Holidays are for being with loved ones, at least that's what the songs and the movies seem to suggest. I love Christmas, almost ridiculously so, considering I was raised pagan! I'm actually the holiday card for TROUBLEfilms and Miss December on our company calendar. I have hundreds of holiday songs.
I've spent many with friends, some with family, most with lovers... but I have never spent Christmas, one of my favourite holidays, with my lovers. One at a time, sure, but never more than one. It's just never worked out, either because of family commitments, or relationship dynamic issues, or something else.
I've been nonmonogamous in some way or another my entire adult life. Monogamy never came easily to me even as a teenager, but I didn't start looking into ethical nonmonogamy until I was in my early 20s. I've had a lot of struggles with polyamory, as I discovered when reading old entries in my Livejournal- I had partners who pitted me against their other lovers, or who would "misunderstand" my boundaries, or put me at risk for STIs because they "forgot" to tell me they didn't use condoms with other people. I didn't realize how anxious and traumatized I was for a long time, thinking that the knot in my stomach was because I wasn't doing poly right. The fear of loss, of my own perceived lack of value, often prevented me from asking for what I wanted or needed- I figured that my jealousy was unfounded and if I read the various poly self help books often enough eventually it'd just come easily.
This is the first time where I actually mostly feel... safe. There's still some anxiety, and I'm still working on my trust issues! But if N doesn't text me back for a few days, I don't have the fear that he's breaking up with me. If I have to reschedule a date with J and I because I'm in dire need of a self care day, I don't freak out that she secretly resents me. If P tells me that my going away for the weekend is ok, I don't spend days worrying that he's lying to me and will have my stuff on the curb when I get home. None of us fight, though we've also talked in advance about our argument styles and our needs when stressed, and I think that information has prevented more than brief hurt feelings and the occasional slammed door between P and I. I mean, N and I had a good 3 minute back and forth thanking each other for our communication skills, which cracks me up but is also really heartening. They even all get along with each other, enough so that I'm taking them all to one of my favourite Christmas celebrations (and a family tradition), the Christmas Revels, for the Solstice.
This is also the first year I will actually have all my lovers, together, at Christmas dinner. I suggested it figuring that they were probably busy, but they were all available and interested. I'm excited (especially since they all cook well, so I can tend to the important job of drinking eggnog) and a little nervous because, let's be fair, I don't have many firsts left! Opening presents with all of them at once, singing carols while we cook a goose... honestly it's probably one of the best holiday presents I could've gotten. I'm honored that not only are they spending it with me, but with each other, folks they're inviting, other folks I'm inviting. It's also going to be the first Christmas I spend with a metamour. Everyone's been assigned an essential part of the meal, bringing their own traditions or holiday tastes into the mix for one big poly cabal Christmas.
It's been interesting as I still definitely have pangs of fear that manifest as anxiety or jealousy. I imagine that it'll take a while before I fully relax. But I've learned some things- that it's ok to ask for reassurance when you need it. It's ok to feel nervous and to express that. It's ok to have boundaries, and it's ok to say no. And I'm grateful that I'm surrounded by people who love me who give me the space to trust them with saying yes, often and enthusiastically. When I worry that my body is broken or gross, I can say something and the love they reflect helps silence those headweasels. When I'm concerned that a lover is overwhelming themselves, I can speak up and they value that feedback. It's like being in an adult relationship, which is terrifying and beautiful.
There are days I am so filled with love I feel like I'm going to explode with it.
Anyway, I know, voms, mushy ickness. Well, I don't have any advice for poly holidays, as this is completely new to me. I'll definitely be writing about it once it's happened. I'm looking forward to cooking together and watching The Passions of Carol, a Christmas Carol parody porn. It's how Christmas ought to be. <3