Thursday, January 05, 2006

Ringing in New Years on a down note with the Goonies and the Galaxy Quest guys

When I accepted the idea that this relationship could work as a poly one, I knew I was in for a long hard haul, but I was blinded by how long and how hard it would turn out to be. And *sigh* it hasn’t even been a year yet. I’m exhausted. And I’m terrified of making the wrong step.

Remember the scene in the Goonies when the kids are in the cave, being chased by the Fratelli family, and they have to decipher the notes on the massive organ before the floor falls out beneath them? Sometimes, when I’m wrapped up in my own unhappy thoughts, I feel like I too am on that ledge, watching as sections of the rock fall away all around me. I’m scared of playing the wrong note, making the wrong step in this relationship.

That doesn’t sound very mature of me, does it? Everything has the ability to crumble in an instant? Is this healthy?

No I suppose not.

But I never realized all of the delicate intricacies that are involved in a poly relationship- especially the particular ones that we face. It’s so unlike a “normal” relationship. Not only do I have to deal with the stigma of polamory from friends and family, the ever threat of coming out or staying in the closet, but also the resistance from The Wife, the constantly failing attempts to bond with the children, trying to find a reasonable amount of time to spend together, the distance between our residences, the differences in religions (although I do happen to find acceptance within this relationship even with my often fluxuating and simplistic beliefs), the different stages that our lives are in, the age gap, our future goals… the list just goes on and on. Sometimes, especially when we’re communicating on an intimate level, this ledge that I’m on seems so incredibly solid and strong that nothing could break it. Every little detail we discuss of every bridge we have yet to cross seems so inconsequential when he and I are calmly chatting and connecting to one another. The hope I have for a perfect future is at its highest then.

Goonies never say die, right?!?!

But when I’m alone, or I feel snubbed by some small gesture, or I feign utter exhaustion on New Years just so I can avoid the awkwardness of not getting a kiss at midnight… that’s when I feel hopeless and unbalanced. The little critics in my head murmur that I’m not smart enough, I’m not pretty enough, deserving enough, responsible enough, *insert any descriptive word here* enough to make this work out in the end.

And there’s a name for these nasty little critics that was coined last summer in my world. Some people have just one voice in their head that cuts them down. That voice is often rude and overbearing, a total jackass that doesn’t ever seem to quiet down. Since middle school, the voice in my head split into thousands of smaller ones that run around like rotten kindergartners, screaming tourette-like insults at me and telling me over and over again that I’m simply no good.

Now don’t go thinking that I’ve admitted schizophrenia here. Because it’s nothing like that. These little critics don’t tell me to do things, and they don’t whisper that I should kill myself (although there was a time…). They are simply a constant loop of real life comments and events that transform themselves into bratty little blue aliens. I imagine them looking a lot like the little aliens on the rock planet from the movie Galaxy Quest.

Guy Fleegman: I don't like this. I don't like this at all.
Gwen DeMarco: They are *so* cute.
Guy Fleegman: Sure, they're cute now, but in a second they're gonna get mean, and they're gonna get ugly somehow, and there's gonna be a million more of them.

My little Galaxy Quest guys act syrupy sweet to me in the beginning but they always manage to turn it around and become little heathens that cut me down and make me feel awful. We all have these critics in our heads in some form or another. Some of us artists are just more creative in the way we describe them. I wish I was more creative in the way that I deal with them. Ever since I read Stephen King’s Dreamcatcher, I’ve imagined that that I could lock the guys up in a giant cardboard box, deep within the warehouse of my mind. I wrap that box with a ton of duct tape and I slide it into a shadowed corner. Even though most cardboard boxes should be labeled, I deliberately leave this one blank. Hopefully the miles of duct tape remind me that something sinister lies within.

Quit thinking I’m a lunatic. You know you’d like to try this with your critics too. Wouldn’t it be nicer to have unfaltering self-esteem or a positive outlook on ourselves and our lives all of the time? Wouldn’t it be nice to forget the cruelties of childhood, the awkwardness of the developing teenage years, and the disappointing decades of adulthood that leave us wondering what else we could be doing with our lives?

Unfortunately, those Galaxy Quest guys find a way to gnaw through the cardboard at the most inopportune times. I wonder if I intentionally put them in the wimpiest box I can find, just so they have the ability to break free and then use the excuse that I'm not strong enough to keep them at bay. Perhaps. But since the events folded out over 2005, I thought I’d gone and got rid of those little bastards for good. Recently, they punched a hole in the corner of their cardboard prison and they’ve slung insults at me from across the room. Little blue hands poke out from the hole begging for attention, gnarly teeth work feverishly to widen the hole. And it seems like every hour brings them closer to freedom and brings me closer to another bout of depression.

I don’t want to be depressed. And I may not be. But I could be suffering from the affects of that silly Adjustment Disorder thing I was semi-diagnosed with. My life has changed in ways I couldn’t imagine. 2005 brought me a clear and sound frame of mind (except for that teensy tiny part where I fell madly in love and spent a few months completely infatuated). The year was very good to me and I was very good to myself. I began to see the person I wanted to become. I began to accept my faults whether I was able to change them or not- but especially if they were not fixable. I felt on top of the world and capable of anything. I felt worthy of the life I was working towards.

So why do I feel so shitty now? Because sometimes it’s just easier to backpedal then actually bike up the mountain before us. And that’s what I’m doing, for whatever reason. I feel totally stagnant right now- stagnant in my schoolwork, my job, my weight, my attempts to overcome procrastination, and most definitely in my relationships with my beloved and his family.

I’m sitting in a hibernating state of a dull and bleak winter when I wish I was soaring above the summer clouds and enjoying the whistling of the ocean breezes through the tall grasses on a certain sand dune. Oh, my favorite happy place…

Christmas was hard because I couldn’t completely share the joy that I’ve found in my life. No one knows quite what to do with me. I’m quickly becoming the weird relative. I’m not a porno star. I don’t drink excessively. I have no major maladies that would cause anyone to whisper about me when they think I can’t hear them. I simply fell in love with a married man and I want to spend the rest of my life loving him and his wife. That’s all. But no one really wants to talk about it.

I have one parent who’s playing the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” game pretending that this is not really happening and another who is gritting her teeth behind her smile when I mention anything about my love. And it’s not as if I’m sharing intimate details here. I’m talking about normal things like holidays, kids activities, music lessons, pets, and attending church for crying out loud! I think my parents are hoping that this will all blow over quickly. Maybe my other family and friends are hoping for the same.

Fine. Whatever. Watch me roll my eyes at the thought.

And maybe that’s why I no longer view Wisconsin as home. This is the first time in three years that I could hardly wait to get back home. And by home, I mean Oregon, where I’m starting to finally feel that I belong. I was thinking it as I stepped onto the plane at PDX. I was thinking it when I landed in Milwaukee, when I spent Christmas Eve and Day with family… it seemed as if almost every moment had me thinking of home and the life I’m working towards with the people out here that mean so much to me. Don’t get me wrong though, I love my family and friends in Wisconsin. They have always been there for me and they’ve been a good support structure over the years. But maybe I need to find a family of my own.

And here’s where it gets tricky.

I don’t feel entirely at home, a hundred percent of the time with my love. That’s to be expected. I can’t just waltz into a existing family and set up camp. It doesn’t work that way. Rationally, I know this. Emotionally, I find it crushing and exhausting to have to maneuver through every hoop and obstacle in my way. I’m always saying to him “There doesn’t seem to be any room for me in your family.” And I feel it to my very core when I look at the four of them, happily bouncing from activity to activity, living their daily lives together as a perfect example of the *snort* nuclear family ideal. I fear I have nothing to offer them. The Wife is a seemingly perfect cook (or should I say perfectly imperfect?), with a heart of gold and a life filled with hobbies and roles she effortlessly seems to handle. The kids have a mother and a father who use intelligence, bribery (hehehe) and a healthy dose of common sense in their upbringing. What am I supposed to add to a perfectly good balance? And my love has everything he needs; a good job, a supportive family, a soul mate for a wife who has stood by him and supported him half of their lives, enriching relationships with many friends, hobbies that allow him to explore human nature and his own spiritual abilities he’s learning to master. Where do I possibly fit in?

I don’t know for sure.

But those damn Galaxy Quest guys always think they have the answer.

“Hey, sweet-cheeks!” Sometimes they act like little disgusting construction workers taking an unauthorized break, with big cigars dangling from their snarling lips. “You don’t belong here! Go home and leave them all alone. They don’t really want you here. You’re nothing but a pest! They’ve got better things to do then entertain your silly school girl notions of a perfect little family of five. There ain’t no such thing! You’re wasting your time. Move on, darlin’. Just move along.”

*Sigh*

It’s hard to fight against them and show them that the possibility of a healthy integration and fusion of our lives does in fact exist. I don’t always see that possibility. Lately, I just feel in the way. I mean, seriously, what could I give him that he doesn’t already have? When he’s sick, there is someone to take care of him. When he’s lonely, he doesn’t have to go very far for interaction. He’s already had kids. He’s already got the career, the house, the pets, everything he seems to need. I really don’t know if I’ve got anything to offer.

Just today, I recognized a pattern from my own relationships that I can’t continue in this one and it drives me nuts. When I get into a relationship, I make that person my world. Everything revolves around them. They become the person I turn to for everything. They make me feel good about myself even as I sit like a lump on the couch in sweats with unwashed hair and an empty container of Ben ‘n’ Jerry’s nearby. I make the person I’m involved with my absolute everything. I give and give (almost as much as I take) and I expect us to create our own little world together. This happens in every long term relationship for me. But there isn’t the possibility of it happening this time around and I’m scared because I don’t know what to do with myself.

I’m scared that I don’t have anything to offer. I have to find a way in, rather than blaze a path for us and I’m not sure if I can do that. I worry about my mental stability. I worry about my maturity, my experience, and my insecurities. I worry that he’ll wake up one morning and go “Geez, what was I thinking? She’s a total nut job! And whatever did I think I needed her for?”

Are these the Galaxy Quest guys throwing their insults around again or is this really me expressing how absolutely useless I feel?

I wish there was somewhere I could turn to, some sympathetic and unbiased person who wouldn't judge me for the polyamory aspects or the low self-esteem. I wish there was someone else besides the stupid aliens bouncing around like tiny astronauts playing games in a weightless atmosphere, hurting me and trying to destroy all that I've worked so hard for.

6 Comments:

Blogger rebecca marie said...

before i even finish reading... i'm to the "don't think i'm a lunatic part," or, "stop thinking i'm a lunatic," however it was worded...

i don't. i think you are just very eloquintly wording something that we have all felt.

phone... will finish reading later... soon though.

8:34 AM  
Anonymous Dave said...

Umm ... wow. What an introduction to read.

I had a hard enough time when I married my wife. It was an 'instant family' situation where I proposed to and married mother, daughter and son. They had their established relationships, routines, arguments and codes, and I'm the invader. It did work out, eventually.

Your path has some additional trials that I missed, with (apparently) emotional issues and an unconventional relationship. Not a lunatic, but someone who chose a difficult path with extra obstacles/opportunities. My only advice, and I expect you're already doing it, is to work hardest at your relationships with The Wife and The Kids. These are the ones who you are likely least attached with, so your long term success depends on this area most. Be a friend first, and let that grow to what you need it to be.

As if you don't know that already, right? But with a good heart and honesty, you will succeed.

My sympathy and my prayers to you.

3:08 PM  
Anonymous Tony said...

My goodness what a prolific blogger! Lovely writing, although it seems you are describing th human experience. I doubt, therefore I am. Good luck, try dogs, they always seem to do the trick!

4:20 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She did feel it. A dark hand had let go its lifelong hold upon her heart. But she did not feel joy, as she had in the mountains. She put her head down in her arms and cried, and her cheeks were salt and wet. She cried for the waste of her years in bondage.... She wept in pain, because she was free. What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it."

-Ursula LeGuin, The Tombs of Atuan

Figure out which was is freedom and keep going there. It ain't easy. It ain't supposed to be.

I'm thinking of you.

8:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"She did feel it. A dark hand had let go its lifelong hold upon her heart. But she did not feel joy, as she had in the mountains. She put her head down in her arms and cried, and her cheeks were salt and wet. She cried for the waste of her years in bondage.... She wept in pain, because she was free. What she had begun to learn was the weight of liberty. Freedom is a heavy load, a great and strange burden for the spirit to undertake. It is not easy. It is not a gift given, but a choice made, and the choice may be a hard one. The road goes upward toward the light; but the laden traveler may never reach the end of it."

-Ursula LeGuin, The Tombs of Atuan

Figure out which way is freedom and keep going there. It ain't easy. It ain't supposed to be.

I'm thinking of you.

8:08 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What a very thoughtful post indeed. I don't think you are a lunatic at all. Maybe just someone in need of support.

From my view I see a very feeling and caring person. I also see someone that has needs, don't we all.

One part of your post caught me. That was the last part, beginning with: "I don’t feel entirely at home, a hundred percent of the time with my love....."..."I fear I have nothing to offer them."

Quite the contrary, I believe you have a lot to offer them. I think there is no doubt that you are a very stimulating woman. I think it is more about fulfillment.

"When I get into a relationship, I make that person my world....."

I can only guess at the challenges with the situation you are in. It appears that you are like most people in wanting a relationship with someone where you share your live with one another solely and souly. Or better put, body and soul. This is, of course, a need. My wife and I share a relationship like this. She depends on me and I depend on her. There is no other lover to take our time away from one another. Again, the question of fulfillment comes into play.

There is no doubt that you are a very caring and sincere individual. My post here is more or less to reassure you that you are a human being who has needs, as we all do. Some have different needs than other, but still the same, we all need. And we all need to be fulfilled. If we aren't, our quality of life is severely diminished.

I hope your relationship works out. Relationships are tough things to manage regardless of how simple or complex they may be.

9:47 AM  

Post a Comment

<< Home