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Disruptive Love.

May 22, 2019

You’re disruptive.

He said it over and over again, with a smile.

You’re disruptive.

When we were speaking on tour, talking about how I’d changed his life. In private, when he remarked on a new experience he’d had with me, or a decision he’d made as a result of our relationship that surprised him. Always with a gleeful smile.

You’re disruptive.

When someone else was hurting from a choice he’d made. When there was conflict.

I told him to stop. I told him I hated it. I told him it hurt.

He didn’t stop. He’d wheedle. Smile. It was just harmless teasing, you know? How could I complain?

Except it hurt, and I asked him to stop, and he didn’t.

It hurt, because it was a constant reminder that other people were hurting because of me.

Other people were hurting because of me.

Because of me.

This was the framing I internalized. That I was responsible. I was the disrupter. And this relationship…was just like, some kind of unstoppable train that we had no choice but to ride. Nor anyone else.

I didn’t understand, then, what he was doing. I didn’t see it as part of the larger pattern of ignoring my boundaries, ignoring what I said was hurting, but more than anything, making me responsible for his choices.

The first time I was ‘with’ Franklin in any capacity, I remember asking him ‘is Celeste OK with this?’ and he said ‘I don’t know,’ and I remember this just inner screaming, but I didn’t have good context at the time to know how incredibly incredibly shitty a thing that was to do to me, like it was the beginning of me internalizing responsibility for shit that wasn’t my responsibility. And then it just became par for the course.

That’s what Amber, his first “game changer,” said to me, months after my own relationship with him was over.

Our relationship was just so special. Sure, I knew what it looked like. It fit the “homewrecker” narrative—the same one Amber had been subjected to. But others just didn’t understand. They didn’t see our bond. How we fit together. The way we could bring amazing things into the world together.

That other woman? It was just so sad, really. They had tried, but they just weren’t that compatible (he said). They didn’t want the same things (he said). Didn’t speak the same language (he said). And you know, she was just kind of unstable. She couldn’t really handle his way of doing poly.

If he tells you what’s wrong with her, how she did not love him the way he needed her to, how she failed to fix that teensy broken part that makes you love him so much, that is not romance. That is planting seeds in a field of horseshit.Mo Daviau

I endured the sidelong glances. The eyerolls. The subtweets and vaguebooking from her friends. They just didn’t get it. It looked like that, but it wasn’t. We were special. I was special. A game changer.

“You are not special,” said the warnings from the women who had lived this same story—and I shook my head. Not me. This is different.

“Was there anything we could have said to you, to warn you?” they asked me later—my friends, my family, the ones who’d read the signs from thousands of miles away or across the room. “Is there anything we could have done to prevent this?”

There wasn’t anything they could have said. They didn’t understand. It wasn’t what it looked like. It was different. Special.

But I wasn’t. No one is.

A well-placed story will save your head.

And I promise I will give my story to you, dear one, when the time comes and you need it like medicine.Mo Daviau

I have said before: It was stories that saved me (if I’ve been saved—sometimes, I’m still not sure). From the first one, the first disrupter, the first “game changer”—and from the others. So many others. And now you can read them too. Please do.

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