I realized with a physical jerk that I can write this, can say this now. I've used circumspect, veiled references for so long that being able to speak plainly and openly feels strange, like I'm getting away with something naughty and terrible.
I think about the potential of moving rather frequently. During this weekend's PHE (house party, essentially) it hit me that if the move goes through, as we hope it will, there won't be many more like the one we threw this weekend. It will die, be moved to someone else's house, or become a much smaller gathering wherever we end up. Or, frighteningly enough, a few years post-move it could be conceivably resurrected in a new West Coast form.
I don't know. That's the core of many of my thoughts these days. I. just. don't. know.
Those of you with privs to read this post know full well of the nest of poly friends in Atlanta; many of you reading now are either part of that group or are friends with some of them. As I examine parts of my life and consider what I would be leaving behind, this particular part scares me the most: not because I don't believe I can't build a similar circle in another (more tolerant) city, but because I recognize that I've had it pretty easy so far.
There's a definite poly community in Atlanta, one which Jeff and I have been welcome in without ever exactly belonging there. I can look at my friends' shared calendars online and see the patterns of their lives and meetings. They have dates on Thursdays. They have gatherings. They have lives that intertwine in ways that we just couldn't fully join in on because we lived four hours away, but we were always penciled in and welcomed whenever we were able to show.
The unsettling thing for me is realizing how easy this group made it for me. The people I liked tended to date the kind of people I liked to date. One introduction led to another, and those introductions led to friendships and sometimes other partners. In comparison, wherever we moved, I would have to start over one person at a time without the security and ease that comes with having such a large friend base of people similar to myself. Go out. Have dinner. Screw up. Worry about dressing up when meeting someone new. Try to minimize toad-smooching. Maybe even fall in love a little.
Or, as I said rather flippantly to Jake, "Maybe I should move to Seattle and get a girlfriend." (He rolled his eyes.)
I will wrap up my nervousness about this part of a potential move and stuff it in the back of my mind, past the nervousness about needing to drive the cats cross-country or selling the house or getting lost in a strange time zone with no one local to call. There are so many other things to grow butterflies about that I think I can safely tuck this note of nervousness into the chords of emotion without too many of my friends who aren't Privy To Everything™ noticing the unexpected sound in the background, behind the altos goosing each other in the choir.
What do I really want? I'm not sure. I have harbored a great deal of envy toward the cozy nest my friends in Atlanta have, but I'm not entirely certain I want to swim in a similarly constant social swirl. I wanted more than what I've had here in Huntsville, but maybe a bit less than the constant press of people in Atlanta. Some happy medium. I wonder where that lies?
I know this much: I would change nearly everything in my life if it meant I could live in a place that I felt a sense of belonging, where my lack of religion and liberal-leaning political beliefs wouldn't get me ostracized if I acknowledged them openly. I think I could live with the pain of a severely pruned social life if it meant I could grow honestly afterward.
Ironic that I would use a sunlight metaphor when considering moving to a place which has a reputation for little sun.
I write this hoping that a few years from now I'll revisit this entry with a smile on my face and a knowing, nodding grin to the person I was when I wrote it, a grin because by that time I'd have met people whom, once met, I couldn't bear the thought of potentially not having known.
Life is like that. We don't know where we're going, but a few years after the fact, we can't imagine it having turned out any other way than how it did.