Change in all the areas of my life...

Tinwen

Active member
Today’s been a hard day. Like, a “I can’t even attempt to meditate to calm down because I start going into a panic attack / anxiety spiral” day.
I sooo get it. Like Eckhart's favourite question "Is there a problem in the present moment?" tends to make me furious some days :)
 

icesong

Member
Do you have a physical “if I keep doing this I can’t breathe” reaction? Because.... yeah.
 

Tinwen

Active member
Do you have a physical “if I keep doing this I can’t breathe” reaction? Because.... yeah.
No, fortunatelly not. But I have emotional pain which manifests very physically, and under the common meditation instruction to "watch the feeling" can grow so intense that I've ended up literally not being able to move or stand on my feet a few times. Not saying meditation can't help, it's just the most proven approaches sometimes aren't an option. So... yeah.
 

icesong

Member
Sometimes I doubt the path I chose. Sometimes my dreams feel all on hold. There's no doubt that this will make me strong. Because it's the hardest thing I've ever done. I've quoted this before, but I had no idea just how much harder it could get when I did.

But I don't know - I mean, yes, I can feel myself becoming stronger, in a welp this didn't kill me yet way. I'm being forced to be more honest with Artist about my feelings, so there's that. I... suspect we're gonna have some interesting but hard conversations after this is all over, about what role we actually are supposed to be playing in each other's life - I don't know if we have different answers to that question, and now is not the time to push that, really, but... there's some level of hierarchy there (maybe on both our sides, I don't know) that I don't want but I'm not sure how to overcome - and I'm not sure whether he wants to.

The logical thing to do, I suppose, would be to ask, but... not a very likely thing for me to do pre-pandemic, and I'm not sure how likely it will be after, me being me. I'm so very much more guarded than I even want to be - Knight and I had a conversation about that last night. It's funny - he thinks I'm distant when I think I'm clingy as fuck - and honestly he's more likely to be right than I am, given what Artist thought about what I wanted much earlier in our relationship, given that some of my closest friends pointed out they had never seen me vulnerable about some of my ambitions that I thought were wildly obvious before I sort of got drunk and cried about them at an event earlier this year. I'm so very scared of being vulnerable - perhaps I need to overdose on Brene Brown or something. I mean he's right though - I hold back from showing affection or being vulnerable because I am afraid people don't want it or me or that I have to be this perfect person in order to be loved and... obviously that isn't true and I know that intellectually but will I ever ever ever get over the scared child inside of me that doesn't believe that?

"life rewards people who move in the direction of greatest courage" - it's a pity I've always liked that quote despite my inability to necessarily follow it, though the original speaker is... problematic... and despite the concept being kind of weaponized by him and others. Maybe it depends on whether you're saying it to yourself vs to others - while I'm not saying I should do things that actually hurt me, I'm not necessarily pushing my comfort zone at all. Maybe it depends on whether you're trying to be ok with other people's actions that actually hurt you (that's not courage it's masochism and not the good kind) or whether you're just trying to be braver and more open about your own needs and wants instead of shoving them in a box.

Artist said the other day that he was afraid of losing me - like he didn't want to tell me that he wasn't ready to break quarantine yet because he was afraid I'd break up with him over this. And I mean I'm not going to, though I'm afraid - SO afraid - that this is going to break us. So...there's that. But at the same time... he keeps saying over and over that "I'm sorry _this_ is hurting you", which is not exactly the same thing as saying "I'm sorry _I_ am hurting you." And honestly I'm not even sure which would be accurate - certainly this is in many ways externally imposed, but the lack of risk taking also feels like a choice? And how do you handle feeling like someone is choosing a path that hurts you, knowing that's what's going to happen? (Really I have this problem with Knight too sometimes, but that's... a whole different thing.)
 

icesong

Member
I think I’d sell my soul for a kiss from Artist right now, and consider it a bargain.

Last night was... weirdly hard. We have a pattern, now, of spending Wednesday and Saturday evenings on the phone - watching a movie for the first part and then that usually switches over to video between us and whatever intimacy we can manage. Which... honestly we’re both imaginative people with enough shared sexuality that on _that_ side of things, well, things are surprisingly good. (Though the dynamics of it being good are also a bit ... more on that later.)

But sometimes we’re looking at each other, after, and it’s all I can do not to cry. I mean it’s not that it’s not lovely hearing how beautiful I am in post-orgasm glow, and hearing exactly how he’d kiss me were he here... but somehow missing cute little kisses on the tip of my nose (the nose I’ve always hated for being too big and yet somehow he tells me it’s adorable and I even believe him) is ... far worse pain than missing anything explicitly sexual. And last night I think he was feeling the same way - the way he just kept looking at me, so damn much longing on his face (that I’m sure was echoed in mine), and the words kept fading into sort of a desperate silence... I mean, is it a cliché that I found myself running my thumb across his lips on my phone, as though I could somehow force the feeling through the wires? I’m almost crying even now, thinking about it.

And I just sobbed when I hung up the phone. But not having him/this would be worse...

My pining over this absence isn’t really helping Knight and I’s relationship, of course. I mean in some ways we’re doing pretty well - haven’t been fighting _much_, even our usual mismatched libidos and sex style have been trying to line up a little better than usual. And yet... what do I even do with being more turned on, a lot of the time, by cybersex with Artist instead of real sex with Knight? Knight is just so... chill about sex that my almost-fetish for being desired - everyone wants to be desired but I don’t know if everyone literally gets off on it quite as much as I do - is very hard to indulge.

Artist kind of accidentally brought that up last night, too. Unsurprisingly I send him lots of erotic selfies - I mean, that was a thing I’ve always done as a teasing/anticipation kind of thing, so once I was past the point that flirting/sexting seemed like not just torturing ourselves and each other, that obviously resumed. And there’s one way that quarantine is worse on him by a lot - he’s locked up with a nonsexual partner (though he and his other partner might also be doing this sort of online thing? I don’t know, I haven’t asked, though I know they don’t spend as many evenings “together” as he and I do). And he knows that I’m obviously still sleeping with Knight, and that’s sometimes weird for me because of the current situation and that Knight and I’s relationship on that front is... complicated. (See also this whole blog). But since we’ve been talking a lot about exhibitionism and voyeurism, I guess that planted an idea of taking more... let’s just say photos in the act. Which I said no to, because the dynamics would just be so very weird on a lot of levels (honestly I’d have another threesome first and even that I’m a little weirded by, though I think both of them would want it, to different reasons.) But it makes me think even more than usual about the energies and contrasts between me and my partners... not exactly what I need to be thinking about at the moment.

And... Ginger and I are still talking - weekly video chats and a bit of text in between. She asked me if I’d see her sometime soon and I really hated that the answer was no. Seems somehow unfair that our relationship is a bit held hostage to me waiting on Artist, but she understood, I think, that I just... can’t do something else right now. But knowing she wants to kiss me more is so very sweet...
 

icesong

Member
If this felt like I was doing this for a reason it'd be so much easier. But it all feels so fucking futile, given that everyone else (even people I otherwise like, not just right wing people I can be pissed at) seems to be moving on and doing things. I have a hard time not yelling at friends who get haircuts or manicures or whatever and posting about it on FB - I don't, because shaming is wrong too, but it's so...petty and unfair that they are risking getting it / giving it for THAT and I can't even.......
 

icesong

Member
Yesterday was an interesting 24ish hours. I don't know if it is quarantine fatigue or the panic finally wearing off or just missing me too much, but Artist asked late Saturday night if I'd want him to come over and stay for a couple weeks at a time, then stay home for a few weeks, as a way to see each other and yet keep the transfer between the houses a bit more minimal.

And that floored me, in a lot of ways - mostly that he'd want to, given that living here would be wildly crowded and we've never even really talked about living together as it was so very unrealistic given the commitments we had before we met. But despite the fact that there would be Massive Logistical Challenges, I of course said yes pending approval from the rest of the house, LOL.

So then there was a bit of a sleepless night on my side, because I was excited about this separation coming to an end, and because I was totally stressing about the entire idea of four adults, 1 kid, 2 cats and a greyhound living in a 1400 sq ft house. It'd be... a lot. Totally worth it, but a lot.

Finally Knight got up and we talked about it a bit, tentatively, and he was willing to try it (and texted Joan about it so we could talk about it when she got up). And then of course Artist texts me and as it turns out, he and his wife had ended up with a Very Late Night conversation about the entire plan again... but this one was one that ended well! She realized that the difference in risk between the living over here a few weeks plan and just treating the two houses as one household was effectively none, and that she'd be living by herself a LOT under that plan, and said, wait, let's just go back to Artist being able to go back and forth a night (or maybe two? we'll see - I've sort of gotten used to us having more time together, even if virtual) a week. And so he's coming over tonight, and not having to move in, LOL. (If numbers change or risk factors change, we might revisit that later, and part of me wants to - maybe it's just missing him so much for the past 72 days but I'd... really like to know what it is like to spend more than a day or two with him at a time. Maybe some day.)

Let me say that again because I totally buried the news here: he's coming over tonight.

So needless to say I'm glowing today (if impatient for him to get off work!). But I've also - if it's not obvious from some of the other comments - been doing a lot of thinking since yesterday, in a good way for once! In some ways, the brief plan of half-moving-in, coming from him, was more reassuring than even just resuming "normal" dating. I mentioned before that this whole thing had made me doubt, intensely, whether being as emotionally entangled without logistical entanglements was possible or wise. And I've always had some level of doubt that his feelings for me were as strong as mine were for him. I think, maybe, the past week might finally cure me of that. Or at least as cured as I ever am, given how I still worry about that occasionally about Knight...
 

Magdlyn

Well-known member
Ice, that's great news. I hope it goes well and everyone stays safe and healthy!

When I see these massive crowds in the streets right now, that had been empty as deserts for 2 months, I am just so confused. I know we are going to have a huge spike in Covid. It's already confirmed in Milwaukee. So, meeting one safe friend seems like nothing, compared to the crowds of protesters/rioters/looters/cops and Nat'l Guard guys, so many unmasked and shouting/chanting to boot!
 

icesong

Member
The world is burning down around us but right this moment, I don’t care.

Everything I was afraid of wasn’t true - if anything our connection is stronger from being tested. I’m pretty sure if there was a way to make me actually glow instead of virtually glow wherever I was touched , like with black light or something, there might be, oh, a square inch of my body total that wasn’t glowing.

This feels like NRE without the uncertainty and I’m drunk on it.
 

Vicki82

Member
I'm so happy for you, icesong :)
 

icesong

Member
A only tangentially poly related good thing - and another not so good

Sometimes the best bits of my life aren’t exactly about romance. I know that probably surprises you, given I mostly talk about that in this space, but I do still consider myself a relationship anarchist and there are people in my life that are not romantic partners but I have very deep relationships with.

I’ve alluded to the hobby that I spent most of my twenties spending my entire life in, and that I still participate in sometimes. One of the reasons that (despite some pretty massive philosophical problems with the whole thing, that this blog is not the place for) I’m still in it is that I have a very very deep chosen family there - these are the people I‘ve mentioned going on vacation with, a lot of us have a weekly dinner at my house (a few live too far away, boo!) and for the past few years we’ve had a running messenger chat - this really amazing combination of geekery and silliness and politics (both in the hobby and in the real world). Hard to explain unless you’ve had this kind of group; I’ve seen it compared (by people that know me/them) to the small groups that some churches use to build community, or alternatively to some bdsm/Leather houses. (Yes, both. I love my life.)

The funny thing is that when Knight and I started this whole poly journey (like, when it became serious relationships vs just sexual nonmonogamy), we had to “come out” to these people and while they were _mostly_ cool with it it felt like there was a huge distance between us. (As it turns out, it was way more complicated than that - part of it was that they hated our then-partners HipsterBoy and PinkGirl - the dislike was mutual - and part of it was really just not quite knowing how to react, combined with us not being around due to being the parents of a very small child. This was before the weekly dinners.)

Anyway years later we’ve had some more conversations about their reaction back then, cleared the air, and now they’re like “well that seems to be a good choice for you, we don’t get it but have fun with that”. I mean, Joan is on the chat group too etc. But tonight’s conversational randomness? One friend shared a graphic that a friend of hers shared about being in a polycule - it was a custom FB life event, which I didn’t really realize you could do to that degree, so that’s a thing. Discussion of that led to a discussion of the linguistics of the word polycule and its evolution and pronunciation, and from there to the ... repeated internet discussion of whether it was cultural appropriation to shorten polyamory to poly when Poly was also used by people from the South Pacific as an identity.

What’s hard to describe is the sheer... “this is a thing that might interest my friend” matter-of-factness about the whole thing. Same tone of internet voice as one might post a gardening thing for Joan or any number of other items of interest to specific people. It’s just so very *normal* for them now, and so I’m feeling all warm and fuzzy about their acceptance.

The not so good? I didn’t really go into the whole thing about Artist and I not seeing each other for as long as we did with that group of friends, nor what that was doing to me, as I was pretty sure they wouldn’t get that part. But they might have. (See also the stuff I said about being guarded a bit ago... ) And that bit of distance flared up again earlier in the evening, although they didn’t know it - some were going to a protest about an hour away, invited us, Knight declined and said that I was usually the one who did protests while he made bail money, and that... sort of hit me badly.

See, I’m feeling very very guilty about not going and protesting - I have done marches before, I’d definitely be there for this in the absence of the damn virus. And I sort of feel like I *should* be there for this one - that not being there is being the worst sort of privileged couch activist, the ones that the real people actually doing the work roll their eyes at. And as I’ve said before, I’m not particularly worried about the virus for myself (don’t want it, think I’ll get it anyway, and it will do what it will do, although the stuff that’s coming out now about Type A blood is a bit concerning. Anyway.) So on a lot of levels I should be out there - just throwing money at bail funds feels like a complete and total ... way to avoid what I should be doing, which is putting my body where my mouth is. Even in virus-world, the alternate universe version of me that isn’t poly probably would.

But... I can’t do the last few months again. If go protest I’ll have to quarantine away from Artist for weeks after I get done with the protests, and I just... can’t bring myself to do that right now, and I’m feeling a lot of guilt about that. I mean, my *actual* city has protests but they’re pretty peaceful, so it’s not as though they’re particularly risky other than virus-wise, and I can sort of convince myself I’m not actually needed... but people are getting tear gassed by the national guard in the next city over. (And they’re close enough that non locals think it’s one place, since the two share an airport, but they’re wildly different communities.)

“I’m not a coward I’ve just never been tested / I’d like to think if I was I would pass” (and wow I’m showing my age with THAT lyric, I think). That line has always stuck in my head as true about me... but now that I’m actually living through history I’m not sure that I *am* actually passing as the person I think I should be, priorities wise. I mean, prioritizing love is one answer, but is it the right one here??
 
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Tinwen

Active member
Tell your group... or at least a chosen individal(s)... from what you write, they're gonna probably get it. Tell them it was as hard as if it was Knight, if not harder. Or, say it was as hard as when you're first in love and waiting for the other person doesn't respond to your sms - only repeated over and over. They can imagine.

From an outside view, these protests - however in the right - are a disaster. More people are gonna die.
 
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icesong

Member
Quarantine life continues. My biggest worry right now is what we're going to do about school this fall - it's really only a month until school officially starts and I can't imagine MiniMe actually going into a classroom. So I'm probably going to have to homeschool for real - online school didn't work at ALL - and I'm scared to death of how THAT is going to go. But I guess I have a little more time to plan there.

Artist has been coming over something closer to twice a week than once a week these days, so that's pretty great. He's... I still just can't even put words on how the combination of sweet and sadistic makes me feel... doing something painful and exquisite to me while dropping delicate kisses on the back of my neck, for instance, or how he looks like a fallen angel when he's... well anyway. Part of me wants to write about it so I can remember it forever but the other part of me wants to hold it close, a thing that only I can see. Those 72 days apart, I think, emphasized just how much we are to each other...

And Knight and I have actually been doing... surprisingly well. Maybe it's just bleedover, in the way that NRE can improve your other relationships, I'm happy enough, relationship wise, right now to be far more generous than I used to be and that's sort of helping a lot. I still need to figure out how to be more into the somewhat more vanilla preferences he has for sex, or at least how sex gets started, but right now I actually do feel like that's a me problem and not a him problem, and that's a major improvement.

All those good things aside, I mean, we're still in lockdown because the US is stupid. I miss my friends, and I'm wildly worried about what fall will bring money wise. (Of course, I just bought a really expensive computer yesterday because the one I'm typing this on is 7 years old, so that's either going to be fabulous for my freelancing or I'm going to feel really really stupid if things go badly and I'm wishing I had that cash back. Eeeek.)

Damn I miss my friends. And I miss going out. I'm not going to be one of the people being ... well, let's just say making risk assessments I don't agree with and going and eating in places and/or drinking at bars... but I'd love to. I mean, we got takeout from restaurants I really like on Friday and Saturday (yesterday was my birthday) because I'm just so tired of cooking, and that was nice... but it's still not the same as actually going somewhere and eating stuff straight out of the kitchen without a 20 minute drive, or drinking interesting cocktails I don't have to come up with myself. ::sigh::
 

icesong

Member
What do you do when you have what feels like a wildly selfish meta? Not Joan, she's great. ArtistWife. I'm ... rather livid at her right now, for reasons which will become obvious.


So Artist and I were spending the evening together last night - went wandering around in a forest (some people would call it hiking, really it's more strolling about and talking and possibly more interesting things while as far away from people as possible - it's about the only really date-like activity we can do right now, right?) and then we're in the car to pick up sushi takeout to take home with us, when his phone rings. It's ArtistWife, who had already told him about plans for that evening for a socially distanced hangout with a guy she had known for a while - but as far as he knew when he came over to see me, it was just a friendly get together.

Apppppparently, dude in question had had a thing for ArtistWife for a while, which she vaguely knew but wasn't acknowledging (for reasons that have since gone away) and in talking they figured out the "thing" was mutual. So she's calling up to see how Artist feels about breaking social distance boundaries. And of course by extension he has to figure out his partners and the people they live with, especially me but also (girlfriend I've never named here, although I've mentioned her I think - I probably need to just to keep things straight. Um um um... Elayne. They've been together probably as long on the calendar as Artist and I, but I don't think it's quite as romantic/intense a connection. Might be wrong there, on some level her relationship with him doesn't really affect me and vice versa, unlike ArtistWife.) OK, that's not *entirely* an unreasonable thing to want to do, but the timeframe she was asking about - literally that evening - made it so there was almost no time to think about / discuss it.

I say it's not entirely unreasonable, because I'm trying to convince myself of that.

The numbers are worse by far in my state than they were in March, though at least I'm not in Florida.

As I said back then, I think the separation earlier this year was partially Artist's caution and partially ArtistWife's. I sort of knew that then, but I 100% did not want to know the proportions thereof, because I wanted to come out of all this still on speaking terms with her.

Throughout Artist and I's relationship she's had far more control of his actions than I thought was really reasonable, and in many ways I ignored that, because as I told Joan this morning when we were talking about this, I'm usually pretty firmly in the camp of "if I think I have a meta problem, I probably actually have a partner problem" but this is Very Emphatically Not That since Artist was even more blindsided than I was. Other examples of her control include social media absence and - I've talked about this obliquely here but there were ... boundaries of our sexual relationship that were determined by her comfort level until they officially ended their sexual relationship. Sooooooo... those last few things were not of zero importance to me but I was willing for them to be "price of admission", to quote Dan Savage.

I mean, it's rough. I'm very sex positive, obviously. But it feels like there's something very very very different between "able to spend time with your partner of five years" and "able to hook up with someone that you've known for a few years but are not even dating". I mean, I would LOVE to see Ginger right now, but her profession is a bit risky and it just feels like a bad idea so we're sticking to video calls (socially distanced dates seem.... unideal ... especially given the last couple times we went out we made out a bit and I'd really like to do that again...)

I've been treating this whole pandemic very much like... there's a poem I read recently that has the line of "Touch only those /to whom you commit your life." And that's how I've been treating it - Artist was always in that category. And this new person... obviously is not. I'm not seeing my friends (the ones I love and would move onto a cohousing space with if we ever found one), I'm not even seeing family (Knight's mother). Part of the motivation - because I think we're all doomed anyway - was to keep my bubble small enough that it wouldn't squick Artist or AW. And now...

And yet I can't tell someone that because of my level of isolation, they are doomed not to fuck anyone for the next... year? who knows? I mean... toys are only so good, and I was not happy for that separation even though I was technically sometimes having sex with Knight, so without even that...

Back to the first hand it's yet another spot where she gets to do what she wants - living with someone and social media and and and, back when it was her other partner - but Artist is supposed to wrap his life around her needs/wishes (and by extension not his own, or taking mine into account for that matter).

So. As it turned out from conversation this morning, she did the thing, at least on some level, and he's sort of staying socially distanced from her for a bit. Staying here tonight, decisions as to what happens for the future need to happen - it may end up going back to that plan of three weeks here / three weeks there, though perhaps shorter cycles as she can get tested every 5 days through her work. But tests aren't perfect, so that's... small consolation. But as I told Artist last night I can't can't can't can't CANNOT do that long separation again, so that might be the best option, despite my house being FAR too small already. (It wouldn't be, except my son manages to take up enough space for 10 people...) And yet I thought we weren't going to have to do this, so I bought a computer instead of another bed, and I haven't had time to move forward on getting Knight a bedroom so this throws he and Joan together in ways that I don't think she minds but are... odd. (We... don't go into details, exactly, but the issues in her relationship with Knight echo the ones in my relationship, libido is a bitch... and she doesn't have another partner nor the prospect of another partner in... who knows how long.) So having my partner - who is physically affectionate in ways Knight hasn't been outside of NRE in the last two decades - around for weeks on end is gonna be hard for her. (I sort of wonder sometimes whether he's just fraysexual (attracted only to new people.)

And MiniMe is gonna be in everyone's faces - he *adores* Artist because Artist is really patient about playing video games with him - and I'm not sure that Artist *really* understands what that's gonna be like. He's been over a few times for evenings here while Knight was at Joan's place (when she had a place that wasn't mine), so I think he understand a *little* more than Joan realizes... but at the same time it's not... many many days worth of that. (She wasn't even really prepared for the amount of kid time the pandemic would bring. Who was?)

Fuck. This is all such a god damn mess. But... at least now I actually believe that Artist will *not* do what he did before. So there's that. And that's not nothing.

I got logged out and lost a whole lot of this post - but what it boiled down to was my instinct is that "In apocalypse situation, grab everyone you love and hunker down WITH not away from". This is the opposite of that. What the fuck do you do when all your emotional resources assumed community?
 

icesong

Member
I've spent the last few days on pins and needles. Artist... started running a fever Thursday morning, no cough but felt bad enough that he went and got a covid test. Still waiting on the results from that, but obviously I'm terrified. Not of me getting it, it's already been a week since I've seen him and I'm fine, so while technically possible for me to still be in incubation mode I'm not that worried.

I'm just so very afraid that he has it and/or that it's gonna turn into one of the bad cases - and the fever spike he had last night, up to 103, didn't help with that fear. The fever's totally gone today though, so I have all the appendages crossed that it's over. Still.

(And in case you're wondering ArtistWife didn't have any symptoms though part of me DEFINITELY blames her for this, as irrational as that may be. )

Had a flashback to earlier phase of quarantine movie/phone date though, since we had planned to spend tonight together before Thursday happened. So that was nice and something I really needed, especially as he pointed out that this was just a temporary thing since there was an obvious end to when he'd be quarantined for this. And... I really needed to hear that, as some bit of my brain was a little afraid that that the whole scare would cause distancing again... not because he was afraid for himself but because he still keeps trying to protect me. I mean when he called me to tell me about the whole getting tested thing he apologized like five times for possibly getting me sick and sort of ignored the whole part where he was the one that was *actually* sick. The degree of selfless/sweet he is always astounds me, really... though it's another odd combination of feelings to really want to kiss someone for being so amazingly *good* but also roll your eyes at them for trying to take away your agency (I *made* my choice as far as whether the risk of us being together was worth it, and so did he, and even if the worst happens to me because of it I won't regret it.)
 

Vicki82

Member
I'm sorry, icesong. I haven't really been reading here because my life is a depressing clusterfuck right now. I'm sorry you have all this stuff going on and now worries about Artist's health. I really hope that everything will be okay and you're all safe.

One day at a time, right? You'll be in my thoughts.
 

icesong

Member
Thank you. Today and yesterday had no fever, so I’m starting to believe it’ll be ok regardless of what the test says. So there’s that at least.
 
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