No strings attached.
I woke up yesterday, still processing the way the Boy left my life, trying to piece together the timeline that my anxiety rage tried to obscure from my mind. I think I landed on something that hit deep, and struck a chord within me I haven’t plucked in a very long time.
He’d mentioned that he spent time googling and exploring the meaning of “polyamory” in his journey to understanding me, how my heart works, and whether or not it was something he could accept. Along the way, he realized that wasn’t how his heart worked, and that it would be a constant struggle with me, should we remain together. I sat with that revelation from him for a bit. It got me to thinking about definitions, about the words we use in our language to express states of being or thought, and what we’ve collectively agreed upon as working for us, broadly speaking, so we can communicate with one another without having to pause and explain nuance or differentiation.
Words like “husband” or “boyfriend” or “married” or even “love” itself, all carry a socially accepted definition. Hell, one could argue that the whole of Merriam-Webster is founded on this idea of collective definitions. But what happens when those definitions don’t fully apply? What if my understanding of the word “husband” isn’t exactly the same as yours? What kind of assumptions are you making about me, as a husband, when you hear me called that? How is your language and classification of me, using labels like husband-lover-boyfriend-Dad-etc, changing your perception of me?
For the Boy, I think he got caught up in all of that. I think, and I’m not certain so I’ll never be fully sure, that he started to see me through the filters that those words, those descriptors, layered over me. Instead of seeing me as a solid, single entity named Thom, he saw me through the funhouse of mirrors that those words became.
He never asked me to explain myself, or when I did try to add nuance or gradients or turn those words into a spectrum of meaning for him, he didn’t or couldn’t get there with me. I think the difference between what he understood those words to mean, and how they applied to me, was too much of a gap for him.
Again, I don’t know, and might never know for sure, but it’s a theory that seems to fit well with regards to the situation.
I don’t want those terms applied to me. At all. I want to be known as just me, for my name, for as long as possible.
I don’t want to be classified, boxed, organized, shelved, categorized, or labeled, and have those things be the only thing I am for any one person. It makes my skin itch to think about how constrained those words make my entire being become in the minds of others. I’m more than any one of them, an amalgamation of all of them, and also exist beyond what any google page or dictionary might have to add to the understanding of each of those words.
Going forward, I’m going to be cutting more of these strings.
I don’t want the weight of them on my body and personhood. I want to engage with people who are willing to question the words and terms they use to describe someone else, especially as they get to know that person more intimately, and understand that just because they have their own understanding of what those concepts, those categories, all kind of mean, they might not know the full spectrum of definition. I want them to be as curious about redefining these words, these weighted, heavy, long-standing words, full of both promise and problems, and take ownership of the words they use.
This year, this summer, this new season of Spring and at the midpoint of my life, I’m going to be far more selective about who I let in close to me. I have that right, and I owe it to myself to surround myself with quality people who enhance my life. I’m also going to start valuing myself, my own personhood, a bit higher. I’m considering the ways I can express myself and be closer to who I am, and how that can add to my life.
Stay Tuned. Daddy is going to explore this darkness a bit more, and see what he comes up with. 💚