I’ll stay here with you 

When I want to run away 

You make me promise:

I will stay here with you.

When my bones feel tired,

When I want to die,

You will press my wrists together,

You make me swear:

I will stay here with you.

Somehow you have grown to need me-

Somehow now you cannot live without me.

What is this part of me that has cast a glow onto your life?

I cannot name it-

It feels so dark inside of myself.

I imagine somewhere I can find myself again.

It is a place where nothing is familiar to me:

A place where no memory of sadness intrudes on my body:

But I cannot bring myself to let go of you.

You would not allow me too.

You bind yourself to me.

You make me promise:

I will stay here with you.

Jealousy and Superiority

“Don’t worry, what we have is different.” “Our relationships is special.” “I could never feel about anyone the way I feel about you.”

It’s so often phrases like this that are used to give reassurance in polyamorous relationships. People remind their primary or central partners that they are the most important, most special- the best. And that reminder is used as a security blanket to help reduce feelings of jealousy.

It’s the most obvious way of dealing with jealousy: to simply remove the surface cause, which in this case is whatever perceived threat of another partner’s superiority that might be present. I find myself falling into this pattern easily, thinking that as long as I can convince myself I am the best at eveything, I don’t have feel jealous. This is the “easy” way, in the sense that I don’t have to confront the actual root of the insecurity that is causing me jealousy, which would require much more vulnerability and both introspective and interpersonal work. But in the long run, it is more difficult. I set myself up for failure because being the best at everything and being better than anyone I feel threatened by is an impossible and absurd goal.

So the harder path is before me: to discover where this need to be the most special and best comes from- why I have to feel superior to others to be okay with myself. I investigate why the reassurance I need to feel secure in a relationship is that I am prettier, sexier, more intelligent, more artistic, more dynamic, more inspiring- more perfect.

Sometimes we are jealous because we are genuinely not getting our emotional needs met. In this case, a frank conversation with those who are leaving us unfulfilled is important. But other times we feel jealousy because of our own feelings of inadequacy. These feelings can come from many different places- negative messages learned in childhood, toxic cultural attitudes that wear our sense of self down- our own learned victimhood that prevents us from appreciating the strengths and joys of others without internalizing it as a defect of ourselves.

There is something here that I feel is important, although I can’t quite grasp it: so for now I just want to keep pondering over. Can I find a way to allow a relationship to be fully its own: can I appreciate a relationship just as something unique and beautiful in itself without comparing it to others. Of course, this is not denying that some relationships will organically become more intimate and significant than others over time, but that no matter what the nature of the relationship is, as long as it is healthy and consensual there is nothing about it being “better” or “worse” in whatever various arbitrary traits I’ve decided are important. It has to do with feeling secure in a relationship because you know that it is simply the unique and remarkable meeting of two people. Not because it is better or because you are better, but because all relationships are special and unique in their own way.

I don’t pretend to think that this way of thinking is necessarily attainable for a lot of people. It’s okay to feel jealous, and it’s okay to be struggling with feeling insecure and inadequate. And hopefully we cope with those feelings the best that we can. But this idea, of letting relationships speak for themselves, and of really letting ourselves see the unique and beautiful connection inherent in all relationships, is something I try my best to hold in myself- even if it’s just to ponder it further.

Only sensation

When we plunge into each other’s bodies it reminds me of the first time we jumped into an icy river together on a hot day: the first time I saw you with your hair wet, uninhibited, soaked with sun.

You smother me with yourself: your tongue is soft as silky petals, your hands on my hips as firm as roots gripping the earth.

You make me feel like a child.

You make me feel like a goddess.

Here I am still: giddy, distractable, my crush for you as warm and squishy as a little girl’s.

We call forward together in deep connection- it is a rush like swallows as they dive into the nest. It is a flow like a warm current sliding into a deep pool.

You push me so far into my body that I no longer have awareness of my own mind: I am only

Experience,

I am only

Alive.

I am the feelers of the sea urchin:

I am only sensation.

I am stretched long across the water,

I am lengthened thickly across the stars:

Our love is surrender to perception- it is submission to our senses.

The Function of the Anti-Hero

The white male anti-hero: These characters are generally the protagonist of a story who is an unlikeable asshole but still somehow captivates audiences and captures their empathy (see the title character in “Dexter” for a great example). There are only rare examples of white women anti-heroes: usually those characters are written as “obnoxious” and “bitchy” (portrayed as totally unlikeable). And there only rare examples of men of color anti-heros: they are generally written as “thugs” and “villains” (portrayed as too evil for empathy).

The fact that this character is so specific in terms of the intersections of it’s identity, and yet so pervasive throughout popular culture, seems to suggest that a serves an important cultural purpose. I woul suggest that it serves to legitimize the white male sociopath as a valid personality trait that deserves to be empathized with, and even idolized. It reinforces the idea that twisted, violent, manipulative men are really just “complex”, and the rest of us should be intrigued by their darkness and casual cruelty. It constructs abusive men as needing to be nurtured and understood by women so they can continue their imperialist path of “saving” the world by dominating and destroying others. The body count associated with their “journey” continues to increase, all the while justified in the pursuit of the “greater good” that only they can see and have control over. The character becomes a symbol for the nation state: a metaphor for legitimizing the violent and tortuous conquests made under the guise of moral and philosophical superiority and progress. This character conditions us to empathize with abusive people (and therefore institutions) if that person (or institution) has redeeming qualities. Thus the white male anti-hero is such a popular media archetype because it serves to validate the greater machine of patriarchal imperialist capitalism and globalization.

This character may subconsciously insert itself into the bodies and minds of everyday men by normalizing partner abuse and assault. Note the brooding, possessive men who want to be excused of or even glorify their own abusive and manipulative behaviors because our popular culture tells him that these traits make him deep, philosophical, and complex- and if the people around him can empathize with Dexter, then certainly they should empathize with him.

Glorifying these traits in ourselves is different than having acceptance and empathy towards the problematic and traumatized parts of ourselves. Many people who have been traumatized and struggle with regulating their emotions appropriately don’t want to be mean and frightening to others. They want to do better, they want to change, and they want to take accountability; they accept the hurt parts of themselves as a means to work towards self improvement. The problem with these characters is that they don’t stop at having acceptance for the dark parts of ourselves, it is that they actually encourage the cultivation of cruelty and selfishness, and intentionally turn away from the possibility of growth into more socially responsible and ethical people.

Pop culture is fun and engaging, and I’m not suggesting that no one ever consume a piece of media that portrays the type of character I’m describing. Nearly everything is problematic to a degree and we need to enjoy ourselves when we can. At at the same time, be aware of and engage with the deeper meanings legitimized by what you consume.

The distance between us

I know so well the things you don’t know how to give me:

I can list them in a moment.

They are etched into my palms.

They are scribbled with rage across my belly.

The distance between us infuriates me- defeats me- the distance you place: 

when you pull up a screen between our bodies, like a filter that intimacy cannot seep through:

you wrap yourself up in it, then roll away smiling, mechanical-

going through the motions of our love.

You pretend you don’t notice that there are places in me you cannot see.

There are places like that inside you too- the spots where I cannot make sense of you.

When you get like this you laugh more, but say less. You touch me, but push back. You shy away from the tenderest place.

You cannot tolerate the sight of my soul, like your soft skin gets exposed to a burning flame.

But I will rip away at this stiffness until it peels back like wax,

I will keep lurching across the chasm of our withdrawal.