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Sunday, 7 February 2016

The Toxic, and the Closed Door

When I wrote, broken but more than a mere statistic, it helped me.  It allowed me to let go of any trace of discomfort I felt coming from a broken home and being non monogamous.  So my aim, is that by writing the following, I am able to find the same level of peace.  To finally let go of some of the dreams that haunt me when I wake up and to find a sense of release from the pain that I want to not be there.  I admitted that I came from a broken childhood, what I am going to admit now is quite a bit more recent and feels like enough time has passed that it is time to let it go.

I have not had any contact with my mom in nearly 3 years.  I chose to close the door on our relationship because quite frankly it was unhealthy and was hurting any chance of my sustaining loving relationships in the future.  I was physically hurt and mentally chastised by her since I was 17 years old, maybe longer, but admitting that would help nothing as I was a child.  I was taught that my physical appearance mattered more than who I was inside, or that education was less important than being a sensuous and manipulative partner.  I tried for years to be her voice of reason and prevent her from hurting herself or those around her.  I failed, and became a weaker person in the process.  I lost years of my life trapped in  conflict and unaware that I was caught in a web of hate and gossip.  I couldn’t break free for longer than a few weeks at a time.  I finally was able, with much support from my loved ones, to walk away.

Every  time we spoke for nearly 10 years, I had to walk on egg shells.  I could never tell if she was going to freak out, start crying, yell or hysterically laugh.  She was so unpredictable that I dreaded answering her calls, and even began having a beer in my hand prior to answering the phone.  I tried not answer her with anyone in the room because I was embarrassed that someone would overhear how we spoke to each other. 

I recall an instance when I had my wisdom teeth taken out.  My boyfriend at that time was too busy to take care of me so he pawned me off on my mom.  Things were OK day one.  She made me soup and hung out with me.  Day two, well, it was completely different.  Not only did I have my wisdom teeth out, but I had sprained my ankle 4 weeks earlier playing soccer.  So I was a bit of an invalid.  My mom and I did what had done a million times before, we played Mario Party, to pass the time.  Here we were, laughing and gaming, when all of a sudden the mood changed.  I teasingly said that if I stole her star I would win the game.  She jokingly said that wouldn’t be fair and I laughingly said, that it would be fun and we could play again after wards.  Well, I stole the star, and she went from happy to insane.  She started screaming that that was not how I was raised and that I was a horrible person.  I called my boyfriend in tears and he sped the 45 minute drive to pick me up.  I was screamed at for the entire time.  When he arrived, my mother actually called me a bitch and kicked me in the recently sprained ankle, laughed and slammed the door shut.   I was 22 years old at the time.  This story is not the worst, or the strangest but it is one that I have replayed over in my mind countless times not really knowing what to make of it.  It does show the lunacy that I dealt with, the immaturity and a brief moment of pain for me.

I had no idea how to handle the Jekyll and Hyde, personality changes of this woman, but I tried until my early 30's.  I tried so hard.  And the result was pain, and conflict within myself.  I realized that I would never want my children around such an unpredictable woman.  And if I didn’t want my kids around her, why in the world would I want myself around her? 

The reality is that I have closed that door, for all the right reasons.  And now it is time to let the memories go.  There is no reason to hold onto all that anger.  To set free the moments that linger in my memory, the hate, the pain, the wondering why I don’t deserve to have a mother love me for who I am.

Saturday, 30 January 2016

Cutting Out Toxic People: A Stupid Downside

A few years ago, I stopped having a relationship with my mom.  I have written a post about it, and although I am still unsure as to whether it is necessary to post it public or not, just writing gave me a lot of clarity on the issue.  Also, a big bonus, was that I no longer dream about her, ahhh the power of writing.  Just to summarize, in case I do not post it, she was abusive, and unwilling to continue counselling with me or work to move forward from her previous treatment of me.  So I made the decision to no longer keep the toxic person in my life, a decision that I made to ensure that I am in control of my life.  More power to be who I am, free from that detrimental blame game.  Who I am is on me, and if you have been following my last few posts, you know where I am heading with this.

Unfortunately, I was unprepared for one little side effect of not having my mother in my life.  It turns out, that people who are close to me, are interpreting me gaining control of my life and cutting out abuse, as something to fear, for their own relationships with me.  Rather than analyzing whether or not they are treating me, in the same manor of respect that I treat them, there is an underlying fear that I will just cut someone out for no reason.  Almost that a few now pussy foot around me.  I don’t know quite what to make of this.  Am I expected to bash  my mother and tell everyone the horrible things that are a part of my childhood and teenage years to gain sympathy for my choices?  Am I expected to have to justify my past decisions? Or to make promises to current relationships, that I will never close the door to them no matter what?  Is each relationship supposed to be equal in my life?  

I am at a complete and utter loss.  Making the decision to end things with my mother, was nearly a decade in the making.  We went through not talking, rules to be in the same room together, counselling, and every level of communication tactic we could think of.  In the end, I was exhausted and tired of crying.  I closed a door to gain my sanity and better control of my life.  It was a horrible experience, and one that I hope NEVER to have to repeat.  That being said, I will not tolerate abuse.  And I hope I have learned to never let a relationship get that bad again. 

But why on earth would a very dear family member, throw in my face that they are worried I will just shut them out too?  I now have to deal with something incredibly painful, with someone who really doesn’t have any fear or worry and just put me in this conundrum out of anger.  I don’t particularly want to have to justify myself to anyone but me.  I know what I have done and I have what I feel are valid reasons.  And honestly, I am happy, so who the fuck cares if I have someone in my life or not?  Being a parent does not give you the right to treat your children with abuse.  Being a child does not mean that you have to tolerate abuse just because they gave you life.  And damn anyone who wants to make me feel guilty for finally having peace, sanity and happiness.

Saturday, 23 January 2016

Rose Coloured Friendships

In trying to bring the three faces of myself into one all encompassing kick ass being, I can see distinctions and traits that stand out as separate entities and need unity.  The one that has needed extra attention for quite sometime is the face of me that is still tied firmly in my past.  As I said in my last post, I have friendships that are maintained with rose coloured glasses.  Maybe a few of you have felt this, a friendship that you have had for so long, that as you grow and change through life, the rational for being friends is replaced by time, which I will call history.  You just have so much history together, that you don't even think to analyze the friendship or see of it is really is worth keeping.  You accept that person through and through, and just stop trying to better each other.  The comfort is there, the time spent, and you could just as easily accept that you will be friends for life.  Or you could react, challenge each other and re-ignite the reason for being friends in the first place. 

If this were a marriage it would be headed for divorce or counselling.  But being a friendship, it seems different.  It seems to want to fall into the category of unconditional love.  And yet, if nothing is being gained and in fact is starting to play a detriment to one’s life, then why keep it?  Just because it is comfortable, does not mean it is a good thing.  A comfortable career is boring, the same holds true with a marriage, and with trying to bring symmetry to my personalities the same must hold true for friendships. 

I have grown lazy in my friendships.  Pretending that they did not need work, and that I was comfortable having people in my life who remind me of who I used to be.  I want more.  I want friends who want to hang out with the person who is working to master all three faces of herself.  Who want to laugh, drink, do silly things, and not accept any mediocrity.  This is who I am at work, with my colleagues and customers.  I challenge all my staff, along side myself to push through, think outside the box, and better themselves.  I am good at cheerleading when it comes to work.  I have been lousy when it comes to friendships.  And I think the common denominator is my lack of assertiveness.  I am not assertive with my friends.  I have wanted simplicity and a nice glass of wine.  Playing nice has left me with nice friends.  I want better, and I want to be a better friend.  I have broken all rose coloured glasses with my family, and colleagues, and now it is time to do the same with my friendships.  One amazing person for all aspects of my life.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

The First Post of 2016 – Picking My Direction

I write with a very specific blogging voice in my head that allows me to take a step back and observe a situation and write objectively.  I think 2016 may take a different direction as a few things in the last year really stand out for me and I do not like them.  I feel a false sense of control over my life, namely over my actions.  I have friends with whom I need to take the rose coloured glasses off for.   And writing that brings me to the startling realization that I need to take the rose coloured glasses off when I look at myself and my actions. 

I fight a fear off and on, that I will become my mother.  I push these thoughts and feelings aside and say to myself that I am stronger than that fear, and that I do not possess the mental demons that she does.  So I fight fear with avoidance and surrounding myself with situations that are relatively easy to control.  My closest friends don`t challenge me.  And I don`t challenge them.  This creates a stark contrast to my home life, where I am constantly challenged to be the best I can by E.  And also contrasts to my work environment where I have worked my ass off in the last 2 years to get to my current position.  The frustration now lies in the fact that I need to bring a level of symmetry to these three facets of my life. 

I took some fairly strong risks in dealing with the men of my machine shop, and for the most part, when I was confident and sure of myself, things have worked out according to my plan.  I am beginning to remember this and bring this mentality home with me, but it is a slow process.  I have grown used to telling stories to E of my battles and needing his help and insight to solve them.  Now I need to start bringing home the stories of my conquests and amazing feats of customer service brilliance and managerial triumphs.  But I think it is easier to talk about the negative than it is to brag about the positives.  Why?  Quite simply the feedback loop is certain with negative.  It is uncertain with boasts and confidence when you do not have practice.  It is a fear that amplifies when I let the thought creep in that I am being a bitch or aggressive.  Pride has less reward for me than the fear of the consequences associated with displaying horrible traits.

But here is the honest truth.  I don’t want to hide in fear.  I want to be better than that.  I want to have my shit together when I finally decide it is time to have children.  I want to have my shit together so I can enjoy the thoughts and feelings that I have and enjoy them for myself and my partner.  When E and I drove home from California a thought was presented to me.  That I do not have control over my own assertiveness.  I am not comfortable toting that line between bitch and control of myself.  So I play an avoidance game, where passivity rules.  I rationalize that I ruffle enough feathers at work, so at home and in my personal life, I just want peacefulness.  Well, the reality is, that it is never going to happen.  And I need to actually see this, accept it, and become good and enjoy dealing with owning myself and trusting my reactions. 

Is this something that children with sibling practice together?  Pushing boundaries, and testing surroundings?  I know as an only child, I honed my skills at reading a room, reading lips and body language and being able to understand those around me.  However, I did not test or push myself or test my limits with anyone else.  My circle of friends was always so tiny and my family so tight that it didn’t enter my mind to push buttons.  I figured I would get farther by always following the rules.  As I write, the voice in my head doesn’t seem to have delay.  I am taking control over the earnest desire to be a balanced voice of reason, and just be me.   I have nothing to prove or anyone to impress.  All I’m doing is forgetting fear for a while and trusting that my assertive nature will bring clarity to my emotions, and someday become natural.

Sunday, 8 November 2015

Swinging, Polyamory, and Open Relationships: Approaching Fellow Individuals in Non Monogamy

When online dating, I have to filter through all sorts of people.  Although there are many who are just  blatantly disrespectful and rude, I find that the people in the “lifestyle” can be the most judgmental.  I cringe when I see an opening message, that starts with, “hey, I’m in the lifestyle too.  How long have you been swinging for?”  Why does something like this make me unhappy?  Because, I then foolishly feel compelled to engage into an annoying and usually pointless discussion whereby I explain that open relationships, swinging and polyamory are not all the same thing.  I mean, if they were, we wouldn’t need different names for them right?  And yet this is a seriously difficult concept for many people in the lifestyle to grasp. 

It seems that they are so excited to find someone in a non monogamous lifestyle, and then ironically revert to this monogamous notion that all people in this spectrum are looking for the same thing.  A profile stating multiple anything, like partners or sex or love and those blinders go on.  They forget that even within this spectrum we are all individuals.  We all have our own relationship norms.  And the label I choose to use, currently open, is my choice.  It is not for a stranger to tell me what my partner and I are, or are not.  And what’s more, we are growing and changing ourselves.  So perhaps the titles and labels we started out using may outgrow us.  Again though, this is our choice, and I will update my profiles accordingly when I am ready or feel the need.  Not at the whim or at the unsolicited advice of a stranger.

Maybe you are wondering, just how bad or annoying could these conversations really be, right?  Am I just making mountains out of mole hills and the like?  Well, let me put it this way, I almost rarely block or delete users who are monogamous.  But I have about a 50 percent rate of blocking the so called non monogamous.  The messages start accusatory, then quickly escalate into un-solicited sexual advances, towards name calling and slander because I am not interested in them.  There is often very little flirting, just a full on attitude of “well you’re a slut and I’m a slut, so lets go fuck”.  Conversations are at a minimum, and it feels like the non monogamous on dating sites are in a breeding Zoo.  Just because you are of a similar stripe then you must procreate on demand.  It’s a harsh reality of the current scene and as a result I have taken a huge step back in looking for new partners. 

It would be easier of course for me to just block these users, however I cannot help trying to re-educate them.  I want to explain that we are not all created equal.  And that within this spectrum of non-monogamy there exists an abundance of different scenarios and relationship types.  That non-monogamy  does not always equal slut.  In fact, I often feel that I am more selective now because I take into account not just my wants, but those of my partner.  I no longer wish to explain myself to people who fall within the non monogamous umbrella and pass judgement, but I know that I will probably continue on doing so.  And I feel somewhat responsible for protecting other females from the same crap I deal with.  

There is one other thing stands out for me as confusing when faced with critical non-monogamists online and that is in the reverting back to the black and white mentality.  My reasoning behind this is that polyamory is not a definition that exists naturally in our society.  It is one, along with compersion, that exists within a world found through research, nearly exclusively.  Quite often, an individual or couple begins trying to find ways to help them deal with urges that seem unnatural from a monogamous founded society.  We seek blogs, podcasts, and every book we can to help us understand that these dispositions are not merely urges to cheat.  We then educate ourselves to discover that the possibility does exists to have a loving relationship outside of monogamy.  So it doesn’t sit well with me, that persons who seek education into non-monogamy would therefore bring with them the bigotry of their former selves.  Or to go right back into a cookie cutter mold of one size must fit all, after spending the energy to gain insight into all these other lifestyles.  Or did I just stumble right upon the very issue of internet research.  Are these individuals researching until they find something that hits home and stopping right there?  Do they find a meme, or blog that strikes one chord and then closing their minds to any further digging due to sheer laziness?  

In summary, my PSA is this, if you’re out there, exploring new partners and ways of existing in non monogamy, please stop trying to apply your labels onto strangers.  Break free of the black and white, because this world has a spectrum of colour as vast as in the world of monogamy.  Leave judgement where it belongs, in the past.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Ashley Madison: A Few Gray Areas

It should be noted that I do not condone lying or cheating.  I promote healthy dialogue, and share with my readers my own open relationship through some of its ups and downs.  And with that in mind here are a few things that I feel many have missed while sharpening those pitchforks and throwing harsh words at the long list of individuals being outed through the Ashley Madison Hack. I will attempt to share a few case studies that I earnestly hope come with critical thinking and reflection as the reality is people are committing suicide over this outing of privacy.

Case Study #1 - A husband and wife found each other through a shared kink, sex with strangers.  As both are high earning members of society they do their best to keep this kink between themselves and the discreet partners that they have.  They each have a paid account whereby they are able to fulfill their fantasies with full disclosure to the partners they find and more importantly to maintain the spice that fuels their own relationship.  As a result of this hack, their privacy has now been invaded and they both risk losing their careers.  They made a choice to marry, provide support for each others kink, and do so in the privacy of their own lives.  Their choice to have accounts did not affect their careers, enhanced their own relationship and now they face the scrutiny of their peers and strangers. 

Case Study #2 - A man is in a sexless marriage with a woman who is raising their beautiful daughter.  He grew up in a broken home, and made a vow not to ever divorce on account of the childhood he had.  The man has wants and needs.  Through this website he has been able to fill a physical need with woman who are in similar situations.  He has been a member of the site for over 7 years and not once has it had any negative effect on the family.  There is no emotional connections being made, just simple physical acts that allow him to raise his daughter and maintain his marriage.  All that is now at an end.  He is losing his wife, and custody of his daughter.  She will now be raised in a broken home.    
Case Study #3 - This powerful article which is a first hand account of why a woman signed up for Ashley Madison

I am not naive that there are thousands upon thousands of users that are lying and cheating to their partners on this site, after all, the tagline, "have an affair" is in plain site.  I simply am putting these few examples out there to acknowledge that not all users all "evil".  Nor are the families who now are being forced to make decisions based on societal influences.  He who is without sin, and all the jazz.  Do not support internet terrorism.  

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Insecurities in my Past, Rainbows in my Future

Although it is impossible to typecast all the people in my past that I have closed the door on, one commonality that stands out is insecurity.  Now, I am not sure how my friends and family perceived me when I was a teenager or in my early 20’s.  I cannot even really guess because the people that I thought were closest to me, turned out to be a little crazy.  Also, at that stage in the game, as with most people, I was still trying to figure out who I was.  So relying on the crazy family members around me, to shape who I wanted to be as a person left me with a few interesting scars.  I am no longer mad at them, and I don’t break down into tears anymore at the damage that they caused my developing emotional self.  Instead, I try and give them as little thought as possible.  I have accepted what I perceived they did to me, and, well, that’s all I can do. 

What is really interesting to me now though, is that strange feeling that maybe, as result of my family, I was surrounding myself with insecure people because that is who I understood.  I identified with their misgivings about their selves, and bodies, and all other elements that go into achieving real insecurities and I found a way to channel that negative energy into myself.  To be clear, I created a feedback loop, where I would provide positive enforcement for these people, including my immediate family which would pick me up and give them temporary relief.  So in my mind, I was providing a need for them, and they provided positive thanks from me, and thus I was momentarily happy. This enabled me to tolerate my family for much longer than I should have.   

The downside of course is that I would crash hard.  When bad things would happen in my life, there was no one strong or stable enough to be able to support me.  At the time, my then boyfriend was just as insecure as the rest of them.  He was a self defeatist, and thus I just could not handle bad things happening to me because there was no one to help me break the cycle or support me in recognizing what was actually going on.  It is amazing that I did not turn to drugs for an escape here and there.  Haha!

But why am I sharing this with you all?  Why am I bringing up something that is super negative after I have mentioned that I recognize this and try to not give it any thought at all?  Because in light of figuring this out, and believing that I had conquered the demon of my past, one my closest childhood friends and family member turned out to be right in this category. But the great thing?  I figured it out all on my own and put a stop to it.  I changed my feedback loop the instant I saw what was going on. 

And I was not left with any sort of hole as I was a few years back when I started closing doors to my immediate family. And I realize how incredible lucky I am right now.  My partner, my dearest friends, and all those that I am courting for new friends and maybe more are secure.  They are confident amazing individuals.  I do not feel that I am missing out by not being needed as a crutch for all the family that used me for so long.  Instead, I have filled any sort of lingering void with freaking awesome people.  The rainbow at the end of the storm is finally showing its bright colours.  

Look around in your own life.  Do you have that person who is constantly unable to support you?  The person that ignores you whenever you have a problem, and then gives you shit when you don’t reply instantly to their drama?  It embarrasses me to admit that 5 years ago, that is all my phone was filled with.  Those type of nuisance type messages and phone calls.  I called them family, and I felt indebted to them.  And now, they are all out of my life.  And I feel free.