Saturday, August 25, 2018

The Beginning Part 4

Before I get into the conclusion of my Poly origin story I wanted to state that this week has been extremely chaotic. The threat of Hurricane Lane sent most of the people living here on Oahu into a state of panic since a hurricane hadn’t touched this particular island in years. People had visions of rolling blackouts, flooding, and evacuations in their minds as they descended on every store that possibly could sell food and bottled water. We did lose power for a short while but nothing worth calling my insurance provider over.

Chaos continues with Mace so this week's update will be a sketch page. Click the image above to go to the comic.

Picking up where I left off last week, Shep and I had been married for about seven years when the conversation about experimenting came up. We had talked fairly broadly about my bisexuality and vaguely about the notion pulling another girl into a tryst with us but I wasn't comfortable with sharing my husband.

To clear up any misconception about the nature of our marriage before it gets asked- Shep and I were (and are) happily married. No crazy fights, no ultimatums, just clear communication. We had no secrets and a healthy and active sex life. We share the same hobbies so there was really no real moment of boredom.

I was at my high school reunion and spending time with my old friends, Tammy and Dawn included. Shep was out of town for a business trip. I was having fun and reconnecting with one of my guy friends that I had a crush on. Kevin had vanished after high school to the Army and did a couple of tours in Iraq. After some drinks, he admitted to having a crush on me too. It was crazy and typical, I had spent 2 years of high school single and crushing on this guy! Years later and happily married, he confesses interest. Talk about a little too late.

I laughed about poor timing and texted Shep. Then.. like it was nothing, he told me to go ahead and sleep with Kevin. I was a little tipsy and floored by this suggestion. I didn't understand where it had come from. So, I called Shep to get clarification.

Shep explained that he wanted to give me the opportunity to explore the possibility of being intimate with Kevin because I never had the chance in high school. I had to consider it. Was I ready to be casual about having sex with other people now that I was married? I thought of the idea of losing Shep to another woman, as I had lost others in the past and doubt twisted like a knife in my chest. But I trusted and loved Shep. Would I feel differently about Shep if I slept with another man? Sometimes, the best way to figure something out is to confront it, right?

I weighed these possibilities and insecurities in my mind. Together, we had the decision to try being open with the knowledge that we didn't love each other less. We just wanted to try something different. There was a lot to gain and, a lot to lose. I didn't know when the opportunity would come up again, it took a lot for me to trust someone. Shep had my permission to go hook up with someone on his business trip and I had his to sleep with Kevin or whomever else I wanted to at the reunion.

After my phone call, I pulled Kevin aside and propositioned him. I had my husband's permission and I wanted to explore the possibility with Kevin, if Kevin was game. He was surprised, a little apprehensive and skeptical until I showed him the text. No secrets, no lies, just honesty. Kevin didn't make any promises but we decided to allow the night to progress naturally with us flirting; the reunion had turned into our first date.

Kevin and I ended up in his hotel room. And from what I heard when Shep got home, he had some success as well. The conversation that we had following was interesting. Did we want this open thing to just be casual? Did we want to establish longer relationships? The answer at this point was that we just wanted the variety. We were just going to be open.

Over the time that followed, I realized that this wasn't realistic. For Shep, it's harder to find girls that just want to be casual and only have one night stands. He needed to establish relationships with people to do things with. But there was also the realization that you cannot control how you feel towards anyone. I knew it was possible to be in love with more than one person. The love for one would not diminish the love for another.

So we decided to open ourselves to the opportunity of love with other people. We became polyamorous. Then it was the question of how this was supposed to work. We didn't know anyone else that was poly or even swingers. We knew a bunch of bisexual women and homosexual men. It seemed like no one else wanted to deal with multiple legitimate relationships. We had to go to Google to get an idea of the terminology and literature on this whole poly thing. 

I started reading "Ethical Slut" and came to the conclusion that much of what they proposed in the book were common sense things that Shep and I had already figured out. Being clear and honest about what it is you want and expect from your partner is the key to making any relationship work. We formed plans and strategies for how we would manage our others, whenever we found them. The biggest thing while we were still being casual was using Google Calendar to manage our dates with other people and then making deliberate time for each other. 

There you have it. Shep and I being polyamorous was a logical and natural progression of our relationship. =) 

Saturday, August 18, 2018

The Beginning Part 3

Before I continue, just a reminder that the newest page of the comic is up at
Entry 1, "Rain" sketch preview.
The Beginning Part 3 

I had the notion that because I was his little sister’s friend that Shep would not be interested in me. I was afraid that he would see me as immature the longer we spent time alone with him. I prepared for my first date with Shep full of apprehension. 

The serpent called doubt had thrown its coils around me and tightened as I wondered if Shep had only said “yes” because he felt sorry for me. It was a sob story, I had JUST gotten out of the hospital and my boyfriend had unceremoniously dumped me. Was this just a pity date?

I had dressed and undressed about six times before I finally settled on an outfit that was more me than cute or sexy. I wanted him to take me seriously and to you know, like me. It might have been too low key, just shorts and a fitted Slayer t- shirt, but it was genuinely me.

I paced and fidgeted when eventually sat down on my couch as I waited for Shep to arrive. I thought about driving to meet him at the restaurant but it wasn’t like it was some blind date, I knew the guy for about a year and he was my friend. The idea of driving with him wasn’t all that bad. But I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to keep a serious conversation with him.

Shep showed up a little bit early and we just started talking. I was foolish to have felt so worried. We lost track of time and got a good sense of each other. The conversation carried itself. I am not ashamed to say that we didn’t make it out of the house. It was a steamy beginning to the relationship.

Both of us had been badly hurt and we skirted around using the “love” word. People throw that word around too casually without meaning it to manipulate people into doing what they want. I’ve known guys to drop the “love bomb” to get girls to open their legs and girls to get guys to open their wallets. Or to excuse abusive behavior.

“I only get so upset because I love you so much.”

It’s a goddamn lie.

I swore I would never use that word again unless I meant it.

A year of dating Shep later, probably sooner, I felt it, I was certain that I loved him. I didn’t want to say it unless I was certain. Sam made me question the validity of my feelings, did I ever truly love Sam? I said that I did. I thought that I did. But was it really?

Some people say that you can only love one person, ever. That’s how monogamy is supposed to work. You pick one person to be your shiniest lunchbox, marry them, and that’s it. That’s your one true love, your soulmate. But how do you know when that person is “the one”?

I think determining when what you feel is real is one of the hardest things that you can do. Truth is easily the act of simply being. We know we are alive because we are. We can quantify the minutiae of each moment to validate it: we draw air into our lungs; we can close our eyes and listen to our heart beat, and feel its pulse beneath warm skin- we are alive without saying that we are. Is love truly different?

To quantify it, being in love is like having an addiction. You live for the moment you are with that person and it hurts to be apart. You wait for your next fix- another kiss, another brush of warm fingers against yours, or sometimes, just the sound of their voice over the phone is enough. You can’t imagine your life without them, you just need them, want them to be with you always.

I had never thought about marriage. I never planned my dream wedding. I think the closest I got was putting a Barbie into a wedding dress that my grandma had made for me. So when Shep proposed to me, I was dumbstruck. I said yes but I had absolutely no clue of what to do afterwards.
Luckily, I guess, my mother, Dawn and Tammy took charge and forced me through the whole process of being a bride. I just wanted to be married. My mom wanted this big ceremony, so she planned it and interjected my handful of demands. 

A few months later, we were married. I never imagined our marriage would be anything but monogamous. Things did not evolve until Shep and I had our seventh anniversary as husband and wife...

To be continued in part 4

Saturday, August 11, 2018

The Beginning Part 2

As bad as it was for me, mentally and emotionally. I held onto that relationship. It was one sided in effort but Sam had told me that he loved me and I took that seriously. I wanted it to work. I really did but I was struggling to get him away from the computer and away from April and Holly so I could just be with him.

It all came to a head when I had a breakdown. I was admitted to an inpatient ward. I needed help. I needed something to change. The medication that I was being prescribed wasn’t working and my doctor wasn’t much help. I sat in group and art therapy in an attempt to figure out what it was that I actually felt beside raw. My nerves were on fire. I felt like I had clawed my arms to pieces but there was still skin left to destroy. But as I sat in those sterile white rooms in pajamas and listened to the other people, I realized, that I didn’t belong there.

I knew I was sick. I knew that I needed help. I had come into the ward voluntarily. The others were there because they had actionable problems- they were suicidal, homicidal, needed rehabilitation from drug addictions. In the face of someone whose arms were covered from shoulder to wrist in cut scars, my problems were trivial. I had issues sure, but I didn’t want to stop living. I cared too much about my family to do it. I needed help and the doctors told me that they couldn’t help me. They adjusted my prescription for antidepressants, told me to come in to talk to a counselor to refill my medication. That’s all they could do for me, I was unwell, but I would be fine without them unless I was likely to actually hurt myself.

I am grateful for the perspective. But I was upset because I had been deemed unworthy of help because I was actively trying to get better. I wanted to feel like i had value again. I wanted to feel… wanted.

There is this one thing we learned in group therapy that I still reflect on. I still have the piece of paper they handed me. They called it the “Stages of Recovery” and asked us where we thought we were on it. It is as follows:

“Stage 1:

I walk down the street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless. It isn't my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Stage 2:

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I pretend I don't see it. I fall in again. I can't believe I am in this same place. But it isn't my fault. It still takes a long time to get out.

Stage 3:

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I see it is there. I fall's a habit...but my eyes are open. I know where I am. It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Stage 4:

I walk down the same street. There is a deep hole in the sidewalk. I walk around it.

Stage 5:

I walk down a different street.”

When I was in the hospital I had said I was at Stage 3. I was aware I was in the hole and it was my fault. I hadn’t gotten out of it but I knew why I was there. It was this fact that alienated me from the others in therapy. I recognized that I had the ability to heal myself. I just needed to get out of the damn hole.

Then I got the phone call. Holly called to tell me that she had taken Sam out on a date and slept with him, but she laughed and asked if I minded since we weren’t dating any more. I almost snapped my phone in half. This was a revelation to me. Sam had said we weren’t dating? Why hadn’t anyone, especially Sam told me that it was over?

I said something like, “I guess not.” And hung up. I was reeling. My friend had just laughed at my feelings. Sam hadn’t bothered to get hold of me when I was in the hospital. I did have missed calls from work, Dawn, Tammy, and Lisa. They cared that much, at least. I sat in the dark for a while after Holly’s call. I was angry, dejected and a little bit relieved.

I was free. No more World of Warcraft. No more all day raids. I could never log in and be done with it. If he had written me off enough to fuck someone else, and not actually tell me we had broken up, then fuck him. Holly could have him. I didn’t need him. I felt worthless since I wasn’t even worth a break-up text.

It took me a little while sitting alone in my room to figure out what to do next, after I snapped my game disk and uninstalled that damn game from my computer. My mom came by with cookies and a smile to see how I was doing post hospital and I just couldn’t hide it. I told her what happened with Sam. Mom told me that he was a jerk and suggested that I ask Shep out. He was a nice guy and a member (technically) of the same church, I was friends with him so why not? After my mom left and we had our fill of sugar and teary chatter, my phone rang.

It was Shep, it had gotten through the rumor mill of the church that I had been in the hospital and he was checking in on me. He had never called me before. It must have been providence. The timing of that call was too perfect. I asked Shep if he wanted to go to a movie with me and he accepted. I was never so happy for someone to say “yes”.

To be continued in Beginning Part 3!

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Beginning Pt. 1

Today over at is the cover for the First Entry of Koko <3s U!

To open the blog and the comic I wanted to start at the beginning, since this Entry starts before I entered polyamory.

Hello to everyone just joining me for the first time! I am Kokoro Castillo. I am a married, bisexual woman in a polyamorous relationship. I started this blog because people kept asking me relationship questions. They were curious about how I got into this lifestyle and how I am managing it. I will answer questions and share my misadventures in the world of polyamory. I have changed the names and some of the descriptions to protect the identities of those involved. The comic will cover some adventures while the blog will offer more depth into how my setup works.

I would like to caveat that everyone who practices polyamory has their own way of doing it. It varies with the people in the relationship and what everyone is comfortable with. I feel that the only wrong way is not communicating with your partners or forcing a relationship to continue when it should just end. So it’s just like managing a monogamous relationship, just with more people to consider when scheduling anything. But more to follow in another blog entry about my dependence on Google Calendar!

I’ll start with things rolling with how I came to be in a polyamorous relationship with my husband, Shep, but to truly explain it, I have to start at the beginning.

After college, I started dating, Sam, a guy who was more interested in playing World of Warcraft than interacting with or having sex with me. It was infuriating to take time out of my schedule to spend it with him to be ignored. I thought I loved Sam and I started to doubt myself. Maybe I was too damaged, too clingy after exiting a relationship with Dave. Maybe I was just still too stuck on what I thought was love with Dave.

I smiled and tried to engage with him. I caved and made a damn WoW account thinking that by getting involved with something he was interested in, we’d have more in common. I tried to enjoy the game that he loved so damn much and I just could not get into it. The colors were too garish, the story left me wanting, I hated everything about it because every minute we were in the game, the less we did in real life. The guild was more important, raids were definitely more important. I resented Blizzard; I resented Azeroth; I resented that he was more attracted to his buddy’s Blood Elf mage than to me.

Sam poured everything into that game. I had nothing. I suffered through it thinking that maybe I just wasn’t worth the effort. I fell into a deep depression and rarely left my house except to get groceries or to go to work. I had lost my spark. I started to stagnate. My photography lacked vision, I suffered through a job in a department store portrait studio and felt my soul die each day I spent in that cheesy vest and hat.

My best friends from high school, Dawn and Tammy, did their damnedest to get me out of the house to do something, anything besides play that damn game. We did mostly low key things; dinner, movies and talked about anything that wasn’t WoW. A few of my other friends in our circle from high school, April and Holly, were less enthusiastic about getting me offline since they were feeding that Sam’s addiction by scolding ME for daring to miss a raid to go to a movie. I should have realized that they wanted Sam and me out of the picture.

I was lucky, I had friends that actually gave a damn. Another friend from my family’s church, Lisa, made it her mission to get me involved with the women’s group meetings and went out of her way to get me to go. I actually had one college class a semester earlier so we had something more than religion to talk about. I’m not religious, and my bisexuality put me in a strange place within our faith, so I figured that it couldn’t hurt. I needed the validation, so why not God?

I had almost forgotten that Lisa was an American Otaku. There is a difference, but that’s a topic for another day… but it made sense. She was another art major but our mutual class was Japanese. We talked about our favorite manga, anime, and ships before we went to the church to enjoy more… pious activities… like… scrapbooking… or… baking cookies BUT I actually enjoy those things. We started brainstorming ideas for our own manga and she even drew some incredible concept pages. There was even talk of forming our own artist group to go to conventions to tell our manga. Those days visiting with her were a lot of fun in my routine of work and hating WoW. Between Dawn, Tammy and Lisa, I might have been able to keep going in my relationship with Sam, they brought me back to reality.

One afternoon while visiting with Lisa, we were chatting about our favorite old anime series. I was looking through her anime when a male voice joined the conversation and started talking about Mahou Tsukai Tai. Since Lisa didn’t seem concerned, we had a conversation and when I turned around, there was some random guy sitting in the living room. Being polite, I introduced myself and found out that he was Lisa’s older brother, Shep. He had just moved to the area and was crashing with Lisa until he found his own place.

I was attracted to Shep and we had a lot in common but, I was dating Sam. I loved Sam. And he was my friend’s brother, I couldn’t do that to her. I was there to hang out with Lisa, not Shep. But he was there, and we all hung out together watching anime and just making conversation about everything. I figured that because I was his little sister’s friend that he wouldn’t be interested in someone like me. I had a mile long list of everything that was wrong with me. My self-esteem had been shredded, why else would my boyfriend have zero interest in me if there wasn’t something wrong with me?

I was in a bad place. It wasn’t really me, it was my depression controlling my life and destroying my identity. I was putting on a happy face for my friends who were trying to make me feel better. I was putting on a smile for my family, the people at work, I was smiling in Teamspeak for the damn guild. I felt my mask cracking under the pressure of it all. I wanted to scream. I wanted to take Sam’s computer, smash it to bits, and burn it to ash. I didn’t want to interact with him through a monitor. I didn’t want to carry a gaming laptop to his apartment and play way. I wanted him to actually touch me; notice me.

To be continued…