So many people look forward to the springtime, the season of new beginnings and the much anticipated break from the winter. I, on the other hand, look forward to fall. Autumn is the season of change, growth and exciting new beginnings. Yes, I am biased because my birthday is a few weeks away, so of course this is the full circle for me. But also, it is the time when a natural schedule sets in, either as a result of school starting or just the days getting shorter and a necessity to plan a bit better. There is a rhythm that fall brings, a sense of stability after a summer full of random adventures. Or in my case misadventures and unexplored opportunities. Le sigh.
I keep telling myself that I will grab every new opportunity that comes my way. To take the challenge of never saying no. But my reality is, (if you read my last post I go into a bit more detail), that I am finally comfortable with my opinions. I have spent years finding my voice, and when even the subtlest red flag presents itself it’s so hard to just ignore and choose adventure. It’s such a double edged sword. One that I am not sure how to reconcile.
As far as sexual adventures go, I am 100 percent on board if they involve my partner. I want us to continue exploring as a team. But all solo expeditions almost feel selfish right now. Does that make any sense? I want us to experience new people together and get to laugh and share stories as a united front. I don’t want to put in the effort of building up new solo prospects that are just a bunch of going nowhere men. I know, that sounds super jaded, but if you have seen the state of online dating recently, you may have an ounce of empathy for where I am coming from. Men who have never heard of non-monogamy just want sex. Men who have, are really, really difficult to find. And it becomes too time consuming to even begin a conversation.
But, here I sit, writing with my favorite movie on in the background (Labyrinth) and fall is setting in. It is the time for a shift in mentality, and perhaps even towards a more positive and hopeful one too. A season of soft changes, and little waves of chillier weather. As the leaves fall, perhaps my barriers will do the same. Maybe there is something just incredible waiting for me under the next leaf pile…
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Whenever my partner is away I find myself going through that same cycle over and over. It starts with me making big huge plans for everything I am going to do with all my new found free time. Then I spend a little too much time binge watching a TV show that I have been waiting to watch, that I know he hates. Soon after, I put out my little loneliness feelers, to scratch my sexual itch, especially if he is going to be gone more than a few days. Almost every time that plan falls flat and I resort to draining the charge on my toys again and again.
At this point, I realize that it may not be sex I am looking for, but just merely a little human contact. I become a little more hug prone and I set up coffee dates with someone I haven’t seen in a while at least once a week. You know, to just get out of the house and keep social. And then I throw myself into whatever job I am doing. In this case, I am working as many hours as I can, and when I get home I crack a beer and continue working my book.
And then, it hits me, and it is a surprise every single time. My life is the same with him away, or right here beside me. What I choose to do, and how I live, doesn’t change based on the distance. Sure, I might only see a friend or make new friends once a month. And perhaps I get a little distracted in the summer with camping, sunshine and adventures so the writing takes a bit of a pause. But I am supremely focused on my craft. Although it may not seem like it, I always am daydreaming, working out character arcs, and working through things that I may or may not share via blog, or social media. And there is no amount of distance that can break my connection to my partner. We have a symmetry about us, that just seems to work. Two stubborn, souls, living in a beautiful cosine arc, that peaks and falls with the passing days, in a perpetual path towards our individual goals.
And as for the dating and sexual aspect, my goodness do I miss having a couple in our lives that we can get excited for, and excite us in return. I know we will find a few “someones” at some point, and it will be the most amazing, invigorating time of our lives, but in the right now, it remains a fantasy, mixed with a few blissful moments from memories. I almost look forward to the fall, whereby things seems to settle out a little, and routines become more predictable both in our lives and in the quest to edge into someone eles’s. The variability of summer leaves too much up in the air to really get something started. A few sparks here and there, but it’s the fall that proves if those sparks will smoulder out, or ignite into a warm glow.
My imagination grows rich with fantasy, and it is time to put pen to paper in a more poetic form. Until next time my dear readers.
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I wrote a post in 2013, discussing the loss of male identity, and I highly encourage you all to please give this a quick read before continuing: A Push for Individuals.
I wrote that piece after a particularly difficult genders studies course in University. Our professor was discussing rape culture, and the variation of machoism throughout our world. How in some cultures men are encouraged by their male counterparts to cat call, grope and fondle passing women as a signal of how masculine they are. While there are other cultures where men are the main caregivers, and they are taught to take care of, educate and play with the children while the women sew, farm, and make the political decisions. What I found striking about all these cultures is that men and women seemingly had their gender specific place, putting aside natural outliers for the moment, but gender roles served their society. The cultures existed and thrived based on gender specific traits that were cultivated and taught for generations.
Ok, so where am I actually going with this? I have been cautiously waiting for the gender breakdown to occur in our own society. And right now, before all of our eyes, it’s happening. And I am nervous, anxious and trying to find a place of hope. What do I mean by that? Well, women in the 60’s right up through the 80’s gave a very hard push for equality. Everywhere they looked they felt inferior and less valued in society, and they rallied together to change that, now known as the feminist movement. A push for a female identity that was equal to men. And the only way to do that successfully was to overshoot the target. Woman not only proved that they were equal to men, but in many ways reached further to show that woman were and are actually better than men in many areas. This was a revelation. Women were not lesser, but rather had strengths and weaknesses, and enriched our culture outside of the home as well as in.
Are you with me so far? Because here is where I get a little nervous. Women united as a feminist movement with a clear goal of seeking equality. And not only was there a vision, but there were real monetary and social checks that would show when we had succeeded. To be clear there was a specific goal, that goal was clearly defined, with a finish line so to speak. To be treated and receive the same rights as the husbands, fathers, brothers and coworkers. Just one clear example is the wage gap, a clear monetary goal, that once achieved, we would get satisfaction and could do our jobs with security and certainty.
But now we have run into a little snag. In all the focus on raising women up, to an equal place with men, we forgot that many men would feel that they have to come down to achieve gender equality. That in order for the scales to find balance, men will not get to keep their status quo, the position of power and dominance. And do you remember what I mentioned in that piece I asked you to read about men being breadwinners, etc? That is a fundamental part of their male identity and it is being taken away. So, in order for equality to be achieved there is a real give and take. And the thing is, if the men are not willing to give, the women are fully prepared to take. All personal opinions aside for a moment, the tides are changing, there is no stopping this forward movement, and there is no telling where the new shore will be.
I personally think this is why men are having such a difficult time with the consent movement. Not only are women telling the men that they are no longer allowed to grope, or touch females without their express consent, we are going back in time to show example after example of when men crossed a huge line. Now, my issue here, is that although its obvious now looking back what that line should look like, it wasn’t so clear back then. We have told men that sexualizing women without permission is a crime, but we have not offered any solutions for them to fix the behaviour other than to stop it, change overnight and in fact somehow go back in time and stop their past from doing what they did.
Feel free to pause here for a moment and yell and scream at me if you want. Men should never have objectified women in the first place. When a women says no, or looks uncomfortable or is in a position of lesser power such that her future and livelihood depend on pleasing the male at the top, men should have recognized that this was a problem and stopped. But they didn’t, they were in fact often encouraged to continue by their fathers and peers, and now here we are. In a turbulent time, filled with apprehension and discord all around. In a perfect world, I wish men could change over night and undo their past indiscretions. Obviously that cannot happen, and women are so angry that nothing is filling the void we feel. No apology is good enough, no career damaged enough, no action heartfelt enough to sooth the injustice of male dominance over our bodies.
It’s bad out there, and I think it’s going to get worse. The male identity is lost, and they are going to get angry and push back. Female equality feels so close to our grasp, and yet, there is so much past pain, that when we finally have it, in every single part of our lives, are we going to be content or do the scars run just too deep.
From my personal perspective I do not feel a part of the feminist community. Instead, I feel like I align more closely with the humanist movement. One free of genders, or biases, and one filled with individuals working together for a common good, the expansion and survival of our beautiful species. I envision a world where we break free from gender norms or roles, where the boxes that contain us are broken apart. I look for a world beyond equality, a world where we just exists in peace, love and unity. For now though, I want to bring clarity to the real issues. Men fucked up. And women, we need to figure out how to educate them on how to treat us, and figure out a way to move forward after a harrowing past. So keep spreading the #metoo movement, and explain why consent matters, that all people are equal, and autonomy over our bodies is a positive thing for both men, women and all future generations to come.
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Today I cried.To be absolutely clear, I sobbed.I broke down, alone, isolated with the weight of the world on my shoulders.I screamed out, “why will I never be good enough?”.And I covered my face with a pillow as I just let everything I had out.It lasted perhaps 2 minutes.My dog rushed over the second my face was visible and he snuggled.He let me just cuddle and hold him for a few desperately needed moments.And I got up.I brewed some tea and I just existed for a moment.Then I sighed and recognized that my life is moving in a direction that I can control.And I have a partner, and I am not alone.But today, on the couch I felt like I was.I lost it.
My last few posts have had a clear direction, a voice, and a reason for being written.My confident personality has shone through and I have grown the K-Ghislaine brand into something I am incredibly proud of.I started this blog to help me come to terms with Open Relationships and to start questioning the societal norms of relationships that are around me.But this morning, I had troubles overcoming my shortcomings and focusing on the task at hand.Today I failed me, in a way that actually scared me.I wondered if I was making the correct choices, and if the business I am working on will succeed.I questioned if I should keep writing, and I questioned if I had the right people in my life, on my team and just generally with me.It was the briefest moment of rock bottom, but my lungs hurt from the sob and I felt so drained as a result, and of questioning that resolve that has kept me moving forward after the most recent of my life challenges this past December.
As I closed the door on the last toxic member of my family last year (or rather had the door slammed in my face) I found a relief or release as it were.I now count the blessings of that event.I am grateful that he cut me out, so I could be free from the toxic lifestyle that was consuming me and poisoning the rest of my life.Aside from this morning of course, I do control my actions.I don’t blame who I am on my parents or the hardships that are a part of my past.The doors are closed, and I have found peace of mind to excel in my life without any of their shortcomings impacting me.
I find myself in a period of transition again.Embarking on a journey that has high risks for my relationship and my financial security.But it is in these risks that I am finding my stride.I am discovering things about myself that were laying dormant. With each word I type, I feel better.Stronger and more focused to take on today’s task at hand.I blog because I love it.I absolutely adore the clarity I get from it, and the relief that it brings when I press publish.I am an artist and writing is my preferred medium.I forgive myself for losing control this morning.My body needed the release and my soul needed to write.With these two tasks completed it is time to conquer my next challenge and quiet that little voice that sometimes bubbles over, the voice that wonders why it cannot be just a little easier.
To lose control is not something I am proud of.But to err is human.And the most important thing for me, is to recognize why I lost control and learn from it.To listen to myself, and my inner voice when it calls out.There is a strength to be found in weakness, and today I got caught ignoring my needs.
Being open can be a balance game of sorts. My best experiences are always when I am in a good place emotionally and physically. I suppose that should be true of any relationship you are in, however when you are dealing with more than one person, the range of emotions is wider. I am learning to center myself and refocus on things that make me happy whenever I feel that the emotions are getting the best of me.
My early adult years involved a lot of roles where I played therapist to my friends. It slowly evolved into me becoming a punching bag to many of those near me. I found myself alone, exhausted, and drained as a result. Although I did it to myself, there are days when I find myself lamenting having to close the door to so many people who just could not understand that my sole role in their lives was not to listen to the negativity and drama that they had created. These of course were lessons that I needed to learn. Finding the strength to kindly, but firmly decline listening to the problems of my friends was not easy, and challenges me at times today, especially with family.
I find that I am often guilty of trying to predict the feelings or emotional responses that the people in my life may have, and then adjust my behaviour accordingly. It is a habit I am trying hard to break. Often I have to verbally tell myself to take a step back and remember that my feelings matter just as much as everyone else’s. It is an interesting conundrum to be in. I am nearly 30 and I still have troubles validating my own feelings. Finding the strength to say that I am having a bad moment, and then to explain that it will pass challenges the pillar of strength I attempt to embody.
I wonder if people in monogamous relationships take as much time to soul search and really discover who they are and how best to communicate. It was something I took for granted in monogamy as I have said many times. As I just assumed, I was a good communicator because I did the opposite of how I was raised (as most children do), and then found myself horribly unhappy and isolated. Now that I face myself, and a variety of people on an ongoing basis there is not opportunity to become stagnant. I constantly am being challenged and offered so many chances to really communicate with those around me. Freedom of expression is a real gift, and having a strong emotional IQ, is the only way openness could be successful.
As I said, it can be a tricky balance game. By allowing yourself to feel emotions, and react with acceptance, love and support, while at the same time acknowledging that not all feelings are OK. That your partner is not a punching bag for your emotional negativity, and finding that point where you share more positives and joys than you do the bad. And with multiple partners this is a critical point. None of your partners, or friends for that matter should be the bearer of all your emotional upsets, each one needs to experience good times, in order to give a shit long enough to stick around for the bad.