No, I’m not going to be using lassos and sheepdogs to get the poly people into a corral…though some of them that I know might find the idea intriguing! I just have a few thoughts that relate to polyamory, and I thought that putting them all in one post would be a dandy idea.
First of all, for those of you who haven’t heard yet, Tristan Taormino’s book Opening Up – Creating and Sustaining Open Relationships will be coming out early in May. Tristan has put more research, time, and energy into writing this book than can be imagined…and she’s created a website called Opening Up as a resource for people who are involved in (or who are interested in) open relationships of all types. She has listings of organizations, poly/swing-friendly counselors and other healing professionals, excerpts from her work, information about her book tour & classes, a forum where you can connect with other people, and so much more. I’m very grateful that Tristan put the time and effort into this website; she’s taken what, for many authors, is a site solely geared to making them profit, and created a resource for the whole community that is all the more valuable because of her work. Please go check it out!
I’m teaching three classes on Polyamory at FSA’s Beltane in two weeks, and in the meantime I’ve been having a lot of conversation about what poly is for me, and about how I find that it works. I’ve been checking in with my own feelings and examining where some of those feelings are coming from, and I’ve found that I occasionally suffer from something I’ll call “Poly Grieving”. As joyful as I am with the partners I have in my life, and as much as I feel inspired by and fulfilled by my life, I occasionally have waves of sadness that come along. The sadness speaks to me…it says “You’ll never be wed again”…it says “You will not have a family”…it says “You will grow old with nobody at your side”…it says “Nobody loves you enough to be your primary”. My rational, adult mind doesn’t buy into this stuff – but obviously, the part of my mind that has been conditioned to a set of American Dream, monogamy-centric ideals has got some processing to do.
I haven’t had specific talks with people about this, but I can’t believe that I’m the only one. I can, however, believe that it doesn’t get talked about much. Human beings don’t often like to talk about our nasty, gritty, dirty emotions unless they’re in a room (virtual or real) where other people are doing the same thing. Throw into that conditioning the issue that many poly folk don’t know who to talk to about the way they’re feeling in case it’s viewed as a comment on whether or not they do poly well…and of course, we don’t share about it.
So I’m going to be talking more, both in classes and in informal communication, about feeling sadness and grief over the societal ideas that we’ve internalized. I’m going to hope that in that communication, I find people who have dealt with it in larger ways than what I’m doing, and that they will be willing to share their experience and any ways that they’ve used to put those particular demons to rest. I’m hoping that being able to share experiences and solutions with other people might give us yet another tool to use in our quest to more fully become happy, joyful, and loving human beings. Because…isn’t that why most of us practice open relationships in the first place?