A Very Polycule Christmas

I forgot to mention last night that boy s and Lady M ended the evening working out between themselves where I would be living for the next few days. They did so by debating among themselves who had the most energy vs the most things to do this week – in other words who had the capacity to put up with me for a few days. It was prompted by boy s feeling a bit down at the end of the game last night as we all packed up to go home. The prospect of going from a house full of people and laughter to it just being him and the cub was just making him a bit low, so Lady M volunteered me. I didn’t get any consultation on this, which I have not failed to rib the pair of them about all day.

My original plan had been to just have a quiet day playing on the XBox, but such was not to be – Lady M had her booster shot due in Kingston so I got dragooned into driving her to that but took advantage of it to sort out some boxes and envelopes for boy s for some items he needed to post so I could at least be useful in the process. Then I gathered an overnight bag, my laptop, a couple of journals and some pens and wandered over to the new flat while Lady M got back to work. I may be on holiday, but Lady M isn’t for a few more days – but that’s largely because I haven’t taken much time this year while she used her leave to recover from some things a few months back. So I’ve left her to it while she sorts things out ahead of her break – much as she let me get on with things to clear the decks for my work last week.

I think I’m just going to chalk this up to “unexpected things that are part of being polyamorous” – where teasing and silliness meet care and compersion, and the quieter partners sometimes bargain amongst themselves as to where the token extraverted person goes next so that they don’t feel overloaded. Its a thing I’ve seen in joking posts on social media before now but never encountered before this weekend. As our flats are about five minutes drive away from each other it isn’t really a huge issue – I’ve already made plans to wander back tomorrow to annoy Lady M and retrieve more of boy s’ laundry as I carry on finding more odds and ends he’s left behind in his moves. Well, that and annoy people by playing Christmas songs on Spotify because I seem to be the only person in the polycule particularly fussed about it this year. There are probably worse roles to have in life.

I think in part its down to having to cancel our plans to visit my parents so we’re having to stock our households up with food and drink, having run down the larders in anticipation of being away for a week or so. Still, better safe than sorry with omicron careening around our communities. I’m taking boy s to get his booster in a couple of days and that catches him up with pretty much everyone else at that point so that’ll be something to celebrate.

I still have difficulty as seeing myself as the extraverted person, but multiple Myers-Briggs tests over the years can’t be wrong – to be fair I do tend to recharge being around people along with being comfortable being alone so I think I’m a borderline case – which no doubt explains how I have no problem standing up in training courses and holding the floor. So that now leaves me sitting on the sofa playing Boney M songs while boy s triumphantly reclaims the cardigan I’ve been wearing today and curls up with a cider and his laptop. Welcome to Christmas

No Rest For the Wicked

I’ve just spent the last couple of days compiling my first article for the Surrey History Centre, and it is centred around our experiences as a polycule, banding together in the face of the first lockdown. It seemed appropriate with the news of the emergent omicron variant to reflect on how we got through the early days, and supported each other. It’s a couple of thousand words – about four sheets of A4 if you’re trying to picture it – and is a whistle-stop tour of how Discord and social media became a way of making our own virtual bubble even while apart.

Of all the things I might have expected to come of it all though, I don’t think I really expected to be as forthright when talking to strangers about things as I am now. I’ve always been more of a people watcher when in new surroundings. I tend to open up and gather my storytelling largesse once I know who I’m talking to instead – or at least to waffle as a smokescreen. I’m under no illusions that part of that is a trauma response gathering and redirecting attention where I want it to be, but I digress. A large part of living with, loving, and knowing the people I do has been accepting that I need to speak up and educate where needed – and sometimes that’s in the strangest places.

This weekend, that turned out to be in the back of an Uber with a very talkative driver from Sri Lanka as I made my way to catch up with the folks at the Excel. Over the course of our meandering journey, we exchanged elements of our life stories and then I started to talk about my extended found family. I challenged his expectations about sexuality, trans people, and relationships based on my own experiences and the tales I’ve had shared with me – and delightfully he was curious rather than hostile, listened and learned. While he didn’t totally understand, he was able to ask questions that weren’t insulting.

Even maybe six months ago I wouldn’t have credited myself to have the courage or wits to engage in this way with someone, let alone a cab driver, and especially not about matters of sexuality or my own personal life. This may come as a surprise to some, given my penchant for speaking up or about things without any apparent concern – but that’s something I’ve been practicing hard at over recent years – overcoming my natural reticence. What was different this time was that, other than a brief pause to mentally shuffle the cards in the right order to provide context, I didn’t feel any concern. If anything I mentally rolled my eyes at having to explain my situation to round out the statement and challenge I was about to make.

Thankfully years of counselling and the various counselling-adjacent training I’ve had have helped me marshal points succinctly and retain some distance mentally while engaging in these conversations. Far more important in getting to this point though has been the hours and hours of no holds barred conversations we’ve had among ourselves in the DDC and among our friends circles. I wasn’t so much regurgitating points previously discussed as being able to be mindful of nuance that might not necessarily be obvious.

We ended our journey amicably, even though I’m sure there are a few new grey hairs in my beard after some of the more erratic driving manoeuvres we did in Central London – and he learned a new phrase: “having an inquisitive mind”

Coming at the end of a fourteen hour day though, I was glad to stumble out of the car and into the arms of my loved ones. I was wondering if I would actually get any reset this weekend.

Found Family

It’s something of a trope to call queer gatherings and especially polyamorous groupings as a Found Family and its a concept that appeals to me, even if I have no intention or desire to replace the perfectly wonderful and odd family I was born into. I’m lucky in that respect as I haven’t suffered the rejections so many other queer people have experienced, and so my Found Family is an addition to my life, not an alternative.

At the same time it still came as a surprise yesterday to be called Dad by the cub – not in a casual slip of the tongue way, but as a deliberate statement while we were discussing our Christmas plans for this year:

We will be going up to visit my parents and taking over the spare bungalow in the process. The thought of having five adults around was a bit daunting for the cub until we told him there were two houses side by side and it was while we explored that with him that he explicitly acknowledged that he saw Lady M and I as parents alongside his dad: that he sees Lady M as mum and myself as a dad.

And then he asked, with the perfect timing of a child, if he could have ice cream for dessert.

I’m still processing it, having dropped him off to school this morning. It’s one thing to have that warm affection for a child grow into a fierce, if sometimes exasperated, love – and still quite another to hear it returned, expressed, and said outright by that child. I think I lost sight that I wasn’t the only person recognising and building a found family in this new unit.

A little Change

In my post a few days ago about my Equalities Journey, I talked about the amazing trans man in my life and I realised that for some if you it may not be immediately obvious who I’m talking for about. Given that I’m polyamorous it may even have seemed a possibility that it was announcing someone new.

I was in fact talking about myr s, who has been socially transitioning over the last year. During this time, by his request, I’ve been using gender-neutral terms on the blog to talk about him and this was in part because there were people to whom he had not felt able to talk to about things.

This changed last week, and so while asking if he minded my referring to him in the Equalities blog posts at work and here, we also talked about evolving his title here as well. With his being my sub, we felt that the usual Sir or Lord that I tend to use would not feel right and he wanted to keep the lack of capitalisation as well.

So as of today, may I introduce you to boy s, and what a relief it is to be catching up here with how we talk to him in the real world.

As a cosplayer, there may be a temptation at some point to do a dad-bod Kratos just so I can shout “boy!” across a crowded hall…

Changes A-Coming

For a variety of reasons, including providing stability and better job hunting potential, myr s and the cub will be moving in with myself and Lady M in a little over a week or so.

Exciting times, a little bit stressy, and that’s not even counting the window replacements this week or the challenges of work at the moment.

Well, what’s the worst that could happen?

So, myr s is currently downsizing and rationalising their possessions, looking at new school places, and sorting all the rest of the paperwork required. They also had a long-overdue conversation with their father about a number of things, and we’re so proud of them.

Explorations

We went to Bletchley Park today, despite the best efforts of the Bank Holiday traffic. We picked it partly our of interest in its history, and partly so we could return our niece to her aunt as it was a little over halfway there.

I’m not entirely sure where the afternoon went as five hours sped by and there was still a lot we didn’t see. What we did find was fascinating and heartbreaking in turn, especially when it came to the areas devoted to Alan Turing. Going from a case containing his Teddy bear Porgy to a recreation of his office was surprisingly affecting as it brought forward the human behind the stories.

We had conversations with the kids around LGBTQIA+ history and in particular around Alan Turing’s treatment – which in turn led to conversations over lunch about our relationships and the polycule. And now Lady H is friends on Facebook with myr s, and the kids want to meet the cub.

Not really what I foresaw for the day, but a positive turn amid the strangeness all the same.

Happy Birthday myr s

Its grey and overcast here, but it’s myr s’ 29th birthday so our support bubble/polycule chat is full of good wishes and positivity, so that’s no bad thing.

They’ve chosen today to launch a GoFundMe to try and raise money to begin transitioning under private medical care and support. NHS wait times are around three years before even starting support, so anything that can be done to help is worth a go. If you’re feeling so inclined, here’s a link to the campaign:

https://www.gofundme.com/f/morganrileytransition?utm_medium=email&utm_source=product&utm_campaign=p_email%2B2300-co-team-welcome

myr s is still mostly using they/them pronouns at the moment but we’re starting to use he/him as well in general conversation. It’s an interesting journey for all of us.

So here’s to myr s – Happy Birthday and long may the soppiness continue.

Congratulations And An Amusing Polyam Moment

I was stuck at work, being unable to share my bemusement on Saturday at a conversation playing out in my messages.

The Charleesi had let us know that her temporary freelancing job had just been converted to the offer of a permanent copywriting post within a week of her starting, so we are all very pleased and excited for her in this early stage of her campaign to take over the world.

Talk soon turned to needing to have a celebration, which resulted in a query about our Sunday availability – which clashed directly with the birthday celebrations previously mentioned.

I therefore had the moderately bemused expression of a man seeing his wife tell his ex-wife that we weren’t available as we were celebrating the joint birthdays of our partner and ex-partner in the company of our partner’s partner and partner’s son, and our collective emotional support human/friend – and being unable to tell anyone at work without having to explain an awful lot of history to people.

Needless to say, everyone at the Sunday gathering smirked when I could finally relay it…

Random Wandering

Just for the hell of it I went down to Portsmouth today to gather up myr s, the cub, Ladies J and B and go grab some food, drink, and relative normalcy out on the town. And it feels so good to have done so.

It says so much about the disruption that that has happened this year that it was, for some of us, the first time for eating out. There was a palpable sense of relief and accomplishment in just being around a table in public.

To round out the afternoon, we had a lazy afternoon where we enjoyed each others company. We did some shopping, and went back to Lady B’s flat to talk and pass some time – and it has been a tonic for the spirits for us all.

And then I came home to find that my order of one of my t-shirts had arrived from Amazon. Lady M immediately grabbed it to twirl and model and I very nearly lost it to her before ever wearing it myself.

Wet and Windy Morning

Its all looking and sounding a bit blustery out there today, so I’m staying under the duvet with a coffee provided by Lady M and appreciating the new plump pillows I bought the other day.

I’d forgotten the difference new pillows can make. We keep saying how much better we’re suddenly sleeping with notes of wonder in our voices.

Its restoked the thought of replacing our bed. We’ve had it a few years and its still comfortable but every now and then we do wake up aching, and not in a good way.

Adding to the sense of urgency on that front is that myr s and the cub may be moving in, and if so we’ll need to upgrade to a king size if we’re to have any hope of sleeping entirely peacefully without someone having to take turns on the sofa.

There are worse problems in life, I know. For now I’m just going to recline here, play some games on my phone for a while before I get up and do some more designs for the redbubble store.