growth

arvan's picture

The Story Of My Addiction

This post is about addictions, self-harm, self-discovery and eventually, self-care.  I recently had occasion to think back to when I was 20 years old.  I retraced my steps to the present day for the first time in one sitting and was quite surprised with my reaction to the story of my own life.

Looking back, I was terrified at the prospect of finding my way in the world.   At the time, I just knew that I was getting high all the time and felt shame, despair and fear like a lump in my throat almost choking the breath out of me.  I was on the verge of a great sadness, constantly frightened and alone.

I looked around for love or sex or something to quiet that feeling of loneliness, but no such comfort was there to be found.   I remember awkward, clumsy moments with women and some conversations we had about sexuality, friendship and literature/music.  I remember standing in my kitchen talking to one woman on the phone about her attraction to women.  She was wondering where to go with it and I wanted to be her friend even if it meant not being a lover.  I hope to god that I actually communicated that!

I remember another girl that I tried to get a relationship with, but she eventually stopped the relationship because I had no money and no clear indication that I was going to have any.  That triggered my shame issues and I chose to leave for the Green Berets like some romantic sod off to the French Foreign Legion in the wake of a broken heart. (what a mope!)

I figured that if my life didn't change, I was going to end up as someone standing around talking with great authority about how my life would be if I ever lived one.

So, off I go to the Green Berets because it was the hardest thing I could find in the military.  I joined the Green Berets because I was lost in my life.  I figured that I would either grow up or die trying.

arvan's picture

The Evolution of "Fag" in My Life

"Fag" and  "Gay" are two words that have been in my life since I was young.  My relationship to them has changed over the years as has their impact upon me.  I have used the words and heard the words used.  I am not proud of some of what I am about to relate.  I wasn't always in the right, I didn't always do the good thing.  I am nobody's shining example of super-duper goodness and leading the charge for doing things the right way.  I suppose that maybe, I am like a lot of people: capable of learning from mistakes.

When I was a pre-teen, the word was "Sissy" and it meant "coward" or "girl" - both of which were insults to the minds of boys my age, in the neighborhood and schoolyard.  At first, I didn't even know why they were bad things, but I knew that I didn't want to be one of the kids that those names got used on.  Being called those things meant that ridicule and physical attacks would follow. 

lovemagician's picture

Room For Growth

I usually spend Memorial Weekend at The Heartland Polyamory Conference (HPC) just outside French Lick, Indiana at Our Haven Nature Sanctuary--178 acres of sacred land where diversity isn’t just tolerated but is celebrated.  I was disappointed when I learned that the conference wasn’t taking place this year.  I would miss the heart-felt and thought provoking discussions among a diverse group of polyamorous and polycurious people from communities throughout the Midwest and beyond.

It is so helpful for polyamorists to come together and share about our experiences.  Most of us are learning as we go with limited access to information and support beyond books and the Internet, so sharing with one another about what has and hasn’t worked for us is very useful.  I’m lucky to have access to a very active local poly support and networking group, but I still love expanding my community and hearing from more perspectives.

In addition to the uplifting sense of community at HPC, the weekend affords me an amazing connection with nature.  I camp near a running stream in the clothing optional section (sunscreen and shade not so optional).  I feel an inspiring sense of freedom when I am there.

Last year, I had the opportunity to interact with people who were on the land but were not involved with the polyamory conference who happened to be swingers.  I found myself on the receiving end of assumptions because I’m bisexual and polyamorous.  Couples I had just met were inviting me to connect with them sexually.  I politely declined and tried to take the opportunities to educate them about how and why that is not in line with my personal pursuit of polyamory.  Yet my unwavering assertions were actively ignored, and I got to see how strongly stereotypes can influence people’s behaviors even when they are contrary to what is actually taking place.  I realized I had been naïve to assume that if I am honest and transparent that I would be believed.

arvan's picture

I Was A Teenage Sexist Chicken

This post is not about Sexism or Feminism, it is about my experience in talking about them.

I have had several conversations lately about how people engage in debate over sex / gender / body (SGB) identity issues.  I am launching a blog that supports dialogue on those issues and in the communities that they create.  As I frame the terms of the conversations and the goals of the site, I have begun to articulate my view on the structure of dialogue itself.

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