The New Rules

“A man must have a code.”
– “Bunk” Moreland

Writing these entries has always been an interesting experience. For those who have never used WordPress, you click “New Post” and are greeted with a nearly blank screen, only the margins filled in with your admin navigation. In the space between the sudden stop and now, this software has been updated several times and with those updates, a new, more streamlined editor, one with much more white space. So I click “New Post” and I’m presented with a new canvas, upon which I’ll begin to defile with these1largely inadequate words.

There’s a rhythm to my writing. I start slow, fumbling, grasping for what I want to say. I never truly have a plan. My writing style is a mix between Heath Ledger’s Joker2“Do I look like a guy with a plan?” and Lester Freeman following the money.3Baby, you don’t know where the fuck it’s gunna take you. It suits me, suits the way I think the way I process information and thought. I rarely organize or outline, I just try to open myself up, let the spirit move me where it will and trust in the muses. Since such a style lends itself towards rambling topic changes and my own penchant towards multiple asides4for reals, I have to impose structure somehow. What I’ve done when writing for this site and Rose City Transplants is held myself to a few rules;

  • Be mindful of my audience. My mother reads this blog.
  • Ask before name-dropping. Emma Poutine is not the real name of my Canadian bestie from Singapore.
  • Chill on the TMI. Those who know me day-to-day know what a challenge this is.
  • Remember the first rule.

(Of course these don’t apply to Jest’s story. Rules and Jest never see eye to eye.)

Missing from this list of rules — though it was certainly the most important on Rose City Transplants — is to play it close to the vest when it came to discussing my marriage and my love life. This was an early — and unspoken — condition knowing my then partner and her infamous reticence to share any information. And it was an easy rule to follow. I don’t like airing dirty laundry one bit, especially when it concerns folks that are near to my heart.

That rule, however, no longer applies.

Oh, don’t fret. I just wrote two sentences ago that I don’t like to air dirty laundry. If you’re looking for salacious details concerning the last twelve years of my love life, well, sorry to disappoint. What I mean to say is that any restriction on discussions of love5that word will work for now, see the first rule is no longer bound by third-party contract, so to speak. This freedom applies in many aspects of my personal writing, and its on this topic that we stake this week’s entry, because it touches into a cornerstone of my priorities right now, definition.

Or, re-definition if you will. I had a conversation the other night6hi Susan, you internet heart-breaker! in which this order du jour came into clear view. I am me minus something that’s been a part of me for twelve years — a relationship. My marriage was not only the longest relationship I’ve had, but the only romantic relationship I’ve had that’s lasted over a year.

In fact, full disclosure, if we’re counting uninterrupted stretches, the previous limit would be more around six months. I was actually planning7lol on mentioning this as an aside, but this fact too is significant. I’ve not been one for long romantic relationships. This was back when I was into my twenties though, when I was young, I didn’t have a full grasp on my sexuality nor myself for that matter. Now that I’m in my forties, and once-again single, this too may need to be reevaluated.

Add it to the list.

Not that I’m in any rush. Without going into detail8 the first rule of AFDW is… , I’m rather enjoying the freedom from the traditional relationship structure. I’ve been pushing my boundaries a bit in that regard, looking at new ways to explore how I relate to people and what I want from those relationships. One of those — oh cover your eyes, mom — has been questioning the nature of monogamy.

Cue the audience groan. Call in the clowns. Close the curtains.

Maybe it’s my own hesitation and eye-rolling here. When I was in school and figuring it all out, in the heady days of 1997, it was quite fashionable to people to say that they were both bisexual and polyamorous. And I am, trust me here, not shitting on anyone who is9because if you haven’t figured it out…. But there was, back then, a thing. Listen, I’m not explaining it well. I doubt that I will. Let’s just say at the same time I was figuring out what me being bi really meant, there were definitely folks out there fucking anything and anyone and then going back to their partners and saying, “Hey baby, it’s cool, I’m bi and poly” like that shit was some sort of “Get Out of Monogamy Free” card. At the time, it sank in, and since figuring out sexuality was hard enough, I rolled my eyes, promised cross-my-heart-hope-to-die that I would never be so shitty to cheat on someone and pass it off as a relationship choice that my partner had no say in.

And, goddamn, I’ve been good. I said my bit when the inevitable comments came. I stood the line for monogamously partnered bi folk everywhere.10As if we’re all going to dry up and evaporate just because we didn’t get our daily variety of genitals.

But as something of a free agent, and unwilling and unwanting to commit to another capital-R Relationship, the thought has occurred to me. Why not explore a little and push those boundaries I had previously set for myself for no good reason than11or more accurately despite fashion? And, fret not, those faint of heart, for those who think I’m about to break all the rules. Nothing has been decided yet. We’re still in re-definition mode of the single and standalone Josh. Call it Josh a la carte.

Questioning the rules, though? Always a worthy goal. Always something I’ll be doing until the day I die. Never stop pushing the limits.

Never stop exploring.

But, also, never forget that my mom reads this.

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