The wind scatters the autumn leaves around her feet. Red, gold, and brown covering her rainbow laces. The stitches across her chest are sloppy but they will hold. Blood seeps around the edges with each breath. As she scuffs through the leaves blood drips amid the ground cover. The sky above is pewter, and snow begins to fall silently. Shrugging into her jacket even though doing so tugs painfully at the stitching, she turns and walks out, tears forming tiny icecles. Soon the only signs that she was ever in the woods are a set of half filled footprints and a bloody heart, the kind someone might carve in a tree..
Apparently, I dislocated my hip sometime this week. My joints pop fairly frequently so I didn’t even really notice that the first couple of days and this morning it’s back in place, of course, the day I was going to see the doctor. When I was a kid I used to tell people assumed I was fragile because of my disability, “I’m not a dozen eggs,” I just wanted to be treated like a normal kid so I’m sure I was a broken record. As much as I hate to admit it, normal 32-year-olds do not dislocate their hips simply by going to bed or getting up in the morning.I’m not a dozen eggs. My mind is sharp. I don’t have an eidetic memory but it’s pretty close. There is only one person I know who can clean the floor with me at Scrabble, everyone else is always playing catch-up. I remember people’s faces for years. I am tough and I am driven once I have decided to sink my teeth into something. I’ve been chasing normal my whole life, and belonging somewhere for almost the same amount of time. Here’s what I know. Normal is a fallacy I will never enjoy. Belonging is a construct that is tissue paper thin that can be torn apart in a blink. The only person I can trust is me.
Standing beside the freshly dug grave tears and blood that isn’t hers streak her face. Instead of the Christian marker of a cross, her lover’s sword marks where his head lies, a piece of both their tartans wrapped and tied around the hilt. She turns away, red eyes that have no more tears a mirror of the sphere in the sky. The wind picks up as she walks unflinchingly into the spreading shadows. The dying light of the sun outline a raven watching her from a nearby tree “no matter how far you fly from me I will find you, always.” The bird flies away, leaving a single feather at the base of the tree. She picks up the feather and tucks it into the pouch at her waist and runs after the raven or maybe to the flickering hearths of home, somehow colder because he’s not there. One of the older women has left an extra blanket for her so she won’t miss him when she sleeps, at least that’s the idea.
The sun chases the moon. The seasons fold into each other warmer than colder than warm again and so on, over and over until the grave on the hill is joined by a second, this one marked not by a sword but a simple carving of a bird. The sun chases the moon again and the seasons fold in on themselves until there is a town where the village used to stand and it hums with electricity. The town is bigger than the village and there are paved roads where once there was dirt. The two graves are still on the hill overlooking the town, one of the few things untouched by the passage of progress. Nothing escapes time though. The blade of the sword disappeared into rust long ago, leaving only the tiniest bit of boiled leather from the hilt and even that will be gone soon enough. The carved bird fares little better, it’s weathered features almost indecipherable. Curiously, there is a small pile of ravens feathers underneath a nearby tree. The feathers have all been left there by women. Some have come purposely, others found the place by chance but all compelled to leave the same single token. The feathers remain immutable by the forces of time and weather in spite of everything science says should have happened to them. A man and woman stand on this hill, shadowed by the sun setting at their backs. She takes the ravens feather that she has carried in her hat band for several years and places it with the others. She leans against the man in the setting sun, “I told you that no matter how far you flew from me I will find you.”
Authors note: I do indeed have a hat with a raven’s feather in the band. A raven gave it to me on my last day in Colorado, as far as the rest of the story…
When I was growing up watching Bill Nye The Science Guy was obligatory, almost the way church attendance was for other families.I’m sure part of the reason was because we were homeschooled for several years and my parents wanted to make sure our understanding of science was not neglected because they felt unequal to the task of creating a science lab in our home. Another reason is that we have the unfortunate problem of living smack in the middle of the Bible Belt where many people * teach their children to learn just enough science to complete a required course and then encourage them to disregard it immediately after passing the test because their faith holds the true answer and the only reason for learning the scientific answer was so you didn’t fail a test. I have known people who actually said that.My parents didn’t want us becoming the 18-year-old recent high school graduate shocked to discover that the sun actually has gravity. I am not joking my dad and mom actually ran into an 18-year-old who didn’t know the sun has its own gravitational pull.
Bill Nye has a new show on Netflix, Bill Nye Saves the World. He talks frankly about the scientific things that are making a lot of people squeamish right now, like climate change and GMO food(let me tell you that is going to spark debate in my house when my mom sees that episode), and he manages to navigate these subjects without placing blame or using fear tactics. As someone who grew up watching his kids show this feels like a natural continuation even though there is 15 years or more between the two. A lot of people are slamming his credibility, saying that he is not qualified enough to be taken seriously, as a meme I saw on Facebook the other day pointed out, people have no problem when Mike Rowe steps into the shoes of the blue-collar working class, something he has never been but we slam Bill Nye, who has been a scientist of one form or another a large portion of life, because we don’t agree with him, because he might be right, because he at the very least makes us actually consider why we believe the things we do with a certain level of objectivity? If that’s why you don’t like him I call you a coward. Sit down, shut up, and let the rest of us get on with the business of leaving the world better than we found it.
*I am aware that not everyone in the deep South has a distrust of science that was just the prevalent attitude in my high school.
It’s not even 6 A.M and I am binge listening to the Polyamory Weekly podcast. It’s awesome.I’m still listening to the first forty episodes and since it’s been going twelve years I have a ton to listen to. This is not the first time I’ve listened to Poly Weekly but this is the first time I’ve found the website and archives. One of the things that listening to PW has reminded me of is how lucky I am to have the particular parents I do. I have been out to them as bisexual since about the age of 20 and it was a completely painless nonevent. Believe me, I realize how special that is.I also didn’t really have to have a conversation with them about my being polyamorous, I think my mother figured out that Dylan was way more than just a good friend almost before I did, and Oz told my dad for me on accident almost. My dad’s only response, “remind him she has a father and there is no place I can’t find him.” Which is the same thing he would’ve said to anyone I was dating, the particular warning Oz got was that if he hurt me he had better moved to Siberia because that was probably the only place dad might not go to find him. My parents had also been aware of our previous relationship with our now ex-girlfriend. I’m writing all this because lately everybody in my house as been dealing with higher than normal stress levels and quite frankly while I love my parents dearly I have really missed having my own place and it is easy to forget when dealing with the daily frustrations that they really are awesome.Thank you, Mom and Dad, for raising us in such a way that we aren’t afraid to go against the grain of society in pursuit of what makes us happy and helps us grow into the best versions of ourselves. Morgan, thank you for being there no matter what, even when it means conversations at 2 AM when you’d probably rather be sleeping but are talking to me because I have become a bat because my currently long-distance boyfriend works third shift and I still want to keep you in the loop of my life because you’ll always be that important to me. You are the best sibling anyone could possibly have.The haters gonna hate but my family accepts me and mine and because of that I can just keep on no matter what anybody says.
Several months ago a family member who knows that I am polyamorous asked how being poly “worked” for me. The question caught me off guard because I’d never had anyone ask me in-depth questions as to why I chose to be polyamorous, and the last person I ever expected to be curious was a family member, though in hindsight maybe it shouldn’t have surprised me much at all. So, in case anyone else is interested, here is a little bit of a roadmap for how I got here, some of the differences I have noticed as compared to monogamous relationships and things I wish someone had told me when I first got interested in the possibility of a nontraditional relationship. I would also like to add the caveat that this is how I choose to live my life. Polyamory is not for everyone and that’s okay. I will never bash traditional monogamous relationships just because I’m not in one.
I am lucky enough to have grown up in a household where I always knew what polyamory was even if it wasn’t the relationship model I saw at home. I have never feared the idea of my immediate family knowing that the people I choose to have an intimate relationship with are more than just good friends. Extended family is somewhat different but the older I get the less apologetic I find myself being, so if someone asks a question, I will answer truthfully and if they think less of me for living authentically that is their problem, not mine. when Oz and I first started, dating we discussed the idea of a polyamorous relationship partially because of my disability. There are things that he is interested in that I couldn’t experience with him, longer/ non-accessible hiking trails for instance that I would feel bad if he gave up just because I was in his life. I also dislike the idea that a lot of people have that once you are in a committed relationship you must only do things the other person enjoys. Personally, I think that is ridiculous. Just because we don’t have all of the same hobbies or pastimes doesn’t mean we can’t still love each other. In a lot of traditional relationships, I have seen there can be a lot of resentment build up between partners if one spends a lot of time doing a hobby the other does not or cannot share with them.That is one of the nice things about polyamory, Oz can find someone who (among other things, I’m sure)enjoys hiking the harder trails I can’t follow and therefore is less likely to resent me because he felt he had to give up something he likes doing just because I can’t. On the other side of that coin, I have always enjoyed the Society for Creative Anachronism and Oz is currently on the fence about it. I would like him to go to at least one event but even if he does go and decides it’s not his thing, Dylan enjoys it as well so I wouldn’t have to feel like I was twisting someone’s arm just to get to go to an event.
Poly is a lot of talking. If you’re not good at verbalizing things be prepared to write a lot. Communication is key to any relationship and that is magnified exponentially in polyamory. Some little thing bugging you? Talk about it, even if only results in a two-minute conversation because staying quiet does nothing except continue to rub a sore spot raw. One of the things I was asked was how I made sure my emotional needs are met, the answer is more talking. Most people do not claim to be a mind reader and therefore one of the things that one or the other of us has said repeatedly is “I can’t fix a problem I don’t know exists.” A good rule of thumb I have found is that if it’s bothering you talk about it. If it’s something that’s bothering you that you don’t want to talk about then you should definitely be talking about it, it probably won’t get fixed overnight but at least it can be worked on.
A lot of people may ask how individual time gets worked out between everybody. The answer is that it is different for every relationship. Right now Oz and I live in Tennessee and Dylan and Sera live in New York State.Gods bless Google video chat.Oz and I have DVD delivery from Netflix plus the streaming service so at least once a week so at least once a week we make it a point to watch a movie or a couple episodes of television. It’s a good thing we’re all a bunch of third shift working people at my house because I don’t get funny looks for going to bed at four or five or later in the morning because I refuse to sleep until Dylan is home from work. Also, I going to visit them in about a month yay!
A specific word or two about terminology. Many poly people use terms like primary, secondary etc. to differentiate between their relationships. For example in a lot of cases, I have seen people use the term primary relationship to refer to the relationship they have with their legal spouse. A lot of people would consider Oz my primary relationship because he is the one I currently share living space with on a regular basis and finances etc. I do not personally care for labeling things that way. If it was necessary and within my capabilities to do so I would give whatever was needed to those I love, whether it was blood, money, food, organs, a roof over their heads, bone marrow etc. and they all know this. I don’t do things by halves if I’m in your life I will stay there as long as you will let me and while I’m there I will support you in any way that I can.
Authors note: This is what polyamory looks like for me there are as many different forms of it as there are people who are in polyamorous relationships.
I finish tying my shoes and carefully stand up. The moon is full so my brightly colored hair and shoelaces are an unexpected contrast to a mostly dark landscape. I’m walking down the path away from the log cabin on whose front porch I had just tied my shoes, who it belonged to or how I got there seemed unimportant. I’m walking with my hands held away from my sides, like a tightrope walker. The moonlight flashes briefly off of something moving in the woods nearby and I smile. My eyes now searching the trees for the flash I had seen I don’t really notice exactly when my unsteadiness fades and I’m no longer walking at all. I am running, fast enough for the wind to pick up my short hair off my shoulders and keep it out of my face for once. Is not quite “normal”, my right leg drags a little bit but I hardly notice. In the woods on either side of me glints of light off moving shadows that might have had fur tell me I’m still being paced. I can’t help but laugh,”Come on guys, I’m not that fast! You’re letting me win!” Just then, as though to remind me of my waking limitations that I had somehow managed to set out of mind for a few minutes, I trip, my right foot caught on a barely visible tree root.Well, this is going to hurt.I mentally brace myself for the impact and reflexively close my eyes. I never hit the ground. Laughter in my ear,”You’re right, you aren’t that fast.We don’t get ahead of you because we know you will eventually fall.” I have landed in an awkward half kneel leaning most of my weight on Oz shoulder. “Bet she twisted her ankle,” this said over my head to Dylan who is walking back carrying my right shoe, whch I had lost. “Did not,” said through gritted teeth as the ankle, which is most definitely injured is checked over. “What was that baby,” and I can tell from the tone of his voice Dylan isn’t fooled in the least. “Well, it isn’t broken but it needs ice so this night’s run is over. Next time, ask one of us to tie your shoes for you.”