Getting into the car this morning I am on the phone with A, telling him about the lovely fog outside (which he already knows about, seeing as he is out in it already), but I just wanted to express my joy in it. To him, it is heat and humidity and yuck, to me it is something magical: I feel sheltered and cocooned inside the fog, warm and snug and safe. I have always felt that, ever since I was small and visited my father in the Bay Area, where fog was a daily occurrence. We would sit up on the roof of my dad’s apartment building every evening and watch the fog roll in over the Bay, and I would feel safe as it closed in, cosseted, protected. And every day, as the sun burnt the morning fog away, I would feel a sense of loss, of being exposed to the world once again. No wonder I have such a love affair with the ocean. It is all things to me: safety and freedom, womb and adventure, my childhood and my adulthood.
I have always felt safest in small, confined spaces. Curled under the covers, living in a 20′ travel trailer, lounging in W’s cage, even being confined by my shackles at night gives me that feeling. When I am feeling anxious, suffering subdrop, or even just coming out of a scene, I curl myself into a tiny space next to whomever I am with, wanting to curl into them–inside of them–some part of me wanting to crawl inside their skin and feel the safety of their entire body surrounding me, tissue and blood and bone, enveloping me, holding me, keeping me safe.
Huh. This post went to a different place than I originally intended. It started out with me wanting to relay a funny story: while on my cellphone with A this morning, I got into my car and did my “check” that I always perform before I start out: glasses (check), iPod (check), phone…phone? Phone! “Damn,” I said to Ad, “where’s my phone?!? I can’t believe I left it in the house again!” He got a good laugh out of that.
But obviously I have other things on my mind.
Relationships are funny things. I have been told I “manage” relationships well, and, in looking at my track record in all the time I’ve been poly, except for one spectacular implosion early on, I’d have to agree with that. Not trying to blow my own horn here, I’m just saying, yeah, maybe this is something I “do well.” I’m not perfect, I make mistakes, I fail and falter and trip up; I have insecurities and I just plain mismanage situations or read too much into them or not enough. But I can honestly say that, with the exception of the one time noted above, I continue to be close with my past lovers, and have been told, many times, that I accomplished just what I set out to do in multiple relationships: be an additive to that person’s life/relationships. Most, if not all, continue to want me in their lives in some fashion, whether it be as friends, lovers, or more. That tells me that I’ve apparently done something right.
My relationship with A, and now W, has been relatively drama-free, without a lot of the ups and downs that seem to typify so many relationships, multiple-partner or otherwise. This is not all, or even mostly, due to me: my guys are rock solid, each with different areas of expertise, but with each one’s amazing skillset contributing to the whole to make it work for all three of us. I have felt safe within this relationship, and that safety has allowed me to adventure, to blossom, to thrive. And yes, I have brought my own skillset to the mix (and hell, as W has said, I picked them both, knowing that they would have personalities that would not lend them to high-drama, and that would cushion my own sometimes-emotional responses.) So I’ll take “credit” for that (secretly giggling at that, but oh well.)
The bottom line is this, though: it has also allowed me to go beyond my “safety net” in other ways.
My relationship with J doesn’t always feel safe. It’s filled with emotional landmines, with ups and downs, with – gasp – drama. It’s not always easy. We both react emotionally, we misunderstand each other, and, honestly, we think pretty differently in a lot of ways.
It’s a challenge.
I wasn’t looking for a challenge when I met her. I like my easy relationship with my guys: in the six years I had been with Ad, and in the almost-year I have been with them both, I can’t think of one instance of emotional upheaval. On the other hand…challenging isn’t always bad. I challenge myself to be a better person, a better partner, a better parent, a better human all the time. Yeah, easy is good–necessary, in fact, because when you have easy, when you have safety, then, maybe, you can accept a challenge. And things that challenge you teach you. Make you grow. And I am learning, growing, expanding, all the time, in my relationship with J.