Lost Ways

He lost his kink over our trauma. I lost my ability to feel free with others too. I am terrified of hurting people even with clear communication. I am unable to be free sexually. I accepted him without his kink. I would have adjusted to meet his needs too because he was worth it to me. He left me because he couldn’t see how we could have peace with his kink gone. I don’t feel accepted for my choices either. We lost our way and it seems we cannot develop a new way.

This is the way of relationships. We change and grow and learn. We endeavor to pick partners who value us and want to grow actively with us because of love. We fucked us up. I am so sad that growth potential was damaged…lost.

I hate what is lost.

I hate that the way is blocked.

I feel…

so much.

Reduce

Here is the word I submit for consideration today – “Reduce.”

I am warning you now. There is a lot to this piece. It will make me very uncomfortable. I will cry – as I have been daily – knowing I needed to write it. It will make people close to me very acutely aware of what they already feel as fire in the house they cannot escape. It is my fear that I will take the pain and reduce it – make it more concentrated by boiling off that which isn’t essentially heavy beyond vanishing into vapor. The pain may become very potent and possibly so strong as to not be tolerable. Despite this risk, it is my intention to take the pain and reduce it – make it smaller in the light of greater perspective. Ideally, the pain may become lessened by processing and care, or by undoing what has been done.


There are so many thoughts that flood me when I think about the disconnect between fantasy and reality. There was this dynamic, between my once love and me. He took my openness, and he found eroticism in my interaction with others. He wanted me free and fulfilled. He wanted me on fire. He wanted me to be washed in pleasure. He thrived on my energy and my strength. He felt full from my glow as I bounced around any room with flirtatious energy, but he also felt unseen and not considered. He felt both. The erotic energy was potent and concentrated, and the pain of feeling not considered could not be reduced to insignificance. I wish I had fully understood…the difference in reductions.

There were indicators that I thought we had worked through. We used to talk the shit out of everything. I really, really miss that. There is so much unsaid now. Anyhow…I digress.

We tried hot-wifing. It was his fantasy, not mine, but I saw ways it could work. I wanted so much to please him…for his fire to burn for me in the most concentrated way possible. I could explore things missing in my learning while he could feel close to me physically through our preparation. I trusted him to lead me through the risks. There was so much I should have seen that I didn’t. I just didn’t. I am not used to not understanding fully. The loss I endured from that lack of fully actualized judgment…I may never recover from it. I can’t even write with a calmness when I think about it – I just drivel and snot and type in blindness. Fuck.

The night before, we spooned with him looking into my neck – breathing a closeness on my skin that I hadn’t yet felt with him. I felt so sure we could do anything together. Why on earth would we have ever considered risking that? Was it really because it all went wrong, or was it because there is an inherent disconnect between fantasy and reality?

Is it possible that the very thing that made us shy away from details about other relationships was an indicator that the reality was going to bite? He felt excluded from how I interacted with others in relationships, so rational thought said, let’s try for a true NSA interaction with a hot-wiving scenario. We vet together. We decide together. It is us in this, together. In the TOGETHER, there is an intimacy, but in the end, it was each of us…completely alone.

I remember a conversation I had with a woman from a hot-wifing room on Kik. She said, what is a hot-wife without an other? She felt like her partner didn’t need her unless she had a bull to make her desirable. I should have listened to that sadness, and I should have brought it to him as a worry. What if his interest in me was about others? What would happen to me as I aged, and desires change naturally? I dismissed that as nonsense. That didn’t make sense with the connection I felt to him, but we broke over it all the same.

I didn’t do anything right. That is for certain. We didn’t have rules, so I also did nothing “wrong.” I fucked a man who for whom I had no care, for and with a man for whom I have shared unparalleled love. I was scared, and I should have been. I lost everything in one day. I dropped him. He dropped me too.

I allowed myself to be reduced to a fetish. I broke all trust we had over a fucking fantasy. I never thought he would leave me as I wanted nothing more on this earth than to be his. I felt no sacrifice in giving up my country for him. I felt no hardship in focusing myself on him. It was what I wanted. He fought back so as not to make an impact on my life…no footprints left. He didn’t want me to give things up.

Fuck that. My life was us. I don’t want this world without him in it.

He didn’t mean to reduce me to how I interact with others. He loved me. I won’t listen to a single impulse that says he didn’t. He loves me still, and I love him still. The worst thing he could have ever said to me… “I don’t trust you.”

Don’t reduce me to the 5 days that didn’t go well and not factor in the 360 days in which I over performed. Let me improve my sweetness as the water boils away. Don’t reduce me to how you think I feel about my sacrifices. Let me choose you. Don’t reduce me to that limited view of my capabilities. Let me grow to you. Don’t reduce us to the future you feel is safer. Let us exceed what you never imagined possible.

I don’t even know how to tell people now…when you are risking the most beloved things in your world…just don’t. Don’t even go close to the boiling point. There isn’t a damn thing to be learned from loss other than it wasn’t worth it. There is no reducing this kind of pain to a manageable amount.

Take your love and rest in it, please.


Take my love and reduce it into your sweetness
Feel my presence in your heart still sticky
Come back to me when you are ready to be real
I will always be yours

Take my words and know them as truth
Don't let their repetition reduce their impact
Don't be afraid of what the future holds
I will always be yours

I am terrified of what I have done and how you see me
I hate what you don't trust in me and what I broke
I want to burn away the past and reduce it to ash
I will always be yours

Please, for the love of the time we have spent over heat
Don't throw out what is stuck to the pot
It is still sweetness that we both deserve
I will always be yours

The effort and attention isn't wasted in letting it simmer
The melding of fine ingredients concentrated
Thickened and strengthened and like nothing you have had
I am yours, even now.

Fragile

There is a thing that happens when people are infected. There is a blood-brain barrier that locks out nutrients from the brain so that it remains safe from the toxins in the blood. Body suffers one affliction (infection) while the brain suffers another (starvation). When we are infected, we cannot think properly. The same happens when our hearts are fucked over. Heart break makes thinking difficult. I feel small when I cannot shake the pain. I flinch when everything around me feels like a trigger. There are so many that don’t give a second thought about me at this point.

The thing that I never considered properly is that I would love deeply. The ends are brutal. Polyamory…means more ends unravel. More heart break is possible. I quit.

i am hopelessly fragile and so very small
i am easily forgotten and not worth risking it all
you tell me you love me but you will not call
my mind will starve before infection scales barrier wall

my blood carries toxins that pollute its path
my heart is pressure pumping wrath
when did anger blow up this empath?
i am losing again and again, sink down in the bath

i want to quit and run and hide
i am ready to scream enough, and go out with next tide
i still want to be there, even if i can't sit beside
i might can hold on, but grip slips with tears cried

tonight, again, i asked what I knew
that i am the past and not new
i am complicated and difficult and blinding hue
this is what you saw when you entered the queue

they say i will heal and feel better with time
this presumes that i love like every other rhyme
i do not, he knows it was true and once in a lifetime
and yet, decision made and i am left mute like mime

i gave everything willingly to be in his eyes whole
i still want it now even with the fear inflamed soul
trust and comfort have both over payed toll
i have apologized and tried to view his world through pinhole

but too little too late, and changes already made
the cut too jagged, too rusty the blade
we didn't know what we were doing, and with fire played
and now infected, the decay displayed

i hate what has happened and i want him back
i hate that i cannot do anything to ready my pack
i can't get there nor stave off fatal attack
i am breathless - this last blow landed with unwarned thwack





Overlooked Notebook

I have beautiful notebooks. The have specialty papers on the outside, are often hand stitched with a variety of intricate bindings, and are filled with paper that can handle my pen or my paintbrush. One notebook in particular has seen the range of my emotional pendulum over the last six months. It has a thick brown cover reminiscent of bark grown over a wounded tree gash. I have been pouring myself into, into concentrated growth rings, every mark transcribed.

“I wish you would share stuff like that with me,” he said not too long ago.

I handed over my expression. I shared what would be open portraits of my nakedness. I revealed hopeless cries with poetic lilt. The pages were dense and painful and true. “Please understand that some of this may be difficult to see,” I added for his comfort. I am always adding some for of calming agent to my words for the comfort of others.

He will realize that I have drawn myself a lot, and that there is evident pain in how I present my body to the pages. He may wonder why I write so much about my lack of safety. It will likely come as a surprise to him despite my daily battle with being terrified. He will worry that some of the writing is darker and more hopelessly colored than makes people comfortable.

Or, this is actually the reality: he will forget to read it. He will put the book on his desk, then move it to a drawer when it is in the way. He will lose it entirely in the lists of things to do in a day. It will sit there, waiting to be seen, for a week, until I take it back. He will be mad at me later that I don’t share “enough.” He will write his own narrative in his own notebook. He will then be hopelessly fill with indignation when I don’t want to crack the spine to give it its open faced exposure to the air.

The notebook is mine. The expression is mine. I am not reserved about sharing it.

Fuck you for asking to see, so that you could make a demonstration of dismissing its beauty. I will sooner show an internet rando a completely nude photo of my body. I will smile straight into that camera and lift my eyes up like a good girl. Let anyone see through my eyes and into my cleavage…over my freckles and noting my scars…

How many will have the sense not to overlook the notebook?

Or are there more that will just set it aside and not look at the gift that is me….

Cast iron, well seasoned

I can’t remember the context now as it was well over a year ago when we spoke of it, but he was lamenting the inability to have nice pans at home as his partner didn’t give a fuck about preserving surfaces. Additional insult to the proverbial pans of the relationship is that – as I gathered – she cared very much for surface appearance, but not for edge of where one thing actually meets another.

He likes to cook, and I definitely imagined him stirring things. He stirs while speaking loudly, making references I would surely pick up – were it not for how much distracted amusement I get from listening to the cadence of his voice in varied accents. Theater friends were kind to him.

The frying pan is out on the stove top even though he isn’t cooking now. It is enormous and weighty. It is black with beautifully seasoned care. It hovers around where the fire breathes and has no fear. I am certain nothing sticks.

A lot of time has passed. I lot of feelings were flash burned leaving some marks. “Maybe it is because I am nervous,” he said.

Don’t be nervous. I pay attention to surfaces, even the ones poorly seasoned. I occasionally fuck up and use the wrong tool for the job because I am extra intent on not burning shit to the ground. For the vast majority of meals though, I can be sure there is enough oil, I know the temperature is right, and I hold that massive weight with one hand and toss its contents gently to even tenderness. The other hand can be used for whatever your heart desires.

All of that though, doesn’t provide proper salve for deep burns, does it?

If we burn this meal, no biggie. They deliver anything now, and we don’t even have to put all our clothes on to answer the door.

_________________

This is all cooked with a sweetness, but also, don’t forget. I can use that frying pan one handed to end shit too. (She jokes…mostly.)

And then she read to me…

I haven’t published in a while. I have shed my weight in ink later dried to pages that I may never show anyone. I considered harvesting these words here, and throwing the site into the abyss. What purpose does it serve now when I feel dry and brittle?

And then she read to me…

Let me be clear. This is not about sex, but I was given what I needed in a moment without having to ask. There is very little on this Earth more intimate than that gift.

“How much do you trust me…” she beckoned knowing the answer. How does she fucking know those answers?

“Completely…oddly.” And I gave her my phone number.

______

My heart is ruptured and beating with the blood pooling under a thin, transparent skin that has just recently grown closed. When my heart races, I leak. When I look at it with the vaguest of judgment for its lack of hasty regenerative spirit, it oozes more than just a little. The slightest bump, and I may as well have slit it with rusty straight razor not fit for my lover’s beautiful collections.

We shared labels, and the disdain for their inaccuracy. We shared histories of transitions, and the litany of current circumstances that would break any mortal. She is funny, and dry while being caring and subtle. She gives me hope that my current jaded exterior can be something smoothed over by that current of energy she and I both master.

I told her about the stacks of men that have broken something while tromping around inside of me. They don’t mean to be bulls, so I do forgive them their damage. I know I have broken my share of shit in any proverbial china shoppe. I was tired and had cried so much that day. My spouse and my son had a conversation in which they brainstormed how to help me manage my current state of emotional dissonance despite my sitting there cutting my steak all by my own self. My love – who is far and no longer mine as such – is kicking my ass in online scrabble instead of telling me that he can’t wait for the day that I am in his arms forever. My love – who is my rock – is drinking to avoid the really real realities. I am stuffing my writing because I am scared to air it for the first time since identifying as a writer. I cry a lot.

I told her all of this, even though I don’t know her – and yet I do.

And then she read to me…

Now I can allow people to read my writing again.

Giving

Today, I am not worth the work.

I was honest about my pain…made him honest about his.

And so it is done.

This writing will be a very long time before it is ready.

My mind rocks back and forth between what must be done to save what I know I can have with who I know to be my person…what must be done, and that nothing will ever make it okay.

My mind rocks back and forth but it isn’t soothing…it is scrambling and debilitating.

I can’t just let it go…not because it hurts to let it go…

Because I know it to be once in a lifetime opportunity…

Why can’t I see everything with this kind of clarity?

How can I be expected not to make mistakes?

Doesn’t my patience and care buy me some grace and forgiveness?

Can’t I change?

Door: Change Driver

Door: Change Driver 

Aria Scarlette, 13 December 2020 

We started chatting in April of 2019, met very quickly, feelings articulated in June, quickly followed by the dance of withdrawal without articulation. He was the first man I met while playing without permission that truly drove change for me. I still don’t believe he was honest with himself or with me about what drove our change into feelings…or our change out of feelings. He was the driver for all of our change, and I didn’t have much say. His schedule dictated. His drive dictated. His desire dictated…and ultimately, I believe his fear dictated. I was a passenger, but I learned that I need shared partnership in being driver. 

____ 

So, you want to feel desired? 

Believe me, if I want you, you won’t be left guessing. 

Did you feel like the universe told you to pay attention to my profile? 

My directive to practice candid, radical transparency in communication was your hook. 

Did you think my hair was the source of my power? 

You bid me to stay present, my eyes through yours with you are inside me. 

Where else have I gone? 

I am certain I have only ever been with you – while with you. 

Should I have bid you to stay present? 

I waited for you to have time until I vanished out of your rear-view mirror, involuntarily. 

How did it start? 

You came to get me. 

How did it end? 

You drove away. 

I can still see you in my mind. Bright beautiful day, and the convertible top was down. You turned left with confidence after stopping at a sign that said “No Left Turns.” 

____ 

You taught me some really valuable lessons, and for that, I am grateful.  I can exchange my hurt for the value I received in our conversations. It was worth my while when the inventory is honestly taken, and the debits and credits accounted for… 

You made me confident in my gut. You told me my decisions made while sitting center saddle are spot on. Why did I need a brilliant man to tell me that in order to believe it? I did need it though, and I thank you for filling that need. 

You taught me about masks.  I don’t want the ones I have and am working to shed them because of the awareness you brought out in me. 

You are the first person to whom I admitted lies about orgasms. Now I don’t lie. I just have them or don’t as my body allows. I don’t judge it either. 

I should have fought for the connection we had earlier.  I suspected that, but I sat passive and waited for you. That learning will certainly have prepared me be more proactive in another relationship that I will save. I suppose though –back in our time, you also shared in that responsibility, and either didn’t see it or didn’t want it. 

Now I have the awareness and the voice to fight connection as I can recognize self-sabotage and retreat. 

There is so much I have to be thankful for in our learning.  I didn’t write about you because I was so angry…and hurt…and confused.  Now it is the lessons learned, written in some parable for me to reflect on… 

Ritual Comfort

There is something that I dearly treasure about ritual. I don’t consider repetition boring unless it is also laziness in service of obligation. My most treasured personal rituals: coffee, writing, art, and music. I love my coffee and drinking it every morning from handmade mugs. I love writing, and I need it for the casual list making and for the intense dumping of feelings to be processed. I need to make things with my hands, tangible products of my existence. I find resonance in music when I need my feelings validated, but I also use music as manipulation when my mood needs altering before I go under the surface permanently.

Love, relationships, affairs, power dynamics and kink…all of these constructs revolve around ritual for me also. I derive comfort from inside jokes, messages first thing when waking and when ready to sleep, painting dream intention, checking in throughout the day, sending pictures, and staying connected throughout the day with energy.

What happens when the ritual stumbles? What happens when the schedule alters once? How does it feel when the schedule morphs over time? How hard is the pinch? How long before it releases its grip?

When the time we spent every day shifted from open ended to structured, I adjusted. It took me a while, but I did. At least I knew what to expect. When our physical shifted, I understood why. We are layered in our relationships, and physicality isn’t a switch that you can just turn on and off. When coming back for night time ritual started being later and later, I expressed discomfort, and then adjusted to a different set of expectations. I hear the pinch of time as our lives and responsibilities change, and we must meet each other and care for the changing dynamics. I think to myself, it is all ok as I still have the ritual comforts I need most. He still works hard to understand me. He still shows up and gives me his most vulnerable self.

Then I stop being as flexible because I am scared…because I am hurt…because I am also tired.

The bend hurts more than it used to.

The stretch makes me feel like I might snap.

The strain is taking longer and longer to heal.

And…sometimes I am doing that work in isolation now too.

When you hand a child a beautiful, full, floating balloon of magical favorite color that lives in defiance of gravity…there is no joy like the balloon…

Until…

It pops.

Ritual comfort, without the ritual doesn’t retain its comfort. I am fucking cut loose and dropped into the abyss. I wait for the pieces to return and offer comfort again.

____

Rituals and repetition, driving energy in ostinato

Propel and carry the lyrics from bar line to bar line

Sway to the beat and know the comfort of expectations met

That chord’s tension will resolve…

The trying tone, though, held persistently suspended in agitation

The tempo paused and momentum lost

The listener has a choice to make…

Wait for resolution? Or change the station to help the dissonance settle…

Giving

I want to give zero fucks 

Give out, give in, then give up 

Cry mercy, burn it down, wallow in muck 

Judgment blur and energy disrupt 

___

Overwhelm and shut down 

Pull away and go dark 

Hurt is completely blown 

The emptiness in contrast stark

___

What use is staying close 

When the tides retreat 

To vulnerability expose 

And painful abrasions repeat

___

Pull away and undertow swept 

I expect it regularly 

Intimacy on a shelf kept 

The cycle is understood clearly

___

What are needs and what are wants 

What time is easy to endure 

When regularity of pain haunts 

Makes giving unsure

___

Continue to generously and freely give 

Hope we, through cycles, survive 

Or let love leak out through sieve 

Fearing, the hurt will kill the thrive.