I've had a lot on my mind lately, mostly because being on break from school has given me more time to think about non-school-related topics. Mostly, though, I've been thinking about relationships, sex, intimacy, ethics, morality, and the intersections of all these various subjects. F. and I know couples who are exclusive emotionally but open sexually. We also know couples who are comprised of multiple persons, and who are open sexually to encounters with individuals outside of their core group. It's only been a couple of years since I was exposed to this, to a realm of relationships outside of those identifying as monogamous. And I must say... I'm intrigued. After coming out, I first had to deal with the morality of non-heterosexual intimacy. Simultaneously, I had to cope with the fact that, since marriage is defined by most as between man and woman, and since I would never be able to marry a person of the same gender, any physical intimacy I had would be outside the context of my being married, and by the standards of those who raised me, would be "sinful," fornication, unholy. One can imagine what this would do to my morale.

Upon delving into the realm of same-sex relationships, I realized that, for one reason or another, monogamy didn't really fit. It felt awkward, as if I were limiting myself to loving one person (physically and emotionally) when I felt I had the desire and capacity for sharing that with more than that. Nonetheless, I tried it. I felt like it was more moral/ethical than letting myself run rampant. First relationship - failed because he wasn't really that into me. Second relationship - failed because I wasn't ready or really all that into him. Third relationship - failed because we weren't really that into each other. Then F. came along, and we opted to allow our relationship to be open. I'd never felt more free, but as of late, more questions have come to mind.

First, I must admit I have a slight problem. For me, sex is rarely ever just physical. It almost always carries with it some level of emotional attachment. For someone trying to limit his emotional attachment to one person, this makes things difficult. Because my first sexual encounters came after having been kicked out of my home church and betrayed by those I trusted and loved, sex became a coping mechanism for me rather than a means of sharing affection and developing connection. I used sex to build within myself the semblance of self-esteem, of self-worth, of being wanted, desired, needed. Even with therapy, as time as progressed, this is still a challenge for me. During times when I feel disconnected and even invisible, I use flirtation and seduction to balance and center myself. As to be expected, though, it often leaves me feeling isolated as such measures are not always reciprocated. In those instances where it is reciprocated, it often leads to encounters that, while often enjoyable, are fulfilling only for a short time. Though this is not always the case as of late, it still surfaces at times.

I'm working on this bit by bit. Lately though, it's been more difficult. Since losing Nanny and being cut off from my mother, I feel as if I've been spiraling, a trend I've seen before. It scares me, even though I'm aware of it and trying to keep it in check. Most days, I just want someone to slap me sideways and tell me to get a grip. Hasn't happened yet. Probably won't. So I'm left slapping myself it would seem.

Mostly though, I've just been hard on myself lately. For not getting the best grades I could have gotten. For letting myself become apathetic in my faith. For isolating myself from those I love, detaching and removing myself from the picture. For not taking care of my body, or my mind. For letting the depression and the paranoia defeat me, keeping me from abundant life. The list could go on... these are just things that came to mind the quickest, the things that cause me the most angst and heartache.

F. and I will be married in 97 days, and I love him more than I ever thought I could love someone. I also know that he loves me more than I ever imagined being loved. I also know that, if circumstances led to someone else being a part of our relationship, he would be alright with that. I'm questioning if I would. Should we stay open, or be monogamous? Would being polyamorous be a good move for us, or would it be detrimental? Am I ever going to feel whole, unbroken, or will I always deal with this demon whispering in my ear, telling me I'll never be enough... I've gotten so used to his voice that the idea of no longer hearing it seems preposterous. Will I always feel this nagging tingling in my wrist, aching for some red catharsis to match the emotional one I so desperately long for, wait for? I've gone this far in life without doing fatal harm to myself. I don't intend on starting now. However, that doesn't change the reall presence of emotional pain that seems to be constantly urging me onto such measures. For now, though, my tears will have to suffice to silence the voices inside my head.