I was supposed to go to a party tonight... but the bad weather kept us all up last night and I spent most of my day in zombie mode. Even a two hour nap this late afternoon did little to rejuvenate me. So I am staying in this evening and decided to take this opportunity to reflect on what the past year has held for me. It's been quite a ride. There has been a lot of stress... a lot of love... and a lot of creativity. Some highlights and major themes follow.
In '04 Chas and I started Faerywolf-Carnivalia (those are two separate links) in an effort to bring together our different artistic approaches into one single unified entity. I also took over the Feri Zine Witch Eye and made this another facet of our business. 2005 saw this business grow.
As many of you already know, Chas and I moved to Antioch and bought a house almost three years ago so that we could stay home and take care of his ailing mother who had a series of brain surgeries that left her unable to care for herself. While in the beginning we were told that we would only need to have someone here in case she fell, or needed help, it was quickly apparent to us that her needs were much, much more severe than that. She is unable to walk on her own, or even to perform certain basic steps of necessary self-care. She has dementia and sometimes forgets that she lives with us and is completely unable to manage her own affairs. When we realized the level of care that she actually needed it became clear that the both of us were needed here at home as there had been occasions in which one person was not sufficient. Thus our home-business was born.
It had always been a pipe-dream of ours; to have our own business selling our art... turning our hobby into an actual, viable resource. If it hadn't been for Chas' mom, then I doubt we ever would of done it. So... I guess there's a sort of silver lining in there.
This year we have made new and different products and have spent a lot of time and money trying to perfect them. Chas has been successful in making unique Ouija-style talkingboards and I have even tried my hand at designing some as well. We have both designed altar patens/pentacles, and Chas has proven himself to be quite a talented sculptor, making both puppets and dolls in styles both grotesque and whimsical. I have continued to make digital art and hope that I have grown in my talent in doing so. This year we both tried our hand at making sculpted masks. I even wore one I made for Halloween which became the basis for a digital art piece.
As a small part of this venture I began teaching larger Feri classes and even opened up the material to be accessible to those outside my area. It's an interesting experiment that seems to be working so far.
This year I was interviewed for a local radio station, KKUP out of Cupertino about my involvement in Witchcraft. It was a first experience for me, especially considering that it was live and lasted for two hours. We even took callers! It proved to me that I can think on my feet! :)
This year my childhood Geekdom came to fruition. Since I was eight years old I have been a fan of the BBC sci-fi series Doctor Who. This past March saw the series return to TV after a sixteen-year absence and I must say that I was thrilled. My best friend since Jr. High School, David, and I used to watch the show while talking on the phone together when we were young teens. So of course I had to have him over to see the new series. It was childhood happiness revisited. Only this time with good acting, writing, and even special effects.
A main theme of 2005 for me has been that of relationships. It was actually the summer of 2004 that Chas and I began dating Daniel. While Chas and I have always had a polyamorous relationship, and have twice even briefly dated other couples, this was our first experience with a "triad" and it proved to be interesting for us all. While in the beginning I had felt that I was the one who connected with Daniel more, it soon became apparent that it was in fact he and Chas who had the real connection and so I ended up feeling left out, which was difficult for me, to say the least. This was in the end of '04 and would prove to be a main challenge for me for most of '05.
I have always prided myself on being an open and communicative person. But there was just something about my relationship with Daniel that made it difficult for me to express myself in an articulate way... and when I was able to do so I often left the conversations feeling that nothing had really changed. Numerous talks with Chas about all of this had likewise proved unhelpful. In retrospect I can understand the difficult position that he was put in; having to be in between two lovers who were having problems with each other.
During all of this it was intimated to me that Chas was having second thoughts about polyamory in general. Not in terms of the triad, but beyond it. A triad (or another type of group relationship) is actually something that I have intuitively felt was right for me for at least the past 10+ years. Chas was never as enthusiastic about the idea as I was, but like me he enjoyed the freedom that an open relationship provided us. Now I realized that a major element of our relationship (and one that was extremely important to me) was no longer shared by my partner of many years. Chas confided in me that if this triad didn't work, then he would not try it again in the future, and so I took that as incentive to really try and make this one work. In a way, it seemed like a last ditch shot at happiness. So I waited. I let things slide. When I had issues, I talked about them, but not to the degree that I would normally have, and often not to Daniel as I felt that was putting him in a strange position and just pushing him further away. I felt trapped. I was unhappy. This lasted most of the year.
In early October I finally realized that I could not wait to be happy anymore and so I broke up with Daniel. It was the best decision that I had made in a long time, and it turned out to be a good thing for both of us. (Daniel and I are much better friends now that we are not dating.) For me, it didn't really feel like a break-up... more of an affirmation of something that had already occurred a long time before. But this, of course, was still a stressful time in our house, as Chas and he were still very much in love and it would seem that my own problems in the triad were threatening their happiness. So we talked... and talked... and talked... and we decided that since he and Daniel had a connection that I would try to support that. This was, after all, what our original vision of polyamoury was all about: recognizing that a single person could not fulfill all of a person's needs, we made a pledge that while we were definitely committed to each other and would support each other in this life, that we also would allow each other the space to explore ourselves through relationships with other people, both sexually and emotionally. Taking those principals to heart, I applied them to my situation and decided to try and see if I could still live in a house in which Chas was dating someone whom I was not.
One of the conditions that I put forward in order to live with this situation was that Chas would need to understand that if he was dating someone outside our relationship, then I was free to do that as well; basically just reaffirming our original arrangement from years past only with a twist: Chas' lover would actually be living with us. It has been difficult for me, at times, but I am certainly acclimating to it.
Around this time I met someone. While attending one of Daniel's clubs I had the good fortune to be introduced to Fredo. I was immediately drawn to him, but then again so was a good chunk of the other gay men in the room at the time as evidenced by the numerous sets of eyes watching him on the dance floor. Later Fredo and I would start talking and even hang out for an evening. By the end of the evening it was clear that there was a mutual attraction. A few weeks later we were dating. I fell hard and fast. I certainly wasn't looking for a new relationship, but that's usually the time you find one, right?
He is no stranger to polyamory, as he is also partnered in a polyamorous relationship with a wonderful man for over 10 years. And when I say wonderful man, I mean it. Standing on the edge of a dance floor one fine club-going evening this man, Philip, approached me and told me that he approved of me dating his husband... that he saw that I made Fredo happy and that he liked me and wanted me to know that I had his blessing. I was beyond touched... and to be honest perhaps even a bit smitten with him even then although I didn't really look at that fully until quite recently.
I have had my share of stresses recently about all this, though. Chas has been somewhat uncomfortable with me dating others outside our relationship, even though he has a lover who lives in our house. While there have been flare-ups about this issue, we have been able to talk about them and I am confident that we are able to work things out. It's all new territory for us... but we are committed to treading it together. (I love you, Chas. Here's to another year together.)
So now... I am living with my beautiful husband with whom I will soon share a 13th anniversary with... living with his mom and his boyfriend, and dating two wonderful men. It's interesting... and exciting... and full of many kinds of love. But then again I wouldn't have expected anything less from my life.
Life is good... here's to an even better '06!