AF came along this morning and boy do I feel better. I have never been so happy to see her. No wonder I was feeling so bad yesterday what with the impending visit and it being the year's saddest day. Thank you to everyone who kept me in their thoughts. I think I should let you all know, though, that "Wistfully thinking of the everlasting peace of death" is still two points above "Thinking it would be nice if the train were to jump its tracks and strike me" which is one point above "wondering what it would take to get the train to jump the tracks" which is one point above "wishing someone would just push me in front of the train already" which is still two points above "Actually considering jumping in front of the train." As you can see, I have my depression all mapped out.
And since my spirits are up, I am going to go ahead and post another FAQ regardless of the fact that I think I'm being too long winded. So here we go.
How did you and Kristin meet and how long have you been together?
Whenever people used to ask me and Kristin how we met, we used to look at each other and smile as if we had a big, juicy secret to tell. And then we would tell the person, “You know, we always tell people who ask that question a different story. We like to see how outrageous we can get and still have people believe us. There was the one time we said we had met while doing internships with a circus, and then there’s the story about getting in a fight over the last package of Boca burgers in the grocery store and ending up spending the night together. And then, of course, there’s the yarn about Kristin watching me (a total stranger to her) try to parallel park my car and how she got so frustrated with my forward-two-inches-backward-two-inches maneuvers that she came up to me and told me that she’d park the car for me. But for you, you we will tell how we really met…”
And so for you, and only you, I will tell the story of how we really met. We met on the internet. I answered her personal ad. But maybe I should back up a little bit…
In late August of 2000, I moved back home after a disastrous attempt to move to Vermont and be with someone (yes, someone in particular, not just someone/anyone like the sentence sounds). I was heartbroken, furious at myself for falling for it again, and with a severely sprained ankle. I was so financially wiped out that my best friend had her uncle cash in his frequent flier miles to get me home. I flew home in pain and shame and secrecy. One of the first things I did upon my return (besides getting my dream job and getting depressed about living in my parents’ storage room) was fall into the arms of one of my best friends. We’d had an on-again/off-again flirtation (and occasionally more) for years and always blamed our lack of connection on bad timing. It seemed that our timing was finally right: here was I, claiming to be no longer emotionally attached to someone who would never be available to me; here was she, happy and settled in a stable polyamorous relationship. And for the first few weeks it was amazing. The sex was unbelievable, the connection between us was great, it felt so good to be enjoying myself and not pining over that person in Vermont. And then… well, her husband wanted to be included. And while I didn’t have a problem with him as a person, I just couldn’t go there sexually. But my sense of fairness insisted that I couldn’t be sleeping with his wife and not let him in on the action. So we did a couple of threesomes, and though they felt good (sexually speaking) eventually my emotional state crumbled. I started having flashbacks, panic attacks, migraines. Further, it seemed to me that they wanted a permanent partner in their lives and even without the emotional badness I just couldn’t do polyamory on a permanent basis. I wanted freedom, I wanted adventure, I wanted WOMEN!*
So it ended, badly. The kind of bad ending that takes several months to mature fully. Where you think for a while that you can all still be friends and then it explodes. As far as I was concerned it was over; as far as they were concerned I was taking some space and we’d renegotiate in a couple of months. In the meantime, I started looking around for other people to sow my wild oats with. I should mention here that the lesbian community in Utah can be a bit cliquey. It can be very hard to meet people here even if you know where to go. I wasn't having much luck finding women in the bar or the produce section of the Gay Smith's, or the coffee shop, so I started looking at internet personal ads. I browsed through several, and answered some, and then I came across HER. DAMN, but she was cute. And she was in a career that had always fascinated me. So I sent her a message, and received NO response. So I gave a wistful little sigh and continued slogging through the mess I had made of my friendship while I reevaluated ALL of my friendships and life choices. I made a five-year plan. I made a decision to stop being co-dependant. I dreamed up a ceremony where I finally let Vermontgirl go.
After the ritual (which took place on New Year’s Eve, natch) I was at peace with Vermontgirl, clear about the threesome, and ready to face whatever the goddess sent me (as long as it involved sowing lots of oats). The next day there was an email from my internet goddess. She had forgotten about that ad, just remembered it the night before and checked her messages. Out of all those people I was the one she wrote back to. We emailed back and forth for a few days and she sent me her number. “Whoa,” I thought, “you’re sure moving fast little filly!” but hey, I was all about the wild oats, remember, plus that sense of fairness intervened again and so I sent her my numbers in a gesture of faith that she wasn’t psycho or a lonely teenaged boy in a basement.
The day after that was not a good day for me. I overslept and arrived for work late, with greasy hair and unshaven legs (I hadn’t had time to shower or find pants, the skirt was the only thing clean). Then I had a baaaaaaaaaad phone call from my threesome friend. Right after I hung up from her and got my sobs under control, Internet Goddess called. She wanted to set up a time to meet. “What are you doing now?” I sniffled.
We met for lunch at Chili’s, where I proceeded first to insult her haircut (new that day) and then to spill my guts about Vermontgirl and The Threesome That Wouldn’t Go Away (bet you couldn’t see THAT coming, could ya? Especially since I’m such a reserved and secretive person). Still, despite that, she invited me to her house to play scrabble, where it became immediately obvious that all my boasting about scrabble magnificence were bald-faced lies (hey, I thought, How hard can it be to kick someone’s butt at scrabble?). Still, despite that, she invited me to her bedroom to look at the pictures from her recent vacation in Portugal. So we went to her bedroom where we… looked at pictures. Really, just looked at pictures. I was a bit put out and resolved to stick her in Friendville and move on to easier chicks. Can you just picture it? Can you? Me unwashed, unshaven (and not unshaven in a “this is a statement” kind of way but unshaven in a “I forgot to do something” kind of way) and emotionally needy with a recent history of reckless behavior, a red/blotchy face from crying over lunch, and an embarrassing loss at scrabble after just boasting about how good I was. Wasn’t I just scrumptious? Wouldn't you want to take me to bed?
But by the end of the week we were “dating” and a few weeks later she and I took a romantic road trip to Taos for Valentine’s day. I moved in with her in March. There’s a lot in the middle there, some really amazing romantic and emotional and deep things that convinced me that sowing my wild oats was not worth tossing this woman off for, and convinced her that I was not ALWAYS a hygiene-challenged emotional wreck, but in the interest of protecting Kristin’s privacy I’ll keep those between myself everyone I know IRL. Umm, just kidding, kind of. Anyway, suffice it to say that Kristin is a wonderful, beautiful, brilliant, strong woman and I am so very lucky that I didn’t manage to scare her off that first day or any of the days since. This March we’ll mark 5 years of domestic bliss.
And there you have it.
*and yes, I know that the stereotypical image of poly people is that they'll sleep with anyone at anytime, so you'd think my wanting the freedom to sleep around wouldn't conflict with being in a poly relationship, but it's really not like that. Polyamory (especially the way this couple did it) involves a lot of communication and emotional work and dedication to relationship that I really was not in the space to do right then. Hence my feeling trapped and needing OUT.