Feeding the Darkness

NOTE: Depression is insidious. A dark and ravenous locust-cloud, it can arrive without warning and strip everything bare before you are able to find your wits. Warring with depression in myself can also become the battle of watching it attack those I love. These current writings are about that fight.

We are getting help.

—–

It’s nearly four, and Darkness comes to nudge me from the depths of dreaming. Her cravings won’t be sated. Outside the window, a cry echoes once, then again — the black dog’s voice is neither howl nor bark, and yet both.

Darkness paces impatiently, her boots echoing with my heart’s “too much, too little, too much, too little” syncopation. I feel her in my skin and my soul sighs out a name. I feel the cold and warming bodies of my children and their children pressed to my naked breast, see my mother’s dry lips pursed in disapproval.

I invite Darkness to dine with me, again — to dine on me — as she has done before. It’s a borrowed, black, denim work-shirt she wears, and though it fits poorly, it pulls at me, like a black hole collapsing my lungs.

The distant black dog mimics a wolf — calling again, and the Wolf who shares my bed doesn’t flinch. She doesn’t sleep anymore, my Wolf. Instead, she warily watches as Darkness takes a seat at my table.

I offer my heart as an appetizer, always too eager to see this inky void filled and satisfied. The Wolf who used to lay her head in my lap now growls at the riverbank, staring into shadows. The new moon has drawn the clouds up over her head, trying desperately to sleep in peace. I’m not certain there’s any peace to be found in these small hours when the black dog calls.

Darkness eats daintily, wipes her mouth on my skirt, then flicks her ravenous eyes at my Wolf. Her greedy, plucking fingers are alder branches, stirring widdershins in the murky water of my soul.

She draws the tarot from her pocket, and the cards fall before me like winter leaves, thin and colorless. Five coins tumble into lonely orphans, with no bread. King of Cups stands on his head, angry and brooding, while the Lovers gaze anxiously on. The inverted Moon stares at her confused reflection in the water. High Priestess is here too, offering a hand through the labyrinth. But Darkness exhales a thick, wet fog, and gestures toward my Wolf. “Feed me.”

I attempt a bargain, counting out five coins, like sweet cakes, and my desperate heart breathes a name into the darkness. The Wolf’s fur bristles along her shoulders and I close my eyes, slipping finally into the deep end of the pool, where sleep swims elusively upriver.

—–
AUDIO FILE: 

To My Several Loves

I have a non-exclusive heart and it beats to love more than one. I wouldn’t be surprised to find its voices are several, throbbing in a syncopated harmony.

When certain love songs come on the radio, I feel my chest tighten, my mouth stretches into a smile and I remember. Those memories are of more than one… they overlap and coexist in his oversized standing-room-only heart.

You see I’ve had so many first kisses first dances first make-up-make-out sessions, after first-lover’s-quarrels… I’ve loved in messy, muddy, mixed-up puddles and those who know my love and share it, are happy to celebrate the others. They understand that my love spills out into many cups.

Still, in this heart, oh my lover, are things that only belong to you. There are kisses in my mouth, hidden beneath my tongue, that are yours alone. I don’t touch anyone else the way I touch you — I cannot — because they are not you, and you are not them.

No relationship looks like ours, and that is as it should be. We are the only two who could build these memories and recall them fondly, in years to come.

There are plans, fantasies, wishes, and dreams only we two can share. There are no parts of me you to which you do not have free access — your key to my heart fits all the doors, and there are several keys.

At the same time there are things in me that only you can own, and I cherish them. I protect them like a fiercely monogamous lover — it is a dichotomy I cannot fully explain.

—–

Changed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

—–

Recently, I spent a week enjoying the family vacation of a lifetime — on the island of Saint Martin — with my Dad, his wife, three siblings, their spouses, and mine. I feel indescribably fortunate for the chance to experience several firsts, thanks to the generosity of my father. I’d never traveled outside of the U.S., and it was a pleasure to find that whatever the language, whatever the culture, people are more similar than we are different. I enjoyed conversations and stories with several really beautiful souls; and I was reminded that the world is truly smaller than it looks. 

I had never been sailing before, and was a little nervous, but ultimately thrilled to share a sunset cruise — on a catamaran — with a delightfully funny and friendly crew, where I got my first taste of salt-spray, racing seagulls, and the rise and fall of gorgeous, blue-green ocean waves. I’d never swam in the ocean, and not only was it incredible, it was exhausting, in the most challenging and wonderful ways! The sand was gorgeous, the water clear, and in order to remember this first, for a very long time, I gathered a tiny handful of sand and bits of rock and shell to bring home with me. I’d never eaten lobster thermidor, or snails, or several of the delicious vegan dishes my brother whipped up during our stay in a luxury, open-air villa — with breathtaking views of the water, the distant volcano, fiery flamboyant trees and other lush vegetation, two gorgeous, wild kestrels nesting in the corner of the dining patio, and a very loud, wild parrot that greeted the day — and all of us, at five a.m. — with a dozen or more hellos.

There were some things I have wanted to do for many years, like having my passport stamped, swimming in the sea, and experiencing island dining at it’s finest. However, there were other opportunities which I’d not imagined I’d ever have: 

I opted out of the extreme sports experience with the water jet propelled boots. I’m not that crazy. But, I did go with my family on a speed boat day trip around the island. We waded through the ocean up to my chest, to eat delicious mahi and drink pina coladas on another beach, and when the option came to get into the water, with fins and a mask, and swim with gorgeous fish and majestic sea turtles, I was nervous. However, there was a wolf’s voice in my head… the same voice that has pushed me and cheered me for nearly a year, to hike and climb, to stretch and challenge myself. She reminded me that I’m stronger than I used to be. I’m braver than I think, and I might never again get the chance to snorkel with my strong and courageous, seventy-one year old father. She wouldn’t let me stay seated and let this opportunity pass me by. So I stepped off the end of the boat into the ocean. I put my feet in flippers, and strapped on a snorkeling mask. I ducked my head into the water and swam.  Within a couple of minutes, I was watching a school of bright blue and perhaps yellow fish, and a few minutes later, three different sea turtles! It was an amazing experience, and one I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

The opportunities for courage didn’t end there.  Because I realized it was time for my husband and I to step out on a limb and tell some of my family about my amazing, wonderful, polyamorous world, and specifically the two people who’ve become such a huge part of our daily lives that we’ve become one family living in two homes. I did sit down with my brother who lives in L.A. and share my happiness with him, and then later we spoke both to my dad and step-mom.  They were surprised, and incredibly loving. Mom had a few questions about jealousy, and logistics. Dad wanted to be sure we were happy, and though he doesn’t agree with our choices, he supports our right to make them our own. It was both a scary and wonderful set of conversations. When we returned home, Dad called and invited the four of us to come to dinner this weekend, and I was amazed at how wonderful it felt to share my whole truth with family. I’d never expected to do that, or to really want to as badly as I did. Our little quad is part of the family, and at least two of my parents are welcoming and glad to get to know them. I can’t imagine being happier with the outcome of this chance to take a risk and be vulnerable.

I knew when I boarded the plane to leave the country for the first time, I’d come home a little different. I hoped to have my pale-and-freckled-skin version of a tan, a little more salt in my blood. I expected to come home a lot more relaxed and refreshed, with beach hair and a suitcase full of laundry and souvenirs. What I didn’t expect was to come home changed, stronger for having been vulnerable, for having challenged myself to do things that were scary. This week that I’ve been back has been punctuated by trips to the pool and the creek, in a relentless search for sun and water. It’s also been accented by a growing realization that I am made better, stronger, and happier by the relationships in my life, and the people who make up my family.

This gypsy, wanderer, part island-girl poet is grateful, and that, so very much.

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—–

New Feathers – A Quatern Poem

 
I hope to fly, perhaps I’ll fall.
I’ve got new feather’s coming in.
They strain my shoulders, itch my skin.
I feel off balance, wearing thin.
 
It’s a growing season, you see?
I hope to fly, perhaps I’ll fall.
and no one knows it more than me.
This life is not always carefree.
 
We each must stretch, must reach and grow.
Although difficult winds may blow–
I hope to fly, perhaps I’ll fall.
The struggle’s worth it all, I know.
 
Before I leap, I understand–
I’ve got you here, to hold my hand.
I’ll make the jump, as I have planned.
I hope to fly, perhaps I’ll fall.
 
—–
 
POETIC FORM:
 
A quatern is 16 lines broken into 4 quatrains. Each line has 8 syllables. 1st line is refrain. In 2nd stanza, refrain appears in 2nd line; 3rd stanza, 3rd line; 4th stanza, 4th (and final) line. No rhyme scheme.
 
AUDIO FILE:
 

Wading

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The woods were calling.

I sat at at the feet of my Wolf, with tears in my eyes, at having received unexpected news of loss. My heart was spilling over with sorrow, and I could only think of running to the trees. So she took me by the hand, and wiped tears from my eyes. She drove to our favorite set of trails, and let me lead the way. We hiked along, through wet grass and slippery mud as we made our way deeper into the wooded area and turned the corner to a favorite path — one that’s been under water  for months.

Accompanied by the frenzied calls of geese and ducks from the nearby marsh, we stepped from the planked walkway into ankle deep water feeling the mud suck and grasp at our boots. Sticking to the center of the path, or the edges, depending on the depth, she splashed along beside me, softly speaking words of love and encouragement, with a smile in her voice.

We waded.

And we talked, about the sorrow of losing a man who has loved me since the day I was born — he was one of the few people in this life I can say that about — and the sudden absence of his presence in this world was a reality I was struggling to absorb. But the woods and the water were soothing. Placing my hands against tree trunks was comforting, and the sound of her voice made it easier to breathe.

The sky overhead was dark, overcast by clouds that promised rain, but held off for reasons unknown. The sun would set in an hour, and the sounds of ducks and geese in preparation for this nightly event filled my ears. Finally, I found the place I’d been longing for since that morning — a stone bench surrounded by trees, deep enough in the woods that I knew I’d see wildlife, if only we were still for a little while.

I sat, and she stood — leaning against a nearby trunk, listening while I shared with her what was on my heart. As I wound down, and fell into thought, they came. First, it was two young deer, who stopped in the nearby copse of trees and stared at me, ears twitching, and bodies perfectly still. The near one and I gazed into each other’s eyes for several long moments, in silent conversation. Then the birds began to call from the tops of the trees, a woodpecker worked steadily in the distance, and briefly, a very large and beautiful brown owl graced us with a silent, overhead flight.

I breathed in these gifts of presence, and pointed out each of them to her, as she watched me. At one point she asked me to do her a favor, and it was really a gift she was giving to me. At her request, I chose a song (the one that had been in my heart all morning, since I’d heard the news) and queued it on my phone. She stepped away, wet, rippling, water sounds following her, as she retreated to some not-too-distant place behind my back, and left me alone in my sanctuary.

I pressed my boots into the sludge and water at my feet, imagining the mud between my toes as I grounded myself. I took a deep breath, before slipping my ear buds into my ears, and starting the song. I sobbed, breathed deeply, and let the words wash over me… just as the sun broke through the clouds over my left shoulder, and cast its reflection into the water at my feet like a blanket.

I cried until I  felt I could breathe again – thankful for this quiet, sacred space, and for a Wolf who would watch over me as I got lost in it. The song was set to repeat, and when it began again, I took another, deeper breath, and sang it aloud — to the trees, to the distant deer and the birds overhead, to the wet earth, the water and the sunlight pooling at my feet. I sang aloud, not caring who might hear, or how it might sound. It was my declaration and my prayer. The well of emotion in me surged, and I rode the wave, singing triumphantly,  in gratitude.

As the last notes faded, the beautiful sun pulled her blanket of cloud cover back over her shoulders and ducked toward the horizon. I watched for a moment, then stood slowly to my feet. I put away my phone, and gathered myself, turning to find my Wolf sitting not ten steps away, smiling softly at me. She took me by the hand and together we walked through the water, through the trees, and the fading sunlight — finding our way back to dry land.

—–

The Way She Leaves Me

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It’s 4 a.m. and she brings me coffee. She sits with me in the bed. And she says things that make the wings in my soul twitch and tremble, preparing to fly. Not away, I would never fly away from her, in the frightened uncomfortable way of wild, nervous birds. No, this is more of a soaring on pure, clean joy, at being so greatly loved and cared for.

We talk in the darkness, steam rising from our cups and honesty filling the room with wakeful heat. She is preparing to leave me for the day — it is a Monday and work is required — but I can feel her struggling with the desire to crawl back beneath the covers with me and stay. She falls silent sometimes, gazes at me like the Wolf she is, like I am the moon in her early morning sky. I am.

I watch her shoulders tense as if they were covered in bristling fur. I feel her teeth clawing at my neck and nails biting into my hip. She will leave me soon but she wants me hungry before she goes. What’s more, she wants to carry that hunger with her too. She wants to feel it in her bones all day — to know that no matter the distance between us, I ache with it just as she does.

She checks the clock again, and growls, rolling out of bed. The right thing is pulling her, and it always wins. It’s one of the things I love about her — although today, I groan, protesting loudly about it. I watch her putting clothes on her body, and wonder how she can make that process just as gut-wrenchingly sexy as taking them off.

She knows I will linger here, in her bed. I will sip the remainder of my coffee, pull her still-warm pillow tight against my body, and watch the sunrise through her window before drifting back to sleep. Oh. So. Hungry. She tucks in her shirt tail, and threads her belt into the loops on her jeans. She pulls the blankets up around my shoulders and leans in for a last kiss, then two more.

I watch her pull the bedroom door closed and then listen for the echo of her work boots on the hardwood floor. She is leaving. Twelve steps between here and the front door and every last one feels like the Grand Canyon. Still I smile in the darkness of her bedroom. I watch her headlights sweep the ceiling over my head. I know she is a hungry Wolf, and she will be back.

—–

She Makes It Right

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There’s something calming about ironing my Wolf’s dress shirt, and pressing the pleats into her kilt. One night, I was able to surprise her, by blacking and polishing her boots. I found in that process something ritualistic, methodical and centering. I ask her, sometimes, to let me do these things, just so I can let the world go, and pull my scattered thoughts into a quiet, orderly place. These are acts of service that do so very much for my spirit, my body and my mind. It’s hard to describe. Somehow they make things right in my head.

It hasn’t been that long ago, I was dealing with some major life stresses, and she kidnapped me on a Saturday morning. She took me hiking, and though I wasn’t sure I could manage the rocky and hilly terrain, the goal was so tempting, I had to try. We made our way to a fallen tree, lakeside, and she sat me down in a comfortable fork with my back against the bark. She had me put headphones on, close my eyes, and breathe. Restricting outside sensory input, she stepped away and watched over me, while I sat in silence, and allowed my over-thinking brain to let go. The sun warmed my skin, the wind and the water sounds were faint in the background, and she was there, protecting and caring for me. It was a simple and phenomenal feeling. She made it right.

This weekend, we had a long talk about what we were doing in our relationship with the D/s dynamic energy, and how that works in tandem with my other relationships. It was a heavy conversation about the hurts of my past, and my defensive way of restricting D/s dynamics across my polyamorous relationships. In the past, I’d been so hurt by Shepherd’s abandonment, that I’d effectively talked myself out of the need for a 24-7 dominant. I’d convinced myself that I was better suited to a design where I pieced together the dynamics I needed or wanted across my very egalitarian polyamorous relationships.

I could count on Traveler for minimal structure, for the push, the keeping me honest and the mind-fuck. I could get a different sort of emotional support and creative push from my Star-Stuff Rocket Man, along with the occasional play that would give me a taste of the pain I missed so desperately. I’d been talking with The Professor for some time, about D/s play, and looking forward to exploring with him — and had even broached the subject with my Dragon — but the truth was in every case that I was still maintaining control. I was meting it out as I saw fit, trusting each to a degree, but not completely — not like I’d done before, with Shepherd. I couldn’t imagine risking that deeply ever again, and that says a lot for me, because I am the girl who takes risks for love.

When I struggle with being too much human, too much emotion, too much stress, she quiets me — gives me a strength to push against, and shuts out the world. I’ve been calling her my Wolf, and “Sir”, for months now. The truth is that I knew she was going to take that role in my world, from sometime between that first five hour conversation, and the night when we slipped out of potluck discussion for a smoke break and I asked her if we could talk about something. I was anxious, and vibrating with so much resonance, that I knew every person in my home could feel it, and it must be painted all over my face. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was just as keyed up and nervous as I, hyper-aware of every move I made and as cognizant of where I was physically, in relation to her as I was, her to me.

What I am learning, is that she does have the capacity for my fullness. She is wired to be the kind of dominant I need, and can offer me the time and energy that will allow me to let go completely. She has from the start been committed to making room for my other relationships and the different D/s energies they have. I’ve known in my body and spirit for months — that if anyone was going to be a full time dominant to me, she was fully capable, and she was the right one. My brain is only recently catching up.

Every few days, she does something new that amazes me, reminds me why she fills that role in my life. Saturday night, I asked her to make all the choices about where we went, what we did, what we ate — to keep me close, restrict my movements, my focus, remind me that with her, I could let go.  As we were getting ready to go out, she pulled her boots from the closet, and asked me to put them on her, and lace them up. It was the first time I’d done so, since I’d blacked and polished them for her. As I was lacing them up, she pointed out the over-under pattern I had used — the one I always use with my own boots — and I realized that I hadn’t told her. I didn’t check the laces before I removed them. I had no idea how they’d been laced before I went to work on them.

She told me then that the way I’d done them was not the way they’d been. But that the way I’d done them was the way I would do them going forward. It was now the right way. When I protested, asking her to show me the way she preferred, she made it clear that rather than correct me after I put so much effort and love into making her boots look amazing, she did the thing that was most right in her eyes. She made the way I laced her boots the correct way, and informed me that to do it differently in the future would bring consequences.

She quieted me. She made it right – and that is amazing.

Burned Upon Her Skin

writing

I wrote a poem a few weeks ago, about my girlfriend, and her love of the woods. She and I have been enjoying this brief Autumn season, and escaping to the nearby hiking trails as often as the weather and our schedules allow — sometimes together, sometimes separately, chasing light and shadows, solitude and mental health. I posted more recently about how that is affecting my personal journey, in a post titled “The Way of Beauty”.

I’ve been sharing poetry with this amazing woman since we started dating, two months ago. I’ve introduced her to my favorites, like Tyler Knott GregsonBilly Collins, and Rives. She seems to love my addiction to language, and to not mind that I write poetry about my love for her.

In fact, a little over a week ago, she was planning a trip home to visit family (and her tattoo artist) and asked me how I felt about her incorporating some of my poetry into a tattoo. My immediate response was, “Of course! Once I share my poems, they belong to whoever reads them!”  She didn’t tell me which poem; she wanted to keep that a surprise, so no photos or hints until I picked her up from the airport on Sunday.

She’d been gone for four days, and when I met her in the waiting area just outside the terminal, I was breathless, struck by how amazing she looked in my favorite black shirt and some new plaid suspenders. I couldn’t stop  hugging and kissing her — and more than once I caught random strangers smiling at us.

I didn’t see the tattoo on her arm until she was loading her suitcase into my car, and though I expected to love it, I didn’t anticipate the feelings that washed over me. My throat constricted on the word, “Oh!” and my eyes welled up with tears. My words, spilled for her from my own pen, were etched into her beautiful skin, so she could see them for the rest of her life. I couldn’t stop touching them, tracing the letters with my fingers. I’ve been lucky enough to have my work published before, but I don’t think I will ever feel the way I felt standing there, reading her arm.

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The fantastic thing, is that the words are hers. They belong to her — belong on her body. They fit, and always will. That’s what happens when we send our words out into the world. Those who read them make them their own, bring them to life. They are made richer, deeper, and more breathtaking. It’s a thing that always amazes me about writing poetry. What a wild, wonderful privilege it is to witness!

 

The poem in its entirety, is posted below. I hope you find something in it, gentle reader, that speaks to you, and as always, I thank you for doing your part, reading my words, and making them live.

———-

wolvesrunning

THE WOODS ARE WHERE YOU’VE BEEN

The scent of wind is burned upon your skin —
You’ve run with wolves, while howling at the night,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

I know the weight of life has worn you thin —
Within your eyes a hunger burns so bright,
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin.

I hear the echoes of your howls again —
I hope that you’ve been strengthened by your flight.
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

You look at me, and my head starts to spin —
I find my thoughts are rude and impolite!
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin.

I can’t control this flood I’m holding in —
I ache to break for you, to scream and fight,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

The smell of you turns all my flesh to sin —
till every touch becomes a sacred rite,
The scent of wind is burned upon your skin,
and I can tell the woods are where you’ve been.

———-

POETIC FORM:

The villanelle is a French form, consisting of five tercets and a quatrain with line lengths of 8-10 syllables. The first and third lines of the first stanza become refrains that repeat throughout the poem.

FORM DIAGRAM:

A(1)
b
A(2)
a
b
A(1)
a
b
A(2)
a
b
A(1)
a
b
A(2)
a
b
A(1)
A(2)

 

 

The Way of Beauty

“You can put yourself in the way of beauty.”

“This has the power to fill you up again, if you’ll let it.”

“My life -like all lives- mysterious, irrevocable and sacred, so very close, so very present, so very belonging to me. How wild it was, to let it be.”

Wild by Cheryl Strayed

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The Creek – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

I am fortunate to be in a new, long-term, romantic relationship with a fearless, beautiful, loving, polyamorous woman, who calls me her Mond (the German word for Moon.) I call her my Wolf. On one of our first dates, my she-Wolf and I watched the movie, Wild, with Reese Witherspoon in the lead role. Throughout her excellent performance, I was struck by the courage of Cheryl Strayed, who set out to conquer the Pacific Crest Trail, and succeeded, then wrote her memoirs about the life-changing experience of finding herself, and the woman her mother knew she could be.

I was also touched by the several literary references, the quotes of poetry, and the quotable passages from Cheryl’s book, Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. It has now found it’s home on my ‘books to-be-read’ list. Watching the movie planted a seed in me. It made me ache to push and challenge myself in a new way. By the time it was finished, I was determined to find opportunities to ‘put myself in the way of beauty’.

I have, for too many years, been the girl who let her physical limitations get the best of her. I’ve been out of shape for a long time, and haven’t chosen to do much about it. I have been convinced that I couldn’t, and shouldn’t risk it, when it came to intense physical activity, and though I know that intensity is relative, what I previously considered too risky, and a bad idea, really isn’t. I’m learning I was wrong.

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My Favorite Bridge – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

The past several weeks have been both wonderful, and deeply stressful, and that is nothing new. I’ve chosen a complex, crowded, polyamorous life, with a house full of my three adult children, a son-in-law, two grandsons, my husband, three pets, multiple polyamorous lovers and metamours, and often more people than beds or chairs in which to sit– and with it comes all the agony and ecstasy one person can hold.

I wouldn’t trade my life for the entire world.

The thing you should know about my she-Wolf is that she is strong, and fierce, and physical! She’s a master welder, a hiker, a runner, a primal, dominant woman who is most at home in the woods. Our very first date, we spent sitting on a huge bolder overlooking a ravine, and we talked about everything under the sun, as it set behind the trees. Even that evening, she challenged me to face my fear of heights, and trust her to keep me safe.

Her quiet strength has been something I needed before I ever knew I would. She came along and made a place in my heart and life, just in time to offer me a very different kind of strength from any other I know, which is remarkable, because I have several amazing, rewarding, romantic relationships with incredibly strong, smart people. I spent some time on the phone this morning with my she-Wolf’s wife — an equally beautiful, strong, intelligent woman, and we both agree — we are stronger, empowered beside her. She brings out belief in ourselves, and that is an incredible thing to discover next to someone so very generous and strong.

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Mirrored Trees – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

My she-Wolf pulls strength from me; she challenges me to be better, to try harder, and to attempt new things I wouldn’t have tried six months ago. In the past few weeks, because of her, I’ve found my feet climbing over stones and boulders, stepping around sleeping snakes and poison ivy, standing on remote, rocky paths through thick underbrush and magnificent trees — chasing sunlight, chasing shadows, chasing peace.

I’ve often sat listening in the woods — where the nearest human being was well out of sight and earshot. No doubt there were birds, snakes, beavers, mice, deer, badgers and a host of other animals much nearer than any person who might be able to hear my voice. I have found, as I stood or sat in this wilderness, I am mostly listening to myself. I have been pushing myself farther down the trail, deeper into the forest, stretching my sore muscles, and I’ve kept going when before, I might have given up and turned back.

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My Feet on the Path – Mohawk Park, Tulsa, OK – taken with Galaxy Note 4

It’s an amazing feeling to step off of the well-traveled road, and onto the rocky path through the trees like Robert Frost. It feeds my spirit to see such beauty — the sinking sun setting the the trees on fire, the stillness of a creek so placid that it mirrors the sky, the rocks that look like the back of some great dragon beneath the earth, and even the leaf-strewn dirt beneath my feet. It feels incredibly satisfying to challenge and push myself this way — and it is partly inspired by the way she looks at me, the way with all her strength and beauty, she believes in me.  She makes me want to be a better version of myself, to be the stronger, brighter light she sees in me. I am different, because of who she is when she’s with me, who she is with everyone I’ve had the privilege to see and know, and that is the most incredible gift.

I am changing. As I mentioned, the days of my life are filled lately with turmoil. My family is fighting for one of our own, as she battles against insidious mental illness. There are days when I feel powerful and determined. There are also days when I am not sure how much more I can take. But I usually find strength I didn’t know I had. I love fiercely, and am well aware that the love I’m given strengthens me for the days ahead. I purposely step into the woods, once or twice a week, just to replenish the well of reserve that we, as a family, so desperately need.

I put myself in the way of beauty, and I find it… in the trees, and on the path, in the eyes of my She-Wolf, and in other lovers who are amazing in my world. I count my blessings, and I draw from the gifts I hold in my open hands. My life is changed, and I hope every day that the people I love, find beauty and strength in me — as I do in them.

Love and Lovers, Sex and Bisexuality

“I want a life of a million lovers. I want to love you.”

“When I see you we will embrace and hold a hug long enough to glimpse some insight from each other’s heartbeat.”

“When we walk down the street we shall link arms, pause frequently, and turn our toes and noses towards the other to speak directly without modesty.”

“I do not think that our connection is somehow weakened because we do not share our bodies with each other.”

“For love is love is love is love, and that is what I want.”

“I only want us to fall in love.”

~Can We Be Lovers & Not Have Sex? on Elephant Journal by Brentan Schellenbach

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“A bi person has the capacity for romantic and/or sexual attraction to more than one gender.  For most people, that simply means that you can be attracted to both men and women.”

“As a bi person, you do not have to feel the same kind or intensity of attraction to all genders.”

“Understanding and acknowledging your own sexuality is a personal process and is about living with integrity and being true to yourself.”

“A sexual identity is about who you want to romance. Romance does not equal sex. Romance is who you want to hear laugh, who you want to give valentines to and breakfast in bed and comfort when they’re crying.”

~Bisexual.org

I have been falling in love with boys since I was six years old. I know well how to do this. I know what excites me, what intrigues me, what attracts me to men. I know how to flirt with men, how to use my mind and my body to turn them on. I know what works, what gets their attention, what keeps it. I celebrate that power, and try to use it wisely. I am confident in my sexuality when it comes to members of the opposite sex. I’m a sometimes messy, jealous and difficult human. I’m also a sexy, attractive, loving, passionate woman, who builds relationships with men that are fucking amazing. (It helps that I choose some pretty kick-ass men.)

I began to be curious about romantic relationships with women, about fifteen years ago, in my early thirties. Today, you see a lot of media about being bi, and there’s a very strong message about bisexuality not equaling confusion. I agree, people should not be asked to “pick a team”, that’s just silly. But when you set that argument aside, I can say that yes, I am bisexual and I am confused.

I think often about romantic and sexual interactions with women, and I long for that tenderness, that affection and softness, for that sisterhood and connection that don’t come from the men in my life. I have entertained sexual fantasies, and learned to build strong, enduring friendships with just a handful of women. I have even attempted romantic relationships with women in the past.

The most significant attempt was when I fell deeply and vulnerably in love with a woman, about three years ago. It was an awkward situation, as we three, she, our shared male partner and power-dynamic-dominant, and I formed a polyamorous triad, that was terribly imbalanced. There was a great deal of jealousy and comparison… we both had intense relationships with him and our romance with each other was hampered by miscommunication, unmet expectations and insecurity on the part of all three involved.

I can say now that whatever her faults or mistakes, (or mine, or his, for that matter) though my heart was smitten, and I very much adored her, loved kissing her, holding her hand, cuddling and sleeping in her arms — sexually, I always felt like an awkward virgin. I think she interpreted this as rejection, and it became one of several eventually insurmountable issues that led her to calling it quits.

Today, I still long for that feminine heart-closeness, that easy affection. But when I think of trying again to build a relationship with a woman, my head spins and I panic. I still feel like an awkward, nearly fifty year old virgin. Maybe I always will. Though I am at ease with some simple things, like the romantic side of female to female connection, when my mind shifts toward the sexual, or the energy from a female love interest shifts toward the physical, I shut down. I feel the weight of expectations I might not be able to fulfill. I doubt myself.

Maybe I am never going to be fully comfortable being sexual with a woman. Maybe I’m just going to need some time to heal, and a safe place to explore without feeling like I’m a disappointment. Maybe my relationships with women are never going to be as intense as my relationships with men. I can guarantee that they will be different, because both my heart response, and my physical attraction are different, in so many ways. Am I just inexperienced? Am I bisexual in a romantic sense only? I don’t know. I do know that I find myself falling in love with the heart of another girl. I am both captivated, and afraid of disappointing her. This is hard, and I’m a lot more confused and insecure than I’d like to be.