Long ago in a galaxy far far away…..ahem let me stop playing. But seriously it was a REALLY LONG time ago I had a blog called Black Orchids and Fireflies. It was my first attempt at blogging and honestly I didn’t even really know if it was my JUSH. Ironically I was reminded of it from a ex lovers email, she stated “Angie I just finished the postings on black orchids and fireflies. Wow! I now have a clearer insight to you.” to which I replied almost rudely, “Really? It is surprising that a blog I had almost 4 years ago would offer you insight into who I am…I never thought that there was anything of significance in it honestly I didn’t dedicate enough time for that.”
My ‘blog’ was started back in 2011. My son was 3 years old and I was once again exploring my creative side. I figured I like talking, I use to write, so why not start a blog?!? I had just broken up with a new lover and it seemed like the appropriate time for artistic catharsis. I went back looking for it and couldn’t even find it today. But I am sure it had some pretty love heavy, romantic, idealized version of myself, who I was at that time. It was offensive to me when she wrote about ‘having insight into my mind’ because I was no longer THAT person. I was different. I had just finished the journey of figuring out I was polyamorous and made an agreement with myself that I was no longer going to live happily deceived or feeling defective because I didn’t reside in this neat little box called monogamy. And that I was willing to work and fight to be who I truly was no matter what. That was scary AF and not to mention a little daunting.
What is polyamory?
“A great many people do believe that to be single is to be somehow incomplete and that they need to find the other half. […] We believe, [polyamorist] on the other hand, that the fundamental sexual unit is one person. Adding more people to that unit may be intimate, fun and companionable, but does not complete anybody.”Dossie Easton, The Ethical Slut: A Practical Guide to Polyamory, Open Relationships, and Other Freedoms in Sex and Love
According to Websters dictionary polyamory is the practice of engaging in multiple sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved. But I personally don’t agree with that definition completely and I would say for me polyamory is the ability and willingness to engage and foster intimate relationships with consent of all people involved. You notice that neither in the Websters definition nor in mine did it state a number. Because the number of partners is relative, and in mine sex doesn’t denote a relationship. Being poly is something that is very much a part of who I am, especially as I have learned more about myself, what my desires and needs are and also what I want my future to look like. I know what polyamory isn’t for everyone and that is OK. As along the same vein monogamy isn’t for everyone either no one way is right or wrong.
In a recent study by Kelly Cookson and independent academic he states, “It appears that sexually non-monogamous couples in the United States number in the millions.” So if these numbers are in the millions and it is comprised of polyamorous couples, swinging couples, gay male couples, and other sexually non-monogamous couples, then shouldn’t we be acknowledging and talking about this wide spread phenomenon? Well we are…sort of. With shows like Sister wives, Polyamory: Married and Dating and Sense8 media outlets are showing other forms of relationship styles which has pushed polyamory into the circle of discourse. Do they always get it right? MEH. But what I like is that it gets people thinking, discussing and hopefully maybe self reflecting.
My Own Journey
Becoming poly wasn’t a overnight occurrence it took a lot of freaking soul searching, honesty to myself and to others and also faith in myself; but also in finding people who thought the same as me. When I took myself out of the majority of monogamy and monogamy-ish life it left me feeling little bit paralyzed. How do you find your tribe? Your community? How do you educate and enlighten yourself to better gain a understanding of what being poly even means to you? All of these questions swirled in my head. Now let me back track, I have NEVER been great at monogamy. Being completely honest I was actually really, really horrible at it. I would tell half truths, I would hid what I really felt or thought to not upset the status quo, I engaged in relationships that were never really for me all because I feared being alone and I was constantly being fed this narrative that I was ‘supposed’ to be boo’d up. It lead to heartbreak, disappointments, time and energy wasted all because I could not be honest and strong enough to look for something else. After many years of having FWB relationships and still feeling empty and a lack of intimacy I decided that I needed to change, hell I WANTED to change.
I had been in a open three way relationship with a husband and wife for almost a decade a few years prior to my journey and reflecting on that time. I remember being so happy, feeling fulfilled, free and completely at ease which, I believe, is why it was my longest relationship. We all had the freedom to come and go as we pleased but there were still commitments made to each other that bound us as family. There was a nucleus, a home to come to when you needed to reassess. I watched their kids grow up, I had a son of my own while with them and they helped me, birthdays, anniversaries, happy times and even sad times were double. I never felt alone or confined to being something or someone I wasn’t. They loved me and I loved them plain and simple. So as I am thinking about doing things different I remember how fantastic that time was and I wanted to explore that again. But first it was time to educate myself. I didn’t know any terminology, or even how to explain how I felt inside.
Reading is fundamental
These two books were really the beginning of my awakening, my proper education into what I already felt in my heart and now my mind. I gobbled up everything I could ingest about the new world of polyamory. It just all made sense to me. I found myself devouring every bit of knowledge because it was not only validating how I was feeling but for the first time I was feeling SEEN! It was amazing to be able to put names to emotions, to pin point parts of myself I needed to work on and most importantly to know what I wasn’t alone; that there were others who felt this way and there was a successful method to live authentically and fully in this truth. It didn’t matter that others may not understand you. The most important thing was to be honest no matter how it was received. What exhilaration it gave me the more I learned, the more I explored. It was like seeing life in a whole new light. Now just like Neo in the Matrix, I was awake and could not go back to sleep. I knew that I needed to be honest and dig deep to stay on this path that was in front of me.
Community is everything
Being awaken to your true self can be a really sort of complicated thing. At first it seems okay and even exciting. Your mindset is new and free, you can see things more clearly and the adventure is underway. But the other key competent to this journey is community. It is all well and good if all this growth was just internal and you didn’t have or need to interact with others. But like any good growth you need to have a community to lean on, to use as support when the going gets rough and to encourage you when you want to give up your path. Thank goodness for the INTERNETS, for without this wonderful invention I think a lot of us within the margins of society would be wandering aimlessly without a home. LOL! But because of this glorious connection I was able to find my wider poly tribe in the Black & Poly community. They looked just like me and loved in the same way that I did! Talk about a double dose of awesome! Here is where I learned about the types of poly, what specific challenges we faced as black people trying to love fearlessly and free, and just having a space where we could talk with a bit of shorthand about the ups and downs of polyamory from a black standpoint. I also found mentors, friends and confidantes within the walls of that group that helped in so many ways as I stumbled, crawled and tripped being a new poly baby. Now it wasn’t always pretty this journey, but they made me feel loved and seen no matter what was going on. And helped me to understand that I was worthy of love (in the way that I needed it) no matter the mistakes and missteps. And for that I am grateful always to that community.
I now have been fully immersed in the poly love style for 7 years now and as life continues to flow I am shown time and time again that I made the right decision for me. I now have a wife that I adore and who makes me feel seen and loved crunchy bits and all, a long distance girlfriend who I am proud to be a emotional support and love to as she continues to evolve into the beautiful queen she is meant to be and a boyfriend who is the newest addition to the gang but was a disruptor, my game changer who made to reaffirm the promises I made to myself. They each bring something to my life that I might not ever had experienced. They are each their own person and CHOOSE to share this life and journey with me and it is fabulous! And isnt that what we are put on this planet to do not just be a hashtag living our best life, but ACTUALLY doing it?