Photo by abee_t via Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by abee_t via Flickr Creative Commons

I’ve been thinking a lot about polyamory lately, and how I fit into it.

I’ve been very interested in the idea of queer intimacy since I was introduced to it in graduate school. The idea that there are forms of intimacy which do not make sense to or in a capitalist heteropatriarchy. The ways which we create communities, support networks, and families with our intimacies which sustain us and make queer life possible.

I think that for me, poly is about being open to all those gradations of intimacy. Relationships for which we do not have vocabulary or terminology, or at least not terms which are commonly used and accepted. We create words. We create new ways of relating. Or rediscover old ones.

It means meeting people honestly and authentically. It means respecting boundaries and not trying to fit into boxes. It means really seeing other people and being comfortable with fluctuation and a redrawing of boundaries. It means being comfortable with relationships which can’t be pinned down. Which confuse people. As long as they make sense to the people in them. It means seeking out mutually beneficial and respectful and vulnerable connections. It means being fully present.

It means being honest with myself about the connections I feel towards others and being willing to express them, whether or not they are reciprocated. It means being gentle and kind towards those who express a desire for connection to and with me (as long as they are not crossing boundaries or showing me disrespect).

I’ve been thinking a lot about Grace and Frankie, and specifically Frankie. Her fear and vulnerability and openness. Her willingness to explore but also the way she honors her own limits and desires. The question of what’s between friends with chemistry and a big romance? And maybe that’s sex, but what else might be there? What’s between “friends” and “a Relationship”? Maybe friends with benefits is there. But also romantic friendship. Or a queerplatonic relationship. Or datefriends. Or things we don’t even have words to describe.

I think there’s a way for poly to be nebulous and “casual” and undefined in a way that’s actually detrimental and a means for avoiding intimacy. Where it’s a means to avoid ever talking about what parts of a relationship are joyful, what wants and needs it is meeting, what makes it valuable and unique to the people in it. Where not labeling something serves to keep someone at arm’s length, unsure of their value. When we go off script and don’t ascribe to cultural patterns of showing our partners their value, we have the opportunity to create that value together in ways which are uniquely meaningful to us, but if we don’t do that work, can true intimacy exist?

I’m interested in intimacy and vulnerability and connection, but I’m open to that in all its permutations. I’m open to means of connecting which don’t fit the traditional narrative or any narrative.¬†Which means it’s okay if you don’t know what a connection is. It’s okay to let it develop organically without pinning it down. It’s okay if it doesn’t have a name. But I think it’s important for there to be communication and honesty surrounding it. For everyone involved to feel seen and cared for and valued. Words can create containers and safety necessary for true vulnerability and intimacy to flourish.

I’m open to a variety of ways that physical, emotional, intellectual, and whatever other kinds of intimacy and connection there are can exist. I’m open to people finding their orbits around each other like planets around the Sun. I’m not really looking for anything in particular right now. I just want to really see and be present with people that I care about or find interesting or connect to in what feels like a meaningful way. I’m open to all the ways in which we can enrich and support and bolster each other and help each other be our best selves. I’m open to relationships which are platonic, sexual, sensual, romantic, intellectual, emotional, and anything in between.

But none of that’s casual to me, because I’m not sure intimacy ever is. I want to be more conscious of all my relationships with people, including encounters with strangers and acquaintances. As an introvert I have limited social energy, but I want to work to be more conscious of truly valuing a wide variety of types of connection and relation. Of treating others with empathy and compassion, even if they are a meteor which passes my gravitational field only for a moment.

I’m open. I’m open to whatever we can create together which feels good and authentic and healthy to us both.

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