I had a break thru recently. I was talking w/ my shaman friend Free and I learned that I had been holding a story about him that was not true. My story was that when he and Kate started to become involved I thought what he wanted was to have a monogamous relationship and thus he was not supporting my relationship with Kate. When Kate broke up with me and then became exclusive with Free I had proof for my story. What actually happened was that Free had been advocating for Kate and i, until it was clear to him that we were not working for her. Kate and I tumbled apart, Free and I did not talk, I held onto my story that he was the bad guy and distanced myself unnecessarily.
I have a selective memory about my past relationships. I tend to forget and diminish the troubles and amplify what worked and was exciting in them. I had forgotten/diminished the struggles in my oft amazing relationship with Kate.
Kate was the kind of partner lover I crave – someone who inspires both me and our audiences, someone who has a complimentary skill set (in Kate’s case a theatrical one), is daring and wants to hustle the revolution. And someone who is interested in both being deeply involved w/ me and my politics. When Kate and I first went to the conservative Christian college of East Carolina University we were in high honeymoon and dangerously charismatic together. We talked with them about polyamory in what I am convinced was one of the most disturbing lectures many of those 100 freshmen ever had. And we loved it.
Kate’s and my relationship unraveled around what I am unaffectionately calling turbulence. For people close to me the chaos of my life is exhausting and frustrating. From distracting new projects to alluring new romances to interrupting quiet evenings with support for intimates experiencing manic episodes or suffering suicide attempts. It is easy to feel jerked around. And as I thought about it I realized it was a nearly impossible position for me to ask someone to embrace.
An impossible position which Sara has recently been feeling the full force of. I am quite attached to the complexity of my life and what is most scarce in my life is time. So while many of my relationships feel starved for time, one of the places we do connect is that I can be there for them in a jam. I like to be the hero, so I don the robe of the fixer. Last week it was an intimate whose house was being searched by the police without a warrant and who’s estranged partner had taken her kids. The problem with this job, is that you cant predict when it is going to hit. And thus the people near me are unwillingly on call and may well feel run over by it.
My construct was that I was unwilling to give up this highly interrupted life style and that Sara either needed to accept this about being close, or dramatically shrink our relationship. The thought being smaller portions of time could be protected (turning off my cell, not being in public space, etc). Sara understandably found this a disturbing prospect.
So we agreed to talk with Sky and Kassia about our situation. They were brilliant. Sky pointed out that turbulence was a responsibility dodge on my part for running over people. And while my life is cetainly turbulent, there are a myriad of ways to take care of those close to me. My homework is to talk with several of the many intimates who have been affected by my bad behavior – Kate and Tree and Hawina and Anissa and even Sky himself about what I could do to be more considerate of them. Kas suggested that instead of having all interruptable time versus much less safe time, we could have a mix as long as it was clearly delineated.
And with their sage council Sara and I went from feeling a bit hopeless about our situation to being optimistic, like we had turned a corner and that we could maintain this amazing connection. We promptly went and celebrated with a wet and wild night.