Acceptance

What does it mean to accept something? What boundaries or limits are there to this concept? How many people are so set in their ways that they cannot look beyond their beliefs, their virtues, and their limitations to open themselves up to new ways or ideas? I questioned this concept lately, but perhaps not in the ways you might imagine. One might imagine I am speaking about accepting others belief systems; maybe religion, culture, sexual orientation, or political affiliation. One might expect that I am speaking about accepting a person for who or what they are; and not for a stereotype that has been set upon them by society. While these types of acceptance are quite important in life, those are not the ways in which I mean this today.

In this moment in time, and for the past two and a half months I have been in a relationship with two women. Our relationship started well before this as a friendship, and grew to be a relationship in all but name for many months before we made it official. The first of these women is my girlfriend, Michelle, and the second is her girlfriend, Sarah. These two have been together forever and are an unbreakable couple. Childhood friends, from the first days that such things could happen; and lovers in their teens. Their relationship as weathered storms and the years, keeping them best friends and committed partners in life.

They have a version of an open relationship, and that is where I come into it. They both like men to varying degrees, but Michelle is the one that dates men in long term relationships, and brings them into their relationship. Women are also brought into the relationship, but more so as flings from what I understand. So this is the life they live, and their version of normality. That is a life much different than the one I have believed in, and something that I have accepted in them. Though I have questioned how my acceptance has been so firm on this concept of a relationship.

Here is where the foundation of my understanding in relationship comes from. My biological father left my mother, my sister, and I in Arizona; after moving us out there from New England, far away from my mother’s support system. I was maybe three or four at the time, and he said goodbye in the early hours of the morning to my sister and I; my mother was sleeping at the time, and sick with cancer. She was his second wife, and he had at least five others after her (common law, and legal wives). I would say that he cheated on each of his wives, and I can say that with upmost assurance on that with knowledge of his character in those years and what he admitted to now that he has moved past that type of life.

After he left us, I am told I hated men, and I can see signs of that in the memories I still have. When I started school, the other boys would try to chase the girls around the playground and I would impose myself between them, stopping it. Women were not mistreated on my watch, and I had always been a bigger child than most. So I grew to have a respect for them that perhaps is lost in today’s society, and that was reinforced by the strong women of family around me in those years. I also grew to respect the committed relationship; I have never cheated on a single woman in my life, because of those virtues and the knowledge of the pain inflicted by my biological father adulterous actions. I also have had women cheat on me and have felt a sting deep inside that I could never transfer upon another soul. Until now I have seen committed relationships as a thing between two people alone, though I have been in casual relationships that had a touch of openness in the past. Though only in relationships that were more fun, then something either of us believed to be serious or lasting did these things happen. It also seems that I attract far more bisexual woman then completely straight ones, and that began well before it was so fashionable to be a bisexual.

So knowing this about me, how could I be so accepting of a relationship of this type? Is this not a dream for most men? To date one amazing woman, have sex with two women, and perhaps others on occasion; and be the only man in their lives. I believe and know that most men would see that is a big bonus to any relationship. But I cannot think of another human as some bonus, and I truly care about this relationship and its possibilities. My acceptance came through long ago, while we were just friends but I had hoped and felt more brewing between us. I knew that they were a solid core to a relationship, one tested through time. That they were essentially one person in two bodies; that is how close they are and how vital to each other’s equilibrium. Joining them would mean that I was the odd one out and that I would have to compliment them, bring something to the relationship that they might not have, be flexible to both and there for them both equally.

My connection to Michelle is one found only in dreams; at least that is how I see it. I have found depths within my heart for her that I would not had believed there in the past. But I will save that for another post, and another day. Knowing my connection to be what it was for Michelle, I have sought to bring me and Sarah closer. I see many things in her that I like; her loyalty, conviction, compassion, intelligence, artistic abilities, and that there is a little geek in her as well. I truly and honestly hope to one day feel the same about her as I do Michelle and for her to feel similar feelings for me.

We once had a good rapport and she seemed to be opening up to me; flirting, being playful, answering questions about herself, talking about deep things, and eventually naming me a prince for my easy charm I assume. She had even gone as far to say that I would eventually make a good husband for Michelle, and my response was for her as well maybe. But today I find that we have turbulent waters, and she sees me more as an enemy for reasons unknown to me or Michelle. I hope to bridge this gap, because I truly care about Michelle and about Sarah as well. She is a vital part of Michelle life, to this relationship, and I have never questioned that, or thought to work against it. I believe that when I am done with my graduate degree, and able to join them; that I can win her back to my side. But until then, I continue to work at a distance and hope that things will come together again. I seek to have a door opened to me, I seek her happiness, and I seek her acceptance; for I have Michelle’s, but still hope for hers.

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What is Real?

In an age when the vast wealth of the internet can be put in a pocket; how do we know, what we know? Definitions change and evolve, cultures meld together, and people reach out from all over to grasp those once beyond reach. The world is closer than ever before, and yet trust is a rare thing still. It is hard to believe in what is found online. Many people start of trusting everything, and soon find out that the internet holds more pitfalls then real life at times; or so they think. So how can we trust in what we find, what we hear, or what we begin to feel for those online?

Lately and for years I have considered those same questions. I believe it should be only natural to mistrust those things discovered online. Because you cannot see them or feel them. It should also be natural to resist giving out too much information. But when dealing with people those instincts have to be altered. Though I believe those alterations should be made slowly. Because you never know who will scam you, or if the person you are speaking to is not what they appear to be.

Many of us make connections online, meeting friends and lovers. Some of these connections can be lasting, while others will be volatile. But is any of that different than those we meet in real life? I do not believe so. Can someone hide themselves online? Yes they can. Can someone hide themselves in person? Yes they can. Now what is the difference? I supposed for those men that pretend to be women, or women that pretend to be men; there can be a difference. Age can also be hidden, and looks as well. But those are the only true things that cannot be completely hidden in person. So I ask again, what is the difference?

I have meet in person dozens of people from the internet. Women I have dated (for one night or many), men to befriend, role playing groups, books clubs, pen pals, and world travelers. It at some point becomes quiet natural to stop thinking of people as just data, and see them as real individuals. There is a sort of trust that has to develop over time, you start to compare things the person says over different conversations. If an inconsistency develops, then that person loses the trust you put in them. If no such cracks appear in their stories, then they are rewarded with more. But that essentially is the same as a relationship in person. Many have gone weeks or months dating a person in the flesh to later find out that those people were not who they thought they were; and even some in the extreme had hid themselves for years upon years. So why would we see a person who we only know online as something so foreign to us?

A question was posed to me, somewhat recently; but not for the first time. How can you have feelings for someone you have not meet?

You see I have a girlfriend whom I have yet to meet. We have known each other in a loose sense for over a decade, during that time we have had casual conversation, even some flirting. We meet on a text based game, and have never grown beyond that game, or even continued conversation past the day we talked… in the past. At least not that I know about. But somewhere around a year and a half ago, we began to talk. The conversation just flowed, and things just clicked together. A friendship was born or matured, and I believe we both eagerly sought out the other to talk with. But as time lengthened in our friendship, we began to grow closer, and to open to each other. So to make this story short eventually we took to step to say that we were together; as a couple, committed to one another. I still have graduate school to finish, and she still lives thousands of miles away; but we plan to meet more than a few times before I finish grad school and I plan to look for an internship close to her during the summer to see what this relationship can truly become. I have hope (wakta).

So how can I have feelings for someone I have yet to meet? That is a simple question to answer, and I would answer it the same way if she was someone I only knew in person and not online. Quite simple, because we have shared with each other. Shared our likes and dislikes, shared out lives and pasts, shared our demons, shared our secrets, shared our hopes and dreams; simply we have opened to each other, first slowly and then more profoundly. Now is not that how I would grow to feel something for another person or do you believe that I need to touch her to feel something for her? I would argue most vividly against that type of rationale.

To trust, is to leave oneself vulnerable. Without it we are alone in the world. I have been there and I hated it. With it we open ourselves to the possibility of pain and regret. I have been there too, and I hated it. So which path is the easier one, and which is the hard? I think in this, the first denies you a real life and the possibility of future happiness. While the second if broken can be worse, but that pain will heal with time and the chances we take in giving out trust are worth the risk. Such as close relationships with friends, family, and lovers. Those things bring real happiness into our lives, and make our years’ worth living. So treat all people the same, or you might lose the chance to fill your life in a small way, or perhaps in a huge way.