A lack of awareness is hurting us all.

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Photo by Soroush Karimi on Unsplash

I didn’t learn what Polyamory was until after college. Only once in high school do I remember encountering the phrase ‘open-relationship’ in writing, and it was in a relationship status of a distant facebook friend. While I freely kissed both boys and girls in the hallways of school, I strictly conformed to the monogamy narrative as I knew it. I wasn’t aware there were any other options.

It wasn’t until late high school that this became an issue. I first cheated when I was dating my girlfriend of the time, and met another girl when I was away from home…

It’s definitely about money.

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Photo by Christian Fregnan on Unsplash

I have an ex-boyfriend who’s rich. Like –– really rich. His family owns a ton of property in New York City. He lives in a house they own, and is paid a full-time salary with benefits by the company they own. It’s apparent that he’s wealthy, especially to his close friends, who bear witness to his ability to throw money at just about every problem.

As a friend says, to someone wealthy enough, a $250 parking ticket is just the cost it is to park there.

For someone who needs to work to pay bills, it was a little off-putting…

When sickness grants skinniness.

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Photo by Brooke Cagle on Unsplash

A few years back, my sister was diagnosed with a chronic auto-immune like disease. The diagnostic process was deeply traumatizing. Over a year, her doctors attempted several methods of treatment, resulting in heightened anxiety, panic attacks, dangerous drug reactions, two ambulance rides, and at least one instance of hospitalization.

It wasn’t until they landed on the most extreme, yet most effective, form of medication that her symptoms actually became manageable and the side effects not dangerous.

Other than the side effect of her dropping 40 pounds in 6 months.

As a straight-size girl who’d always felt she was 10-30+ pounds more than she’d prefer to be, you better bet she was delighted.

But she was still dealing with so much of the trauma…

Fully grown men shouldn’t yell at teenagers.

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Photo by Molly Belle on Unsplash

I was a senior in high school driving home, going down the familiar suburban neighborhood streets with little to no traffic. There was a car in front of me, olive green, one of those weird, ugly, boxy ones with a spare wheel hitched up asymmetrically onto the back.

The car slowed down and pulled slightly to the side, starting what looked like to be a turn into the cul-de-sac on his right side. He was turning pretty slowly, so I pulled out a little to the left to drive around him.

Turned out he was pulling out wide to make a left turn into a driveway to the left of us.

We nearly collided, but my good ol’ 1995 Mazda…

It shouldn’t be the default.

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Photo by Diego Rezende on Unsplash

When I first started dating at 13, I played by the rules. One partner at a time. Intimacy means exclusivity. Jealousy is not only normal, but expected. And breaking monogamy is hands-down the worst offense in a relationship.

It took me about 6 years to figure out that it didn’t work for me.

It was a rocky path to discovery. Over that time, I cheated on multiple people multiple times. I lacked empathy for others’ jealousy because I felt so little myself, and I never wanted to be with only one person at a time. …

Or dentists, or optometrists, or OBGYNs…

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Photo by Ben Duchac on Unsplash

I have a problem with male authority figures.

Really, I have a problem with any men thinking they have authority over me. But in my experience, male doctors tend to take it to another whole level.

It’s happened too often in my life. It still happens too often in my life. Most of my life has been overrun with men having or acting like they have authority over me. If I can avoid it, I will. If I can support and give power to a female doctor, who is more likely to listen to me and respect me, I will every time.

Doctors certainly feel like authority figures.

And they are, in a way

I used to wear the label as a badge of honor.

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Photo by freestocks.org on Unsplash

Most people I’ve dated have called me low-maintenance. Of those, mostly, it’s been men.

And they always say it like it’s a relief. Like they secretly knew all along that other girls were asking too much from them.

They’re so congratulatory about it — as if handing me the Best Girlfriend So Far award. Sometimes they even thank me for it.

“Thank you for being so good with all of this, I’ve noticed you’re surprisingly, I don’t know… Low-maintenance.”

And I’ll think I’ve done it. I’ve won. I’m not crazy and unreasonable like all the others. …

A quest to find something more

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Photo by Gregory Pappas on Unsplash

The other day I woke up with that feeling.

The feeling makes it difficult to get out of bed. Difficult to lift my arms, to move at all. Like my limbs are being pushed toward the earth, pushed enough that with time they’d meld into the bedsheets, pulling my consciousness with them.

I’m being dramatic.

It’s the impossible feeling of being trapped in my life as it is now.

Of looking forward to see an infinity mirror expanding endlessly in front of me, filled with days of repetition. …

Instead, let’s find some perspective.

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Photo by Andrew Worley on Unsplash

Before we get ahead of ourselves here, I’m not saying that celebrity donations are a bad thing. I’m not saying celebrities should stop donating money. More wealth and influence spread around is always a good thing. I’m saying I’m sick of people celebrating the ultra rich for donating small percentages of their massive fortunes. I am asking for some perspective.

Let’s look at celebrities for what they are: the persona, or brand image, of their business. While there are real people behind the mask, what you see of a celebrity is a curated brand image designed to attract specific audiences…

The first two years were hell. And then it got better.

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Photo by Kyle Sudu on Unsplash

Three three years ago, when I was 23, I decided to get an IUD. Despite my mom’s cautionary anecdote of her cousin’s traumatic experience with one back in the 70’s, I was sick of the hormones and rigid schedule that birth control pills imposed in my life.

As a person with anxiety, the extra roadblock of having to go to a doctor for a new prescription every year, and then also having to pick them up from a pharmacy, made it difficult for me to keep up with them. They were hard to access. And to make sure I took…

Vanessa Brown

Non-monogamous, queer creative in Brooklyn. Caretaker of two bunnies and a cavalier. (she/her)

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