The Validation From An Outside Source
When I was in grade six my older sister got held back, which meant she was now in my grade. I was the smart one, so mostly I ended up in different classes. The school also did their best to keep us out of the same class, I suppose sibling rivalry is a thing. My sister was a cool kid, who didn't care about school, and was dating all the boys, and had piercings. I was the complete opposite. So it was only natural that when she joined my grade any friends that I had immediately became friends with her and I stopped existing. And when I say they became friends with her what I mean is that one of them, who I considered a best friend, was a bridesmaid at her wedding and that was super awkward.
I remember being self aware enough that I knew I was a doormat. One of my friends, who I had sleepovers with many times before this sister transition, called our house. I remember the disappointment in her voice when I told her my sister was busy. She followed it up with a sad 'oh well then I guess, did you want to hang out?' It hurt. It made me feel like I couldn't be friends with my sisters friends. Having friends became extremely difficult for me and I started pretending to bite people (I'm not going to get into it, but my hotmail became hollybitesyou27), so then I wouldn't have to try and make friends who would just leave.
Flash forward to now. I have so many wonderful friends who love me, but I think the very special relationships that I never imagined could happen were being friends with my partners partner. It's very important for me to have this relationship, and I don't know if I could be in a partnership where I was hidden. I've spent too long being that person. My ex, (who if you want to know more about come see my show...) would put his hand on my thigh under the table while we were around our friends and lean over to whisper 'I'm being discrete', as if it was some fun game we were playing, because 'no one could know'. I started to convince myself I wanted that. Because it was the reality, so I had to accept it. I got a thrill out of talking about 'this guy I'm dating' around my friends without ever mentioning anything about him. I was delusional. It was a rough time...
When I was first introduced to the idea of meeting my partner's girlfriend I immediately put up a wall of 'well if that's the case, then this is serious, am I ready for serious' and pulled back. I had a few good days of terrible anxiety until I spoke with him about it and he was wonderful and listened and I thought 'well maybe not all people I date are terrible and want nothing to do with me and MAYBE they actually care about how I feel. WHAT?!'. See above... Rough... Eventually he brought his girlfriend to see my show, and well, I'm an attention whore, that's a huge fucking turn on for me, when people show interest in my art and actually support it... oops. Good job on his part. Then after the show we finally met and OH BOY it was magical. It felt so normal, and I think for the first time I was like 'oh I'm polyamorous FOR SURE', because I was accepted just by being in their life. It was that magnificent unspoken concept of 'someone I love cares about you and therefore I accept you'.
That was my first step into the whole concept of polyamory and I have to really be grateful for my partner and his girlfriend because it's allowed me the relationships with my other partner's partners and... are you confused yet? For me, I've always really appreciated the people I date meeting my best friend. A bit more complicated now that she lives in New York and though she was here for the summer, it wasn't really until the last couple of weeks of her being in Toronto that I started dating multiple people. My best friend is the most important person in my life. So in a way she's my platonic primary...? That's not true, but I wanted to make it clear how important she is to me.
I like the relationship I've developed with my partner's partners outside of our personal relationship, because it allows me to feel like I could still have a really cool person in my life with or without the partnership. As stated above, I'm an attention whore, but also I crave friends. I have discovered how important people are to me and have also been able to really be a good judge of character without jumping to an extreme. So to be able to garnish new friendships through the eyes of the people I love, it's as though that validation of having a good person in my life is solidified.
I've had my partner's girlfriend talk to me on the phone when I'm dealing with an anxious situation that has nothing to do with my partner. I've had my partner's partner send me a message engaging in the things I want to do with my life. And, although I have friends who I know are there for the same reasons, it's nice not to feel like I'm being forced into their lives as a 'well here's this other girl I'm dating, you will probably not like her 'cause she kind of sucks, but be nice'. It's nice to know I don't suck completely. I can't imagine my relationships in any other way and I'm happy that I can create such a lovely, supportive, circle of people that doesn't have any semblance of anger or dislike towards me just being around.
Or maybe there is and everyone is PRETENDING. I DON'T KNOW. I'M NOT WELL. I'm working on it.