Alexander and Hephaestion

Border2Border Entertainment

We were/are/may-be Alexander and Hephaestion. I have called you by many names. Patroclus. Hephaestion. Alexander. Yes, you are Alexander too.

Just over a year ago you fell into my life. Again. Fell from the sky like an astroid that knew its target. A missile set on destruction or to jolt me awake. The jury is still out.

Speechless.

I find myself overwhelmed with thoughts of you. Just like the first time. Consumed. An unholy fire. And I’ve been here before. And before. And before.

A funeral pyre. I look out the window and it burns and burns and burns. It’s so high. The highest I’ve ever seen. I wanted it to be a testament to you. To our love. To show the world that this, that we – were. I’m unsure if the smoke is stinging my eyes or if I’m simply still crying. I’m not sure that I’ll ever stop. How could I?

I lost my everything in you. My heart in all its vastness and possibilities, all its secret chambers that were for our spelunking alone is an echo chamber now. I chase around the corners trying to catch up with your voice, hoping it still lingers in a corner. Trapped in a crevice I rushed past too quickly in my flight to find you.

You can’t be gone. I’d waited my whole life – knowing you before I knew you. Each night I prayed for you, sent up gratitude for the man coming to share my life that I hadn’t encountered yet.

Which is why it can’t be over. This earthly experience can’t be so vengeful. Or can it? You’ve had your share and then some. Another reason why I’m overwhelmed when I look at you. How did you stay so good? Stardust. It’s what you’re made of and what you’ve returned to, time and time again. The celestial forge has gathered you. Sent you. Gathered you. Sent you. Gathered you.

And each gathering has compacted the essence, the learning, the empathetic and understanding heart. It’s in this Knowing that I can watch your pyre and not be engulfed.

Yes, my heart was broken. Yes.

And now when I look up into the sky and see a heavenly body plummeting, rocketing, burning up as it enters my consciousness I’m frightened. I’m just a human with a very fragile heart. How can I ever be prepared for the avalanche that is you?

How do we tell our story? How to convey something that in this incarnation was so brief? A something passing that was everything and then nothing again.

We were so young. I keep coming back to that. To my naivety. To my naivety. To your irresistible flame. To my naivety.

I have called you by many names. Patroclus. Hephaestion. Alexander. Yes, you are Alexander too.

I know you as I know myself and yet in each encounter I’m struck in awe. Awed in the vastness of your stardust that expands exponentially and beckons to be explored.

And so how do we begin a tale that has no nose and no tail? We find ourselves somewhere in the circle again with the choice to recognize its inevitability or deny it exists despite being the ones responsible for its creation. The pattern comes from us. A tapestry woven as vast as the jewelled night sky. Maybe it’s to catch each other? A net ready to safely welcome the heavenly body shuttling back home.

Xander. I’m frightened. Do I have the stamina and fortitude to encounter you again? Can we rush up this river of memory together and not be capsized? When the water is muddy.

Stand still child and it will run clear.

Family of persian king Darius before Alexander The Great and his friend Hephaestion after the Battle of Issus.  When Alexander the Great and Hephaestion (his closest friend) went together to visit the captured Persian royal family, Sisygambis knelt to Hephaestion to plead for their lives, mistaking him for Alexander — Hephaestion was the taller, and both young men were similarly dressed. When she realized her mistake, she was acutely embarrassed, but Alexander reassured her with the words, "You were not mistaken, Mother; this man too is Alexander.
Italian:  La famiglia di Dario davanti ad Alessandro
The Family of Darius before Alexander by Paolo Veronese (1570) in the National Gallery, London

When Alexander and Hephaestion went together to visit the captured Persian royal family, King Darius’s mother Sisygambis knelt to Hephaestion to plead for their lives, mistaking him for Alexander — Hephaestion was the taller, and both young men were similarly dressed. When she realized her mistake, she was acutely embarrassed, but Alexander reassured her with the words, “You were not mistaken, Mother; this man too is Alexander.

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Polyamory – PolyLove documentary

men and women explore polyamory in Polylove documentary

PolyLove is a new investigative documentary that explores polyamory, non-monogamy and the journey to redefine a ‘relationship’.  Brace yourself, because we are going to a place where bravery and honesty are essential.  A place where loving someone enough to set them free isn’t just a trite metaphor – it’s essential to your personal and relationship growth.  

Single    Married    It’s Complicated

In North America, 48% of marriages end in divorce.*  In business, if your product is failing for half of your customers, then you need to fix it or offer something better.    * SOURCE  ‘Divorce demography’ Stats Canada 2013

Non-monogamy and polyamory demand radical rethinking of our societal constructs.  It’s not about breaking what’s unbroken.  It’s about examining why ‘cheating’ is more socially forgivable than discussing the option of non-monogamy or polyamory with those we love. 

More and more people are experimenting with monogamish and polyamorous relationships. We commit to each other, but have a porous boundary around our relationship, meaning we’ve agreed that it’s OK for either of us to express romantic feelings toward other people or to be physically intimate with other people, so long as we’re honest and transparent about our intentions with one another.

Men and women in relationship groupings.  Three sets of feet stick out from the end of a bed depicting polyamory.

The thought is that these things don’t diminish the integrity of a relationship. Rather, they may deepen the understanding of each other’s wants and desires, and give us the space to grow independently, without growing apart.  There’s even a new word for the emotion of feeling happy for a loved one’s bliss in another relationship.  Goodbye jealousy, hello ‘compersion’. 

So why non-monogamy and polyamory now?

Well, people haven’t changed much, but their environment has. Just think: Monogamy established itself thousands of years ago, when society was ruled by scarcity of resources and potential mates were in limited supply.

We’re now living in a period of great (though unequally distributed) abundance where our basic needs are sufficiently met, and reproduction is a choice. As a result, the reasons to be with a single mate for life are less urgent.  With the rising ambivalence toward commitment, statistically most millennials will put off marriage indefinitely. In place of monogamous pairings, hookup culture flourishes and “open relationships” are commonplace. These are merely rational economic responses to excess inventory and changing expectations of romance. Viewed in this context, conventional monogamy is getting long in the tooth.

But just because more young people are choosing to say, “I don’t” than “I do” doesn’t mean monogamy is irrelevant.  It just means that there’s now more than one option for building meaningful and satisfying relationships. 

DIVE DEEPER:   If you’re interested to learn more about polyamory, watch the PolyLove documentary and check out the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands where three men explore an unconventional relationship in the 1950s.  

shadows of three men against a tent in the TV series Shadowlands where polyamory is explored.
The threesome scene in the Mating Season episode of Shadowlands

Some great reading materials include the non-monogamy intro reader classic, The Ethical Slut by Janet W. Hardy and Dossie Easton.  For my personal favourite on the topic try What Love Is: And What It Could Be by Carrie Jenkins.  

If you enjoy audiobooks you may wish to try USA Today Bestselling author Ella Frank’s four audiobook series that explores polyamory in Confessions. 
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