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I started running last week; it became apparent that yoga was going to take some working to make happen (I may have to drive to school for one of my classes on yoga days, to make yoga without completely sacrificing the whole evening, just with the placement of schedules and the general awfulness of buses) and my shoulders were sore and I'd just been generally neglecting my body. Starting to drink soylent in the mornings for breakfast got me past worrying about not having enough calories in the day (eating can be a challenge for me, let alone eating within my time and money budget) and so the next good body step was exercise.

So it has been a week. I'm starting the same couch-to-half-marathon schedule that injured me a couple years ago, but spacing it out a little but more to avoid that same outcome. It was pretty magical, last time, the way following a relatively scientific schedule got my body doing so much so fast, and I'd like to experience that again. I'd also very much like to be in good shape when I start work in May.

I still need to find a way to get yoga in, but in the meantime I'm not doing nothing.

And of course, my sleep is better now, my energy level is up, the swings in mood I was starting to experience have settled a little bit, at least so far. And... I'm feeling things better, as in, my emotional apparatus is working in a more nuanced way, and is more integrated with my thinking bits. Also, food tastes better, etc, all that normal exercise stuff. So I guess school wasn't as far from hitting my depression triggers this year as I thought, I was just maintaining a high mood while losing a bit of functionality.

Good save, self. Keep running now.

Incidentally, my mom completely self-medicates her depression with running. My mom's life is always both an inspiration and a warning to me, in this as in so many other things.

This whole thing is helping a great deal with sorting through my complicated poly/partner/identity/desire situation. My identity seems to be stabilizing somewhere between relationship anarchist and solo poly. I'm finding a middle ground between trusting my misgivings and just plain trusting. It helps to remind myself that I can place my trust in the future, in my ability to navigate the future, rather than in particular outcomes. It still leaves me in a shaky place sometimes, wanting things from people who in turn care about me and therefore don't want to hurt me (but maybe can't give me what I want) but wrestling with the issue is no longer taking up all my spare thoughts.

Without interpersonal demanding all my attention, I'm free to get back in touch with myself, and also with my career. The issue of stewardship is arising. Stewardship is forestry code for thinking in the long term, thinking in the bigger picture, thinking outside the axe and pile of logs that comes to mind with the word forestry (okay, fellerbuncher and processor, but those didn't start attaching to the idea of forestry till I started doing it). Stewardship over the forest is something that arose this summer: I was working with a 'stewardship-focused' person when I found a happy place this summer. Principles of stewardship also apply to friends and community. There's an underlying responsibility, I think, that if I can gently steer the future towards a place I consider to be better, I should do so. With forestry that might mean not cutting certain areas, replanting with a wider species mix than necessary, working in partnership with people who have other interests than I do. With community and relationship that has meant, lately, making safe space for emotions and human tenderness and just generally those things that make us feel a little vulnerable and also connected.

Well. Time's up, so have a lovely day. There will most assuredly be more later. And: this is also more, from later. For instance, my life will once again be mine soon: http://greenstorm.livejournal.com/757766.html
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Hello again, 3am. Lately you and I have had just a passing acquiaintanceship; I open my eyes for a little while, we hang out sleepily without anyone moving, and I fall back asleep. It's been some time since you enticed me to write. It probably helps that this has been an emotionally tumultuous blood time in general.

This is the best time of night for drama, and for feeling tortured and angsty. I suppose that's why I'm dropping in on you right now. I'm definitely feeling a little shredded internally at the moment and it seems I've lost my coping mechanisms around that. It's not a feeling I've been used to as of late.

Angus and I have been moving in the direction of a more open relationship for awhile now (I was going to say 'progressing' but I am deliberately avoiding that value-laden word because perhaps it's the opposite of progress) and we've never been really technically closed. The whole thing is new to him in the context of a long-term relationship. He's still getting used to it. As a couple and as a partnership we are still finding out what we're comfortable with and how (and I do believe this may be an unending process as needs shift over time and things get adjusted). We've been doing really well with it on the whole.

My take on any sort of poly or openness is that it's got a much higher likelihood of inciting drama than monogamy. I've never -been- monogamous for an extended period of time for comparison, but I know that negotiating all the boundaries where social expectation, personal sexual energy, love, jealousy, scheduling and NRE meet takes work and no one is perfect at doing it all the time. Generally one has to choose between surprises on the one hand and constraining one's wants at least sometimes on the other. Currently I try to grab the best working model and then assume that use and feedback will allow for adjustments. With adjustments, the model will get more perfectly suited towards our needs. Our needs will change, and the process will be ongoing.

This process assumes honesty on the part of both people in the relationship. It requires several kinds of courage: it requires the courage to look at your needs, and at your limits or boundaries. It requires the courage to bring them to the table assuming that a workable compromise will be reached. It requires the courage to separate needs from wants, to sometimes say I will forsake this in favour of this and then to really live that compromise. I'm a very communication-centered person, I'm super analytical, and I require people to fully inhabit their verbal promises.

Maybe you can see where this is going?

There have been a couple of roadblocks this week and we haven't had any real seriopus roadblocks before. There have been uncomfortable things, but nothing beyond little wobbles. These might be little wobbles on their own, but they came with perfect one-two timing, and they are about honesty which makes the whole thing very hard for me. Being honest and being upright and trustworthy and straight in my actions does not come naturally to me. Growing up with dad you never expressed how you were feeling or what you needed. You were not allowed to have boundaries. Peace was dependent on saying the right thing. I have been very straight with Angus through this whole relationship; it makes me feel like a better person, I think it is the only functional way to have a happy open relationship (which is so often a contradiction in terms, isn't it?), and Angus is an idealist and so demands it of me.

So of these things that happened, one was a little thing, one was an old thing that just came to light just a couple of days after. They are both the same sort of thing - they dance around the edge of lying. I'm really not pleased. I know poly is playing with fire: sexual attraction, crushes, and NRE are described by fire metaphors in an extraordinary amount of art. The goal, as with any fire, is to feed it moderately and in accordance with environmental conditions and to then to stay in control of it; if you lose control of it to try to regain control.

The goal is to not let it control you. The goal is not to get the biggest or the most fires possible. And with fires the way to control them is to watch the size, and to take into account your limiting factors: you can deprive it of oxygen, of fuel, etc. In my experience attraction works similarly to this. If you're way into someone to the point where it's having a bad effect on your judgement, you can step back: see less of the person, keep busy with other things, moderate the pace. If you actually go so far as to do these things, you can back off while enjoying the glow.

For this you really need a huge amount of honesty with yourself, and you need a huge amount of willpower. It's not always easy. But before you need willpower you need honesty, where you admit to yourself that the thing is getting out of control so that you can then act to control it.

I find that's the hardest step. People don't want to give up shiny new things and/or they don't trust their relationship to give them room to do what they need so they just avoid admitting to themselves when things are getting out of hand. If they don't know they've gone too far they don't need to begin that hard and uncomfortable process of controlling that fire. When you get this dynamic happening it sucks, because then the partner ends up putting the restrictions and the icky self-control part is sort of offloaded onto them; often, resentment comes with this transfer of responsibility. This is a great situation: you don't need to have self-control, AND you can resent your partner for trying to keep things in hand. Angus and I are not in this place, by the way.

In my ideal situation, as I said, each person monitors the size and intensity of their feelings (or fires) and when they start behaving weirdly they take steps to back off. Here's where my problem comes in: these two roadbumps between Angus and I lately, the one-two punch, they have both had to do with his honesty about the intensity of something and the amount which it's been on his thoughts. This leaves me a little shaky. What do I do? I have no desire whatsoever to act as his governor or to replace his willpower with my rules. I want to just trust him to do the right thing, to not be a jerk to me or anyone else, and to continue to invest energy in upkeeping our relationship and his boundaries.

So of course we talk about it. Of course he says he's sorry and won't do it again. You know, this is the way relationships work.

But now life goes on.

I could talk here about social pressure, how it's hard to believe you'll get what you want, past relationships having an effect on your thought habits, learning to admit these things to yourself is a process, etc. It is only marginally relevent. I have really trusted Angus a lot, most of his actions have been entirely trustworthy, a couple have been less so over our relationship, and I am willing to let the majority have a lot of weight in this case.

I feel watchful, though, and I don't like it. I don't like the (tiny, niggling) worry that something could happen and I wouldn't know until things are completely out of hand.

Having taken an hour to write all this out, I feel better, and I'll go back to sleep. Things will resume their usual routines. Missing the boy for a week (I go out of town for work Tuesday; he gets back from Shambhala the following Monday) will suck. My rats will be cute. Work will be sweaty. And in all likelihood this subject will only come up in this current tiny form once in awhile, every year or two when there's a misstep (as there must be in such a complicated process) and not as the start of an avalanche (or do I mean a firestorm? ;P).

Sort of on a funny note, do you know how when someone starts up a casual relationship the OSO (or whatever, I have no terminology for this) always says: I don't want to do anything to hurt your primary relationship? It's a statement as inevitable as rain in spring, generally always very heartfelt, and I think that's a beautiful thing. It just seems kind of beside the point. If my partner makes a misstep, it's ultimately his decision, though I suppose he might make it with encouragement or without it. The best reassurance I ever received along that vein was when Angus came home with instructions to pass on a big thank-you to me for his use. The (I hate this word) primacy or foremost importance of my bond with him felt so validated. I am now just rambling, and need a little more sleep before another day in the oven and a pool party to follow.

Be well, and peace to you.

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