Perspective

This weekend was supposed to be my last hurrah before doing my final twelve weeks of internal medicine (ie, general adult medicine, which most doctors refer to simply as “medicine” except this confuses the hell out of people) and pediatrics. It’ll be a rough twelve weeks with no full weekends (we get one day off a week) and 65-80 work hrs a week. So yes, I was looking forward to arriving back in Rainy City Saturday morning, reconnecting with Catalyst, and finishing up some errands.

The weather had other plans, so I’m stuck in the big city on the east coast in an airport, and I don’t know exactly when I’ll get to go home. I’m upset, obviously, and as my place in the stand by list keeps fluctuating randomly, I’ve been angry and disappointed and sad and defeated. Catalyst and Ember have been keeping me company as best as they can from afar, but I can’t wait to be home.

As much as this sucks though, I’m not letting myself wallow in my current misfortune. I will eventually make it home, and yes I’ve lost a weekend, but I had a pretty good week at home in west africa, and the time I spent with my loves before my vacation was really good quality time. These twelve weeks will come and go, and even during them, there will still be good times. Medicine and pediatrics are very far from my calling, but though challenging (and to me not particularly interesting), it is still rewarding to take care of people that way.

And especially with my job, how can I stay in a funk over something in essence so trivial and fleeting when I’m trying to help people through depression in the context of past trauma, devastating medical diagnoses, and destructive addictions?

So yes, I’m sad that I’m still here. I’m frustrated and I’m feeling helpless and trapped and I had to wash my underwear with shampoo last night and dry it with an iron because they won’t release my checked bags to me. But I’ve got warmth and love waiting for me, and that’s the important thing.

Another New Year :)

2013 was, overall, a positive year for me. My relationships with Ember and Catalyst are both in a better place, and the relationship between the three of us, though still budding, shows lots of promise.

I think of it as us having good synergy. You can match us up in any way (Me and Ember, Me and Catalyst, Ember and Catalyst, Me and Ember and Catalyst) and end up with a connection that is generally positive, and fun, that benefits all involved. This is not to say that we are the best combination of people ever, but just that I think there is inherent good in our bonds.

I’ve been, as usual when I’m around my family, contemplating coming out again. I struggle a lot with figuring out how to defend my choice to be in this relationship configuration, but it also frustrates me that this is something I have to defend. When I think about the things that the three of us struggle with, our most difficult problems are the result of societal norms. It is not our unusual relationships, but simply the fact that they are unusual that causes us stress. When we’re just going about life in our own weird little bubble, we’re remarkably content. There’s the occasional friction that’s not much more intense than the friction in any other close relationship, and we’re becoming pretty good at talking those things out together. The problems that cause us the most distress, center around the lack of social recognition and acceptance that comes along with polyamory.

And so that’s what I remind myself, when I start to wonder if this is all doomed, and if we’re just being naive to think that this could work. When I start to think that this is too complicated and difficult, it’s because I have forgotten that this seems so impossibly hard for the simple reason that we are not doing what society expects us to do. Yes there’s things like us living in different cities, but we know how to fix that.

In coming out, I won’t get what I really want. What I really want is for my family to embrace Catalyst and Ember. For them to be happy to see them, to be glad that I have two men who love, adore, respect and support me. Two men who constantly challenge me to be better, but are there to comfort me when I don’t succeed. I want my family to ask how they’re doing, to tell me they hope they’ll be coming along to the next family gathering. I want my family to consider them family, because that’s what they are to me.

What will really happen when I come out? I’m not sure. I know that first there will be disapproval, and lectures and pleas to reconsider. But what comes after that? Will something else come after that? But I don’t think I can keep living like this, delicately keeping such significant parts of my life separate from each other.

I don’t want to choose between my loves and my family, and I hope that 2014 is not the year I have to make that choice. I hope that no year is.

More than words

So we talked last night. Well, first I sent a panicked, emotional email to Catalyst and received a reassuring response later in the day, and then Catalyst and Ember went to Costco to split a membership together (even though they live in different cities), and they got to talk a bit in the car. And then we all talked.

People like to say that the key to polyamory is communication, and I believe it’s part of the truth, but I believe it’s not just about saying words at each other. Last night could have gone horribly wrong, but we’ve all got good energy with each other, and we really care about and like and love each other. So when we talk, we’re listening, negotiating, compromising, reassuring, and clarifying.

So we haven’t resolved everything (and we never will because something new will always come up), but I think we’ve got the beginnings of a 2 to 3 year plan for the three of us. And I can’t really say exactly what the plan is, because not being too transparent about the details is part of the plan, and I have friends and family who read this blog.

But no one is feeling lost and hurt and hopeless right now. We’ve all got our  insecurities, but the trust is still there and growing. We’re still a team, and we’re looking out for one another. We’re a family, and I’m really looking forward to the day when we’re ready to throw some sort of party declaring that.

Rocks. Hard places. The usual.

That feeling you get when you’re stuck in a situation where you can either hurt one partner or hurt the other? I’m really tired of it. The whole Match Day thing happened, and now I’m living with Catalyst and not Ember, and we’re finally starting to heal from the damage that did. Now there’s this whole marriage thing, and I really, really wish I could just say “That’s fine, we’ll just all be unmarried” but… reasons.

And I don’t know what to do. Ember’s in town and we had a fantastic weekend, but then I had to bring this stuff up because we do have to figure this out, and right now I just feel sick. I literally feel sick to my stomach, and I’m terrified that we’re not going to figure this out, and that I’m going to lose one or both of them in the end.

So right now I’m going to let myself go cry for a bit, and then I’m going to stop because crying doesn’t fix anything (or maybe I’ll skip the crying. I hate crying). I’m going to shower, eat something, shop for Christmas presents for my family while spending time with Ember, and then we’re going to go to work. And then the two of them will go to Costco after work, and I’ll come home later, and then we’ll all talk.

Edit: We’ve been watching Scandal recently, and right now I feel like I need the equivalent of an Olivia Pope for my relationship. I want someone to fix this for me, because I have no idea how.

Hiding

Short post. It’s late and I should have been in bed 45 minutes ago.

I’m not very good at being open and honest about the poly thing, and it makes me uncomfortable. I’ve had several experiences lately where there weren’t any clear ramifications to coming out, and yet I still found myself dancing around the exact details of my relationship situation, or outright avoiding the details and explicitly only talking about one boyfriend.

I have a lot of thinking to do about how much hiding is okay in my life. How open do I need to be able to be about my personal life? Do I need to push the boundary of what I’m okay talking about (and the reactions I’m okay receiving), or do I need to change my life to match what I’m comfortable with? I’ve been making decisions under the former, but every now and then there’s a tiny part of me that worries that social pressure and my desire to fit in will break me as I am.

The real question is, how do I reassure that tiny part of me? Because I love my boys and I’m hanging on to them.

Perpetual To Dos

My phone broke yesterday (it fell, and its cracked screen cracked some more and has now stopped working); is it worth it to fix the screen and power button or should I just buy a new phone? I have to buy my tickets home (West Africa home) for New Year’s. I start a new rotation tomorrow so I have to read up on my new patients and be ready to take care of them Monday morning. There’s still no art on the walls of our apartment. Do I care enough about the five-ish pounds I’ve gained over the last year to try to lose them or do I just need to make sure I don’t gain any more? The towels smell a little off (sat in the washer for 24hrs before drying); I should rewash them.

I once read, in one of those little books that has a small piece of advice on every page, that there will still be stuff in your inbox when you die. A morbid, but also comforting thought. I may be able to cross off all the items on my to-do list for today, but there will be more tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after. This is not to mean that I should never do anything because there will be more to do, but to realize that while there are many feelings in life that are worth chasing, the feeling of being “completely done” isn’t really one of them. Accomplished is good, but done is not, because it’s a lie.

It’s easy to get caught up in the uncertainty of my life. Will Ember ever move in with us? Or live in the same city again? Where will Catalyst and I move to next year, since we need at least three people to afford the size of apartment we’d prefer in our current neighborhood? Am I going to do a fellowship or just finish residency in four years? Am I going to have children?

I lay in bed this morning, watching Catalyst fold his clothes, my mind racing with those first paragraph thoughts, and then a different kind of thought floated to the foreground: This is nice, this living with someone I love, watching them do something so boring and mundane as folding their clothes and not feeling like I’m wasting precious, borrowed time.

I still need to buy my plane tickets (maybe later tonight, more likely tomorrow), and I need to read about my patients. The art will go up some other day, or maybe in the next place we live. I kind of care about the weight, but my clothes still fit, so it’s okay. I will be rewashing the towels tonight. And I’ve bought a new phone, but it won’t arrive for 4 to 5 weeks, so Catalyst is letting me borrow his (and he’s using Dreamer’s old phone) in the meantime, because he loves me and I use my phone more than he uses his, and I use it mainly to stay in touch with him (and Ember).

It’s been a good Sunday. :)

Identity

I used to identify as a writer. As a teenager, I blogged, I participated in IFs, and I wrote fanfiction, original fiction, plays, poems, and essays. My pursuit of a medical career coincided with reaching my twenties, and writing became less of a creative outlet. My writing since then has been a tool for exploration and connection. Both my current relationships, especially in the early stages, involved lots of long chats and letter length emails (and even handwritten letters!).

Conversation is important to me. Many (most? all?) of my favorite moments with other people have involved one on one conversations. Some of these with people I love, with people I might have loved, with good friends, with acquaintances, with family, and some with people I only had that one conversation with and nothing else. Some were fast paced, almost pressured conversations, the kinds filled with lots of “Me too!” and “I know, right?!” Others were languid, lounging conversations, periodically emerging from comfortable silences filled with cuddles, disappearances into personal thoughts, or pleasant distractions in the form of good food and drink.

But writing is another way of connecting and conversing. It’s a present left on a door stop, and I ring the bell and disappear before you open the door. It’s a vulnerable, perhaps cowardly form of communication, often used for things you can’t bear to say face to face, like confessions, but I believe there can be strength and courage in it as well. Writing feels like a more natural and honest way for me to express myself. The way I write more closely mirrors who I feel I am than the way I talk, and I miss how natural it feels to tinker with words. Yes, I still blog, but I haven’t really been crafting most of my posts. I’ve been telling, not giving a carefully guided tour.

I’ve been thinking for a while about waking up earlier, as a way to cultivate chances to write longer emails to my boyfriends. Then I started seeing people talk about NaNoWriMo this year, and feeling left out. I think writing needs to become an Important Thing again. Not in a regimented way, but in the way that I try to eat well, stay reasonably active, and sleep a bit more than the bare minimum. I’m taking the easy way out by not impulsively jumping on the NaNoWriMo bandwagon (more like sketchy high-speed train), but my goal is to spend even just a few minutes every day this month consciously, carefully writing something, anything (but most likely an email, a snippet of a story, a poem, or a blog post).