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?

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…

Perceived Inequity

In polyamory, or non-monogamy, or any power dynamic…actually, in any relationship ever…perceived inequity is an enemy to peace. Peace is lost when I feel like you shouldn’t want to be with her as much as you want to be with me. Peace is lost when I feel like my lover has another partner who sets them on fire in a way I cannot or do not. Peace is lost when that NSA didn’t happen in reality the way we planned in theory. Peace is lost when I cannot give you all you want or need or deserve. Peace is lost when I can give you everything but you don’t trust that I can or that it is even possible. Peace is lost when perception of balance is off.

Is perception real though? Is it actually inequity?

I know I get a version of you that not even your wife gets. I know that you are open to me in a way that you are not open to another person on this earth. I know that you know you get that from me also…

Is it fair to say that this statement is possible with more than one person without being untrue?

Every pairing is its own thing, but the expression of that balance is predicated on perception. Can you feel it when I intend it? Can I feel it when you intend it? Can we learn to adjust our feelings to meet the intention?

Peace requires equity – actual balance and perceived balance. How much balance are we capable of managing? Where will our skills fall short so that peace is disturbed?

Shower me with your affection. Tell me how you feel. Tell me when I make you hard. Tell me that you need me in your life. Tell me your news. Make time for me in your world. Give me your truth without hiding. Share your fears with me. Learn and grow with me and for me.

My affections are yours. My feelings are yours. You make me wet all the time. I need you every day. You hear everything that crosses my brain. I find you every single day. You get everything I can give..and that is a bundle of fear much of the time. I am scaling the learning curve for you with every agility I have at my disposal. I should not accept anything less in return.

Everyone deserves peace, honesty, and equity…mirrored energy, understanding and intent.

Thank COVID

Meeting with people in this COVID environment is tricky. I have barely been out of my house other than to work, get some exercise in local parks, and run errands of necessity at a smattering of local shops. I get anxious thinking about doing anything with many people.

I lost relationships with this absence. I lost friendships with the separation.

I also ended up with some extra time that I wouldn’t have had – that ended up furthering a relationship. Global pandemic means that two people on other sides of the world are similarly on lock-down.

As I look at the time COVID has afforded me, and I weigh it against the separation it has also engendered, can I fairly say it hasn’t been kind to me?

My anxiety is extreme, but don’t mistake that for poorly placed fear. The risk to me is real, present, and damn near all-consuming. I have lost 45 pounds vibrating in my own skin. Every email from my kids’ schools about a confirmed cases nearby makes vomit rise up. Every time someone from my household returns from the outside world, I make a mental map of every single thing they have touched before decontaminating properly. The wrongful dismissal of my very founded concerns has made me weak and small…weaker and smaller. I fold up, and I hide under my covers and shake.

I didn’t lose a job to COVID. I didn’t lose my place to live or my ability to feel secure that my family would be fed. I haven’t lost anyone I know to the virus…yet. I have lost my ability to feel safe in the world. Sleeping is difficult. Being still is impossible, but moving is also a challenge.

But, I have my love. COVID has delayed my ability to be in his space with him, but it has absolutely played a large role in our relationship and its glorious closeness. I rely on him in a way I might not have without COVID. I like to think it would be the same no matter the environment, but I know stars aligning makes the otherwise impossible more probable.

So the dichotomy lives. Fuck COVID for my loss of peace and safety…and thank COVID for making possible a different kind of safe peaceful reality.

I have indeed learned a lot about myself and others through the eyes connections needed to manage this new world. Whatever doesn’t kill us, makes us stronger.

Please, dear gawd, don’t let COVID kill me.

______

Use this struggle to make me fierce

to test me and train me and make me endure

Use this challenge to make me see

to show me and teach me to see others’ obstacles clearly

Use this pandemic to make me resistant

to fortify me and adapt me into a super power of radiant joy

Use this separation to make me cling

to connect me and hold me close to the humanity of another

Use this time to make the unfathomable future crystal clear

to pause my fear and soothe my insecurity

and make way for the never ending time that is after

After now and on to the list of tomorrow’s infinite potential

Seeing red

There is a red set of bra and panties that I can no longer wear. They came out of the laundry yesterday, and they are clean, but they still cannot be worn. When I see them, I see red…or I don’t see.

The bra was chosen for me by my first Dom. I needed a new bra, and I sent him pictures from dressing rooms until he chose. For a long time when our dynamic was strong, I felt clothed in his care when I wore it. There was a long time toward the end of our practice that I didn’t wear the red as it wasn’t our default color choice. He used to designate the color of my bra and panties each day, and if he forgot, I was to wear default black. There was a long time toward the end of our practice in which I wore only black until the default ran out in my mind. He had forgotten me, and so I allowed myself to forget him also.

It is hard to forsake a bra that fits well, even when chosen by a Dom that lost his title and my submission. I wore it without association, and it often peaked out of otherwise conservative clothing. There was an edge of lace, the cup shape was round, and the straps were thick. The exhibitionist in me took pictures in just that bra in my car.

The red panties are lacy, and I have taken many a picture of kitchen ass sent to my love while making coffee. They are full coverage, pretty, and my ass hangs out the bottom. He always commented on the red ones.

There was a day of bad decisions, ultimately filled with catastrophic consequences still being managed…I wore red top and bottom. There is no wearing those again. Never. I lost time wearing those reds, I missed details, I destroyed trust, and I endangered my most treasured connection. Seeing that red isn’t a trauma from which I will easily recover. Neither he nor we may ever recover fully.

I see red for all of my traumas. I see connections to the language of my dependence on my spouse and the abuses he has perpetrated on my fragility. I can name the feeling I have when suicidal ideations fall from the mouths of those I love – having lost my share of treasures to suicide, that button is hot and very red. There have been many times I have felt trapped in my own body when it is a mystery to the modern medical profession. I have had so many surgeries, and I have felt so much pain and uncertainty. I am covered in infectious black ink turned blood red as this virus Covid threatens me from every angle. I watch my husband turn mean as he struggles to understand what has happened, and I have no fight left in me. Will burning these two, small, insignificant articles of clothing make the world settle? Will it wipe some of the red from my vision?

Probably not.

I burn them anyway.

____________

My red blinds and infuriates

My head struggles and debilitates

My heart pounds and won’t recuperate

My body writhes and pulsates

My breath increases and hyperventilates

My panic

My red

Oh, my…