The Little Things

We’re out at Chessington World of Adventures today – myself, Ladies M and S, and of course the cub. It’s another day in what has been a lovely long weekend of us all together; and yet another series of little moments where we’ve continued to gel and grow as an extended, if unconventional, family unit.

This is what gets me – a lot of people assume that the focus of polyamorous relationships is on what happens in the bedroom. While that’s as fun and and varied as in any other healthy relationship it doesn’t take any more priority than it does in monogamous relationships. Less, in some instances: for example Lady K (Lady S’ fiancée) identifies as asexual)

Our relationships manifest in how we take turns looking out for each other, and the cub, just as we look out for the Charleesi even as she has headed off to university. It’s in being a choice of hands to hold, or whoever is available helping to wash hair or run baths. It’s in the hugs, the managing of tantrums or boundaries – all of which will no doubt be ringing bells with parents.

Among us grown-ups it’s in the acknowledgement of silliness and mistakes; the gentle touches, the cups of tea and coffee, the winding down at the end of the day and sharing of moments that have bemused or vexed us. It’s being surrounded by love and support that fuels and encourages us to give out as much as we receive.

And with a small cub in tow, yes that does include sharing the emotional and physical workload so we don’t run out of spoons – extremely useful on a theme park visit..!

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Captain Boomerang Will Return

Not a hoax! Not an imaginary story! It is slightly tongue in cheek though. The other week we went to the lovely market town of Alton to take part in the GoGeek Events comicbook convention as part of the Squad UK group. I’d been challenged to create a costume based on the character Captain Boomerang as seen in Suicide Squad and for a while I’d been unsure quite how to pull it off as several parts of the costume are quite expensive to duplicate. Then I reminded myself that no one was going to quibbling over details as long as it felt right.

There are a number of places that break down character costumes into component parts, and I made sure to check on some for ideas and identify cheap places to find suitable articles – an chain necklace and grey infinity scarf from Amazon, a logo-covered beanie hat from eBay, a blue hoodie from Tesco, and a pair of replica boomerangs from Etsy (the most expensive part of the costume at £45 the pair plus a customs charge when they arrived). The rest of the costume I put together from what I had around the house. The long coat I’d had hanging in the wardrobe for years. A faux-leather bracer for the left arm was adapted from a knock-off Assassin’s Creed prop I’d bought a few months previously on the off-chance. Black jeans, a grey t-shirt, and my Doc Martens finished it all off – and miracle of miracles the weather cooled just enough for the event that I didn’t actually melt under all the layers.

Some experimentation with an extensive eyeshadow palette gave me bruises to the face and a creditable cut across the bridge of the nose – and I spent the whole event bopping around and acting the fool, much to the delight of children and families passing by. Its been a great costume to wear, and I think I have a new favourite beside my Harley and Karnak costumes. I’ll be wearing it again at St Alban’s in a couple of weeks – and quite likely to MCM London in October as well

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Poly – the cub’s eye view

Every now and then I get questions about my “weird and wonderful” life – and I’m going to start addressing them from time to time here as they spark inspiration or shake loose thoughts worth investigating. In particular I have been asked how Lady S’ son – ‘the cub’ as she refers to him on social media – copes with it all. Now, the word ‘copes’ is pretty loaded in this context as it assumes that he is in any way confused by the goings on around him. Most recently, for example, he’s simply checked in on who is allowed to kiss Mummy – and then taken the mickey out of everyone, usually with an enormous grin on his face.

Any thought that he might be getting confused or feeling in any way insecure was banished by how he has recently been talking to friends at his school about us. When he first started at school, and the class bullies worked out there wasn’t a father figure in his life, he was mocked and told that he must have been very bad for his father to have left them. Lady S was understandably angry on his behalf and a number of robust conversations were undertaken at the school and with the parents of the child in question.

Skip forward a few years, and the settling of our polycule into its current configuration, and the cub is inordinately proud of telling his school friends, teachers, and in fact anyone who will listen, that he now has three mummies and a dad and they wouldn’t believe the number of presents he gets from us all. Despite the endless loop of “ask your mother” looming over his head he is happy, contented, and secure in knowing he is loved and supported on all sides.

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Fiction Fragment: Seer

My mind is paralysed. Too many variables and possibilities flood through me, each pushed aside before they can fully form by the pressure of what is trying to clamour for my attention before it too is pushed aside.

Phantom chills and warmth, shocks and peace, all wrap around each other like a dark tunnel constricting my thoughts in a silent stillness behind my aching eyes. I should be panicking, but the calmness threads through like veins pulsing in the storm with my heartbeat and the whole feels strangely familiar.

Then I blink, and move, and breathe, and try to shake it off as quickly as it arrived. The future is clear and laid out before me like a roadmap – or at least the stepping stones are clear, even as the details are fading as soon as I pay attention to them. I try not to focus on the traitorous details to keep the sense of certainty for as long as possible.

I pick up my phone and key in a number I’d forgotten I knew, because the person at the end of the line has the answer I need to change things. This is what being a seer is.

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Self Care Musings

Between planned leave and taking time to support Lady M as unplanned leave I seem to have ended up with enough down time for my brain to go sideways without a focus. It’s not unlike the scenario of counting spoons as a marker of mental reserve levels, but coupled with a degree of existential flatness that I choose to believe is a side effect of being present for loved ones and work colleagues alike.

One of the best self-care things that I remind myself to do is not feel guilty about doing very little, because in these moments that is what I need; but it’s not easy – my whole upbringing and history has been based on the value of achievement, so my every instinct is to see sitting and doing nothing as a waste of time rather than of taking time for myself.

I find myself being apologetic if asked what I’ve done and responding that I’ve not done much beyond read, play games, or sketch. I should be cleaning, solving world peace, or inventing sliced bread 2.0 for this time on my own to have significance.

Never mind that my thoughts are with my partners, who have both been or are about to be visiting hospitals for different reasons – or with organisational issues around work that really can wait until I get back because I have peers and staff who can and will deal with anything unexpected in a field that is basically getting books and information in the hands of the right people in a reasonable amount of time.

Never mind that I have had no contact or news from most of my family or friends for a while (since coming out mostly, but I’m sure that’s coincidental because I hear through other channels just how busy their lives have been) – or that we’re nearly at a point to be able to have serious conversations about buying our own place at long last, as long as no one else dies or has anything catastrophic happen in the immediate future.

I worry about the future of my work, about my enthusiasm for writing and cosplay, about my health, about the health of my loved ones, and about how tired I feel all the time at the moment.

But, I am loved, in a huge cloud of support that uplifts and surprises me at every turn – from partners, our metamour, my colleagues, my daughter, friends – and it’s nearly payday, which is a nice bonus.

As ever, I know I’ll be okay, especially when I remember that it’s okay to look after myself so that I can recharge my own batteries to keep the black dog in its kennel.

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Mentoring Musings

Wherever I work, sooner or later it dawns on me that I’m not the new person, and indeed am looked on to be teaching the tricks of the trade to new people. Even more interesting to me are the situations where people that I have trained and coached are then in a position to be showing the ropes to new people.

I’ve had a lot of that recently at the library on both fronts. I have new starters that I’ve been setting to shadow staff to who I only recently taught the basics and helped past anxieties of dealing with the unexpected; and I have new deputies to who I am unveiling some of the “dark arts” of rotas, branch admin, and how to handle certain personalities among staff and customers.

I think I’ve been more gratified by watching how well people I’ve mentored be able to instruct and teach others in turn. It has felt like another tick box in the quiet assessment of how they’re doing and boost of the confidence I have in the people I manage.

It’s a simple pleasure, but also one that chimes with my own belief that people are generally happier when they understand their jobs and feel confidence in what they are asked to do, as they realise the breadth of their own skills and experience.

It’s almost as if I know what I’m doing..!

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Lazy Days

I usually have Mondays off, so the current hot spell of sun is allowing me to feel like I’m actually experiencing a summer for a change. This week I also have Tuesday off as I randomly took it to break up this end of the month while finding ways to use up leave.

The combination of the Summer Reading Challenge and people insisting on wanting to take holidays with their families makes it a difficult time to take leave without leaving places understaffed, but I refuse to let that override my own need to take breaks from the joys of managing libraries.

Ahem.

So, as I have tomorrow off as well I’m not currently feeling the “oh gods what am I doing with my day off” feeling that usually crops up the day before returning to work – and that’s just as well given how hot it is. I have instead taken refuge in the local Costa to abuse their air conditioning while I read and try to do some writing.

The book has been on relative hiatus of late because my laptop is definitely creaking and on its last legs now, spending most of its time just updating and whirring it’s fans at me – we have a backup desktop that I plan to use as a backup machine but I think I’m going to have to bite the bullet and buy something simple and convenient to write on.

I’d better start saving up.

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