Monday, February 20, 2012

Poly Living Conference Part Five: Of Course I Cried in the Snuggle Party

It’s kind of funny that this day happened more than a week ago and I’ve still got so many paragraphs to go…

My pal Shappy wrote a blurb for my book a couple of weeks ago and said this:  “Jane has a polymorphous heart and we all love her for it even when she runs to the bathroom for a good cry during a birthday party for someone's kitty cat!" That seems apt for this next part of the story.

I wasn’t the only one taking a break during kitty-cat time. I ran into M in the restroom and on the way out, I said half-jokingly “You know you can order me around a little if you want.” We got to talking about D/s relationships and what can go wrong if folks don’t know what they’re doing—as we opened the door to go back in she gave me a shush and I don’t know why, but that made me feel so bad, like I was too bad to be part of the snuggle party. I wanted to talk to her some more but I worried about getting fixated—I didn’t want to ruin the party for her. It’s funny how much the situation amplified my emotions and fears. In the long run I think that’ll end up to have been therapeutic.

People had stopped being kitties and had paired up, quadrangled, etc. Some were in gentle hug or massage situations and some were a bit more grindy. There was some cheerful making out and just a few spankings here and there—that made me happy even if it wasn’t what I wanted at the moment.

But my back pain had come backs and it started to hurt in my belly and diaphragm area as well. When the guy who’d liked my massage skills came back for more, I said sure, if we could trade off. As I rubbed his shoulders I just hurt more and more. I lay down on my front so he could rub my back but my middle just hurt so much that I had to sit up and get some space. A few other people sat in the chairs on the side of the cuddle area, all with sort of bewildered expressions. All women, all looking unhappy—what were we doing here?

V. the nice Aspergian gentleman from lunch, came over and asked if I was “into massage.” (Just a side note: I am decidedly not into being asked if I am “into” things. Also I don’t care for the word “lifestyle.”) I told him I was having some space but I didn’t mind talking. He was really sad because his relationship of five and a half years had just broken up, partly because of his Asperger’s symptoms. (I’d say he was about 60 and had just been diagnosed.) He said he didn’t understand why you just get cut off from somebody sometimes, and I sure don’t understand that either. I told him that I felt foolish, because his relationship had been so long and here I was feeling all sad over someone I’d known for only two months, and half of that just online. I said that I missed the friendship most and he said “Oh, did you know each other for years?” and I said “No, just the two months” and that made me feel like a crazy person.

I wanted to help V with his sadness but I was feeling really bad so I went over to ask Kamala if she had a minute to help me. I felt terrible for interrupting her fun, but she was one of three “cuddle caddies” designated to help the rest of us…carry our stuff, I guess.

She told me to take some nice sighing breaths and that helped a lot. Then she asked if I had a grief, if I’d recently had a breakup. I told her about the Bill thing and about how he was a lot of new things and first-in-a-long-time things but I didn’t really understand what the big deal was. She said “So he embodied what your body was deprived of for so long.” That made me feel understood and understanding about the grief—I started to cry a little and my belly started to feel a little better but I was very very worried about ruining everybody’s good time.

She told me that grief causes pain like that when you fight it and try to dismiss it. She told me that bonobo chimps have a town crier, a chimp who cries all of the tears so that the rest of the group doesn’t have to. She thanked me for crying so that she could have this great time. That made me laugh a whole lot, which faded the pain even more.

“No such thing as too emotional” guy came over and offered me a hug. He was humming something while he hugged me, I think it was some “healing energy” that I hadn’t consented to, but I decided to let it slide. I stayed and chatted for a few minutes, but was very excited when I found out it was 10:30, the time Amy was planning to pick me up. I interrupted a cuddle or two to say some goodbyes, put my coat on over my pajamas, and went out to the lobby to wait.

Next: What have we learned from this?

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