After writing my last post, I felt much better. It was actually quite a remarkable transformation, apparently I needed to get my feelings out in a coherent(ish) way. I was supposed to have a date yesterday, but plans fell through when he wasn’t feeling well. So we’re on for next week. Although at the rate we’re going, first me cancelling, then him cancelling, we may never meet. So, I informed A that I was available for drinks again, and headed off for ramen as comfort food and then back to the river valley to feed the mosquitoes and listen to an audiobook that had been given to me by a friend. I was thoroughly enjoying said audiobook when A texted to say he could meet for drinks. Pleasantly surprised, I hoofed it back to my car and met him at one of the places we frequent. Cue complete relaxation. I’m not sure how it happens, we’re both a bucket of stress lately, but three hours later, and just random conversation that consisted mostly of updating each other on life, I left (after getting the most amazing hug) feeling completely reset. Ready to conquer the world again. Which is good, because when you have world-conquering plans, you need to be ready for it.
Today was a weird day. I volunteered in my daughter’s class this morning and had a blast. It was so much fun. Then home to nap and off to my day job for a meeting. I had changed a lot of things while one of my coworkers was on maternity leave and I wanted to run the changes past her. So I filled her in on everything I did, and we had a great talk. She was seriously impressed with the changes I made and told me that when I was hired, the job I just did was exactly what she was envisioning. It was one of those moments complete with professional fulfillment. I had worked hard, done a good job, and not only was she OK with it, she was thrilled with the hard work I had done. It was awesome to be appreciated and acknowledged.
I have slowly told people at work that I have separated from F. One of my favourite coworkers, who frequently comes into my office to show me something cool or talk to me about something funny came by today. He asked me how things were going with F. Then he asked me how I knew it was time to ask for a separation. So I told him some of my story, although a very abridged version, and he sat down and dumped his issues on me. It was amazing to be a source of support for someone who is going through so much of what I have been through. He told me that he’s pretty unhappy in his relationship, and he realized that he has to tell his wife, and he doesn’t know how it’s going to go. It ended with me offering him a hug and wishing him good luck, but it felt pretty damn good that he felt comfortable coming to me.
Yesterday, I read this cool article about a woman who took control of her sexuality, through “wild sexual exploration”, and how embracing her needs and wants, communicating them, asking for what she desired, and being true to herself while still being challenging and sometimes difficult, led to a transformation in her outside the bedroom. She became more likely to ask for what she needed in her professional life. Turned down opportunities that didn’t support her goals or add value to her life. She took on jobs that valued her education and professional experience. She made decisions throughout every aspect of her life that honoured herself. She stopped sacrificing herself for the selfishness of others. She lived a life of authenticity and purpose. She is happy.
As I read it, while the central tenet of her article was mostly dissimilar to the course my journey has taken, many of the prevailing themes resonated with me. Making the decision to shed cultural norms, making decisions for myself with disregard for societal pressures and the years of indoctrination that I have received, and living authentically, and sometimes selfishly, by making decisions that are the best for me, when others would have me choose otherwise. She wrote about it being difficult to shed the indoctrination and identify for herself what she believed and acting on those beliefs without the internalization of cultural norms like slut-shaming, misogyny, and her own ingrained judgements hit home for me. I’ve been pretty open with my acceptance of my polyamorous nature. But it hasn’t been without judgement of others, but also judgement of myself, by myself. Part of this is directly entwined with the sexual aspects of my new relationships and the fact that I both enjoy having sex more and asking for what I desire has become a norm, and I have embraced aspects of bdsm, but also that I have multiple partners. Growing up in a mononormative culture means that I had to shed my beliefs to be true to myself. Shedding my beliefs about what I should be doing and how I should be behaving meant thinking deeply about my feelings about others and how they act. Its part of the realization that I truly believe that people should be able to live their lives sexually free, within the boundaries they provide, with no judgement from or for other people. The things that rock my world are not necessarily going to be your type of storm, nor mine yours. But as long as you are getting what you need somewhere, I’m going to be happy that you are sexually fulfilled and living a life true to yourself.
Through acknowledging who I am and asking for what I need in one aspect of my life, polyamory, I gained a momentum that I didn’t really understand. I started trying new things – my 40 things before 40 was one example. I started taking charge of my life more. I was already strong and independent. But I became strong and independent and unstoppable. In all my relationships, I asked for what I needed. I started expecting the respect I hadn’t been getting automatically. It’s part of the reason why I’ve had to redefine boundaries with my sister, father, and F. It’s why I’ve taken charge of so many aspects of my career. It’s part of why I’ve found my voice in my relationships, both clothed and unclothed. I’ve started insisting that everyone in my life honours who I’ve chosen to be.
What does this all mean to me? It means I’m happy. Not “life is easy and everything is coming up roses” happy, but happy knowing that I am living my life the way I have chosen. That my decisions and actions and interactions are my own choice. That I’m doing the right thing for myself and my family and taking control of my life means that the challenges I face are mine, the victories are mine, the sorrows are mine, and I can learn, love, laugh, cry, fail, and succeed knowing that I’ve made the best decision for myself by acknowledging myself and honouring myself.