Haven’t done one of these in a while have I?
Sometimes I feel very much alone. This is both good and bad, in fact I think a love of solitude is what rights me when things get a bit on the stressful side. I find myself in the middle of a row considering the poetry of the language (or lack thereof) or there comes a point when I have been too full of emotion for too long and whatever someone else starts pouring onto me or into me suddenly causes me to be outside of wherever I am wondering how to frame a painting of my beloved ones tearstained face.
I’m sure there are perfectly valid reasons to have this as a coping mechanism, in fact I can think of a couple, but I’m not overly proud of it. It is probably the reason why once long ago in a far away land called Avondale someone accused me of being an emotionless robot (somewhere in this blogs archives the comment lurks). I wonder too, if the shame for knowing that this is my coping mechanism leads me to over-compensate sometimes. ‘Pull back – don’t get hurt’ vs. ‘All in – this has to work’.
My thoughts on the nature of love have changed over time but they remain intrinsically the same. I once wrote that I thought no one should be in a relationship until they’d been locked in a room by themselves for a year with pen, pencil, paper, needle, thread and cotton. I certainly couldn’t cope with a relationship before knowing myself and I still cling to my illusions that self is a construct of self. The old arguments of how much another person effects yourself largely depend on how far inside you let them come. I still maintain you need to keep the world at arms length until you’ve had the chance to figure yourself out.
Do I distrust love? Well I think that really depends on what you mean by distrust. She is capricious and as changeable as the ocean. I read an article in a womens magazine this morning where Vanessa Feltz said that love was all about devoting yourself to one person for the rest of your life exclusively, forsaking all others and some woman called Janzine (I think) said that love was always changing and you couldn’t count on anybody staying in love with you forever. I think I’m somewhere in the middle. Exclusivity to me has always smacked of possession and trust is the basic foundation stone of love, (Janzine was saying it was fine to have affairs – of course polyamory didn’t get a mention) which doesn’t in my head require exclusivity to exist. I think, that whenever talking about her it is a good thing to remember that she makes fools out of everyone. No, not Vanessa Feltz, love.
Once again I suppose we come back to my solitude. More and more I find that I am the only person I know not to have believed that there was a handsome prince/beautiful princess somewhere in my future to sweep me off my feet and love me forever. I’ve never really been a one for having future notions involving other people, much less some special person. When I was twelve I told my mother that I would have lots of lovers, I suppose I’d read a lot about certain female writers and I guess it seemed like it went with the territory. When I was eight I remember writing something in primary school, the topic was something like my future family or something, I know that my best friend at the time wrote about getting married and running a stables and I have this feeling that the boy in my year, wrote about the clothes his wife was going to wear. I wrote about this large house with many rooms and people coming and going, writing and painting and making music, I seem to remember a number of people about the house were children but I don’t think that they were actually mine. I never even thought of having a husband. The sort of love that people talk about, even that people write about – the happily ever after between the handsome prince and princess at the end of the fairytale has always, and continues to, scare me.
I was surprised the first time someone called me ‘poly’, I’d never heard of it before, but it seemed to fit my ideas of having several lovers and simply appreciating the moments between people that just happen. I was asked the other day if I’d ever tried monogamy and I guess I really haven’t. I had relationships when I was at school and it never really occurred to me to have several at once – though I do remember dropping one boyfriend because I fancied two other people and it seemed unfair on him. The thing is though, back when I was having lovers I’m not sure it does fit what I think of as poly. Back then it was all about the moments, everything, moment to moment and when the sudden spark that was between two or more people had gone then it was time to move on. I did so, reasonably easily really. As soon as you’re in a relationship though then I guess you have more than simply a spark, you have spiderlight cords between everyone and the relationship is about a promise to try and strengthen them. That’s I suppose what always scared me about relationships, because I’ve never been able to believe that I am any good at strengthening those cords deliberately. Rolling with the waves is one thing I can do and loving every minute of it but making solid things happen is quite another.
On the otherhand I suppose that I’ve always been looking at the cords in monogamous relationships and they aren’t nearly elastic and flexible enough for me, the silvery-golden endlessly flexible cords in poly relationships are something I think I find doable, they rest on communication and trust and honesty, things I suppose that are the same in monogamous relationships but that never to me seem to be enough. But then I guess I could talk and talk and don’t always have enough notions about boundaries. It’s that that makes me a difficult person to have a relationship with I think, and it’s that that makes me impossible to have a monogamous relationship with I think too.
I always thought of giving different parts of myself to different people, of exploring parts of them as well, the idea of one person being everything to one other person repels me. The idea of being a significant part in a whole history of a person doesn’t. That house that I wrote about with all the people coming and going when I was eight, it seems like the relationship I have with my lovers now, I’ve never really fallen in love with most of them and I’ve never really stopped loving any of them. Of course, how they feel about me varies almost entirely according to personal moral compasses.
When I read Kazuo Ishiguro’s Never Let Me Go I had the reaction that I get with certain really good books and that is I hated it, I didn’t want to keep reading it. I completely over-identified with the main character who, after her childhood ambition to be a mother is denied to her, is forced by life circumstances to care for her best friends as they die one by one.
BBM used to tell me, before I overstayed my welcome in Ulster Road, that my maternal instincts were all used up on my lovers. I suppose that they are in a way. I am unlikely to ever have children, not because of any medical reason (thanks medical profession, I really love you guys, no, really) but because I want to be a really great writer and whilst I am using up my time to make art I’m not going to be able to be around for my flesh and blood children. When I write, I’m often inspired by my lovers, I smile when I write a scene and in my mind’s eye I can see FFG, Confused Highwayman, Third Blue Eyes. I’d be uncomfortable claiming them as my children, or even necessarily my writing as my children, but theres definately something of that going on.
Love is difficult to work with and capricious and heartless and everything I ever said she was. But I think that as long as I’m expecting that, then I guess I just have to roll with her because as long as I have my art (nevermind my heartless coping mechanisms) I’d rather live in a world with love than without.
I think though, that the main reason I have for being poly is that Love is about creating families, and making real bonds not the sort of nooses that you’re born with, and I’m not the sort of girl to feel that family planning needs to be restricted to purely biological urges.