I am Oxygen. My husband (ispolyforme) gave me that label and I love it. His reference is that our relatively new vee relationship which includes my boyfriend W, he, and I is like water and Iím the oxygen that holds it together. But it also means that he feels he canít breathe, canít live without me. Which is a little ego-inflating (okay, a lot), but who wouldnít dig that? Iím here because I want to help guide him and support him on the journey we are taking together at my behest and his resistance, but also because Iím falling appreciatively into the cushion of being able to truly say that there is a reason, or a logic, to the person that Iíve always known at a deep inner level I am but have never been able to express or communicate in a way that I felt could be embraced by anyone else in my life. Iím not sure whether anyone is interested in reading or following my thoughts, or even whether that is necessary, so please donít feel obliged (unless you are IPFM, in which case, feel obliged ;)), but it feels good just to know that I can really think things through and lay out where Iím at and how I got here.
I remember trying to explain my perspective on love and on emotional connection to IPFM when we were first getting to know each other six years ago. I tried to tell him how I felt that love didnít have limits, that love wasnít and/or, and that Iíve never felt my love to be ďused upĒ or inaccessible as a result of a situation Iíve been in. (I also did my best to warn him that as a result of these feelings, I had been completely inept up until that point in conducting a long term monogamous relationship. Not that I hadnít ever thought I was trying to, or that I was saying it wasnít my intention with him, but just that I wanted to lay the cards of my past on the table.) I remember a look of utter incomprehension on his poor right-wing Southern Baptist upbrought (yes I just made up a word) face.
The conversation about loving many got absorbed in what I would now label as our NRE for each other, led to our engagement, marriage, moving halfway across the world to settle down and play house, dreamily fantasize about and creating our first (and second) child, and generally embodying the young monogamous American Dream. For the most part my feelings about wanting or needing or just being open to sharing my love were on a back burner that was occluded enough by the sumptuous and all-encompassing meal I was preparing, that it was easy to forget they were even there or to feel that they werenít gone completely. The conversation about loving many and having enough Oxygen to go around resurfaced when baby boy 1 rolled around and IPFM felt he was missing out on the full pie he had gotten accustomed to, and yet again when baby boy 2 entered the scene 23 months later. I tried to assuage him again that loving my two new little men didnít detract from my love, but rather added dimensions to my love for him, but I saw even then that he skeptically agreed to accept my seemingly insufficient explanation because he was tired of arguing with a hormonal nursing/pregnant woman who canít concede a point to save her life even on a day when she is feeling amicable.
What was I trying to clarify in that initial conversation about perspective and expectations? I always assumed I had a less moral perspective on love, on intimacy. Since the first time I engaged with someone sexually I felt excited but like I couldnít cut it in the game of traditional societal construct. My pattern was to become interested in someone, engage with them, watch my interest fade or stabilize, develop interest in someone else, assume this meant I was a terrible person and the only way I could justify this feeling was to prove to myself that I was over the last person and moving on to the next, leave the initial partner in the dust, start a ďrealĒ relationship with the new partner, and begin the cycle anew. It never occurred to me that I could be open with everyone involved, or that it was ďokayĒ for my feelings to overlap. That it didnít mean there was something morally wrong with me, that I was commitment-phobic and incapable of being in a ďrealĒ relationship because I could never stick, never feel like I wasnít embracing the opportunity for more. I have always been the type of woman who cherished the chance to flirt with new and interesting people. Not because I really felt bored or unsatisfied, but because regardless of my situation I have always been interested in connecting with new people that intrigue me. I have seen this continually come across to others as inauthentic and infidelitous (another new word, I guess). Whatís funny is that Iím just coming to terms with being able to embrace the fact that this has always been me manifesting myself in just the opposite, in my truly authentic form- just one that hasnít been palatable to most of the people Iíve encountered.
I think thatís all I want to write at the moment. There is so much to say about what has become recently of me owning up to who I am and who I feel I need to be, and of course my wonderfully compassionate and loyal husband who has chosen to be on this insane roller coaster life with me. But maybe one step at a timeÖ I am grateful to be here.
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