably need practice; your results may vary. Choose wisely – you matter. 😉

 

My anxiety chased me slowly all day yesterday before finally subsiding during the course of an evening phone call with my Traveling Partner. There’s just been so much drama so far this year, of the OPD (Other People’s Drama) variety, that it eventually had begun to affect my consciousness, generally. The outcome? Anxiety at the thought of being any more distant, or distracted, or uninvolved, or unavailable to my partner than I absolutely have to be… making traveling rather anxiety provoking; it held the unspoken potential of somehow leaving him in harm’s way without my support. Yep. I take the safety of my Traveling Partner, and his well-being, rather seriously. I had become, in some fashion, literally “here for him”, and was losing my perspective on being “here for me” as well. lol Oops.

He is so dear, and strangely, humorously, wise; he pointed out that my trip would be taking me to a point almost the same relative distance from him that I already reside, day-to-day, and that digital communication being what it is, and friends, and personal resources, being as they are, certainly if any great need were to develop… I’m no farther away than I am right now. Well, damn. That’s some excellent perspective right there, and my anxiety could find no further foothold, and quickly dissipated, and has not returned. I woke feeling rested this morning, eager to enjoy the weekend with friends, and feeling chill and content. 😀

Well… I guess I’m glad I checked the weather for the weekend… lol

I’m packing light on this trip. I don’t just mean my baggage – I also mean my “baggage“, and that feels good. I’ve got clothes suitable for the weather, which looks to be… typical. Hot. lol Different than here. So different. I checked. 😀 I’ve got my laptop. My kindle (so… all the books). My device (camera, phone, tiny super computer…). A notebook… for notes, obviously. (Actually, it’s for writing poetry, which just “feels better” on paper, with ink, than on a keyboard.) That’s pretty much it; one small carry-on bag, with a couple changes of clothes and basic toiletries. I like to travel light – it’s so much less to fuss with and keep track of. This is true of my metaphysical, emotional, and social “baggage” as well… I feel so much lighter and less “weighed down” today! 🙂

I’m seeing old friends this weekend. Dear friends. The very best of “friends for almost 30 years”, friends. As many of them as can make time for it on this trip down their way, who live close enough to work with me to make it happen. I have a peculiar sense of home-coming, returning to a place I haven’t lived for 20 years (as of this coming October). I also have a lovely sense of “this is already exactly as pleasant as I’d hoped”, in the sense that I have no specific expectations, requirements, or needs beyond enjoying a chill weekend away. 🙂

55 soon… just 11 days. Numbers, emotions, time… it’s a good weekend to reflect gently on life, and to ask all the questions without worrying too much about the answers. 🙂 It’s a good time to begin again.

Well, Monday comes around too soon after a busy weekend. The down-and-back to visit with friends and with my Traveling Partner was… interesting. Worth doing. Strange. In some moments just flat-out weird as the evening developed.  Good party. Good weekend. Weird vibe.

Mental illness doesn’t play nicely – with its victims, or with their loved ones. Let’s note that this is a true thing, and then set that aside.

I never actually slept on Saturday night. It was a huge effort for my Traveling Partner and I to get even an hour together to chill and hang out. It wasn’t the party that kept him busy, it was the on-again-off-again intensifying spiral of OPD generated by his other partner’s mental health challenges more often than not, but also just real-life hosting-a-party crap that comes up over a weekend (“hey, is there more water?”, “hey, I cut myself – where are the band aids?”, “hey, where can I park?”, “hey, what’s the wi-fi password?”, “hey, is the party in the house,too, or just outside?”). We finally got a few minutes together to cuddle, to catch up, to talk… in seconds he was fast asleep in my arms. I haven’t spent such a lovely night in a long while, meditating, relaxed, content, cuddled up with my Traveling Partner for a couple hours. I couldn’t sleep. I knew there would be that risk when I went down; I don’t feel physically (or emotionally) safe in that location now,so… No sleep. Still, huge improvement for me, inasmuch as I also didn’t continue to feel anxious once I got there, and the hours of the night passed gently in each other’s arms.

I dozed off once (so close). I woke to a knock on the door. I got up very carefully so as not to wake my partner, stumbled through putting my pants on, and went to see if there was something urgent that needed attention (the medical bag was with us). Nope. I went back to bed. Some little while later, we were wakened with more conviction; a neighbor had started a burn on their property in the very early just-at-daybreak time of morning. The party people, in various stages of intoxication, could see the fire…but couldn’t puzzle out whether it was a legitimate hazard, or not, at that distance. (It was unfathomable that people might actually wake up at such an hour and do actual work or life things. LOL) Farm folks are often up quite early, doing actual work. My Traveling Partner takes a look, says something reassuring. We go back to bed. He’s out like a light in minutes. I doze for a few minutes myself, wake again, and get up and dress for the morning; it was time for coffee, for breakfast, and time to hit the road. “No sleep at all” would mean a narrow window of opportunity to safely make the drive home before fatigue set in.

The drive back was pretty uneventful, and generally efficient and pleasant. I got home in a timely fashion, and messaged my Traveling Partner and concerned friends that I was safely home. I didn’t hear anything back for many hours (because… drama). I am okay with having made such a short trip down and back under the circumstances, and enormously pleased with how I feel today. (Untouched by OPD, and largely unaffected by the mental health issues of a metamour I am easily able to maintain adequate distance from). I am okay right now. I was okay Saturday. It was a good weekend, generally. My self-care was on point. 😀

There was an interesting moment, conversationally, during the party. Worth taking another look at, but maybe not this morning; it’s not relevant, specifically, to this topic, right here. 🙂 This morning? I’m getting ready for a new work week; it’s time to begin again. 😀

Where will the journey take me? What obstacles are in my path? Are they actually obstacles – or do I just need the gate code?

My gear is packed. I’m rested. The work week is behind me. The weekend is ahead. My anxiety is through the fucking roof, in spite of there being “nothing wrong” in any literal sense; I am facing my inner demons, today, or at least one small cohort of the mocking hateful little bastards, and I am hoping to come through, if not “victorious”, then at least fairly cognizant just how okay I actually am. That’d actually be a pretty spectacularly big deal.

I survived family violence in my childhood home. I survived domestic violence. I survived the Army, and yes, I survived war. I have, actually, survived all of what life has thrown at me so far – even the good stuff. 🙂 What has lingered are the scars, emotional and physical. The learned limitations. The fears. The background stress of my injured brain insisting something is imminently going to go very very wrong. Scary dangerous wrong. Look out for that hazard right there!! Only… generally? No hazard. PTSD instead.

When things went sideways with my Traveling Partner’s other partner (in poly vernacular, my “metamour”), becoming a mental health crisis of epic proportions, affecting an entire fairly closely associated community, it was also a re-traumatizing event for me. The aftermath was even directly emotionally abusive, specifically targeted to be so, hurtfulness set on “stun”, although the weaponized words and emotions were being launched by a human being fairly obviously not in her right mind at the time, I am human, and I feel. All the feelings. I’ve got my own baggage to carry. Afterward, the easy solution for me has been to just “let all that shit go” and walk on. I do not need (or want) that kind of bullshit in my life, and I have learned to turn away from it.

Not all of life’s decisions are mine to make. Funny how that works. I get to make mine, and I have learned to respect, value, and insist upon my agency. It’s precious to me. On the other hand, I’m not strolling through life utterly alone, here; other people have their lives, too, and their own decisions to make, and they so do make them. I live with those decisions, as well as my own, because we’re all in this together. lol One such decision is to have a birthday party at the very location where “all the bad shit went down”, some weeks after the fact, and almost-but-not-quite as if nothing untoward or unpleasant had even been a thing. Weird. I have trouble wrapping my head around that. Inviting me into that environment seems a tad disrespectful, or even callous, although more likely it is merely ignorant of the potential impact to me, or even more likely still, I am highly regarded, desired good company – which may matter more to all of the non-me people involved. lol I got invited.  …And… I’m an adult, right? My friends are adults, too. We are each having our own experience. Mine says ‘do not walk, run, get as fucking far away from that shit, as far as possible, because you do not want to be there when that mad bitch burns her fucking house down’… but… really? Well. I don’t know, do I? Mental health challenges being what they are, and love being what it is, people do make a fairly wide range of choices when loved ones lose their shit in one flavor of mental health crisis or another. People don’t always turn entirely away. I still don’t get it, myself, at this point in life; I’ve stopped taking abuse. Protestations of love are not enough to keep me in an abusive relationship. That’s non-negotiable…but…

…What’s a “safe distance”? In this instance, specifically, when there is no clear certain threat to me personally of any notable sort, what then? So… I’m doing something occasionally suggested in therapy, and utterly resisted by me. Exposure. Facing my fears, in real life. Making the choice to visit friends, and have a good time, in a physical location that causes me a fuck ton of anxiety and stress… for no obvious reason in this moment (the stress I mean; hanging out with friends does not need reasons, and every moment is a good one for hanging out with friends). This could be a very healing thing for me. It’s fucking hard as hell, though, and I find myself dithering a bit as I prepare to leave for the weekend away. It’s just an overnight, down and back, and a chance to look over some real estate on the way back. This? This is an experience to have.

There are verbs involved. Self-soothing. Taking time out to regain perspective. Practices to practice. This? It’s a test. 🙂 I’m content if I get a “C”… I would like to pass it, though. lol I take a deep breath and relax. I’m aware of the physical pain I am in – and the potential that some measure of that pain is directly related to my emotional well-being in some way. Another breath. I let my shoulders slide back down where they belong. I am okay, right now. The road beyond the driveway is quiet. It’s a good time to get started on this journey.

I am my own cartographer. My choices are my own. I walk my own hard mile. My results may vary; and I have choices. I become what I practice. The woman in the mirror smiles back at me. We’re in this together.

It’s time to begin again.

I can see, beyond my studio window, the thunderstorm I drove through earlier today. The same one that I lay awake listening to, smiling, as it rolled through a town further south, sometime around 3 a.m. … I hadn’t been sleeping, just laying quietly, resting in the darkness, smiling, and letting random memories live again, for just a moment. It was a busy, adventurous weekend, and wrapping up the whirlwind of activity, connection, and fun on a quiet restful sort of moment was a lovely way handle things. I certainly needed to rest. I’m still… so tired. 🙂

This weekend was not, in any reasonable fashion, as I’d planned it. I’m okay with that. I had to be quite spontaneous, for days and days, and while that presents me with some challenges, I also got the quiet time to reflect and process things, which I need in order to manage it. I’d still rather have executed to skillful plan… lol I’m still myself. I wouldn’t have swapped one moment of this adventurous weekend for any other; where it wasn’t entirely delightful, it was at least educational, and often humorous. I have grown. 🙂

A memory. A moment. A flower.

8 years with my Traveling Partner, now thoroughly celebrated, cherished, savored, and acknowledged with shared joy and love. That, at least, was wonderfully well done in every possible respect. I still feel wrapped in love, as I sit here sipping water, rehydrating, and contemplating next steps for the day, and how best to get the new week started. I’m so tired. lol I could quite happily just go right the fuck to bed, right now, at 2:54 in the afternoon, and figure as long as my alarm was set for tomorrow morning, all is well. I just don’t have to force myself to work harder, right now.

There is value – so much value – in lingering over pleasant experiences.

There is a dog barking. I only sort of notice it today, and it is less than typically annoying. The breeze picks up, and the leaves seem suddenly a stranger brighter green against the storm-cloud backdrop of imminent rain. The hallway is obstructed with partially unpacked weekend details. I stalled between inspecting, repacking and putting away all the actual camping gear, and unpacking and putting away everything else; I’d gone away this weekend prepared to paint, prepared for evenings out (one never knows what the occasion may require…), prepared to camp – or not camp, prepared to read awhile, prepared to take photographs… all of which have their own “gear” requirements. I really only put away the camping stuff. There’s… so much more. My aching feet, my bad ankle, my tired back… all say “just chill”. My headache says “drink more water”. My fatigue says “take a nap”. It’s not actually possible to do all of those things at the same time. lol The sweat that cooled me while I worked in the sun on a warm afternoon has now cooled to chill me, and I run my fingers through my hair, and realize a hot shower would feel… so nice. I breathe, relax, and finish this glass of water right here, with a promise to myself to refill it and have another, on my way to the shower.

This moment right here, so human, so entirely ordinary, and in every way unremarkable, fills my senses quite pleasantly. I feel content. I feel a soft surprise to realize how unremarkable it has become to feel contentment, and sit with the moment awhile, listening to the breeze rustle the leaves beyond the deck, and feeling the sweat cool on my skin. Is this happiness? I’m not sure. I’m not even sure it matters; it’s enough.

I smile when my mind responds “this too shall pass”. Yes, yes, of course, it likely will. It is the way of things. All things. That’s okay. I can begin again, any time.