I didn’t know I’d lived so much until I reflected back

I am absolutely terrible at keeping track of time.  Not short time, like the hours in the day, but long time, like years passing by.  I think about things like when I first got on the path to stop drinking and I’m like hmm, that was a few years ago right?  A few years ago feels pretty short in my brain.  Then fb memories remind me that it was five years (and forty days) ago that I first truly acknowledged I had a problem and then took a hundred days of sobriety, which then led to learning moderation, and eventually the last year+ of complete sobriety.  Five years. When it’s a number instead of a vague concept of a few, it seems a lot longer.  Holy crap, has it really been five years?

Likewise, I often struggle with putting concrete times and dates on other big events, until I have something to measure them against.  My ex-fiance left the same year I stopped drinking, so now I know when that was.  That’s pretty exhilarating.  I love being able to concretely date the times of things better because it makes me feel more accomplished.  I’ve spent five years without a person who only saw how I could fail.  Five years later I’m sober, have gotten one degree and am working towards another, have a bunch of lovely stable relationships with fantastic communication and none of the toxicity of the ones in that older time period, have held down jobs where I literally saved lives (I mean, doggo and kitten lives, but that’s legit), and decluttered the mess of a house I once shared with him to have a home that on it’s messiest days is still eons cleaner then it ever was in it’s cleanest state before.  I’ve begun pursuing my BIG life dream of having an intentional community, and my life has been basically a whirlwind of forward momentum with a few little bumps in the road.  Oh, and I have a flat chest and facial hair now and get gendered correctly all the time, let’s not forget that.  Being able to recognize where events fit into time really helps me in feeling excited and accomplished about life, because I can see how much progress has been made.  In the day to day moments it may not feel like things are moving fast enough, but reflecting back really shows the huge transformations.

Often I look back and wonder how I’ve packed so much -stuff- into such short amounts of time.  I’ve been an adult for a bit over ten years.  I spent about three or four of those years in a drunken haze.  Yet just in that time I’ve lived with 20+ people in households of various sizes, had 20+ relationships that on average lasted a bit over 3 years, gone to 4 different schools and gotten 2 college degrees and now working on a 3rd, raised my own livestock and fed my family with the meat and eggs from them, traveled to 2 countries outside of my own and 12 states within my country, worked 9 different jobs, and tried to run my own business.  I’ve had an uncountable amount of experiences trying amazing new foods, exploring new kinks and developing deep bonds of trust, making absolutely phenomenal friendships, taking ridiculous risks and feeling ecstatically alive, and generally living life to the fullest.  And I mean, I spent quite a few years drunk on my couch and pretty much out of commission, so when I think of where I packed that all in, I can’t even really include those years.  I don’t often reflect on it all as a whole, I may think of specific moments or dwell on specific relationships, but it takes looking at it all at once to put it into perspective.

Now I know this whole post might seem like some sort of long humble brag.  First of all, there’s nothing fucking wrong with that if it is.  I am all for each person listing their accomplishments that make them feel fantastic, reading the fuck out of that list, and feeling on top of the world because they are a rad fucking person who can do anything.  And I’m happy to do that and feel no shame in celebrating what I’ve done.  But, this is more then that.  I don’t know if I’ve always come across as confident to others, but I’ve always felt I was a confident person.  I’ve realized recently that it was because I’ve gotten very good at telling myself that narrative and ignoring the parts where I felt like I wasn’t enough, or was failing somehow to do this whole life thing.  I hear those parts of my mind, I recognize them, but I didn’t let it disrupt the view I had of myself as a confident individual with great self esteem.  It was a discordant note, viewing myself one way, and feeling things that were quite to the contrary.  And therein lies the problem, I could tell myself I had great self esteem and believe it, but that didn’t actually make me feel any less shitty and like a failure when those were the messages my brain meat focused on for the day.  So instead I’m learning to recognize those, to see that I do struggle at times and I can admit that.  Oof, that vulnerability hurts.  I don’t want to be a person who has to admit that.  It is part of me though, and in recognizing that, I can begin to accept and heal parts of myself that were damaged by years of abuse, by the hands of others, and even more so by myself.  I hurt myself when I spent years being a pretty toxic being to my own body and to everyone around me.  Healing that means recognizing the time that was my reality, and how much time since I’ve begun to move on from that.  It means acknowledging all I’ve done, the amazing life I’ve led, and what I can do when I am a better little human.  Somewhere in there I might have to forgive myself for the person I was through some of the dark years, though I’m not quite there yet.  For now, I look back at time, and I build a real confidence rather then a fabricated one, through seeing the journey and really cementing in my mind how far I’ve come.

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Finding purpose in polyamory – how love spirals outwards

Not everyone can understand the purpose of polyamory, why someone would want to have multiple relationships to begin with.  I rebel against the very idea of institutionalized monogamy, but I recognize that some people just prefer a deep romantic closeness with only one individual, and that is fine.  Aside from the fact that at my very core I have never been able to regulate the wonder in my heart for closeness and vulnerability and adoration and love to one solitary person, I also am so grateful for the beautiful moments I find in polyamory that I wouldn’t have otherwise.

This morning I was laying in bed, having already gotten up to feed all the critters, clean the litter boxes and ferret cage, let the dogs outside to work off some energy.  I got back into bed to snuggle up to Kelev, who almost always sleeps later than I do, and was softly snoring in a way that melts my heart.  I love how when he’s sleeping, when I tell him I love him he always says it back, even though he’ll have no memory of it when he wakes.  This morning I was watching him sleep and whispering sweet nothings to him about how he’s a glorious demon ascended into human flesh, his black heart wreathed in flamed and filled with the power of the millions of souls he’s devoured.  You know, the usual romantic stuff.  We may have a slightly twisted view of romance, but who’s going to judge? He smiled and softly woofed at me in his sleep.  The moment was just so precious and I texted Hoffy about it, wanting to share my warm-fuzzy-joy-feels.

Think about what you value in partnership.  The amazing connection with someone where you want to tell them everything that is good in your life, every spark of joy just bubbles over and you want to share it with someone you adore.  The vulnerability and closeness you have with someone with whom you can share your sappiest feelings, who can hear about your squishy bright happy feels and will celebrate them with you.  Think about those tender moments of seeing someone you love so peaceful, with their hair all messy as they sleep, all the worlds troubles smoothed away with rest.  I am so grateful to be able to share the most loving and sweet moments of my life that bring me the most joy, with more people who I share that love and joy with as well.  To revel in the sheer happiness of love with equally loving and accepting people that I am vulnerable and open with.  I wonder who monogamous people tell those moments to?  Do they have a best friend who they feel the same intense closeness with that they do with their partner, who they can share those happy feelings with, who will feel warm and fuzzy at the adorableness of it all instead of rolling their eyes?  I sure hope so.

Yesterday I was talking with my partner D.  We recently got involved in a DD/lg kink dynamic, and she also got involved with Kelev as well.  She has a long distance romance with the Brit, as I’ve taken to referring to him in my mind, a fantastic individual with a voice that makes me melt a little.  She was telling me of a conversation she was having with him, and he made a joke about my love of his accent.  The way he described me in this little snapshot of humor she shared with me was absolutely spot on.  It was so absolutely sweet, the exchange they had, that he had remembered me in it, that she had then shared it with me.  The humor spiraled outwards, and I was graced with being a part of it.

That is what I love about polyamory.  There are so many wonderful moments shared between people who love each other intensely and sweetly, and in sharing my heart with so many people and having partners who do the same, the joy spirals outward.  When we tell each other exuberantly about a snapshot moment of love, and when it is received lovingly and happily as well, it just compounds those emotions.  I don’t have less love for any one partner because I share my heart with many, I have a thousand more opportunities each day for that love to be multiplied as moments are shared and enjoyed in this outward spiral of connection and acceptance.  That is the purpose of polyamory to me.  Just as one of the beauties in cultivating a garden is sharing the fruits of your labor with family, I cultivate each relationship with healthy respect and passion and communication and vulnerability.  And I am able to share what grows of those seeds far beyond just the person I grew them with.  That bounty of love is available to nourish us all through the hard times and invigorate us to grow more in the good times. It all spirals outwards, and I hope if you are on this journey as well, one day that spiral reaches you.

What does adulthood mean for a Millennial?

When does adulthood begin?  I read an interesting article recently about a college professor who taught a class on adulting, all about coming of age in today’s society.  In teaching this class, the professor discovered that most of the students did not consider themselves adults, despite being over 18.  They were asked to write about what they felt were the markers of adulthood, something that has become increasingly unclear as we experience some major societal shifts as Millennials and now Generation Z are coming of age.  It got me looking inward and thinking about whether I feel like and adult and what I believe makes one an adult.  I also decided to do a little more digging into what the supposed markers of adulthood are.

I’m going to start by dispensing with the idea of turning 18 being the marker of adulthood.  We have many milestones of that sort, at 16 (or some places 14) you’re adult enough to work many jobs, at 18 you’re adult enough to vote and join the military, but at 21 you’re adult enough to drink, and only at 25 are you adult enough to rent a car, etc.  These are also relevant to the United States, but vary greatly in other countries, which does evidence in some ways how we’ve picked arbitrary lines to draw there.  Yes, they are a general guideline for when we believe a person can handle certain responsibilities, but they aren’t actually very helpful in determining what will make someone feel like an adult.

I found a few analysis of adulthood from a psychological perspective, with such traits meant to define adulthood such as rationality, and non-defensiveness and openness.  Well shit, that precludes the current President of the United States and a good many other political officials, many in their 60s, 70s, and above.  It also leaves out a lot of the shitty parents of folks I’ve been close to throughout my life.  People who have raised a now adult child, paid the bills, and often been little manipulative abusive shits who probably couldn’t grasp rationality and non-defensiveness anymore than they could bench press the Empire State Building, but there you go.  So maybe that isn’t the perfect milestone either in determining what would make the younger generations feel like we are adults.  Our elders certainly have not done a stellar job at modeling that as a determining factor in adulthood.

Going back to the article that started this line of thinking, there was a discussion of the students responses.  Many felt that marriage, having children, and home ownership were markers of adulthood.  I can certainly understand that, we’ve been raised by a generation that often followed a very clear life path, fit a certain mold, and taught us to do so as well.  I don’t remember a time where I didn’t just “know” that you were supposed to go to school, get into a good college, graduate, get married, buy a house, and manifest a few loin spawn to raise who would do it all over again.  There is a script to this, one many people in my generation haven’t been able to follow, or have decided to toss to the wind as we make our own path.  Which does explain why many of us are left not feeling like adults as we enter our 20s and 30s.

It is interesting, because many of the Millennials I know spend more time focusing on traits mentioned in the psychological articles on what makes an adult, than members of earlier generations I know.  That is of course not a conclusive study, just my personal experience.  Many of us suffer from mental illness, often times created by or exacerbated by our circumstances.  We are treated as children by the media and by older generations, accused of destroying industries when we don’t buy into consumerism.  We bought into the dream of college opening all doors to success in life and graduate with bachelors  degrees and 60k in debt, only to find our only job option is to be a manager at a Papa Johns unless we want to get even more in debt for a higher degree.   We put off marriage and having children because we can’t afford it, or we choose different ways of relationshipping or to be childfree because we recognize that we don’t actually have to fit every mold they made for us.  We find the middle class we aspired to has all but disappeared, so we work two jobs and still need food stamps to get by.  Then we wonder why we suffer from depression and anxiety in such high numbers.  We learn rationality because we have to fight irrational systems of oppression and crumbling aged lawmakers who refuse to understand that we are more interested in being allowed to express our love regardless of gender and make sure every town has clean water, then we are in corporations getting more tax cuts.  We learn to be open and non-defensive because we have to nurture each other and promote self care every day and across social media platforms or in person with our friends, because we have to wonder how many more friends we’ll lose to suicide this coming year.  This isn’t true of everyone in my generation, but its what I see growing around me in my small communities and in the thousands I connect with through online platforms every day.

For me, adulthood begins with disillusionment.  It starts when we realize the lies we have been fed, that the boxes we were taught to fit in are unneeded, that the life path we were taught to follow was unrealistic.  It continues as we start to unpack all of that and struggle with the impact it has had on our psyche, our morale, our self esteem.  We grow more into adulthood as we gain the ability to remove ourselves from the system, to choose which pieces of it work for us, and which to discard as soon as we gain the power to do so.  Adulthood is that determination to find that power, within ourselves to stand up for who we are, and within the system as we elect as more and more of our number to office so we can change the way the oppressive system functions.  Adulthood is being able to kiss your same gender partner in public after years of fear.  It is taking a moment to breath into yourself after two retail shifts, telling yourself it is okay to break out a coloring book if that is your self care, as you bat away the dread that you’ll be doing the same thing every day for the rest of your life despite the shiny diploma tucked away in a box in the wore out apartment you share with three friends.  It is choosing to not have children because you are comfortable not wanting any, or because you desperately want them but can’t face bringing them into this broken world or know you can’t afford them.  It is having four children and having to coordinate between family who takes care of them as you each try and work the hours your employer pretends to graciously give you, wishing you’d be taught about safer sex during the abstinence only age.  It is getting divorced for the third time because you have found the inner strength to leave people who abuse you.  It is deciding against marriage because you love all three of your partners equally.  It is wanting to get married but knowing that disabled people still don’t have that right equally, because you can’t survive without the disability benefits that cover your life sustaining medication, and your partner makes too much for you to keep them, but not enough to cover the prescriptions if you wed.  Adulthood is rebellion, against all that we were taught, and it is finding our own way instead and paving a better way for generations to come.

Redefining boundaries and raising expectations

Sometimes people surprise you.  I’ve been polyamorous for just about my entire life, and a relationship anarchist as well for the last few years.  I don’t think I’ve ever been without a few partners or loves, though I only recently connected with my local polya community.  As such, I’ve been involved with a lot of people who had been monogamous before and tried polyamory for the first time when getting involved with me.  I’ve also been with a lot of people who had few relationships before me at all, but since we are raised in a society that normalizes monogamy, that is how they imagined their first relationships would be structured.  There are a lot of pitfalls when getting involved with someone who has absorbed institutionalized monogamous ideals and has not done the work to unpack those.  I was one of those people once, despite being polya from pretty much my first dynamics, and only experimenting with a couple mono relationships for a short time in my teenage years.  There was a shit ton of work to do and societal brainwashing to unpack, work that took me many years and a lot of heartbreaks to get through.  I hit a point where after I had done a lot of that work, I was understanding of what it took and tried to help a number of partners through that as well. I was new once after all, now I could work with others going through similar things and take on a sort of mentor role.

Several shit shows later, maybe a bit more then several, I was ready to wash my hands of all that.  I found a boundary, I did not want to get involved with people who had not already gotten to at least somewhere near the point I was at.  I would not get involved with monogamous people, or people who had no prior experience with polyamory or relationship anarchy. If someone was monogamous but willing to try polyamory or relationship anarchy, I fully supported that, but I wasn’t the test subject for that experiment because I did not have the energy for another dynamic in which they would find they couldn’t manage it after we’d done a year or more worth of emotional labor trying to make it work.  It probably didn’t help the divide that most of the polya people I knew had also studied non-violent communication and developed good emotional intelligence and self-awareness as a necessary part of making polyamory work for them, and most of the monogamous-want-to-try-polya folks I knew were learning those skills along-side with also exploring a whole new way to relationship.

So I made that boundary for myself, and my next couple dynamics were really very smooth in comparison to the ones before.  Instead of fighting and yelling and pushing away attempts at control, or getting drawn in and engaging in screaming matches I was later ashamed of, there were a couple years of calm conversations when problems arose, and good beginning talks about what agreements we would have that encouraged a respect for autonomy of all of those involved.  It was fucking lovely! In a previous dynamic with a my ex fiancé (a mono oriented person who was willing to “allow” me to be polya but didn’t have interest in being so himself, and never learned to communicate well or unpack a lot of societal mono baggage), when he cheated I found out after months of dishonesty, and couldn’t grok why he had not just told me that he had wanted to see someone else as well.  I mean to be honest, I had not created the best environment for honesty, we had a whole bucket full of other problems in our dynamic, but the cheating was a bad situation that exploded and he never communicated well through that, or through the eventual dissolution of our relationship that followed.  In contrast, I got involved with Witty, a person who had been looking at and trying polyamory for a while before we got involved, and had spent years figuring it out, along with learning effective communication and interpersonal skills to make it work.  He cheated as well, but it was a case of miscommunication, there was no attempt at deception at all following the fact.  We discussed it quite calmly, redefined our relationship agreements to prevent future mishaps, and the word was fairly hunky dory after that.  I could see pretty clearly the benefits of dating people who understood relationshipping in ways that suited what I was looking for, and had put in time an energy to be effective at it, same as I had after years of mistakes.

I was a happy little polya panda a couple years in to my new easy life, assured that this boundary had significantly lowered the drama level in my relationships and that it was the –right choice-.  Then I met Hoffy, who from almost the first conversation, showed me a level of openness and vulnerability I rarely see even from my dearest friends. He was inquisitive, forthright, and asked me a lot about the way I relationship in a frank and non-judgmental way that made it easy to open up.  I decided fairly quickly that every rule has an exception.  I often feel an extreme amount of hesitancy getting in any new relationship, which I’ve talked about here, but I was more certain I wanted to explore things with him than I had been about any life decision in over a decade.  I suppose sometimes you just know, because I am continually amazed at how that dynamic has progressed.  The level of openness and honesty has only deepened over time, and thus far there hasn’t been a single roadblock we couldn’t overcome, relating to polyamory or otherwise.  Since I’ve begun writing here we’ve often discussed our thoughts on the topics I’ve covered, and I again find myself even more amazed that someone raised in the same culture as me with mononormative structures, who hadn’t had any experience of polya relationships beforehand, could be so functionally excellent at making it work.  Thinking about it in more depth, I realize that the things that were lacking in my previous relationships with new-to-polya folks were often not their relationship experience in particular, but the communication skills, emotional intelligence, and self-awareness that often developed after more experience.  I fought tooth and nail against myself, against other partners, against societal ideas I had absorbed, to develop those.  I told myself that it was okay that I was a work in progress and that it took many years of brutal fuck ups to reach where I was now, and it was also okay to expect a certain standard from others because I no longer had the spoons to teach someone who was starting at the beginning when I was miles along the journey.  So what did it mean to find someone who was jogging along right beside me but hadn’t gotten there with a trail of messy broken relationships behind?  It raised my standards.  I suddenly realized that you know what, it actually is possible for someone to be compassionate, understanding, a gentle communicator, devoted to honesty and openness, from the very beginning.  There are people like that, or at least I had found one, and maybe that meant I hadn’t deserved all the shit and abuse heaped on from previous people who didn’t measure up to that.  Conversely that meant that I had no excuses for my previous behavior.  Being inexperienced wasn’t an excuse, and while I am admittedly very frank about how shitty I used to be, I needed to take even more responsibility for that.  I could have gone about everything very differently from the start, and I didn’t, but I knew now that it was possible.

So sometimes people surprise you.  I still have that boundary for myself, although I have tweaked it some. I am only willing to get involved with people who show they can express themselves with honesty and in a non-violent way, who are aware of their wants and needs and aren’t smuggling in secret expectations under them, and who are self-aware and emotionally intelligent in ways that fit with the complex nature of the way I relationship.  People who also question society and its more harmful messages, who are willing to think outside of the box, those are people who I feel may be able to relationship well with my unconventional way of doing things.  I hold myself to higher and higher standards, and I recognize that I deserve to be treated just as well.  I can be compassionate to what I went through and why I was a grade A shitbird, and have that compassion for my previous partners, while still living up to higher ideals today and seeing that mirrored in the people in my life now.  I’m glad I took the chance that I did, sometimes it is good for even the most important stands you take to have the possibility for exceptions, a little fluidity and wiggle room can lead to the greatest growth.

 

Vulnerability opens doors to community

Tomorrow I am hosting a potluck for my local polya group. I usually host a Thanksgiving celebration for my polycule every year, and a Christmahanukwanzikayulemastide celebration, but that’s been about it for a while.  We’ve had a few small game nights at the house here and there.  I have been saying for years that I would have some sort of BBQ, or plan a themed party like I used to, but it wasn’t something I managed to manifest from casual conversation into reality.

I remember vaguely searching for local polya groups a little over a year ago, I think what prompted it was curiosity, and one of my loves saying that we didn’t really have polya and RA folks in this area. This was the only local group I found, and while I joined a bit over a year ago as I mentioned, I didn’t really become active in it until this spring.  I don’t actually remember exactly what prompted me to start being more active in it, I believe it was noticing that a potluck was coming up, but it could be that I started engaging more first and that was why I noticed the event.  Either way, I RSVPed to it, and possibly because of that and their desire to make new folks feel welcome, or possibly because of my sheer queer magnetism, the two admins initiated conversation by reaching out to welcome me and start a friendship.

The beginning of the friendship that has developed with those individuals was interesting, I actually found that I took up a role of advise-giver and listener-to-rants for a while there.  That’s a frequent role I find myself in, so it was a comfortable one, but it was a little surprising to be that for two people I barely knew.  They were both at a bit of a rocky point with mental health, each other, other life situations, and I tried to help the best I could.  Despite that being a role I frequently find myself in, two things were different about it this time around.  The first was the amount of openness and trust and rawness they showed me, despite us just getting acquainted.  The usual skating around the issues and revealing a little bit at a time until trust was established and that picture perfect masked could be dropped, we just skipped right over that step. I value that raw authenticity beyond measure, it is something I crave in a world where people are guarded little drones pushing their identical Target shopping carts with their identical forced smiles.  These two people showed me the ugly parts of themselves and their relationship, and I was barely more than a stranger.  It wasn’t an over-share, it was a baring of the soul, and it was a courageous act. The second thing that was different was that in all my years as resident advice-giver in my groups of friends, I have almost never seen anyone really focus on examining the advice I gave so completely and then applying it.  It was unique to see someone actually evaluate the pretty advice scarf I painstakingly knitted them, realize it’s merit, and put it on and use it daily.  The fact that they put value on the time and energy I put into trying to offer assistance was an affirmation I had rarely been given, and was a true gift.  The fact that I was able to offer assistance to people who wanted that much to actually grow and improve, rather than mouth the words and continue on in the same old patterns, was so refreshing.  And seeing them both grow as people in tremendous ways over the eight months I’ve now known them, is an absolute inspiration. What I didn’t realize until much later was that being allowed to take the role of advise-giver for people who were so immediately vulnerable and also quite completely dedicated to personal-growth and positive change, also effected me in the most wonderful positive way.

I felt comfortable and at home in the raw gritty realness of those individuals, and in the inspiring growth they showed.  It mirrored my own fractured and flawed existence and constant search for vulnerability and need for self improvement.  I felt welcomed by the intensity of the sudden closeness I found with them, and the invitation to be myself.  I also was allowed to enter into my venture into the group within a role I felt very comfortable with, which eased the transition from mostly recluse, to reemerging social butterfly.  It was one of those times in life where circumstances line up in just the right way to allow for a new path to unfurl with radiant clarity right when you need it.  I was craving community, I was craving what it felt like to have a group beyond my polycule where I felt belonging and a sense of home, and I was craving a realness in my interactions with people that broke past the surface of the casual and polite and restrained that permeated my social engagements with your average human. That began to extend to others in the group as I went to the potluck and also began engaging in conversation through the group online.  The atmosphere in the online group forum was unique as well.  Most local groups I’ve seen have a lot of unicorn hunting and meme sharing, and not much else.  Here there were group conversations in which people also showed startling levels of vulnerability, where we talked about our traumatic pasts, and deeply flawed selves to a group of almost-strangers on the internet, and there was always an outpouring of support and love in response.  It also was one of the only communities I’ve been a part of that both centered and elevated and protected marginalized groups, while also welcoming those who weren’t really up to date on or concerned about social justice issues and gently guiding them to understand. I eventually joined the moderator team and found an even bigger new circle of friends I could be my absolutely obnoxious flamboyant self with, who even seemed to appreciate it and welcome it from time to time. People who came from all walks of life, but again shared a welcoming openness and realness that felt just like coming home.

And that led to now, where I’m getting ready to get up and clean house for a potluck tomorrow.  I’ve spent years saying I would host a gathering like I used to in the good old days when I had the energy to be a sparkling force of nature that hosted exuberant parties that brought people together. I also haven’t had any more then a shadow of the desire in me until now, the want to do so flitted around in my chest cavity but there was no passion for it to feed on and break out with.  The amazing group of people I’ve connected with changed that, I feel renewed having found a place where I feel at home, and a place that inspires my own growth as well.  When the opportunity came up to offer to host one of the events instead of just being in attendance, I was compelled to do so.  For me, that was a huge step after years of somewhat isolating myself due to a lack of passion and energy and motivation. The community I found that was so invigorating and raw has changed me, giving me back a certain spark that I have not felt in a good long time. So I hope, as I work on preparing food and finding places to hide my clutter, that this gathering has a few more new folks as well, who may also realize that they have found their community, and settle in and call it home.

Just to love you

You fall asleep fully clothed

A fabric wall between you and the rawness of a world that you can never show weakness

I lay next to you as naked as the window pane

With the raindrops tapping out a vulnerable song

You have a joke for every occasion

The smile never leaving your eyes or else pain will take its place

Except those rare times your eyes turn from blue to grey, winter coming far too fast

And I’m all raw vulnerability

Constantly asking your thoughts, wanting to hear reassurances that wouldn’t be certain even coming from a stable man

But I don’t need stability or naked vulnerability to love you

I love the winter storms in your eyes as much as the summer skies

The moments the mask you wear falls to the ground aren’t more precious because they are rare

They are precious because you allow me to witness them at all

And I’ve left behind all romantic fantasies of healing a wounded soul

I only want to love you as best as I know with every breath I have