All posts by Polly Pocket

About Polly Pocket

Bisexual woman navigating a newly opened marriage. Trying to live by the motto: "Be kinder than necessary, everyone you meet is fighting some kind of battle." -unknown

Wild Creatures

I love this so much and think it needs to be shared everywhere.

The Tusk

Ursus_arctos_-_Norway

by Maria Catt

I have a friend who can’t talk about her appearance without using the word “troll.” She’s short and small. She has beautiful creamy woodsy coloring– light brown hair, pink peach skin, glittering green eyes, a graceful swoop of a nose. She is small enough that you feel protective around her. You look at the space around her scanning for potential difficulty. Can she reach that plate she’s after? Am I towering over her? If I had to compare her to a magical creature, troll would not make the list– for one thing, trolls are huge and live under bridges. I’d pick nymph. I don’t know that she’d like that, nymphs don’t have a rep as being very powerful. But if I was going to cast my friend in a movie about a magical encounter, I’d have her play the spirit of an elm the hero rests under. …

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Ice Balls

I really found this exploration of gender identity to be powerful.

The Tusk

ice_ball_close-up

By Maria Catt

At the job before the one I have now one of my duties was to take water frozen in red Solo cups and use an ice ball press to press the ice hunk into a ball. It took about a minute a ball. Demand for the ice balls always out-paced my capacity to create them. I was the barback at a club in San Francisco’s financial district which was an extension of a fancy menswear store. At this store insecure bankers were encouraged to spend 500 dollars on sweaters. If those insecure bankers committed to spending 250 dollars at the store each month they got to visit The Club, which is a bar with a long scotch list, and a room to smoke cigars in, and a limited food menu with a seventeen dollar burger on it.

The scientific justification for the invention of the ice ball press…

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Baby Steps into 2015

Coffee on New Years with Ann. We hadn’t seen each other since the crazy texting breakup of 2014. I got to Starbucks early, and was reading a book when she walked up. And it was exactly like no time had passed at all, and yet a thousand years had passed. I saw her with normal eyes and not the rose colored glasses of infatuation.

We sat, and talked, catching up over the past few months. Pleasantries with really good energy between us, and then the conversation steered toward the deep, the painful, the vulnerable. I opened it up by saying, ‘I’m glad we’re talking again, I’ve missed you. And I’m scared to even say that, because I’ve never admitted to any ex that I’ve missed them and want them back.”

And she apologized. For everything. And not just a desperate I’m-so-sorry-boo-hoo needy apology. A well spoken, insightful apology that included her owning up to all her shit, including things like “when I said this, it’s because you triggered this in me, and it wasn’t you, it was me reacting to my self and my own insecurities,” and WOW. It’s taken four months, but we were really communicating. Non sexy communicating about wants, needs, boundaries, hopes, and not in a fantasy sense, but in a real honest to goodness two real life people who need things way. I told her that my biggest fear about entertaining the idea of dating her again is that this will be a pattern of crazy. That I will open myself up repeatedly to not be hurt in a normal daily hurt way, but in the emotional upheaval roller-coaster way.

We’re busy, with families, and work, and life. But we decided to move forward in baby steps. Texting. Maybe planning to hang out in the next month. Maybe redefining some boundaries we are comfortable with and what we’re not. Our time at the coffee shop ran out quickly, I had to make my way to Portland and she had to get to work. I kissed her goodbye by her minivan, and in one short hour we had gone from broken up to back together on some level. It feels optimistically good.

2015 has started off quite surprisingly!

Coming Out, College Friend Edition & Blurred Lines

It had been two years since my last catch-up session with a good college friend. She was in town for Christmas, and so we decided to take our friendship offline and back to a Starbucks like the old days. Her mom was sweet enough to watch my son while Clover and I got our caffeine fix, and about an hour into our hang out, I decided to come out to her even though it’s ‘not really relevant right now, since I’m not actually dating anyone,’ and her response was:

“You know I dated a woman for 5 years, in college, right?”

Um, no, I didn’t know that, but A) my instinct (and Keith’s instinct) was right this WHOLE TIME, that she was not totally straight, and B) I reframed and felt so bad that I hadn’t been a better friend at various points, because apparently her relationship with Denise was abusive. And full of shame, and secrecy, because we ALL were involved in the college youth ministry group, and our life was built around church, and a church that appeared ‘liberal’ in so many ways, but same sex gender relationships was definitely not on the table. It was so lovely to connect in this way, and later I told her that I had wished I would have known, because I remember when she decided to stop hanging out with Denise, and how hard it was, and it makes so much more sense now knowing that she was BREAKING UP and not just ENDING A FRIENDSHIP (which is also hard, but in a different way).

So, yay, I’m out to all my college friends, except Laura, who I was probably in love with anyway, and might make things awkward. So, ya know. Another good coming out experience for the record books.

But then, I’m in this weird place. Texting Renee has been boring as fuck lately, because being a mom is not my most interesting feature, and while I’m okay to talk about our kids, I really get tired of hearing a grocery list of things you’re going to do today, like three loads of laundry and dishes. I want to know the thoughts in the head that are beyond that, though I also recognize that in the haze of new baby it can be hard to remember to think about things like the patriarchy, or whatever. And since I got this apology email two months ago from Anne, I’ve just been missing those conversations that tickled my brain and my clit.

So, ten days ago or so, Anne texts me that her ex-husband, and the father of her older teenagers, had died in a car accident. And suddenly we were texting. Not just condolence niceties, but actual texting. Like nothing had ever happened. And then my grandma died, and she was texting me about that. And then I sent her an article on the rising cost of childcare, and she sent me an article about horrible 50’s sex advice, and suddenly…we were texting. A lot. Like old times.

I’ve missed her.

Her long blonde hair, and laughing during sex, and the conversations over text about life AND poetry AND Victorian literature AND education AND etc.

I haven’t missed the horribly juvenile and tumultuous way we ended. Via text. No closure, just ending. And passive aggressive pinning quotes on pinterest. Like we were dumb junior high girls in a girlfight.

So I invited her to coffee tomorrow, since I’m on my way to Portland for my besties’ birthday, and she accepted. And we both said we were nervous. And I feel DUMB, because I feel like I’m going against all my better judgment in wanting an ex back, but my co-worker Bethany said that ‘maybe it’ll be closure at least, if not something new going forward,’ and I can honestly say that in the 4 months not dating her, I’ve given dating an honest shot and been totally bored or not turned on by anyone I’ve been talking to. Despite that tumult, I would honestly like to date her again, with some parameters and lessons learned, perhaps.

Any advice? This whole game of romance is so fraught with emotions, and dating a woman is so different than dating a guy. I feel like the complicated emotions and different communication style had contributed to our breakup. And I don’t want to rush into something that is in a constant state of emotional upheavel, but there’s this big part of me that misses all the really good things. Anyone been here, done that? Dating an ex? Closure? Reconnecting? Having to tell people you really want to get back together with someone you’ve been bitching about for four months even though you know you’ve still liked them this whole time?

Moving Forward, a Slow March

On Monday we had Renee over to our house for a low key pizza night. It was important for me to have her up in our territory, and see how we all interacted together. And it was good. Easygoing. Everything I imagined it would be, minus any of the possible sexiness, since both of our kiddos were hanging out in the living room with us. There was pizza and wine and chocolate. The kiddos played mostly happily together, and it felt like we had known her for 100 years.

It was a little awkward at bedtime, as she forgot that the two of us are almost always needed to put the munchkin to bed. And after she had gone home, Keith and I laid in bed and talked and talked while the little one snuggled in between us. The debrief. Where we both realized that we are so 100% on the same page that it’s not even funny. That the fantasy of open marriage has become a reality, and that we are both very interested in moving forward. Yet, at the same time, we are both surprised and shocked by how it has progressed. In our debrief we talked about where each of us were, and I confessed that I feel a bit like I am trying to play catch up, and that is complicating how I’m feeling. I hadn’t even known that Keith was talking to Renee until a few weeks ago, and their relationship went from 0-60 in their first date. And I don’t work quite that way. With Anne, I felt instant sexual chemistry from the moment we met, but we still didn’t even begin a sexual contact until around date 3. While it’s easy to get me off, it’s sometimes a little more difficult to get me to the place where I’m hot to trot. I’m in the firmly undecided category on whether I want to pursue anything sexual with Renee.

Thought that’s not a knock on her, as I am feeling unmotivated sexually at the moment anyway. Can I be teased out of my head and glumpy thoughts? Sure. Does it take a little work? Sure. As in, if Renee made the first move, and started making out with me, I know I’d thoroughly enjoy it. I’m feeling like I’m going through some weird shift between being highly sexual and asexual. I don’t know how to describe it. I’m just not feeling that sexual in the past couple of weeks. And Keith agreed. That he’s actually felt the same way, too. And maybe that’s why we’re a good match, except when our cycles of sexiness are off.

So I think we’re all on the same page. Moving forward. Slowly. Building a relationship. And I’m (mostly) enjoying myself, though the conversations are difficult and long and necessary.

Living with Strong & Competing Emotions

On Saturday, a few hours before my first date with Renee, I got a message from my ex Anne. I hadn’t heard from her since we broke up in August. She was apologetic for how things ended, and basically said she thinks of me a lot and hopes things are good with me. Talk about punch to the gut. Sure, I think about her, too, but if someone gets so stressed out that they break up over toast, then I can’t really have that person be around.

And yet, I do miss her, miss what we had.

So I mustered up my energy to head down to Renee’s house for some home cooked pepperoni pizza, which I felt was very sweet. We were hanging out with her 8 month old son, and I felt very comfortable with her from the get-go. But not overwhelming passion like I felt with Anne, so in my mind I was conflicted, because this felt like that friendship piece I want, where I could simply hang out and be myself and could see myself wanting to progress sexually.

While sitting at her kitchen table, though, I kept having these overwhelming thoughts. I kept imagining Keith having sex with her, in her house, where I was, just five days earlier. Like in some dissociated state, I had these weird feelings of being totally present and also stepping outside and analyzing, thinking ‘what did he see in her that he would cheat?’ We all decided we wanted to move forward with pursuing one another, despite the hurt, but there was this part of me that was having a really hard time with it, the imagination piece was the worst. So I texted Keith, and said, “I don’t think I can do this, I’m so hurt by what you did,’ and after that I was actually more present and enjoyed myself.

So there’s the conflicting emotions. My experience clouded by the fact that I was sitting with the only other woman who has had sex with Keith. The hurt that the rules and boundaries we had created weren’t lived up to. The whole ‘what does he see in her that he didn’t see in me?’ irrational thoughts. The difference between intellectually being open and emotionally being open.

It ended up being a lovely evening, with no physical exchanges since her son stayed bright eyed and bushy tailed all evening, and I was getting a scratchy throat that turned into a full blown fever by the time I got home. It’s weird being in this place where I’m living with all of these conflicting emotions that bring up strong emotions and fears and insecurities. With Renee it was so easy until it wasn’t, which is part of the reason I enjoyed dating separate from my husband, though I think I would like to know the person/people is having sex with.

Maybe over time I’ll get used to it, but right now I still feel raw. And yet, I want to proceed, is that crazy?

Responding to Polyphobia and Rude Comments

elisabethsheff

On November 7, 2014, John D. posted a comment in response to one of my Psychology Today blogs, “Does Polyamory Work?.”

In his comment, John D. assumes that polyamory is obviously pathological and an excuse for inhumane and slavish behavior. This response, just one of the many, many like it that I have received over the years, has at its core the certainty that polyamory (or kink, or feminism, or ______(fill in the blank) is debased beyond redemption. Thus far I have taken these folks seriously and provided the evidence they demanded, attempting to engage them in reasoned dialogue. While occasionally this works, far more often they either disappear or snark. My patience with their foolishness is wearing thin, and I am beginning to question my accommodating strategy.

How do you all respond to people who make comments? How seriously do you take them? What do you think of my…

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Death of a Coping Mechanism

One of the best parts of my life is being surrounded by supportive and loving people who also know how to help me process when I am feeling both good and bad…and like this week, feeling both good/excited/happy and bad/frustrated/sad/upset/hurt at the same damn moment. I managed to spend a good thirty minutes with my therapist co-worker talking about my multitude of feelings.

All of this processing has helped me articulate to Keith last night, that the hurt I felt was not because he had sex on Monday night, the first extra marital sex experience (okay, okay, the first sex outside of me period). It’s that, when we were dating, and I tried to have sex with him on our first date, and he denied me that pleasure, I was understandable hurt inside. I knew that he had these moral convictions around sex, and so I convinced myself that it wasn’t really rejection, that it was because of morals, and that maybe I was the one who was wrong. Over the two years we dated and were engaged, I tried often to get him to have sex with me, all to no avail. We could do what he felt comfortable with, but not what I felt most comfortable with, all blamed on these moral/relgious beliefs.

I had all of these high hopes that once we got married we’d go from 0-60 in a short period of time. Instead we went from 0-30, which left me still feeling quite rejected often. His separation of intimacy and sex didn’t just congeal in one fell swoop, and so there were times I initiated and was denied, or longed to be touched and have him initiate with me, and I got radio silence.

And so here we are, 8 years later, and in one fell swoop my coping mechanism was completely shattered, with nothing to replace it. So my brain begins spinning because I revisit all of those times I asked for sex and was denied and think…well, if it wasn’t religious/moral reasoning, then it must have been me. He didn’t want to have sex with me. He’ll do it was some internet honey, but he wouldn’t do it for me. I didn’t even realize that all of this was bubbling inside of me, and he said, “I had no idea you felt rejected all those times. I thought you understood, and now my beliefs have changed, and I know it was hard to make the transition right when we got married, and I thought it would have been easier, and I’m so sorry you felt rejected all of those times. ”

Being able to articulate this crumbling of my coping mechanism made me feel so much freer. I feel like Keith’s ‘popping the seal,’ of extramarital sex is actually a good thing, because it allows me to really live within my belief that sex doesn’t always have to be this thing that has all these crazy intense meaning attached to it. And yet, now I think the hard work comes in working through and revisiting all the hurt from that night 8 years ago when I asked for sex and felt rejected the first time.

Rules are Made to be Broken?

Help me internet land, I’m in a place of cycling between incredible anger and sadness and insecurity. Last night Keith broke our one rule: no sex. It’s a rule I asked for, not because I have anything against sex, but because I have incredible insecurity around the whole sex thing because Keith denied me from having sex in the first two years of our relationship.

He was a virgin, I was not. We got married when he was 29, and the two years prior was filled with me attempting to have sex and being denied…repeatedly. Repeatedly. Under the guise of morality, as he had been raised in a Christian home, and was heading toward the ministry.

And so, when we opened up, I said…no sex…yet. I had almost lifted the sex ban with a woman who was so upfront and honest and kind with him from the get go that after their second date I said, “I feel comfortable if the next time you hang out with Kayla you have sex. She seems like the kind of girl who will stick around.”

So last night he heads over to Renee’s house, a woman he met on Tindr, and one that I’ve actually been chatting with over on OkCupid myself. It has been seemingly this really great start…he likes her, I like her, she seems to like both of us independently. Conversation and all flows well. when she invited him over to her place after the Sounders game I totally encouraged it. She had asked him if it was okay if he come over if nothing happens, which is what he was cool with.

And then they end up having sex.

She didn’t know. She didn’t know that I had that boundary. She didn’t know that he had been a virgin before we were married. Because Keith fucked up and didn’t tell her. He said he hadn’t even thought she’d want to meet him, let alone date him, and one thing led to another. I said that might work if you were a frat boy drunk at a party, but the fact that for 29 years you had a strong boundary even with the woman you were engaged with and then one night you just randomly decide to have sex?

I feel incredibly hurt. And insecure. Because now that ‘one thing’ that I had wanted to approve or share, the one thing I felt like was special between the two of us, isn’t there anymore. And it didn’t happen in a context I would like. It feels like he cheated.

So we’ve been crying. And talking. And yelling (me) and listening (him, and me). Texting her, and feeling validated, and supported, and all around soothed of my terrible insecurities.

But…how do I go forward? I’m basically asking…how do I prevent getting hurt, and I know that’s not possible.

I love this post by SoloPoly about deciding goals for yourself in open relationships. I know what my goals are, but it’s getting Keith to articulate what his goals are, ya know? Or maybe that’s not how it works. I don’t want to be the one to put a rule on to him, I want us to mutually decide what we’re goaling for, and then live into that with integrity.

$15 Sweatpants

A few years ago Keith bought me flowers. I know he was trying to be sweet, but we had been fighting, and I felt so misunderstood and I’m the kind of practical gal who thinks ‘flowers, really?’ And I told him so. I know it hurt him, because he had been trying to be sweet, but I think I remember shouting something like ‘flowers don’t fix things? they don’t change things, I don’t even really like flowers all that much?!’

I might have been a bitch.

It’s not that I’m opposed to flowers, but I have sorta never seen the point in getting a bouquet of things that will die in a few days. I’m not the sentimental romantic like my sister, who still probably has every corsage and bouquet from every high school prom date. She seriously used to hang that dusty shit from her ceiling and it always felt like a graveyard of broken relationships. I’m a little more Daria and a little less Suzy Sunshine. But, I do appreciate sweet gestures.

Like books. The time Keith bought me a book for my birthday, that was this book within a book idea, that I loved and felt really special.

Or like today, after our ‘discussion’ on finances, where he comes home from Costco grocery shopping and says:

“Don’t pay attention to the sizing, because I wanted ones that were long enough for you, but here are some $15 sweatpants that I thought you would like.”

And  I swooned.

Because seriously. That kind of shit is sexy. I put the on and they are so comfy and long enough (hard for a 6’1 girl, without buying men’s pants) and a lovely charcoal gray. And I thought “fuck flowers, buy me sweatpants any day.” Yeah, that is my kind of romance.