This image is from the latest batch of #BadHareArt photos that Craig and I collaborated on the other day, including No. 1. Slippery When Wet and No. 9. Hugs – #SoSS. The weather was warm but not hot and we had an easy walk and talk, punctuated by shooting footage of the environment and of me hugging trees and lolling around on the ground in various states of déshabillé. Back at his house we spent a couple of hours going through shots and discussing filter options. It was a fascinating opportunity to see his post production work and discuss aesthetics. And on the Friday just past we did more of this, going back over photos taken around the same time last year. Seated side by side in front of his computer we are learning so much about our respective creative approaches and our relationship.
I/We have also begun to address some of my body insecurities as we review the photographs CM has taken. It’s quite a revelation looking at photographs such as the one featured in No. 7. A Midsummer Night’s Dream? and discussing what I do and don’t like about my body with a partner who is invested in me creatively and emotionally as a dear friend, but not sexually. There are no reassuring platitudes, but he is sensitive to the fact that I have sensitivities. And I’m slowly coming around to the idea that he finds me interesting to photograph even though I’m no longer young, conventionally sexually attractive or his lover.
This is an example of the way our companionship is evolving since I made the choice to relinquish my interest in pursuing a sexual relationship with CM. My choice has enabled him to relax more (his words and my observations) and increased his trust in our connection. The lessening of tension seems to be complementing his anti-depressants and together they are fostering his ability to engage more fully with life once again. It’s a joy to see him happy for a change, to tease and be teased by him, and to see the man I caught glimpses of last year when we first met.
I am feeling more secure as well, though this has also been a challenge. We are now happily in regular contact, swapping details of our daily lives, and the new openness is helping us to avoid misunderstandings. Our physical contact remains and has become more varied – the delicious hugs continue and our casual touching is less hesitant. Our talk is not chaste, we flirt and there is no flinching from matters sexual. Tellingly I am now allowed around to the business end of the kitchen bench although I’m still more than happy to sip tea and openly perve across the bench at CM as he’s being domestic. (We both agree it’s not my forté.)
We are planning trips to galleries and music events as well as more photo shoots. The “precious friendship” embodied in my ‘act of faith’ tattoo is coming slowly to fruition.
It all seems very vanilla but it’s a world away from my past experiences because of the communication between us and the differing approaches, choices and expectations our companionship allows. There are increasingly open conversations about how we want and need to be in each others lives for the foreseeable future, but not live together. Given that we are, at the moment, separately considering future housing options, this is challenging, as houses are not cheap in our area, and one or both of us may end up deciding to move some distance away.
And there has been some serious thought around how I might attend to my sexual and sexual intimacy needs if using toys is not sufficient. I’ve made it clear to him that from my POV he is my primary companion and anybody else I might be planning to fuck would need to understand and accept that or there would be no fuckery – kinky or otherwise. In turn he appreciates and reciprocates my stance, while having no intention of fucking anyone. So our commitment to each other is deepening even while I/we seem to be moving toward an ethical poly-amorous situation.
At one stage letting go of my original desire seemed to involve a painful process of loss. However CM’s ethical stance and steadfast commitment to our initial agreement (even when he was very ill), coupled with my own willingness to stay in the process and remain open to him even when my own anxieties were telling me to give up, has created a new pathway. For both of us life has gained a sense of hope and future possibility suggesting that our/my choices to date were and are worthwhile.