You Asked Me What it Means to Be a Girl

woman-walking-in-long-dress-down-a-wooded-path-sandra-cunningham (2)

I am female, and if you ask me what that means, I struggle to answer — to disentangle that feminine thread from the mass of yarn that is me, is a challenge, a task I’m not sure I can accomplish.

So rather than unraveling the ball, untying knots, and disturbing the wonderfully complex snarl of string that is me, I will turn the whole of it in my hands, examine the strands, where they fray and where they weave, where they get lost in the over and under of it all — I will tell you what I see. Perhaps in this describing, you may find what you seek to understand.

I am richly and deeply woman. I look in the mirror, and see fullness, softness, sensuality. I revel in the female habits, lotions, make-up, hair, jewelry and clothes. I love the decadence of ribbons and lace, pretty underthings, soft stockings and laced corsets, luxurious fabrics, perfumes and polish. I drink in poetry, literature, words and phrases about love and living passionately. I am that romantic girly-girl.

I wonder sometimes, when I walk into a public space, whether others can see the raw feminine sexuality that I feel in my bones; I think sometimes it paints my skin; I smell it as the wind tousles my hair. Can others look into my eyes, and read the thoughts that color my whole being with the joy of passion, of living, and loving more? I am female, strong and fragile, tough and weak, fierce in my passions and in my defense of those I love. I am a nurturer, a teacher, a sister and friend.

I am courageously vulnerable, daring to risk, choosing pain over numbness, in the hope of ecstasy. My heart and mind are drawn to those who allow my femininity to shine, while not being intimidated by my depth, my intelligence or my dominance. I am both self contained, and messy, spilling out passion and poetry on anyone who gets close enough to be splashed. I am confident, and sexy, and at the same time shy and unsure.

My female heart is drawn to strength in men, to confidence, and power, to a sharp wit, a rich intelligence, and a passion that complements mine. Yin to yang — rich, earthy maleness to dark, raw femaleness — I soften against that strength, like I cannot when I stand alone. I find in those places — the crook of his arm, the gruff tenderness of his voice, the wonder in his eyes — a gentle little girl, who can melt into him and find it safe to be imperfect, weak, emotional and a dreamer.

My female heart is drawn to the sacred female in other women. I am maiden, mother, sister and crone. I am rich in this femininity, and my heart longs to connect to that feminine in another. I yearn to share sisterhood, and to revel with another very female lover in everything that makes us woman. I crave that softness and warmth that can only come from a feminine touch. I believe the sacred female has an inner light and power that belies the physical strength of a man. It goes deeper, runs in her veins, a holy strength, an incantation and a prayer. My inner female longs to find that beauty and power in another, to trust it, surrender to it, and mirror it back.

I am hesitant, shy in that longing, as I have trusted my feminine vulnerability to another woman, and been hurt far more deeply than any man could reach. I have healed, and found my strength from that wounding. I have come away stronger, more beautiful for the scars. But while I can confidently gaze into the eyes of a strong, attractive man, and know that I have power to win his heart, to seduce his mind, I lack that sureness when it comes to connecting with a woman I find lovely, in spirit and body — I have been, again and again overcome and silenced by the beauty, the poetry, and the magic I find in her. But, I play it safe.

I am womanly in my reasoning, in my art, in the way I set my soul on fire every day to cast a light that leads others to freedom, to love, to living fully. I pour my femaleness into words and poems, into paint and ink, I shout my femininity from the rooftops, from the open windows of my car, from the air as I fly, soaring on the wind, my own music pounding in my ears, shaking the trees and clouds as they witness and sing along. I want others to see me, my freedom, and find themselves, see the beauty and the reward of living fully vulnerable and courageous. As a girl-child, I was taught to hold back, to demure, to dampen my enthusiasm, and to reign in my passion. As an adult, I refuse. I am determined to live fully in this richness that is every womanly part of who I am.

I hope those who see me doing so, are inspired to tear down their walls, to risk and live, to love and make and be with burning passion. This is my gift to the world, and to myself. I will burn in my femaleness, to light the path for anyone who might follow my faltering but enthusiastic footsteps. It may be tangled and overgrown, this path, there may well be an easier way. But I refuse to miss this rugged beauty, the scraped knees and bruised hands, the falls and the getting back up to press forward and celebrate. This is my womanhood. This is me.

On second thought maybe I am unraveling that spool, just to mark the path, in case you wish to follow, to catch up, and walk beside me through these woods.

Advertisements

The Power of Ritual

image

This morning, I set up my tray, teacup, saucer, spoon… I turned on the kettle, and selected a teabag from the tin. I stood pondering, smiling, waking, feeling gratitude, as the water began to boil. I poured, and the tea leaves steeped, while I breathed, turning memories over in my thankful hands. I stirred a teaspoon of honey into the amber liquid, and cradled the warm cup in my fingers, lifting it to let the steam bathe my face.

I love this routine; it is quiet, introspective, filled with peace.

I have a plain, somewhat tattered, composition journal, where I do my morning pages. A minimum of three, hand-scribbled, they are filled with what Natalie Goldberg called “monkey mind” — the random, disjointed musings of an early morning brain — that I spill across the paper in smudges and lines of ink, so I can clear away the debris, and write or create from the clear, pure place beneath.  I open the notebook, smooth the page, select a pen, and light a candle, simply because it seems right to do so, makes this a sacred space, a spiritual action that feeds my soul.  I follow my pen, and trust the process.

My soul craves ritual, it’s the breathing in and out, of life, of listening, of stilling the world and meeting myself in the space it creates.

I crave ritual in relationships, too, particularly in power dynamics. I mentioned before that I am not a vanilla girl. A relationship, or relationships, that involve power exchange are an important part of my make-up, and what adds pleasure to my life. In a relationship with a strong, confident, gentle, dominant male, I seek ritual, to quiet my restlessness, to turn my thoughts inward, and to find peace in the connection of that shared bond.

There is a man in my world who offers me part of what I seek in a relationship of this type. We do not meet in person, our interactions are limited to email, text messages, phone calls and online journal entries. He’s older, with decades of experience, and  sense of integrity that appeals to me. He knows my journey has been difficult, and he speaks truth to me. He encourages and celebrates my ethical sluthood, respects my limits, and feeds my heart. He has given me ritual that works.

At the same time every day, my phone sounds an alarm, and I smile. My eyes close, and I can hear his reassuring voice. I remind myself that we are connected, and that the energy we share is a gift. When my day is hectic, and filled with distraction, I close my eyes, breathe, and kneel (sometimes mentally, emotionally, sometimes physically). I often send him a quick text like the following:

*kneels at your feet, and closes my eyes, breathing deeply*

image

Sometimes he responds to welcome me, sometimes he is busy with his work day, and does not. But the connection is still there, and I find a few moments of peace and strength, to continue with my day.  This sort of practical ritual can make a big difference in my mind and heart. It’s a centering much like meditation, it’s a reminder, much like a spoken affirmation. These things appeal to me, and provide me with a mirror.

That girl, in the reflection, with the happy smile… she is me finding peace… and I like what I see.

Language Theory

image

I recently had an interesting email-conversation, about the nature of the word “lover”. I propose that the word has, over time, been narrowed in scope, diluted (if you will), until it’s potency is lessened and it’s meaning altered. As an advocate for language (as well as for sex and love), I  am determined, in my sphere of vocabulary-influence, to re-expand words like “lover”, if possible.

As a polyamorous woman, I welcome into my life those men and women with whom I develop a deep, psychological, emotional and romantic kinship. My heart is uniquely designed to overflow with love and intense human connection.

People have limits, when it comes to time, energy and resources — some more than others. Humans lead busy lives, we juggle relationships, we reach via technology across great distances, and if we’re vulnerable, trusting and fortunate… we find love.

I fall in love easily. I fall deeply. I seek out those bonds that ignite passion, engage heart and mind, and feed me positive energy while pushing me to be vulnerable, share myself, and give good in return.

Some of my most intense romances are with men I consider lovers. Some of these though, have not been men with whom I’ve yet had in-person, physical sex, and maybe I’ll never have the opportunity to do so. Still, intense sexual ties can be forged, without the benefit of physical proximity.

You see, in spite of the modern usage of the word, “lover” I do not make fucking* a prerequisite to using the term. There may in theory be friends with whom I enjoy occasional low-intimacy, recreational sex, and yet don’t consider lovers. On the other hand, there are those with whom I share profoundly torrid, amorous sexual interactions. These often include bodily pleasure, and orgasms, all from a place of psychological propinquity and physical distance.

When recently tweeting about the subject, I was admonished against confusing physical and emotional intimacy. I get it. My point is, life is gloriously messy, and thanks to the powers of technology and the human psyche, my intimacy spills out of its neatly labeled and organized boxes.

I wouldn’t have it any other way.

———

*"Fucking" too, is a word worth discussing. It is, in fact, a favorite, and I will soon devote an entire post to the reasons why.

I’m No Goddess

Disclaimer: This post is intimate, and somewhat graphic, discussing a new lover,
and the manner of our love-making. If that might offend you or make you 
uncomfortable, skip this one. I'll never know, and I'll still love you if you do!

I am nearly fifty, and I finally love the skin I’m in, middle-aged, scarred, buxom, zaftig, curvy, delicious, sexy… this is my body. Like many humans, there are parts that amaze me, and parts that I’m not the most happy with. This body has served me well, and I’ve not always treated it nicely.

body 2
This isn’t me, but isn’t she lovely?

And still, these incredible parts…

I have a pretty face, thick, long hair, big green eyes, full lips, freckles, a smile that catches attention. I have full, middle-aged breasts, that are giving in to gravity. They fed children more than twenty years ago, along with the wide hips that bore them, carried them, nudged them along, the legs that gave them, a comfy lap for cuddling, and the rounded shoulders that supported their sleepy heads, and absorbed their tears. Today those hips, legs, shoulders, breasts, eyes, lips and smile can seduce a man, and drive him wild.

th6LUC7EQS
Not me either, but yowza!

I also have those parts I find less sexy, feet that carry the weight of me through each day, from the moment I get out of bed in the morning, until I slip back between the sheets at night, and well, they’re feet. I have a belly, too — round and jiggly, scarred with stretch marks, it is a reminder not only of motherhood, but of many decisions to indulge, and not nearly as many to do crunches. I don’t regret those choices, all the time, but I do see the results, and I’m not sure that belly is my sexiest part.

body
Not me. But I feel this way sometimes!

Today though, my mind is slowly changing… I have a new lover, and he is… hungry. He is primal, yet gentle. His kisses make me weak in the knees. He calls me “baby-girl” and growls at me. He caresses and leaves bruises, and our lovemaking is breathless, intense, filled with exclamations of surprise and repeated requests to “do that again.” He makes me feel beautiful, powerful, weak and hungry too.

foot kiss
My feet aren’t nearly this young, but I try to keep them soft and pretty.

And he kisses me… everywhere… even those not-so-sexy-to-me parts. He moans in pleasure, whispers desire, he pulls me to him in the middle of the night just to feel my skin against his. He touches me, to satisfy his hunger and mine. He worships my toes, the balls of my feet, and he kisses my round, worn belly, over and again, like I’m some ancient fertility goddess.

Fuck, maybe I am.

Come Out and Tell it (Twisted) Slant

nindonotwanttolead

Hello, I am Penelope.

I am a free-spirit, a girl with wings. I am strong, and a tiny bit proud of that.  I am a survivor and a seeker.  I would say that I’m a feminist, in the sense that I “advocate and support the rights and equality of women”. Though it might be fairer to say I advocate and support the rights of all. I am sane. I am as whole and balanced as any human can be. These things you probably know about me, if you’ve been reading here very long. You know, too that I’m a poet, a dreamer, a woman who falls deeply, and complicatedly in love. I am a sexual, sensual being.

These things paint a picture of who I am. They focus on my passion, my strengths, even my weaknesses, but in a positive light. These things are the easier things to reveal. But these are not all that one would care to know about me, if they want to understand my journey.

I quoted Anaïs Nin, above, because in so many ways, too numerous to count here, I can relate to her. She wrote prolifically of her love, her affairs, her dreams and passion, her weakness and strength. She celebrated her life, and damned the world that would judge her for it. She can inspire me, like nobody else.

She taught me, among a thousand other things, that I can be strong, and choose to surrender my power – that it does not make me weak, or compromised to submit, as I choose, to whomever I choose. She taught me that the fact that I’m not what some would call ‘vanilla’ is part of my make-up, and a passion to be celebrated as strongly as my ability to write a poem or to command the attention of a room, and persuade a crowd to follow.

I’ve hesitated, not knowing how much of this part of me to make public. Not everyone sees this departure from the norms as a positive thing. Some who learn I live a life of alternate sexuality, who might have cheered at my being polyamorous, or bisexual, will doubtless have a negative opinion of me, after this revelation.

You can rest assured, dear reader, that I will not turn this blog into a showcase for photographic and literary depictions of graphically sexual acts. This is not my purpose here. You’ll find no photos of trussed up girls, legs spread wide, backsides in the air. It may be that you, or I, enjoy these things, but this is not that place.

My purpose today, is simply this: to share my truth – that I am twisted, kinky… my sexual, and relational preferences, according to wiki, “go beyond what are considered conventional sexual practices as a means of heightening the intimacy between sexual partners.”

I have had, and will have, relationships that involve a power-dynamic. I have and will submit, by choice, to a very strong, gentle, sexually and mentally powerful man. It is part of what feeds my soul and my body. It is this deeply emotional, psychological, spiritual connection that I want to reveal to you in the coming months dear reader, along with my poetry, and my polyamorous journey. This is part of me —  part of my passion, my polyamory, part of my chosen way to live life in the fullest way I know.

I hope you’ll stay with me on the journey.

Telling Myself the Truth

cold

Some days when I think about writing poetry, the right words hide behind clouds, and the phrases sound like children’s songs… very sad, awkward, nursery rhymes… and so, I pick up my pen and write a letter, or pick up my paintbrush and dabble in color, or I cover my head with a blanket, and read a fairy-tale that sounds like …a thousand, awkward, sad nursery rhymes.

Some days, when I want to write memoir, I worry that my life is too boring. I can’t think of anything good to say, and I can’t complain, because life is okay. I think about the past year, and the road ahead, and today looks so much like a hundred before, that I am bored. Thankful, but not really living a life I’d want to read about.

Some days I just focus on Facebook, and catching up on the shows that fill my DVR, and folding laundry, or washing the same dozen dishes, again… and again… and again.  Sometimes the real poem, the real story is going on under the surface, behind the scenes. Sometimes it looks blurry, and I can’t find my glasses, and I don’t really know how to tell it anyway. Even now, as I type those words, Emily Dickinson’s “Tell all the truth but tell it slant —” slides across the backs of my eyes like a ticker-tape.

The truth is, I’ve been stacking writer’s blocks.

The ink in my veins is sitting patiently, while I stare out of the window, and wonder where the muse went. She is here, too. Waiting for me, to pick up my pen and “keep your hand moving”  like Natalie Goldberg taught me. I know the answer is in this simple movement… this reflex gesture that has become my auto-response to life… until it isn’t.

They say it takes two and a half years to get over the death of a five-year relationship. I’m thirteen months in, and I just want to take off this heaviness, like a winter coat, toss it onto the floor, and stand in the sun.

But baby, it’s still cold outside.

I’ve been afraid to break open my heart, and spill its contents onto the page, because I’m tired of finding the same, dry, tired grief inside. So I’ve been stealing masking tape, and twine, sealing wax and chewing gum, I’ve been sealing up the edges and binding up the seams so that nothing can escape.  Still I’ve been smart enough to pour in good poetry, great fiction, hopes and dreams and watercolor paintings. I know how my heart works.

While the ink waits, I feed it, with these things. So when my courage finds the right crack, The language will be there to push the ink out.

Today, I’ll just go through the motions, and hope.

Tired

wpid-2014-11-02-20.52.05.png.pngIt won’t always be this way. My heart will find what it wants and what it needs, and saying goodbye is sometimes the only way to make room for that.

You see, I’ve been telling myself this for over a year. I’ve been reminding myself this chapter isn’t the last. This is not where I land. I’m making way for something better, something more. I’ve been working so hard.

I’ve been on coffee dates until I hate Starbucks, and those OKCupid notifications make my head hurt. I’ve met amazing people, people with whom I could fall in love — a few with whom I have — and watched them come to the realization that I am either more, or less than what they were hoping to find.

I’ve been reminded, so many times, that I’m unique, uncommon, different and yet, not a good fit. My heart is sore from trying. I have watched too many people opt out of a chance at a deep, intense, holistic, full, romantic-relationship kind of life, with me.

I am tired. I am sore. I am lonely.

Still, I look into my mirror, and I know I’m being true to my heart, true to me, even though in ways I can’t explain, I am alone. I have a husband who loves me. I have friends, and lovers. (Can I call them lovers if our intimacy is never, or so rarely in person, that I’ve forgotten how they smell?)

I should be thankful, count my fortunes… instead I’m staring at these puzzle pieces, and still my picture is no where near becoming clear.

Today, I mourn as two beautiful people have chosen to walk away from a romantic future with me. The fucked up thing is, it was the right choice. I know it, logically, but my heart thinks logic is stupid. I could not keep my heart from falling. I can’t regret being true to me, but I hate this pain.

Today, I don’t have the strength to get up and move on. I will not be dusting off the OKCupid profile. I will not respond to flirts and invitations for coffee. Today I will be saying goodbye to a future I really wished for, trying to figure out what the hell I’m doing now.

Tomorrow, I will find my feet.

When Love Walks Away – An “Ask Pen” Article

askpen

The latest “Ask Pen” post is up over at OKPolyNetwork.com. This one was not an easy one to write but it seems the time was right to dive in. To all my friends who are dealing with changes and break-ups in poly relationships, don’t give up. There’s hope.

I’d love some feedback, if you’re up for reading:

When Love Walks Away…

 

with ink and affection,

PenSig50

Collateral Damage

Relationships have peaks and valleys. To make a relationship last…people must be committed to the climbs, just as much as they are to admiring the grand views.

~Kaliana Dietrich

 

Sometimes an argument saves a relationship, whereas silence breaks it. Speak up for your heart so that you won’t have regrets. Life is not about making others happy. Life is about being honest and sharing your happiness with others.

~unknown

Sometimes, just writing the hard stuff, without drawing conclusions, without sharing lessons learned, is what is most needed. Today, I need to write this experience, just as I do others, so I can continue my journey. I hope it offers some backstory and perspective on what break-ups — monogamous or polyamorous — can be like.

sad-alone-girl-black-and-white-water

I knew, when we met, in June 2010, that he was different. When he spoke about polyamory, and how people should be treated, he gave words to the conclusions I’d been drawing, as I sorted out my own philosophy, building poly relationships that were honorable, ethical, and designed to last a lifetime. The more he talked, the more I knew he was someone I could fall in love with, my heart would be safe. He had a primary relationship; he lived in Dallas and she in Houston. I knew and accepted that — even when his primary didn’t treat me with respect. I worked hard to find and live within the boundaries that made up his life, hoping he’d defend my heart, if his primary decided to use it for target practice. He, in turn, respected my marriage from the start.

I fell in love, trusting him completely.

In April, 2011, he began dating someone new. She too lived in Dallas, while I lived 251 miles away. Things between us began to shift. Time once spent on the phone with me was now filled with date nights, and weekend trips with her. It was NRE (new relationship energy). I was glad for him, but scared. We scheduled our weekends, talked through the changes, and he affirmed his commitment to me. I affirmed mine to him. I met new girl in May 2011, and she was beautiful, inside and out, genuine, caring, and head over heels with him. Together they glowed. I was very glad to see him smile, after so much hurt and upheaval in his primary relationship. She was a bright light in a room of shadows.

I liked her, and she scared me.

I was insecure, fearing he’d only been poly because he hadn’t found the right one yet. Maybe she was the right one, and I’d get squeezed out, as their relationship grew. I let those fears beat me up, especially when a few months later, his primary partner decided the new girl and I were both, indeed, disposable — and I should be the first to go.

New girl did something amazing. She stood up for me, fought for his love for me, and encouraged him to do the same. She spoke up and didn’t back down when it got ugly and difficult, supporting him while he broken-heartedly went into battle for me, and the polyamorous life he’d planned. I supported him too — from afar — but she was there in the trenches. I was thankful she’d come into our lives and loved her for being brave.

His primary relationship did not survive.

It died in December 2011 and like a wall of love we came together, surrounding him and sharing his grief. We loved him, and respected each other, and it was good.  I learned over the next several weeks how tenuous my place in his life had really been as his primary partner had attacked. I heard of new girl’s support, and how she’d been heart-broken by his pain. I was grateful, and yet, insecure. It might not make sense now, but then I was rattled by the depth of their connection, and the fact that I was so in the dark about the battle they’d been fighting for me. He’d not told me any of it. Communication was not his strength.

Turns out, communication wasn’t a strength for any of us.

In February 2012, he and I had plans to celebrate a late Valentine’s weekend, here at a local B&B — at the last minute told me new girl was coming along, and staying in our suite. I didn’t flex well. I panicked, and the resulting conversations only made things worse. He finally insisted she come, when she felt unwanted.  He insisted I trust him, as he wanted to talk to both of us. We were both physically ill, scared, and flying blind, But we trusted him, and when we came together for a heart to heart, we trusted each other.

That night in our suite, he declared his decision to make us both the core of his world… dual primary partners, each with different relationships, but neither with more importance or value than the other. He announced his intention to hold public commitment ceremonies with each of us, and to build a better life. Throughout that beautiful weekend, we talked and talked, vulnerability and fear giving way to trust. The walls between us crumbled, and we cried with relief in a three-part embrace.

Then it happened. It had been happening, but I’d been scared to trust… and on that day, seeing her vulnerability and beauty, and knowing my own, I took a risk… and I kissed her. We dropped our defenses, and began to fall in love. I was terrified, and I’m not sure that she wasn’t, too.  But buoyed by his love, and the trust we were experiencing, I let myself leap into an unknown place, opening my heart for the first time ever, to be loved by and to love a woman… her.

It was probably the best weekend we ever had.

The next year and eight months were filled with ups and downs. We argued a lot, and didn’t communicate enough. There were discrepancies, misunderstandings, and occasionally wonderful times in a huge king-sized bed. We shared trips, came out to some family, attended poly events and funerals… there was some good. But, communication about basics, like the structure of our triad, the individual relationships, the future, commitment ceremonies, designations like “fiancee'” and “girlfriend”, living arrangements, and expectations was not clear.

Eventually he moved in with new girl, and prepared to sell his condo. She proposed; he accepted. She expressed a need to be primary, insisting he declare her publicly as such.  I asked him for clarity, guidelines regarding what he needed from our relationship. He insisted I was still primary, too. No one came before me, no one came before her. I asked her for clarity, and it became clear that her views were not the same as his. I asked for triad conversations, which erupted into arguments without actually addressing the questions. When put on the spot in those triad discussions, he clammed up, afraid of hurting her, or hurting me.

The chasm widened; the pain continued.

I failed at communicating. Instead of pressing for clarity, I tried not to rock the boat. I believed him, when he said his feelings and plans with me hadn’t changed. I went on planning, hoping that things would get better. He failed at communicating, hoping the storms would blow over. For over a year, my fears and hers made it impossible for the two of us to explore the love we’d hoped to grow. She failed at communicating her needs and fears to him, and she stopped communicating with me. We were all hurting, wounded, and avoiding pain.

In October of 2013, she declared to him that she was done. She insisted he dump me, declared me toxic to their marriage plans and future happiness. She insisted I never wanted her, and wanted him all to myself. He gave me the news over the phone, that she was unwilling to continue, asked me for time to sort out his life, as his plans and dreams for our triad had just blown up.

So, I waited, mourning the loss of her love, alone.

In theweeks to follow, he gave me hope that he could make the transition from a triad to a V relationship. I waited in near silence for six months, until in April, 2014, he told me, he couldn’t continue. She was forcing him to choose. Though he still loved me, he had to end our relationship to save theirs. He swore he would fight to build a future with room for me. She — after six months of silence toward me — emailed him, my husband, and me, to make it clear she’d never permit him to have a relationship with me.

Two days later, they married and flew off to a European honeymoon.

I mourned the loss of my relationship with him, alone.

Today, he’s still trying to change the future. Today, she still wants me to disappear. Today, I am his friend. For ten months, I’ve been collateral damage, fallout from a polyamorous triad explosion. But, the road ahead keeps going. I know I am a good friend, a good poly partner, a good lover…

…and I will find my own way. 

 

girl walking__ (2)

A Tiny Flame

 

candleinhand

“There are two people you’ll meet in your life. One will run a finger down the index of who you are, and jump straight to the parts of you that peak their interest. The other will take his or her time reading through every one of your chapters and maybe fold corners of you that inspired them most. You will meet these two people; it’s a given. It is the third that you’ll never see coming. That one person who not only finishes your sentences, but keeps the book.” (source: ilovemylsi.com)

I would not exactly limit myself to two or three… but I am inspired by the imagery of a lover, thumbing through pages, finding himself, or herself, and perhaps, deciding to keep the book.

“It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for, and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing. It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love, for your dream, for the adventure of being alive. I want to know if you can be with joy, mine or your own, if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful, to be realistic, to remember the limitations of being human. I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments of your life.” (source: OriahMountainDreamer.com)

I long to know someone this way, to love this deeply, not dependent, but with such passion and knowing… to know and be known… this is the cry of my polyamorous heart!

It has been six weeks since the official notification confirmed, “We are no longer in a relationship.” The hole in me that used to be filled with grief and longing for him, is now filled with what normally fills holes.

Emptiness.

Now don’t get me wrong, there is a place in me where all the good memories are bundled in scarlet ribbon and packed away in a trunk, much like the photos, letters, and mementos that used to live in my bedroom. There is also a place in me that is still grieving, though the pain is less every day. I am remembering the good things, learning from the experience, and looking toward the future with what I would like to call hope.

Still, there is a space in me… not the one he used to fill, exactly… a space for loving intensely, for being known deeply and for passion enough to light the city of Chicago. Once this space held a love that burned like the great fire of 1871. Today, there is only a candle… a short stub of wax, with a flickering, guttering flame and no one to fan it but me.

The reality is that this most recent love lost, is not the first love to have filled this space. I have fallen, eyelashes over ankles, more than once in my life. I’ve written poems, compiled mix tapes, awakened at four in the morning, longing for others; it’s true. Part of the emptiness I feel today relates to the way my poly-heart works… and that is not an easy thing to explain.

I share my life with a man who has known me for most of my days. We met at four, became fast friends at fifteen, first kissed at eighteen, fell in love at twenty-five, and married twenty years ago, October, at twenty-seven. He is my rock. Since high-school, he has been the guy that always looked out for me. He has spent his life making mine rich, and full, working hard, to give us a home. My children are his, my grandchildren are his. To this day, I cannot mention that I admire the scarf on a mannequin in a department store, without the knowledge that he will likely go back and buy it, just to see me smile. He is a good man, a loving husband, a wonderful father. He is generous, responsible, provider, caretaker, lover, best-friend. What he is not, is passionate, creative, and soul-searching. He is, exactly what and who I need him to be. I love him dearly, and would give him the moon.

Still, there’s a space in me that needs other things, other qualities. There is a void in me that has been filled in the past by a different sort of love… and now it’s not. Maybe it’s because I’m complicated. Loving more than one, making room in my heart and seeking out more than one to love, seeking to be loved deeply, fully, in a complicated way… this is where my thoughts are today. This is why my soul is longing.

“Love her so much that she might doubt your sanity… but never your passion.” ~Dean Jackson (source: ilovemylsi.com)

I want to love again, so deeply, so fiercely, that my sanity might be questioned. I want to love passionately, and fully, and set my world ablaze once more. Today, I cradle a tiny flame, and carry it into a dark, empty room. Today, I sit for a while, watching the shadows flicker on the walls.