Good poly-mono crossover values, continued
Here's another fine article on what mono and poly people may learn from each other. It's been getting good notices in the polysphere since it went up yesterday.
RoleReboot ("Life, off script") is an online magazine with often radical perspectives on building your own way of life. "We prize the personal narrative and believe that honest storytelling is the most powerful form of consciousness-raising. We believe that storytelling can subvert the idea that things have to be the way they are."
What I Learned About Polyamory From My Happily Monogamous Parents
They taught me that the more you love people, the more love you have to give.
By Leah Henderson
My parents (to my knowledge at least) are about as monogamous as you can get. They met on the playground — 11 years old, my mom turned to her friend and said “I’m going to marry him.” She did. And to this day my parents are best friends, lovers, companions, co-parents, who are socially, economically, spiritually, and politically tethered to each other.
Though they’re left-leaning, and accepting of their anarchist, queer daughter — who’s thrown a lot of shit in their direction in the last 30 years — there’s still one place that we just can’t seem to come to an understanding about: my choice to be in polyamorous relationship structures.
They are kind enough to mostly stay silent about it.... In the conversations we’ve had about polyamory, what I take away from my parents is that their relationship has been a source of nourishment, protection, and is a loving container — and they want me to have those things — and can’t imagine a different structure doing that. Which, while I don’t agree with, I can understand — lived experience is powerful and not something to negate.
...Often, people tell me that I am “good at poly.” I’m always curious about this. I fight. I’m jealous. I ask unreasonable things of my dates. I’m insecure, and when my relationships shift or grow, there is a time of adjustment that often includes tears, tantrums, and lots and lots of processing. Through these moments my dates and I find each other.
When I think about the two practices that I fall back on most often in my polyamorous relationships, all the credit goes to my monogamous superstar mom and dad:
The first practice: love multiplies love.
Going to sleep as a small child, when mom and dad would say to me “love you,” I’d respond with “love you more.” They would always reply “not possible” while kissing me on the head.
One night, I asked why it wasn’t possible. They told me that it was because with age comes more life experience — they had been able to love more people than I had in my six years. They said the more you love people, the more love you have to give. It was a simple love ritual between us every night. But it left a deep imprint in how I approach and view the world....
The second practice: different kids, different rules.
My youngest sister and I couldn’t have been more different as kids.... While we were not a rule-heavy house, I do remember that regularly when one of us would complain that it wasn’t fair that one of us was getting something the other one wasn’t, my parents would respond “different kids, different rules.”... They knew we were different....
I carry this with me. What I need to feel cared for and safe, to stretch and to grow, is usually pretty different than what my date needs (that whole, different people different experiences thing). Instead of creating a set of rules that we both follow, I work with my sweeties to learn what care and love and safety feels like for them and together we come up with ways to have those things met. We find each other....
Leah Henderson is a community activist living in Toronto, Canada. A trainer, facilitator and mediator, she works with Queer and Trans communities committed to anti-racism, and decolonization work.
Here's the whole article (April 22, 2015).
And on the subject of good relationshipping, Brian Frederick's classic from 1998 has gotten rediscovered and is going around again. It's as good as ever: Polyamory Self-Improvement Program. Here's an alternative link. And another.
Brian Frederick ("a proud member of the surfcow quad") originally titled it "Tools for Healthy Relationships" and posted it on the alt.polyamory Usenet group for comments and edits in March 1998. Alt.polyamory (now accessible through Google Groups) was the first poly discussion list on the internet; it started in May 1992. The Oxford English Dictionary credits its founding, by Jennifer L. Wesp, as the origin of the word polyamory — though the word also seems to have been coined independently by Morning Glory Zell-Ravenheart two years earlier.
Labels: Show Your Parents