This year, I am thankful for openness.

Openness is a word that is coming to describe more and more aspects of my life and relationships these days. I am being open sexually and emotionally, and inviting others to join me in those open spaces.

Most significantly, as I’ve talked about already and will keep talking about for as long as it’s relevant, I’ve been exploring open relationships/polyamory for the past few months. Today was a great day in that area of my life. After being contacted by a highly interesting new person about a week and a half ago, I ended things with [New Guy] because I was reminded of how invigorating it feels to be genuinely interested in a new involvement rather than just pursuing an option because it’s there. This is what we will call openness with myself about what I’m looking for. I am looking for connection, and connection is definitely a thing this newest person and I have in abundance. He’s also a blogger, which means we share the tendencies to a) be really introspective and b) to overshare–this translates into us being hella real with one another in a way that I just can’t get enough of. I am excited about this. I have been excited about this for the past week and a half, and I shared some of that excitement with [Booskie].

[Booksie] and I have been in what I’m calling limbo mode for a couple weeks due to some semi-unrelated stuff, and last night as my talks with this newest person revealed that we’re interested in pursuing a level of involvement that looks a little more like traditional dating than what I’ve got going on with either [Booskie] or [Buddy], I realized that it was high time for a check-in with [Booskie]. It’s still really scary to sit down and prepare to come at him with my emotions because vulnerability and shit, but emotional openness of the highest order is like, crucial to this situation. We’ve felt that way from the beginning, and so I have no choice but to work through that scared-ness and be up front about where I’m at. So far it has not served me wrong in any way. That held true again today; everything is great, we’re still on the same page about what we want, and I’m feeling suuuuper happy.

I am thankful for openness because as scary as it can be to lay all your cards on the table for someone, the validation and recognition and appreciation you can get in return are priceless. I literally can’t place a value on being able to tell somebody, hey, this is who I am and where I’m at and how I feel and having them say okay, cool, I’m down as fuck with all of that. Starting new relationships and continuing ongoing ones with this all-my-cards-on-the-table outlook has been revolutionary. I don’t have time for people I can’t be myself, my whole damn complicated messy self with. No matter how this poly thing plays out in the end, I can’t imagine going back to the let-me-reveal-who-I-really-am-slooooooowly-piece-by-piece-and-hope-this-person-doesn’t-run-away-screaming style of getting to know someone I’m romantically interested in. I need the freedom to be all the different parts of who I am at once.

And this Era of Openness that I’m checking out isn’t limiting itself just to my romantic/sexual involvements either. I’m being hella real with so many more people. I’ve been talking to some of my coworkerfriends about all sorts of intimate details of my personal and dating lives, which is turning them into real actual friends. I’ve been writing more posts that contain entirely my own thoughts and feelings, such as this one. I’m remembering what it’s like to not be afraid of talking, to not be afraid to really put myself out there. All in all, I am consciously giving less time in my life away to bullshit I don’t care about, and dedicating space and time to the things, people, and relationships I find supportive, invigorating, satisfying, and sustaining. That’s self-care in action.

People have been asking me recently what I’m getting out of being poly, or why it sits so well with me. For me it’s like, I think that dating in one’s 20s has a tendency to either be like, super serious trying to find “The One” and settle down, or super casual just trying to feel affectionate and get laid. I feel like the polyamorous thing lets me explore various levels of relationship without anything unintentionally getting more serious than I’m looking for–if I take nothing else away from this grand experiment when everything is said and done, I have learned how to be suuuuuuper intentional about stuff and not hide away from difficult/awkward/emotional conversations with partners about what we expect and how we feel, etc. and that’s something I’ll take into all of my relationships in the future, platonic or romantic, monogamous or otherwise. And as a person who has just sort of fallen into a lot of her past romantic/sexual relationships in the past, the intentionality and reciprocity that openness demands are things I’m incredibly thankful for. Intentionality is like a whole new level of self-love, one that includes, honors, and respects the other people in my life as much as it honors and respects me.

I’m also really thankful for the opportunity to inspire/encourage that same openness in other people. I feel so lucky to have been approached by and found people who are so open to openness. This is all new to me, but on the whole it feels good and natural and wholly satisfying, and I know that’s all due to the honesty and openness I’ve established in my various relationships. I’ve been so pleasantly surprised by how well this all works, and in the past week and a half or so it’s been my turn to be the one inspiring that pleasant surprise for someone else, and I dig that so much.

This year, I am thankful for openness. I am thankful for communication. I am thankful for vulnerability. I am thankful for the genuine. I am thankful for connection. I am thankful for keeping it real.

Happy Thanksgiving, everybody.

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About alaiyo0685

I'm a kind of quirky, pretty stubborn, way too opinionated, twenty-something, intellectual, introspective, queer, Black, female, in a polyamorous relationship, and this is where I try to figure out my life.

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