The more the merrier

 

This post was cleverly scheduled to come out on Valentine’s day; but as those who are familiar with this little corner of the Internet will know, I am not the most punctual of people. Indeed, when asked why I do no take up writing as a profession (assuming I could write professionally), the foremost reason I cite is my inability to meet deadlines. What is life, I daresay, without a little bit of procrastination, and the gnawing regret that comes after the time to affect change has passed?

Ah, but there I go again; prattling on about something that has nothing to do with the theme of this post. Today, sitting by a steaming mug of filter coffee, I wish to talk about the nature of romantic relationships; rather, the nature of relationships in general. More specifically, I wish to present my case in favour of something we’ve come to learn more and more of in recent years: polyamory.

I have long been of the opinion that for any relationship to be truly sustainable, it needs to have a certain degree of “openness”. Relationships which are rigid in their definitions and closed off in their approach to society often find that a claustrophobic environment is non-conducive to their growth. The reason for this, to me, seems quite simple: we are complex beings with complex needs, and so we need to derive our sustenance from a host of people, and not just one person at a time.

Don’t you think it’s a little impractical, really, to assume that one person is able to satisfy all your emotional, physical, and intellectual needs? Conversely, isn’t it a little unfair that you are required to fulfil the very same needs, single-handedly, for someone else? I can, of course, see the charm in this: that one person is all you need for everything, ever, is undoubtedly a charming concept, but how much practical value does it really hold?

Humour me for a while, and picture this: you have your significant other with whom you have a blossoming relationship. Yes, there are fights, but you are able to “kiss and make up”, and you perceive things through rose-tinted glasses. Now it just so happens that you are plagued with an issue which your partner is not adept at handling, or which requires a view which your partner is unable to provide. You seek solace in another individual to whom you attach some value, and your qualms are put to rest.

Polyamory, most people fail to understand, is not just about having multiple sex partners, though that is very much a component of it; neither is polyamory a way to justify promiscuity. Polyamory is about understanding that more than one people should be allowed to influence your thoughts on love, career, sex, and all the other facets that make up life. Polyamory is about embracing the change that is brought by opening up to more and more people, instead of being confined to a box, with only one other mind for company.

Yet another aspect I’ve seen people have trouble with is that of relationships being a spectrum, and not a binary switch between polyamory and monoamory. It IS possible to sustain an emotionally polyamorous relationship without also making it physical. In fact, that has largely been the nature of my relationships for a long while now, and it has caused me little to no discomfort. On the other hand, it is also possible to have a physically polyamorous relationship without having an emotional one. There are hundreds of other combinations which abound when one truly considers the diversity of people, their needs, and the rationale behind relationships in the first place.

As is often the case with my personal posts, I shift the blame for things onto society. Society has conditioned us to make two things an integral part of our lives: labels and definitions. We spend our early years growing up in a society which has an obsessive need to label and define everything, relationships included. A couple who does not wish to label or define their relationship is still called a couple, because how else are we to attach stereotypes and conventional tropes to them. Even the most progressive of us get caught in the rigmarole that is the need to define, if not label.

There is a person, of remarkable intellect and a face which the gods must have forgotten to fault, with whom I sustain a relationship. What kind of relationship, you’d be tempted to ask, and therein lies the problem. Is it not enough that there is a relationship of some sort? That there is something physical (barely, to my displeasure), something intellectual, and something emotional in this relationship is enough of a definition. Our need to define things by assigning labels to them limits our expansion and growth as human beings; this is a belief that has only strengthened with time.

It is not as though I have taken a pledge against labelling, however; I understand the need for certain labels, such as defining certain things as harmful versus safe, or correct versus incorrect. Where relationships are considered, though, I cannot understand the obsession with monoamory, which seeks to lay possessive claim on another person. Relationships are deeply personal things; in fact, they are deeply interpersonal things, and with over seven billion people in the world, to limit the interpersonal interaction of a person to just “the one” other person seems to me inherently selfish.

Bonds are fickle things; they break and form in the blink of an eye. Bonds strengthen when they are allowed to mingle with other bonds, and form a network. Polyamory provides for that chance; the chance to strengthen not just one, but many bonds, by exposing the individual to the treasures of the human mind. Yes, there is a chance that in a polyamorous relationship your paramour would give someone else more importance than they would give you, but that is a risk you both are taking. And, in my very honest opinion, the risk and the (possible) jealousy are worth it, because at the end of the day, you are developing a more honest, a stronger relationship.

 

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The inverse of sugarcoating

This post comes more than a week late, but then, I have never been known for my punctuality. Fortunately, it just so happens that the person to whom this post is dedicated understands my ongoing feud with time and deadlines, and so I am (I hope) off the hook.

This being a birthday post, I suppose timing was of the essence. Indeed, I had sat down to write this post in an alcoholic stupor last Sunday night; I soon discovered, however, that inebriated and articulation are not the best of companions. The post, as a result, came to a standstill. As anyone who has ever missed deadlines will tell you: once the time has passed, delays are easier to actualise than effort. However, I like to cling to the desperate notion that everything happens for the best; had the week not intervened between this post and the birthday itself, maybe the post wouldn’t have been as meaningful as it is now.

The title of this post is a phrase which the said person (to whom this post is dedicated) has used, often, to describe the way I express my views and opinions; implying, of course, that I use words which are too harsh to convey emotion which is, in essence, very pleasant. The original draft of this post was a smattering of powdered sugar on a mountain of maple syrup and honey, which is yet another reason this post feels more natural to me than the one which would have gone up on my friend’s birthday: it’s more honest.

Usually, when I undertake the Herculean task of dedicating a post to someone, it involves my assessment of their qualities and the subsequent zeroing in on the quality which I feel most strongly towards. This, however, is not the case today. It is not that the person of whom I speak is devoid of any startling qualities, nor that the person is burgeoning with a plethora of qualities from which it would be impossible to choose. No, the reason that this post doesn’t fixate on any one aspect of the person is because he, in his entirety, has done something for me which I value greatly: he has educated me in matters of which I was painfully ignorant.

Much of this educating took place after the rather tumultuous but exceptionally well-timed end to our brief courtship period. The subsequent friendship is something that I’ve come to cherish and learn greatly from. Wisdom, however, isn’t at the root of these teachings; it is not as though I have been specifically lectured on certain areas. This teaching comes from one of the most rewarding human experiences I have ever had. Not wisdom but honesty, I feel, drives this education home. The honesty of expression and feeling which my friend carries; his ability to wear his heart shamelessly on his sleeve, despite how much ever pain it may cause him; and his need to derive emotional sustenance from those he loves are the things I look towards when I feel lost in my own warped emotional psyche.

My friend has, on more occasions than I can count and with substantial damage to his inner peace, challenged my notions of correctness and emotional complexity. He has provided me with the perspective of diversity by showing me how powerful emotions can be, all while being highly delicate. He has shown me, time and again, what it means to be truly honest with oneself, even as I champion brutal honesty to the world. But more than anything, he has helped shape my ideas of the kind of interpersonal relationships I would be willing to have; ideas which were founded in reason, but perhaps hadn’t been actualised until the development of our friendship.

One of the greatest things which I will always be indebted to him for, though, is pushing my tolerance to limits I did not know I dared approach. I have always been less tolerant of dissent than I would like to believe, and this reflects heavily in my interactions with people. This beautiful, honest person showed me that my insatiable need for learning and growth, which I’ve always claimed was at the centre of my being, would never be realised unless I opened myself to things which I disagreed with and, far more than this, things which I had never even considered.

Even as I write this, I find myself edging dangerously close to a pit dense with the sorrows of nostalgia, which, I am afraid, is a luxury I cannot afford at the moment. However, one essential aspect of my friend remains to be mentioned, and poetic convenience has decreed it such that it be the last thing I discuss, glorifying it all the more. The aspect of which I speak, of course, is unbridled growth. It amazes me to see him growing as a person in every second of every day, but not being afraid to build again should he fall back. Whereas I take things from him and use them to further my own arsenal of introspection, he takes things from all around and uses them to accelerate in life. Indeed, it is satisfying to see that he is able to sustain his rate of growth, even as I am mine, and yet remain in tandem with both our ways of life.

Ah, but now emotional indulgence veers dangerously close to this rather well thought out, and unnecessarily long, (belated) birthday wish. Before I submit myself to the annals of sentimental gratification, I feel it best to set my (metaphorical) pen down, and wish my friend a lifetime of growth.

Happy birthday, my love.

Home is where the mum is

Apologies for being absent from the enigmatic world of the Internet for such a long time. The ongoing exams forced me to adopt a pretense of studying and therefore the Internet, naturally, became taboo. However, I think that today, on the extremely joyous occasion of Mother’s Day, I can make an exception.

If I am perfectly honest, then I don’t really have much to say. The reason I am writing this is because today, I wish to show my mother how much she means to me in ways more than a phone call can express. Were I at home, I would have probably laid claim to the kitchen and tried my inexperienced hand at whatever I could cook up without burning down the house. Alas, I cannot. Sitting thousands of kilometers away from home, with very little skill to my credit, this is all I could think of. Apologies for being generic and mainstream, mother, you raised your kid up to be a dramatic.

All mothers are great, of course. Dysfunctional families notwithstanding, children have always found comfort with their mothers. Be it the delicious comfort food which somehow tastes tenfold better when prepared by a mother, or the long talks about trivial problems which leave one feeling all warm and chocolate-y on the inside; mothers have become a central part of our lives. Even in old age, when parents feel that they are being neglected, we have a soft spot for our mothers which will never lose importance, however bad it may seem.

Today, I want to do something which I haven’t done a lot before; something which every good child does every once in a while: I want to apologise. I know I have been a very difficult child at times, and there have been incidences where I have felt great anger towards my mother even when the fault was entirely mine. For being a colossal pain at times, and being rather unbearable most other times, I would like to apologise. I would also like to apologise for all the times I’ve let her down. Like the wonderful human being and the fantastic mother that she is, she never let her faith in me waver even a little, and I do believe that I have repaid her very poorly. I would like to apologise for not living up to your expectations.

I would also like to tell my mother that I love her very much. Most children don’t say this to their mothers often, mostly because we feel it so intensely that we believe our mothers must know it already. Between all the fights and the harsh words and the distances, it can become quite easy for emotions to go awry. So today, when the world has been kind enough to set a day aside especially for mothers, I want to tell her that I love her more than I can express, and certainly more than I can express on a small post in some obscure corner of a worldwide network.

But the apologies and the love are tacit. My mother, being the wonderfully brilliant woman that she is, knows full well that I am sorry for letting her down and a million other things. She also knows, bless her soul, that I love her despite not being regularly in touch and the incessant quarrels. What she doesn’t know, or maybe she does but hasn’t acknowledged, is my dependence on her.

Often, fear strikes within me, uncontrolled and unprecedented, about what would happen were I to lose my mother. Even though I know it’s only a matter of time before I have to say goodbye without the promise of “see you soon”, I find it harrowing to think about what would happen when the day actually comes. I feel both empowered and completely crippled when I say that I am more dependent on my mother than I care to admit. She is the greatest support system I’ve ever had and the thought of losing her drives me insane, as it does every other child on the planet, I’m sure.

It is, of course, quite possible that this entire range of emotions has been launched into overdrive by the stress of the ongoing examination. Perhaps the darkest corners of my brain have, in an attempt to have some light for themselves, latched onto the brightest deities of my mind: the thoughts of my mother. Just because these thoughts are stemming from a stressed head, however, doesn’t mean that they’re not true.

And now, as the cruel education system beckons, I must end this small token. Even though I know that the attempt has been futile, I only hope I’ve captured at least a small ray of the vast spectrum that is the love which I feel for my mother. People usually say that their mother is their friend and parent and companion and all. However, I feel that my mother is a mother; she transcends the trivial relations of friend and parent, and exists in a dimension of her own which is beyond the reach of anyone to have ever existed in the entire universe.

As tears threaten to spill onto my computer, I put an end to this little post.

Thank you for being there even when I thought you wouldn’t be. It means a lot.

I love you, mum.