Loving Others

Love is a concept with which I’ve struggled my entire life. Not the feeling itself, so much as the definition. Such as it is. What, after all, IS love? Every philosophy, every religion, every culture has its own definition, but none seem to come close to approximating the reality of the concept. That rush of emotion we get when something or somebody so enflames our passions that we become distracted to the point of infatuation.

We can love good food, we can love puppies, we can love the weather, we can love our new car, we can love just about anything, but we are only allowed to BE in love with one person at a time. We love our kids, we love our parents, we love our friends and family, but only one person can be our one TRUE love. Therein lies a huge problem for me.

I love my husband. So much so that I proved once again one should “never say never” and married him after ten years of cohabitation. Absolutely no regrets there. I am totally smitten with him. In love and I love it. I am also very much in love with my woggies – a term I coined for the couple with whom I’ve been in a polyamorous relationship for 15 years. My polywogs. My woggies. Get it?

They’ve been man and wife for ten years now and have raised four beautiful, intelligent and creative children, all of whom I adore. They’re my second family. I don’t see them as often as I would like, because they live 400 miles away, but somehow we make it work. It’s only recently that we’ve decided to step out of the closet, only to find that nobody closest to us was at all surprised, including the kids, the two youngest of whom are teenagers.

It would have been nice to know that all along, but we were being careful and respectful of others viewpoints. We are none of us big attention seekers, but sneaking around never really sat well with me. How many people go through this very experience on a daily basis, I wonder? Not fear, really, but the desire to not offend or disappoint those closest to us. Or worse, make targets of our children when they’re at school, by other kids who have been indoctrinated to hate anything different.

Naturally, I blame society. Labeling people and putting restrictions on them seems to be the motivating factor of the herd mentality. We don’t want things to be too confusing, after all. Confusing things don’t fit well into cubbyholes. Their edges and corners are biting and uncomfortable. They scratch and tear. They make us squirm and we can’t have that. We may live in the technologically advanced 21st century, but we really haven’t come that far when it comes to interpersonal relationships.

Old is old and young is young. Black is black and white is white. We can be straight or we can be gay, but we can’t be bisexual or transgender, because that’s too far outside the norm. The concept of gender fluidity causes more than a few conniptions from small town churches to high-level government boardrooms. And love? It better be for one person and one god, by god, or we’re gonna have SERIOUS problems! Polyamory is completely out of the question.

Are you beginning to see my problem? Honestly, I don’t ask much from anybody except to accept what they don’t entirely understand. Don’t pigeonhole me, or any of us for that matter. I’ve never liked labels, because they put restrictions on us that are confining and off-putting. Why can’t we just love who we want to love, in the manner in which we want to love them?

The answer is, I can and do. It may not sit well with society, but I’ve found that being true to myself is far more important than making other people happy. I mean, I like making people happy. That’s why I’m an artist, a writer and a filmmaker. If it’s pleasureable, I’m all for it. Giving pleasure, in whatever form, is the thing I live for. But I refuse to change the way I love to do so.

My husband has known and been okay with it since the day we met. My love for my woggies in no way dilutes my love for him. There’s plenty to go around! And my woggies love the fact that I am married again, because they want me to be happy and they know he is the one that makes it so. It’s a satisfying arrangement all the way around. With luck and a lot of hard work on all of our parts, it will remain that way for many years to come.

Forever? Yeah, I don’t know about that. Yet another concept with which I struggle daily. We are finite beings, after all, and gods know I’ve been blindsided by the cult of monogamy before. But that’s another story altogether, best left for another day. Let’s just take this one step at a time, shall we? Instead, let’s just concentrate on loving the ones we’re with, while we’re with them. You’ll find it’s a hell of a lot easier than obsessing over terms.

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