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01 October, 2007

In Service

A little more than a week ago, my liege got married.

It was a small ceremony, close family and friends.

My husband and I were thanked in the program; him, for running the video camera, me, for brewing the mead that was blessed at the ritual and served to the guests, us both, for our respective emotional supports, which went unspecified.

I didn't sleep for a week or two before the wedding, not well; too much stuff that absolutely had to be done, too many minor tasks that I could help with or not. I twined ribbons around the little brooch he wore, I helped design centrepieces, I sat through endless discussion of liturgy and design and offered my opinion when it was asked of me; I didn't sleep well. The stress of the preparations was a matter of contagious burden, and I am not sure how much it was lessened by the sharing. There was no time that was not at least partially occupied with wedding preparation, wedding discussion, angst: his ring arrived in the mail the day before. There was too much to do. Could I do this thing?

We helped move the paraphernalia to the wedding site on the morning. I set up centrepieces, ran errands, did minor fetch and carry. His mother arrived, and I explained the guest books to her, finished my tasks, and retreated to the bride's room, where all of my spectacularly dressed female friends were helping her get ready. I was being politic, I told them; his mother does not approve of my existence, and this would be the first time we had actually met. I had not put the green streak back in my hair just to minimise the possibility of offense. I have no idea if she ever figured out who I am, though we were the last people to leave, the last people they said goodbye to. He took my collar off before they left; had put it on me in the morning as reassurance and reminder that our partnership endured in a code that I, at least, would understand.

Today, I think I finally hit physically recovered from the stress crash. I started sleeping again immediately, though I stopped being able to eat without nausea for a few days. But emotionally, I'm still stretched all out of shape, like an overinflated balloon. I have no reserves. I am ... okay, if one defines that by saying that in the current state of things I will tend to trend towards what might nominally be called normalcy. If 'okay' means 'not having a persistent impulse to break into tears', though, I'm not near there; I'm crying as I type, and I've spent much of the last two days or so feeling that strange salt-washed sensation around my eyes that is like wanting to cry without the horrible pressure in the forehead that comes with more intensity. Call it two fifths of the way to tears.

I was in service; I am in service; I will remain in service. I will do what must be done, even when I want to scream and flail and throw things and declare that someone else can be the goddamned grownup right now, I'm through with it.

I asked him to pull me down tonight, into a subspace where he could hold me, where I could regenerate some reserves, where he could take care of me for a while. Just to be close and held and ... not at work. And he held me with gentle, intense firmness, with laughter, with serious intent, with warmth. And eventually I will be okay, so long as I can be held there, in service but not being called upon to serve. So long as I can go deep down into that serene comfortable space, my head nestled against his chest, his fingers twined through my hair and resting on the back of my neck.

We came back downstairs because the rest of the family wanted to watch Heroes, and my fortune cookie said, "Inspiration within is waiting for you. It's time to go deep."


Daisy Deadhead said...

Okay, why are you crying? What does this bring out of you? You knew he would marry, is that the cause of the tears, or the uncertainty of his pledge/promise to another and how that will change his pledge/promise to you?

I mentioned in my polygamy post how I was dazzled by the Kerista people; I seriously considered joining. But this would have been the most difficult thing for me, too. They had their own word for it, called "compersion"--the opposite of jealousy. Compersion is happiness when your beloved is with another person.

I always said to myself, I probably could manage everything but the compersion!

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Oh, was it Kerista that was responsible for that abomination of an unword? Now I know who to blame for the uglification of discussion! (I'm one of the folks whose immediate response to "I'm feeling compersion" is something like, "Oh, dear, I'm so sorry; are you on antibiotics?")

A great deal of the emotional stuff is that his and my long-term commitment stuff has been sidelined for a while, and that hurts. And so the internal conflict between not being able to even talk about the long-term and the event preparation and celebration just ... sigh. On top of the fact that our relationship was moderately neglected because there just wasn't time, so I was stressed and wrung out by that.

I feel guilty at being shaky, because it wasn't about me; he points out that I'm probably shaky because it underscored a lot of 'not about me' issues. And it would have been easier for me if there hadn't needed to be some level of veiling over the relationships because not all the relatives are aware of the family and not all of the ones who are aware are polite about it.

Anonymous said...


That's all I've got, really. Your post really made me feel for you, but I'm unfortunately without words that might help. So all I can offer is the cyber hug.

Daisy Deadhead said...

Oh, was it Kerista that was responsible for that abomination of an unword?

Yes, they DID invent that clumsy word, as well as "polyfidelity"--which I think is a GREAT word.

I admire you so much that you can deal with these new relationship-forms (for lack of a better term!)...I would probably have acted out, and woulda made a mess of things at the wedding in some creatively-disastrous fashion, all the while looking hapless... but inside, guts churning and roiling!

This sort of thing, as I said, is why I just can't manage polyfidelity.

Your spiritual maturity is HONORABLE! :)

Dw3t-Hthr said...

Honestly, I was much more concerned about one of the mothers doing the creatively disastrous thing. I had a fair amount of focus on managing that, because I hate drama.

I thus endeavour to postpone any drama I'm going to have until properly decorous time. :P Making a scene then would have been disrespectful to him as a friend and as a partner, as well as to his wife, who is a friend of mine.

Properly decorous time countdown, about 24 hours ....