deza: (Secret master librarians)
If you love something, let it go.
But what if it never comes back?

That’s my dilemma. You see, my husband is polyamorous. I’m not.

For those not familiar with the term, a person who is polyamorous (poly for short) is capable of having multiple romantic and/or sexual relationships at once. These relationships may or may not overlap each other, and really there are as many differing “types” of poly as there are people practicing it. The one rule is that everyone involved knows about and consents to multiple relationships being ok. No one is kept in the dark.

I know some lovely people for whom this works very well, and has worked for years and years.

Me, though? So not me. See, I was married to a sociopath. No, I’m not speaking metaphorically. He was diagnosed by the psychotherapist who attempted marriage counseling before our first divorce. I’d never heard a therapist fire a client before.

One of the things my ex did, several times, was tell women we were in a poly relationship to get them into bed. Other women, he told he was looking for the next Mrs Sociopath to replace me when I died (since I am chronically ill and do have an anticipated shortened lifespan). He would say whatever it took to get what he wanted from these women – and then he would drop them and move on to the next. Sometimes he was even kind enough to bring diseases home – fortunately they were all treatable with antibiotics, although one particularly bad one came very close to making me miscarry my son. But that was my first exposure to “poly”, that it was just another term for cheating.

I know this ISN’T how poly is supposed to work, but I still have a lot of damage from that time. Part of the damage is a very deep seated belief that if my partner is wanting to be with someone else, it’s because on some level there is a desire to replace me with the other person. Even if it’s only for a night, I (rather understandably) have a problem with this notion.

For a long time, if I knew a guy was poly, I wouldn’t have anything to do with him outside of friendship. Full stop, period, end of statement. I didn’t want to even risk colluding in helping another woman feel the way I had felt.

Then I fell, and fell hard, for my husband.

He told me from the beginning he was poly. When we first started, I thought he was going to be a brief fling, then he would go back to GA and I would stay in PA and we’d chat occasionally over FaceBook and that would be it. I hadn’t had any sexual or romantic touch in three years and I was starved for it. So I told myself that his relationship quirks wouldn’t be an issue and took the chance.

Three years after that two-week visit, we’re married. The vast majority of the time, we are an incredibly good match and he makes me deliriously happy. We’ve weathered some really awful external events, and we’ve come through it stronger than ever. We support each other in all the ways that really matter.

But then he goes on a date, and I fall the fuck apart.

My imagination is too good, and I can’t turn it off. I can’t block out the mental image of him looking at another woman the way he looks at me, of him telling another woman how good it feels to be inside her, of him having that look of satisfaction on his face when he cums with someone else. And it drives me crazy. Every time, I end up in tears long before he gets home. I convince myself that he is trying to replace me, that he wants to find someone else that is better in bed than I am, someone who can do more for him than I can, someone who is healthier than I am, someone who is more accommodating. I generally reach the decision that the best thing for him would be if I weren’t in his life so he could be poly without having to deal with my crazy ass holding him back from fully enjoying life. If I don’t have any medications to calm the anxiety, the thoughts swirl around and around until I’m suicidal.

Three of the four times I’ve tried to kill myself in the last year have been directly connected to him being with someone else. The fourth was over losing the custody battle for my son.

And my poor love has been the one dealing with the fallout of this. He hasn’t done anything wrong. He’s been open and honest with me from the beginning. He’s gone out of his way to spend more time with me before and after his dates so I wouldn’t feel neglected. He’s talked about it until he turns blue. He’s supported me reading everything I can get my hands on about being a monogamous person in a polycule (the grouping of lovers of a polyamorous person). He’s shaken me out of sleeping pill comas, held me when I’ve broken down, tried to reassure me over and over again.

And every time, for my anxiety, my fear, it isn’t enough.

I am desperately afraid that the best ending here is divorce. Not because I don’t love him; because I do. Because it isn’t fair that he should have to curtail the way he loves and views relationships with other people because of my issues. Because it isn’t fair that I end up crying myself to sleep alone on nights when he is out with someone else. Because he deserves to have a wife who understands and appreciates him exactly as he is without freaking out over this one thing. Because I deserve to feel secure in my marriage, without having past damage regularly triggered.

I love him, and my fear is tearing me apart.

LJI entry. I got a little raw on this one.
deza: (Secret master librarians)
There I was. A newly-minted college graduate, with a degree that allowed me to be grammatically correct when I asked customers if they wanted a lap dance and no real prospects for a more stable job. I had gone for a few extra semesters on the hope of getting an Education degree -- only to find out I had been left off the student teaching roster and would have a 3 YEAR wait before I could even think of getting a job.

Stripping paid well - it was how I had paid for most of 6 years of college - but it wasn't what I wanted to be doing for years to come.

I had worked for a while in the University library. I was in the bindery department, collecting periodicals and preparing them to be bound into volumes for archival storage. Sometimes this was rather disturbing, like every time I had to go into the men's restroom to recover Sports Illustrated and Playboy and Epoca. Some of those issues were biohazards, and yes I wore gloves to handle them. I also had the luxury of flipping through back issues of Asimov's Science Fiction (where I made my first professional fiction sale) and the Journal for the American Society of Psychic Research. I loved it. I loved being surrounded by articles and stories and so much knowledge. I loved when people would ask for help and I could direct them where to go. I loved the quiet camaraderie of the bindery office when we were all carefully applying gold leaf call numbers to newly bound dissertations.

The obvious solution was to become a librarian.

Turns out, librarianship isn't an easy thing to get into. To move up from a student parapro to a full librarian, I needed a Master's degree in Information Science. Science? I wanted to work to with words, not numbers! But still, you have to meet the needs of the job you want, so off to grad school I went.

Eighteen months later I had my Master's degree - also paid for in large part by savings from my stripping days plus the stipend of being a student worker.

Twenty years later, I am still a librarian. Never did make it back to the University library that kicked it all off, but I have found talents I never knew I had. I've learned a lot that they probably should have taught us in grad school. I've dealt with armed and irritable patrons, fecal matter smeared on walls, teens that were not getting enough structure to know how to stay out of trouble, overflowing urinals, petty tyrant Board members, insect-infested returns and a live kitten put in the book drop. I've helped people recovering from natural disasters like Katrina and man-made disasters like the recent Gatlinburg fires. I've been the point of information for people diagnosed with devastating diseases, directed the newly-homeless into the shelter system, rescued abused children, helped people start businesses and buy their first homes.

I still love it.

LJ Idol, Season 10, Week 4
deza: (Secret master librarians)
Southern Guilt is a strange thing. It's not as prevalent now as it used to be, thank Og. However, my mom never quite left the 1950s, so I grew up with a healthy dose of the Guilt Method of parenting.

A partial list of the things a "nice girl" would never do:
  • Leave the house without lipstick and mascara
  • Go out to dinner without meeting the boy's family (and vice versa)
  • Indulge in risque or offensive speech
  • Enjoy sex with anyone
  • Pass gas in public
  • Allow guests in without having snacks and drinks available
  • Drink alcohol to inebriation
  • Wear a hemline above the knee
  • Sunbathe at a public beach or pool
  • Change clothes where other people could see
  • Kiss anyone other than family or fiance

I was a huge disappointment to my mother when it came to being a nice girl. I dared to work my way through college AND grad school without getting the coveted MRS degree of a trophy wife; 20 years later, she still hasn't forgiven me for that.

Being raised on Southern Guilt left a mark, though. Those early lessons of Nice Girls Don't still cause me problems. The worst ones, the ones that started earliest and were repeated the most often, where the prohibitions on enjoying contact with men.

Thing is, I like men. For a long time now, men have liked me too. I like the way they smell and feel, the sound of deep voices when they laugh, the feeling of being held close and kissed hard. But just when things start to get REALLY interesting...

Southern Guilt rears its ugly head.

Nice Girls Don't.
Don't enjoy.
Don't reciprocate.
Don't encourage.
Don't want.

Nice Girls don't, but I always did. And that internal conflict, being torn between the rules of being a Nice Girl and my own desires, made me miserable for years. I was damned if I did what felt right, damned if I followed the rules.

Then something amazing happened.

A guy I was dating asked how I would feel about being tied up.

Dunno, never done it before, let's try.

And Southern Guilt never appeared.

It was the first time I had sex without being racked with guilt over it. I was helpless. I wasn't responsible for what happened. It was ok to just be IN the moment instead of fretting over what a horrible person I was for enjoying myself.

Over time, things evolved. I explored a lot of the BDSM culture, finding out my own particular tastes and preferences, seeing what works for me and what doesn't.

Whenever I start feeling Southern Guilt creeping back, I still pull out the tie-down harness. I struggle and twist and try to get out and enjoy the things done to me immensely, needing to feel like I'm resisting enjoying myself to be able to truly let go.

It's amazing how being bound makes me feel free.

This has been my entry for Week 1, Season 10 of The Real LJ Idol. Enjoy!

Topic 0

Nov. 9th, 2016 04:54 pm
deza: (Secret master librarians)
I really didn't think there would be a Season 10 for LJ Idol. I am so, so glad there is! I know it mostly seems like just silly scribbles from the outside, but writing for LJI has helped me so much over the years. It's been my confessional, the safe space for analyzing the dissolution of relationships, and where I came to terms with discovering my disability. The people involved have helped me stay sane(ish) through years of utter hell and through some of my greatest joys. I can't thank y'all enough for being there for me, whether I needed a cheering section or a swift kick in the pants.

So, for those who don't know or remember me -- hi. I'm Marna. I am a newlywed, a librarian, a grandmother, a witch, a gamer chick and a certified nerd. Right now, I'm between jobs and looking, so that is taking a lot of the extra processing space in my brain. But hey, I can write in between job applications! Honestly, with things being what they are I'm putting in some applications in countries other than the US. I have a feeling I'm not the only one doing so today.

Momentous events since the last time I wrote for LJI:
  • I GOT MARRIED! In June I married a guy that I've been in love with for 18 years. He's the father of my 17 year old daughter, and the man I should have married back then (and I'm sure the explanation of why that didn't happen will be a future LJI entry). After just over 2 years together and 5 months married, we're still remarkably cute and sappy together. Be careful or you may get cavities.
  • Gained and lost a few jobs. The latest loss was rather traumatic, so there's sure to be more on that later.
  • Moved around a bit. Right now, I'm just outside of Atlanta, GA, staying with my in-laws while waiting to see where the next employment adventure will take us.
  • I lost custody of my son. My daughter had moved in with my ex-husband about a year and a half ago. This past summer, he got her to lie in court and had me ruled an unfit mother. Yep, there's trauma to spare to work through this season.

The long and the short of it is, it's been one hell of a ride. Some days I want off; most days I just hang on tight.

The Real LJ Idol is a combination of writing competition, reality tv show elimination contest, and wild roller coaster. I'll be writing entries roughly once a week or so until eliminated, so don't be surprised if I beg for votes to stay in the game!
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