In which I attempt to show you the wallpaper of my life…

I promised background.  It’s only fair – if expect anyone to read anything I’ve written, it must involve a little baring of the soul, right?  But since I wrote that sentence the other day, I’ve been procrastinating.  Where do I start?  What if I try and describe my ridiculously complicated life and end up writing one dry, boring run-on epic drama that no one can even get through let alone be inspired to read more of??  Oh wait, there I go…

So fuck all the emotional angst.  I’ll just take a running leap.

I grew up on the state line between IL and WI, in a little armpit of a city notorious for their insanely high crime rate.  Despite this ghetto-like reputation I led an oddly middle-class life; well it appeared that way anyway.   A fat little black girl raised by two white parents wasn’t exactly inconspicuous.  I was ridiculously shy, horribly picked on, and completely unpopular.  I spent most of my non-school time with a after-school babysitter cum family friend and her kids, a woman I will always consider one of the most motherly and loving influences in my life despite that fact that she was poor as hell and trying to escape her own physically abusive husband.

To sum up my parents, I will say this:  my (biological) mother was a self-absorbed borderline survivor of child abuse masquerading as a maverick “non-traditional student” and raging feminist at the local college.  This gave me unique access to a higher-learning institution at a young age, which at least fed my intellect, and gave me a firm foundation of being radically more… well, radical, than many folks I’ve met in my life since.  My (adoptive) father was an emotionally dead chauvinist incapable of expressing the slightest bit of affection and more interested in a trophy wife and an invisible child than the mouthy, troubled chicks with which he found himself living.  I avoided him like the plague, cried every time he spoke to me, and referred to him as “the Brick Wall” in private.  They found each other when I was three (after my my biological father cheated and ran away with his mistress), as broken people often find each other, and lived unhappily ever after for 15 years before divorcing when I was in high school.   Meanwhile, back at the ranch, my broken, self-absorbed parents failed to notice that I was being sexually and ritually abused on two different sides of the family.  Oops.  Their bad.

By 11, I was clinically depressed, had an active eating disorder, was a social pariah, and had a counselor recommending inpatient hospitalization.  No go – dad was a cheapskate.  But I learned the value of a good therapist and have seen one on-and-off for the last 25 years.   I had fantasies of running away all through junior high and high school; I kept a packed backpack in my closet ready to go and always made sure there were a pack of hotdogs in the fridge (which my warped adolescent mind was convinced was the perfect on-the-run food since they didn’t require cooking and were full of protein.)  I planned to make my living through prostitution.  In the end though I always chickened out, sure that as fat as I was that no one would pay money to have sex with me and I would starve to death on the street, rejected and homeless.

At 17 I left home for college, a small private affair that I wept and boozed my way through for two years before giving up and moving to the “big city”, an hour away.  But before I left, college opened my eyes to a lot of things.  I realized that I hated my parents and myself, came out as queer, began the first forays into dealing with “the trauma”, had my first menage a trois, started smoking, and grew as big as a house.  Exit college.

In Madtown, all hell broke loose.  The depression and PTSD reached full blossom after a few years of scraping by, and finally 1994 became my “year of insanity.”  5 suicide attempts, 7 mental hospitals, and scars on my arms and wrists that will never go away.  Cue violin music.  After a almost a year of that shit I finally realized that the mental health system was not designed for child abuse survivors, particularly survivors of extremely sadistic abuse, and was just as likely to kill me as help me.  Somehow I pulled myself up by my mental bootstraps, spent a few years working my way off of SSDI, and “made something of my life.”  I held down better and better jobs, started exercising a bit, sowed some wild oats while living in a house full of vegetarian coke-heads, went on a few dates, fell in love with a psychotic woman who faked brain cancer before dumping me, helped with some anti-pornography crusading until I realized that all that shit I was looking at was actually turning me on, did more college on-and-off and eight years later found myself single and knocked-up at 29 years old.

Everything changes when you have a child.  My life will forever be divided into pre-N, and post-N.  Now, I freely admit that I am probably a woman who should never have become a parent – I am hereditarily prone to self-absorption, scarred by trauma, and just now at 38 figuring out how to have fun.  To say a child cramps my style is an understatement.  But from the very beginning I tried to do it right.  I read a gazillion books on attachment parenting, breastfed her until she was 2, made our tiny home a place to say “yes” instead of “no”, bought her every classic children’s book I could afford, and co-slept with her every night in my futon.   But it is because of N that I know the universe has a sense of humor.  I ended up with a mini-me, or maybe more accurately a mini-would-have-been-me.  She is 8 now, and is fierce, sarcastic, loud, brilliant, temperamental, prone to fits of depression and low self-confidence, and an incredibly gifted ballerina.  She is a force of nature.  I would gladly die for her a million times over, and I have never loved anything with more soul-shattering devotion in my life.  And she drives me up the fucking wall.

Three and a half years post-N, I fell in love with a woman on the internet.  It worked, by god.  Actually worked.  (Hi Honey!)  She moved in with me less than a year later and we have been together ever since; we even had a commitment ceremony in September of 2007.   In so many ways, this has led to some of the happiest years of my life.  We are a FAMILY, K and N and me.  We love and take care of each other.  Cook dinner and do laundry.  I have lived more fully in the last 4 years than in my entire life.

But therein lies the rub.  The more fully me I became, the more truths I had to face about myself.  Before our wedding ceremony, my wife and I saw an alt-sex therapist for some pre-marital counseling.  Although we were referred to her as an LGBT couple, it became immediately obvious that one of the topics we needed to let out in the open and explore was our kink.  Luckily, this happened to be this particular therapists specialty.  Both my wife and I “came out” as kinky – she a submissive, me more of a switch with bottoming tendencies.  We entered the local kink scene arm and arm and never looked back.  I have made some of the most amazing friends, and truly astonishing discoveries about myself.

Next major life crisis please.  After being overweight and eating disordered all my life, and topping out at 375 lbs, I couldn’t ignore it anymore.  I was the elephant in the living room.  So in September of 2008 I underwent gastric-bypass surgery.   Today, I weigh around 175 lbs, which seems to be the right weight for me.  I could try and lose more, but quite frankly, I like my curves.  I am healthy.  I run and play with my daughter, and I can dance and climb stairs with the best of them.  I’ve started MMA-style grappling, and periodically attempt jogging and training for a 5K.  I am (fairly) content, most days.

Lastly, a year ago February I admitted to my wife that I am and always will be polyamorous.  She sorta knew this before we were married, but we both allowed ourselves to think marriage would dissolve this trait away.  I no longer believe this is possible – I view my inclination toward more than one love as just an inherent a part of my sexual persona as is my bisexuality.  After many hard months and brutally honest conversations, we seem to have made the transition to a poly couple fairly successfully.  I have even fallen in love again…

Which brings us to the present.  Last week, my wife and I moved in with S and A – another couple who are both my lovers.  We share a house 20 miles outside of the city.  It is about to become one of the most important experiments of my life.

Whew.  Criminy, that’s a lotta words.  If you made it all the way through, brava!  If you skimmed, well honestly, I forgive you.  Wallpaper, is just that, wallpaper.  The background.  Necessary canvas in front of which the current decor of our life is constructed.  It seemed necessary to put it out there, but I think I am done with the soul-baring epics for the time being.  We’ll now commence with our usual programming…