Poly-pretension

I am an odd duck. I keep finding these weird parts of me have communities of the like-minded out there, and I get all excited to join them. There’s a convention for haunters, for kink? For poly too?? And it seems, inevitably, that I find myself an odd duck among the odd ducks. I might be a haunter, but I’m a girl. I might be kinky, but about intimacy. I might be poly, but I liked being monogamously married for 15 years.

One of the frustrations of this is that I always find myself at odds with the in-group consolidation tactics. Groups strengthen their bonds by holding up their shared qualities and valuing them over other groups or the outside world.

While it’s not universal, poly does this a lot by trashing monogamy as unenlightened. I recently had an argument with someone about polyamory being a “capability” rather than a strategy. I took issue with this because it implied that people who were poly were “better” or “more capable” at relationships. It also insulted people who were “poly-capable” but chose, for whatever reasons, to live monogamously or vice versa.

Their response was basically that it was ok to be incapable of managing multiple relationships, and it didn’t mean they couldn’t learn… which kind of illustrated my point. I’ve seen too many self-centered, stupid, inexperienced, callous people having poly relationships to believe that it’s any sign of some greater competence that you are poly.

I’d attach “capability” to being able to have successful, ethical, well-managed, or very fulfilling relationships, not necessarily the KIND of relationships one was having. People play the violin or the bass guitar. Either one of them could be a capable musician (and no doubt, whatever they play, they probably started out rather sucking at it), but it’s not the instrument they’re playing that makes them capable

… it’s the music.

Polyamory is the strategy (or instrument) for producing music. Capable musicians make beautiful music. Whether it’s punk rock or Mozart. Or some amazing HYBRID OF BOTH.

But don’t tell me violinists have some special “capability.” Because you’ve obviously never sat through the screeching of a bunch of five year olds in violin class or listened to Dave Grohl. Pretension is not a sexual orientation. And it doesn’t make you hot.

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Redemption

I’ve lost so many friends. All sorts of reasons. Mostly making choices that I knew would lose me friendships, with various mixtures of regret and relief and good riddance. I now find myself in a town peppered intermittently with people who were former friends. They’re still around, friends of other friends, doing stuff I hear about in the thin ties of facebook feeds. They are tinged with nostalgia and a sense of distance not worth bridging. The ravines have spikes. And I’m busy.

I think about how to go back to them. I wonder why I want to. I think it might be this sense that “good” is supposed to win eventually, so the lingering bad blood seems like something unfinished. All is supposed to be well, and while time has worn away all the edges, it’s not quite WELL, really, between us. The awkwardness of seeing them around at concerts or events is an unwelcome blip. Do I say hi? Do I ignore them? Would ignoring them be mean? Blip. Blip on the radar of unfinished business. Blip.

I was asked, a while ago, if I wanted to come back to a circle. I was very lonely and vulnerable, which could have made for a good time to regain a circle, but the idea repulsed me. The reason I left them in the first place was that I didn’t feel safe, so going to them with open wounds and a hurting heart just seemed unthinkable. I suppose if I wanted to cast myself upon their mercy, but I kinda don’t. For all the pain and trouble of my life as it’s gone, I’ve only become more determined to maintain a steady hand on my own will.

And when I think about that calculus, that some people are worse than lonely and hurting, maybe I have my answer about why I think about going back to them, but don’t.

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