12 February, 2017

V.D.

Administrivia  first: I must apologize for the really bitchy tone of my last few posts. It is not an excuse, but an explanation: our Sleep Number bed has stopped providing anything like "sleep" and so its nights were numbered. Rated for 18 years. It lasted a little over half that.
I have been tired the last little while. Fatigue is a common complaint of mine, but this has been something altogether different. I adapted enough to function, but my customary calmness and warmth has been in regrettably short supply.
We have a new bed again now. We're down to a queen again, which opens up some space in our bedroom; more importantly, we have an extra-firm mattress for durability topped by six inches of memory foam for comfort. I'm sore in different places this morning, but a good deal less tired. Normal personality reboot continues apace. I am sorry to all those I have pissed on in my pissed off state.

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To those people who believe Valentine's Day is a silly, contrived, over-commercialized and ultimately pointless celebration...I offer no argument. Except to say this: if you're going to commercialize the hell out of something and arbitrarily celebrate it, I would put "love" forward as a good candidate. Certainly love beats mindless consumerism itself, which is all Christmas is if you're not a Christian.

In my heart of hearts, I've always wanted V-Day to be something. I've had some really shitty Valentine's experiences. You can say (and mean) that any time spent together is Valentine's Day, but an atmosphere of love, even commercialized, sort of begs participation. I used to work up a fine veneer of cynical disinterestedness, but you never really forget being the only kid in the class with no Valentine's cards, or whose attempt at giving such cards was rebuffed -- twice -- in spectacular, shredding fashion.

Rereading that blog, I'm struck by this:

Real love, I have found, is best experienced in the quiet moments, totally independent of what day it is. Real love doesn't care if anyone's looking, but neither does it seek an audience...


I'm proud of those two sentences, even as I struggle with them. (You teach what you have to learn, right?) Being polyamorous means, for me and at times, caring if people are looking, still. It shouldn't, for me, but it does. People say some very hurtful things and refuse to understand. It happens with my loves; it happens with my friends whom people assume are my loves, and it happens with me, when people misinterpret (sometimes wilfully) my words and actions.
And being poly also means wanting to shout it out to the high heavens, yes to seek an audience, a wide one, because it's abundant love and it's glorious and shared joy increases.

Poly folks have their own Valentine's Day a month later: March 14th, 3.14, "Pi Day". A substantial number of poly people are geeks; "pi" is the first letter in "poly" in Greek; and as I posted once before, "love is not a pie, cut up your eight slices and then you're done...love is pi: irrational and infinite". Oh, and also, this is probably done for scheduling reasons--trying to make time for everyone can get...challenging. Imagine a family reunion when some of the family works continental, some straight nights, and some of them are overseas for the foreseeable future.

In fact, scheduling is probably the biggest challenge in healthy polyamory. Not seeing a love as often as you'd like can breed insecurity all around: the "scorned" love feels, well, scorned, and the otherwise occupied love feels pressure that in most cases shouldn't exist. Such insecurities compound around the holidays.

Google "polyamory Valentine's Day" and you'll find a few dozen primers on how to make it work. Most of the advice boils down to the same single word that makes or breaks all relationships: communicate. What are your desires for the relationship, on that day and all days? What are your partner's? Critically, what are your metamour's? You may well find yourself with three different sets of desires, and that requires juggling and honesty and compromise.

This is where I believe my preferred form of polyamory has some advantages. I practice kitchen table polyamory, which emphasizes family connections. The opposite is parallel poly, where you may not know much about your metamours beyond their names.  That kind of poly places huge pressures  on a "hinge" partner to satisfy all metamours without their direct involvement with each other.

In any event, yes, I think V.D. is important. NOT because it's the only day of the year you can express love, but because having a day set aside specifically to express such a binding force seems eminently reasonable to me. Whomever you love, howsoever you love, happy Valentine's Day.

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