Month: May 2014

Always home

Home

I don’t remember my parents first house, we left just after my 3rd birthday and the photos jog no memories.

My parents second house is where I grew up.

It’s where I learned to ride a bike following on from my childhood friend Stuart who took just one big push down his parents driveaway to get going.

It’s where I used to play in the back garden, building obstacle courses to run around with a football (although I mostly ended up killing the plants bordering the grass), practicing pitch and putt with old golf clubs, and on one occasion smashing an upstairs window with great precision with a … an old chair leg perhaps? All I recall is a shaped piece of wood painted white, hurtling from my grasp in a slow-motion arc before disappearing through the centre of a pain of glass.

That window was also where I spent many hours sitting not doing homework. Evening after evening I’d gaze out and watch the cars approaching the nearby roundabout, proudly recognising the models from the shape of their headlights.

It was in that same bedroom where I inquisitively thrust two fingers down on the two live contacts of my bedroom lamp after I’d taken the bulb out (that hurt). The same bedroom where we used to half unfold the sofa bed, pile cushions and beanbags over it and ‘commando die/dive’ over into it. The same activity that ended up with my little sister spraining her wrist.

I can recall the pattern of the Anaglypta that covered the walls, tilt your head one way to see the surly man, tilt another for the abstracted giraffe. The squeak of the floorboard outside the door in the hallway. The meander of distant headlamps across the ceiling at night.

From the brown celtic rug in the front room to the mysteries of the understair cupboard. From the times I could be found late in the evening, sitting quietly on the top stair and tracing my fingers round the curves of the iron bannisters as the ‘adults’ laughed and roared downstairs.

The Habitat wallpaper in the kitchen. The dark paisley patterned carpet in the hallway that rose up the staircase to the second floor. The lengths and curves of the twin tracks down which I’d race my toy cars; down one flight to the half-landing, will they make the curve! Then down the second flight, faster and faster and faster before rocketing the length of the hall, free of the track at last. The twin thumps at the end of the race, small chips in paintwork at the foot of the front door.

I remember the gardens, front and back, and how they’ve slowly changed over the years. Breaking up the old concrete base of the long gone garage with a sledgehammer, realising then I was stronger than my father for the first time. Cutting the grass, watering the plants, ramming the back gate with my front tyre at the right angle to ping open the catch on my way home from piano lessons.

Standing outside the old wooden back door in bare feet. Locked out in the snow whilst the dog gleefully frolicked. Peeing behind the garden shed because there just wasn’t enough time to make it to the ‘half-landing’.

All the occasions; birthday, christening, Christmas, barbeques, Halloweens, Hogmanays, visitors to be entertained. The pets; my beloved dog, the tortoise, goldfish, and hamsters.

Leaping on to the front wall on the way out. Sitting on it in the wee small hours on the way home from a nightclub. Walking to and from the station to meet Gran. The same walk, more or less, to primary school and then secondary, or round the corner to my Aunt Anne.

So many tiny memories that mean nothing to anyone else. Moments of a day remembered for no reason. Recurring patterns repeated only for the occupants. Such are the memories of a family home. A place of happiness, pain, love.

Soon my parents will move to their third house together. I am supportive but melancholy. Their third home will not be mine though, my memories won’t allow it.

An apology

It’s not you, it’s me.

It’s not that I think you are boring, or that I don’t value what you are saying.

Unless you are boring and talking AT me about something in which I’ve explicitly said I have no interest, of course. In that case, jog on pal!

Ever experienced that? Isn’t it just THE BEST thing EVER when you tell someone you aren’t interested in, for example, the exact process of milk pasteurisation only for them to spend the next 20 minutes telling you exactly how it works in precise and excruciatingly minute detail.

Don’t get me wrong, in the right time and place, I love conversations with interesting and engaging people. I’m always happy to learn something new if it’s something that I have an interest in, no matter how slight that interest may be. People who are passionate about a topic are always great to talk to, animated and upbeat, you can see it in their eyes when they switch to something they care about and it makes the resulting conversation far far richer.

People who know every fact and detail, purely to know every fact and detail it would seem, do not stimulate me, if you don’t have passion for something why should I care about it?

Mind you some of my take on these things is because of my own approach to such things, I’ve always struggled with detail preferring a higher level view of something as long as it’s delivered with energy and enthusiasm. I prefer to take things like that and learn more about them in my own way so I can put my own take on it. This is partly down to my upbringing, partly down to my personality and whilst I’m aware and accepting of this, I fear that outwardly I can be guilty of projecting, how can I put it, a less than welcoming demeanour.

In other words, a lot of the people I work with think I’m grumpy ALL THE TIME.

That said, I’m very goal oriented and I know I subconsciously apply that in many places where I shouldn’t. For example, if I’m standing in a queue, my ‘goal’ is to get to the front as soon as possible. Everyone in front of me in the queue is, therefore, under scrutiny to minimise their time as much as possible (they clearly don’t know this because few of them seem to try very hard!).

I’ve learned to live with this and temper it as best I can but it gets worse and more obvious if I’m stressed or tired, to the point I can be downright rude, horribly unthinking, and selfish. I do not like that state of being.

But, as I said, it’s not you. It’s me. This is my shit to deal with. And I am.

The Book

typewriter-chapter-one1

I am writing a book.

I enjoy writing fiction, some of you may have read the bits and bobs I’ve posted here in the past, but I’ve no real idea if it’s rubbish or not. I’ve read some of it and it seems ok to me, although every time I re-read them I can’t help but think of ways to tighten up the language and make things flow better.

It’s one thing writing short blog posts though, quite another to write a book. What the hell do I know about writing a book? In an effort to answer that question I once bought a book called “How to write your first novel”. I should probably read it at some point. In saying that, I’ve a sense that a book needs characters and that they will develop and be discovered by the reader over the course of the story. I know a book needs a plot, a reason that binds all the strands of the book together. I know a book needs motifs, tone, and attitude. Beyond that, I don’t know how to write a book.

I enjoy writing fiction even though I’ve not managed to distance it from myself, to push it away to become a story that anyone can relate to. Instead anything I write is still to close to being me and I know that will constrain the characters. I don’t want to lose my voice completely but I still read what I write and hear ‘me’, not the voices of the people I’m writing.

I’ve been writing the book for some time. I may never finish it, others may never read it, but now and then I take a notion and write some more. On a given day I’ll read all the pieces together and rework them again. And again. And again. Each edit changing the voice, the direction, the pace.

I am writing a book.

I know what type of book I don’t want it to be and which traps I don’t want to fall into, just as I know what type of book I hope it might be, and unbounded expectations of how it might be received. I pause and daydream of life as a writer. Away from the 9 to 5, free to indulge myself, I imagine what I’ll learn about writing, about myself. Perhaps my book will be made into a movie!

Moments later reality floods in and I realise that whilst I am writing a book, I’ve never done it before and so I’ve no frame of reference to tell if it’s any good or not. I may be writing the worst book in the world but then, that’s not really the point.

I am writing a book that will never published. I am aware of this but unmoved by the fact.

I am writing a book for myself. It is not my story but merely an outlet, a way to give myself some direction and focus. It’s an act of distraction, of meditation and contemplation. A way of getting outside of me for a short space of time.

I am writing a book.

I figure if I say it often enough it might actually work out that way.

I am writing a book.

 

Misconceptions

Poly Means Many: There are many aspects of polyamory. Each month, the PMM bloggers will write about their views on one of them. Links to all posts can be found at www.polymeansmany.com.

Poly Bingo

Poly Bingo – credit to BiteyTheSwitch.

One of the reasons I got involved with the Poly Means Many project was because it had helped me and my partners, and my partners partner, as we got started in our poly relationships. On my part I had a reasonable idea of how things would work but I’ll own up and admit that I had some misconceptions of my own.

When this topic came up for discussion I started to revisit those to see just how much I’d learned. It’ll be no surprise to hear that I’ve learnt a lot. There are some misconceptions that I had, but the first thing I learned was that there isn’t a ‘right’ way to do poly, you find what works for the people in the relationship and work at it as all the relationships change.

Actually, when this topic came up for discussion Kirsty suggested it would be a good way to set up a poly bingo card and so I started to collate some ideas only find out it’s been done already.

The bingo card isn’t a bad starting place though as it does cover a lot of the misconceptions that I’ve experienced; Are you afraid of commitment? You must have loads of sex! Ohh so you are swingers?

It is probably fair to say that a lot of the misconceptions I’ve heard and experienced are centred around sexual activities, or at least what people think might happen in an ‘alternative’ relationship system. The thing is I don’t mind people being ill-informed if they are open-minded enough to learn, so a lot of the comments I hear I’m happy to take a little bit of time to try and help whoever made them be a little better educated. That can drag me into longer and deeper conversations but as our relationships are built on honesty and trust, and no small amount of communication, I tend to focus on that to explain how our poly setup works.

Unfortunately not everyone is open minded.

Kirsty was on the receiving end of some nasty comments when someone found out she was in an open relationship. He called her a slut among other things. Still make me angry, even typing that. How dare he! I can only presume that statement is built on many misconceptions and assumptions. Horrid.

Thankfully aside from that, the four of us haven’t had too many negative reactions, certainly nothing as strong and ill-informed as that. Most of the questions are fairly standard and certainly seem to be driven by the curiosity of something new.

Let’s play Poly Misconception Bingo!

Are you Mormon?
No, and you are thinking of polygamy (plural marriage).

Are you afraid of commitment?
Quite the opposite, I am very committed to my relationships and worked hard at both of them.

How do you have time for all that?
It’s not always easy but try and keep a balance that suits everyone, we probably schedule things a little more than those in monogamous relationships.

Where do you all sleep?
We don’t live together, so … in our own beds? Why do you think we all live together?

Don’t worry. You’ll find the one someday.
I did. Then I ‘found’ another one. I’m very lucky. I also believe that I can be in love with more than one person at a time.

What happens when you say the wrong name in bed?
Depends. Mostly you get teased or called an idiot. We are all adults and know that these things can happen.

What about diseases?
A sensible level of testing and precaution is needed and understood by all of us. It’s the same level I’d imagine most sensible single people take.

When are you going to pick one?
Because I don’t need to, we believe that it’s possible to share your love and life with multiple partners.

Were your parents like that?
No they weren’t. They also don’t have tattoos, they’ve never been to Africa, and I’m about a foot taller than both of them. They might have been if they’d had the chance but I think society is more accepting of alternative lifestyles these days (still not as accepting as I’d like). I was brought up to be kind, caring, and open-minded though so yes, my parents probably played a part.

Do you every get tired of having sex all the time?
Yes. Sex is RUBBISH isn’t it… Seriously though, the relationships aren’t about sex, they are about being a relationship, companionship, shared interests, all that good stuff. I just have the opportunity to have sex with two different people on a regular basis.

I could never do that.
It’s not for everyone for sure, a lot of people are very happily monogamous. I was for a long time too.

Marriage is between one man and one woman.
Actually it can be two men, or two women these days. Governments are still trying to get their head around any further possible gender assignations though (they need to sort that stuff out).

You just sleep around, then.
Nope, I have two partners. I don’t go out looking for one night stands, not that that is a bad thing either, as long as you are upfront and honest about it. Adults are allowed to have sex.

Isn’t that cheating?
Definitely not. Honesty is a massive part of polyamory, both my partners know each other and know that they are my partners, same for Kirsty’s partner Mark.

Oh! So you’re swingers!
Nope. We just have a set of interconnected relationships.

Which one is your favorite?
Well that depends, one is my favourite girl with dyed red hair, the other is my favourite girl with dyed purple hair. Or, I love them both very much, they are both my favourite person to hang out with.

You people must never have body issues.
I can’t even… wow. We do. Trust us. We do.

Will you have a threesome with me and my partner?
Depends, send me some photos…

What about the children?
That’s illegal!! Ohhh.. you mean poly families with children? No idea as we don’t have any, try Red Peril’s blog.

So you aren’t satisfied with just one person?
Yes I am, very. But I believe my life is richer with more love in it.

I wish I could do that!
You can. It’s not easy, and it might be painful to get to a position in your life where it could be an option. Try reading some of the posts on www.polymeansmany.com for some further thoughts.

What will happen when you want to settle down?
What do you mean by settle down? Today I am in two relationships and have been for over 10 months. We are pretty settled thanks.

If my wife slept with another woman, that would be okay, but definitely not another man.
I think you have your own issues to deal with before you worry about any you think I might have…

Don’t you get jealous?
No. Envious yes, but there is a distinct difference between being jealous and envious. Don’t get me wrong, there were jealous thoughts in the beginning so if you are going to try this be aware of that, but we got through those with some talking and a lot of cuddles.

And there’s something that rarely figures in any discussion about poly relationships, do you realise how many more cuddles there are to be had? And more cuddles is never a bad thing!

 

Bonus link: Eight Things I Wish I’d Known About Polyamory (Before I Tried It and Fucked It Up)