More Than Just a Pretty Face – #SoCS (NSFM)

The prompt for Stream of Consciousness Saturday is “body parts.” Pick a body part and talk about it. Make sure to leave a comment below or put a disclaimer at the top of your post if it’s NSFW! There are people who participate in SoCS and love to support others, but not everyone will want to read about private parts. Have fun!

Well.

Good lord, this could go in a lot of different directions.

Whichever way I go, I may need to give it a NSFW warning, or at least a NSFM (Not Safe for Mothers) warning.

Sorry, mom.

Only, I’m not sorry. I’m happy. I’m as happy as I’ve ever been. And there really shouldn’t be any apologizing for that, should there?

I’ve used my blog space (and Facebook via links to my blog) to shed light on all manner of my various darknesses over the years, especially the last two.

I wrote about my suicide attempt.

You’ve watched me deconstruct and reconstruct my Christian faith belief and practices (indeed, you are still watching)

I came out as gay.

I told you about my drunk driving arrest and subsequent sentencing.

I talked about the shame of being fired from a job.

Yeah – wow – you’ve seen a lot.

And I think that’s a good thing (even if it’s tough on moms).

So here goes some more.

When I saw the prompt for this week’s stream of consciousness, I literally laughed out loud.

Body parts. Are you serious here?

You see, I’ve been “dating” a guy on line for about four months (sounds like sixth grade “going steady, right?). We met in a Facebook group I created and administer called “Men Coming Out Later In Life”. I greeted him like I would any new person joining the group. Not gonna lie – I thought he was cute. He was newly separated and working through a divorce from his wife and had also been through some major emotional upheaval from recently uncovered childhood trauma.

He was looking for community and friendship; I offered it.

And then we clicked.

Long story made very short, I fell in love with the guy. “Wait, what? How can you fall in love with someone online? Do you even know his last name? What if you don’t like the way he eats?” (bonus points for knowing the movie reference). I can’t explain it; I’ve tried, It’s inexplicable. We made plans to meet. On Thursday, he flew into Detroit Metropolitan Airport, where we met face to face for the first time (I took an Uber to the airport and then we took an Uber back home together – restricted license – drunk driving conviction, remember?)

Well, more than face to face. We’d seen each other’s faces for months, thanks to the wonder of FaceTime and Messenger Video. Nearly every day. He was part of my daily commute home (from the job I no longer have – fired, remember?) and often part of my bedtime routine. It was ridiculous. Insane. Inconceivable. We worked hard finding adjectives to express the improbability of it all.

But I’ve stopped questioning the probability of the improbable. I’ve grown tired of slamming on the brakes before I’ve even turned the key (more bonus points for movie/show/lyrics reference).

I walked forward. I AM walking forward. I don’t know what tomorrow looks like. I take each day as it comes; I make the best choices I can make with what is in front of me today, controlling what I can control and letting go of the rest. Then I go to bed knowing tomorrow will be whatever it should be.

I am no longer paralyzed by the shame of the past or the uncertainty of the future. I no longer worry about external approval.

It probably sounds irresponsible of me and more than a little self-centered. I hope you’ll trust me when I tell you I’m being extremely responsible and that some focused self-care has done more for my capacity for “others-care” than anything else I’ve ever done. And if you can’t trust me on that, I’ve honestly come to the point where it no longer cripples me to know of and feel your disapproval.

“But Ben, what about your wife, your children, your (fill in the blank)?”

I remain committed to my wife, children, and to my relationship with God (perhaps a different topic for a different day). Earlier today, after we all attended church, we had brunch with my kids and my mother-in-law. Even as I type this, he and my wife are in the living room talking and laughing. Mind-blowing? It can be.

It doesn’t have to be.

Within a few months of coming out as gay in June of 2020 (man, has this pandemic been crazy or what?), I decided I needed to explore a relationship with a man. When I told my wife, I knew it might mean the end of our marriage. Instead, she suggested maybe I should find a boyfriend (!!!). It turns out I’ve underestimated her on far too many things for far too long. We began reading up on “polyamory” (we’re dorks – we read up on everything. I figured we might as well avoid any known pitfalls if we could and make sure we were doing it “right”). Spoiler alert, there is no “right” way of doing it other than being completely honest and consensual with everyone involved.

If you’re reading this, you are likely involved, hence my honesty (if you aren’t involved enjoy your voyeurism and stay tuned for the continued adventures of Ben).

So far, so good.

And yeah, he’s more than just a pretty face.


#SoCS comes from the website of Linda G. Hill.

Here are the rules:

1. Your post must be stream of consciousness writing, meaning no editing (typos can be fixed), and minimal planning on what you’re going to write.

2. Your post can be as long or as short as you want it to be. One sentence – one thousand words. Fact, fiction, poetry – it doesn’t matter. Just let the words carry you along until you’re ready to stop.

4 Comments

  1. :::applauding emoji followed by a hug emoji::: So many thoughts but I don’t want to write a novel in your comments. I only follow you in this blog. (How did I find you? SoCS?) In some ways we are wildly different. I’m a straight cis f, for one. Buuuut, I also find a kindred spirit in a lot of what you write. Hey, you said you’re INTJ so this INTP gets a lot of it. 🙂 There’s more than that, though, and now there is one more. I know all about online relationships, platonic and otherwise. Sometimes it resulted in face to face, and resulted in a lasting relationship (platonic and otherwise). A few times it didn’t work. Once it was scary and basically was the straw that pushed me down ten-plus years of hell. Right now I’m in a situation where it is very complicated, it will always be virtual (at least “always” as far as either can project forward), and while we voice we have never seen each other, not even a photo. Yup. Weird, huh? Well that’s by choice (mainly mine) for a lot of reasons. So for those doubting folks who scoff at “online” romances… well then, don’t have them. They are very real to a lot of people, so go take your judgements elsewhere.

    My current relationship is weird and frustrating because of its “Skype only” thing. It is also profound, amazing, deep and fulfilling like none other I’ve had. If that isn’t “real” then… what is?

    You are so brave, you know that, right? Talking about all of this stuff with the openness and candor that you’ve been doing? One reason I’m in an online-only relationship is because it falls into the “not the normal kind of relationship.” It is who I am, my truth, and I’d love to talk about it, but I will not. (Well, I just did, but I won’t in detail.) The world is still too damn judgey, and I don’t want to deal with it.

    Your wife sounds amazing. Poly is tough. Transparency, openness, honesty, and non-stop communication is key, but if you’re reading all of the books, you know that. 🙂 Keep typing. Even though our paths are different, they keep crossing (I also have been suicidal and a few other things), and I get a lot out of your writings.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Not gonna lie – even though I “write for myself”, it is so gratifying to know when I connect with someone or when something I write resonates with someone else (even if in different ways). Thank you!

      Liked by 1 person

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