Resolutions for Mind, Body, & Spirit

I looked through my facebook Year in Review this morning for 2013, and the basic version of my resolutions stands out: “Accept and be grateful for the past which has helped to define me. Breathe and be grateful for my current status. Plan and be grateful that I am in control of which direction my future takes.”

I had one very big end in 2013, in which I said goodbye to over 10 years of my life.  FYI, divorce sucks, but sometimes it is necessary.

Without it in my past, I would not be the woman I am today without that marriage behind me.  I would not be the mother of two. I may not have a successful career in accounting.  I may not have completely embraced polyamory.

Some days might suck because of the divorce, but when I can remember to stop and breathe, I am reminded that I will see my sons in a couple of days.  When I stop and breathe, I am reminded that my chest is not as heavy as it once was, in what had become a loveless relationship.  When I stop to breathe, I am reminded that I find it much easier to be true to myself, which is an important lesson to be able to teach my beautiful boys.

While I know exactly when my next tomorrow with the boys might be, I also know that in 2014 I won’t get Thanksgiving or Christmas, and that kind of sucks.  But, at the same time, I have 10 months to figure out how to make my non-holiday season perfect for me and my family.

Within these goals of accepting, breathing and planning, I need to take better care of myself, and I am hopeful that the start of 2014 will be the brand new beginning that I have needed.  Cliche, I know.  I accept that.  It isn’t all that specific, but I can plan that.

I will allow myself to be a priority in terms of my needs for meditation and exercise.  I will meditate every day for at least five minutes, and I will exercise in some fashion (taking walks with my loves count as exercise and quality time… win-win) for at least 3 hours each week.

I will continue with the changes in my life that have been beneficial, such as attendance at a Unitarian Universalist church, and volunteering my time within.  I plan to give time and energy to an organization known as Stuff of Stars that was started in 2013.  In conjunction with the need to promote positive self-image for every individual, I want to develop some seminar outlines for the mix of my interests with healthy polyamory practices.  How does spirituality impact an emotional relationship with multiple partners?  How can a positive self-image be promoted within a relationship where you might be battling your own emotions about how your partner’s other significant other may have better hair, a better hourglass figure, or a fantastic smile with perfect teeth.

Here’s to making 2014 my best year yet. I have no doubt it will be.

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Mission Statements – The How

From Questions to AnswerHow will I monitor both my health and the health of my relationships? How will I deal with the need to limit my love?  How will I handle the eventual dilemma between the forces of my heart and my calendar?

I have never been one to be good at defining my own limits.  When I am in the throes of New Relationship Energy (NRE), head over heals for a new lover, I tend to throw caution to the wind go where ever the tide takes me, a frantic flight pattern of a stray balloon at the county fair.  (Like how I mix all kinds of metaphors here?  It’s symbolic of how my brain works when I am in NRE.)

I will rely on my other partners to keep me steady through this emotional whirlwind, and count on them to express their own needs and desires, so that I can work to keep my promises to them to have healthy and lasting relationships.  Is that fair?  Probably not.

So, how can I work to be better about this on my own, without expecting someone else to do the job of self-care for me?

I’m going to propose daily meditation and thrice-weekly workouts.  This rule will go into effect for the start of 2014.  This will allow me to take better care of myself, and when I take better care of myself, I tend to take better care of people I love, too.

I have generally done a form of “no thought” meditation in the past.  Perhaps if a relationship’s energy is taking too much of my will-power control, I will focus on that, instead.  Giving the energy a strict focus may allow myself to put it on the backburner for the rest of the day.

I may also bring tarot and oracle readings into the mix.  I’m not necessarily one to believe that the cards dictate the future, but I do know that when I read the cards, focusing on an issue in my life, clarity does seem to strike.

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The Responsibility to Say, “I would prefer not to.”

I was recently a part of a dialog between numerous people, the catalyst of which was a woman who expressed her discomfort at a recent convention, in which she received unwanted attention.  She felt uncomfortable given the situation, and she wanted to start a conversation about her experiences, to determine the experiences of others, and to discuss ways the producers would navigate this tricky water at future events.

I was a first responder to her post on social media, and I stressed that she had to take some of the responsibility on herself for making her discomfort known in the situation.  It is the responsibility of the producers of an event to ensure I have access to safety.  It is my responsibility to speak up for myself when my comfort is being infringed upon, though.

A very crude example  follows: I go to a party at my friend’s home.  I have a good enough relationship with the friend (to the point that we will be exchanging gifts at this event) that I can expect her home will not be filled with, say, asbestos.  What can I say, I don’t want to get cancer.  However, when I get there, I see that there are people smoking on her front porch.  She asks me to come out and light up.  Here, I have a choice.  I can go outside and stand in the cold, uncomfortable and pissed off, but remain silent.  Or, I can say, “I would prefer not to,” taking a line from Bartleby.

The onus is on me in this instance.  The onus is always on me when I am of my right mind and sound body to determine where my comfort levels can reach.

If I am out dancing, and choosing to not drink (and I should point out that the alcohol was all outside the boundaries of convention space – I do not believe the original poster could make a claim that she was intoxicated when she became uncomfortable, and it was the responsibility of the producers of the event to step in for her safety), and I grind on a male, the responsibility is mine to say, “I would prefer not to,” when he asks if I want to go home and have sex.

If I am at a library, and a man sitting a table’s length from me is staring intently at me, the onus is on me to say, “I would prefer not to be stared at.”

If you are at a non-monogamy focused convention, and you are being flirted with mercilessly, and you really want it to stop, say, “I would prefer not to continue this conversation.”

For anyone to claim that they are not responsible for speaking their discomfort about any situation, well, that is ludicrous in my opinion.  If you aren’t comfortable speaking to the person who is making you uncomfortable, it is still your responsibility to find a way to get comfortable.  Find a friend to head to the bathroom with.  Find a bartender who can cut the jerk off.  Find a police officer and go talk to him until the jerk leaves if you don’t want to bring attention to the one who is making you uncomfortable.  Find a producer of an event and ask for their help in navigating through the unwanted attention your beauty is attracting.

“Why is it my responsibility to keep myself from being objectified?”  My answer is, it isn’t your responsibility to keep from being objectified, as that is IMPOSSIBLE.  There will always be jerks in the world who think that a man is nothing more than the size of his penis or his ability to open a jar of pickles.  There will always be jerks in the world who think that a woman is nothing more than tits and ass.  There will always be jerks in the world who think that punks dress the way they do because they want to be a moving piece of art and it is right to stare.  There will always be jerks who will objectify you.  There is nothing you can do about that.

It is your responsibility to keep from *feeling* objectified.  You are the owner of your emotions, and when there is a catalyst that is triggering an emotion, and when you have a need to know you are seen as more than a piece of meat, then you are responsible for saying so.   You are responsible to speak your mind, to be the change you want to see in this world.  You are responsible to say, “I would prefer not to.”

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Mission Statements – The When

From Questions to Answer: When am I available for developing new relationships?  Am I looking for a one-night a month relationship?  Once a week?  Once a year? When will I re-evaluate the answers to all of the questions I have asked myself, to determine if my answers still stand?

I do not believe that I am available for developing new relationships at this time, but I also understand that relationships have a tendency to occur at times I am least prepared for them.  To that end, my current status is set to “Seeing Someone” on my profile on OKCupid, and I am quite clear that I identify as polyamorous though I am not currently seeking additional partners.  (Check me out here, if you are interested in learning more about me, of if you would like to give me pointers on how I present myself to the public on an internet dating site.  I can’t promise I’ll listen ;))

Once I have my own head on straight, I believe my first priority will be to look for a casual relationship, as I am hopeful that one will be easier to fulfill than a live-in partner who will mesh well with my partner and our TPE relationship.  I would love to have a once-a-month date night, filled with NRE and passion.  Perhaps it will change to something more meaningful, but having fun is a need, too, even if it isn’t high on Maslow’s hierarchy.

Beyond that, and not necessarily in a romantic context, I am also interested in pursuing a writing community, so that my creative needs will feel fulfilled.  I am working on that one currently, and have a couple of short story ideas working in my brain to get into a text file for their review.

I plan to revisit my goals and needs on a quarterly basis in 2014.  I will decide in December of 2014 if I need to revisit them on a different schedule in 2015.

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Mission Statements – The Where

From Questions to AnswerWhere am I willing to look for potential partners?  Am I willing to look in the kink scene?  Local?  Long-distance penpals? Where will I want my focus to be? 

For me, this answer is perhaps the easiest.  My dream of a live-in relationship must be knowledgeable of and willing to live with a TPE dynamic between my current partner and me.  A preference would be that she would be willing to enter into a similar negotiation.  That likely means looking toward other non-traditional communities.

My more casual relationships would be preferential if local, as that would help me to have my needs met more regularly.  I’ve had wonderful experiences with OKCupid, and I will keep my profile up indefinitely, even though I am quite clear that I am not actively seeking new partners at this time.

A writing partner could certainly work long-distance, though I love in-person writing sessions and review processes.  This is perhaps the hardest need for me to answer about.  I have plenty of friends who are interested in writing, but getting a writing group off the ground has been difficult for me.  I am excited about a possibility in 2014 for a new writing project.

At this point, though, as I am defining my wants, my needs, and my deal-breakers, I am willing to keep my eyes and heart open to anything that comes my way.  I am not actively pursuing relationships, though I will not deny a potential relationship from blossoming if all feels good and healthy.

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Mission Statements – The What

From Questions to AnswerWhat are my needs?  What type of relationship do I want?  Short-term, long-term, live-in, casual, friends-with-benefits? 

A friend of mine, who identifies as polyamorous, and I are very different when it comes to this type of question.  He wants multiple relationships in order to have a loving family who all support one another.  He does not see his move to polyamory as a need-based decision, rather, for him, it is a desire to give more love back to the world.  I respect this type of polyamorous path, but it is not mine.

I have needs, and most of the time, I am even able to define them accurately and succinctly.  The trick for me is that my needs seem to be as migratory as my thought patterns often are.  I need both comfort and compassion on a regular basis, but there are times when I need the security that comes from being held with firm arms.

Because my needs fluctuate, I need partners who can understand and accept my changing passions, who will understand that some nights I will want to cuddle on a couch, some nights I will need a night on the town, exploring new restaurants, some nights I will want an unforgiving hand working its way through my latest short story, marking it with red. Some nights I will want to be lifted and carried to a bed.  I don’t expect one person to be able to fulfill all of these roles, just as I would not want to be expected to fulfill all of the roles someone else needed in their romantic love life.

My dream situation would likely include at least two more partners.  I would like another live-in partner, down the road, who can help to share some of the domestic burden of a large home and family.  She (as my preference for a live-in partner would be female, in order to have a higher chance of a connection with my domestic partner, who is straight) might be a writing partner, might be an evening out partner, might be a cuddle buddy… but I doubt she would be able to life me and carry me to a bed.

For that role in my life, I would anticipate a casual relationship, though that does not mean an emotionless one.  I would expect that relationship to give me a night a month (sometimes less, sometimes more).

If, between these two perfect roles, my needs are not satisfied, or other needs develop, I would expect that all partners would accept that, and provide me with opportunities to find satisfaction elsewhere.

Yes, I know that what I want is a dream.  Yes, I know that the people in my life have the right and responsibility to speak up for their own needs, too.  Yes, I know that there will need to be negotiation between everyone in my life, to ensure safety and security of hearts, minds, and bodies.

But if I’ve learned anything over the years, you’re less likely to get what you don’t ask for.

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Mission Statements – The Who?

From Questions to Answer: “Who am I?  … What are the core pieces of me that will need to be respected as I form new relationships?”  

I have spent the majority of my life trying to be who I thought other people wanted me to be.  This is a very difficult type of question for me to answer because of that. The sad truth is that I had very little idea who I was and what I wanted for a good chunk of years.

What it comes down to, at the very basic core of this question, I think, therefore , is that, well, (like all the comma uses?  Can you tell I’m stalling?) I want to be the opposite of who I was from about the age of 14 through 31.  Seventeen years of my life… it isn’t that I want to erase those pieces of me, but that I want to assure I remember them, and build my foundation stronger because of them.

My relationships will need to respect that I am a constantly changing individual, and that I have very little concrete understanding of what my life goal is right now.  I’ve already done the three-letter job title, both domestically (M-O-M) and in my career (C-F-O), and while I never want to give up being a mother, I want to be more than that, too.  I did want to give up being CFO, because I wanted to be more than an underpaid hat rack to a non-profit organization.

Who am I, beyond titles and ages?  I am whimsical and dependable.  I am strong and emotional.  I am youthful and old beyond my years.  I am smart and naive.  I am an enigma.

Dammit, that’s no help.

I am a dominant woman, who likes to have a sense of control, at all times, even in those times I release control to others.

I am a spiritual woman, who believes that community is necessary in order to grow both roots and branches.

I am a creative woman, who believes that the cathartic release of writing is necessary for my mental and (by extension) physical health.

I am a woman whose primary Languages of Love are Acts of Service (this is how I need to be spoken to) and Words of Affirmation (this is how I speak my love).

At least that’s a start, I suppose.  I expect all of the questions, who, what, where, when, how and why will all be re-examined on a regular basis until I am confident they are as lasting as can be for me… which I give at most, six months.

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