I tried to input my code. Thought I’d mistyped it. But, no, it just wouldn’t work. Finally, I checked my phone, and, sure enough, I’d gotten an email asking me if the purchase had been me or fraud.
Look, not every decision in life must be embraced as if it were our heart’s greatest desire. Consent is a part of our daily lives; we’d be exhausted if we threw ourselves into every single, microscopic decision…
I’ve left civilization God knows how many miles behind me. Headed for the icy depths of the southern tip of the globe- to the place in which all the hot girls prance about in sexy parkas. It’s difficult to imagine a more isolated place in which to meet a friend. But I somehow find connections in all of my wanderings. Even here.
Of course I’m not entirely alone. This time, I’ve come with a group of my friends, well, at least professional acquaintances. I’m sitting on this comfy red couch, among aforementioned acquaintances. I do have one or two close(ish) friends in the group, but she isn’t one of them. She is simply this woman with whom I’m conversing, our first time meeting. Though I’m pleased enough by her wit and intelligence to wish to get to know her better. And then she asks me a question.
“Do you know the word polyamory?”
She isn’t aggresive about the question. She suggests, by her tone, that she is not even listening that closely to my response. Our conversation isn’t serious at the time. Just lighthearted small talk. Like with any vanilla acquaintance. I don’t have a drink in my hand to take a convenient pause, so after a beat I say,
“Actually, I’m in a polyamorous relationship.”
I don’t know what makes me say this, but if she is going to open herself up in this manner, I may as well jump in. She shouldn’t have brought it up, if she didn’t want an honest answer, right? Plus, she’s really nice. I believe I won’t weird her out.
I say the truth, and she doesn’t flip out or anything, but she is curious. We talk about our partners, our lives. I find the words flow freely, easily.
I haven’t quite done this before. Opening myself up to a person I barely know in a non kinky scenario. Sure, I’ve talked to strangers about my kinks before. But I was already at an event. They’d already made themselves a little vulnerable to me, as I did for them. This time, I willingly put myself out there, without any idea of how she would react. All she did was ask about a word; I admitted to a practicing lifestyle.
I have mixed feelings about the whole thing.
I feel relieved, validated, heard– but I’m also questioning my judgment. Should I not have said anything? I’m nervous I prematurely let my guard down. Did I make a mistake? Did I share too much personal stuff? But I want her to be my friend. I’m tired of hiding who I am from my friends. And while I am normally excellent at compartamentalizing my life, I admit I’ve got sloppy.
She reacted well, true, but what if she hadn’t? I wonder if I’ve done something stupid. Here I am just saying anything to anyone? Is that brave or stupid, or is there a difference? Perhaps I’m too harsh on myself. You might call it “courage,” rather than laziness or stupidity.
I’ve relaxed my guard, as I’ve grown in confidence (which has a lot more to do with financial security and my ever strengthened role within my family and tribe, than it has to do with personal maturity). This isn’t limited to my kinky/poly self, either. I am more outwardly facing with my many roles in life, particularly, of late, my stepmom/friendmom role. I used to shyly hide in the background, not wanting to overstep. Now, I come support them in public whenever I feel like and openly talk about coming to future events.
I don’t think I’ve undergone a 180 degree flip.
I’m not going to be openly bisexual, poly, kinky, etc everywhere. Absolutely not on social media. I’m just not comfortable posting about my personal life, especially when it comes to the munchkins.
I am not at all ready to simply be OUT about ME. Yes, I’ve told more of my friends about my blog- in which I hide virtually nothing of myself- but I am not at the point where everyone in my life knows everything about me.
Yet I wonder if I need be as discreet as I’ve been before.
I’m in the middle of nowhere, and I’ve found this kinky soul creature. Because I let myself take a chance. I mean, I’ve been told I draw kinky folk out of the woodwork before- but this is ridiculous.
Six months ago, I don’t know that I’d have made the same choice. Would I have exposed my “secret” life? But it felt so good.
Can I afford to be a little more open with my -close- professional friends, instead of only talking about personal stuff with my kinky friends? I still need to be quiet about personal affairs with clients and extended network, but who doesn’t? What about the people I actually care about?
I feel like I am on the moon- and I can be anything I want to be.
Now that I’ve broken the ice on this one, what do I do next? Do I change my behavior, or just enjoy this connection and let it go?
Because this being frank thing- it’s nice. Later, we’re talking and she explains she trusted me because I led a group discussion on consent. I had mentioned the topic to a few in our group and they responded positively (when I got to my group discussion, a few people were already there and the daughter of one of our group looked at me with excitement, “We’re your group!”). It’s a topic the vanilla world doesn’t talk about much, my newly found friend says. I agree, though, like her, I wish it were different.
But I suppose, after that little incident, it is already different.
Perhaps I will allow both my worlds to blur a little more than I did before. Let some of my less socially approved interests slip out in casual conversation. Or subversively include “code” words to see if anyone picks up on them (like “consent” or “compersion” or “this one time with rope at band camp.”)
Or perhaps I will own the “princess by day, slut by night” life. During the day I will be good and proper. At night, I’ll loosen up over drinks with coworkers and, perhaps with a select few, tell stories of what I really did over the weekend. Of course I would try to be good, but I make no promises.
Which shall it be? Feel free to help me decide in the comments below!
She didn’t agree to me falling in love with him, with HER love. She owns him like she owns her ring, and she sees no need to share on anyone else’s terms. She allows him to sleep with other women, if she approves of them. In her mind, this is good enough.
In the car,- her car- she asks me if I want her “blessing.” I don’t answer. Truthfully, I don’t want it. I don’t want her permission, I don’t want her fucking blessing. I have no idea what she is going on about. I’m only twenty-five, and, to me, if you are open, you are open. You don’t get to mail order your partner’s other partners. I just want her to let me know what’s going on, so I know if I can be a part of it. But she won’t tell me that straight out.
It’s two years after our talk in the car.
She’s left him like a discarded couch in the alleyway, emotionally separated, if not yet physically (that will happen shortly, within a year, but for now, they merely share separate bedrooms, which they have since shortly after I met them. To this day, that is a red flag for me). For some reason, she still resents that I never asked her approval. I don’t understand her, but I know her feelings are real.
I feel a twinge of guilt that I can’t do what will make her happy. But I am not sure anything I do will make her happy, not even abandoning my current life. At least, this way, one of is happy.
It’s three years after we’ve talked.
I tell him that I love him, for the very first time, not knowing how he’ll respond. I just want him to know. It’s not a ploy to get him to call me his girlfriend. I am patient-ish.
One day, he doesn’t respond to my, “I love you,” with a cool, but gracious, “Thank you.” Instead, he tells me, all on his own, a dark whisper that floats by me as he holds me at night, “I love you.”
I am so glad I found it. Love is a mysterious, magical, wonderful, and very ordinary thing.
I am sure she would not approve.
It’s almost ten years later.
Today, I wish I could go back and say, I don’t believe anyone consented to your boyfriend. The oily one that can’t talk about anything but cars and ice cream. Whom you insist that your kids call family and love, like family. Forcing them to hug him, because that’s what you expect. I tell the kids the truth; they don’t have to hug anyone they don’t want to touch; but they say they can’t do that with her.
It would be nice if every mix of romantic relationships between an interrelated group of people worked harmoniously. But it doesn’t always. Sometimes you have to accept that they love someone you will never like. Sometimes, if it gets bad enough, you may have to question your decision to stay with your partner, rather than their decision to date, say, a racist homophobe. …but you can’t choose the person for them, unless they willingly agree.
My love for him, back then, wasn’t consensual in any shape or form, though today, we’ve both consented to our mutual love.
- She didn’t consent to it. In fact, she hates that it exists.
- He didn’t consent to it. He didn’t ask me to love him, or want it, and he wasn’t shy about the fact.
- I didn’t consent to it. I didn’t want to fall in love, I chose someone with whom I believed love would be impossible. Stupid, young me. I thought that was how it worked.
After almost a decade, I think maybe it doesn’t matter, anymore. That she’s got her life, and we’ve got ours. That sometimes it’s messy, and that’s okay. I no longer resent her asking me to get her blessing. I just don’t care.
…to this day, she still refuses to consent to our love and she still hates it.
I saw a piece about someone who said something nice— and another someone responded with unkind words, and this made yet another person upset.
“(S)he just said something nice. Can’t you just accept that and move on?”
After all, they have a point. Being nice is…nice. I wish society could be nicer. Jimmy Stewart once said, “You can be oh so clever or oh so pleasant. For years, I was clever. I prefer pleasant.” I love intelligence, of any sort– but it’s a breath of fresh air to encounter a truly nice person.
I value “niceness,” I do. But, sometimes, okay, quite a lot of the time, I am tired of “niceness.” “Nice” girls smile and nod pleasantly. They don’t say that their mothers were abusive or that their stepfathers molested them. That is not the sort of thing nice girls say. Nice girls say, “All mothers are wonderful!”
“Nice” is okay, but it is somewhat lacking in depth.
I should have sided with the person who said the celebrity in question said something nice. I didn’t do that. I took the side of the person who said the “mean” statement.
Which throws some people off. You are so sweet, people say. Nobody expects me to be mean. Truthfully, I am sweet. Most of the time. I am terrible with conflict, traditionally. I don’t do “mean” well. I like being nice and pleasant and warm like butter and snickerdoodles and .
I am mostly sugar and not spice– but I do have a dash of nutmeg.
Let me share a story: My youngest munchkin said I could marry anyone I like, but they had to be nice, nice, kind, kind and helpful. Yes, I deliberately repeated the first two traits. Because she did. I have every intention, too, to marry someone nice and kind. She likes everyone to be nice and happy around her. As do I. It’s funny, though, because for such a little person, she has uttered some very cruel words.
…because a couple of things, to start.
1. Sometimes being nice isn’t a reasonable response.
That nice comment I responded to in a “mean” fashion WAS nice. But, you see, the last twenty actions/words spoken by that person were petty, vindictive, harmful, or in some other way purely awful. Words are beautiful, but hollow words ring empty. And the past doesn’t get erased, because you suddenly decide to say ONE NICE THING.
I don’t believe people are lost causes ninety nine percent of the time. A few, a very small few, are so broken there is no helping them. I met one, not too long ago. Someone who got blackout drunk whenever I saw her. She threw herself at me when drunk, to the point that I had to eventually cut off the friendship entirely. She later claimed my partner assaulted her, though they were never alone together. Some people cannot be saved.
Yes, I believe in forgiveness. But it takes more than one apology or one positive statement. Because–
2. Being nice, when it’s based on ignorance, isn’t much to me.
You know that person who is “nice” because they won’t say a potentially hurtful opinion? Niceness does not have to equivocate to shallowness. I am not always “nice” in my writings, although I know I could be more popular if I catered to everyone and made sure I never said anything controversial.
But I’d also get bored. I don’t think you necessarily have to be vivicious, but the world isn’t always nice. Sometimes it requires a sharp mind and an equally sharp tongue.
3. Loving words are not enough. Kind words are not enough. Kind actions do matter.
True empathy and kindness is more than words, though words are, well, nice. Moreover, it is consistent. You have to be good to everyone, not just to the people you think are worth kindness and love. You can slip up, but overall?
You have to be kind to the people that need it, even if you get no recognition for it. No social media brownie points. I appreciate when anyone tries to say something good, in my opinion, the “right” thing.
4. Niceness, when only shown when people are looking, isn’t quite the same.
The other day, you shared an article about abused kids in cages. I absolutely and wholeheartedly agree with you. These children need help. Some may say it’s “politicizing” the issue to talk about it. But I believe it’s not right to dust this under the carpet and pretend it’s not happening.
Except I also saw you screaming at your own child about how they are stupid and unreliable and how they will never be better. Nobody was around to see it, well, nobody you cared about. Now I think those posts you share on social media aren’t about the children at all, but about yourself. Because if you care about children only when someone sees you, do you really care about them? I may have misjudged you, but this is how I feel.
I’ll leave off with this,
Dear people that think we should just be happy whenever someone says something nice,
You want to let that &^%^ slide? Cool. It’s not your responsibility to delve deeper into someone’s words. You can be happy that they said anything nice, validate them with whatever loves and likes you need, and do your thing.
But some of us just get fed up, you know?