Goldilocks painting by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith

Goldilocks painting by Jasmine Beckett-Griffith

I’ve said many times I wish I were the ever-graceful and unaffected Grace Kelly.  I’m not particularly emotional at the moment, but it’s a thing with me that I get embarrassed of my emotion.  Wait, no.  I get embarrassed of my *messy* emotions.

I’m perfectly happy that I feel boundless love.  I am tickled that a great number of things delight me. I’m passionate.  I love deeply.  I’m fiercely loyal.  I’m tenacious and determined and empathetic.  I can go there with a friend.  I can take a lover there.  All of these emotions I adore.

But it’s the messy stuff.  I’m ashamed I have insecurities.  I’m embarrassed when I cry.  I can’t stand being irrational or out of sorts or brooding.  I despise that I burn over offenses and that I have to address and let go of things when others seem perfectly capable of stuffing them down forever.  I hate my messy emotions.

I was talking about this with Quinky Girl.  She is a human who gets twinges, but by and large she is unaffected by some things that make me rail.  I deeply envy that.  I would be the same way if I could and I can’t.  I HATE to talk about the little things that bother me.  But if I don’t they become big things and come out sideways.  I hate that too.  Other polys say “Oh I didn’t need to talk about that.  I just let it go”.  And I feel much much worse.  It’s like they are jabbing me right in my eye with that.  I’d prefer not to have awkward moments but I can’t be any other way.  I don’t wanna make shit weird.  I don’t wanna have a little chat.  I hate confrontation and awkwardness.  I wanna just flip my hand, brush my hair off my shoulder and say “I never did mind the little things”.  But I simply don’t work that way.

Here is an example.  I went on a date with this guy on Saturday, a first date.  It was pretty nice, and in the course of things he mentioned having an interest in a MMF threesome.  I’m on a kick about that, so it piqued my interest.  My friend said I should invite the new guy to a party Saturday where people get sometimes get kissy.  I said I couldn’t because Traveler and I were going there on a date, and it’d be awkward.  He and I have plans to go together and to have some fun after.

Traveler and I have discussed comfort levels about playing with others, flirting with others, sex around each other and such. Traveler is utterly un-jealous about such things and in most respects would not mind, but he said that he wouldn’t like it if I hooked up with some guy or made out with other dudes on our date.  And he wouldn’t like to hear or see me have sex with others around him (outside of situations where he was involved), not because he’d be jealous or it’d hurt him, but it’s rude.  (Group play is totally outside of this.)

Quinky Girl never seems to mind any of that stuff.  And Traveler’s thing isn’t that he minds, per se.  It’s just that he wouldn’t like it because it’s disrespectful.

medusa griffith

Medusa in a painting by Jasmine Becket-Griffith

I am a whole other story.  If Traveler (or anyone I’m dating) hooked up with others on our date without me it’d be a bother. It would be about the disrespect, but I’d also be upset. If he came to me and said.. “Hey.. I just met this girl and I’m super interested, do you mind if I go home with her and blah blah blah”, truthfully I’d mind.  If he just started making out with some girl on our date I’d be so hurt and likely exceedingly pissed. I’d probably consent and feel a lot better about it if he asked than if he just went off with someone and was abandoning me somewhere, but I wouldn’t love it.  I know me.  I’d burn a little.  It’d hurt and sting that he was choosing a girl over me on our date.  I’d have trouble seeing it any other way.  I  mean.. it’s our date and he could be making out with me or taking me home and fucking me, but he’s choosing instead to be with her. It’d hurt.  I’d wish he could have gotten her number and kissed or fucked her some other time.  I would consent if asked, and I wouldn’t be pissed if he’d given me the option to consent, but it would hurt my feelings and I’d have to go deal with them.

I would pretend to be all okay with it or do my damnest to act so.  My chest would be tight and I would feel a burning in my gut.  I might even shake.  I would hate myself for it. I’d be ashamed that I can’t just be happy to give him the freedom.  If I talked about it with others and they were the unaffected-poly-gurus and they said it wouldn’t bother them I’d feel even more ashamed.  “See?!?!  See?  I’m fucked up.  It doesn’t bother them!  What is wrong with me?”  If he later realized he’d hurt my feelings I’d apologize profusely to him for it.  If I cried it’d take me about a week to forgive myself.  I can’t stand that I feel the messy stuff.  I wanna be one of the cool kids.  But I’m not.

In the poly world, the less you feel the messy stuff the cooler you are.  Partners who are messy or challenging or dealing with shit around this stuff are to be accepted to a point.  If they are too messy, the cool poly kids cluck their tongues and say “she just isn’t poly, is she?”  They say things to indicate their superiority over this poor soul who has too many messy feelings.  And every time I see and hear this I burn with shame.  I am messy sometimes!  I have to scrub my bathtub and take a walk and write and process and do all this work at times when I get messy emotions. I don’t just get bothered sometimes.  I get upset.

I can’t stand it when someone is on a date with me and is too affectionate with others.  I hate to be disrespected like that.  It burns my chest a little when they have big prolonged kisses with others while they’re on a date with me.  I get upset and then get upset at myself for getting upset. If my partners are all smoochie-boochie “I love you”‘-ing with their others when we are supposed to be together it hurts.  I’m not saying when they just say “I love you”.  It’s the gushy stuff.  I don’t like it when we’re getting all romantic and I run to the bathroom and come back to lovers texting other chicks and surfing OKC.  A little bit of flirting or whatnot is pretty cute, but people with heads on a constant swivel make me insane.

Girl and Bear by Mark Ryden

Girl and Bear by Mark Ryden

At times I am the cool kid.  Sometimes it’s a random Sunday and I see him surfing OKC and smile.  He’s so cute, always checking his likes.  Sometimes I’m with my loves and I glow at the love I feel with them and the people they care about.  Sometimes I want my partners to have amazing sex and get turned on thinking about it.  In threesomes anything short of pushing me off the bed makes me happy.  When I think of Traveler being loved for who he is I smile.  When I thought of my ex-husband finally getting to do anal with a girlfriend I wanted to cheer.  (He was too big for me.)  When my love is getting ready for a date and they’re nervous I like soothing them and telling them they look great and reminding them to wear the cologne because they smell so good.  I was so happy to take pics of my ex-boyfriend and of Traveler for them to send to others.  When I’m included and have all the info without wishy-washing managing I feel good.  The burning stops somewhat quickly.  I don’t have to be afraid because they told me about this and it’s here.  I may or may not have a twinge or a short burn, but I end up feeling good.  Being a compersive cool-kid is vastly more fun than scrubbing the tiles of my bathtub because my chest is on fire.  But I have a longer list of what is hard for me than some others and I can’t stand it.

And it’s not just in my head that we judge emotions and proscribe a set perfect amount.

It’s just as wrong to feel too little, isn’t it?  We look at people who aren’t gushy when they’re “supposed to be” and say they are inhuman, a robot, a cad.  We call people cold-fishes and prudes and misers.  We wonder why they can’t just smile more or open up or share or express all the right emotions.

It’s always about being the RIGHT amount.

Don’t be too weepy or too sad or too hyper or scared, but what is your damage that you can’t admit you are afraid or affected?  Express more love and more smiles and more welcoming graces.  Don’t be too horny or lusty or want the sex things too much.  But also don’t want them too little.  Don’t be prudish and stuck up and too vanilla.  God.  Don’t you have any fantasies?  You are too intense or too distant.  You’re supposed to be open but please don’t over-share.  You’re supposed to be absolutely everything in the right amount.

It’s the emotional Goldilocks. 

Be the right amount.

I’m sick to death of doing that to MYSELF.


  1. Oh gosh, it’s not just me!!

    I get messy. I’m messy. I don’t know how else to be and then I feel guilty because I’m messy and I’m somehow limiting his experiences because I have feelings and they interfere and then he asks me what’s wrong and I try to explain and end up blubbering like an idiot because I’m ruining his fun times with others because I’m just bloody messy.

    Other times it’s water off a ducks back and I don’t give two shits.

    I don’t know how else to be. I honestly don’t. I don’t know why my insecurities trigger the way they do nor do I know how to make them stop 😦

    But you aren’t alone!!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. There is nothing wrong with having boundaries – and you owe no one an apology for having them! “I don’t want my partner messing around with someone else on our date” is a boundary. Why do (women mostly) feel unless we give and give and give with a fucking smile on our face we are being difficult? It’s not messy, SPC, it’s not too much and it’s not wrong. You are allowed to want what you want and assert that “THIS is what I want”. We have to do this again and again and again in life. It burns me UP to hear about “good and bad poly”. That is stupid and ignorant and denies the reason for being poly in the first place – to have multiple, varied and layered relationships that are all different dynamically.

    Stake a claim to your authentic messy self – know that every action has a reaction and reactions might vary – but how happy would any of us be if we weren’t living as authentic, banged up messy people?

    Liked by 2 people

    • It’s good to be reminded. Of course it is okay if any of us wants anything at all, and we should find partners who are good matches for what we actually want. The answer is to have the boundaries you have and to assert them. I agree utterly.

      I would like to acknowledge the pressure to not do this. There is the internal push-back (which for me is the hardest part). I want to be a great girlfriend or wife or friend or lover. I want my partners to be happy and I never want to be the cause of them not being as happy as they can be. There is the push-back between what I wish I was and what I actually am. Gratefully I don’t run across this often. I rock and I know it. But it’s hard for me when I’m vulnerable or weak or need things.

      Then there is also the push back of people in our lives, and especially in poly circles.

      The MOST common reaction to me asserting a boundary seems to be “huh.. that’s odd that you need that. I don’t need that at all. I’m just better at accepting that I guess.” Ouch.

      I’d ask my husband and his girlfriend to give me a night where I could be alone with him after 9pm and not have them texting and facebooking and whatever, EVERY night because I needed time with him without her influence. You cannot imagine the months of push back I got over that. I was asking for maybe 2 nights a week when they just stopped talking after 9pm. I wanted to have conversations with and cuddle and fuck my husband. And it conflicted with what he wanted to do, so it was me being a harpy. When I’ve admitted I was bothered by something small I hurt everyone’s feelings and ended up apologizing and apologizing. I don’t know sometimes how to do this well and it’s just so damn shitty to have to do it at all.

      Generally when we admit we are uncomfortable with something we get a lot of push back. We hurt the people we love sometimes by bringing these things up and it’s awkward and hard. Nobody likes hurting people they care about. Think about it. They’re hurt because they don’t like hearing they upset me and I’m upset for making them feel bad and for needing to say anything at all.

      Honestly. Do you (not you you Clara.. the proverbial you) admit when you have little tweaks or twinges? Do people around you respond well to that or are they defensive and hurt that you feel that way? Do you step on everyone’s toes and admit your messes or do you try to shove it under the rug or “just let it go”. Do you ever pretend to be “the cool one”? Do you decide often that things are too small of a deal to even tell anyone about? Is it really because it’s small? I don’t know. I really don’t. Because I can’t do it. I honestly would like to sometimes.

      I like being reminded that it’s good to be my messy self and that I should continue doing it even if it kinda sucks. And I don’t have to listen to my internal pressure system that tells me I’m a jerk for having feelings or for asking to express them in healthy ways and have good communication. You’re right! It’s not too much.

      It’s not helpful to beat yourself up, and being real and messy is a gift. There are a lot of people who can’t do it. I told this to Quinky recently. It’s an honor when someone lets you see their mess and it’s admirable when people can own their stuff. I needed to let all that out and I needed your reminder. Thank you!


  3. I’m also a messy feeler, and I feel a lot of the same things you do around my “dont really need to talk about anything” partners and the people who seem fine with everything all the time. (I think I went through most of the emotions you talk about here in the last 24 hours with one partner – and speaking my awkward thoughts is the only thing that banishes them.)

    I’ll give you a pep talk you probably don’t need. I have no idea when I started reading your blog, it was quite a long time ago. I was so happy to see that you talked about a lot of the same messy feels I had, and you processed them usefully You work through your shit, you figure out why you feel things, and you figure out how to deal with it in a healthy way, and your posts almost always reflect that (except the posts about sex, where you are busy doing other things!).

    From how you write about this stuff, I’ve always thought you were AWESOME at poly, and an “I’d be thrilled to have you as a metamour” type of person. I think there are a bunch of people who really aren’t bothered by anything, and there’s just as many people who act like they are cool about everything, and then a few years later you find out they have feelings too and just stuffed them and built resentment. Don’t be sorry for taking care of yourself by knowing who you are and that you need to deal with things sooner than later so they don’t build up. I love being able to read the blog of a person I can identify with dealing with the same struggles I do, in a similar fashion.


  4. I love these questions!!! And I have to start by saying that I am not very messy emotionally. I’m a very logical, very methodically thinking person. I truly feel that MY happiness, well being and comfort is very, very important and it’s my responsibility to myself to ensure this. Of course I want the people I love to be happy and I do everything I can to increase their happiness- but NOT at my expense of my unhappiness!! (OK – would do almost anything for my 9 year old – but that’s mother love) Sometimes this means my partners aren’t happy – but I’m not here to make them happy- I’m here to be a partner and companion and lover and friend…their happiness is on them. The flip side of this is that I try to live every day with kindness and gentleness towards myself and others- I’m not a bull barging around. If I do feel like I need to say something I always explain my position carefully and sensitively (and being in a poly family has made me better at this). I choose my discussions carefully – if it really is small to me I am not going to bring it up. However, no matter how small other people might think it is, if I think it’s big I will bring it up. But I have to be honest – there really isn’t that much that bothers me on an emotionally upsetting level. I am not perfect in many, many ways. My interpersonal relationships are not perfect all the time either – but when something is important enough to me to lay down some parameters, I lay it down with authority knowing that sometimes I will have to walk away from a person who can’t respect my boundaries.


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