I Aspire To Be As Good As I Tell You I Am.

(NOTE: Based on time elapsed since the posting of this entry, the BS-o-meter calculates this is 0.603% likely to be something that Ferrett now regrets.)

“You’re dating Ferrett?” people would ask my long-time girlfriend when they found out we were dating. “I’ve read his essays on polyamory!  They’re so sweet! He must be wonderful!”

She’d always pause and shuffle her feet. “Well,” she’d finally say, “There’s a bit of a gap between writer-Ferrett and actual Ferrett.”

Which is true. I mean, I told you a story yesterday where I was extremely generous with my wife’s time, and I’ll tell you the heartwarming lessons where Ferrett Thought Something Dumb and then Ferrett Learns Better and then Everything Is Okay In Weaselland again, but…

Everything I write about is a curated version of who I am.

The art of the essay is boiling things down into a single gem of philosophy, and sometimes my life is too painful and messy to extract a coherent thought. Writing about the argument I had with my ex just before we broke up, a splintered screaming match where we both acted like assholes and I don’t know that either of us learned any lessons from it?

What’s the sense in exposing my personal life to present that ugliness to you?

I do have moments of genuine connection, sure, but there’s also the many more moments of what I aspire to be and fall short – I meant to schedule our next get-together but instead got caught up chasing this new flirtation, I meant to listen their complaints but instead I snapped at them for inconveniencing me, I meant to be okay with them dating people but instead guilt-tripped them for not paying attention to meeeeeeeeee.

Writing’s about presenting moments of change. And some shit doesn’t change. Relationships are an endless struggle to battle back the old habits, and there’s often nothing new to report, you just know you shouldn’t do that next time.

There’s ugly arguments in La Casa McJuddMetz, often instigated by me. Stupidities perpetrated, repeatedly, also by me. Thoughtless cruelties I enacted. And yet those aren’t really essays because there’s nothing exceptional about those moments, I just stayed out too late with a date again and forgot to call, again, and Jesus how could you and you’re right Jesus how could I.

So when I write about a beautiful moment I had, and people comment, “THIS IS THE KIND OF POLY I ASPIRE TO BE,” I always cringe and go, “So do I” – because that moment is so beautiful simply because it’s not the usual mixture of lovely moments interspersed with oh fuck I did it again, didn’t I?

Yet there is good news, because writing about what we aspire to be encourages us to be better. The nicest compliment my girlfriend ever gave me was when she said that the gap between writer-Ferrett and actual Ferrett had narrowed to the point where they were almost the same. I’ve become a much different person over the last ten years, in part because I keep holding myself to high standards.

But the problem with that is, if you tune in only occasionally, you come away with the impression that Whoah, this glorious parade of beauty is what polyamory is supposed to BE.

It should.

But I struggle to get there most days myself.

The reality is, well, reality. I worry that society has this binary focus, where someone is either a PARAGON OF BEAUTY WHO DOES POLY WELL or A STUPID FUCKUP WHO RUINS POLY FOR EVERYONE ELSE. And the truth is, if you talk to my exes – or even my current partners – you’ll find plenty of times I did not provide that glorious polyvana and instead was insecure, clutching, nasty, untruthful.

The good news, such as it is, is so were they.

We all blow it on occasion.

That’s just how this is.

So aspire, man. If you like what I do, use that as your lighthouse to navigate by. Just realize the lighthouse is actually another ship bobbing on a turbulent sea, one that occasionally shines bright and occasionally has to pry its wrecked self off the rocks.

But there will be arguments. There will be dreary fuckups. There will be ignoble breakups. I have ’em, you have ’em, everyone has ’em.

Keep those aspirations high, though, so when you screw up you remember to better. I think that’s the best we got.

8 Comments

  1. Anonymous Alex
    May 11, 2018

    Perhaps you should consider writing a video game instead of an essay. 🙂

    More seriously, I think there is some value in both the aspirational writing and in the revelation of the ordinary, if only to confirm that the aspirational is aspirational, and thus to avoid premature despair amongst the readership.

    -Alex

    • Yet Another Laura H.
      May 11, 2018

      Polyamory: the Video Game. I’d play it, although I imagine it would look very silly on the Kinect.

  2. Raven Black
    May 11, 2018

    I’m not sure if Alex was subtly making this same comment or not, but this post seemed like a great callback to that recent God of War post.

    In that you’re saying the reality is like God of War, and the essays are like the movies you mention in the God of War post.

    • Anonymous Alex
      May 13, 2018

      Too subtly, it would seem.

      -Alex

      • Yet Another Laura H
        May 14, 2018

        Sorry that I trompled past your point, A.A.

        • Anonymous Alex
          May 14, 2018

          No worries. I allow myself to comment on whichever bit catches my fancy; it’s only fair to allow others the same.

          -Alex

      • TheFerrett
        May 14, 2018

        It’s true! I did miss that. Then again, I’ve been a bit distracted as of late.

        • Anonymous Alex
          May 14, 2018

          And here I was all annoyed that my subtle ASCII smiley was converted without my intention into a subtle-as-an-A-bomb emoticon.

          -Alex

All Comments Will Be Moderated. Comments From Fake Or Throwaway Accounts Will Never Be approved.