This is the third in a series of guest posts I am hosting this week. See here for details.
9 months is a long time to be searching for the ground beneath you.
I had moved; escaped really. I say escaped because I felt trapped and it seemed like divine providence that I made it out alive. I had been dating a woman. “I’m poly,” she would say. In reality it was more like she wanted to openly cheat*** and used that as an excuse, and I was too lost in my lust to know better. “I’m not really poly,” she says now.
The feelings of helplessness, of anger, of jealousy.
The crippling anxiety.
I was falling, alright. I had fallen into heavy, seductive, soporific lust with this woman. I thought it was love. But there was far too much flame and far too few embers.
At first I was falling into something, but after a while it was just falling. No ground beneath. The only point of reference was my dignity and self-respect rapidly flaking off, carried away with the wind. I had reached terminal velocity, and the friction from falling was ablating my sense of self. I knew, deep-down, that if I didn’t get out soon I may not be conscious much longer.
*FLOOMP* The parachute billows out above me and slows my descent.
I’m not falling anymore now.
I’m not flying either.
I’m not really sure what I’m doing. My skin has scaled over in places. My ears ring. My eyes are so dried out they’re compulsively tearing. It’s quiet. Solitary.
I pass out. I wake up. I sleep. Sometimes when the wind gusts the right way, or if I see something fly by, I briefly think that I’m falling again. Since a few months ago, the nightmares don’t come around as much anymore.
When you’re held aloft in the sky, you start to get a clearer idea of where you begin and end. When your corpus hurtles through the atmosphere, the friction really carves away the superficial parts of you, leaving behind the misshapen core.
Is this who I really am?
Slowly descending, you get a lot of time to really look at yourself. Study your form. See where the kinks are. The way your arm doesn’t move quite right. Those weird bumps on your back. The discoloration on your stomach. Are these flaws? Virtues? Scars? The closer you look, the more you feel like a stranger.
Who was that person I used to know?
There was a different version of me that I remember, before I fell out of… where was I?… wherever that was. I don’t remember if that person had a weird arm, or a bumpy back, or a discolored stomach. I do remember there being a sense of purpose. I remember being happy. I remember excitement. Idealism.
Drifting is still moving, I suppose. I’m moving through space and time. With a pretty consistent direction, even. But I’m not in control.
I still don’t know where ground is. I assume it’s below me, somewhere. Maybe ground doesn’t exist anymore, and I just drift until my ‘chute gives way and I fall again. I’ve grown stronger hanging on to this ‘chute, though. I’m not falling again. Not without a fight.
9 months is a long time to drift.
***For the polyamorous among you:
It may not be immediately apparent from this brief glimpse into my journey (if you are interested in more details of said journey, I encourage you to explore my blog), but my former partner was only nominally polyamorous. I am friends with a number of polyamorous individuals who are able to make it work just fine; there is mutual respect and work by all parties. I understand that the conflation of “cheating” and “polyamory” are often a hot button issue, and I assure you that I understand for a healthy polyamorous couple, these are two very different things. We were not a healthy couple.