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For the men re #metoo – learn about, discuss, and model good consent

October 17, 2017 Leave a comment

Seen lots of posts from men saying yes they want to be good allies to women and trans people re #metoo but don’t know what to do. Maybe something men could do is to learn about, discuss and model good consent?

For the past few years I’ve made a habit of making the first move – I realised that if I didn’t the only lovers I would have, out of the total pool of “we find each other mutually attractive” would be the ones that were also confident enough to make the first move and knew that I was interested. Even as someone who’s not particularly attractive, its been going super well. Of course I get rejections – but I take them as a positive – that means that people feel safe to say no to me. And there’s not been a single instance where a yes or a no has damaged our friendship.

In wanting to be more confident in making the first move I was also very concerned that nobody would feel harassed in any way by me.* Also it is super important that whoever I am engaging in shenanigans with actively wants it too. So instead of asking “Can I kiss you?” I ask some version of “Would you like a kiss?” For me as someone socialised as a girl/woman in this society I will say yes unless there is a clear reason for me not to. My desire is secondary to someone else’s. If you’re in my house and you ask if you can do something (eg smoke), I would have equally found it challenging to say no! You’re a guest! Of course you can do that. If you ask me instead “Would you like me to smoke in your house or would you rather I went outside?”, then my brain will actually think that through and I will admit that yes, I’d rather you went outside. The first option would have led me to just suck up the discomfort and let you smoke and deal with the nasty smell afterwards.

So since I thought about this I resolved that I would always ask someone if they wanted physical intimacy with me, not just if I can do it. And its actually quite sexy to do this. I enjoy the buildup of physical tension and vocalising this just makes it feel hotter. Plus I can be reasonably confident that the interest is mutual.

Secondly, I want to make it clear to anyone I am interested in physically, that there are no repercussions for saying no, now or in the future. Our friendship does not require my access to your body. If at any point you’re not in the mood for shenanigans, or want cuddles and kissing but no below waist interaction, or whatever, that is all fine. You will not face any physical or emotional pressure from me. Your body autonomy is important. I want whoever I am with to want me too. I have had all the shitty ways that men are socialised to respond to rejection. The sudden lack of interest in friendship. The moody responses. I’ve been yelled at and physically assaulted. I refuse to do this to anyone else, and I want them to know that their “no” has no repercussions.

Thirdly, I will not have any physically intimate interactions with someone who is in any way compromised in their ability to consent. This could be because of a power differential. But most often because they are not sober. If you have had alcohol, weed or any other drug to the point where you are more likely to have sex than when sober, than I would be taking advantage of you to go along with that. I’ve seen men circle around drunk women like moths round a flickering flame – and this is purely because they know she is more likely to agree to sex with them at this time. That’s not active consent, that’s gross. I would rather wait til you are sober and know that you have actively, mindfully, desired to become intimate with me. Having had someone get me stoned and then have sex with me (we hadn’t even kissed before) when I was too high to talk means I will always be super careful with other people around substances.

Also relevant is the context for making an advance. I will endeavour that you will always have an easy out. That you won’t feel reliant on my continuing good will for a place to sleep, or introductions into social circles etc. That I will explicitly say that my good will does not require you being interested in intimacy with me.

Fourthly, I will be honest with you about me. You will know I am non monogamous and my sexual health status, such as when I was most recently tested. In terms of the former, it is important to me that you make an informed decision to have sex with me, and don’t assume that this means we will have, ever, an exclusive monogamous relationship. We will also have a discussion about safer sex, and we will go with the highest common denominator – you want barriers for everything, fine.

***

But its one thing me doing (or aspiring) to do all this in private. I know from personal experience that many people do not have this base level of consent practice. And what I’ve developed as my personal ethical standards around this has mostly been because of fuckups – my own or other peoples. We just don’t get taught what consent really means. We don’t talk about it or share our own practices.

One thing I really appreciate in the polyamory community is that there is a lot of modelling of safer sex practices. Regular testing and communication of results and risks is normal and expected. I don’t even think twice about bringing sexual health up with other people because I’m so used to it being a regular conversation.

I want the same around consent. I especially want men to be talking to each other about it. It might feel awkward, but you all say you want to do something in response to #metoo, and that might involve some initial discomfort. But I’m betting there is a lot of lack of knowledge and awareness. Nobody wants to admit to ignorance. “of course I always get consent” – because the alternative, in our binary world, is that you are a rapist. Well this thinking helps no-one. It stops people being able to ask questions, express doubts and concerns, work through scenarios, develop nuanced ethics.

So that’s my personal response to the many men who are asking “what can we do to help?” – educate yourself, think deeply and discuss with other men what good consent really means. I’m definitely not saying that my personally developed standards are the best in the world. I’m just trying to practice what I’m preaching and open up conversations about what good consent should mean.

 

* When I was a teenager I did not do this. I barely even asked for consent. At least one person I had sexual intimacy with, whilst she didn’t say no, I later found out did not want more than kissing with me. When, years later, I found this out I was obviously super shooken up and hence have put a lot of thought into ensuring I don’t make same mistake again.

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Northumbria trip – Cove, Lindisfarne, Alnwick, Hadrian’s Wall and Flodden

October 14, 2017 Leave a comment
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Wood stove with thoughtful lighting box full of tinder.

A sweetie and I both really needed a break so we came to Northumbria for a few days. I’ve wanted to go to Lindisfarne for years, so we’re staying in a super cute converted old caravan a few fields back from the North Sea overlooking Lindisfarne. The hut is tiny, but just to make me happy has a wood burning stove, and is so well thought through that the owners included a kindling box and matches! Its in the grounds of a converted church so we walk through the old graveyard to the back corner, where the hut is secluded away.

On the way south we wanted a picnic break and a place called “Cove” looked to be in the right place and probably scenic. Turned out to be this v cute village with an *18th century tunnel* to walk along to get to the harbour! And the caves off the tunnel had been used by smugglers! And the harbour was pretty and obvs super secluded. Great picnic stop and auspicious was to begin the trip with such a fun discovery.

Thursday we went to Lindisfarne. I love islands in general, and the tidal causeway was pretty cool. We went about 10 mins after the sea had cleared the causeway so the road was still wet from being underwater so recently. Saw the walking route, marked out with tall poles. The road causeway is relatively new (1960s). Lindisfarne itself has been inhabited for centuries, and I presume was before accessed by walking or donkey/pony and cart across at low tides. Must feel cosy and safe, or claustrophobic depending on your perspective, once tide comes back in and the tourists have all left, and nobody else will come (or leave) for at least 12 hours (not sure how long each day causeway is open)

Most of Lindisfarne is about the monastery and priory. Over the centuries between 2-10 monks at a time lived there, including St Cuthbert who found even that too metropolitan and moved to a couple of even smaller islands at various times! There is also a village with shops, cafes and a pub, 9 farms, a harbour with upturned boat shelters, and a medieval castle with proper defensive walls positioned on top of a rocky hillock. And whilst exploring around the latter (and admiring the much more recent scaffolding put up as part of a big repairs works) we came across a large 19th century lime kiln which was open to explore and climb in and out of the ovens! On the way back to mainland (we were last tourists to leave the car park) we stopped so I could run across to the walking route and climb onto the refuge built midway across the path because the fast tide coming across the flat estuary has caught so many people over the centuries. Its a rickety wooden structure with missing step on the wooden ladder, lowish walls, and open to the elements. Not a good place to have to wait out the high tide but better than the alternative!

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Causeway with tide creeping back in.

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Posts mark the walking route across to Lindisfarne. Tide is getting higher….

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Great sign!

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Medieval castle in background covered in impressive scaffolding

Friday we first visited Alnwick. Awesome 2nd hand bookshop in an old train station (booo train line closures, but slightly alleviated when they make good use of the infrastructure as in this case, or for cycle paths). Books were higher priced than i’m used to (if ever in glasgow and you like such things check out “voltaire and rousseau”) and seemed more organised for collectors, but really nice place to explore and it had a model railway going above and between the bookcases! Def worth visiting if you’re near by.

Hadrian’s wall made tangible the Roman empire – standing at northern most reach of the roman empire and be at a watch tower right on the wall imagining the soldiers looking out over “not rome” beyond. So many Roman ruins in such a small area. We also saw a temple for a god who sacrificed a bull from whose blood came all of creation. Could easily imagine religious services within the small, dark temple filled with the smells of smoke and warm blood from the sacrifices. And forts to explore with packed quarters for the soldiers and small towns which sprung up outside.

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Temple of Midras

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Watch tower at Housestead’s fort, part of Hadrian’s Wall, looking out over “not Rome” beyond.

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At Hadrian’s Wall. For hundreds of years this was the Northern frontier of the Roman Empire, with “not Rome” to the left.

Saturday we meandered back, enjoying the flexibility of having a car and plenty of time. We explored yet more small roads with pretty villages and small towns, the buildings weathered and sturdy, made from blocks of grey stone. Seeing a brown sign we pulled off at Flodden. Of the battle, I knew nothing beyond the name. Reading about it whilst overlooking the valley where at least 14 000 people were killed in one day was heartbreaking. Stupid stupid wars. Such horror and death. Must have been, rightly, terrifying to have been standing where we were, looking across to the troops lined up on the other side, and knowing a bloody clash was about to ensue. A sign at the local church says it functioned for the dead on both sides, which at least was something of an acknowledgement of a shared humanity.

Categories: diary, islands, travel

Back in the SF Bay Area for a few weeks

April 21, 2017 1 comment

I walked to the bus station through the pre dawn light, pack on my back, with enough time to stop off for newly baked morning rolls in my local 24 hour corner shop. The freshness of the early Glasgow air adding to the euphoria I felt just for being on the road again. Its been a hectic and demanding month. I’ve had to organise and run 2 events (anniversary for Rachel Corrie and I hosted a passover seder for 10 people) which I’m finding really stressful lately. And had lots of housing issues to do with building work and incompatibilities in how my flatmate and I deal with things and prefer our household to work. Some of that was resolved the night before I set off, and all the events are over for another year.

There’s a peace I feel when I’m travelling. Contentment. Relief. Awareness of surroundings and mindfulness. The physical movement and momentum is happy food for my brain. Tensions lift.

And the early morning air, the songs of the birds, scent of slightly damp ground, all full of freshness and openings and new energy. A whole new day beginning. Happiness also at my life that enables me to do this, to head off on a new journey. That I purposefully live somewhere enabling me to bracket trips with 20-30 mins of walking between home and the mainline bus or train stations. I can breathe in and feel Glasgow during the transitions between home and away.

Both the planes from Edinburgh to Heathrow, and then the transatlantic to SFO were very empty, explaining why I got such cheap tickets. When the people in front tried to strike up conversation with me after I helped them with food and then displaying skymap for them, I tried to be polite but I couldn’t totally hide my irritation at them interrupting my precious alone traveling zone out. They were intrigued by my life – a home/work system that allows regular traveling and polyamory – which reminded me of how much of a bubble I normally stay in where neither are so unusual!

Last trip to Berkeley, in February, I enjoyed being somewhere that felt so progressive and safe for that. Last Saturday racists, alt-right and Trump supporters exploited their growing numbers and confidence to descend on Berkeley precisely because it is “enemy territory” for them and violently claimed both the university and the downtown. Obviously I never thought Berkeley was some utopian, anarchist stronghold, but this successful invasion by the rightwing underscored how powerful they now are. I guess it felt more intense for me because of being here so recently and feeling like there was some glimmer of light in the darkness that is rapidly overrunning the world.

I am primarily in Berkeley to visit a honey, and to get some R&R, rather than focusing on making political connections or participating in activism. However my sweetie and I will be on tomorrow’s march for science, and I will be visiting local spaces and collectives, and hopefully doing a bit of volunteering in the background. I’ll probably blog more, both about being here, and to catch up on last year’s trips and events.

Categories: diary, politics, travel

When I feel you have my back. From an antizionist Jew to the left on challenging antisemitism

March 30, 2017 2 comments

17436035_1218953451550743_7199866630498237987_oOn challenging antisemitism by the left. What it means to me as a Jew with progressive values when Jackie Walker and Gilad Atzmon are being hosted in Glasgow this week.

Couple of things have happened in past few days in Glasgow to prompt this post. I actually found out about these in reverse order, but I’m starting with the easiest one to write about, Gilad Atzmon. My discussion and feelings about Jackie Walker being hosted by SPSC are down below.

Last night Gilad Atzmon played a gig at Tchai Ovna : a hippy/lefty tea shop in Glasgow. A friend casually mentioned it, after the gig had started. I was pretty wtf?! But by this time there was nothing to be done. So I’ve informed the venue of Gilad’s antisemitism and am, until told otherwise, assuming that they didn’t know of this beforehand. However they know now and if they book him again I will be more active against it.

I have only met Atzmon once – I went with a friend to a gig as he’s a really good saxophonist. My friend introduced me to him afterwards, and I was initially very happy about this, not just because the gig had been great. I like to meet other antizionist Jews as it can be a lonely path. At most Jewish cultural/religious events I avoid talk of Israel as I won’t lie, but also I hate confrontation and turning a spiritual occasion into a heated political argument. Jewish practise nurtures and calms me. Like doing yoga or whatever works for you. I feel at peace and nourished at this deep down level. I don’t know why it has this effect, but I don’t need to understand it to value it in my life, as it harms no-one else. I tend to have a separation between my different hobbies, interests, and choices. Those who also straddle intersections I often feel a connection and bond with as its exciting and useful for me to be able to discuss issues that relate to our shared intersections and I find helps me understand whats going on for me.

However the initial joy at being invited by Atzmon to sit and chat with him turned to confusion and then revulsion as he began denouncing what he sees as typical Jewish tribalism, as a superiority complex of being Jewish, and how Jews have brought centuries of persecution onto ourselves. After arguing for a short while (I have confrontation and find heated/aggressive verbal dialogue deeply unpleasant) I left. Subsequently I’ve discovered how antisemitic he is. To find examples I had a quick look at his blog and here are some recent examples:

an  arrogant yeshiva boy is subject to a historical continuum of harassment. Seemingly, Alliel didn’t bother to ask himself why is he chased and abused time after time by so many people in so many places.

Source: http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2017/3/16/alliel-a-window-into-tribal-arrogance

“If I were a Jew,” [David Irving] said, “I would ask myself why it always happens to us?” At the time, I was a still Jew but I took up Irving’s challenge. I looked in the mirror and didn’t like what I saw so I decided to leave the tribe and I stopped being a Jew.

Source : http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/2017/2/16/exactly-who-is-it-that-is-in-denial

Although discovering that this alternative/lefty venue is hosting him shocked me, I don’t feel utterly powerless to challenge it. And that’s because over the years I have felt that many within the left will have my back when it comes to challenging antisemitism. It’s really moving to me to feel this. That especially within the Palestine solidarity movement but in the wider left I am not alone facing those prejudiced against me. It gives me a safety, and a courage. It gives me strength to fight alongside others against their oppressions knowing that they also have my back when it comes to antisemitism. It feels like we really can stand all together and be strong and united and beautiful and really bring about meaningful change to a world where all are liberated and free and safe.

So I feel deeply inside that if Atzmon again is booked to play this venue, that if I ask of it, others, not just Jews, will join me in publicly condemning them for giving this racist a stage. I feel secure in that and its incredibly moving to have that surety. Its just so beautiful and affirming and powerful and empowering.

Jackie Walker

[EDITED TO ADD : I have been told that she actually said she hadn’t heard a definition of anti-semitism she agreed with in the context of a particular workshop which was stating that criticism of israel was anti-semitic. Will update the text within this post when I know more but wanted to clarify that this is in contention as early as possible]

Sometimes antizionism is labelled antisemitism. Jewdas have a really cool primer on how to criticise Israel without being antisemitic and a longer piece discussing what antisemitism is and isn’t.

Last year Jackie Walker was in the media for being expelled and then reaccepted into the Labour Party on the basis of several comments she has made, in different formats, that many (including me) find problematic about Jewish people (which she identifies as also)

I consider “no platforming” an extreme tactic that should be kept for extreme cases where it is likely that a speech by someone will cause harm to another. In the case of Jackie Walker I disagree with her on very many things, and I do feel a bit threatened by her assertion (originally from known antisemites Louis Farrakan’s Nation of Islam) that “many Jews (my ancestors too) were the chief financiers of the sugar and slave trade” (source: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/anti-semitism-row-momentum-organiser-jackie-walker-readmitted-to-labour-party-following-racism-a7053966.html ) as this is the kind of language that supports and promotes anti-semitism. However I am not calling for her to be no platformed.

For a wider discussion of things she’s said try hope not hate. In brief she has joined predominantly antisemitic calls for Holocaust memorial day to focus on other genocides, however it already does. Antisemites seek to minimise the Nazi holocaust and so she stands in particularly bad company, as well as being ill-informed in making this call. She has also said she can’t find a definition of antisemitism she can work with, which again is kinda weird – jewdas have a couple of good ones (linked above) and its really just a basic antiracist stance with basic knowledge of the historical and current slurs, smears and falsehoods used against Jews.

Again, to be super clear, despite this I am not calling for her to be no platformed.

I do find it hard to swallow though that the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign (SPSC) are hosting her in Glasgow tonight. They claim she is “Accused of anti-Semitism for her anti-Zionist position” (source : https://www.facebook.com/events/376828286014487/ ) Which is just the inverse of zionist claims that all criticisms of israel are antisemitic. I am not in any way against her anti-zionism. Dismissing objections to her as coming purely from a Zionist standpoint is ridiculous and hurtful.

There are hundreds of excellent speakers about Palestine in the UK who are not tarred with her associations with antisemitism. It was not necessary of the SPSC to host her. It is provocative and divisive.

I have had over a decade within the anti-occupation, Palestine solidarity movement and I know that antisemitism and dismissal of such is a minority view. As I stated above I have felt that people have had my back. But what about someone new to challenging the Israeli occupation of Palestine? What if this is what they see – that being anti-occupation means supporting someone who has said what Jackie Walker has said only last year? She has not meaningfully retracted any of it, as far as I can tell, and I did go to look.

If this was more than an occasional one-off event I don’t know how welcome or comfortable I would feel within progressive movements. This kind of behaviour reinforces zionists’ narrative that we need a strong nation state because nobody else will be there for us. It chases Jews back into the hands of Jewish nationalism. Plenty of Palestinians are ready to condemn antisemitism and the movement purporting to support them should do the same.

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Habits, priorities and trying to work out why I don’t ensure I get out onto my bike camping more often.

March 15, 2017 2 comments

An interesting read on habits and priorities has coincided with the end of winter and me feeling the call of the road.

As the air is warmer and there is more daylight the wind feels to pull me even more incessantly. “Come fly with me” it sings. Oh how I want so much that freedom. I feel it whichever way I travel. Just being on the move gives me calm and contentment. Hiking through mountain passes. Flying. Train journeys. Hitchhiking. And since lejog bicycle is now my favourite method.

On my bike, with my camping gear strapped to the pannier rack, is as close to independence as I can currently get. I always have enjoyed minimising the amount of money I need to use – I can and have fed myself for nothing. When I had a (98cc) motorbike that wasn’t so bad as I could travel tens of miles on very little petrol, and always wheel it around. Cars for me feel clumsy and, though offer some liberation, require a lot more upkeep and input. I have to plan more for a car. On my bike there’s not many places I can’t take it. I can lift it up steps or over gates. I can wheel it over foot bridges or onto tiny foot passenger boats. I don’t need to spend money on special fuel for it or to take it on ferries or trains. And I feel this connection to the geography of a place – the contours and bends and flows.

I love feeling my legs gain seven league boots, that my noble steed is carrying my camping gear without difficulty. Its so frigging exuberant to pump to the top of a hill and then fly down the other side. To find a few square metres out of plain sight to camp for the night. To know that the next day I’ll pack up my things and set off somewhere new. To explore new places.

The connection to the “habits and priorities” link above? Just that I was hungrily looking at my calendar for the months ahead, desperate to at least find a few days I could go for a trip on. Living in Glasgow makes it pretty easy to get into the mountains with minimal money/planning. And yet I can only see a few days possibility until the end of May.

I don’t prioritise this. And yet it is the time I am happiest, fulfilled, at peace, joyous. I can almost breathe the fresh air just thinking about it. The sun on my skin. The wind in my face. The endless beauty of the unknown world ahead. The challenges and satisfactions of life on the road.

Partly I allow myself to be booked up because other things do require more advance planning than taking myself off into the countryside. Visiting other countries requires flights and visas. There’s large-scale camps, festivals, conferences, gatherings which all have dates set in advance. And so my calendar is filled with all these things that I definitely want to do, and am excited about. But none of them are quite as great as being on my own, or with 1 or 2 special companions, out in the natural world on an adventure.

I have a really great life. I can’t believe how lucky I am. 14 year old me is delighted! I work one day a week and have a home in the sky. I have wonderful connections, friends, lovers, family. I go dancing and to gigs and to fascinating public science talks and museums. I have secure work and housing. I am relatively healthy and able bodied.

I’m not really moaning. I guess I’m just documenting that I need to prioritise keeping my calendar less full, reduce my commitments, increase my free time. And then I can take advantage of the blessings I have and get out on my bike, tent strapped to the back, spontaneously and frequently. I do only need to work a Sunday to cover my rent and bills.

The nagging doubts, the guilt I have are all about how yes this is nice for me. But I am in such a minority to be able to live such a charmed life. That whilst I am having my jollies war and borders and racism are destroying lives. Austerity rips life sustaining benefits from those that need them. Carbon dioxide levels increase in the atmosphere. Capitalism immiserates.

But then what am I doing about any of those things really now? I struggle to even write an email or organise a meeting about politics or activism. I have this big block and I’m not very functional around politics at the moment. Haven’t really been since I was in Bhopal. I’m at a very low efficiency. Things that would have taken me an hour now take me a whole day and a lot of mental energy. Going to meetings fills me with dread. Maybe I should just accept that I’m not really making much of a difference in the world and give up and be selfish?

Oh I don’t know. I’m sure its all just balance and all. This has gotten way deeper and introspective than I planned. I guess this is my journal so its ok. Sorry if anyone else is reading this expecting something less navel gazing!

Have some pics of my bike to finish. How could that not cheer anyone up? ;)

Categories: politics

solo poly: compersion for my lovers nesting relationships.

March 13, 2017 Leave a comment

Compersion is a bit of polyamorous jargon that refers to how we can often feel a delicious happiness about the lovers of our lovers (“metamors”, for yet more non-monogamous vernacular). When I care about someone, that normal human empathy is ramped up, and my emotional state is even more linked to theirs. So if I can be happy that someone I love has done well in other aspects of their life, how much more so when its about something as delicious and rewarding as a sexual connection?

As a solo poly person, I sometimes feel bad that I can’t, or won’t, provide my sweethearts with a “partner” where that means someone they can build a life together with. A very new sweetie already comes with a very solid, beautiful relationship of this type. They live together, move cities to stay together when careers require that.

Do I feel threatened by this? Jealous of a connection I will never share with this new sweetie who I am experiencing all the delicious NRE*/honeymoon excitement with? No. I feel absolutely delighted that they have this nesting relationship. I feel a bit of relief, its true, that they won’t look to me for those wants/needs. But also I feel a real happiness that they have this connection. I feel genuine joy just thinking about how they both must feel to have this longlasting, loving foundation. Those empathy neuropathways are having a party, even though its not for anything I’d ever want for myself.

I don’t think that compersion is too alien even for monogamous people. Just think about how happy you feel when your lover has something good in their lives. That is how I feel when I think about my metamors.

I do get jealousy sometimes, but it is always, for me, connected to my mental health, insecurity and fears that I’m going to lose my sweetie. It always is a symptom of something else going on for me. Do I need to work on my self esteem? Is my life feeling too overwhelming? Are my needs/wants within my relationship being met? Does my sweetie help me feel valued, cared for, loved, desired? Do they even know what I need in order to feel those things? Am I slipping into a overbusy burnout pattern that means my emotional state is fried? Does my relationship feel unstable?

I try to look at jealousy as a miner’s canary – an indicator of how safe/nourishing the surrounding context is. And as a measure of how well I am doing at fixing underlying issues. As I work on whatever is actually meaning I feel jealous, I feel those horrible feelings fade away and the compersion that was always present, just eclipsed, gains ascendency and brightness.

With this new sweetie, I had fears that my new metamor, their longterm partner, would be unhappy about our new thing. They’re very new to opening up their relationship and I like and respect them both. We’ve all been friends for years. However my fears were assuaged when I saw the metamor in person and they were friendly and welcoming to me. Later my new sweetie checked in with me how I’d felt that the two of them had been affectionate in my presence and I could honestly say that it had made me both happy and relieved. The last thing I want is for my new relationship to destroy someone else’s. But seeing their connection reassured me that it was all good. And my increased closeness to them because of this new romantic/sexual aspect meant that what would have been lovely to observe anyway, I felt even more keenly. It was just pure yummy.

When I connect with someone, I become more aware of their vulnerabilities, and so seeing them held gives me comfort. I can’t give them this longterm committed home making. I travel through life mostly alone. But that doesn’t mean I don’t feel happy when those who do want a nesting partner have one. I don’t want kids either, but I can appreciate and feel glad when those who do want this become parents.

The poly aspect compliments my soloness. It means I do not require any lover to also need the space and distance that I need. They are free to nest, to deeply entangle themselves in another partner’s life, to “settle down”, to become parents. And in return I gain the enjoyment of seeing my loved ones in beautiful partnerships. And nobody needs to squeeze anyone out in order to have their needs and wants met.

 

 

* New Relationship Energy – google is your friend this time I’m afraid.

Grieving/disassociation

March 3, 2017 1 comment

There were 2 funerals this week that I’d have liked to have attended. Well, ideally I’d have liked that neither of them happened…

One was an old family friend. The other an old friend. But both were in Southern England and I couldn’t travel down so close to stuff I had already committed to without becoming even more rundown.

Wish I had though. I think being with others that knew those who died would have been good. And I wish I’d been able to do right by the friends who died.

The funeral today was of Simon Chapman, who I’ve known since 2001. It hasn’t sunk in at all that he’s dead. He was young (?42) and someone I was always happy to see, though that only happened when we were at same events (london anarchist bookfair and after parties mostly). He was always good for a hug, and usually had a smart, funny commentary on whatever was going on. He had a warm, gentle kindness – happy when good things happened to others, whilst simultaneously sarcastic with a dry wit.

I can feel the grief starting to well up. The sadness of someone I liked and who I’d shared some intense experiences with no longer being alive. And that connecting to other, equally unprocessed grief for those other friends who have died. And I can’t deal with that. Or at least I don’t. I push it down, numb myself, disassociate rather than let those scary sad feelings have their power and fill me. I know its counter productive. I know I need to let them out. Sometimes I wish I was one of those people that didn’t have a choice but to feel and express emotions.

I’ve only been to a couple of funerals – maybe 3? I didn’t feel anything at any of them – being around other people makes me numb up even more. So maybe its good I didn’t go to Simon’s funeral.

I’d hate for anyone to think I didn’t care about the deceased, and yet I won’t be showing any emotion, because I won’t be feeling any. Just this weird fog and unrealness. The best I can describe it is its like being sleep deprived when everything is dreamlike and doesn’t feel real. That’s how it is for me almost all the time.

I’m trying to get my feelings back, but part of that will mean facing the scary, hard, bad, sad ones which I’ve buried for so long. Allowing myself to actually feel grief rather than push it down away. And there is so much grief hiding down there. As part of operation feel again (during a peer / co-counselling session where I focus on trying to feel whatever I need to at the time) I had a big cry couple months ago about the 5000 people who died last year crossing the mediterranean trying to find refuge in Europe. This world is so fucked up no wonder my brain decides its safer not to feel anything at all (including good things) than let myself feel this pain.

Anyway, Simon is dead and that fucking sucks because he was nice and I liked him. And even just saying those words hurts and I probably should full-on grieve and accept the pain and then get to the healing stage. As it is I’m still mostly at the pissed off with him stage tbh.

Categories: personal