Mixing the sacred and the secular

I have one item in my apartment I’ve considered sacred since day one.

Among other reasons, I’ve considered it so because it is something I’ve most strongly been able to feel a different energy in. It’s hard to explain if you haven’t experienced it. I know a lot of people are more perceptive of these types of things than I am, but I’m able to feel light or heavy, sometimes good or bad feelings in different places or objects. This one has always felt and made me feel very light.

I kept it in its own corner in my bedroom, apart from everything else and somewhat hidden in plain sight. I would only ever touch it when I was having a particularly bad day and needed to feel lighter and more calm, afraid that I might mess it up if I wasn’t careful.

 

I came home several weeks ago to find that James had found it, pulled it out of its corner, and peed on it.

I was pretty angry…but wanting to make/learn a lesson from it, I decided not to return it to its corner. I was able to wash it and bring it into the living room and just let it be. It still has its energy, and both myself and the dogs are quite drawn to it.

 

I posted a question several weeks ago about if people felt that we’re trained to be starved for love. I was surprised at the way the responses were split, but in a good way, and I’m glad that many people don’t feel starved for love at all.

But I have felt that way throughout my life, and many others also felt or still feel the same.

 

Romance and sex were something very sacred to me. I grew up seeing it as something I might only dream of. When I got older and started dating, I tried to be very careful. Anything sexual I saw as wrong outside of marriage, part of the reason to rush into one that I turned out not to be ready for.

Even in romantic relationships,  I still often felt lonely. I longed to connect, I longed for new experiences. And I used to think there was something really wrong with me…

 

but there wasn’t.

I see this now as a part of being human, as physical hunger for food is. Some people enjoy food more than others, some people need more food or different types of food. Different bodies are wired and built differently, we accept that pretty easily. When people are starving, most of us don’t shame them for the way they feel or what they need.

But the need and desire to connect, to live together, to find and make love is something we often see as one-size-fits-all. The traditional lifestyle is idealised and those still left feeling lonely or hurt while trying to live within this box are seen as wrong and sinful.

I wish I would have recognized it sooner, but I’m glad I did at all. I wish I would have known there were other ways to be before I hurt the people that I have.

 

It’s been almost a year since I met my current partners, and I look back on last summer now as nothing short of serendipitous. I don’t know how I got so lucky, how I met three people who shine so fully, who are so attractive and intelligent and fun and full of love…and accepting of who I am in all my forms. I’ll admit I feel like each of my partners, as well as each person I’m in love with, is far out of my league.

I’ve also been able to connect to many other people in a variety of ways, letting our connections be more real and genuine and letting ourselves be more transparent than would have been possible were I still living in such a traditional way.

And for the first time in my life…I rarely feel lonely anymore. I’ve been able to switch my focus from trying to tend to constant longing and loneliness to wanting to move forward, albeit a slow process, academically and professionally. I no longer feel like I’m starving for love and connection like I used to.

But in order to do so, I had to take romance and sex out of this corner it was confined to, as something out of reach and sacred, and let it become a part of my life. I recognize that removing something from its pedestal does seem to take some of the mystery and magic from it. When we’ve been starving, what we do receive tastes more like a miracle than when we’re being given what we need to live the whole time.

It took me a long time to get there, but I’m glad to have chosen to bring the sacred into my life…not just for the fulfillment I have found personally, but more so, for the chance to know and be known by some of the most inspiring and beautiful souls I’ve ever known.

I didn’t think people like you might exist in this world.

You make my world more beautiful than I ever could have imagined.

 

The Reality of Mental Illness

What do you trust when you can’t trust your own mind?

What do you do when you know that the thing you rely on most to understand and process is broken and telling you a mixed bag of truths and lies?

What was I supposed to do when my mind started telling me, every time I drove over a bridge, that if I were to drive off of it my husband and best friend and everyone I knew could easily replace me after the initial shock was over?

Or when I saw something on those tracks and wondered what it would be like to jump out and get it, questioning if it would really be such a catastrophic thing just to stay there as a train went over me?

I know that I am loved. I can remember being told I was loved in the moments that I am alone and feel the lies and detached despair of my mind taking over, but in those moments, the sound of those words, the sound of laughter and the idea of your touch only exist in memory. Maybe you changed your mind about me already or wouldn’t mind if I disappeared. When I can’t touch you, feel you, or hear you in that moment, it doesn’t feel real.

Sometimes nothing feels real.

Sometimes dreams and reality are hard to separate. I see you, I interact with you, but you are in two dimensions on a TV screen. A fog separates us, one constantly clouding my mind. I lived in this unyielding fog for years and didn’t even realize I was in it until someone came out of nowhere and brought me out of it into reality. Thanks, Billy.

Now I’m just trying to find my way out of the fog again.

It’s not just one that clouds my sense of sight, either. Sometimes all of my senses and reactions are extraordinarily dulled. Sometimes I cease to feel anything on a heart level for hours, days, or weeks at a time, followed by a champagne bottle pop of whatever has built up the most pressure leaving me spilling over with tears, rage, or euphoria.

Sometimes I can’t think as clearly as I need to. Sometimes I can’t recall words or memories that I know are there, frustratingly, barely out of reach.

One of the things I am most afraid of is missing this life from an inability to touch it. My life has become something so beautiful and poetic. I have fallen into love that has driven my life off of its tracks, one that has filled a book with poetry, one that has me making plans to move to a new city, one brought my wings into the light. I am surrounded by love from friends, family, James and Annabelle and Josie.

I have new goals now, to go back to school, to make discoveries, to cure others, to cure myself. I haven’t lost hope for old ones, too. I plan to be a mom and raise children surrounded by love.

I don’t want to miss this remarkable life as I live it.

What do you trust when you can’t trust your own mind?

What do you reach for when you can’t reach reality?

I trust my heart, my intuition, the songs I write and the voice of the ones I love most.

I feel the touch of Mike’s fingertips on my skin when it’s the only thing that can reach me.

I come back to the world I’m in when I smell Dante’s skin and touch his hair.

I hope for a future where the morning sun rises to clear this fog.

Antidepressants might hold the answer for the diseases I deal with. I might see more days filled with euphoria and in touch with the beauty that surrounds me.

And they also might not.

Ah but, you know, I learned today that there can be indescribable beauty in darkness.

Maybe I will live the rest of my life with my head in the darkest of clouds. Maybe, most days, my blue eyes will be tinted stormy grey. Maybe this whole writing is really a call to respect sadness in the same way we honor happiness and excitement. To let it come and go in waves, as it often does, and to go deep with each wave, letting the water wash over our soul until it pours from our eyes and brings us to depths that happiness could never reach.

Happiness is wonderful, but it’s no constant. Perhaps we can begin to accept shadow as we do light, tears as we do laughter, and despair as we do hope.

Laying all of my cards out on the table.

I’m not sure where to start, so I’ll start with what I’ve already shared with you and go from there. Welcome to the last 6 months of my life.

Depression has colored the canvas of my life, particularly over the last 4 years. The Universe conspired for and against me last summer to bring people into my life to show me there might be more to life than depression, lack of motivation, lethargy.

I came alive.

I didn’t think I could be happy again, then suddenly, I was. Fully awake and alive and the world took on color again. I will never be able to thank you enough for that.

I had hoped I might be able to continue to live in color after that, but my colors faded as summer faded into fall. You can’t hold onto a shooting star, only enjoy the bright, pure brilliance of a moment.

This last winter was, by far, the worst I’ve seen in seasons of my own mental health for as long as I can remember. I experienced the combo of anxiety (more than just the usual social anxiety) and panic in addition to depression for the first time in my life. I know I did a lot wrong, I’m not afraid to admit that freely. However, I also know that I needed so much that I was not getting. It wasn’t physical, material things that I really needed. My heart and mind were broken and dying, and it took me too long to realize that what I needed more than anything else was to be loved and accepted. Those things are more valuable than anything material.

I had a plan to kill myself. I especially needed help to calm down enough to stay alive one night back in February, but I didn’t want my friends to see me like such a mess. Most of them were partying and having fun together that night, anyway. I didn’t want to get in their way. I was comfortable enough with only 2 people at that point to be able to reach out to them. One of them I’d been forbidden to speak to that week, the other refused to see me unless I’d go out with him and friends to a bar.

But Justin reached out to me that night. It’s taken me months to start being able to tell the story of the night he (unknowingly) saved my life.

The next morning, I pretty randomly heard from one of my soul mates, quickly followed by the message from Ben that he couldn’t do it anymore.

There was a lot of hurt on both sides, there was a lot we didn’t know how to work out. We both betrayed each other’s trust in ways that were destroying us. It wasn’t a relationship worth saving, we are both more valuable than that. I would have been willing (unhappily, but willing) to close the relationship, but I couldn’t have given up my personal spiritual search for answers and truth.

I do wish you the best things in life, we simply stopped being good for each other. I hope you find your own happiness and that it surrounds you. May peace and love always accompany you.

Immediately following that weekend, I started to get the help I’d needed for years for depression. I know I should have gotten it sooner. I know that I’ve hurt and worried people closest to me who love and care for me.

When you can’t trust your own mind, it’s hard to know what to trust. When you are convinced it could be better to be gone than to stick around, that others wouldn’t feel the pain of the end of your existence because you yourself can only feel pain and panic in existing…it’s hard to make good decisions.

Ah, but this isn’t where my story ended, you know.

My mind was wrong. It was so wrong. I am lucky to still be here to know that now, and what great things I would have missed had I left this world that night.

I was referred to a counselor who respected me as a person, valued me and didn’t criticise my strange ideas, and wanted us to work together to find a better life for me. She taught me how to value myself, be strong, and respect and stand up for myself.

I started on an SSRI. It was extremely difficult at first. I was constantly tired. I missed events with friends because I couldn’t get out of bed, I felt so weak. I started eating even less, making my health far, far worse, so I started on birth control again to raise my appetite (and this totally worked, I started gaining weight super quickly and am happy to be right around my minimum goal weight now).

I moved in with my parents for a month, right around the time I started on the meds. It was a sort of hideaway for me, a place to fall apart and be taken care of when I couldn’t take good care of myself or my dogs. You have done so much for me, a thousand thank you’s. You always take care of me.

Things started to stabilise for me as April faded into May and I moved into an apartment by myself for the first time. I was so opposed to the idea/afraid to live alone before, but I’m so happy I made this decision (/was sort of pushed into making this decision). I was starting to regret having signed for this apartment up until the day I picked up the keys for it. I adore this place. You’re welcome to come over if you’d like. 🙂

I kept seeing the same people I’d been seeing when we first opened the relationship. To one, I am extremely thankful for how fun you made life, that you reignited a spark in me, that you introduced me to so, so many things, that you shared so many things with me, and that you gave me the best first impression of the poly world. I adore you, and I always will, my friend.

The second relationship started out far more slowly (thank you again for taking your time and giving me space while still reaching out to me) but progressed to something beautiful, peaceful, and deep. Yes, Mike, this is about you, of course.

You saw me as a flower that had yet to bloom. You celebrate me for everything I am, as a flawed but beautiful human. You see me as smart, weird, attractive, fun, and full of love. You probably don’t realize those things you see in me are a reflection of you.

You accept me. You listen to all of my poetry and ramblings. You let me float as high as I will into the sky and tell me you’ll be the ground I can come back to if I need. You listen to me as I tell you about my life, all of my ideas, the ones I will never fall out of love with, new crushes, even crushes on strangers I’ve just met or people I’ll never see. You love me for me, not just my looks or the sides of myself I choose to present to the world. You love my mind. I think I could not be more enamored with you, but no, you will continue to surprise me for as long as we are.

And then you introduced me to a new community, full of the people I needed to be surrounded by. Absolutely brilliant, accomplished, and free you all are. I could not be more in love with the polyamorous community I’ve gotten to know a bit so far. I’ve also met someone I’ve fallen for quite quickly. How great that I can celebrate what we have for the positive that it is. Love is not a finite resource.

Love is not a finite resource.

I didn’t mean to come out as quickly as I am/did, but it’s been the case for me for a long time that I can’t keep many of my own secrets for long. So, I guess, I’m now able to openly identify as polyamorous, panromantic, and heteroflexible. Most of what that comes down to is I do a lot of falling in love, and, finally, I feel this is something I don’t have to bury anymore.

I’d like to clarify a few things about that, though. Being interested in/able to have multiple partners and fall in love with people of any gender or orientation doesn’t mean that I’m automatically interested in your invitations to come to see you late at night (I’ve gotten…a few of those invitations). It’s just not my style. I’m also not sexually attracted to females, although I am finding myself to be super attracted to certain gender-fluid humans, trans men, or perhaps just more feminine males that I’ve met. Finally, attraction to you doesn’t necessarily mean anything. Sometimes it really is no big deal, it’s simply something I feel and enjoy. Polysaturation is real.

So now I’m living in an apartment with my two little dogs. Lady Annabelle has been coming so far since October. She plays, she has her moments of happy runs and jumps and spins. I didn’t know I’d ever see this in her.

I am interested in moving to the east or west coast when my lease is up, but I’ve got some time to figure that out.

I don’t want anyone to feel I didn’t share any of this with you because I don’t trust you or wanted you to be left in the dark. I needed something to not be changing. I looked forward to the parts of my day where I wouldn’t have to answer questions about my personal life. I found you to be a comfort and stability that I needed then. I wasn’t in a good emotional place to talk about things then, but I am now.

I’m happy to have discovered so much about myself. I’m happy to have survived. And, really…I’m happy to be happy. I lost hope that I could find this place in life, especially consistently, a baseline for my new life.

Austin has been my best friend, human diary, and the one I can tell anything and everything to through all of this. You love and accept me in all of my forms, and, for you, I will invent a brand new word. The world needs to know that people like you and the kind of relationship we have can exist. I would not be here without you.

Chris has been an anchor to me, the one I can most easily tell crazy stories to and who I know will always be there to listen and help me and remind me of the important things I have forgotten, to literally sing the songs I once wrote back to me.

I have come to believe in love. I am free, happy, and my heart is full.

I now have goals for my future. I am going to write a book about my experiences and ideas, as well as new ideas I would like to introduce into the English language.

I am cherished, I am strong, and I am valued by the people who surround me and by my own self, finally.

I am absolutely in love.