Coming out of the (Poly) Closet

Back when I was learning to knit, I took on a particularly ambitious project, and before I could figure out the difference from a knit and purl stitch I attempted to make a kimono with leftover yarn my mother gave me from a baby-blanket project she gave up crocheting. Sitting at the porch, my friend P asked if she could do a row. She made a comment on my tension when she’d passed it back, and the next time we went to the store she bought me more yarn for my project. DSC_0710

On my birthday she would send me Amazon gift cards to feed my love of books. After I visited her home in Germany in 2012, she mailed me “The Little Prince”, a beautiful story she was stunned wasn’t an obligatory read in America.
As I work out my mistakes in my cable stitching I remember us sitting at my mother’s porch talking about how little I understood knitting. As I mourn my broken Kindle and consider my upcoming birthday, I remember the sweet, funny notes in the cards she sent me. I remember being treated like an independent woman during my conversations with her when I visited, having grown up conversations with the woman who watched me grow up.

It was the following spring that my mother and I had a falling out. I moved out of my mother’s and in with students I met in college. My relationship with the three of them was in the closet. I tried to play off that I just found some like-minded friends that would let me crash with them while I achieve my own independence. A lousy lie, but I aimed to tell the truth as soon as I could, once the shock of Charlotte being her own person wore off. DSC_0672

P’s parents were friends with my father, and met him through the military when he was stationed in Germany. When my parents divorced, they maintained friendship with my mother.

My mother was so fearful of my relationship with Alice, Bailey, and Edward that she confided in a mutual friend of ours, Chris, who suggested that she tell my father, who in turn made a scene, showing up at my house and trying to force his way in, demanding to see my bedroom, declaring he worked for the government (as if that gave him some sort of authority that overruled the laws governing trespassing).

When I confronted my mother about giving him my address is when she asked if I was polygamous. Figuring it was the easiest explanation, and because I hadn’t yet learned the word ‘polyfidelitous’, I said yes. “Disgusting,” was her response.

P has crossed my mind many times since then, but I never had the courage to write her, assuming my mother beat me to it, assigning inaccurate adjectives to my private matters. It’s been four years since I saw her, and almost as long since I wrote to her. There’s no point in trying to save a friendship if that means not keeping it, and with this in mind I wrote her this week. I gave a quick summary of the important events that took place, emphasizing on the spring of 2013 when I started my life again, and finishing with why I stopped talking to my mother and that I had since gotten married and had a child. I did not villainize my mother, though I justified my reasoning for temporarily cutting ties with her. I apologized to P for not writing sooner. DSC_0671

I can be so confident about my relationship, except when I am explaining the concept to someone for their first time hearing anything like it. Especially a friend who I consider close. I have lost so many friends to this, friends I thought I could trust, who I thought were open-minded and trusted my judgement.
Her first email had expired. It took me a long time to scrounge up her second email. It took her only until the next day to respond. I’m still not sure what to make of her reaction, but her response was polite and informative. She said that she was surprised by all I told her. So my mother hadn’t contacted her, after all! She also said that she would respond later, and though I have no idea how she took the part about being poly, her response to my marrying a woman was that it was great and nobody’s business but mine. Being in writing and with there being a cultural and language barrier, I can only guess at her inflections and tone and wait for her email.

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Blogiversary

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I’m so glad today is a leisurely day, and I get to share with you that it’s Ch4rl13Sm1th’s anniversary! Steve nicknamed it a blogiversary, hence the title of this post. As for the title of the blog itself, I haven’t come up with a better name for it yet, but at the same time don’t think I mind it either. A year ago today I reflected on the way I live my life and wondered how to do more. An introvert with a story to tell, I have enjoyed writing for years after somehow not associating it with the chore of doing school assignments. Starting a blog and not having it backfire on me gave me courage to write the rough draft of a novel, and accomplishing such a task in 30 days has led me to feel invincible and most of all like I matter. That might be a big leap and hard to explain, so just take my word that I feel like a better person because of having the courage to write.

Initially I signed into my account to do a little post about all the knitting I was able to accomplish and what that looks like. I was inspired by Kristin’s post about how she did presents last year and wanted to show off how I managed my time well enough to squeeze in some pretty knots.

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Edward wants me to call them Bags of Holding and I can’t think of a cooler name for it. I made one for each of the kids that would be home for the holidays except for two, who both have a pair of knit baby booties.

The pattern for the bags is available here, though I give more details on my experiences on my Ravelry account. I was raving to Ed about my accomplishments when I knit four for the Girls and Guinevere tried to snatch them all up, so I understood she would appreciate one as well and made hers in turquoise. I put a Baoding ball in since she isn’t quite old enough to find something better to put in it herself and made a longer string so that when she’s older she can practice her dexterity tying and untying it. She loves shaking it around for the music. Knowing that the first thing the Girls would do was sniff the fake flowers, I sprayed rose perfume into them. Geraldine was the first to catch it, as I expected.

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I knit some for the grown-ups as well, matching Edward’s to his two sets of die and increasing the size accordingly. Mine being the first it has the most mistakes, but I still love having a customized, hand-made pouch to show off.

Daisy was kind enough to share her yarn with me earlier last year, which gave birth to Seamus and ALL THE BABY BOOTIES I made. Every day at work I had a booty to knit and became somewhat famous for it.

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And for myself, I really wanted pretty fingerless gloves. My mother had given me a few skeins of brown acrylic yarn a few years ago. I feel like brown is her color, and if I knit it into certain shapes my artwork gets called certain things I would rather not associate with my craft. I tried using it up to make fingerless gloves, borrowing patterns from Google to get the size and adding in a cable stitch to make it pretty. Then I learned from my mistakes and made a shorter set in ribbed, and the day after I mended one of the gloves I lost the other and became rather depressed about gloves. I gave it another go this year to play with an amethyst wool yarn Danielle got for me and am pretty satisfied. The left one is too small, but it was painstakingly made and so I’m going to show it off anyway.

I think I did pretty good with my timing, since Christmas presents were all finished before Christmas, meaning I completely bypassed the last minute shopping that the holiday is famous for. Some were done during the month that I wrote over 50,000 words. I didn’t include a picture of the little basket thing I knit up for Danielle to hold the miniature spa kit I assembled for her because it is embarrassingly ugly, but what I can take away from the experience is that it is interesting knitting with strips cut from T-shirts and pillow cases.

Update Overdue

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I never wanted to be the one to apologize for not posting on my own blog.
On another note, I finished the rough draft of my novel! I’d written something around 50,100 words in 30 days, and didn’t know how the story would end until I was writing the ending (which I’m not sure that I’m satisfied with). Though I’ve had the names of my characters for eight years, I feel like I didn’t get to meet them until November. I would rave to my family about how my characters surprised me, and Bailey responded that she didn’t understand how I could credit them with so much when I was the author. Fortunately the forums for NaNoWriMo was so supportive and well constructed that I could find like minded people who wrote entire threads about how their characters rebelled against the author’s will.
Aside from NaNoWriMo, we’ve also had two babies born to us, and Steve and Daisy had a baby boy as well (notice how everyone gets pregnant at the same time? Okay, much of the women is what I mean). I also hand knit presents for the girls who will be home and over a year old, which is five. All the while I’m working two jobs and pitching in with chores. Now you’re caught up with what’s going on with me, as long as I didn’t forget something.

Legally Married

“So, how do you feel?”

“Nervous. Why am I nervous? Ishouldntbenervous we’ve beentogether three years…”

Alice chuckled at me. The plaque on the door said 120. The date was 9/20. Don’t forget this date. Edward and Bailey were hunting down an ATM. I continued reading the walls. I read and reread a flyer demanding to have your IDs and the fee of $81 handy. Behind the desks were figurines of couples and an upside-down heart that Alice and I couldn’t help but eye warily, pondering the intentions of the artist. My hair was pissing me off again and I was mad at my shoes and why didn’t I take a little more time getting ready.

They returned. Bailey played with the bills in her hand as I addressed the clerk behind the counter. We weren’t the only lesbian couple. No one seemed to care that we came with another couple, either, even though we seemed to be the only ones who did. Plural marriages are still not legal, but now we can all be married. I never considered, especially given the nature of my relationship, that I could actually get married. continue

Curves and Confidence (Part Two)

This post contains content that may be considered inappropriate for those under 13 years of age.

Leave it to my husband to minister to a stripper. We’re not like other Christians that draw the lines where society does and say that it’s in the name of Jesus. We understand that God, who knew us before we were, knows that we’re screw ups and isn’t going to kick us out of the house for spilling the milk (and honey) so long as we apologize and mean it. That’s basically what we say to non-believers that have met nothing but Bible beaters of the Christian religion. continue

A Life of Honesty

Steve's courage

I climbed out of the yellow Volks Wagon beetle and gathered plastic straps in my hands. I could smell the smoke of mesquite wood, and Steve approached me and Daisy as we gathered the groceries, the dog leading the way. The smoke of cigarettes and of a campfire greeted us when he did. “I got something I want to tell you guys.”

Edward came shortly after and bellowed, “Are the boys here?” I looked around. I hadn’t seen them since I left. “You guys gotta hear this.”

“Yeah, you tell them,” Steve urged.

“Alice was going to look something up on Steve’s tablet, and she saw a” inappropriate image of a person of both genders. “And she was just like, ‘awe, Steve’.”

Daisy realized, “Is that what we heard over the phone?”

“Yeah,” Steve answered. “I realized that it was probably time to come out to you guys, because I want to be honest, and I don’t care anymore about what other people think. I’m bi.”

“Okay. Cool,” was my response.

Edward elaborated for me. “Man, we don’t care.” Steve elaborated a little, saying that he’d been hinting at it a few times with some things that he had said, like teaching Daisy how to tip a male stripper. I figured it was a joke and almost completely forgot he’d said that until he reminded me. I wonder if he was disappointed that we weren’t more excited for him, or relieved that our image of him didn’t change in the slightest. This got me to thinking of how our culture could be advancing in a way that accepts everyone, the way that everything is accepted by nature. Sure, flocks of birds will pick on the weakest link and even kill them off, and may even pick on them for the color of their feathers. But the coyotes don’t care which color of bird they get, as long as they can catch one.

“Did you want us to throw a coming out party?” I asked, half joking, half concerned we might be ignoring something he secretly wished for.

“Nah nah, that’s fine. I just feel better now that I’m not hiding it anymore.”

Daisy’s News

Embarking on a new adventure.

Daisy picked me up from work in her Volks Wagon beetle. The sky was beautiful, a pink glow emanating through the blurred outlines of rainclouds in the distance, grey as stone. “So what was the result?” I demanded as I clambered in.

“Did Ed not send you the picture?”

“What picture?” I hate feeling left out. It’s usually because of my job, too.

“Oh, I guess he didn’t. It was positive.”

“I called it!” I pumped my fist into the air. It’s like after having a baby, I can sense a pregnancy. I’ve been thoroughly convinced that each of the ladies and Daisy were pregnant just as they started to consider it a possibility. Daisy tried to discredit me by saying that one of the other ladies said it first, but I assured her I’d been certain of it for longer. “Do you still have a test left?”

“I should somewhere, I have to find it.”

“Could I use it? Don’t tell the others, though. They still have to testify, and I don’t want the petitioner’s attorney pointing out that we’re pregnant without insurance.”

“It would probably be better if you wait until after you testify,” she advised.

I retorted, “I already testified. The others still need to though.”

“Oh I got you.” She concluded by holding out her pinky. I obliged and wrapped mine around hers. “I won’t tell anyone.”