On coming full circle and growing from your roots on up

Today I turn 29, and I’ve been pondering a good subject for a birthday post. My goal is to try and write something on here daily, and mostly focus on relationship anarchy, queer and lgbt+ issues, communication, interpersonal dynamics, intentional communities, advice, and occasionally politics (especially as it’s impossible for many of the previous topics to exist in an apolitical vacuum). So I was musing what topic to focus on today, and I’ll tell you I still haven’t figured it out. I think that I’ve realized I want to write this not just as a series of articles or informative or inspirational peices about the above subjects, but I’d also like to share my personal life and experiences. This isn’t a journal persay, but there are so many writers who write about the subjects I also have interest in, and the thing I bring to the table that differentiates my writing is myself, that it comes from my unique perspective, formed of my life experiences.

Let me share a little about my life. I came upon polyamory fairly early on in my existence, actually it’s safe to say I was probably a relationship anarchist before I was a polyamorist, though at the time I didn’t know the word for either. I was thirteen, I flew my freak flag high even then and had a following of other oddball kids at the Jewish socialist summer camp I attended. One boy was desperately infatuated with me, and he wasn’t the most handsome or beautiful admirer I’d had, and I don’t think anyone expected for me to return his feelings. I certainly didn’t expect it at first. He was always part of our little group and while I didn’t realize it’s importance at the time, I quickly saw that he made me laugh. It’s only years later that I’ve noticed how truly rare that is, I don’t really laugh out loud no matter how much I find things amusing, and it takes a very special person and a a very quirky sense of humor to truly inspire laughter in me. I believe that was why I fell in love with him. That, and when he smiled his crooked grin, while he was still not the most traditionally attractive person, it absolutely lit up his face. He just radiated joy when he smiled and I was inexplicably drawn to that.

This boy Bee and I ended up in a romance of sorts, one that I quickly told my boyfriend David about, because I had some understanding that most people were mongomous. David didn’t mind, and while eventually Bee was unhappy with my multiple dynamics, or maybe the lack of title in ours, for a couple years we existed fairly happily that way, at least as far as I was concerned. I also ended up in something of a romance with Bee’s sister Jen, and spent a lot of happy days in those few summers snuggled up with both of them, laughing and discussing philosophy and love.

I began to write a relationship manifesto, or maybe a life manifesto really. Reading back on my juvinile but passionate ramblings now, I see how they truly were the groundwork for all my passions since. I wrote about love being a free force that should not be restricted, of the dangers of society and its constraints, of community and love and connection within community being the most important thing in this world. I scrawled page after page based on conversations with Bee and Jen, about how we could love endlessly without control and restriction, and that love could take all shapes and didn’t need to fit into specific relationship norms. I’m not sure my wording was then was as sofisticated, but certainly it seems that I’ve come full circle and am writing about the same basic ideas now. Is it that much of a surprise that my love affair with the boy with a crooked grin who made me laugh and the conversations we had, helped build the roots for my passion for relationship anarchy and my life goal of creating an intentional community?

That relationship ended when I was fifteen and was followed by a few years of attempted monogomy, though I certainly wasn’t very good at it, and most of my dynamics involved some dabbling into open relationships or cheating on one side or the other. I was sixteen when I first heard the word polyamory and an explanation of what it meant, and it seemed to fit what I wanted, but a period of insecurity that begot controlling behaviors on my part, prevented me from exploring it fully at that time. I revisited the idea a year later, and when I decided at that point that I was polya, I knew there was no going back.

Being polyamorous was a breath of fresh air to some extent, but it still allowed me to nuture some of the more toxic parts of myself. I don’t think I ever lacked self confidence in my own view of myself, but I didn’t expect others to stick around, so I attempted to control and trap people to me in rule and agreement based relationships with high levels of codependency. The details of how I managed to break free of that are a story for another time, but fast forward to a few years ago, probably when I was 23 or 24, and I first read about relationship anarchy. There was a click, I realized very fast that someone put words to what I’d been seeking and writing about in my very earliest experiences with relationships. Since then I have been able to free myself more and more of some pretty toxic baggage both that society imposes about relationships, and that I developed on my own while being something of a steaming pile of shit in relationships.

And so we progress to now. I’ve come a bit farther then full circle, taking the ideas I had as a kid and refining them, finding better ways to communicate them, and learning the skills to actually put them into practice. Now I strive to build on them and pursue further growth, knowing that my roots lie strong and deep beneath me to support me and keep me grounded. So haply birthday to me, and here’s to another year of learning and self improvement. I look forward to see where I’ll have made it to in another years time.

 

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