Bracelets

I’ve recently started wearing some bracelets made of wood, leather, and fabrics following our trip to Alton Towers. They’re similar to a similar set boy s is wearing addition should be no surprise therefore that there’s the link. In addition there’s a bracelet that was a gift during lockdown from Mre B that has a small reserve mental spoon attached to it.

We’ve talked about doing something like this for a while as a casual marker of our relationship – and the styles are eclectic enough to appeal on an aesthetic level but I’ve found it difficult to wear things on my wrist for years.

In large part it’s a holdover from when I was attacked – memories of wrists being held making it very uncomfortable – but the work I’ve been doing in therapy has contributed to putting some distance in recently.

I’m choosing instead to use the sensations at my wrist as a focus. On the one hand it’s a reminder of the boy. On another it helps to imagine all the skin crawling anxieties gathering there in one place rather than uncontrollable and everywhere. In effect it can be imagined as a shield

It’s a whimsy, it’s a way of focusing. It’s a distraction, and it’s a statement. I take them off at night before bed so I can settle, metaphorically removing the cares of the day. It’s a small and positive ritual that brings a measure of calm.

And I think they look good, and I enjoy seeing the counterparts on the boy

Another Anniversary?

Wednesday was the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s – in kink terms a form of commitment not unlike marriage – it was just a shame that both of us were too unwell to celebrate much of anything. I was staying over anyway so it was largely a day of napping in between doing the school run and doing some more work on the Amazon store.

We’ve decided instead to try and have a date night in the next week or so once payday has arrived and we’re in better health.

What we do all have to anticipate however is that we’ve got tickets for the Thorpe Park preview day on Saturday thanks to his working there. We’ve not been on any rollercoaster since before the first lockdown. Lady M has had her eye surgery since then too, so this will be the first time on them without glasses or contact lenses.

So, highs and lows and literal rollercoasters to come. Can’t wait.

50 Already?

So, uh, somehow I’ve made to 50 years and I have pretty much most things working okay, a good job, people who love me, most of my marbles, and as of today an all clear from a cancer scare. So that’s a good way to start the next revolution round the sun.

I’ve just finished a charity stream with Lady B and boy s playing the new Destiny expansion and been getting blown away by all the deep lore that is being paid off after years of breadcrumbs. The gameplay is slick, the storytelling compelling, and the excited noises from boy s deeply amusing. We had to force ourselves to stop because it was gone 2am.

So, what’s planned for this year? To be honest I don’t know. I never expected to get to this milestone. I was surprised to be so happy at age 40, let alone still among the living. My next markers are my tenth wedding anniversary and the fourth anniversary of collaring boy s in this next month. A holiday might be nice later this year.

For now though I have a week off work and some vague plans for D&D this weekend. That’ll do.

First Munch of the Year

Munches are informal social gatherings held by the kink/alternative/poly/ethical non monogamy communities to just… chill and hangout and are a good way to put faces to names and see what people are like in general.

During covid we’ve kept to ourselves, and with boy s moving up to us we’ve had less contact with people in those scenes over the last couple of years. With things becoming more stable though, people are starting to cautiously make noises about starting them up again in our local area, so I decided to go introduce myself and catch up with some of the people I’ve been talking to online for a while.

And so to a pub garden, where we sat and ate and chatted until it was time to close up. And that’s what a munch is. The only real difference is that there’s less small talk and more deep discussion and geekery – favoured topics were comicbooks, authors, TV shows, boardgames, warhammer, oh and how useful a softly commanding voice can be while managing staff sometimes 😉

The boy s wasn’t feeling up to it, so I dropped Lady M over for a sleepover and went on my own, so that I can at least make introductions at the next one, in much the same way that boy s did for me when we first got together. Seems only fair to be able to return the favour.

One of the people I was talking to actually lives quite close, so I gave them a lift as they were on the way and that was another nice round of chat to make the journey go smoother. So all in all, a good start back, and I’ll see about the next one.

Rambling Brain

I’ve done a couple of hours driving here and there the last few days, just helping ferry a couple of people around or doing shopping trips, and with it has come another round of my brain deciding that focusing on the road and tapping my fingers along to various songs wasn’t enough and that to keep itself from getting bored it would take me on a trip down memory lane – mostly as I zipped up and down the A3.

Of course, being my brain, it felt that the best use of this time wouldn’t be to reminisce on family holidays, or small achievements. It wouldn’t even touch on memorable journeys. No, my brain decided to let the weasels pick out a broad selection of cringe-worthy and relationship-sabotaging events from my mid teens to early twenties. Why? Possibly because I’ve been having a good time recently despite being tired and depression likes to keep things not just grounded but positively subterranean.

So passing certain junctions recalled conversations containing oversharing, while others sparked sort-of-pleasant memories that then bounced on to bemused introspection. One memory for example was of being at the Surrey County Fair with my girlfriend at the time and her family. We had VIP passes so had entry to a large food tent for lunch, which included arrays of whole cooked salmon and assorted side dishes and finger foods. Seeing the general melee of people and wondering where the queue started, I was told “Oh don’t worry about manners, get in there and tuck in. Only the middle class worry about manners – the rich and the poor don’t bother or don’t have time.” This would have been the late eighties, so make of that what you will. Funny how I’ve forgotten that for so long and a simple sign for Guildford brought it back.

That then of course led to more unspooling memories, both good and bad from around that time, and how badly I handled the aftermath of that relationship ending. I remind myself that I was little more than a boy, with some trauma in the background, and had a lot of growing up and healing to do. This isn’t the easiest to do all at once, so it took me a few years and along the way garnered enough moments to make me cringe for the best part of an hour while the show progressed in my mind’s eye.

As Lady M reminds me – I was young, I did stupid shit, the world hasn’t ended, and nobody was harmed along the way beyond some embarrassment or hurt feelings. My counsellor has pointed out on similar past occasions that the brain hides a lot of our memories until such time as we feel safe enough to begin to process them properly. Sometimes all kinds of things get caught up in the confusion along with the actual trauma events and suppressed at the same time so its not that unusual for the most random things to pop up all fresh and ready for inspection as other things heal.

My personal take is that my depression is getting desperate if it thinks that the merely embarrassing will get the black dog barking – especially when it starts looking at relationships given my wayward and idiosyncratic present. Perhaps its just my healthier brain pointing out that the lessons I’ve learned along the way would have served me well in the various memories dredged up and that therefore they were worth learning.

See? I can do positive!

Christmas and Beyond

As someone recently noted on social media, I live a strange life, and I embrace that and aim to keep it that way so it doesn’t lapse into being boring and dull. I am proud to include a diverse and vibrant bunch of people in my life and celebrate their individual journeys as well as our commonalities.

This Christmas has allowed us to reconnect and bond with friends, partners, family, and those who might wander between. I caught back up with my brothers, and the Charleesi, with friends who have built their own forge, my parents, my partners, and a variety of children attached to various of the above.

So the plan today has been to sit quietly with Lady M, give our presents to each other, watch TV, play games, and not stray too far from the sofa.

It’s not the family gathering we had planned, but it’s a good substitute and rest ahead of the excitement and busy weeks ahead.

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…