It made me laugh the other day to listen to a collection of people having lunch as they concluded that the Freshers have appalling taste in clothes (examples given were Big Hair, Layers, poofy skirts and eighties style). My Aunt Joyce always said that you shouldn’t pay much attention to fashion except to work out what style suits you and accessorise fashionably. Sometimes I remember to pay attention to what I’m wearing, more often of late, not so much. But I laughed because we all sounded so old, and of course, we are. It’s seven years since I came to university in this town. I certainly never imagined that I would still be here at this point in my life.
But it is a complete fallacy to think of myself as still being here. I’m not, I came back to be with my two boyfriends, there was a plan. It was difficult on a lot of levels for me to come back because I worried about repeating myself in some ways. There were various time and financial constraints which ended up with me very much going back to joining LURPs etc.etc. as other courses and things I was interested in interfered with my primary motivations for being in Lancaster, ie. the relationships I was in. Again, my fears about repeating or stagnating crept up uopn me and it is certainly true that his last year has not been as full of forward movement, of exploration, as I had hoped/expected.
Today I went out in search of a blasted heath. I didn’t find the one I was reccomended, but I did find one that did just as well. I’ve met a lot of new people lately, at parties, at Freshers Fair, randomly in town and on campus. I like new people, I like people, I like finding out about people and what makes them tick and who they are. I’m sad to say, though, that that’s not the reason I like meeting new people, that I’m genuinely only interested in them, because I’m really not that nice a person, no, what I like about meeting new people is frankly, new material. Different things to write about. I’d feel better saying this if I had a book published already, some marerial justification for this, very vampiric socialising that I seem to do. I love the way people interact and I love observing it, because at some point, I’m likely to write it down.
I don’t have a book out anytime soon. I don’t have a career. I don’t have the relationships that I started off the year with. So far, this has not been a great year for me overall. And yet, I wouldn’t have missed a moment of it, (though if I could have lived the weekend of the 22nd September differently believe me I would) I have had some really amazing experiences this year. I have had some awful ones. But in some ways I seem to have foundered upon that terrible quicksand that makes up Lancaster. Or have I? It’s a very easy and comfortable position for me to take. But I’m not sure that I could have done better. The culture shock that I did not expect to feel lasted at least until last Christmas. Jobwise, it was a mistake to stay and look for jobs in the north-west and here, I think we have the central point where I caused myself problems this year.
I’ve never really looked for relationships, they have not been centrally important to me or my life. I still don’t understand people who’s central point of living is to find The One, I’m not sure I ever shall. (Though of course I’ll keep on talking to people about their relationships because these things fascinate me). In trying to make my relationships the central point of my life I was denying myself, subsuming myself and definately not existing as me. I should clarify, I certainly believe that you should work at a relationship because otherwise, what are you saying that the light between yourself and that person/those people is worth? Relationships are certainly about compromise, but they should never involve people compromising themselves until they are no longer recognisable. I find it the saddest thing in the world when a relationship between people who sparkle with light when they are apart manage to douse each other’s lights. It is one of the bases for my dislike of relationships.
My independance is about to show I’m afraid.
If you do not have yourself, if you do not know yourself or have no ideas of your own I fully believe you are not capable of a deep and meaningful relationship. If you do not know yourself then how can you hope to try to know another self in any profound or mundane way? Over the course of the last year I have lost myself. This meant of course, that by my own lights (and whose else can I use to judge?) I was incapable of having any meaningful sort of relationship. Frankly I became (and am still) what I hate within a relationship – a needy, incredibly dependant person. I’m still relying more than I would like on other people’s judgements.
The thing is, I am not a person who can make a relationship the central point from which the rest of my life springs. Having lived in Japan for two years I am prepared to believe that doing this is not necessarily as damaging to a person’s psyche or soul as I have previously believed (and stated very loudly of course). It nevertheless remains, very much something I am unable to do myself. My writing is that central point. I’ve yet to make that pay it’s way, but I am oddly hopeful after this afternoon.
This afternoon I mainly hung out with myself. I rather like me, I always have, mostly because I’ve rationalised that theres no one else who’s going to be there as often as I am. I do rather intend to get back to relying upon her.
There are a million different boxes you can put me in if you feel so inclined. There are labels that I will happily plaster myself with in order to facilitate ease of communication. They change as I myself change. Some of them change as I learn new words with which I feel happy to describe myself. One thing I have noticed though, is that some people see me and they place me in this box and they get upset when I do something that fits better in another box.
An easy example is the ex-president of Writers Guild I met at Byron’s birthday. He was introduced to me by the Non-poncey Goth and very obviously assumed that I was a girl who just enjoyed sleeping around. It’s a very easy view to have of me and one that is very simplistically true as well. However I’m not. I have been, sure, and I admit that and that the reasons behind my sleeping around were not good ones. What can I say? I like people to know who they’re dealing with and to make their assumptions accordingly. If, according to your lights, a girl who enjoys sex cannot be treated well then treat me as you would, rather than assuming because I am quiet, like to read, etc. I am a prude and treating me like that.
Does everything about me come down to sex? Hardly, and yet, I am a very sexual person. For a variety of reasons though sexuality, emotionality and spirituality, which should come together as one inside sex, have not always done so easily for me. Indeed it is possible to say that it is only really over these last couple of years that they have. The most notable aspect of sex that I have a problem reconciling with myself is Love of course. Yes I’m capitalising. I’m afraid that Noel Coward and myself have very similar views on Love. It likes to get in the way of our plans for ourselves. But, and here’s the big but, it does not have to. My plans are not so inflexible that I cannot adapt and reform, re-explore this path I am laying out for myself.
My friends and lovers are incredibly important to me, and in denying Love I am denying not only part of myself but also my relationships with them. So, polyamory, it means Many Loves. It is part of this road of mine to reconcile the major aspects of Mish. Sex, Friendship, Love, these things are multiple colours in a myriad of shades (not my own metaphor alas) and by denying one aspect, even the most intense part of that aspect I am denying everything.
Again we come back to my central belief in nothing or everything.
I suspect that this is why I describe myself as polyamorous, not only do I believe that poly is a state of self rather than a description of what relationships I might happen to be in at the time, but also I am in a poly relationship, a loving relationship, a relationship that explores different aspects of Friendship and Love with every person who is important to me with all of my friends. My relationship with Foxy Jonno has undergone no changes since earlier this year, yet I would still describe myself as polyamorous. Is poly a huge and important thing? Hardly, but it is a part of myself which relates to this journey, this rediscovery of self that I am making. This reconciliation.