Female Friendship

Growing up I never had many girlfriends, like friends who are girls. I had one which was my neighbour until I moved out of that area of town in primary school and then another one, who is still a friend for now almost 15 years.

But for a long period, especially as a teenager and in my early 20’s, I was convinced that I didn’t like other women. I wasn’t girly and didn’t like fashion or whatever else girls typically talk about. Because it is that simple, and women are that one dimensional, right?

Over the last couple of years I have gained many more girlfriends. I not only enjoy the company of women but I actively seek it. We have so much to share, and I don’t mean make up tips (although that is another great thing about having women as friends), I mean life experiences, how we perceive and are perceived by society, how we handle the dating world, how we deal with men, how we see and deal with our bodies, like stuff about sex, food, clothes, drag queens, Ghostbusters (now with female leads) and periods!

I am so excited to be able to talk about these things not only openly (I did that anyway before) but to people who can contribute, engage, challenge and enrich these discussions.

Now as to why I never used to like women – patriarchy! Well it is my main suspicion. I always wanted to be one of the boys, because girls were stupid. Femininity is silly. I also wanted to be attractive to men, and be admired by them, and be on their good side because that makes life easier. I was so obsessed with appealing to men that I never learned the beauty of female friendship, because as much as I would love to, men just don’t understand many of the things women experience (and vice versa).

Well now, and mostly thanks to my increasing awareness of society’s stereotypes, internalised misogyny and well feminism stuff in general, I care less about the approval of men and more about my own being as a woman in our society. I also delight in being in a mutually supportive environment with people who care and understand the things I care about. I love my angry feminist friends, the queer, vegan, femme, crazy, kinky, poly, loving, caring, creative, supportive, wonderful and amazing women in my life! (insert more labels and adjectives that fit)

And I love that we openly talk about periods, even around men, and that is totally cool and amazing. Feels like such a small thing but it is quite groundbreaking to me!

Safety Net on the rollercoaster

Recently life has been good. Recently life has been not so good. Professionally and privately things are actually really good. Other things out of my control, happening to other people are not so good. The problem is that these bad things are affecting me and I need to protect myself from them.

I am trying to deal with a close one, who is not like they used to be, who is not doing well. This person has made poor choices with unluckily bad consequences which have drained and exhausted their close ones including me. I am hurt. Sadly it was not anything malicious, just something silly that went badly wrong and now I am struggling to handle how it affects me and the others.

Same as a few years ago when a very close friend confused me with his aggression and demands which ended our friendship, I am now again not really knowing how to move on. I will never likely get a genuine apology, an explanation, a gesture that will help me find closure. I need to find my own way to resolve the situation in my own head and heart.

In both situations, I am notable to ask the question: Why? I want to know what went through their minds, or how they feel about what happened once the dust has settled. I worry about my performance as a friend and if I did all I could do. I question my loyalty. I see my self protection as selfishness. I judge myself. I worry about my friends and community judging me.I wonder what more I could have done. The answer is: nothing, without doing harm to myself. I decided to focus on helping those who have given their support. Strengthen the web of mutual help and support.

So many things are wonderful right now, but these unresolved emotions lurk in the back of my mind. I get reminded of what it used to be like to have those people in my life. Because I made so many ties to activities and things to these friends in my mind, the reminders are everywhere.

For you own protection, you sometimes need to cut the ties, although that takes time.

It’s never too late to apologies?!

We all make mistakes. We all say or do the wrong thing sometimes. Sometimes when we are intoxicated, sometimes when we are angry, and sometimes just because we didn’t think things through enough. I feel like I have recently put my foot in it a few times, often in larger social situation with many people present. Often there was a lot going on and come the next day, I don’t really remember what or how I behaved necessarily but something felt off. I felt ashamed afterwards. I get flashbacks of stupid things I said or foolish things I did. Then comes the guilt. ‘I should probably apologies’.

If I do apologies a few things happen. I admit guilt (which I probably should) but I also bring the incident up again for the people I might have upset. If something major happened, it is very important to me to make amends but what about those times you just said something inappropriate at the wrong time? Or you just put your foot in it and made someone uncomfortable? Is it worth reminding someone of a bad moment when the rest of the event was fun? Will that tarnish the memory?

What if your guilt binds you in silence for a while and the occurrence has faded from memory. If you make a point to apologise you end up reminding someone of something bad or hurtful they have long forgotten. Some things should be left in rest.

Is it always worth apologising? When you apologise you do not only make a gesture towards peace but you also show an expectation of forgiveness. But you can not expect forgiveness yet you put pressure on the one you wronged. You are also expecting time and attention when they might just want to forget. You apologise not only for them but for you. You want to be heard and forgiven. They might not want to listen or even be reminded. Could your apology cost more than it’s worth? Could it be your guilt is much bigger than the actual incident? I do tend to worry too much about certain things.

I have for a few personal instances come to the conclusion that getting that weight off my chest would do more harm than good. I made a stupid minor mistake and I can do more right by these people if I behave better and more caring in the future rather than stir up an unpleasant memory. Hopefully I can make amends in showing care and support in the future.

Love and Be Loved.

ThePolyOrange

Adulting – embracing the fear

Since I thought it was a good idea to take a break from my blog, my brain still didn’t take a break. So here I am again.

I seem to now have an internship that may or may not lead to permanent employment. This means that if I do well, I will have to continue to do so until I decide I no longer want this employment. I constantly wonder how it will turn out, and if they might offer me a job. I constantly judge myself because I feel like I should be an adult by now and get his job. So how the hell does one adult?

What does ‘Adult’ even mean? I want certain things adults supposedly want – owning a nice home, with beautiful furniture so I can host dinner parties and feed my amazing friends fantastic food.

Does ‘Adult’ mean that? Is it status? Is it home ownership? Is it capital? if so, what capital?  – I feel like many of those standard material ‘adult’ things are not too far from my grasp but I do not feel like an adult. I feel like I am trying to be one. Every day. Around everyone. Each time I interact with someone. Someone other than the Goth.

My long term partner, 6 years and counting, is the only person I feel that I can relax with. We know we are not full on adults all the time. We make mistakes, and shit happens. There is no fuss when I fuck up, when I snap or when I struggle to keep up my ‘strong’ self. We are understanding and forgiving of each other, fully. (feeling this way, triggers a whole lot of other feelings – later post coming)

So again, how does one adult? OKC asks this question if you consider yourself an adult. Do I? Do you? What does it mean to you? I wish I knew what it meant to me. I want all those theoretical adult things but I am actually scared. I am scared of not being the best I can be, of not being a mature person who is responsible, loving and respectful at all times. I am scared of failing, of letting those down who rely one me, those who trust me. I know I do well often, and in some things, but the worst is when something influences me that I do not understand. I pride myself in being self aware yet I realise all the time that there is more to learn, more to improve. So when I feel like I have not been the perfect adult, I blame myself, judge myself instinctively and snap, shut down. Nothing can keep me from the worst, turning my self judgement towards others.

Boom. I have made a mistake, unconsciously, something felt off. I snap and I leave others confused, hurt or enraged. When all it was, was me. A combination of lack of understanding of myself, judgement and fear of not being exactly what I feel I should be at all times. The result is this: I sit inside myself, not being able to reach out, blaming myself more and more until I can finally master the strength to apologise. No one should be hurt by my silly mistake of not being perfect all the time. I should just be forthcoming with my apology and vulnerability to offer understanding of my reactions. Oh wait, that would require ‘adulting’.

It’s a vicious cycle and as much as I understand it, I still haven’t learned how to navigate through it. And I judge myself for this, for not being an ‘adult’. I am scared but also committed to keep going, to keep learning because it matters to me that I am the best I can be, in my job and around people, especially those I love.

This has been hard to write but felt necessary because if I struggle with my fear, my responsibility, my self awareness, then others will too. Growing up no one told me it would all just be pretending, even if a lot of it is due to social constructs. Fear not, try to show yourself, scared and all. We all are somehow, and we can help each other, we can support each other. But first we need to be vulnerable. So here I am, scared but not alone. I know you are here too.

Moving forward, trying to embrace fear and vulnerability, letting other love and support us,

Love and be Loved,

ThePolyOrange

A Thought and a Message

Unfortunately recently I haven’t been able to post anything as my daily life has changed quite a lot. I started a post graduate in Events Management, which is super exciting but also extremely hectic and intense. It also forced me to be around people who are less exposed to my poly, pervert, play lifestyle. Eventually some of my classmates put the pieces together when I said, ‘my boyfriend’ and the next day ‘my girlfriend’.

And then came the usual questions. While answering them, something became clear to me. There was the impression that dating multiple people was harder than one person. Suddenly it struck me, currently my lovely poly relationships are so lovely and wonderful because they are in one word – easy. Neither of my partners, nor any of my casual partners have any expectations of me. There is a loving understanding of mutual support and companionship without expectations. We are able to enjoy each others company without any pressure.

That’s it, the pressure is off! My partners know who I am and I know them. We understand needs, wants and just let each other life our lives while being there for each other. I no longer have to worry about pleasing them, or asking for something. It is seems to flow seamlessly. And I am eternally grateful to both of them for having helped us reach this point. It feels comfortable, it feels safe. Exactly what I need at this point where my life has changed. I am certain that if I was monogamous, I would feel a lot more panic about my relationship right now, as stress, unmet needs and expectations would start to bubble into a toxic cocktail. Poly allows me to enjoy my partners and what I have with them. I no longer focus on what I don’t have with them. This is currently for me, the best thing ever!

As my life has changed, I have also made the choice to take a break for the summer from my polyamory blog. I will be putting my ducks in a row and figure out how and when I can continue with my beloved Poly Orange.

In the meantime,

Love and Be Loved

ThePolyOrange

You have more than I do!

‘But you have more partners than me!’

Ever encountered that? Or this one ‘You have multiple partners, you have nothing to complain about!’ ?

Since actively being poly, I have been confronted with all sorts of reactions to this lifestyle. Often when someone finds out it goes like this: ‘Do they know about each other?’ or ‘Well I could never share my partner.’ These are the kinds of replies that come from non poly people. Being called out on having multiple partners ‘and I have less’ kind of way, has mostly come from other poly people. A once dear friends didn’t want to talk to me about my unmet needs because I had two relationships and he had none. I couldn’t need more than two loving boyfriends when he didn’t even have so much as casual partners. How dare I complain?

That hurt. I was confused, because to me everyone’s problems always mattered. Yes, I might have two relationships that fill me with love and care but that doesn’t necessarily fix other needs I have unmet by both partners. So is this a less relevant problem than my friend being frustrated about being single? Didn’t we both want someone to fulfil a need? And does it even matter if our problems were both exactly the same? He was unhappy and so was I. I couldn’t experience how he felt, after all I am not in his mind but I could see his pain. This pain my friend was in that I wanted to help fix.

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I have now come to despise those kind of phrases. I do have multiple partners, but it takes a lot of effort to gain and maintain these relationships. I also have certain privileges that others don’t. I often find myself very grateful for these privileges but I feel crap about them when somebody tells me ‘You live with your partner and I don’t.’ It is even worse when somebody uses it not only as a comparison but in a way that could apply pressure: ‘You have more partners than me, share!’

It can be difficult to be around people who seem to have more. On a particularly low day, I see something I wanted, and my friend has it, so now I want it too, really bad. I get reminded of how much I need this thing. It hurts that I don’t have it and compersion become the most difficult thing. Being happy for your friends for what they have.

We can not always be happy for others. We can be aware of their happiness and know that even if we say something silly or hurtful they will forgive us. If it gets that bad that your friends happiness turns you bitter and angry, then your friendship is in trouble. That is when the lashing out, the seeming lack of support becomes a destructive force, rather than a small easily mended mistake. The strong friendships weather storms. In my case, as always with open and honest communication. This case here though, of these sentences about having more, I understand where they come from so I don’t always need to discuss them. Unfortunately that does not mean the hurt cause by the sentence is erased.

Love and Be Loved

ThePolyOrange

What happened recently

Well to quickly tell you what happened:

Thursday the Goth and I had a discussion about our relationship. It started by me being obnoxious and blaming, saying I was the only one putting work into the relationship. (I felt very frustrated recently.)
We realised if we didn’t make an effort our passive  coexisting would eventually be the cause for our end. Then we shut our laptops and watched a movie cuddled up on the couch.

So now we have date night once a week. This discussion also started due to me wanted to have a date with the Lumberjack who I had one date with previously. He had suggested this Friday and the Goth was going to go out with Coworkers. I asked him if I could have a window, a time until which he would agree to be out so there would be no risk of him walking in, just in case the Lumberjack and me decided to get a little closer.

So then there was Friday. During the day I was really frustrated and texting with the German I showed how I felt. Later on I called him during lunchtime. I was telling him how angry I felt due to my frustrations. And how guilty I felt for not being able to let go of that anger. When it comes to the German I am mainly frustrated due to lack of, well plain sex.

In the evening, The Lumberjack came over for dinner. We had fun talking for about 3 hours and spent a bit of time getting to know each other a little better. It was good fun. I then send him a text the following day saying I am glad that I met him since I feel like I can be myself around him.

Saturday I had my very first play party. Attending were the Goth, the Bald One and a couple of friends henceforth known as the Singing Swingers. I think everyone had fun and left fairly satisfied. The Goth was surprisingly open and joined in well although he avoided contact with anyone else but me.

Sunday I went to the London Alternative Market and spent some money. Later on I relaxed at home watching League of Legends Matches with the Bald One.

Monday was Uni time. I spent some time reflecting upon my feelings from the previous week. Conclusions: I felt mainly frustrated due to lack of intimacy and love at the moment since I pushed the Goth away and the German is physically away from me as well (plus he needs a fair amount of space). So now I feel a lot better. Quite optimistic.

I also talked to the German, today and explained my new conclusions about my obsession about having sex with him. See when I am in love with someone and it is still in it’s original hormonal stages having sex with someone can be the most intense experience on the planet. Being so close and connected. I explained I was mainly missing the physical contact when we were being sexual. He was glad to hear it since it made it sound very differently from his just being a fucktoy.

All in all a rather nice and productive weekend. Optimism has arisen and lots of good things seem to be on the horizon. I wish the same for you all.

Love and Be Loved,

ThePolyOrange