Posted in Ali

Countdown to Bus Life

So we’ve decided: We’re living on a bus.

Currently we’re in the final stages of choosing the right skoolie, and of spending every waking minute studying and learning all we can about the beginning steps. We talk about it, dream about it, plan and plan and plan. We are itching to get started, to get our hands on it and work.

This we know of our new home so far: It’ll be a full sized school bus, and her name will be Serenity, after the beautiful cargo ship on Firefly. If you’ve ever seen the show, I’m gunning to be Kaylee. It’ll be just as full of love and pictures and tea as our current home is now.

But until we have photos of our new beauty and the progress we’re making, I want to tell you the why that led us here. If you are like most of us twenty-somethings, you understand the struggle of living paycheck to paycheck, and then spending most of that paycheck on rent. Saving up for your dreams (of which we have many) is damn near impossible. You get stuck in this rut of making money only to spend it on the things you need to keep making money. It’s exhausting, and it wears you down mentally and physically.

So here’s the pro of the bus: no rent. Other than maintaining the bus, we will have solar electric and run our own plumbing, and the main thing we will be spending money on is internet. We can travel at will, live with only the essentials, and save money for land. And that’s our big dream: a beautiful stretch of earth to claim as our own. To carve out a home for us and ours, a place full of plants and love and hard work. We can roll our moving home right up on it and get our hands in the dirt.

We want a few acres in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by stars and trees and sunshine. We want to grow food and babies and stories. I’m a small town farm girl at heart and it’s all I’ve ever ached to have. We can cook around a big fire at night, laughing and passing around beer and mead and wine. I even look forward to the days that are too hot or too cold and we fall asleep so exhausted we can barely stand anymore. I want to dance under a huge harvest moon, shirtless and wild and drunk on the warm air. I want to ready the land for winter and rest with the seasons. I want to know when it’s going to rain by the way the air tastes.

Right now we are in the middle of a city. You can hear the cars and the people still restless and running in the dead of night. You can’t see the stars through the lights that never turn off. It’s all too loud and too big and too much.

I dream of nights full of fireflies and days full of dirt smudged faces and being thawed out by the sun. This bus is one giant step in that direction. And we are in the countdown days to making that dream come true.

We will document this journey here, every step. We couldn’t be more excited.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Our Love in Motion

Hello loves! Instead of a regular blog post this week, we decided to get a little more personal. As much as we love writing about polyamory and all the different ways it can work, we want the main theme to be a little more intimate: the beautiful alchemy that is our triad. We hope you enjoy this video and that it gives you a little more insight into our family. (Featuring a Humane Society’s worth of dogs.)

Posted in Adam, Ali, Rife

Inked!

Hello friends! So today we are sitting in Starbucks as we write this (and file quarterly business taxes which are due tomorrow). Let me tell you babes, there is not enough coffee in the world this week, but I’m so excited to be able to relax for a bit and write this post. We had a sweet follower ask about our tattoos over Instagram, and we realized that we hadn’t really shared our body art or the meanings behind any of the pieces! We are all pretty inked up, so we’re each just going to pick some of our favorites to share and elaborate on.

Ali

I love my wedding ring tattoos. Even though legally we can’t all be married, I know that these two are stuck with me forever. I have a leaf for Rife and a bear paw for Adam. They both have three dots under them (past, present, and future), and let me just say, finger tattoos hurt. But they are my favorite. I got them tattooed instead of just wearing rings because massage therapists aren’t allowed to wear rings while working and I didn’t want to take them off. I also have a triad tattoo on my chest, a triangle made up of purple (Rife), blue (Adam), and green (me) lines.

If you know me at all, you know Firefly is my absolute favorite show ever. It’s more than just a story to me, but a way of life, and it got me through so many hard times. When I got kicked out I watched the episodes on my phone repetitively, remembering to “keep flying” no matter what. I got the words “you can’t take the sky from me” (part of the theme song) across my chest while I was in a very unhealthy relationship. It was my small, rebellious way of saying, you aren’t going to keep me down. I will make it out of this. I can make it out of anything.

The very first tattoo I ever got was when I was 18. It was an autumn leaf on my left hip and I kept it a secret for years. Desperately in need of a touch-up, it’s still one of my favorites to this day. I also have an elephant with sacred geometry on my thigh, “I’m enough” on my inner arm, and a half sleeve on one arm and a full sleeve on the other of a woodland scene. We’re still working on the full sleeve but I’m crazy excited about it.

Rife

The first tattoo I ever got were the words “rescue is possible” across my right shoulder blade; I got it as a reminder that there was a light at the end of the tunnel, for when my mental health was too poor to remember on my own. I was 19 at the time, and a lot of things have changed since then; I can look back and see how much I’ve grown and the trials I’ve overcome, and know that I can make it through whatever I’m struggling with at the time.

On my left shoulder, I have a clock with gears, a symbol of the grandfather that helped raise and shape me into the person I am today. I feel lucky to have inherited his methodical and tenacious mind, and his giving nature.

The mandala on my calf is a symbol present in a great many different spiritualities, as well as various fields of discipline, from science to psychology. Carl Jung said, “a mandala is the psychological expression of the totality of self.” For me, it represents the sacred and constant work of my journey as a person.

I have a sea-themed thigh piece and a mountain-themed forearm piece, both revolving around my deep love of nature. The more tattoos I get, the less important it is to me that they mean something deep or impactful. To me, my mountain tattoo is one of my favorites simply because it is an aesthetically wonderful piece of art, and portrays one of my happiest places.

Last but not least, I also have a triad tattoo identical to Ali’s, but on my hand. The triangle is an equal and stable geometric form, like our relationship: together we are strongest. It’s a philosophy I strive towards all the time.

Adam

I have fourteen tattoos total. I got my first one at 18 and I’ve been addicted ever since. The range of meaningfulness of my ink is wide and varied; from my son’s name in his mom’s handwriting on the inside of my upper arm, to these two four-leaf clovers (that look like broccoli) on my collar bones just because I was bored and wanted more work done.

My favorites change a lot. Right now my favorite is the mountain scene on my upper right arm. It’s the beginning of a sleeve I’ve been planning for a few years now, though I haven’t picked an artist to finish it for me yet. I plan to make it themed around the rocky mountains, where my wild heart first learned to run free.

I think I’ve actually been the opposite of Rife, in that my first few tattoos were nearly meaningless. As a teenager I was impulsive and had no real concept of the long term future. I lived most of my life in the present and treated every day like I may not get another. But as I’ve grown older, slowed down a bit, and run out of space to put fresh ink, the meanings of the tattoos have become more important.

Though I don’t necessarily regret any of my tattoos, there are a few I plan on covering up when I can. Some are linked to parts of my life I’m ready to let go of, some are taking up space that I’d simply rather have something else, and some are just not very pretty or well done and I’d rather have something that looks better.


As you can see, we’ve got a lot of tattoos between the three of us. Tattoos can be based on anything from a deep and life changing event to just something you thought was pretty. Please feel free to share your own tattoos! Post about them in the comments below or send us an email. Either way, we’d love to see them!

Posted in Ali

Geeky Queer Saga, Part I – Clexa, Xena, and Bill, Oh My!

Let me start out by saying there is no way I can fit all of the amazing queer characters from science fiction and fantasy into one post. I asked for suggestions from friends and had so many wonderful responses. So, this is part one!


Geekery and the LGBTQ+ community go together like polyjuice and butterbeer. Like Kaylee and strawberries. Like Jack Harkness and literally anything that can consent. Just perfectly.

Both groups have spent at least some amount of time as an outcast, being misunderstood. I myself and a very proud member of both. I once went to a panel at DragonCon called “Queer Characters in the Who-Verse” and almost fainted of happiness. My heart has found a home at Hogwarts, in the shaky, wandering walls of the TARDIS, and in the quiet, calm warmth of a hobbit hideaway. But my first love will always be in that beautiful, broken-down cargo ship, Serenity.


In today’s post I wanted to look at some of our favorite LGBTQ+ characters in sci-fi and fantasy. 

L is for the ladies….especially Lexa

Let’s just be honest- Lexa made the hearts of many a fangirl flutter and swoon. I myself fell for that mysterious, dangerous, warrior woman. Who could resist those piercing eyes, that smirk that said she could kill you in a second and she knew it? But can we just talk about this picture for a minute?


Holy balls. No it’s cool- it’s just the heda of the grounders, the commander, on her knees. Begging for loyalty. I’m fine.

Moving on. The thing I love most about this universe is that no one even gives a second thought to Lexa and Clarke being a lesbian couple. It isn’t a big whoopty-doo when Clarke starts out the season loving Bellamy and ends up in the strong, muscular arms of Lexa. There is no uproar from the camp while sky children proclaim “but I thought you liked boyyys!?” Thank. God. It’s like they learn in the future that sexuality is fluid, bi people exist, and weirdly enough, it’s not a big deal.


On the absolute other end of the spectrum is Tara Maclay. Shy, quiet, and much less covered in daggers, this Buffy beauty was one of the first lesbian relationships to air on television. Their first kiss was the first LGBTQ+ scene I had ever witnessed, and I distinctly remember my southern baptist preacher father walking into the room and demanding I turn it off immediately.


Doctor Who has always been amazing about their cast of very diverse and occasionally very queer characters. The latest edition is the wonderful Bill, who tragically falls in love with a multidimensional lady water-monster. (But let’s be honest, who doesn’t have an ex that sounds exactly like that?) And of course we can’t forget Madame Vastra and her human wife Jenny Flint.


Nomi Marks is a character from Sense8 (which I sadly haven’t seen yet), and she is one of the only trans characters I could find in sci-fi/fantasy television. Ya’ll, why aren’t there more trans characters? From what I can gather from researching, her actual transition doesn’t occur during the plot, but there is some mention of it later on. She is engaged to the lovely Amanita Caplan.


Bo Dennis is a succubus from the world of Lost Girl. She is pretty non-discriminatory in her love, verging on a near poly relationship with wolfman Dyson and the sexy fae doctor Lauren. I love both the queerness of Lost Girl and the sex positivity the show provides. Not to mention, werewolves. Sexy, sexy werewolves.


And last but definitely not least, Xena. From the series Xena: Warrior Princess, she is a badass lady who is not-so-secretly in love with her companion Gabrielle. Even though it was never confirmed in the original series, it is said that Xena’s sexuality may finally be brought to light in a reboot.


Honorable mentions: no nerdy post would be complete without the mention of a few beautiful Firefly characters. The not-so-straight member of the crew, Inara, makes her debut with a woman on the episode “War Stories” with the Counsellor, saying she only sleeps with women who are “extraordinary.” You see a little bit of this side of her in “Our Mrs. Reynolds” when the sneaky and sensual Saffron tries to convince her to “take her into her shuttle” and very nearly succeeds before Inara realizes she is a no-good rotten liar.


In the next episode, our boys! From the definitely gay ones (hello Lafayette from True Blood and Renly Baratheon from Game of Thrones) to the ones that don’t give a damn either way, (Jack Harkness flirts with anything that moves and Deadpool is well…. Deadpool) we have some wonderful representation in these handsome hunks. Stay tuned for even more glorious queerness to come.

Posted in Ali

Hidden in Plain Sight: Anxiety and OCD

For as long as I can remember, people have always remarked on how happy I am. And it’s true; I am genuinely an incredibly happy person. I have never suffered from depression, never gotten discouraged for long when bad things happened. In fact, this was one of the qualities my ex hated about me. She would be angry or freaking out, and I would tell her that everything would be okay, and here are the reasons why! Yeah, that did not go over well. I love life, love the spring flowers, the autumn leaves, and the very sight of almost every book I’ve ever seen. I have my bad days like everyone else, and have my heart broken just like the next human, but all in all, I am wonderfully and wholly happy.

What people don’t know about me is that I have terrible anxiety and OCD. Not just the nagging, back of your mind anxiety, but the full-blown panic attacks, lack of sleep, and inability to eat anxiety. I can remember being a young child, maybe five or six, and pretending to have a stomach ache every night so I would be allowed to watch television until I fell asleep, desperately trying to drown out the horror movie in my mind.

Your parents don’t love you.
You hurt someone’s feeling because you did or didn’t do something.
What happens if everyone you love dies?
You make everyone sad and they’ll leave you.

Every. Single. Night.

This bled into my teenage and adult years, worsening as time went on. The story line of my racing brain changed with time but didn’t get any kinder or calmer. There are certain shows I can’t watch, or certain phrases that I can’t un-hear and will play in my head for hours after. There was a night a few weeks ago when Adam laid with me on the couch at 3am while I sobbed into his arms about something that didn’t even happen but that I couldn’t stop imagining and replaying in my head.

I am always afraid that I’ve done too much or not enough. It plays into my OCD so badly that I will make the same list over and over just to make sure I wrote it in the best, most efficient way possible. The OCD fuels my dermatillomania (obsessive skin picking disorder) until the skin between my fingers are dripping blood and I don’t even realize I’ve hurt myself. When my need for control takes over and I feel like the only thing I can control is my calorie intake, it drops well below 1000 while I count the calories in every single carrot I put in my mouth. I work out five days a week and will walk around the house aimlessly until I reach my step goal.

People don’t believe me when I tell them I have anxiety because I look so happy. They often say things like “yeah, everyone gets a little anxious sometimes.” I think about the night before, staring at the clock clearly stating that it’s two in the morning while my worst nightmares play out vividly through my head.

Anxiety is no small thing, my darlings. Take care of yourself and talk to someone if this sounds like anything you’re going through. Learn ways to ease the panic, see a doctor, take a walk in the woods. There is nothing wrong with the solution you find, whether that’s through medication or yoga. Do not let anyone shame you for seeking what you need.

Here are some of the things I do to help when my anxiety monster rears its ugly head.

  1. Crochet or knit. I have this huge blanket I’ve been working on for months. At this rates it’s going to be big enough for two king sized beds lined up side by side. It keeps my hands busy, and my mind focused on something other than my fears.
  2. Remember that there is nothing you can do about the past or the future. Most of the pain we experience in life is worrying about things that never even happen.
  3. Take a bath- for some people this is a great, relaxing experience, for other’s it allows too much free thinking time.
  4. Participate in consistent self-care; take days off, drink some tea, grab a coloring book.
  5. Two words: Weighted Blanket. Have something holding you to earth when your mind tries to fly away with itself.
  6. Plant something. There’s something about getting out in the sunshine, soaking up some vitamin D, and getting your hands in the dirt that soothes the soul.
  7. Hug a loved one. Sometimes I don’t even tell them anything is wrong, just wrap up in their arms and hold on tight.
  8. Set a bedtime routine. If anxiety is keeping you up, you don’t need anything else messing with your sleep schedule. Put the phone down an hour before bed time, drink some calming tea, and try to go to bed the same time every night.
  9. Teach your loved ones how to help you. Some people need their loves to tell them why everything is okay, and why your fears won’t happen. Some people just need tight squeezes and a safe place to cry. Make sure they know that trying to talk you out of your obsessive behaviors won’t necessarily help.
  10. Cuddle a pup.
  11. Be gentle with yourself.

Anxiety, like any other mental illness, is scary and hard. Know that there are people who love you, and that you are so, so important. Be patient with yourself while you figure out things that help, and take the time you need to take care of yourself. There is light at the end of the tunnel. For every night I’ve spent in an anxious blur, there has been a morning where I know absolutely everything is okay, and wonderful. You are not broken. Support yourself and support each other. And know that this beautiful world wouldn’t be as lovely as it is without you in it.

Posted in Ali

Queer Visability

The lesbian head nod. This was a right of passage I finally got after cutting off all of my hair, tattooing my chest, and wearing cargo shorts into Whole Foods. She was with her girlfriend, lazily picking through the kale, when I passed. Her hair was shorter than mine, she had a shirt that said “too queer for this shit,” and she nodded at me and smiled as I prodded every avocado in a three-foot radius.

This was a life changing moment for me.

I still remember the feeling of walking through the mall holding my girlfriend’s hand for the first time. I felt on top of the world and I almost wanted someone to say something so I could loudly and proudly tell them to suck it.

Coming from a small town where you did not come out, period, I did a complete 360 when I got to a bigger city. I traded my near waist-length hair and long skirts for a faux-hawk and seven different gay bumper stickers, one of which said, “sorry I missed church, I was busy practicing witchcraft and becoming a lesbian.”

When I came out, I came OUT. I went back to my hometown once in those first few years for a funeral and was told immediately by my dad, “for the love of all things holy, please act straight.” The next day I went to Pride in my new city with a rainbow painted across my forehead.

Being out was something I was incredibly proud of. After years of hiding in the closest, hating myself for who I loved, and letting everyone else tell me how to live my life, I was officially free to tell the world who I was. And as far as I was concerned, that was the most lesbian-y lesbian that ever existed.

Flash forward a few years, Rife and I had just gotten married. We went to a courthouse in Indiana because gay marriage wasn’t allowed here yet. We were sitting on the bed, discussing all of the logistics of his transition, and the doctor he would start seeing in a few weeks. There was never a moment we questioned him doing it. From the second he told me he wanted to transition, it was a done deal. His gender didn’t play a part in my love for him, and girl or boy I would always love him completely. There was only one single worry that ever crossed my mind: I was going to look straight.

I switched from saying I was a lesbian to saying I was queer, since technically my sexuality was now bi. And as the months went on, old people started smiling at us in restaurants again. There was a sweet old lady at our favorite breakfast spot that stopped on her way out the door to tell me how wonderful it was that I found myself a “good godly man” and to hang on to him.

Flash forward again to the wonderful life I now have. No matter which one of my beautiful boys I am out with, people see me as straight. My hair has grown out again, and even though I’m even more covered in tattoos, that doesn’t stop people from seeing what they assume about any strangers they see: they must be totally straight, normal people. We are far, far from normal, and we love every second of it.

 There may be many reasons why you want to be out and proud, or you may want no one to know at all, and neither of those is wrong. However, if there is a reason the world doesn’t see your queer side, and you really wish that they would, here are some things that might help:

  1. Connect with other queer people. Whether it’s in person, at meetings and support groups, or only online and anonymously, reach out to others who know the struggles that you do.
  2. If your family and friends can’t know, try to find just one person to be open with. There are no words for how freeing it is to finally say out loud, to someone else, “I’m gay.”
  3. Go to Pride. Put on your rainbow bandana, your “some chicks marry chicks” shirt, and strut your stuff.
  4. Stay connected to the community. Don’t feel like you are no longer welcome just because you’re dating someone of the opposite gender. This is how bi erasure happens.
  5. Put on the gayest outfit you have and go out for coffee. Go to the movies. Go buy some books. And be proud every time someone gives you that sideways glance of confusion.

Be proud of your beautiful, queer selves, friends. Don’t let anyone make you feel like you are anything less than the magical gods and goddess and gender-queer deities that you are.

Posted in Ali

How I Lost Religion and Found God

The Backstory

I was raised in that good ole, small town, religious atmosphere. Everyone you knew was a Christian, and if they weren’t it was okay, you were going to bring them a plate of spaghetti and the gospel after Wednesday night services. My dad preached, my mom had me baptized when I was in first grade. I went to church at least twice a week, attended a Christian school, and went on to a Christian college.

Scratch that. I followed a girl I was in love with to a Christian college.

I remember the first time my parents had asked about her, in that suspicious, slightly panicky way. They knew her well, as we spent almost every weekend together and every weekday talking on the phone after school. We had just returned from a church trip and I was sitting in front of my computer showing my mom all of the photos I had taken that weekend.

“And look at this one. Doesn’t she look cute?”

There was pure fear in her eyes.

Fast forward to college. I’m taking a couple theology classes, discussing different verses in their original Greek. I’m realizing that most of what I read growing up wasn’t actually correct. (Did you know there isn’t actually “hell” as we think of it mentioned anywhere in the Bible?) And on top of that I’m going to therapy. I have come to accept without a doubt that I like girls. So the only thing to do at that point was fix it. Spoiler alert: that didn’t work at all.

Following was a year of complete chaos. I was losing my faith, terrified of what that meant, and hating myself all while officially dating a girl for the first time. It was a year of secrets and fear and wishing I could just be “normal.”

The Breakdown

It’s two days after Christmas and my mom and I are wandering around in Macy’s. I’m home for winter break and therefore had seen the aforementioned girlfriend a few days prior. Not big on subtlety, she had left a hickey on my neck that I had been desperately trying to cover up with makeup since.

We were standing in the middle of all of the coats, and my mom reaches over and points to it. “So who gave you the hickey?”

I panic. I think of at least five different lies and try to decide which one she is least likely to suspect. And then I get a crazy idea: why not tell her the truth? Maybe it won’t go as badly as I think it will. So I muster up all of the courage I have and say, “I’ll tell you in the car.”

To say she cried the entire way home would be an understatement. There was complete sobbing, a lot of apologizing, and a few minutes of silence before the tears resumed. We sat in the driveway for a long time before she told me I had to tell my father. I walked in and hugged my little brother, cried on him like a baby for a few minutes, and then stood at the bottom of the stairs leading up to my parent’s room.

I remember every single step. I forced myself to breathe as I stared at each one, willing my feet to move.

We didn’t talk long. He gave me the ultimatum of “get help” or lose my family. Since I had already tried therapy, praying over and over to be different, and finally came around to accepting who I was; “getting help” wasn’t going to work. It was a terrible night, and I still can see the porch light fading as I drove my car and a bag of clothes to my girlfriend’s house.

The Breakthrough

It took me three whole years to finally escape the feeling that I was somehow inherently wrong. It’s hard to relearn and undo what you had been taught into adulthood. But with patience, lots of reading, and a few good cry sessions, I made it out on the other side. I met so many wonderful people – Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Atheists – all who showed me religion does not make you a good person, your spirit does. I stopped living in shame and started loving out of joy instead of fear of an unknown and angry god. I read books about spiritualities that resonated with my soul and felt like home. I found home within myself.

The Beliefs

I still believe in a higher power: an energy, a life force. Every living thing: plants, animals, and people all have this divinity inside of them. I don’t believe you need to go to church to find god. I believe people are good, and that love is beautiful. I believe that telling people they will be eternally condemned if they don’t believe the way you do is wrong, and that taking care of each other is our duty on this planet. I believe each and every lifetime after this I will find my loves again, and that life is breathtaking.

For those of you in the same situation I was, things will get better. I know it’s scary, and you feel alone, but there is a light at the end of this tunnel. The rate of homelessness among LGBTQ+ youth is staggering. According to the True Colors Fund “In America, it is estimated that 1.6 million youth are homeless each year and that up to 40% of them identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender.” That is an incredibly high percentage. 

There is nothing wrong with you. You are not evil, or corrupt. You are beautiful and divine, no matter who you love. It’s hard to know your worth when you grow up in an environment that tells you otherwise. If you are struggling, reach out. Whether it be to a trusted friend, a mentor, or even to us. Your life is precious and the world wouldn’t be the same without you.

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

Resources for LGBTQ Youth by State

Posted in Ali

Inanimately Poly

There are so many small details that make poly beautiful. Of course there are the big things like having two partners, having two people to come home to, having more in-laws and family than you know what to do with. But there are also the little things: the three cups of coffee sitting next to each other on the kitchen counter, three pairs of snowy shoes slowly creating dingy puddles by the front door. There are three different handwritings on the magnetic dry erase board on the fridge, and the dogs get to lose their minds three separate times a day as people come and go and get jumped on by excited paws and wagging tails. It’s a beautiful life we live.

We all occasionally forget to inform the others of what seeds we’re buying and end up with multiple packets of basil seeds lining the counter in preparation for spring. When one is sick the other two promptly make use of every burner on the stove- heating soup, warming the teakettle, boiling water mixed with eucalyptus oil to help the whole house breathe better. Occasionally one of the fur babies will forget that the fence is a rather stern suggestion and there are three voices yelling their name as we stomp around the neighborhood, promising to never let them off leash again if they don’t return immediately. There are extra lines added to the “emergency contact” section on doctors notes, extra socks missing pairs. There is so much love contained in this small Kentucky house.

And then there is the bullet journaling. There are so many pens, highlighters, stickers, sharpies, extra paper, things to trace, things we’ve started and never finished. With three of us we needed an entire tote to dedicate to corralling all of our extra supplies. There are two boys to steal shirts and hoodies from, two boys to threaten people with when they make unwanted moves in my direction. There are photos on every wall, succulents tucked away in every spot that gets sunlight. The bookshelves are packed with the childhood stories, multiple copies of all the Harry Potters, and bent covered editions of Jane Austen.

There are two “we love you! You can do it!” text responses when I’m having a bad day, two separate streams of highly applicable GIFS to every life situation. The couch is often covered in as many blankets as the bed to keep us all warm on movie nights. (Ryder needs to be tucked in too.) There are extra dishes to be done, extra laundry to fold, and extra minutes spent looking for lost wallets or phones. There are three of us to negotiate dinner (and if we make pasta again, Rife might take over dinner entirely), three people to debate whether or not to get gas on their way home. Three “goodnights!” as we all tuck in to go to sleep. Three different angles of the same sunset we’re watching. Three different views on the latest news.

Whoever said that two is company and three is a crowd was wrong. At our house, three is a family. Three is perfection. Three is the number of beings who will spend their lives together, carving out their own piece of paradise on this beautiful planet.

Posted in Adam, Ali, Personal, Rife

Our Love is like an Octopus

This week, Ali and Adam learned that octopuses have three hearts. Now, we all enjoy a bit of useless trivia, but this particular tidbit of information struck a chord. We have a longtime joke that poly is really just being sassed in surround sound, but truly, it must be closer to the existence of an octopus: three hearts and a lot of arms. We are all pretty funny people(though Rife may disagree and think that he isn’t), but we’ve suspended the usual wit for a bit of sentimental squish in honor of Valentine’s month.

If you do not enjoy the lovey-dovey, squishy romance that this month represents, turn back now. Run. Flee! For this week we have decided to each answer some questions of the squishy romance variety. 

1. What is your favorite thing about your partners?

Rife: Adam is so easy to just be myself with; I never have to put on a show for him. He’s like the master of unconditional positive regard. There’s not a part of myself I worry he won’t love. And Ali, she just has this beautiful childlike wonder and optimism. Everything feels brighter through her eyes.

Ali: My favorite thing about Rife is his softness. He is always so gentle and caring. The world is such a harsh place and he is so sweet despite it all. My favorite thing about Adam is his passion. He loves with all of his heart and wants so much out of life. He chases his dreams no matter what obstacles are in his way.

Adam: Honestly it’s really tough to choose a favorite thing about either of them, but I’m going to give it a go. For Rife, I’d have to say my favorite thing is his steadiness. He isn’t prone to panic and flitting between things the way I tend to be. He holds the course, and when I find myself lost and drifting, I can always look to him to find my way back. For Ali, it’s the magic she brings back into life. Remember the way the world felt when you were a kid? That’s what Ali breathes back into in these jaded old bones of mine.

2. What is one of your favorite memories with your partners?

Rife: Almost too many to choose, I feel like this isn’t fair. The first that comes to mind is from my very first trip to Colorado, and the first time I met Adam. We spent those few days desperately trying to hold onto the moment. I remember sitting on top of this ridge, overlooking the hills and the interstate, holding hands, and wanting to stay so much longer than I knew we could. And Ali, I think one of my most favorite experiences was the time we got stuck hiking in the middle of a crazy summer storm. We’d hiked probably two miles down to the river at Raven’s Run when the sky started to grow dark. We turned back, but too late. First the rain came, and then the severe weather sirens. We ran back through the mud and lighting and wind, soaked to the bone, holding hands and laughing like we weren’t in danger.

Ali: One of my favorite memories with Rife is our spring hike in the Pinnacles last year. There were wild flowers everywhere and the weather was perfect. We spent all day playing and taking a hundred pictures and soaking up the sunshine. It was amazing. One of my favorite memories with Adam is the day we spent in the Arboretum. We took the good camera and took silly pictures of each other, caught Pokemon, and spent almost an entire hour trying to find what I called “the faery spot,” a few wooden pews in the middle of the woods that looked like magical ceremonies took place there.

Adam: Our cross country road trip. This applies to both of them. Not only was that the trip when I moved to finally be living with them, but it was our first road trip together and the longest road trip I had ever been on. They flew out to Utah to help me load Ryder and the last of my few possessions into my Pathfinder before the four of us made the drive from southern Utah to central Kentucky. The miles we logged on that trip will forever be some of my favorite miles traveled. Even Kansas. We joke now about how awful driving through Kansas (the long way, from the western border to the eastern border) was, but let’s be honest: if your relationship can survive being stuck in a car together all the way through Kansas, it’s a solid relationship. I’ve got a heart full of wanderlust, and getting to share that long of a trip out on the open road with two of the most important people in my life is definitely making it on my highlight reel.

3. What are some of your favorite things to do together?

Rife: I always love exploring with both of them, usually some dirt trail in the middle of a tiny town. I love making things with them too: sewing shirts, planting things, taking photos.

Ali: Rife and I love to hike together. We find beautiful places to explore, spend the day getting lost there, and dream of the day we can live in the middle of it all. Adam and I like to camp out in coffee shops, catching Pokemon and comparing our highest CPs while talking each other’s head off for hours. I absolutely love it.

Adam: Hiking, exploring, traveling, napping, snugging up on the couch to watch TV or read, preparing meals together, laughing at the dogs when they do weird things… Honestly, how am I supposed to pick? Anything we do together, whether trivial or adventurous, is made better and brighter when we do it together.

4. What is your favorite physical feature of your partners?

Rife: Ali has the best smile, it lights up her entire face. Gosh, and her eyes too. Such bright eyes. Adam’s got bright eyes, too. Both of them looking at me with these striking eyes and beautiful smiles. Adam’s also got these perpetually soft lips.

Ali: My favorite physical feature of Rife’s is his smile. He has the most gentle and genuine smile I’ve ever seen. For Adam, it’s his eyes. His eyes are so bright and so blue, and light up when he sees something he loves. He looks like a kid on Christmas morning when the first snow falls or there is a particularly cute puppy in the car next to us.

Adam: Butts. Both of ’em. You can’t just not acknowledge butts that great.

5. What is something you’re looking forward to doing with your partners in the future?

Rife:I feel like our future is full of bright plans. Live somewhere where we’re surrounded by nature, grow some things, maybe make some things and sell them. Be together and just take it all in.

Ali: I absolutely cannot wait to homestead together. Find a big plot of land, build a house that’s perfect for the three of us, and raise some babies on this wild earth.

Adam: Carving a small space out of this planet that’s just for us. Always having Ali and Rife to come home to any time my wanderlust builds up and I need to venture out. Naming newly rescued dogs. Being the one to teach any and all kids in our lives to be rebellious but kind, and to never stop yearning for more adventure and knowledge. 

We hope your Monday was a good one and that the rest of the week goes well! Love to you and yours.

Posted in Ali

Thick Thighs and Renaissance Painters

Body positivity is a hard concept to quantify. I have thought on many occasions that I finally had at least the idea down. First I realized that even though my body wasn’t what I wanted it to be, that was okay. I was going to get there. And the fact that I was working toward my goal was enough to be positive about. As long as I knew I was trying my best to get in shape, I was doing it right.   

Then I thought, no that’s not it. It’s loving my body even though it’s not where I want it to be, no matter if I would get there or not. I could still think my thighs needed to shrink, but as long as I loved my body now too, then I had reached the pinnacle of body positivity. The words “even though” were used a lot in this stage.

“I love my body even though my tummy is rounder than I want it to be.”

“I love my body even though it would be really nice to get rid of the stretch marks.”

“I love my body even though other people probably wish I was skinnier, and even though this isn’t what the world sees as beautiful.”

Even though.

And now I’ve finally broken into the idea of the third stage. I love my body, period. There aren’t “even though”s because there isn’t anything wrong with my body now. Fuck what the world thinks about beauty and the standards fashion industries have set. The way society judges beauty changes with every passing year. These thighs of mine would have brought Renaissance painters to their knees.

I’m not great at following through with the idea yet, but at least I’m starting to understand it. I’ve started to do things that I never would have done before. For instance, Adam told me his hands were cold a couple evenings ago and I put them against my stomach and bent over until there were tummy rolls warming up his fingers. “Warm tummy to the rescue!” I had proclaimed before I had the chance to be horrified at myself. The familiar feeling of oh god, I want this person to actually be attracted to me, happened, but only briefly. Before my brain could spiral out of control, he tugged my shirt up higher and ran his other hand across the softness of it. “I love this tummy.” And he meant it. Slowly but surely I’m learning to as well.

It’s a strange but common situation when you view yourself completely different than you view other people. I love curves. I don’t think they are just okay, or that people are pretty even though. I love them. I look at my friends and their curvy hips and soft bodies and think they look like Aphrodite. Beautiful. Stunning. So I am trying to see myself through the same eyes I see them.

Despite my growth in the body-loving thought process, I still have bad days. The key is to figure out what helps you get through those bad days. Here is a list of things that help me:

  • looking at photos of other people who have a similar body shape to mine, and noting how beautiful they are
  • putting on an outfit that makes me feel good about myself, and then strutting down to the kitchen in it to grab some yummy things
  • soaking up some sunshine and reading a good book (preferably about an awesome lead character that says “fuck you” to the world’s standards and goes on a great adventure)
  • scrolling through some of my favorite body positive tumblrs and instagrams (bodyposipanda is the absolute best)
  • reminding myself that my body is doing an amazing job, and that it takes great care of me

Be patient with yourself as you follow your own body-loving adventure. It takes time to undo what the world has told us repeatedly since we were five. But know that you are so, so beautiful exactly as you are. No matter what shape or size, no matter if you have all of the curves or no curves at all, you are perfect.