Anxiety: This is real (poly) life

Rupaul says “how in the hell can you love someone if you can’t love yourself?” I usually rally around that phrase, spout my supportive “halleloos” with hands held aloft in solidarity while watching his show. But in reality? That’s a whole nother ball of neuroses I struggle with.

Around 7 years ago, I wrote a book where one of the main characters was in a poly relationship for many years and was getting nervous because her boyfriend wasn’t proposing. She really wanted to get married. But she didn’t just want to get married, she wanted to get married to him. That was what she came to by the end. And not that there was any connection to reality in there but that might’ve been the conclusion I came to in my life. So eventually, he proposed. We got married. Married our girlfriend. But it didn’t fix the problems we had and now we’re divorced.

And I’m remarried. Much happier, this time around. But we’ve been bickering a bit lately as holidays and life changes and lack of sleep and illnesses pick at us. My insecurities and anxiety are having a field day with the season and changes. Plus, it doesn’t help that I feel like no matter how clearly I communicate, my husband isn’t listening to nor reacting to what I’m actually saying, only what he thinks or feels I’m saying. This gets frustrating. But then I also start getting scared. Why isn’t he listening? Does it mean he’s already checked out and moved on? Have I lost him already? I can’t compare to the internet crush he has. Or his girlfriend. Or the snarky friend he kinda likes. Or the person we had a date with tonight.

But then I catch myself. Why do I have to “compare” to them? Isn’t the point of poly to honor the differences? To be happy that he finds other people to connect with? That I don’t have sit through endless conversations about movies I don’t care about but the person we went out with tonight would totally do with him? That while I can hang and be a snarky bitch, it’s not my preferred tone; I did it too much in my teens and early 20’s as a defense mechanism and I don’t really want to go back to that. And I don’t want to wear make up and clothes like his internet crush and I don’t have the money to get the boobs his girlfriend has (she’s way more than just boobs, but it is a feature he really likes.)

These are all people. They know about me. In fact, he was telling his internet crush just tonight that his wife co-founded a burlesque troupe. And his girlfriend sent me a sexy pic tonight while we were out on a date. And his snarky friend is technically my friend, too. And he keeps doing the things he said he would do to communicate better. We’re in therapy. These are all good things.

Going back to the Rupaul quote, I’m realizing that I’m having some serious issues just loving myself. Obviously, everyone else is better than me and it’s just a matter of time before another husband discovers this and leaves me. Before he hightails himself out of my life and I’m left alone again.

It’s actually pretty easy to love other people when you don’t love yourself. I’ve had a pretty good run pouring energy into making other people happy and seeing them light up. Supporting them, accepting them. Buying things, running errands, keeping schedules. So why can’t I extend the same love to myself? Why do I eat food that isn’t healthy to assuage the anxiety instead of taking strides to live healthier? Why do I fear every time someone new comes in the picture or old relationships come fleeting back in? Why do I struggle with loving my body but not do something about it to make it stronger or more like I want it to look like like dance or more exercise? Why is it so easy to tell people I care about to forgive themselves mistakes because they’re just human but I can’t grant myself the same forgiveness so easily? Why do I tell other people to follow their dreams, but stifle my own?

Well…at least with that last one, I’m here, fighting to make some of those dreams come true. Finally created a space where I can come and get this stuff out instead of stifling it inside and letting it fester. That’s something, right? If only I could stop feeling that nothing is good enough to post and that my feelings and thoughts don’t matter.

Things to remember:

  • Poly is not a competition. Just because my husband has new connections, or rekindles old connections, or has more people in his queue than I do, does not mean I’m “losing” or less important or going to wind up alone and that they’re better than me.
  • Just because he wants to have sex with other people doesn’t mean he’s going to stop having sex with me.
  • We can have two different sex drives.
  • Communication is important.
  • There is truth to the quote “the only constant is change” but that doesn’t mean that the change is always going to be awful.
  • One of the things I love about my husband is that he actively celebrates and appreciates all body types. Including mine. I just have to remember that mine is included.
  • Also, he encourages me to reach for my dreams which is awesome.
  • We have a therapist and we go regularly. It’s okay to seek help.
  • I matter. My thoughts, feelings, fears, joy, dreams, health – it all matters.

(Music that makes it better: “This is Real Life” from the TV Show Nashville.)

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