Starting Again

Welcome to my (new) blog.

This is the umpteenth time I have attempted starting a genuine blog with my experiences and topics I want to “put out there.” Hopefully this time I stick with it, or at least post somewhat regular or important topics.

Since this is my first post, I suppose I should state the intention of this blog: Specifically, this is intended as a way to publicly journal my experiences with love, sex, kink, and social norms; particularly in relation to the BDSM Community at large, people’s opinions and interactions with me, and uncommon or “taboo” views. In some ways this may end up being therapeutic; in others it’s just a way of chronicling my own “truth” and life.

It’s entirely likely that this blog can be triggering or offensive for those who have abuse in their history, or for those who feel what I talk about is wrong. If that’s the case, please just move along. I do not need nor want the criticism, as I am just trying to find ways to live my life as best I can in this crazy world.

Anniversaries of You

I miss the years that were erased
I miss the way the sunshine would light up your face
I miss all the little things
I never thought that they’d mean everything to me
Yeah, I miss you
And I wish you were here

“From Where You Are” by Lifehouse

Today (technically yesterday, since it’s past midnight and I’m up late, again, thinking of her…) was the 4 year anniversary of when Summer and I started dating officially. Earlier in the week was the anniversary of our first kiss, our first date, and first time I fell asleep with her in my arms.

I miss so many things about her. How she loved watermelon and grapes, the love in her beautiful eyes, the way she’d walk around with headphones on almost skipping happily to whatever she was listening to, learning to play guitar with her, holding hands, her gentle soul… I could go on and on talking about how amazing of a person she was, how much reminds me of her, and what I miss… but I do that countless times every day anyway. My mind essentially tortures me with thoughts of having lost her, reminders of her and everything we had, and longing for her.

I also wake up thinking about and missing her, and it takes almost everything I have to get out of bed every day and face the world without her. I struggle every night to fall asleep because of thoughts of her – I even hold one of my pillows and pretend it’s her, hoping and praying to any god(s) who will listen to bring her back to me.

But days like today… special days… days of anniversary, are the worst. Many of them just happen to also be holidays. This year, as I head into (or I guess continue through) the holiday season, I’m feeling the burden of what we had even more than usual because I’m living alone, I have at most two friends I get to see infrequently, and very few family to spend time with. Family… whatever the hell that means.

Had we stayed together, we would have had so many good times. Of that I’m sure… It hurts so much knowing that we’ve been forced apart and that she’s likely experienced much of life without me by her side. Supporting her, loving her, protecting and guiding her… We had literally planned for years in advance, talking about how she would move in with me when she was able, getting married, having and raising kids, and just sharing our lives with one another. But now… well, all of that’s gone, and I can’t face that reality most days.

It hurts too much.

I don’t know what the hell the point of writing any of this is. I doubt she will ever read it, and if she did, she would probably be so sad to read how I’m basically broken now without her… She made me promise that I wouldn’t do something bad (like hurting myself or suicide) if something happened to us, and I know that came from her love for me… but many days I wish I hadn’t made that promise, or that I was less of a man and could break it.

But for now, until I see her again, I’ll continue on. Despite the pain. Despite slowly losing hope. Despite the personal hell…

Because she’s worth it.

Featured image source

Summer Love, part 6

This series is a detailed account of my relationship with the greatest love of my life so far, my niece. This is an honest, factual, first-hand recounting of events from my perspective, though names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

I had done it. I had told Summer how I felt, and there was no going back. Emotions overwhelmed me as I waited to hear from her. Fear. Guilt. Shame. Paranoia. Panic and worry that I had upset her or ruined the connection that we had. Terror at the thought that I had hurt her somehow with my confession.

It was only a couple hours later than usual, but I finally heard from her. I can’t recall if I emailed her first or if it was the other way around, but when we did talk it seemed as if it was just another day, although conversation seemed to be a bit forced at first. I wondered if she had got my email from the night before, or if it was somehow lost or that I had dreamed that I sent it. The night before, I had told her that I would tell her in person when they came to visit, but I really wanted her to know before that in case she decided to hate me or change her mind about coming out to see me.

Finally we talked about it. I said I was sorry if it made her uncomfortable and I understood if she didn’t want to talk anymore. She said it was kind of weird, but she also kind of already knew (that it was her I meant when I said I liked someone I couldn’t tell). I told her that I just thought she should know how I felt, and we pretty much dropped the conversation after that point and slowly went back to our usual fun, somewhat flirty conversation. By this point I had pretty much stopped caring about what I was supposed to do for work, and responded to her almost right away whenever we sent messages back and forth. We talked about everything – How I was a bit anxious for the events I was planning to go to over the weekend, her schoolwork, my job, and so on. Today was no different, though now we both knew I liked her.

That evening after work I went to a munch for one of the local-ish BDSM groups. It was pretty fun. I met some interesting new people and really felt like I was starting to belong in the community. A couple hours into the munch, I started getting emails from Summer, who I was already thinking about the whole time despite being out and social. At first I said I would message her when I left, but then her and I slowly kept messaging back and forth over the next hour or two. When I finally left, I was able to focus my attention on her and I loved it. The new people I had just met no longer really mattered. They were a fun short-term distraction, but now I was talking to the person I really wanted to. We talked for a while through the night, and I’m sure the topics of relationships and BDSM and kink in general came up, but I can’t remember any of the specifics now that it’s years later.

I talked to her through the next day some, but her and her family were going somewhere, so I told her I would probably talk to her the Sunday or whenever I could. I had two events Saturday and I wasn’t sure I would be very responsive. I went to another munch in the afternoon, which was fun but not as good as the previous night’s, and I was distracted and preoccupied with checking my phone. I know I had been messaging someone but I can’t recall who it was. All I remember is wishing I could talk to Summer more and thoughts of her pretty much drowning out everyone at the munch. After I was home again, I briefly exchanged some messages with Summer, but when I left I told her I would talk to her Sunday sometime because I didn’t know what to expect from the play party, and her and her family were out and about again.

That evening, while at the party, she started emailing me again because she was “bored.” I had a feeling there was more to it than that. Her and I talked more than I did with most of the people at the play party. I honestly wasn’t interested in playing with anyone there because I need to get to know people before I become intimate with them. I was there to socialize, but I did help “protect” one lady there from some of the guys who kept attempting to hit on her, but I had no plans to actually play with anyone that evening.

After a while of not really doing much other than talking to Summer, I told her I was leaving so I could talk to her easier. My phone wasn’t getting very good service, and I was much more interested in the (then) 13 year old I had fallen in love with than I was all of the sex and debauchery that was happening around me. She said something along the lines of “Oh you don’t have to do that, I can talk to you later” and I flat out told her the truth: that I wasn’t really having fun there, and that I wanted to talk to her more.

After getting home, I probably talked to her back and forth through emails for a good 3 or 4 hours, partially about what happened at the play party, partially about our sexual and relationship interests, and partially about “normal” stuff. I couldn’t help it. I was hooked. I loved her. I loved talking to her, spending time with her, helping her with schoolwork, teaching her about life, being there for her when she needed someone to protect her or a shoulder to cry on… I was doomed. I knew it, and I didn’t care. It didn’t matter if she was underage, my (step) niece, or anything else. I loved her.

At some point over the previous week, we had already planned another visit, although her parents would not allow her to come out by herself. They were paranoid about letting her visit any “single” guy by herself, regardless of who it was, yet they were fine with her being alone with me while I was still with Melanie. Also, they were being “hippo-critical” (a silly thing I came up with while they both visited last time) in that they would let Little Scott visit alone but not Summer. (Allie blamed it on Scott, but I got the distinct impression that was a lie. She was known to do that.) Regardless, we made the plans for them both to come visit.

After my confession and my weekend of kink, Summer was even more pumped to see her “second favorite” uncle… though now the line that many people would never consider crossing began to blur and I don’t think either of us had thought of each other in an uncle/niece way for quite some time. We talked quite a bit more about what we wanted in relationships, and got pretty deep into sexual talk (though I tried my best not to be TOO overly sexual when talking with her).

We talked a lot about our wants and needs, and about our feelings. A few days after I did, she confessed to me that she had felt similar feelings way back when she came to visit Melanie and I by herself. Particularly when her and I had our bonding day together, but at the time she thought that it was wrong because of what she had been taught and how people talked about “incest” even though we weren’t blood related. My heart LEPT for joy when I read those words! I was so unbelievably happy knowing that I WASN’T crazy! Well… at least not about that! I knew we had a special connection there, and she had confirmed my suspicions!

At some point (I can’t recall if it was before or after my confession) she also confided in me something that made me immensely furious – that she had been molested when she was younger by her biological grandmother’s boyfriend. I won’t go into detail about it, but she thought it may have played a part in making her a very sexual person. I told her that I was very sexual when I was younger, though I don’t believe I had ever been abused sexually, and that it’s okay to be that way, that everyone is different and develops at different times. I still have mixed feelings about her telling me. Part of me feels and felt awful and like I was a monster just like her abuser (even though she later said it was completely different because she knew what she was doing and what she wanted). Part of me feels like I should have reported it, but by the time I found out (and HOW I found out) it was too late, I was in far too deep, and she begged me not to say anything because she knew her father would kill the man who did it to her. (Hell, I wanted to too, but I was more concerned for her well-being than getting revenge.) Part of me was also happy that she trusted me enough with that information. She had only told one other person before, and it was someone she had known for years and trusted a lot.

Summer said she felt like I was different, that she could trust me and felt safe with me. She told me how she was afraid of how other guys often looked at her because her body had developed so early, but she didn’t feel like I looked at her like that. We also talked about what it would mean if we did get together – how we couldn’t tell anyone because it was illegal, and how her crazy parents would literally kill me because they had guns and Scott was ex-military. We would have to keep it secret until she was old enough that it wouldn’t matter – whether that was 16 or 18, we weren’t entirely sure. We knew we had something there, though what our feelings meant, and how and if it would work, we didn’t know.

Only a week after my confession, I got to see my love (and her brother) again. I would NEVER have guessed how it turned out though… (to be continued…)

Firsts and Fours

Four years ago was her first kiss… with me.
Four years ago I also fell for her, and felt as if it was the first time I ever truly felt loved.
Four months later, that all came to an end.
Four years after the first kiss, and I am still wishing and hoping for more firsts with her… Still love and want her.

I really love being a part of peoples’ first experiences, and I had so many firsts with my love, Summer… Her first kiss, her first boyfriend, her first consensual sexual experiences… We both wanted me to be her first time having intercourse as well, but that didn’t happen because we were torn apart. I wanted to be her first for everything, and to even be her first (and hopefully only) husband. I wanted to share my life with her…

Hopefully, in a few months, we can start again. Hopefully we can have more firsts together, and she’s waited for me just like I’ve waited for her. I genuinely have panic attacks thinking that she’s moved on or that she’s had firsts with others. Hopefully she still wants and loves me.

If not… Honestly… there may be another first for me: My first suicide attempt.

Because, despite everything, I still do not want to continue without her. I don’t want any more firsts. I don’t even want four minutes more without her, let alone four months or years. How do I continue, or even should I? I just don’t know…

Summer Love, part 5

This series is a detailed account of my relationship with the greatest love of my life so far, my niece. This is an honest, factual, first-hand recounting of events from my perspective, though names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

After moving out of my place with Melanie into my own place, I felt so much relief and… well, I guess you could say freedom… from all of the deep, dark issues I had been dealing with. I could come and go as I please without feeling guilty or having to explain or ask permission. I could talk to whomever I wanted to. I could relax and not worry about someone else in my space that I had to interact with. I finally felt like I had made the right decision for me, for once in a very, very long time.

Shortly after moving, I started talking to a girl that Brandon had been flirting with and basically emotionally cheating on his girlfriend with for a while. He gave me Stacy’s number as sort of a joke, and to sort of prove she wouldn’t do something he had “tasked” her with in a BDSM sense. She was a teacher with a bit of a wild streak and a deep interest in BDSM. We started talking and flirting a bit, but I wasn’t sure I was even interested in her, or if it was more that I was getting attention that I hadn’t received in years from my wife. These chats ventured a little into flirty talk, but for the most part stayed platonic because I wanted to get to know her before I even thought about getting into anything kinky with her.

I had also started attending more BDSM and Polyamory group events. I was enjoying my time being single for the first time since Melanie and I had an open relationship 4-5 years prior (which ended up not being open really, but that’s for another post).

I was also messaging Summer via email basically through the entire day and night, because we had become so close. As I mentioned in my last post in the series, we talked about more relationship and sexual topics, deeper issues that we had with regard to mental health, abuse that she had gone through in her past (and was still going through with the parents she lived with), and so many other things. We grew such a deep bond, and like I started off with in part 1 of this series, I realized I loved her deeply, as more than a friend, differently than a family member. I loved her deeply in a romantic sense.

And I wept.

I came to this realization a day or two before Halloween. I knew I shouldn’t pursue it. I knew if I did and got caught, my life would be over (either literally or figuratively). I knew I was bound for heartbreak because if I didn’t start cutting ties with her, I would never be able to.

That night as we talked, I wasn’t very responsive to her at first, and she noticed something was wrong. I brushed it off and gave her some excuse – probably something to do with having a rough day, but I don’t recall what my excuse was. I changed topics and mentioned I was nervous about going to a couple of events that weekend. Being the inquisitive person she is and always interested in what was going on in my life, she wanted to know what events they were. I hesitated but decided not to lie to her since I had always been honest with her about things: A BDSM munch and a play party. She jokingly teased about me being the “awkward uncle,” but was immediately interested, and wanted to know more. I gave her a vague idea of what people did at those sorts of parties, and it only fueled the fire…

As we talked, she kept asking me what was wrong. She wore me down with her persistence, and I felt guilty from not being completely transparent with her. I told her that, in a way, I understood how she felt that her parents wouldn’t let her date, because there was someone I had feelings for and could never tell them because it wasn’t socially acceptable. Of course, she wanted to know who, and again I tried putting defenses up and not telling her. After she went to bed (she had school the next morning), I was up for hours agonizing over whether or not I could or should tell her.

So I did.

I sent her one last email before I forced myself to sleep that simply said something along the line of “It’s you.” The rest of the night I tossed and turned; I woke up and checked my phone multiple times through the few hours I actually slept. The next morning, I was exhausted on my way to work, and I had not heard anything from her at all by 10am or so when she would normally message me when she got on the computer at 8ish to do schoolwork. I would also usually tell her “Good morning Sunshine!” as that was my own personal nickname for her at the time (and from when we first started texting way back over a year prior to this point). She was my ray of light. My hope. My Sunshine. She brightened my day or night whenever I would talk to her. And here I believed I had demolished everything we had built up together with my confession that she was who I had feelings for. My self hatred grew so much through the hours I waited for her to message me.

I was not ready for what would come next… (To be continued…)

EDIT (for anyone confused about this post’s changes): After looking at a calendar from when we were together, I realized that I was mis-remembering the sequence of events from the night I came home crying until I waited for her response in my email. I think I came home and cried my eyes out either that Wednesday or Thursday night, I know I told her Thursday night (Halloween Night) that it was her I liked, and was waiting for her response Friday morning, on Halloween itself. The play party events came later, and will be in the next part of the series.

The Littlest Triggers

The littlest things that take me there
I know it sounds lame but its so true
I know its not right, but it seems unfair
The things are reminding me of you

Littlest Things, Lily Allen

It used to be that the littlest things would remind me of her: a food or two, a song on the radio, the way someone might move, certain types of weather, and so on. Whenever it happened, I often had a little smirk or a large smile I had to contain to myself without looking like a big, dumb, grinning idiot. But it felt right, to have those little reminders, to have that happiness that had built up in me from finally finding a person who loved me for who I was.

Now that I’ve had that love ripped away from me and it’s years later, I find that those same exact little things are triggers for my depression, anxiety, and panic attacks. I won’t list the exact triggers (because doing that is triggering in and of itself), but I will say that my response is almost always a negative one now. It can range from a mild decrease in my happiness level that I’m experiencing, all the way up to and including a full-on panic attack, complete with crying and having suicidal thoughts.

In some cases, it’s because I’m still grieving her loss. In others, it’s misplaced jealousy, or anger, or hurt from the potential of what she’ll have done in my absence. Yet still others is the feeling of complete unfairness about how the entire situation “ended” and the ramifications of it all, and the incredibly difficult struggle I go through now on a daily basis.

Those little triggers, those tiny things, tend to build up through the course of a day, week, month, until I’m in such a despondent state that I can no longer function and self harm in mental or emotional ways, or until I do something irresponsible with relation to work or loved ones. Some days things have even built up to the point of me not even being able to get out of bed to shower or eat.

I am still continuing on, because as Summer used to tell me, “there’s always hope.” I really hope that for us there is, but I suppose only time will tell. Until then, I just have to keep trying to work through these stupid little triggers and becoming a better person. A better man, both for her, and for myself.

Musical Heart

My heart beats like a drum, like a drum.
(Dum, dum, dum!)
(Dum, dum, dum!)
And my feet stamp the beat like a drum
(Dum, dum, dum!)
(Dum, dum, dum!)

My Heart Beats Like a Drum, ATC

My heart is made of music. Its beat is strengthened or weakened by the strum of a guitar, the bang of a drum, the melody of a beautiful voice in song. Even before everything happened with Summer, I had always felt like I was heavily influenced by music. As far back as 2011 (possibly earlier), I had saved an image that I now use frequently as a profile picture or in various forums or communities online: that of a bass/treble clef heart. It seems to largely represent me in a way very few other symbols or images have.

For a long time, I forgot that it was a large part of who I was, because other things had a way of burying me – work, marriage, friends, and life in general. When Summer and I started dating finally, we talked about making up a secret symbol we could use to mean her and I (like a lot of young people tend to do, combining names or letters in their names, etc), because we couldn’t exactly make it obvious we were together. I suggested the bass treble clef heart, because to me it just seemed to fit. We were both very musically moved people. I even had it engraved on a guitar pick necklace I gave her for her birthday when we were together. I genuinely hope she still has it…

Anyway, no matter what my mood, no matter what time in my life (that I can remember), music has played a large role. When I was a kid, I didn’t have much control over what I listened to, but during high school I started to listen to things more in depth because I found music resonated with me. Alan Jackson. Backstreet Boys. Savage Garden. Metallica. Weird Al. Queen. AC/DC. Phil Collins. Oingo Boingo. It didn’t matter the artist, I found something in every genre and album I heard to relate to. I felt as if the singers and musicians really understood me and made what I was trying to say concise and easy to convey.

Somewhere along the way I also started associating songs with people. The first time I remember doing this was for Hannah in middle school. We had a school project (that I didn’t do) where we were supposed to bring in a song, play it, and then give a presentation about what it meant to them. She brought in Always by Bon Jovi… and for the next decade or two any time I heard the song I would “always” think of her. So many other songs have both an emotional and interpersonal connection for me too: When You Say Nothing At All by Alison Krauss I associate with my ex wife because that was “our” wedding song. Dead Man’s Party and many songs by Oingo Boingo remind me of my high school friend Peter. ICP (don’t judge) reminds me of Brandon and driving out to see his ex girlfriend Sandy. And don’t get me started on how many songs and artists remind me of Summer and are now painful to listen to.

I honestly don’t see my love of music nor the associations I make going away any time soon. I just hope that they can be positive ones in the future and not painful reminders of what I’ve lost along the way.

Helloween, part 2

As I’ve said before, I am trying to sort of reclaim Halloween as mine. It’s still my favorite holiday, never mind the fact that I haven’t really celebrated it or decorated in nearly a decade… Though I am really struggling to see a point in reclaiming it. Whether that’s because I still have (and likely will always have) self-worth issues, or because I don’t have anyone to celebrate it with, I don’t know. Regardless, the holiday has changed for me quite a bit in recent years.

For one thing, because of my past, I am not able to hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. It wouldn’t be illegal to do so or anything, but for my own safety and protection, I simply can’t do it.

Another thing is that I used to be Wiccan or eclectic Pagan, and I no longer follow that path. Perhaps it’s because of the rituals or because I’ve lost a lot of faith in general, but I can’t really get into everything that goes along with a belief system right now.

I’ve thought about throwing a party and inviting people over, but who would I invite? I have maybe two real-life friends at best now, and have been shutting people out quite a bit. Both for their safety and for my own needs, growth, and a bit of isolation. (I’m still working on the last bit…) There’s no point in throwing a party when nobody will show up. I did that a couple years when I was with my ex wife and it was disappointing to see how few people genuinely cared and wanted to be around me.

I’ve thought about going out too, but I have too much anxiety and I don’t “party” like many people. I don’t drink or smoke or do drugs. I don’t enjoy loud, obnoxious, chaotic social environments. I’d rather cuddle up with a lover and a movie than I would go to some wild party or a bar. And I can’t go to BDSM clubs anymore, again because of my past. So there’s no point in going out either.

Something else that I have to deal with is that I shared my love of the holiday with my ex wife and a lot of things I would do, I did with her (like throwing parties, spooky food, etc). I’m also reminded of my ex girlfriend, Summer because of events that transpired around this time of year, and specifically ON Halloween. There are a lot of love-related reminders surrounding the holiday. That alone is enough to make me want to curl up in a ball and never leave my bed…

Finally, dressing up and using makeup to do so reminds me of my sperm donor father, who used to be into that as well. It reminds me of at least one Halloween during my childhood of dressing up as a werewolf (complete with face fur) at my grandma’s to go out trick-or-treating. I only have the briefest of glimpses of that, but I do remember it.

So I guess I’m just kind of wondering what the point of it all is and why I “should” want to celebrate it for myself. And the further I dig, the more I’m coming up with reasons for why I’ve celebrated it in the past for others. Is this really my holiday?

Or is this just another reason I’ve used to feel needed and wanted by others?

I genuinely don’t know…

Summer Love, part 4

This series is a detailed account of my relationship with the greatest love of my life so far, my niece. This is an honest, factual, first-hand recounting of events from my perspective, though names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

You know, it’s funny… No, not funny in a “ha ha” way, but more of funny in a “hmm” curious kind of way… It’s funny how some times in our lives stretch out for years when they’re only weeks or months, and then others it seems like if we blink, we’d miss entire years.

My time with Melanie was, much of the time, the former, whereas my time with Summer was very much the latter. Even in the months leading up to our relationship, the time with her just seemed to fly by. No matter if we were watching movies, doing musical things, being intimate, or just sitting and talking over dinner, it was always not enough time and went by so quickly. Thinking back on how things progressed from her individual visit to us dating, it seems crazy that everything that happened was only in a three month time span.

During this time, Melanie and I really had major issues. Not even a month after Summer’s visit, I finally made the decision to separate because things were only getting worse. We had been to multiple couples’ therapy sessions (with the therapist I had been seeing individually) and Melanie just didn’t understand me anymore. She wasn’t willing to budge on the one thing that I truly wanted going forward in relationships – she had suddenly decided that she was strictly monogamous, and I had grown into my polyamorous self. There isn’t any sort of compromise that would have made both of us happy in the end, so the only thing to do was to end it.

At a couple different points there was some talk about having Summer and Little Scott out for another visit, but with the issues Melanie and I were having, it just wasn’t a good time. It didn’t matter how much I wanted to see Summer again, I had to get things in order with me and my life first. Since Melanie and I were “apart,” I went out to the event they had in honor of Allie’s mom. I helped to decorate the place some, though it was a small gathering in a hall with food and some tables. The whole time I just wanted to hold Summer and comfort her, but I knew that wasn’t okay to do, especially around everyone there. I did give her a long hug and told her that if she needed anything at all that I was there for her, which made her smile a little at least. At the event, Summer’s birth mom was there, and I remembered thinking to myself (before I was even introduced or told who it was) that she was a bit heavy weight-wise, but was actually a very beautiful woman. After a little while, I started to get the usual sadness that I sometimes do from being alone in a crowd, and opted to say my farewells and head out. I don’t remember getting to say a very long goodbye with Summer, and I remember feeling even worse after leaving because of that.

I continued to live with Melanie for about a month. The whole time I was sleeping in one of the spare bedrooms on a futon, and Summer was extremely supportive of me. Not even my “best friend” at the time, Brandon, was as supportive of me and what I wanted, and he and I had been very similar in our ideas about love. Summer was young and inexperienced in relationships but even she could see how being with Melanie was hurting me deeply because of our incompatibility.

Sadly, again, tragedy struck, and Allie’s birth mother passed away. Again I was pulled away from work by a random phone call, this time from Summer herself. She was devastated that she had lost another grandparent. There was not much I could do, but I was able to at least calm her down and make her feel less despondent about it while we were on the phone.

I finally decided to get my own place and figure out where I was going in life from there. Of course, being the wonderful person she is, Summer asked Allie and Big Scott if they could help me move again, and they agreed. Most of the move itself I did on my own with my car, though the larger items I made sure to get a moving truck for. I believe the only things they ended up helping with were the larger items and moving them into my new place. Every time I would walk past Summer as we moved items into and out of the truck, I could feel my heart speed up from its already-rapid pace. I was genuinely happy to simply have her near me. If I remember correctly, one of the boxes she ended up moving was the one that I had my sex toys in, and I secretly wished she would be nosy about what was in it, but then dismissed the thought forcefully. I wished they could stay longer so I could have more time with Summer, but they all had to go help someone else move and left shortly after.

In all this time, Summer and I had started talking almost daily, about a lot of things. One day shortly after getting home from work, she randomly called me out of the blue. I saw her name on my phone and my heart leaped for joy! I answered, and immediately I could tell something was wrong. She was on the verge of tears, and could barely get out that she needed help. I started to panic, but I knew the first priority was to calm her down. I had to figure out what was going on so I could help, no matter what it took!

After a bit of soothing and making her feel a little bit more at ease, she finally was able to tell me what happened. She was apparently freaking out because she had been looking at porn sites, and one of them would not stop popping up porn ads on her (school) computer. She started begging me not to tell her parents because she believed they were going to “kill” her or at least ground her for a very long time, and then she wouldn’t be able to talk with me anymore. When she told me that, I was pretty surprised, but not totally. Something told me that she wasn’t the innocent girl that she led people to believe, and this was a confirmation of that. Regardless, she was in a panic and needed my help. Right away I went into (what I later learned to be) “Daddy” mode. I made sure to calm her down again and said that it’s okay, I knew what she was going through, and that we could fix it. I went through some tech troubleshooting steps, had her turn it off and back on, then download something to remove the popups at a minimum until we could do more to fix it. A couple hours later via email messages we finally got things to an okay state, and then she had to go to bed. I believe she may have said that she loved me for helping and I know she thanked me immensely.

After that point, we started email messaging multiple times a day with one another, both while I was at work and at home. Things really took a deeper turn. We were talking more about sexual topics since we didn’t have to watch what we said via emails because her parents didn’t know about the emails she was using to talk to me. They would constantly monitor all of her communications, and had such a tight stranglehold on Summer and Little Scott’s lives that they could barely go to the bathroom without an interrogation. Once we were able to talk more freely, I learned just how deep this controlling and manipulation went. It was extremely bad, and I would have reported it, but Summer begged me not to because she feared that she would be taken away and wouldn’t be able to see either of her brothers that lived with other people.

It was during this time that I had learned about the trauma and abuse she had experienced as a young child. Her birth mother had apparently been a drug addict and an alcoholic, and had relationships with men who were abusive. They never touched Summer in any way, but they did force her to watch her brothers get beaten severely and threatened that it would happen to her if she wasn’t good. I also learned that Summer occasionally thought she heard voices (which she was afraid to tell anyone else about because she didn’t want to be “crazy”), and that she was constantly afraid of everything and frequently had nightmares. Finding out all of this only made me feel more protective of her and made me want to hold her and try my best to make everything alright again for her. Knowing now what I do about mental health issues, I realize that I couldn’t have possibly “fixed” anything with her, though I am positive that if we had the chance to stay together, I could have helped her in some way…

At some point in those few crazy months (though I don’t recall exactly when), there was an event that their brainwashing “Ilicet” play people hosted called “Rock & Bowl” at a bowling alley where everyone dressed up in 80s-style outfits and bowled to “Rock” music. I was really nervous about going because I didn’t really have anything 80s to wear, but I remember seeing Summer in her neon, Madonna-inspired outfit and being stunned at how “rad” she looked! It was just about all I could do to not choke on my own heart beating in my throat. I even complimented her on it and she blushed and bashfully deflected my comment. We took some pictures together, though I no longer have them because I was a fool and deleted all of our pictures at one point after everything blew up…

And boy, did they blow up, big time… (To be continued.)

Summer Love, part 3

This series is a detailed account of my relationship with the greatest love of my life so far, my niece. This is an honest, factual, first-hand recounting of events from my perspective, though names have been changed to protect the identities of those involved.

I probably should have seen it coming like the oncoming storm it was. I probably should have avoided everything and “noped” the fuck out at the first signs of deep affection… But I didn’t. Between my loneliness and growing suicidal thoughts, my desire to actually explore sexually and in relationships, and my marriage trouble with Melanie, I was rather blind to the things happening between Summer and I…

After Summer and Little Scott came to visit, it was about a month or two before I was able to drag Melanie to go see “Ilicet” – the play that Summer and family were in. They had been in the play since they moved back to the state after Big Scott was done with his military service, but since it was a very religious play (about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ), I had always just brushed it off. Now that I had committed myself to going by promising Summer, there was no way I was going to back out. When I promised we (okay, just myself really) would go, I said I would keep an open mind.

What I was greeted with was a 70s-or-60s-inspired cult-like, extremely violent and rather frightening reenactment of the brutal betrayal and murder of Christianity’s man/god Son. (To this day, I will never understand the fascination and glorification of his death, but that’s a HUGE separate topic for another day…) Frankly, the play made me worry about the mental well-being of Summer and Little Scott, but they seemed to enjoy it. At least, whenever Allie wasn’t making them carry in/out all of the costumes and equipment and coolers and food, and when Allie wasn’t yelling at them for random innocent things or getting annoyed by them… When asked what we thought, I politely kept my opinion to myself and simply said “It was alright…” I later told Summer via text that it wasn’t really my thing, but that I was happy that she enjoyed it. I believe we all went out to eat at an IHOP after they got changed out of the play clothes and did their farewells. Melanie and I was just in town for the play, and since we lived a couple hours away, we crashed with some of her family for the night and went back home the next day.

The next couple months were pretty busy for me with work. I took my first plane ever on a work-related trip to New York (boy, was it expensive!) and I started seeing a therapist to figure out what it was I wanted in our marriage and to try and help with my depression and suicidal thoughts (it didn’t, but again that’s for another long post). It was a chaotic and busy few months. Regardless, Summer and I texted frequently about what was going on in our lives, as well as jokes and memes and just about everything.

When Summer and Little Scott had been out to visit, I suggested that they each should come out separately so they could maximize “Uncle Time” and so each of them wouldn’t be so bored next time they came to visit. Little Scott obviously HAD to be the first one to come out alone, so about four months after their first visit, right around his birthday, he came to hang out and spend a week with us. The majority of the time he played video games, and we played a bit of Magic the Gathering, but we didn’t really get too close for some reason.

About a month and a half after his visit, Summer came to stay for her week-long alone time with us (okay, me). I remember greeting her, Big Scott, and Allie at the door, and of course Summer had to bring in all of her bags and stuff for the week because they didn’t bother to carry anything in. As soon as we saw each other, it was like the whole place brightened up. She came in and dropped her stuff off at the door and gave me a giant, lingering hug as she had gotten into the habit of. I had to tear my eyes away from her when I told her she could put her things in the spare bedroom with the bed in it and focus on Allie and Scott. We talked and they stayed for a little while, but then had to go back home.

The first night, Summer just got settled in and we relaxed a bit with a movie, but the rest of the week was AMAZING! We played Magic until really late, she showed me some chords on her guitar, we talked about how things were going with us, played a video game or two, and we watched a few movies she had never seen. One particular night, her and I stayed up late after Melanie said she was going to bed so we could watch a scary movie: The Crazies. It wasn’t very scary but somehow I ended up laying on her legs and we made silly comments through the movie with us just barely not cuddling. When the movie was over I realized that I had wanted to, but I was really glad I didn’t. Again I had conflicting feelings because she was my young step niece and I was married, so nothing was going to happen.

I think it was the next day that I called off of work because I was simply too exhausted from staying up late to focus… And to be completely honest, I wanted to spend more time with Summer just the two of us. I wanted to talk to her more one-on-one about the sexting thing and to talk to her about how things were going with my marriage. I had come to really rely on Summer for support at this point. She was becoming my best friend, and Brandon was, well, not a good friend (still another long future post). I slept in til about 9 or 10 and then got up and chilled with her on the couch.

We got to talking about things and I asked her what happened that she never told me about that got her grounded. She almost burst into tears when she told me she had sexted a guy and sent a dirty picture to him. I told her that it was okay, and that it’s normal for people to do that kind of thing when they’re older, but that if she did that when she was that young (12 at the time I believe), she could get in a lot of trouble for sending that stuff to someone, and they could get in a lot of trouble for receiving it. She really started crying at this point, and I calmly explained that I wasn’t mad at her at all, gave her a hug and held her while we sat on the couch for a little while. I’m pretty sure I made some stupid jokes and innuendos that got her laughing a little bit, then I made a suggestion.

Melanie had to work late that evening, so I suggested that her and I go to the card shop I liked a lot and get some food for dinner. She said she’d never been to a card or game shop before and that would be fun. We headed off in the afternoon to the card shop, played a round or two of Magic, I bought her some cards, and we headed to Steak & Shake for dinner. I swear, it was almost like we were on a date. It was so much fun! And whenever I looked into her eyes when we talked, I swear I could see a sparkle or something… different. On the way back home, we started talking about relationships and I told her that the reason Melanie and I were having issues was that I was Polyamorous and she wasn’t. Of course she wanted to know what that meant, so I explained as best I could, then I asked if there was anyone she was interested in. At first she said no, but then she mentioned she used to “date” (in a childish way) her cousin but then when they were at a family event they realized they were cousins and stopped. She also kind of had a crush on another cousin who lived in another state, but she didn’t care for the fact that he smoked weed and was a “bad boy.” I told her then my beliefs: that as long as two people aren’t blood related, or like in a parent-child situation where one has authority over the other, that I didn’t see anything wrong with liking or being with “family” and even gave the example that her and I would be okay (if I wasn’t married). I also said that I didn’t judge her at all for who she liked because you can’t help who you’re attracted to. When we got home it was a little late and Melanie was home so we all just relaxed and watched some TV.

At one point during her visit (possibly the night we went to the card shop), we found out that Robin Williams had died of suicide. Melanie said some rather insensitive comments about him, and Summer kind of agreed a little and said something about him not thinking about who it who it would affect and that he was only thinking of himself… I kept my mouth shut, because I COMPLETELY understood why he would do it. I had even seen sadness in his eyes in all of his movies. I just kind of left it at that because I hadn’t yet told Melanie I had been having serious thoughts of suicide while in the shower and had been crying myself to sleep many nights right next to her.

A day or two later, all three of us decided to go swimming before the pool closed for the season. I was REALLY self-conscious because I was overweight and didn’t really feel comfortable, but I wanted to go swimming with Summer anyway because I felt like she wouldn’t judge me. We got our swim suits on and grabbed towels and headed off. I don’t know how to actually swim, and I kept wanting Summer to teach me because she loved swimming, but Melanie was… well, it felt like she was in the way or something, as bad as that is to say. While swimming, I was hyper focused on Summer, and at points I know I saw her nipples erect in her swimsuit because it was a chilly day out. I know that makes me sound like some kind of pervert, but again, these feelings were new to me with someone so young. (It also probably didn’t help that I hadn’t had sex with anyone in about 6 months, and before that probably about a year, despite being married…) Regardless, I really hated the thoughts I was having and it only contributed to my suicidal thoughts and thinking that there must be something wrong with me.

Little did I know that Summer had been feeling and thinking the same things… (to be continued!)

Mental Health Self-Talk

Lately I’ve been having some issues with my depression, which seem to coincide with some of the blog posts I’ve been making about my past. As a result of the memories I’m intentionally (and sometimes forcefully) dredging up, my mood has lowered to the point of occasionally being non-functional. For me, this typically means oversleeping, not doing regular chores like laundry and dishes, dissociating and avoiding reality as much as possible by watching movies and TV shows, playing games, and generally being unresponsive to life.

Along with all of that also comes very negative self-talk. I’ll tell myself that I’m worthless, unlovable, and that there isn’t a point to the things I enjoy. I’ve recently been trying to reclaim Halloween since it has always been my favorite holiday by decorating. At least a couple of the days lately I’ve looked at the decorations that are animated and usually turned off (to save power), and went “what’s the point in putting all of this up if nobody’s around to enjoy it?”

A lot of my self-talk tends to be negative or self-defeating. I have been trying to change this. I have written affirmations in my bathroom mirror so I see them every time I go to the bathroom or take a shower. I have written down things I like about myself and put it on my dry-erase board. I have tried my best to look at the positive things and what I’ve accomplished rather than focus on the negative things or how far I still need to go. I take antidepressants daily. I’m working and I keep myself busy with house work, which helps me to feel at least somewhat productive. It is extremely difficult, however. Especially when you don’t have someone there to support you and help you see where your thinking has gone wrong.

Summer used to be that shining light in the darkness for me. She showed me the good parts of me and actually helped me to love myself even when I showed my darkest side. I’m trying without her and without anyone else because I am told that’s what you’re supposed to do, but really I still have a hard time seeing why I need to love myself without someone else.

One thing that has helped a lot is some advice a therapist once gave me:

Treat yourself as you would a close friend or loved one, with kindness.

In a way, this is similar to the “Golden Rule” except it’s pointed inward. Most people wouldn’t treat someone they care for with malice when they see them hurting, or to mentally, emotionally, or physically abuse them when they’re already in pain. Yet all the time I see people who have mental health issues like depression, anxiety, bipolar, etc. treat themselves horribly and without compassion or kindness. I am absolutely guilty of this, and it takes everything in me some days to realize that it’s my own mental illness talking and not the truth. I’m not always successful, but it has gotten easier over time.

As Summer (the one and only person who ever made me feel I could truly be loved for who I was) used to tell me:

There’s always hope.

So please… If you struggle with self-worth issues or mental health issues or simply put yourself down about things like I do, treat yourself as you would somebody you care deeply for…

With kindness.