Dec 23rd

Well, my last entry was cheery enough. Now let's talk about the downside of poly.

Holidays suck.

Did you get that, or was I too ambiguous? Holidays suck.

Holidays seem to break down generally into either Family Holidays or Date Holidays.

The Family Holidays are the ones like Thanksgiving, 4th of July, or Christmas. Poly extended constellations at times like this tend to contract, back to their simplest units. In my ideal Heinleinian dream I would live in a large house or colony of cottages or such, with many variations of extended family all clustered, each with our private areas as well as our shared spaces, and there would always be someone there for you. When RAH or Starhawk describe it, it sounds great. It's still a fictionalized ideal, however, and not the reality. For example, most of the people I date have husbands or wives, some with children, few live in extended clusters, and those basic nuclear units are what gathers at Family Holidays. I live with a cat. The Poly Musical Chair tends to leave the perennial third thumbs such as myself looking for the chair that isn't there when the music ends.

Now, lest this sound like purely whining, there have been many pleasant substitue activities I've found over the years. For some time now I've been privileged to attend a gathering of chosen family at Al D's house. Al passed away in February, and I don't really expect a fully satisfying surrogate event to pop up immediately. Al set quite a standard - day long communing, with drumming and ritual and sweat lodge and feast, all hosted in his home ... it was remarkable. December 25th, this year, will be much quieter. On other Family Holidays as well - this past Thanksgiving, for example, I joined Panther and three others of her clan for a sumptuous feast. Just today I had my Yule turkey dinner - I bumped into Sol yesterday and he invited me to a fairly spontaneous pot luck feast at his house, where I spent time with James, and Malixe, and other friends. Tomorrow evening I'll be Santa Claus for the Wet Spot's Xmas Eve pajama party again, and my son and his partner are attending with me for their second year. These are the sorts of things that we odd creatures have to do to both maintain our sanity and to avoid filling journals like this with excessive whining. It's the solution to the problem I've been describing. There just isn't enough of it to encompass all the orphans in the community every time. Much of it is word of mouth, last minute, spontaneous. One of my oaths to myself is to put prior planning into the Family Holidays of the upcoming year, some pro-active responsibility to make each of the coming years less of a matter of self pity and loneliness for those like myself. If nothing else, I owe it to Al.

The Date Holidays are vastly different. These are the ones like Valentines Day, and - most imminent - New Year's Eve. Date Holidays right at this moment are too wrenchingly painful for me to contemplate. In future years I'm sure I'll fall back on what has worked in the past - found a needed job to be done and keep busy at it right on through the midnight hour. I've been a paramedic standing by the ugly street celebrations, I've been an Emergency Room nurse, or a Red Cross volunteer, all physically and mentally consuming so I won't think about what I'm not doing. I've spent too little of my long years in a primary partner situation, and on these specific types of occasions there is no satisfying surrogate activity for that other than some sort of oblivion or distraction. Since I've been clean and sober over 20 years, that leaves only distraction. Immediately, today, issues of the heart are too recently ripped open for me to even consider what magnitude of distraction will suffice. I may simply watch videos at home with the clocks all turned off. It's not a time to be number two or more for anyone - it's a Harry Met Sally moment, and that's it.

If you missed it when you first walked in here tonight, the phrase I mentioned is holidays suck.

I know, I know. Life'll be just peachy keen soon, but just don't ask me about it on certain days or times, ok?

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