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Old 05-01-2011, 05:55 AM
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Ivy Ivy is offline
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Default Reinventing Ivy

So, this is my blog.

Yup.

I'm starting it this evening because something pretty horrific and scary is happening to someone in my family tonight and I'm staring at walls worrying myself sick and I need a distraction. Anything. And I don't have TV.

So, I guess we'll start with a prologue, so some of the effed-upness of my current circumstances makes more sense.

Prologue: The Pity Party

So, I was the fat kid. Like, the smart fat kid who everyone was mind-bogglingly mean to. Respected fat kids knew their place, didn't win too many awards, certainly didn't strive for undue attention, and pretty much put their skinny friends' glory first. I didn't do that. I won spelling bees and crap.

The favorite joke in junior high was to send a cute guy--preferably one I'd recently been nice to--over to me, and have him tell me I'm pretty and ask if I wanted to "go out" with him (i.e. conduct the twelve-year-old equivalent of a relationship). If the joke went well, I'd blush, get flustered, say yes, and then he'd launch into a hysterical explanation of why someone as popular as him would never, ever even look twice at a girl as fat and ugly as me.

Fun fun. Lots of laughs.

In high school, I started to do the "fat friend" thing a little--that is, keep my feelings and attractions entirely to myself, and smile and be supportive while my best friends dated the boys I wanted. If I was lucky, they'd give me a play-by-play of their blooming sex lives. Or, they'd figure out who I liked, and gently break it to me that "he doesn't like fat chicks." It was especially exciting when I was *also* attracted to the girl in question. Double rejection, plus a dose of feeling creepy and gross for having a crush on a female friend.

I kind of got sick of it. Eventually, I dated a fairly popular guy, who constantly reminded me that he could have any girl he wanted, so I was lucky to have him. I made a lot of enemies simply by initiating that relationship. I also took to winning debate team competitions and getting irritatingly high SAT scores. I was not well-liked. Dating was something I very badly wanted to do, but it just wasn't an option.

In college, I met my husband (whom I shall henceforth call Vino). Specifically, we got very drunk together after he and my roommate broke up, and we...erm...hit it off, so to speak. But we clicked amazingly well. Vino was (and is) extremely good-looking, and liked (and still likes) strong, sturdy, successful, powerful women. I didn't intimidate him, and my weight didn't gross him out.

So we got married. Our relationship was never very traditional, but it was very monogamous, in large part because we were both raised with the inflexible belief that non-monogamy is a one-way street to divorce and dying alone and forgotten in a filthy nursing home somewhere.

Eventually, we got knocked up. I was still quite heavy--I remember the OB writing "OBESE" in capital letters across the top of my intake sheet.

Our son was born with a severe disability, spina bifida. Within his first few weeks of life, he had a half-dozen surgeries.

I found out a short while later that obese women are far more likely to have children with that particular birth defect. Naturally, I slipped into a puddle of overwhelming self-blame.

But I'm also a control freak. I LOST THE FREAKING WEIGHT. No excuses. I stopped eating crap and feeling sorry for myself and I just effing lost it all. It was difficult as hell, but it happened, and it allowed me to let go of some of that self-loathing.

As a nice bonus, I was suddenly very easy on the eyes. People (of any gender or sexual preference) were much, much kinder to me. Men held doors. Women asked about my fitness routine. For the first time ever at all in my entire life, I felt attractive.

And then I felt empowered, so I applied to law school. And that's where the Prologue ends, and Part I will have to begin....

Last edited by Ivy; 05-01-2011 at 04:09 PM.
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Old 05-01-2011, 05:23 PM
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Part I: Ben

Shortly after I started grad school, I met this guy who creeped me out--we'll call him Ben. Ben wore a wedding band, but kept hitting on all the women in the class. He wasn't particularly good-looking, but his girlfriend was amazingly attractive (and, incidentally, was not the source of the wedding band). Weird, I thought. And...erm...creepy.

But also fascinating. We had many classes together, so we ended up talking a lot. We had SO MUCH in common, personally, politically--pretty much all around. He purported to be "polyamorous," a word I'd heard before, but only from serial cheaters as a justification for their behavior. He apparently meant it.

Unfortunately, his incredibly sexy girlfriend broke up with him to pursue a more traditional lifestyle. We became close friends and occasional drinking buddies, and spent a fair amount of time together.

So, of course, I ended up crushing on him. Vino and I were monogamous, though, so it was one of those neat little crushes I internalized as an utter impossibility. I also assumed there was no way he was attracted to me--I was still in "fat and ugly" mode.

Around that time, he started dating E (we'll call her Ella, since "E" isn't much of a name). Ella was sexy in that curvy, coy, adorable way. She was also intensely shy, except when she was espousing her very unique political beliefs. She barely talked to anyone, but nonetheless had an endless stream of (male) sexual partners.

So Ben and Ella weren't much of a surprise, on that level. Both of them wanted open relationships, and even if they were very different personalities, they complemented each other quite well.

About six months after they started dating, Ben and I went out for drinks together. I ended up spilling the fact that I was attracted to him--along with a lot of guilt-induced tears. He confessed that he was extremely attracted to me, as well--enough that he was worried about its effect on his budding relationship with Ella. We agreed, though, that for the time being at least, there wouldn't be anything physical.

Ella didn't handle it well, though. At that point, I didn't get much of an explanation, but Ben abruptly cut off contact with me more or less entirely (I got an occasional "hey" if we passed in the halls). I spent a long time wondering what I did wrong, or how I could have handled the situation better. I was heartbroken, but more importantly, I'd lost a very close friend.

Meanwhile, Ella and I were increasingly in the same classes and activities, and while she didn't seem hostile toward me, she definitely avoided speaking to me.

And that was pretty much it, for a long time....

Last edited by Ivy; 05-02-2011 at 12:37 AM.
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Old 05-02-2011, 04:21 AM
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Part II: Ella, the Beginning

A couple of years went by, and that pattern held. Then, I found myself on a long trip with Ella and a couple other students. There were six of us and one professor, but Ella and I didn't speak a word to each other--not a peep. I assumed she must hate me, that the fact that I'd admitted my attraction to Ben had hurt her, the same way it had hurt Vino to know that I was attracted to another guy, when I told him about it. After all, Ben himself had suggested that his feelings for me might hurt his relationship.

Then, the final night of our trip, we all got very, very drunk. Astoundingly so. When I feel guilty and I'm drunk I confess, confess, confess. So I pulled Ella aside and apologized to her--with lots of tears--for any damage I had done to their relationship. She invited me back to her room to talk more. She was very sweet about it, but I could have sworn she was giving me "come hither" eyes. I assumed it was the drunkenness--I mean, she wasn't even speaking to me a few hours before, and she had only shown an interest in men.

We went back to silence the next day, as if the whole conversation had never happened.

After that, Ben warmed up to me a little. I figured my fumbling apology to Ella had done some good, at least. We went out to lunch a few times. One of those times, lunch evolved into drinks, drinks evolved into a hell of a lot of drinks. Ben started telling me that Ella was interested in me. I told him I doubted it--she dated a LOT of people, and none were female. He insisted, but he was pretty much blacking out by that point, so I just laughed at him.

The next day, he didn't remember saying that. To make matters worse, Ella was extremely angry with him, apparently for staying out that late. I wondered, of course, if it was because he'd been out with me, and what that meant. Ben mostly stopped talking to me again.

In the meanwhile, I was intrigued. Ella was extremely attractive, though outwardly unquestionably heterosexual. On the one hand, I figured it could be a scheme to attract men with pseudo-bi-girl action. Ick. On the other hand, she had a hot little body, and it could be a exciting fling, even it was meaningless.

I brought the idea up with Vino. He was incredibly supportive of my potential sexual involvement with other attractive, intelligent women. Go figure.

But I still wasn't sure if Ben had been telling the truth, or had just been delusionally intoxicated.

Then, about a year ago, Ben and Ella showed up at a party together. I kept catching Ella looking at me, but I couldn't tell if it was a glare or a coy glance. I finally looked straight at her and gestured toward the door. She smiled and followed, leaving Ben looking very, very surprised.

And that's how things started. In retrospect, it was all rather careless--I certainly wasn't considering the complexity of my own feelings at that point, nor was I thinking of all the potential repercussions. It was pure, raw sexual attraction, something I hadn't given into since I met Vino years before. But it felt amazing, and for a while, it only got better....
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Old 05-02-2011, 07:14 AM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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Ivy, I'm so glad that I found this in "New Posts". This is a fascinating story and I'm looking forward to reading more.
I thought that I had a tough time as a child: my father comparing me disparagingly with my 8-year-elder brother, my eldest sister telling me that I broke everything I touched, my religion telling me that I was a heap of shit and it was only because God was infinitely loving that he was able to love such an evil, dirty pile of dreck.

But you must have had it a lot harder. People can be so cruel. At least I didn't have to put up with much of that "hate the smart kid" stuff, because I went to a British-system school where each year was graded into classes according to academic achievement, so my classmates were all "brainees". And I wasn't the ONLY "four-eyed git" around.

You obviously have a lot of strength, if you were able to lose all that weight once you set your mind to it.
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But I'm also a control freak. I LOST THE FREAKING WEIGHT. No excuses. I stopped eating crap and feeling sorry for myself and I just effing lost it all. It was difficult as hell but it happened [...]
Control freak or master of self-control? The only sad part about this is that [I'm putting 2 and 2 together (and maybe coming up with 6)] it seems that you did this for the sake of possible future children and not for YOURSELF. But at least you get the benefits.
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[...] it allowed me to let go of some of that self-loathing.

As a nice bonus, I was suddenly very easy on the eyes. People (of any gender or sexual preference) were much, much kinder to me. Men held doors. Women asked about my fitness routine. For the first time ever at all in my entire life, I felt attractive.
I hope that you're well into the loving-yourself times.
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I'm starting it this evening because something pretty horrific and scary is happening to someone in my family tonight and I'm staring at walls worrying myself sick and I need a distraction.
I wonder, (2+2=8?) is this some kind of further surgery for your child? Whatever it was, I hope that it all came out OK and the crisis (and worrying) are part of the past.

I'll comment on your present polyamory situation later. I've got to finish my breakfast and head off to work (and a dentist appointment: getting one major filling, several minor ones, and the stump of a molar pulled >>)

This evening I perform a clown number for an anti-nuclear-energy vigil.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 05-02-2011, 08:22 PM
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At least I didn't have to put up with much of that "hate the smart kid" stuff, because I went to a British-system school
I WISH they did that here. I got so adept at "hiding" my intelligence to survive that I started to see it as a social liability (I still do, on rare occasions). Vino was a bio-nerd as a kid, and got the same treatment, and I've heard the same thing from lots of other people. On the flipside, my son needs lots of special needs tutoring, and doesn't get it because he's lumped in with everyone else.

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it seems that you did this for the sake of possible future children and not for YOURSELF.
Sad, but true, in a way. I definitely didn't think enough of myself, independently, to put out that much effort, though I did also do it so I could let go of some of that self-blame. I couldn't fix my son's birth defect, but I could fix the problem that (may or may not have) caused it.

Incidentally, we had another baby, a little girl, between Parts I and II. She's healthy as a horse.

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I hope that you're well into the loving-yourself times.
Heh. Getting there. Just getting to the point now where it doesn't surprise the heck out of me when people tell me I'm attractive, but still not to the point where I can act on it without an overwhelming sense of inevitable rejection. But...more on that to come, if I keep up this blog.

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I wonder...is this some kind of further surgery for your child?
Sort of. His caregiver gave him the wrong med dose and it sent him into seizures. We had a day of "sit and wait" to see if he was okay. He is. They're sending him home this evening.

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getting one major filling, several minor ones, and the stump of a molar pulled
Ouch!! Not fun...

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This evening I perform a clown number for an anti-nuclear-energy vigil.
...but at least this sounds AWESOME. Hope you survive the first part, and have tons of fun at the second.
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Old 05-02-2011, 09:32 PM
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But I'm also a control freak. I LOST THE FREAKING WEIGHT. No excuses. I stopped eating crap and feeling sorry for myself and I just effing lost it all. It was difficult as hell, but it happened, and it allowed me to let go of some of that self-loathing.
Congratulations on using those negative feelings to do something positive for yourself.
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Old 05-02-2011, 10:49 PM
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Part III: Ella, the Middle

Ella and I started seeing a lot of each other. We went to Vegas for a couple days (Vino's graduation gift to me), and then we settled into a once-a-week date pattern. It was lovely. I hadn't had that much fun in a long time.

A couple problems became apparent, though.

First, Ella's ability to garner male attention was astounding. Much of the time, she expressed no attraction toward these men, or even a bit of disgust, but would still cultivate their interest. The problem was, she seemed utterly unaware of others' feelings, and treated sex as something entirely meaningless.

Case in point: we went out for drinks at a bar. Within a couple hours, three men had bought her drinks. One of them stopped paying attention to a woman who was clearly interested in him (not sure if it was his date), in order to gain Ella's attention. She started idly stroking his arm, and the other woman left, visibly upset. Another man bought her a second round. She told me she found him extremely unappealing, but by the end of the evening was asking how I'd feel if she went home with him, instead of me--she felt obligated, since he'd bought her two drinks.

I had a massive emotional conflict that night. First, I was envious. I had never had even one man, save Vino, buy me a drink without disclaiming it as "just friends." Second, I was worried as hell--is this why she had been sexually involved with that many men? Because of a sense of obligation? If so, why was she involved with me? Finally, I was pissed--she almost left our date to go home with a man she didn't even like!

Perhaps more significantly, I was realizing that I wasn't over my feelings for Ben. Ella and I would have drinks at their house, and she'd gently shoo him back to his bedroom. Occasionally, he'd have a drink with us before leaving, and I realized I missed him very much, and that I was still attracted to him.

I told Ella this, of course. She became profoundly upset over it. She asked what my ideal outcome to the situation would be, and I told her, quite simply, that I wanted to be involved with both of them. She replied "Yeah, that's definitely not going to work."

She was right on some level. I hadn't broached the subject of being involved with a man with Vino yet. He knew I had feelings for Ben, but I had left it at that. Given the depth of Ella's anger, I figured I would just force myself to get over it somehow.

And most of my contact with Ben stopped after that. He sent me one final email, to let me know that our attraction to each other was hurting Ella, so we would need to back off from each other. Even when I went to their house, he would carefully disappear before my arrival. My relationship with Ella continued, and we had fun. Ben all but disappeared from the picture, physically and emotionally.

Then, a few months later, Ella became increasingly distraught over a woman Ben was interested in. For added intrigue, this woman (Keri) was dating a man (Jason) that Ella had slept with. Keri had given Jason permission to go home with Ella. Now Ella seemed to feel like she was obligated to let Ben and Keri get involved. She clearly wanted my emotional support.

And I couldn't give it. First, because I agreed, she needed to let Ben pursue the relationship with Keri. He had been extremely open and honest about his interest, and seemed to be taking it very slowly for Ella's sake. Ella had been involved with many, many men, and Ben had supported her fully. This was the first time in their relationship that he had actively tried to pursue anything else.

Second, it was simply killing me to hear about it. I was feeling an intense level of jealousy, and had no one to turn to for support. I still had feelings for him, I missed him terribly, and I was starting to feel envious resentful toward Ella. She still reveled in men's attention everywhere we went, but apart from Vino's continued affection, the only man who had shown any interest in me in well over a decade was Ben, and he had cut off contact with me to make her happy.

One night, Ella was going into explicit detail about the depth of Ben and Keri's involvement, and the intensity of feelings he had expressed for her, and I just wanted to leave. I couldn't listen any more. Finally, she was ending an explanation of the situation, and said "anyway, she really, really likes him, so I guess that's that." I snapped, "I really, really liked him too, you know." She just stared at me like I didn't get it, and said, "Well...sorry."

I went home a few minutes later, angry and hurt and very much confused. I spent several days formulating how I would make it clear to Ella that I still had feelings for Ben, and that I wanted to be able to rebuild, at a minimum, my friendship with him, and, if it felt right and we took things very slowly, to be involved with both of them.

I spoke with Vino about it first. He was uncomfortable with the idea of me being involved with a man, but agreed that it was imperative to rebuild my friendship with Ben, and if it evolved into more, that he could work through his feelings, if it went slowly enough.

I didn't talk to Ben about it, of course. I didn't feel comfortable even emailing him, let alone bringing up such a subject, without Ella's knowledge.

So I made a coffee date with Ella to explain things....
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:04 PM
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Congratulations on using those negative feelings to do something positive for yourself.
Thanks! I'm currently working on erasing the "shadow" of those feelings--that is, how they've negatively affected my behavior and my relationships--and that's proving much more difficult.
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Old 05-02-2011, 11:55 PM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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I wonder...is this some kind of further surgery for your child?
Sort of. His caregiver gave him the wrong med dose and it sent him into seizures. We had a day of "sit and wait" to see if he was okay. He is. They're sending him home this evening.
Glad it's turned out well!
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getting one major filling, several minor ones, and the stump of a molar pulled
Ouch!! Not fun...
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Originally Posted by MrFarFromRight
This evening I perform a clown number for an anti-nuclear-energy vigil.
...but at least this sounds AWESOME. Hope you survive the first part, and have tons of fun at the second.
The first part wasn't bad at all: I have a REALLY good dentist (who's also a homoeopath) who EXPLAINS what she's about to do, and (because I'm sub sub poverty level and don't have medical insurance) treats me in exchange for jobs of work. [I've been dismantling a fence for her and her husband.]

The second part was MUCH better. Among my clown routines, I have one that I realised last week could be easily adapted to an anti-nuclear-energy theme. I didn't realise until a few hours before the vigil that I'd need my offer to be OKed by the organiser. (But that was no problem.) And I didn't find my "straight man" (actually a woman that I'd never met before) until about 15 minutes before we took the stage, but it all went really well... and it was being filmed, so I'm looking forward to seeing the recording.

Apologies for off-topic reply, but I'll get back on-topic now...
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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Old 05-03-2011, 12:13 AM
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MrFarFromRight MrFarFromRight is offline
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I'd be jumping the gun if I replied here, because I've read another of your blogs and know where this is heading... so I'm going to reply on that other blog and let you tell the whole story here at your own pace.
__________________
If I can't dance, I want no part in your Revolution.
- Emma Goldman Anarchist and Polyamorous par excellence
The person who says something is impossible should not interrupt the person who is doing it.
- old Chinese proverb
And the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.
~ Anais Nin
I'd rather have a broken heart / Than have a heart of stone.
- from "Boundless Love (A Polyamory Song)" by Jimmy Hollis i Dickson
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