Monday, December 27, 2010

2010 in review

So here we are again at the end of the year, or near enough anyway, and it’s time to look back and reflect on how my life has changed. Normally I do this closer to Jan. 1, but since I've been blessed with a snow day to work at home today and I'll be at Polina's house most of this three-day weekend, I thought I'd get it done early this year.

So after a relatively quiet 2009 when I was out of work for most of the year and building my relationship with Polina, this year has been full of the highest highs and the lowest lows since my transition period. Obviously the person most responsible for both of these was Bonnie.

Funny how when I was with my family in NJ, New Year’s Eve was never a big deal for us because we didn’t celebrate the secular/solar new year. But now, because of Polina’s annual fete(which I’ve come to look forward to every year) and the fact that I consider New Year’s Eve the start of my adventures with Bonnie, it’s no longer a day of disinterest for me, since everybody knows how I am with anniversaries.

I say that New Year’s Eve is the beginning because it’s the first time Bonnie and I spent time together alone, after meeting at the Poly Women’s Group, getting to know more about each other via email and then attending her family Christmas party with Polina. We were still quite platonic on New Year's Eve, but it was the start of being intimate in a poly way, cuddling for warmth, watching Firefly episodes and calling our significant others (who were both out-of-state that night) to wish them a Happy New Year as we watched the ball drop on TV.

Bonnie added passion and intensity to my life the way that Tara used to, and from that standpoint, she embodied everything that I was craving in a new relationship. She also provided a necessary balance that fundamentally changed my relationship with Polina and allowed it to flourish in ways I could have scarcely hoped it would at this time last year. For that reason alone, I can only be profoundly grateful for Bonnie’s all-too-brief presence in my life.

As for my year with Polina, it has been nothing but positive as we continue to build a relationship that meets both our needs. We celebrated our second anniversary in October with an exchange of presents and cards out in Stony Brook over some delicious pumpkin ale and a wonderful meal. My move into Manhattan in March made it more convenient at the time to see both my loves, and by now in Polina’s case, we’ve started thinking of this apartment more and more as ours instead of just mine.

The biggest change in our relationship is how we’ve managed to get more of her extended family to be comfortable with us being together and making the holidays better for everyone. Polina’s extended tribe may not understand the poly or even know about the kink stuff, but anyone can see that we love each other and it would be wrong to deny it. And that’s how she gives me a big part of what I need – a sense of family, of belonging, and getting to know the people who are important to the people I love.

We also continue to get more comfortable just sharing space for extended periods of time. Over Christmas holidays, we spent five consecutive nights together here, at her house in Staten Island, and in Mountain Top, PA, skiing with her family. In 2010, we've spent Labor Day, Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family and close family friends, and we’ll spend New Year’s weekend and a wedding in late January with many of them too. What a big difference from last year when I was not invited to accompany them to Baltimore for Thanksgiving and New Year’s Eve, or the year before when taking me as her date to her sister’s wedding raised a few eyebrows.

Another big development this year was the growth of Open Love NY, and my role as the president. I never wanted to take this job, but it was either that or watch it fail after all the work I've put into it. By most accounts, I’ve done a fair job in the first 10 months, building the membership up from nothing to over 200.

As I look back on 2010, I’ll also remember seeing Carmen at the Metropolitan Opera, our impromptu trip to Albany, my first touristy visit to the nation’s capital, the start of my new life in the middle of Manhattan, and my first full calendar year of working that I didn’t miss a significant amount of time due to surgery, layoffs or quitting to transition since 2005. I went back to my hometown Houston for the first time since leaving four and a half years ago, and went with Polina to see Porcupine Tree at Radio City Music Hall and Poly Living 2010 in Fort Washington, PA, where I finally met Danielle, one of my oldest online friends.

What will 2011 bring for me? The New Year is approaching more quietly than in years past, so whatever it will be, I’m sure to be surprised. Wherever my path leads, I am excited to take the journey, and I thank you, as always, for reading and coming along for the ride.