In Praise of “Normal Life”
Sometimes in my online readings, by coincidence or fate, I’ll read two very different pieces of writing that will spark thoughts on the same topic, though perhaps (as in this instance) from different perspectives. A post by Kaya on the nature of her relationship and another on Fearless Press, Living a “Normal” Life, did just that the other day.
I so get where the author at Fearless Press is coming from when he talks about living and writing about his own poly life and relationships. Maybe you haven’t noticed, but I haven’t updated APL in awhile. Not because I don’t have anything to write about, I have many topics in my Drafts folder that I’d like to noodle on regarding love and relationships and poly and family…but sometimes, well, the reality is that sometimes my life is just…”normal.” I just don’t feel like I have anything specific to share about it. Aside from having some fantastically kinky sexplay to write about, our life together–Ad, me and W–is just…our life together. There’s my time with Ad, my time with the kids, my time with W and the time we all spend together. Even my time with W isn’t all kink and sex. (What?! Oh no!) Seriously, though, sometimes we just…hang out on his balcony. Talk about life and kids and books and diet and exercise and nothing. Sometimes (~gasp!~) I’m not even in heels, slutwear, make-up or some kind of bondage. Sometimes we take walks to the park or the river or a restaurant. We’re just…us. Sometimes we even have sex like normal people, you know, in bed, in missionary position. (Okay he is usually pinning me down, but still.) Sometimes we go to bed…and don’t have sex at all. And sometimes–he’s tender. And sweet. He holds my hand when we walk. He looks at me with something closer to love in his face than lust.
We all spend time together, as a three, making dinner or going out to eat, and we all spend time together with my kids as well. We talk about college and growing up and boys and life with my daughter; about school and acting and video games and books and his friends with my son. We play board games and eat ice cream. W stays over and we spend the day puttering around the house with the kids watching TV and reading and on the computer.
For instance, over 4th of July weekend, W came over Saturday afternoon. Ad and I made dinner while W hung out and talked about religion with the kids, then we had margaritas and all of us played a board game. Ad went to bed early and W and I stayed up with my daughter, watching something on TV and talking until he and I were ready for bed. When we got to bed…we cuddled up and went to sleep. I know–a naked woman, two men, and no wild sex! How wild is that? But that’s the point. It was…comfortable. Settled. The next day we all hung out together until we went to a local fireworks display. I rode the rides with my kids while Ad and W sat on the blanket, and then we watched the fireworks together, just like any “normal” family. I can’t describe how peaceful and happy I was, laying on a blanket under the stars with the kids, Ad and W all around me, my head on Ad’s shoulder, my hip against W’s and our hands intertwined, as we watched the fireworks. Utter perfection.
Not much to write home about, though, right?
Kaya’s post sparked similar thoughts, but not so much about my poly life; more about my kinky life with W. I get where she is coming from in her relationship dynamic. What she gets out of it, how deep her enslavement goes, her commitment to the structure of their relationship. Even when she is railing against it or struggling with it, I know (or get the feeling) that this is her true “place” and that she loves it. Even when it doesn’t sound like she does.
But when I read her post, where she talks about his “conditioning” of her, another part of me goes–no! Seriously? Can you truly be content with never feeling a tender hand on you? With never having the flip side to the objectifying, disconnected sex? I know I couldn’t. I need the tenderness. The loving touch. I need to be “W’s girl” again after he’s done doing what he’s done to me. And I need him to be my lover and partner again. Not that brutal, dispassionate, uncaring person that he has to turn himself into in order to do all those things to me. Don’t get me wrong. I love love love being what he turns me into, a “Collection of Holes.” But I live to be “his girl.” To come back to him and find the man I love waiting for me there on the other side. I need to feel “normal” again with him, to take the kink out of our interactions for the time it takes to find that normal space again.
You know, so he can make it all wrong and twisted and dark and subversive again. Maybe I am teasing when I write that–or maybe not. Maybe it is the very fact that we can be in this normal space that allows me to go to that other place. That makes me trust him to take me there.
When I originally read her post, that was the part that I missed–and misunderstood. After I re-read it, I realized I had missed something vitally important in what she said. It’s in this one, almost-throwaway line: “…until he’s put the tools in place to compensate for it.” I only saw the feeling of failure she had because she couldn’t internalize being an object, with no needs of her own, content with being used dispassionately and with no regard to her own needs. I read this: “…maybe it’s something he’s done for so long, and does so often, that I was starting to internalize and believe how useless/unattractive/objectified it makes me feel…” and my brain kind of turned off, because those are not the things I feel when W objectifies me, uses me as a fuckhole or loans me out to be used as such. Quite the opposite. But would I feel that way if it was all he did? If I never got the flipside? I think so, and so when I read it, I missed what came after. I missed that all-important concept of eventual compensation. And I realized that although our dynamics are very, very different, in some ways we are very similar.
She is able to endure that because she knows that eventually she will be “compensated” for it. Perhaps not in the way that I am, and that would probably not be the right kind of compensation for her anyway–we all have our own, individual, needs. But she knows that eventually, her needs, for “touch, voice, attention,” for humanity, if you will, will be met. Because she trusts him. And that’s what makes it work. That’s what allows her to feel, not resentment as he orders her back under the desk to be used as his masturbatory tool, but relief, and a sense of coming home.
Of normalcy, whatever that looks like.
The same feeling that I get as I curl into W’s arms after an intensely brutal or degrading scene, or when I crawl into bed naked with my two guys and we simply cuddle and sleep, or when we lay out on a lawn with my kids watching fireworks.