altarflame: (deluge)
feel free to click here for a weeks old entry I forgot about )

(and/)Or, find out how not long after that entry I felt pretty triggered (haha, how ironic).
That led to some serious two steps forward, one step back personal struggles (challenges? INSURMOUNTABLE BARRIERS I'VE SINCE BEEN CHINKING AWAY AT ONE CRUMB AT A TIME?!) with polyamory, as polyamory in general - even in it's infancy - has a way of highlighting every single thing you didn't know you were avoiding dealing with at once. I'm very fortunate to be so deep in a bond that allows for sharing everything patiently, even when that involves stop and starts, and backtracking... Even if we never acted on any of this we know each other so much better, now, and I feel so much closer to him. Paradoxical, I guess, but getting to the "why" underneath every scared and sad feeling is something that's taking us places we might never have gone otherwise. I feel like I'm going to understand life differently and have a different attitude as I get older, because I'm tackling this deep shit inside of me that I've never looked straight at or felt so directly and consciously, before...
I am also pleased to report I can once again take an IQ test without any sense of personal tragedy.

Here are some pics of me and Elise around our neighborhood one weeknight, and some others from a tour G and I took of R.F. Orchids last weekend.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯

TL;DR - I am on a general broad upswing that involves some hard times and is not a simple curve. I travel this path with a bunch of other people who are also all on varying and irregular (usually) upward slopes. I feel good about life, and also get tired.

I will probably make a way shorter update soon, about apps I'm using and things I've recently cooked. Take heart, if this is just too damned long and convoluted and TMI.
altarflame: (deluge)
It's January 1, 2015. <--I'm sitting with that sentence for a bit, trying to take it in.

I ate two eggs on toast with some iced coffee from our fridge, for breakfast, at the picnic table outside. Then I wrote a 3 page long poem, and then I took Ananda and went on a BJ's run.


I'm very happy, which tends to scare me. I'm learning to be happy and scared about the happiness at the same time, which is possibly the most important life skill I could master.

In the process of trying to fill out that end of the year meme, I read back over some old entries for the first time in a long time. I remembered how much I love having them to look back on, and decided I need to blog more, or at least more honestly. I'm not dishonest, here, but sometimes I'm less honest, if that makes any sense.

For instance, I feel wildly head over heels in love with Grant. I fell in love with him either for the first real time or on some whole other level, in late 2013/early 2014. And I'm embarrassed, to say that, and I don't know why. It's just so much. I wasn't even willing to let him know yet, a year ago today.

I was sitting in a coffee shop with him yesterday and I looked up at him, feeling my heart swell, and I thought Oh this is terrible. How do people live like this?

The night before he'd told me, holding me, "I know the sex must have been really good if you're crying about how I can die afterward."

It's really sweet and torturous and awful, and silly, and wonderful.

And I feel like it, in addition to my peaceful and conscious choice to just be monogamous, are both somehow sprung from the total freedom he extended to me to do whatever I wanted. The level of honesty we were able to achieve with no assumptions and wiping the slate clean. The understanding that we could make our own rules for our marriage. His exploration and humble tackling of his own faults, and willingness to change, and my own realizations about shit that is just my own but I unfairly blame on him. I could just work on me without blaming him forever, you know? Most of the time that's actually more productive, for me AND for us.

All of it somehow added up to me feeling like the luckiest woman in the world for what I've already got, and really not wanting anything else. Even though that's terrifying and means he can leave me and devastate me, he can be with other people if he wants because I'm not gonna close that door on him just because I changed my own mind, he can die and I'll have "nothing" (not exactly true, but love-relationship true), just... I'm gonna get old, right here. And I can smile and cry about it at the same time. The hardest part is how good it is. It's so much to lose.

I have a really hard time with vulnerability. What a stupid sentence that is. Nevertheless... I crave it and I seek it, but I struggle with it, bigtime. I didn't want Grant to know I was falling so much more in love with him, butterflies-kinda-love, because what if he's too far past that phase with me and I'll just be a big idiot. What if he's tired of my shit and our neverending, tedious as all fuck "Conversation" (about our sex issues, our interests-are-diverging issues, our he's-codependent issues, blah blah blah). I spent weeks thinking sadly that I was going to be really totally in love with him right as he decided he was finally and completely done, with me. It would all be a tragedy of timing.

It was actually FAR easier for me to say, "I don't know if I've ever really been in-love with you," than "I've fallen in-love with you." It was far easier to get to, "maybe we should be open to outside relationships," than to take it back with a "I only want to be with you. No matter what you choose, for yourself, I mean." It was far easier for me in years past, when I was keeping our problems to myself, and I had my private doubts, to go on and on about Grant's (valid) good points online. To convince myself? To make up for some of what was missing? I was also hugely distracted by and focused on pregnancies and babies and toddlers, of course. And Grant and I make great partners, as parents, and are very good at piloting a family together. The point is that now that the kids are older and we're standing here as individuals who've had to re-evaluate who we even are, I'm often too overwhelmed by his good points to share them.

The other day I had this ridiculous "you are the reason I'm smiling when there's no reason to smile" pic on my phone that I wanted to put on his facebook wall, and it took me the whole day to do it, and then I was BLUSHING when I did. Because...I don't know why. Because it's so true that it hurts. Because I'm afraid of it disappearing and so I hold it close.

I also didn't want to tell Grant, initially, because I didn't know how to blend our prioritizing of our individual selves (hobbies, friendships, time alone, etc) with being "in-love." And I didn't want to fuck anything up either, because clearly the individual self prioritizing ALLOWED the love blossoming.

I wrote a whole lot about this, just not publicly. It was all for me, and later, him. I deleted my OkCupid account. I did weird shit like avoid him at all costs and refuse to make eye contact and sob with relief in our kitchen when he was like, "Dude, it's really ok, let's just be monogamous, why are you freaking out? I'm glad you're in love with me. How did you think I would react?"


We're just so much better like this, good lord. And it's this balancing act and I don't want to like, LOSE the total, raw, sometimes painful honesty that asking hard questions and opening up the marriage and all that caused, or start taking each other for granted and acting codependent again, but for the last, I dunno, uh...6 months? 8? We've done a really great job of walking the line. Even when he got depressed, or I stayed sick, or whatever...

He'll give me this knowing look with a pat and tell me polyamory can come back into the conversation and he sort of assumes it will one day in the future. Maybe he's even right. We make a lot of casual jokes we never could have made years ago, like about how we'll have a bed and breakfast and I'll sleep with guys passing through.

More likely I'll be spending too much money on flowers to put everywhere and wasting a lot of tea and baked goods because I always over prepare.




This Christmas break has been some of the best days of my entire life. I'm not kidding even a little. It's just perfect. Sleeping in every day til whenever I feel like getting up, taking one kid at a time out places, lying in cuddle piles with all of them, having SO MUCH EPIC SEX ALL THE TIME THERE IS NO OVERSTATING THIS - Grant took a week and a half of their 2 weeks off, so it's been all of us, unstructured, nowhere to go. I've got hickies and feel like I've had a professional massage or something, most of the time. Lots of coffee here and at Starbucks and at other shops, lots of wine in the evenings - Christmas was beautiful. Everything is beautiful. The weather is good. The house is a mess and nobody gives a shit.

One day I was standing by the mailbox and said, "Wait, is it Saturday or Sunday?" and Grant said, "It's Tuesday."

We went out to the Everglades the other night to just look at stars on a whim, after Annie suggested it. Jake complained the whole time, and I got mosquito bites on my feet, but it was still perfect.

I spent a whole evening texting with Kristin.
I've caught up with Jess.
Kathy sent me a picture of her out with her new baby in our Kozy carrier that made me warm.
I was going to send Laura a picture of her (awesome) cheese grater, that she left here after Thanksgiving, with a big red bow on it, and say "Thanks so much for the present, we all love it!" but she's giving us a fat credit they had leftover somehow at a school uniform store, which is pretty sweet and honestly makes my gift for her (a dark chocolate bar with orange bits in it) seem hilariously lacking.

Grant gave me Amanda Palmer's "Art of Asking" book for Christmas, since he had just finished listening to the audio version, loved it, and REALLY wanted to talk about it all with me. I'm done with the whole thing and started on a new book already, since this is surreal-heaven-timeless time. It was great, btw, and I highly recommend it, though all the notes and afterwards at the very end got kind of redundant.

The other night in bed, I dozed off and dreamed the beginning of a story. I woke up excited, tapped it all into Evernote on my phone, and have been fleshing it out ever since.

I also went to FIU and worked out my Fall Failures. Since Elise needs me here for some unknown time and I do not have any older kids about the place during the school day for times I might need to go in when Grant can't be home, I'm contemplating switching to FIU fully online for the rest of my bachelors. That's simultaneously really disappointing and also no big deal. I've loved and gotten a lot out of my on campus classes, but it's really far for the kind of logistical things we're dealing with re: kids, school, etc. And I've had some online classes that I got a lot out of too, even back at MDC, so we'll see.

Yesterday Isaac, Jake and Elise took bags and a stepladder across to our neighbor with a starfruit tree, since it was dropping fruit everywhere again and he encourages them to do this. Whenever they knock he says to take what they want, and will even come with trimmers to help them get high ones. They've been eating starfruit basically anytime I look at them ever since. Elise has probably had 10 today. I tried to get Shaun to take some home last night.

A couple of days ago we had pizza out, all 7 of us, after shopping at Get Smart.
Then hit a park.
This morning while we were snuggling in my bed, Elise said, "Can we have dinner at the beach?" and I was like, "Hmm. Ok!" It will probably actually end up happening tomorrow, because of how the hours are passing, which is also ok.

The kids are all having so much fun all the time with their new (presents) stuff. Building with legos and clay, painting, Aaron sometimes seems to never get off his new unicycle. The old one looks so tiny next to it, it's no wonder he couldn't use it anymore, he's SOOOO much taller now.

We watched "Her" (the Joaquin Phoenix movie). It was really thought provoking and strange.

We might all go and see "Into The Woods" soon.

It's really almost too awesome, right? I mean I'll be back in the whirlwind of our normal schedule soon, but I'm considering taking this semester off, and with Elise home life is just way simpler even when we're not enjoying a holiday. And I love teaching her. She keeps talking about how she can talk silently inside her mind now, and sound things out in her head, and I love the window into her development that she gives me. She's so eager and interested.

I had counseling yesterday. We talked about new years resolutions. I'm still getting mine together. I like to make them realistic and planned out in some detail, so that they actually happen.

I will stop gushing and go back to luxuriating, now, because at the moment a mountain of dirty dishes and NPR really sounds like more luxuriating. I'll water all my plants. Whatever I decide to make for dinner on no specific timeline. Grant and Jake are almost done sanding a desk they made, out back. Tonight might be a bubble bath night. I haven't had one in I don't know how many months.

I even have period cramps today. But coupled with a massive capacity to savor small pleasures and a good perspective? Or maybe I just really hate structure and schedules. Maybe it's LOVE. Ooooor all the sex.

I'll take it. And try not to get caught up in the poignancy of existential crises too often.
altarflame: (deluge)
Discussing how they kinda missed the puppy that was taken to a shelter, yesterday morning, Jake tried to comfort Elise by saying, "Don't worry, it's the one where they find them homes, not the one where they turn them into burgers." Possibly I shouldn't have laughed so hard. I did explain that the burger thing is not really true of any shelter, but then he wanted to know what the kill shelters DO do, with the bodies of the animals. He seemed to have real indignation that they "waste" them and just be horrified that they basically get thrown away, or burned, when maybe they could feed hungry people. I was at a loss about how to continue to navigate that conversation.

Jake is weird, and wonderful. He's so tall now that when I hug him, I can just look down and have my face in his curls. I love the way his head smells, and that he's so affectionate with me. Even when he's rough housing with Grant, he's super careful with me when he gets close to where I am. I can't think of a time when he's ever lost his temper and hit me or pushed me or even been rough, even as a baby (and he has a serious temper, and gets in minor physical fights with other kids pretty often). He's careful and sweet like that with his little-girl cousins, too (Elizabeth and Isabelle, 3 and 2), always running to do them favors and eager to help them with anything they need.

My sister is looking at a house for sale a few blocks from us, that's in a great location, big and nice with a huge yard...that has a Santeria shed in the back. Weird shit painted on the walls, stained up bathtub used for draining dead animals of blood, you know, the works. It really adds to the "mystique" of the dozens of giant criss-crossing banana spider webs in the overgrowth and power lines right above the property. She's talking about destroying the shed and then having her bible study group come and do a prayer circle around where it used to be, and getting some kind of priest to come bless the yard afterward.

I am so so so tired, tonight.

Isaac stayed home for Take Your Child To Work Day, today, which was a little weird since Grant works from home solely on the computer and phone on Thursdays, and I am not employed. He was writing about it, for school, this evening. He decided to do his writing about a day he actually spent at Grant's office, since he figured that would be, "more interesting than just talking about how Mom does a lot of dishes."

I mean, really. *sigh* Parenthood robs you of all dignity! Never mind the meals (and coconut brownies) I made them today, or the chapter of Harry Potter that we read together, or the ride and support I provided for him, Jake and Elise to go perform in their recital, or even the work I did on plants this afternoon. The math help with Aaron? Washing Elise's hair? No, no...I am but a dishwasher.

Grant and I laughed about it a lot, but - I swear.

Grant and I also agonized over which new benefits package to choose, this evening, because his company is changing their offerings and we have to be ready to switch by June 1. It sucks. The old benefits we're used to were amazing. The new ones are still competitive, but they're nowhere near as good. For health insurance premiums, we're going to go from paying $250 in, to paying $384 in, per month. Our yearly individual and family deductibles will nearly double. Our co-pays are jumping from $10 and $20, respectively, for regular doctors and specialists, to $20 and $50. And, our HSA account, rather than being something the company puts $200 per month in, will now be a setup where we put in $150 and they match it, each month. So really we're putting in $384+150, or $534. It will be more than double what usually gets deducted from his check - so that we can pay higher co-pays... after reaching our higher deductibles. It's still not terrible, for a family of 7, particularly as much as we use it. We get to pick our providers, and things like mental health and speech therapy are included. Gah, though.

Dental's staying the same, vision is being added for free (none of us need that), and we're getting "Teledoc," now - somehow they've actually set up a (free, included) service where you call a number and people call in prescriptions for whatever you need (for many situations) over the phone. They'll also advise you about whether something requires a visit, what you should know about your symptoms, etc. They've even got Skype built in, in some magical way that complies with HIPAA regulations. Because of my husband's general career path in health care IT, I can only imagine the entire industry springing up around the security involved with HIPAA compliant Skype consultations.




It's interesting how polyamory has changed everything and nothing, about my relationship. For instance, when Grant was in Missouri for a week recently, he asked what I would think if he were to try to find someone via OkCupid to go to a movie with him. He was bored and alone and constantly aghast at the Missouri-ness of the place. I laid out my hesitations, which were all centered around his personal safety getting rides from strangers, and then we laughed a lot two days later about how he ALMOST got a male gas station attendant to agree to go see Captain America together as bros, but that was about it.

Meanwhile, I passed on a lot of his Missouri complaints to a guy I talk to online who used to live in Missouri, and who was eager to weigh in on just how terrible it can be there. We laughed too, via fb messages.

Pretty edgy, eh?

I think the best and most tangible change, for Grant and me, is just how completely honest we are with each other. About pornographic things we look at/read on our own time, and fantasies we have, and people we think are attractive. I feel like I can just TALK to him so freely about the never ending perversity running through my head like a ticker tape, with no filter, and that's...amazing. Sometimes I think back to the times when we kept so much shit quiet in the interest of sparing each other's feelings, and it almost seems like we didn't really know each other at all. Because really, I have a LOT of sexual thoughts and feelings, and they make up a huge proportion of the things I talk about with my FRIENDS, so...how weirdly absent were they all, with Grant, and for how long? Sheesh. Him, too, there's a huge element of "private life that gets shared with nobody" that is now shared, and it's sweet, and I feel a whole lot closer and also REALer, with him, as a result...




This day - what I want to call tomorrow, that begins in 5 hours - is going to start way too soon, and go nonstop. Argh. I promise to actually put pictures here, though! I have a ton.

DrunkCast

Mar. 24th, 2014 12:14 am
altarflame: (deluge)
Last night I rambled in bed, late at night, DRUNK, for almost an hour - about various kinds of good news that I've had, and all kinds of things. I'm ridiculous at least some of the time, and then I get deeply into polyamory. I have to kinda close my eyes and just go for it to post this, because I really don't want to hurt or alienate anyone, or lose anybody special to me - for drunkenness or polyamorous-ness, but, hey, it is what it is. Overall I think it probably ended up answering most of the questions I've been asked, about that. I really want to be authentic, for lack of a better word, in every part of my life. I'm in a transitional growth phase in basically every area of my life and I feel terrified a lot of the time...TERRIFIED. All day anxiety attacks, self-sabotage. About being close to my bachelors, about REALLY losing weight, about polyamory, even about things like my improved credit and my writing and just...you know, limitless potential. Tons of change. So much risk. *shrug*

:)

There are a couple of points when it goes quiet for a few seconds but then I start talking again, that could be confusing. It seems like the end, but really, I'm dozing off.



Me, tipsy on some bleachers under bright lights, at the rink, earlier in the evening:

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