When I google Nomadic Polyamory, it brings up tales of world travelers, finding love in corners of the earth when our presence there is fleeting. That is not what I mean by Nomadic Polyamory, but it is a phrase I have started to casually use as the best descriptor I can find of my current lifestyle. If this is somehow problematic or misrepresentative, I am open to new ways of describing creative living.
This is the most familiar and comfortable way I have of living currently. I started really living this way I think a few years ago but it was messy and without structure. Only now I am starting to realize that it is a unique way of being worth discussing and talking about, especially as it is an adaptation to make city living more accessible for me. For all of my teen years and most of my young adult life I have lived with chronic kneecap dislocations which could surprisingly hinder my ability to get around at inopportune moments. Add regular falls as a result and an assault within an abusive relationship; chronic pain has also come up as a factor that sometimes hinders my ability to get around. My parents were never down with polyamory (sexuality in general really) and definitely not a casual party-esc lifestyle. I floated around a lot in my earlier youth, I had various home bases and places I considered my own for safe crashing. Casual flings entered this territory, and early on, when I was fortunate enough to have a car this meant me getting around the city easily and sleeping in different places throughout the week. A lover here, a lover there and the home I shared with my first live together boyfriend.
Right now I live with none of my romantic partners, but spend a couple nights a week with each of them. I no longer have a car, which means I am reliant on busing and public transport. One of my partners lives close to work and it started to come up as a sort of practical urgency to be able to settle in whenever I visited. Cue winter and travel becomes more treacherous for me, having a place nearby to crash on winter nights when the commute home looked difficult became an adaptive measure. I would know that I would be burnt out in my efforts at coordination. In the last year or so I have started to adapt to my knee dislocations instead of coping with privately and shaming myself for it; from this I have been able to go without any dislocations for the longest period in my life since the issue started. Part of this adaptation is calling for help when it is snowing and my shoes aren’t right for the slippery walk home or simply choosing to “land” somewhere closer until I have had time to recoup my spoons and capacity. “Landing” has become an even more essential concept and word I frequently use (Can I “land” with you tonight?). Landing is the word I am using in lue of crashing. Landing is gentle and welcome. Landing is like arriving at a homing nest. Landing is making the place I rest a temporary home. Landing is what happens when it becomes something more than crashing, these are places I know, that if I had some urgency, I could sleep there. The best and first experience I had of truly landing was when I left an abusive partner I had recently started living with. It was a few weeks of a sort of homelessness, an experience too many queer people are familiar with. I “landed” at the home of a good friend, made my home out of their TV room, with a few belongings of my own (most was carted off and stored at my brothers condo until I could get a new home). But at this place, in this moment, I was an adult making home space in anothers family home that was not my own family, as I could not go back to living with my parents (it was desperation at wanting a place not with my pare that had me landing in the abusive situation to begin with). I had welcome access to the fridge and food much like I would with my own family, with out the bickers of sharing groceries like what may be the case with roommates. It was not just visiting them socially, it was living my life and having that be a home base to me. I think this is around when I started dreaming of what now is coming into being as my ideal lifestyle, at least for now. I wanted to have bases around the city, places I could land. Now with more serious relationships underway, this has started to become a real possibility. My own homespace is not shared with any lovers, just friends, but we serve as a base to friends displaced and couch surfers, this became quite common. I lived in a large conscious vegan communal home for a short period too, where people would also “land” for short periods of time, sometimes only a few weeks in the midst of greater travels. The smaller space I share with one roommate and a few neighbors takes on a life of its own as a living space that accommodates friends in their travels. I became used to sharing my home with others, displaced temporarily, to the amount that we were able without it draining on us. As such, I would also find myself fleeing when the situation felt too complicated or alone time difficult to nurture. Now, I see how I overflow in my own space and long to nest in different places. My partners have started opening their doors to me in new ways, no longer just spending the night and crashing after sex, I wanted to make home with them, not just staying there like a perpetual emergency, this was ongoing. This means that for me as a creative person, I would be able to work on projects or pursue goals in my partners spaces.
My most well known and applauded spoken word poem speaks of living in “backpacks and heavy purses” because as a creative person always feeling displaced I found myself dragging projects, books and ideas between places, but never was able to let these books settle, nor me settle into reading them or settle into creative work. (And ultimately, I hurt myself carrying the weight of my dreams and desires around).
Now I am at a stage of life where it has become a welcome concept for me to build home with my partners, to settle in my creativity, to share what is mine with them until it becomes ours.
Suddenly the mess on my floor makes sense, because I have enough wardrobe hoarded to make home in many places, where closet space and bookshelves will be allotted to me and shared with me. My excessive furniture no longer seems excessive at all, but enough to spread out as I spread my wings like a migrating bird.
I was explaining my life to someone recently, explaining that I might sleep in three or four different places in a week and this person said, I would have trouble sleeping in unfamiliar places and I said, none of these places are unfamiliar….
All of them are “home”.