There needs to be a code word or something that means “my brain is fighting me every step of the way today and I feel like I’m going to vibrate out of my skin, so I need you to forgive everything and go slowly and speak softly and lower your expectations.” And then we could all just be like, “I know I said we could go to a movie tonight but… tangerines.” And the other person would nod and squeeze your elbow or rub your head and you wouldn’t feel like a failure.
And really, just stop saying “should” to yourself about your thoughts and feelings in any context. You feel how you feel. The things in your head are the things in your head. You can’t change either directly through sheer force of will. You can only change what you do. Stop beating yourself up for who and what you are right now–it isn’t productive. Focus on moving forward."
i think i gasped a little when i read this because it’s almost word-for-word my therapist’s explanation of why i learned to be anxious as a child (“if your dad might blow up at any minute then your anxiety protects you”) and why it’s not helping me now (“he’s not here anymore”).
your poly is only politically relevant to me if…
- you center respect and love for women and femmes in how you do relationships.
- you understand and care about how your actions in relationships are directly connected to the well being of your communities. (y’all know that this shit breaks up friendships and communities all the time.)
- you are aware of and work to resist heterosexist and patriarchal notions of love that are grounded in ideas of capitalist property ownership, misogyny, and racism.
- you respect any and all of your partners.
- you do not pit your partners, hookups, or love interests against each other by being shady and shitty about communication — especially if you are masculine-identified and your partners, hookups, and love interests are women and femmes. *of course, when this happens, it’s “unintentional,” right? but when misogyny structures how we understand and do relationships in such concrete ways, you need to fucking fight as hard as you can to actually BE intentional. being unintentional in the way of, “oh it just happened,” or, “but i didn’t do anything wrong,” when what is naturalized is being careless about the relationships between women and femmes, then not having intentions or thoughts around all that is a problem.
- you understand the importance of (and work to center) the physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and boundaries of yourself and your partners.
- you understand how each of your relationships impacts all of the other ones. and you understand that the way you carry yourself in one relationship will show up in your others relationships.
- you do not dismiss your partners’ jealousies, insecurities, or negative feelings as just them being “jealous” or “too emotional” or “not really getting it.” you don’t blame people for their emotions.
- you accept full accountability for your actions when you are hurtful, unintentional, or careless in your interactions with others.
- you do not dismiss others’ concerns about you being possibly disrespectful or misogynistic as them not being radical or sex-positive enough.
- you understand that having the space/freedom to love and fuck however you please does NOT mean that you are operating in a vacuum. you understand that everything you do has consequences - and act with care.
- you understand that poly is not about having the freedom to do whatever the fuck you want to. you understand that poly is about having the freedom to pursue your needs and desires openly without shame, and to hold yourself to being intentional and responsible especially because those needs or desires are about OTHER PEOPLE and OTHER PEOPLE’S BODIES.
- you get that you are not entitled to the guarantee that everything you do/want will be okay with all your partners or your communities, esp when your actions will impact them and when people are always operating from different contexts, traumas, desires, needs. (aka, you don’t do disrespectful shit and expect your partners or friends not to respond just because you didn’t mean to hurt anybody.)
- you understand the importance of informed consent — meaning, if there are things that are going on that might even possibly make someone reconsider cuddling with you, having sex with you, or being intimate with you, then you need to be open.
- you don’t take consent for granted. ever.
- you know how to set, talk about, and respect boundaries.
- you don’t use your “poly” status to be emotionally neglectful and/or abusive to your partners.
- you don’t treat people like they are expendable, disposable, or otherwise meaningless, even if it’s a quick fuck or a fling.
- you communicate openly and honestly without withholding important information, especially when it’s hard.
the desire to love/fuck lots of people at the same time is not something inherently radical or meaningful. people have always wanted to love/fuck multiple people, whether or not that’s been in accountable ways. basically, if people are side-eyeing you about how you do poly/relationships it’s not always because they’re just colonized sex negative tools of the state or some shit lol.
(and thanks disorientd, seafoamknives, & lowendtheory for talking/thinking through a lot of this with me. all love. ♥)
— Virginia Woolf, The Waves (via violentwavesofemotion)