Tag Archives: contemplation

Inked commitments

I see a lot of ink in my job, in fact sometimes I recognize somebody’s face, but I don’t really remember who they are until they get on the table and I see their ink. This week one of my irregular clients was in. I’ve seen her 2 or 3 times over the last year and half, so I didn’t immediately remember her. She has a tattoo that reads: “I am my own before I am anyone else’s”. That helped me remember and in prior sessions she was fairly quiet.

Her tattoo, however, made me think about commitments in a big way. Not just the commitment of ink, but in the message it, and she, conveyed.

She spoke of having a fiancee, someone she cared about and was committed to, but then she also spoke about not getting married ever. She referenced all the problems that happen in regards to marriage. She spoke mainly of financial concerns based on a book she had read encouraging people to navigate the system in beneficial ways. They were all thoughts that had crossed my mind early in mine and Nathan’s relationship. She’s right, there are lots of reasons to not want to get married. I have experienced some of them in my own marriage and in watching my parents marriage. Financial concerns, strife and arguments being the biggest factors that I’ve noticed in mine and my parents marriages.

I admired her commitment to herself, and genuinely hope that it works out for her. For me I see the compromise that we make just living life, and acknowledge that myself comes first in most ways, all which I’m able, but it’s still life. My goal is to live my best life and take care of myself as best as possible, but in some cases that means extra challenges. It is that which leaves me acknowledging there are also lots of reasons to do the commitment of marriage. That is why many of the old masculine paradigm are still drawn to it.

Even the government acknowledges that once you’ve lived together, shared finances for so long, and had children, you’re essentially already married. And let’s face it if you’re that entwined, augments are inevitable to some degree. Most states acknowledge this with “common law” marriage rules. And let’s be honest if you’re having children, either you’re living together and sharing everything anyway, or you’re separated and one parent is automatically the non-custodial parent. Said parent has limited visitation and limited rights and required financial commitments (child support). States do frequently pursue child support from non-custodial parents even when marriage was never addressed, and often when there were supposedly amicable agreements. On the other hand, if you’re living together you share all the rights and all the responsibilities, and it’s still up to both of you, as to how that is handled. The choice of getting married or staying unmarried doesn’t do anything to solve the puzzle of having children. There are pros and cons to both sides of that fence, and if you want to be an active participant in your childrens’ lives then common law or traditional marriage are your only real options. Otherwise you get the short end of the stick in most ways, and still have to pay for them.

In mine and Nathan’s marriage it has meant a big factor was making certain that his daughter would be cared for should anything happen to him. Right now due to legalities he is solely responsible for education and medical concerns for her, and has been since her mom died. However because her mom is already deceased, if anything happened to Nathan, all I would have to do is present both death certificates to proper governing bodies and assuming there were no other petitions for custody, I would be granted legal guardianship. It has been a huge relief factor considering Nathan’s health concerns beginning early in our relationship, starting 6 months after we decided to marry. There have been other concerns over children as well, since I’ve now produced two more of them.

Yet we are polyamorous.

Polyamory struggles with this conundrum because in most of the United States only one marriage is legal. So, you play the dance of trying to decide: 1-do I marry one person and call everyone else my significant other, or 2- do I marry none legally and just have a bunch of significant others, or 3- do I marry no one legally and hand-fast my partners to have multiple non-legal spouses.

It creates hierarchical structure concerns, and then when children get involved, it creates further custody and responsibility concerns for every adult in the family. United States law simply has not addressed polyamory in any way to date. So, most polyamorous families end up attempting to solve the problem with legal guidance, and legal documentation, to sometimes still have biological grandparents/aunts/uncles throw kinks into postmortem processes. There have been more than a few polyamorous families, and many polygamist families, end up in long legal battles after one adult passed away.

That is why Nathan and I drug our heals at making the commitment. We both acknowledged that marriage was a huge risk by itself, and being poly from the onset of our relationship made it an even larger risk as a commitment. We discussed it for hours on end, many times over 4 years, before finally sealing the deal. We weighed pros and cons and all the risks of both sides.

For me it boiled down to love. I knew I loved Nathan and his daughter enough to take every last one of the scary risks we had acknowledged, especially after his miserable divorce completed. I was willing to walk through fire if it meant they knew I loved them and wanted the best that I could manage for them.

I also knew that my own health battle meant I regularly fought both inside and outside of myself. My brain was frequently intent on making me see the worst in everything and it would often cause a strong desire for either death, suicide, or escape, no matter the circumstances. I knew that for me the commitment had to be extra hard to get out of, mostly to make certain I would fight hard enough to win the war waged in my brain and emotions. I wanted to make sure that my inner me, who loved them truly and deeply, had a trigger in my mental sphere to encourage the fight for good. I didn’t want the negative ninny in my brain to win simply because it was easy to escape. Marriage ultimately became my insurance to fight for my own life and to keep reaching for the love I knew was there.

I knew my love for Nathan and his daughter was worth fighting for. Every good moment felt amazing. Every time my brain was in a good space, there wasn’t a shred of doubt that I loved them. It was a deeply felt knowing, that when my brain was clear, was easy access. I wanted to preserve that even when my brain malfunctioned, and being married with divorce as a consequence enabled me to win against my brain over and over again.

To this day I still acknowledge that divorce really would do me no good. It won’t solve the role of finances and could make it even worse. It won’t solve my brain’s function. It won’t make taking care of myself any easier. It won’t be helpful for children, and could potentially traumatize all of us. Divorce simply won’t fix anything that is broken, and could lead to even greater damages. So it is still my safety net to continue to fight the good fight for love. May it always work and love overcome all.

I hope that one day there will be another that feels as I do, and we can commit through all of those legal hoops, to make a solid attempt at protecting a poly family. Anyone willing to go through that definitely has love and all of our best interests at heart.

May you always know how to put yourself first and care for yourself as fully as life allows. May you know that occasionally legal commitment is the route to enable that. May you know that not all commitments must be legal to be truly valid, that a commitment is really demonstrated in many ways on a daily basis, sometimes as simply as surviving the rough parts. May you know that everything has a reason and a purpose, and that our goal here on Earth is to find ways to improve upon everything as best as we are able. May you see that improvement in yourself and know that you win a war every time that your brain would prefer you don’t. Regardless of your decisions may you see that everything works out just as you need. Above all my you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Expectations of Happiness

How does one define happiness, and why is our own definition so illusive?

It’s a weird rhetorical question.

I have no solid answer myself, as I can find my happiness sitting alone in a room, meditating, during a quiet massage session, or sitting in my hammock.

On the same token there are times that I feel like I should be happy when I’m not.

Today is the 4th of July. Former president Trump and 2020 ruined what shred was left of my patriotism. I should be happy to celebrate this holiday, but I have been grumpy all day long. At the same time I am fighting a desired to run away.

I could apply for a management position at what is now my part-time second job, they are hiring for many positions with an impending new building opening. It would be a massive promotion and I’m certain they want me to do so. It could be equivalent to income I make from the clinic, maybe a hair more, and the work would likely be much easier on me physically. However, the stress levels would be high, I’d probably be on-call a lot, and likely end up working as much, if not more, than I do now. It’s not my own business, and it’s not the intentional community I desired.

The skills might help with my dream community, but at this point I have a strong awareness that I can learn anything I need in a very short span of time, so the learning lesson is much less of a draw these days. Beyond that, 2020 again ruined my desire to work with elderly in any fashion, and I am already considering quitting the part-time work because of it. I would have much less headache and Saturday afternoons off, something that seems really appealing with our new mess related to dialysis.

The clinic still has me occupied 5 to 6 days a week and I feel like I work with platonic family. It is a good feeling and I know my work there is genuinely helping many people. Literally the only real drawback is that it is hard on my body and requires many hours of self care. Also because of that, I know my income will always be limited and I have likely already reached my maximum.

If I stay where I am and doing what I am doing then life will be fairly unchanged for years to come. It’s not really a horrible thing, but I am simply just tired of bearing the weight of a family alone. I have done it for almost 16 years and on very few occasions Nathan or I had to grovel to our parents for assistance. Most of them were right after we moved to Kansas city and turned around to deal with his hospital stay. It was a very rough period and the only period that I had to beg for parental assistance more than once. Out of 16 years I’ve asked my mom for money 4 times, and Nathan’s mom about the same (maybe a couple more times). The rest of the 16 years has fallen squarely on our shoulders, and only the last 10 have been my sole responsibility. When I state it that way, it doesn’t seem like that much, but my experience of it is just wearing me out.

I’ve been contemplating grad school, but know I can’t get a loan. So to that end I’m contemplating taking the MCAT and Mensa tests. It’s my hope to get scholarship if I do well enough, but I’ve set no direct commitment yet, only inquiries on tests and chiropractic college.

I’m also contemplating simply looking into a loan to start a massage school of actual merit. THAT I already have enough knowledge and commitment for. God knows KC needs a decent massage school, or I’d be able to find a quality trade partner easier. It would be a ton of legwork and writing on the front end, skimping by financially until a student body could be acquired and actual classes could begin. There would be accreditation processes and board certification processes, course management and all of the regular business and accounting issues to deal with, all out of whatever loan I managed to procure. It would be fast paced and grueling for several months to get set-up and functional, and everything would ride on loans until students began enrollment. Not impossible- my massage school had just done that when I enrolled 14 years ago and they are still functional.

This week the chiropractor encouraged me to shift my business to a full LLC, and I wondered if that was my cue to lean that direction. I simply don’t know.

Part of me is perfectly fine with settling and riding the calm waters of maintaining what I’ve already created. Especially if I quit the part-time job and get my Saturdays back for relaxation and fun.

Part of me knows this is not really my Atira, and is downtrodden over the prospects that I may never see my actual dream manifest. That’s the part of me that wants to run away.

I simply don’t know, and my tired brain just wants the elusive happiness all the time. It’s there when I have the time and space to find it, but I have a hell of a time keeping it in me.

For now I leave you with my rhetorical question and ramblings.

May you find your happiness, know your expectations, and find a way to maintain it regardless. May you instill in your children the ability to maintain their happiness while also lifting our world up. May we all enjoy our lives mostly and find ease in navigating the paths of life. May you be comfortable with your life regardless of where the roads lead you. May you see that everything happens for a reason, sometimes to just give you clarity on what you don’t want. Above all may you know that the divine loves and supports you in all that you do.

Om Shanti

Gifting thoughtfulness.

Gift giving came up as a topic of discussion at work the day before yesterday. Essentially, one person was asking another if they should be concerned about how a gift was received by 3rd party (not present). The question was centered around timing and the response to the gift as perceived by the gift giver. The gifter wanted to know if they should be offended.

This topic made me stop and think about one of my interactions recently.

I was always taught that gifting should be from the heart, and well thought and well executed regardless of the price tag. My mom taught me it was better to make something for someone than go buy something for them just because it would fill the gift void quickly. She always leaned towards baked goods or stitched items being those were her strong suits. I learned young my strength was drawing and I have always done art or handmade cards for my more special gifts.

So fast forward to this discussion and relating to a gift exchange between me and someone I have been attempt to reconnect with in a more casual way. I realized that my end of the gift exchange may have taken too long and that the other person might be wondering what is up with that.

The problem here is that if I’m prepping for a scheduled event (birthday, anniversary, holiday) I start my project far enough in advance to hopefully ensure it is delivered on time. But when my art is a response to a received gift, it takes longer than just running to the store or spending a few minutes online. It’s not an immediate turn around.

Additionally, I have trouble telling someone I am creating something for them because I have jobs and kids and a garden and pets. I want to complete the project, but the reality is that if I’m not getting paid or having to do something it falls to the bottom of my to-do list. It will get done, but it might take quite a while before I can fit in the necessary time to do it.

So then, I became very self conscious about not having returned the sentiment of thanks for the gift I had received. I spent about 30 minutes online browsing choices that I felt would be good picks. I put thought into quantity and descriptions of the items, especially considering known preferences my person has. I wanted to get something that would fill my time delay void, not break my bank, but show that I had tried to get something neat that I was hoping they didn’t already have. I placed my order, not expensive, but not cheap either. Then I proceeded to let my person know that my intended thank you gift was taking longer than expected but there was a substitute on it’s way.

After work I then proceeded to ensure I worked on the originally intended gift. It’s a two part project. Essentially two images, but done in electronic arts. They are Photoshop type images, but where I’m needing to do heavy retouching and assembly of multiple original sources.

The first idea was based off the “Magic the Gathering” cards I’ve had renewed interest in. I want to do an image that would look like the seraphim class in magic (angels). I’m going to put real images together to create a male angel warrior over a mountain landscape. I have most of my imagery pulled, but have yet to start peicing together the finished project.

The other project is similar, but is intended as a feel good reminder for them. I have finished it, and it’s somewhat amusing in the final image. I was aiming for giving them have something to look to for those tough days when you know you’re helping, but the evidence doesn’t really show it. We’ve all had those days and I know for sure this person has too, but they’re not one of those that says everything on their mind. So I thought if they had a quiet boost they could hide and pull out as needed it would be good.

Once I finished that part last night I sat back and said they are either going to think it’s awesome, or hilarious, or they’re going to hate it. I hope it’s one of the first two responses, and I’m sorry if they hate it. I had good intentions. I’d put it on here, but I used just their face in part of my kit-bashing, so I don’t know if they would be okay with that. Anyway, hopefully like my mom taught me, it’s the thought that counts.

Now I just have to make time to fit in the other half. It is a more complex image, so I suspect it’s going to take me about 6 hours, which means two or 3 attempts at sitting down to my design computer. I don’t know if I can pull that off this week, but I’m sure going to try.

What do you think about gift giving? Am I on the right track? Should I have told them I was working on something sooner? Or was my “fill the void” purchase what I should have done in the first place? Did I wait too long because I wanted to be casual and not seem needy? Am I overthinking this?

May you all have good gift giving experiences. May you know gifts received and gifts given, were all well thought. May you love all your gifts. May you see the kindness and forethought of any gift received. May you find yourself in gift exchanges more and more often. May you know kindness matters and that you are able to be kind enough as often as possible. May you know that all gifting is an expression of love and that some people really enjoy that particular experience. May you know how to act and when, to not seem too needy but still convey your caring. May you know you are loved and accepted just as you are.

Siva Hir Su