Sunday, June 30, 2013

Bikini Body

Yesterday I was choosing a bathing suit for an afternoon spent with J and our daughter at the waterpark. I picked up the tummy concealing bathing suit from last year and my eye fell on the very cute, very bright bikini someone gave me that I never fit in. It was too pretty to throw out and it just got lost in the drawer. 
It's just me in my bedroom. I tried it on. It fit. Perfectly.
After months of practice, hours spent sweating on a mat and run-walking miles I saw a difference. My focus has been to improve my fitness level, not to lose weight or tone up. I've lost less than a handful of pounds but  have this athletic lean body as a result of my training. I was shocked.
Just one thing almost made me take it off: my stomach shows beyond a doubt that I've had kids. It looks like a tiger used my stomach as a scratching post. The skin is stretched out. The only way to fix that would require a knife and lots of money. I'm not going to do that. Just seems like I'd be a different person.
I started to take it off and thought of an article I saw on a mother's body image influencing the way her daughter sees herself. I thought of the pretty little girl I have downstairs proudly wearing her tie-dyed rainbow bikini she loves. I never want her to feel anything but love for the vehicle carrying her brilliant mind and allowing her to move through life. 
I kept the bikini on. 
J loved it but our daughter's reaction was worth it. Her eyes lit up, her jaw hit the floor. I asked what she thought. "I like it! You look great!" She had this big smile on her face as I asked her to throw on some clothes so we could head out. I heard her ask J in this hushed, proud voice: "Have you seen Momma?" I could hear the smile in his voice: "Yeah, I did."
I was nervous about going out in public in it. Then something occurred to me. The only people whose opinions mattered at the waterpark were the ones with me. They liked how I looked. I'm out to enjoy myself, to hell with what other people think.
I had a blast. There was moment when a young woman looked at me and I could see this look on her face. I recognized it because it had been on mine before. She was mentally comparing herself to me... and she didn't like how she looked. 
I understood. Despite being absolutely gorgeous with an even bronze tan and this long, thick blonde hair she was comparing our sizes. It didn't matter how she looked, she was still going over her flaws. I did something I had never done before: I made eye contact and smiled. 
She looked away but I saw her shoulders straighten. I bounced on. 
We had a blast. Smelling like chlorine and worn out to the bone, we headed home talking about the next time. 
I woke up this morning and saw a friend kicking herself on social media for not being absolutely perfect, for not meeting the fitness goals she had set for herself. I wanted to reach in the screen and hug her. Because she is perfect. Screw the numbers, screw what other people do or think.
I was listening to this and took the time to actually watch the video. I offer you this, a beautiful woman who does not look like a supermodel: 

Saturday, June 22, 2013

Everything is Kung Fu

While surfing YouTube, I ran across a clip from Karate Kid (the Chan-Smith one) and had something Mr. Han (Chan) haunt me. Dre (Smith) gripes about his training, says that Han doesn't know kung-fu. Han demonstrates how what he has been doing, while mundane, is a part of training. "Everything is kung fu" he tells Dre. "It's in everything we do."
I nodded because that summed up how I feel about polyamory. It's less of this thing that you do from time to time but a part of you that is always there. I come home to the guys, coordinate calendars, plan trips and just talk. We ARE polyamory.
Even if I was alone, it would not make me less poly. It's not like a wallet that I can slip out of my pocket and place on a shelf until I need it. It's part of what makes me Me. Imagine removing a toe whenever you're not walking. Toes aren't detachable. Neither is aspects of your self.
I am poly. It's in every aspect of my life, in every interaction. Why not? Why not take the effective communication tools learned at home with you to, for example, work? There is little harm that can come from clear, honest communication in the workplace. I admit to sometimes being too blunt but I am, as all of us, a work in progress.
In the clip, Dre complains that he isn't learning anything. To him, he's only taking on and off a jacket. To his master, Dre is working on a pattern until it becomes instinct. The same can be said of polyamory.
Everything around us is a potential teacher. There is something to be learned about ourselves, others from just about anything. You never know what moment will bring clarity.
Bruce Lee wrote that a martial artist should "flow like water". I agree. I also think that poly people should "flow like water" and let their own personal experiences guide them on their path. Like Dre, instead of waiting for experts to give us answers, we should look to ourselves. Rather then yell at Mr. Han because he hasn't instantly turned us into a kung fu master we should pick up the jacket and do the damned work.
Everything is poly.

Friday, September 28, 2012


National Novel Writing Month in November swallows me whole, a fifty thousand words in thirty day challenge. In October, I can be found plotting, scheming and doing character sketches. November is worse, I don't say much and spend lots of time typing or saying random things when not obsessing about my word count. Last year, I had my oldest throw a slow punch over my head so I could see exactly what muscles he used.
Once I joked that I was going to write the poly version of the Anarchist's Cookbook, the Polyamorist Cookbook. My oldest (and personal stunt man) thought it was inspired. I always found something else to write and this year, I figured everyone else is writing a book so why can't I?
It's not going to be a how-to book in the traditional sense. It's a collection of essays written about our triad and the different things we've gone through, stuff we learned the hard way. Except for my point being that I want my reader to realize this lifestyle is VERY individual and no one person holds all the answers. No one way to do this is the Right Way.
The subtitle is "An UNPrimer". I want to undo the whole "by the book" mentality. Just because it was in a book doesn't mean that it is gospel. There are fine, well-written books out there BUT it is essential to be able to critically evaluate if it's relevant to one's life. I mean, I adore the manga (Japanese graphic novel) Full Metal Alchemist but I am certainly not going to attempt any human transmutation.
This November will find me writing essays about living in a poly household and dealing with mundane things like laundry, finances and adopting a kitten. I'll write about our adventures, how we handle things like vacations and holidays. Family will be in there, topics like seeing our oldest son off to basic training and our daughter's open house. There will be essays on things like community building, communication and how we decide between Dr Who and football.
It may or may not see the light of day. It may be utter crap or brilliant. But either way, I will have it completed by December 1st.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Acceptance not Conversaion

Last night a friend tweeted that he was debating polyamory, labeling it a "fun night". I responded jokingly that I'd just give silly responses but added I don't argue, just make my point known.
This morning, I went back to his profile and read the conversation. I saw one thing that made me wince. Someone said "Maybe you didn't find the right person."
That's an argument given the world over. You're gay? Maybe you haven't found the right man/woman. Bi? Maybe you didn't find the right man. It renders everything you've said to that point invalid. For me, it's like sticking out your tongue. To see that used in an argument for polyamory made my head hurt. I needed a hug.
Monogamy is a choice like polyamory and those who are mono deserve to have their choices respected the way we'd like ours. I've zero interest in 'turning you poly'. Hell with that, give me someone who WANTS poly as a choice not someone who had to be convinced. The world is full of people doing something they don't want to, I refuse to add to the pile.
Maybe my views don't line up with you. That's fine. Maybe we don't agree. Also fine. Not every human being in this world will think exactly like you. In my house alone I can give you four different opinions on any given topic and that is quite all right.
I'm not here to convert you or demonize monogamy. I have seen very successful relationships and absolute disasters involving varying numbers of people, mono and poly. If that makes YOU happy, you go with your bad self.
I do, however, have a problem when I am told that I am wrong. It is MY choice and not one I am forcing on another. You do you and I'll be me. I have mono friends who are awesome and support my family as their own. I will congratulate you on your wedding anniversary because I know how hard you have to work to make a relationship strong. I know because I have three relationships to work on.
In the end, monogamy is a choice and so is polyamory. I feel it is rude at the very least to force your choice on someone else. We should, as a community, be respectful of others. If nothing else then maybe they will extend the same courtesy.
We want acceptance, let's give acceptance.

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Triad not V: Review of "Savages"

*contains spoilers*
If I read one more tweet about how "Savages" is about a V I am going to throw something. In this Oliver Stone movie, two pot growers (Ben and Chon ) try to rescue their kidnapped lover, O, from a drug cartel.
To my eyes, their relationship dynamic was close to the one we have at home minus the drugs, violence, explosions and cartels of course. "We love each other," O tells the audience and their actions spell it out in detail. Ben asks Chon if he told him he loves him, Chon replies he did that morning. "I mean it," Ben says firmly.
Relationships are defined as a bond based on love and trust. There's mutual respect. In that light, then the three of them are a triad not a V. Triads are three people in a relationship with each other, a V consists of two people in a relationship with one person but not having a relationship with each other. Ben and Chon are like brothers, sharing everything including the love of their lives. Their relationship should be defined by their love for each other, not completely ignored because they're not having sex. O is a part of them, they are a part of her. The guys compliment each other, balance each other. Just like a good, solid relationship will do when you have the right person.
When Ben falls apart, he does on Chon's shoulder. When Chon, former Navy SEAL, needs that reminder that there are other ways of being Ben is there to guide. In one scene, Chon is sitting on the patio and Ben brings him a beer. It's a small gesture but one that made me remember being brought cups of tea while writing. It's something someone who loves you will do for you.
Let's not forget O.
O describes Chon as earth and Ben as spirit but she is the water that flows through them and brings them together. Her love for them shines in every smile and touch. "I love you guys," she says. She has both a physical and emotionally relationship with them. In her heart, she loves them both completely.  She is a part of them, filling in their lives that missing piece. "My guys will come for me," she tells the head of the cartel without a shred of doubt. In that light, they are a triad.
If they were a V, Ben and Chon would not have their close bond with each other. Yes, they might have some sort of casual relationship but nothing to the depth of what they have. I seriously doubt they would have gone after O to the lengths they did.
I get annoyed when poly people talk about love but will define relationships based on sex. You CAN love someone without having sex with them. Honestly. Proof is in my house, sleeping in their rooms right now.
Yes, sex can be part of a relationship but love is also a component. In this film, three people love each other deeply. They share their lives together. They are three people who make one good, solid relationship not two guys sharing a girl. I believe this because this is how it is for us. I have two guys who love me to pieces and they are my heart and soul. O said that for me, beautifully: "In them, I have one complete man."
You're right, O. We do.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Hulk smash! (Contains Avenger spoilers)

We saw the Avengers last night. Wow, that was absolutely amazing. Inspiring, really because of the relationship dynamics between the characters. Wheadon is not only a master of dialogue but of using words to convey exactly how people relate to each other. I stand (well, sit) in awe of his mastery. Everyone has their hero, the person they want to be. I want to be Joss Wheadon when I grow up.
Now come the spoilers.
Yes, spoilers.
Spoiler-riffic stuff below... You were warned.
If you haven't seen this movie, do. From first frame to the Easter egg at the end, it is stunning.
David Banner said something that stuck with me: "My secret is I'm always angry." The entire film you have this outwardly calm, even mild-mannered doctor who is calmly taking in the world. He deals with little irritations like Tony Stack jabbing him with a tool with a puzzled look and returning to work. Stark keeps asking him how he does it, how he keeps the Hulk at bay. Banner refuses to answer, redirecting him back to what they were doing in the first place.
That hit me. Here is a man who keeps the Hulk under control and doesn't let him interfere with his life or his work. We could learn from Banner.
Emotions can eat you alive and hurt your relationships. There is a scene where Banner becomes the Hulk and Natasha is stuck under a pipe. I know that rational Banner would never hurt her but would the Hulk recognize her as friend? Same could be said of a strong emotion, like jealousy. In the grips of it, one could say or do something to hurt those around.
There is a scene where the Avengers and Fury argue and we see Banner maintain his composure. He cracks a few times, you can see frustration flicker across his face. However, he stays Banner. In a fight, you sometimes just need to remain calm and listen. Make your statements, move on. Keep the Hulk under control.
During the final battle, you see that Banner and the Hulk are one. The Hulk is no longer this mindless smashing beast but a thinking, rational smashing beast. Banner has learned to channel his anger into something positive. The Hulk smashes when he has to, with Banner at the controls.
There are times when we should be angry, should shout and scream. Tears are sometimes required and do heal. Sometimes we have to take the hurts and channel them into something else. Or else it eats us and we end up smashing things.
The Hulk and Thor mix it up, an epic brawl that left my jaw hurting. At the end, they fought together and kicked much ass. Then the Hulk punches Thor in the shoulder, sending him off camera. I cracked up because you can see the affection in the gesture. Hulk didn't mean to toss him that far, just show his gratitude  for the assist.
I am going to work on channeling my inner Hulk, smashing with purpose. Thank you, David Banner. That was a lesson I needed to learn.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Poster Children

Yesterday we were interviewed by a CNN reporter for an article she's doing on poly families. The experience itself was fantastic, there was lots of laughing and just us being ourselves. At one point, I said that we were too boring to be the poster children for polyamory. J pointed out that exposure will be the only way we become accepted. "If not you, then who?" asked the photographer. Good question.
I'm sitting here awake with a cat at my feet and music in my ears. Couldn't sleep, too much thinking and not enough time dedicated to gearing down afterwards. Too much thinking about what I should have said, what I should have not said and all sorts of anxiety about what might happen when her story goes live.
The questions remains: "If not you, then who?" Who indeed. I never felt like we represent the entirety of such a diverse culture of people. Polyamory is so varied, as different as the people in those relationships. I've always felt like if there was a poster, it should just have a group of people holding hands. As for being the poster child, I shy away because I don't want to stand there in the spotlight and declare I AM all things poly. I'm not your role model. You are.
Our way is not the end-all, be-all. There are other ways and being different from ours does not make them less valid. The way I treat my partners may or may not not suit someone. That's fine. I'm not the great poly messiah, standing on high and preaching the word. No one's words are canon, to be whispered in hushed tones.
The answer to the question is that all of us should be the poster children for polyamory. We should step out, show our faces and not let others define who we are. We should blog, make those movies and write those songs that describe our existence to the world. I'll repeat it until I am sick of saying it then say it one more time: the revolution will be normalized.
We have to show the world what it's like to be poly, how it works and who we are. That we're more than an idea but a working, valid lifestyle. As I write this, my partners and kids are sleeping. I can describe the day-to-day for you but I think you would spend lots of time nodding. Our family looks like yours only we have more people. We love each other.
All I can say is live, love and do your thing. Be who you are.
I started to read a book on polyamory but got sidetracked... cartoons were on.