It’s a quiet afternoon in the tropical northern city of Cairns, Australia. After seven days of an extremely intense conflict facilitation conference and a few days of touristing, my partner and I have ensconced ourselves in a free wireless cafe to relax and catch up with our lives.
I wanted to tell you two quick stories about people I met. (I don’t have these women’s permission to write these stories; if you read this and think it’s about you and want it taken down, or changed, let me know, and I’ll respect your concerns.)
I met an American woman who has been a rock star’s girlfriend, a beauty queen who devoted a piece of her life to the nearly full-time pursuit of conventional beauty. What made her bittersweet story somewhat different from others that I’ve heard is that she also spent a portion of that time in secret silent love with a supersize man. When I asked her why she fell in love with him, she said, “He was so kind,” and went on to make it clear that this was not an ethereal secret love but also a very lusty and sexual one.
I met a woman who lives in a Lesbian collective in Japan, with her Japanese female lover, and her son. Her son’s father is her other partner, a Swiss-German man living in Germany. She and her female partner are not co-parenting the boy; instead, the other woman is what Laurie would have called a “designated adult” in the boy’s life–someone who is close to a parent and involved with the child, but not in a parental role. She struggles against the labels: not a Lesbian, not heterosexual, and not bisexual, not two women raising a boy, not this, not that. (An open polyamorous life can be troublesome anywhere; two partners 10,000 miles apart is painful any time. Let’s just say that being in Japan, and probably Germany as well, doesn’t make it any easier.)
I’m in love with people’s stories; I thought some of you might share some of my strong feelings from these two particular ones. And it’s always important to say that everyone is more complicated, richer, and deeper than any story about them; if you met these women, you’d see a lot more than I can show.