Love as Thou Wilt

March 1st, 2015

I should be doing homework, but it was putting me to sleep. I tried to take a nap, but the end of Kushiel’s Dart called to me. So I finished reading it. It was a glorious ending, and heartbreaking, and tumultuous. Despite the long list of nobility and hard to follow politicking, I really enjoyed this book. I’ve mentioned it in another post, talking about the main character and my identifying with her being. But I never expected that I’d want to read the next one. I am drawn to the difficulty, the impossible situation, to the puzzle and the challenge. I want to see if Melisande is caught, if Hyacinthe is freed. I want to read of her relationship with Joscelin, their impossible love. I want to be a voyeur of her assignations. Jacqueline Carey, you have done your job beautifully.

It is the same with David Gerrold, though not with so much glory. The puzzle of the Chtorr, the impossible situation of freeing Earth from the invasion, and McCarthy’s difficult nature in dealing with people, even his lover. I like her answer when he asks why she loves him – because it is easier than not loving him.

The words swirl around in my head as I try to explain how I feel about that. It is not that I stopped loving every guy I have broken up with or who has broken up with me. It would have been easier if I had. Some relationships went on longer than they should have simply because it was easier to keep loving them in the same way. But often, love is not enough. Fortunately, some of the relationships have taken on new forms, because it is simply too hard not to love them still.

I described my reason for being poly recently as “I am poly because I form deep emotional connections with multiple people at once, and denying that is denying who I am and how I love.” One of my favorite phrases from Kushiel’s Dart is “love as thou wilt.” It is rarely a choice to love, but it is always a choice how we act on that love. The heart does not listen to reason, but reason must guide our choices. Or at least, mine.

Often, in discussions of poly, it is reiterated that a poly person chooses each day, to be involved with each and every one of their partners. I choose every day to stay connected to him and show him, as best I can, how much he means to me. I choose every day to continue to grow a new relationship. I choose every day, to keep a place in my heart for Da, though not a partner, he is still very important to me. I choose every day, to remember those exes who are still a part of my life, and to cherish their friendships.

Meaningful relationships are not easy, they take a lot of hard work, on both sides. But they are worth it. The amount of love in my life, ever growing, is worth all the effort, the pain, the tears. Life is pain, Westley says, but it is joy, too, and love. And it is amazing.

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Kushiel’s Dart Meets Aldonza

January 18th, 2015

A lot of things going through my head lately, and this weekend was no exception. I’m about halfway through a book called Kushiel’s Dart by Jacqueline Carey. The main character, Phedre, is a masochist of exquisite talent. Raised first in the Night Court, where the brothels each had their own specialty and vied for power like any group of noble houses. Then, second, by a bard who trained her as a spy. I’m not one for political fantasy, I didn’t make it past the first Game of Thrones book, but I do like fantasy spies, bards, and rogues. And the BDSM flavor of the main character kept my interest.

The last hundred pages or so, that I’ve read thus far, is where the focus of this post lies. In the beginning of the book, she serves the clients she chooses, now she is forced to serve her captor. And, while in the Beauty trilogy (I’ve only read the first), this type of situation bothered me, it was a different situation and style of writing. Phedre is aroused by the humiliation of being his slave, and by being roughly used by him. The curse of Kushiel’s Dart, which made her such a special commodity in her previous life, now is her survival. The treatment which could have broken other women, she physically enjoys. Though, she feels betrayed by her body for her enjoyment of it. I feel that it serves to keep her alive and fighting.

I am in no such situation, but it is very interesting to me to identify with a character’s sexual identity so clearly. My best childhood friend told me I should read this book a very long time ago. Sometimes, I wonder if she really understands me, but reading this, I feel like maybe she understands far better than I realized. Or maybe she just thought it would speak to my interests. Either way, I must remember to thank her.

What does this have to do with Aldonza? The quote that comes to mind is: “Blows and abuse I can take and give back again, Tenderness I cannot bear” ~Aldonza, Man of La Mancha. It is not that I cannot bear tenderness, fortunately. I do, however, become far more shy, and awkward about the more tender and traditionally intimate side of my desires. Honestly, I’m far more okay with asking someone to beat me, because that seems a much easier yes or no question. Asking someone for more intimacy, has so much more attached to it. Phedre thinks nothing of going to a client for brutal scenes, but her love for her patron is far harder for her to deal with She is trained well as a spy, but when the woman who can arouse her with a look puts a collar around her neck, she can concentrate on no other person the rest of the night.

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