Herons are awash in ambiguity, and with us, those who persist in reading here...
Our story, to this point, is just full of the things that make our BDSM and polyamory lifestyle communities just crazy. Humans don't like uncertainty, lack of definition, confusion, contradiction, upheaval, chaos, paradox, and inconsistency -- and I am convinced that the poly and BDSM communities are even more averse to ambiguity than the rest of the crowd. We like things defined. We like to know who is who, who fulfills which roles, what the relational hierarchies are, and where the power lies. And, furthermore, once we know all of that, we like things to stay put -- no shifting and switching! Masters should stay masterful, and primaries should remain primary -- and, of course (as I have repeated over and over), submissives should submit. Get it all laid out, nice and neat and tidy, and then leave it alone. Yeah. That.
Except that life seems to delight in the very swirl of ambiguity that makes so many of us just squirm and avert our gaze. We Herons, of course, have embodied the complexities and contradictions of life. We've described our life and our love here for something over seven years, and when I go back and look at all those 1389 entries, I am struck by what we thought we were doing -- contrasted with the stark reality that I can see from this present moment's perch. Sometimes we thought we were "up;" on top of the world, riding high, with everything going our way -- other times, we've been, like Icarus, a flaming, streaking, disaster; plunging to earth after having dared to fly too close to the sun. Either -- or. What is so interesting to me, in retrospect, is that we never seem to have a clue; we never see it coming; and we pop up, time after time -- believing pretty firmly that it will "all be better when things settle down." Hope springs eternal.
The newest research tells us that we are not alone, finding that 47% of adults in the U.S. suffer with addiction. Nearly half! That's a huge secret that we tend to keep close to the chest; after all, it is easier to keep on believing that only those of defective character and weak will fall into the pit of addiction -- if they are not US. Science is finding the truth -- a perfect storm of genetic predisposition and environmental opportunity that works to capture those with the hidden vulnerabilities even though they make the same seemingly inconsequential choices as their peers.
So, as some warned over the course of the years, ours is a family that has had to confront issues created by addiction to alcohol. In doing that, we've learned to acknowledge and confront the multiple instances of child abuse by His mother, and by mine. We've begun to untangle that morass, learning slowly the pathways by which we come to react to one another as angry, frightened children -- rather than the intelligent and loving adults that we are in other instances. It is a confusing and befuddling transformation that happens in an instant, taking us from tranquil and happy to full on battle mode. Utterly exhausting.
It has, as friends might imagine, played havoc with our power dynamic. The question of "who is in charge," is living large in our intimate lives. We are uncertain of ourselves and of each other. We are each hurt. We are each on unfamiliar ground, becoming something completely new and unexpected -- and we have no clear sense of where that will ultimately take us. Now and then, the spinning brings us around, face to face, so that we can see exactly what a wondrous thing our love is -- but then we whirl off again in different directions and the clouds come flying back in. Somedays, He giggles, and on others He mourns. Somedays, I glow with joy as He fastens my collar around my neck with a familiar certainty, and on others I curse the impossibility of dealing with the sadness and seemingly endless misery that engulfs Him, and so all of us.
I know, we all know, that some might judge us; have judged us for being in this position to begin with, for taking so long to address what might have seemed a clear problem to those who were not IN the middle of it all, for flailing and faltering and fighting our way through this first year of sobriety. I know that there are those who believe that they would have never fallen into this kind of situation; would have chosen more wisely. I know that there are those who KNOW with an unwavering certainty that they would never have remained in this relationship, AND I know that there are others who are convinced that they would have been a much better slave through it all than I have been. I know. I can, on a day when I'm up for making myself miserable, list the names of those who's silent judgement speaks so loudly... They will never, ever understand me, and they will never "get" the truth of this family and our lives together.
A couple of weeks ago, toward the end of my therapy appointment, Dr. J. laid it out pretty clearly for me. I was twisting myself into knots around my mother's continual negative judgments through my growing up years. I was fussing about the sound of her in my head, telling me that I was incapable of making good choices -- too stupid to manage my own life. Dr. J. looked at me, and said, "You've been with Tom for ten years. That's a long time. A lot of living, good and bad. If, today, you had to decide whether to do it again, knowing what you know now; knowing that there would be all of this; knowing that you would have to live through this year of hell -- would you?" I sat there looking at her through teary eyes, and I could hear the blood roaring in my ears, feel my heart pounding in my chest -- and then I heard my voice, steady and strong, say an absolutely unequivocable, "Yes." She smiled a big, broad grin that lit up her face -- and said, "Good." We went on from there, finished my appointment, and I headed on home to my crazy, unpredictable, and completely ambiguous life -- but that YES has reverberated in my mind. I would do it all again.
Maybe I am completely crazy. Maybe no one else will ever understand it. Maybe it makes no sense. That YES is mine -- that YES is His if He wants it. The ambiguity is just the way things are.