I find symbolism for my life in some of the strangest places sometimes. Today it was in my kitchen, specifically my cutlery drawer as I was unloading my dishwasher. I have my main cutlery drawer and what I like to call my support cutlery drawer. The main one holds the spoons, forks, knives and some other odds and ends that get used regularly like a pair of scissors and the can/bottle opener. The support drawer is the place for all my cooking and baking utensils — the wooden spoons, slotted spoons, different sized whisks, measuring cups, etc.
It dawned on me this afternoon that my life and relationships could be compared and organized in very much the same fashion. In my main cutlery drawer, there is a container which has 6 slots — one for small forks, big forks, small spoons & big spoons, one for butter knives and a small compartment at the top for odds and ends. This container is like a corner of my life. And the drawers represent the time and space I have for interactions.
I have forks in my life and I have spoons in my life; people I interact with on a regular basis that help me in important ways. I have a really sharp-witted friend that could be represented by the scissors. I have another person that can be compared to the slotted spoon — ready to help me pick up what’s necessary and leave the rest behind. Some people are a combination of these tools. Some only represent one. Both drawers and their contents are important in different ways. The point for me is that a relationship structure such as polyamory allows me the space to have all of these different types of people in my life without limiting me to use just one spoon for the rest of my life. Or having access to a fork but only being able to utilize it in the “correct” way. So what if I use a fork to spread my peanut butter? So what if I improvise and use the butter knife to mix something instead of the whisk? So What!
Sometimes I forget and I put the rolling pin from the support drawer into the main cutlery drawer. I catch this right away — it sticks out, it doesn’t fit. I’m trying to make it something it’s not. Some relationships are like that. It doesn’t mean I don’t want or need a rolling pin. I just don’t want it to take up so much space in my main drawer. It doesn’t allow things to flow the way I like or desire.
And unfortunately some of my favourite tools/implements get worn out from plain wear and tear or right out neglect. Sometimes there’s not enough space in either drawer for it anymore and we must part ways. It happens. It’s one of the constants of life. But when something changes, it leaves space for new experiences. New experiences that don’t negate the memories. In fact new experiences can often provide perspective to look back on the memories with a new fondess and reflection.
Ultimately what matters is that I am nourished and valued and those in my life feel nourished and valued.
So as I complete the seemingly mundane task of putting my dishes away, I’m reflective of all the forks, spoons, scissors and can openers I have in my life. I’m reflective of the super cool electric can opener I owned eons ago that was awesome to use but whose motor burnt out after only a year — not very dependable really despite all the bells and whistles it promised. The pay out to get it fixed also out weighed the benefits and so I let it go.
And since kink is such a large part of my identity, it seems strange not to mention it. That kinky side of me — that’s represented by my set of knives that sits so eloquently in a protected wooden block on top of my fridge. Those knives are absolutely necessary in my life but that shit is dangerous and needs to be kept away from the children 😉
In the end, we’re all just looking for our place in the world and in the lives of the people we care for. It warms my heart to know I’m someone’s spoon or fork. And yes, even to know I was once someone’s fancy electric can opener, if only for a little while.