Poly isn’t perfect. Sometimes, it’s actually really really hard.
I’m just starting the comedown from the first leg of polyinsanity and.. It was not at all what I could have anticipated. Yes, I kept a journal those three days as promised..but a lot of the thoughts written were raw and hurting in those moments, and as much as I adore being the exhibitionist that I am, something I have to keep private.
First off… Annwfn the place.. is unlike anywhere I have ever been in my entire life. The amount of peace I felt from the land itself, not necessarily the people there but the land.. It was beautiful. Freeing. Very few places that have claimed to be ‘magical’ have felt to be so to me.. This was one of them. Yes. There is magic in that land. There is a peace and a calm there that seems to breathe out of the ground itself. I found myself increasingly grateful for it as the weekend went on.
That being said.. My head was not in the best place for the majority of the weekend. I got very little sleep the night before the camping trip. Not from lack of trying. I was overtired from attempting to get everything together… I had taken on some of the responsibility from Ryan so that he could have an evening undisturbed with my meta. I knew what I was doing going in, but I pushed my body a bit too hard, stayed up too late, and my brain would not turn off.
The ride up was fun, for the most part. I made a nest for myself in the back of the car and let my meta and Ryan take the lead going up, responding when I could but mostly letting myself doze and try to recharge. Ryan had worried about me being burnt out from work before the weekend started… My own head burnt me out instead.
Something I learned very quickly this weekend. My own space is important. It rained the day we got there, in a place that I did not know with people I did not know. I can poly well. I’m usually very good at it. I like to share. But there are times when I get overwhelmed, and having time to remove myself from a situation, let myself breathe and process through emotions I’m feeling.. it’s important. It lets me keep the peace in my own head more than anything, and without the room to do so I found myself anxious and jumpy most of Friday night. I breathed through it, tried to logic my brain out of it.
On little sleep I discovered I had little patience, and was more than a little needy (in my own head. I didn’t vocalize these needs, of course. That would have been smart, but I keep tripping myself up with not wanting to ruin someone else’s fun, etc, and so I keep any problems I have to myself). It would be little things that made me feel left out and separate from the other two. Walking out of the room to run an errand and here Ryan introduce my meta as his partner..and running back in to the room too late for him to do the same with me. At one of the rituals there was a chair shortage.. My meta got there first, as Ryan and I had grabbed a short nap and some (much needed, on my end) cuddles. Ryan told me to sit in one of the available chairs, and so I did.. and the chair next to my meta happened to open. They got to connect during the ritual while I was surrounded by a sea of strangers.. Sweet people that I slowly got to know, but still unknown to me in the moment. I just wanted to crawl over and sit at Ryan’s feet..instead I tried to focus on the ritual, and ended up in many ways pulling myself further away from them and isolating myself with my own walled-up thoughts.
I know what it’s like to miss a long distance partner. I know how precious that time is with them.. and I struggle with saying when I’m upset as is, so I kept my mouth shut instead of taking the chances to safeword and pull Ryan aside and talk. In hindsight I should have.. I should vocalize my needs more and explained that I wasn’t okay, but that I would be and I was handling it best I could. That I knew he wasn’t causing purposeful harm and that my brain was just twanging in weird ways. I am trying to get better at finding words when my brain gets stuck.. also hard for me. But it is a necessary thing. Ryan is an incredible partner that can often read me like a book, but he is not psychic. He does need some information to connect the dots and figure out what’s actually going on. Just removing myself from situations so he can continue to have fun was not the smartest of things to do.
That night I didn’t sleep much at all. I went to bed needy and squirmy, craving more touch from Ryan but feeling uncomfortable asking for it in front of my meta. They had compared bruises moments before and I wanted play. Not just play. Touch. Connection. We were all tired from the journey..it was rainy and gross out. I was irritable from lack of sleep and not up to keeping up with my meta’s peppy pace of talk.. and so I tried to sleep. But my body didn’t like the mat on the floor of the tent, and I had underestimated just how cold it was outside… I kicked off my sleeping bag at one point and, afraid of waking the others, couldn’t get back into it without making as shit ton of noise… so I was awake at 4:30 in the morning.
I dressed quietly and crept outside with my camera, my cell, and a book. Another thing I learned… bring a flashlight next time, and at least two books. Cells go down in Annwfn. It would have been easier if I had been able to text my roommate or call Ace. I couldn’t, and I hadn’t known I couldn’t until the service went POOF. But.. I digress.
Those quiet hours should have been miserable, but in reality they were some of the most peaceful I had the entire time I was on the trip. I wandered to the circle area, still damp from the rain, used my camera bag to keep my butt dry, and sat and meditated.
Everything was quiet. The moon was visible overhead and lit the sky enough so that I wasn’t afraid. There were no jitters, no shivers, and I had a moment where not only did I understand the magick of Annwfn, but I understood my Sir Chris just a little bit more. I suddenly got why he woke up at 5:30 in the morning willingly. Because of the peace. The quiet. The stillness that you can only find just at the brink of day. It quieted a chattery mind for a little while.
Sleep deprivation for long periods of time is a very, VERY bad thing for my brain.. I ended up catching another hour of sleep once I returned to the tent, after my brain calmed down.. and then my stupid alarm went off and woke up the others.. They went to breakfast and I just… couldn’t. I needed to sleep more.. Adding to my anxiety was the fear that I was bringing the other’s down with my bad brain and that Ryan wouldn’t want me to come along with him next time he went to this wonderful place.. I was happy he at least got some alone time with my meta and got to go off with her and have fun.
I was in and out of it for a few hours.. I remember Ryan bringing me food, and me sharing best I could what was going on.. Words were hard. I remember him coming back at one point to the tent and feeling the weight of him on top of me, of him hugging me, and all but purring at the feeling.. There were kisses. I love you’s. That man.. When I let him, he takes incredible care of me.
It’s letting him, more specifically vocalizing that I need him to, that is hard..
The rest of Saturday was..intense in good and bad ways. We went on a ‘walk’ with others that turned into a hike. I could NOT have done it on my own. I’m a klutz, royally, and also terrified of heights. I did not bring sneakers. I was in boots, expecting an easy walk through the property.
The hike took us up and down narrow trails of dirt, soft from the rain. By narrow, I mean that there were maybe six inches of trail after the tip of my boot.. These paths were hundreds of feet in the air. There was no fence or guardrail. I’m terrified of heights.
I tried to backpetal. Tried to run. Ryan grabbed my hand.
I spent most of the time staring at my feet, focusing on not slipping, focusing on the feel of his hand surrounding mine. And I did it. I cried at the end, a wave of panic hitting me as our guide made comments about me doing it despite my fears, but I did it. I completed the whole hike, and honestly I was damn proud of myself.
The evening was… a serious blast from the past for me. It has been about six years since I’ve found myself in the mist of any sort of organized pagan group. The numbers, the way the worked, the songs.. I did not think would remind me so much of the coven I grew up in. Part of me was joyous. I knew the words. I remembered the prayers. Part of me was…triggered, thinking of an abusive high priestess that tried so hard to manipulate my every move.
Paganism used to be a huge part of my life.. I could feel the pulse of the earth without thinking; could connect, ground, and center without a moment’s hesitation. That has not been the case for several years now. The spirituality and beliefs have remained the same. I still feel my Mother watching over me. But the warm, fuzzy feelings associated with magick vanished a long time ago.
The ritual was beautiful, intense…and hard for me. I fought through two panic attacks during the two and a half hours, clinging to Ryan’s hand like a lifeline when he would allow me. Thankfully it was cold out and the tremors looked like shivers… I was hopeful that by the time the ritual was over we could go back to the tent and I could ground in my own way. Touch is huge for me. It doesn’t need to be sexual. Just, that tactile connection. Being held, having my head scritched or my back rubbed. All these things ground me and put me back in my body. Sexual touch and play simply light my fire again.
It didn’t happen. I knew logically that no one had the energy. That we were cold and everyone just wanted to burrow into their sleeping bags and pass out…but Godde did it hurt. Ryan was trying his best, I knew that. But..the pushing off and off and off of play triggered yet another damn attack. There were too many echos, too many memories, and this one was all James. All the times that his body just would not let him play. Play had been scheduled. Play had been promised.. And play just wasn’t allowed. I finally fell asleep hours after the others, when Ryan rolled over and managed to put his leg over me. The pressure and warmth calmed my body enough to finally pass out.
I was…jangled the next morning, is the best way to put it. I needed to talk to Ryan. I did, fairly early on. Being upset and angry at him is…hard. Extremely, and it never lasts long. When I can actually find the words for things we communicate well. It’s finding the words when my brain just doesn’t want to settle. I shared some of my third wheel feelings, as well as the disappointment and the trigger associated to play being put off. I asked that it please not happen again, and vocalized that next time I need some time alone with him..
A lot of it was me being mentally unprepared for what it would be like to be in a place like Annwfn. It’s not kink. It’s not my community. It’s magick. It’s.. a part of my past, with a lot of trauma that I haven’t quite dealt with yet, apparently. I know how to cope next time.. More than cope, make it enjoyable. I know what I need to keep myself emotionally healthy and happy, what to expect, and how better to communicate with my partner and metas. And how to communicate in front of my metas as well, not just tuck everything away for later.
I got the play I craved when we got home Sunday afternoon…and fuck did I need it. Ryan stripped me down, shoved me on to the bed while my meta watched, and touched me. Ran his hands, his nails over my body. That was all it took for me to fully come back into myself. For the last of the anxiety to ease and my brain to go mostly back to normal.. My meta’s participation in the play made me… nervous, at first. She wanted to watch, and mentioned that he would have to talk to her. Part of me had internally growled at that. I needed connection. I didn’t want to forsake that and just get fucked.
My meta is a skilled communicator, has an incredible amount of compassion and empathy, and plays in a very unique way. I have not spent all that much time with her in person..but I know Ryan trusts her completely. And I’m starting to. She asked him questions. About me. About how much he wanted me, how I pleased him, how he wanted me, how it felt.. Things that added to the scene instead of taking away from it. There is a part of my brain that’s always a little self conscious and worries that I am just this adorable little to Ryan..That he doesn’t see me as sexy, or beautiful like he does the others… Her questions quelled a lot of those fears.
After. my meta and Ryan went to grab us food while I started this entry at home, legs too tired to walk. My meta..was not so much herself when they got back, and so after eating I excused myself and curled up in Ryan’s bed. I used the time to call Ace, communicate some parts of the hard weekend, what I had learned, and what I would need for the coming weekend. Time alone with both my partners. Clear communication when they needed more or less. ..I am blessed with two incredible partners that truly hear me when I need them to, and force me to listen when I need to.
Ryan took my meta to the airport and I let myself take a nap. I woke up to him lowering himself onto the bed, his weight against me, and me wrapping myself around him as he checked in. We talked.. or rather. He let me talk. I finally got to reassure him that the majority of the weekend was NOT HIM. That I wanted to go back.. and he reassured me that we would. That I hadn’t blown my chance and he wasn’t upset at me..
“I need you to here me,” he said at one point when I had been rambling about fears of ruining his and my meta’s good time with my shit. “Really hear me. It is okay to ask for extra when you need it. I need you to ask for it when you need it. Okay?”
There are moments when Ryan blows me away. Where I think he’s reached capacity, I’m too much of a pain in the ass, and he managed to instead prove to be so caring, so compassionate and loving, that I am at a loss for words. This would be one of those moments.
He doesn’t know all my mental struggles.. To be honest it took some time and processing to come up with the right words for what I went through during parts of this past weekend..but Ryan notices a lot. He reads me well, and he cares enough to ease what he can. I thought I knew what compassion was.. and then I met him. I don’t honestly have proper words for how much I love and trust him. I’m grateful every damn day that he’s in my life.
As for now.. my anxiety is ramped up a bit yet again. Ace is on the first leg of his journey out to me. I have the rest of work, and then a couple hours with Ryan to connect just the two of us before I go get Ace. I am all jitters and nerves..but I am not afraid. I have new tools. I have good, communicative partners. I got this.
And I’m sure I’ll have much more to write after this weekend is over.
Yours, the eternal student