emanix: (emanix)
I'm posting this entry for the edification of new readers, as a flag to my important posts (at least the ones important to me), and a map of my world.

My name's Maxine Green. I'm an artist and illustrator by trade, polyamorous (and many other things) by nature, a scientist at heart, and an activist by accident.

My introductory post is here: Butterfly

A continuing series of scribblings about the things that are important to me:
Defining My Terms: 1. Bisexuality
Defining my Terms 2: Polyamory
Defining my Terms 3: Kink
Defining My Terms 4: Radical Agnostic
(because not everything is about sex)
Some More Definitions
Recipe for the Good Life

Original Essays/Articles:

SAMOTURE - or This is What an Activist Looks Like (2009-10-01)
Bisexuality & Statistics: Twice as many dates? (2010-07-16)
Secret Loves (why they suck) (2010-06-10)
The Emanixine Creed (2010-10-03)
The big, beautiful shiny rainbow of kink (A.K.A. there's no One True Way) (2011-04-25)
On hierarchies, relationships and cat ownership. (March 9th, 2013)
On how touching someone without asking is assault. EVEN IF THEY LIKED IT. (October 17th, 2012)
I Am Not Here For Your Entertainment. (The Story) (October 25th, 2011)
Self-Evident Epiphanies - Human Beings. (January 30th, 2011)
Hi, I'm poly and I don't exist. (August 1st, 2010)
Polyamory and Statistics, or “Why haven't we found 'our third' yet?” (September 8th, 2014)
. (.)

Resources:

Bicon Follow-Up - Poly 201 responses. (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 2 - Recipe for Aloe-based Lube (2010-09-05)
Bicon Follow-Up 3 - SM/Breathplay, with link to Jay Wiseman's Essays (2010-09-05)
How to Be Trans-friendly and Subvert Crummy Gender Roles at the Same Time, in Five Easy Steps! (2010-04-07)
Legal Prostitutes Have HALF the Infection Rate of 'Straight' Population (2010-07-12)
'The Bastards! - A sympathetic technique for relationship harmony.' (September 27th, 2013)
More Bad Science - Contraception and Statistics. (a.k.a. Implanon Implants: They're Fine.) (January 9th, 2011)
. (.)

Some more "Me Manual" stuff:

Let's Only Date Grown-ups. (June 8th, 2012)
Form Letter (Response to idiots sending me form letters on dating sites and social networks) (October 23rd, 2013)
On Pain, Punishment and Perverse Incentives (February 3rd, 2012)
One from the Archives: Why I Love Techies. (November 21st, 2014 (Original, 2007))
The Penis Size Rant (September 18th, 2014)
Why My House is a Christmas Free Zone. (December 15th, 2014)
. (.)


No doubt I'll edit this further as new things occur to me, and as my essay series grows.

In the meantime, enjoy!

M.

x
emanix: (pink hair)
"Having needs doesn't make you needy. It makes you human. Just thought you should know."

A friend posted the above comment on Facebook today, and while I think I am fundamentally in agreement with the spirit of the statement, I am twitchy about the use of that particular word, 'needs', and have been for a long time. I do want to say that *wanting things* does not inherently make anyone a bad person, or needy, or whatever. To want is very definitely human. On the other hand, the word 'needs' as used to describe relationship requirements or even very important and urgent wants always gives me a little shudder because it is such a fuzzily defined term the way most people use it, and I have seen it very badly misused in the past.

Sure, everybody has needs. Food, water, shelter, basic medical care, y'know... the sorts of things that make us Not Die. But using the word 'needs' to mean 'minimum things I want in a relationship' or simply 'things I really really want right now' has always struck me as somewhat blackmailish, because it raises requirements within one particular relationship to the level of things that are non-negotiable for survival, which - and folks may certainly disagree with me here - in my opinion, they aren't. However much I might value my chosen family and the relationships I have built in and around that, the basic unit for survival is the individual, not the family, and definitely not the relationship.

Using the word 'needs' to describe any expectation or desire within a relationship seems to me to demand that a specific person (or sometimes in poly a small group of people) should meet those 'needs' whether they want to or not.

I strongly feel that romantic relationships are voluntary and therefore all aspects within those relationships should be voluntary as well (beyond the basic minimum level of respect that we should all have for our fellow human beings, of course). Not everybody has them, not everybody *should* have them. Ultimately where we are talking about the emotional aspect of a relationship, everyone is responsible for meeting their own needs or that aspect of the relationship is no longer voluntary and therefore, I would argue, neither is the relationship itself.

If I'm not able to satisfy what all of my partners *want* right now this minute, or vice versa... well, sometimes them's the breaks. We can't always expect our partners to 'perform' for us on every level. On the other hand, if I am not able to satisfy my partners minimum relationship requirements, or if they're not able to satisfy mine, logic says that we should dissolve the relationship. Whereas if the word 'needs' is used, the implication seems to be that if I am not able to satisfy my partners 'needs', I am a Bad Partner(TM) and should step up to the plate, whether doing so works for me or not.

I am probably extra sensitive to this because I had an abusive relationship in the past where my partners 'needs' were used as levers to demand more and more from me that I wasn't actually prepared to give, on the basis that *I* was a Bad and Abusive Partner(TM) if I didn't provide for them. How awful a person was I, to ignore things that were stated as NEEDS? Even if those needs effectively negated anything I might ever want out of that relationship myself, and even if those needs were things I would have stated as outside the remit of that relationship had the request been made in any other way. I was *needed*. To say no would have put me in the wrong, no matter what was being asked.

Everyone deserves to be able to ask for what they want in relationships, but every single person also deserves to set the terms of their own relationships, and not be hung out to dry if what they are able to provide is not the same as what the other person in that relationship wants, however those wants are stated.

I mean, how unreasonable would I be if I was to say "I need you not to use the word 'needs' ever again"...?

How do you folks feel about this question? Do you have different ways of defining the word 'need'? Do you love it, hate it, feel neutral about it? If you use it, what do you mean by it?
emanix: (emanix)


Polyamory is often defined as the practice of engaging in multiple romantic or sexual relationships with the consent of all the people involved.

I think that while that definition is a reasonable one, it doesn't convey the way that polyamory has, for me, opened up an entire new spectrum of potential relationships, of new ways to relate to other people.

Our 'monocentric' or monogamously oriented culture offers a fairly simple view of relationships. The path is laid out for us clearly by our friends, families and the media. We are expected to meet someone, fall in love, go on a few dates, move in together, settle down, get engaged, get married and live happily ever after. Some poly folks refer to this as the 'Relationship Escalator'. Once you are on the Relationship Escalator, a 'successful' relationship is defined as one that ends in marriage, and ideally children. According to this mythos, any relationship that falls outside this track is deemed a failure. For many polyamorous people, however, this is not the case. 'Success' in poly relationships is defined by the people in that relationship, and not necessarily by outside culture.

Just as the greeks had several different words for love, polyamorous people may find that they experience different kinds of relationship with different people. Certainly for some people, poly can offer opportunities for sexual exploration, but for others it can allow the building of close familial bonds, simply with more people. For yet others it can mean creating dispersed networks of long distance loves, and for some of us it means there is space for all of the above: Everything from occasional encounters and romantic but non-sexual friendships, all the way through to deeply committed live-in partnerships. The difference, for poly people, is that our relationship model doesn't tell us how to structure those relationships.

Some Different Styles of Polyamory



Some poly folks prefer to structure their relationships so that they still look very much like the Relationship Escalator model, only with more people in it. These people will still expect to meet someone new, fall in love, date for a period, and then consider adding that new partner to their existing household, before possibly making some sort of long term commitment or raising children together. In other words, it looks a lot like monogamy, only with more people. This is the version of polyamory most often seen in the media, since it is easier for those outside the community to understand and relate to, but it is far from the most common poly relationship structure.

More common in the polyamorous communities that I know is for poly people to form dynamic 'clusters', 'pods', 'polycules' or 'tribes' of interconnected singles, couples and smaller groups. Each relationship within that cluster may have different expectations. Some may be 'primary' style relationships with expectations about cohabiting, shared finances and child rearing (or as I sometimes call them 'Indoor Cat' relationships), some may be 'secondary' or 'satellite' relationships, or ('Outdoor Cats'), with romantic or sexual attachments but fewer shared commitments. Others may sit outside of those expectations entirely. Some poly people may share their living space with people who are not sexual partners, but who are still committed parts of their lives. Some folks may also choose to co-parent with people they are not romantically attached to, or with partners they are not cohabiting with, or pick and choose what aspects of a 'conventional' relationship structure they do and do not apply to each relationship.
Many polyamorous families with children are indistinguishable from the 'blended families' we are seeing more of in our society as a result of divorce (except usually less acrimonious!). Conversely, some monogamous divorced couples are nowadays choosing to build lifestyles that look remarkably similar to poly households, with ex spouses choosing to carry on house-sharing and co-parenting whilst dating other people. Labels, shmabels, eh!

Another, newer, phenomenon in the world of polyamory is the Solo Poly movement. Solo Poly people tend to live alone or cohabit with friends or roommates rather than with partners, and do so intentionally. Their relationships may be committed or not, sexual or not, romantic or not, independently of whether they are cohabiting with their partners. There is an excellent and more informative post about what Solo Poly is and is not here at http://solopoly.net/2014/12/05/what-is-solo-polyamory-my-take/

Where I personally stand is somewhere between those latter two styles of polyamory. Preferring something more akin to relationship anarchy to hierarchies, I like to let each of my relationships find its own level – looking for spaces to fit the people in my life rather than people to fill the preordained spaces. I tend towards the solo poly end of things philosophically. I prefer to keep my finances separate to those of my partners, to always have my own room and my own space. My relationships do not generally follow the Escalator model (several of the most important people in my life live in entirely different cities!). However I am not opposed to sharing living space with one or more partners, assuming we're compatible in that way, and I love the idea of one day building my own poly 'village' which I could share with lots of my partners and metamours. Experience has taught me that life rather often takes me in directions unexpected, however, so there is little I rule out, these days!

How Poly Can Make Different Kinds of Relationship Possible



For me personally, polyamory has made possible a number of relationships that simply could not have worked out in the world of monogamy, or at least with 'standard' relationship expectations.

Take my longest standing partner, for example: We're chalk and cheese in many ways. He is obsessively neat and ordered whereas I love my creative chaos, he loves to have the TV on all of the time whereas I find that it drives me nutty after only a short while, he wants to be interacting all of the time we're in the same building whereas I am more introverted and need to be left alone sometimes to work, or to think. He loves living in the city, whereas I'd rather be outside it these days. There are many ways, big and small, that we are not well suited to share space with each other, yet we have shared a deep, abiding and supportive love for the best part of a decade, have looked after each other financially, physically and most importantly emotionally. We have met each others' parents and colleagues and are firmly established as fixtures in each others' lives, but living together? The way I like to see it is that we love each other enough not to try to squeeze ourselves into that ill-fitting box.

Poly can also allow child-free people to maintain loving and supportive relationships with partners who want children, people with mismatched sex drives to stay in happy and fulfilling romantic relationships with partners they are otherwise perfectly suited with, and people in long distance relationships to find local companionship without harming their existing relationship. It certainly isn't a fix for every kind of relationship problem – far from it, but stepping outside the expectations of monogamy can make some things that would be 'deal-breakers' in a monogamous relationship much less of an issue.

I want to make it clear here that polyamory is NOT just about dating 'enough' people to make sure that all of your 'needs' are met. Known to some as 'Frankenpoly', the idea of adding all of one's partners together to create some sort of gestalt 'perfect poly partner' is flawed and somewhat objectifying. There are some important characteristics every relationship needs to have in order to be a functional and healthy relationship in itself, and the most important of these are compassion and a healthy respect for each other as human beings – not as 'needs fulfilment machines' as Tacit has often put it.

Polyamory has made it possible, too, for me and many other people to experience different sorts of relationships with people one might not normally be compatible with. Including, for me, an incredibly sweet ongoing connection with a young man who is otherwise only into men, and a cheerfully intimate friendship with a cheeky chap who tells me he is 'awful at relationships' mostly because of the nomadic nature of his work, but has been consistently lovely over 15 years of extremely intermittent occasional dates (I suppose I could call this man my longest standing partner but we have probably only spent a week together over that entire time, pleasant as it was).
Poly makes it possible to be a small-but-good thing in someone's life, and vice versa, without having to put any more expectations on that particular relationship. It has enabled me to play more relationships by ear, to 'see where things go', without feeling under pressure to find the one 'perfect' mate. With a rather beautiful irony, that has also allowed me to meet and develop strong relationships with people who turned out to be much larger features in my life than I expected them to be, whom I would have automatically discounted if I had been looking for a monogamous partnership, simply because I didn't believe we would turn out to be as compatible as we actually are.

Non-sexual Relationships and Poly



I want to add in a note here about asexuality and poly. It is an assumption often made by people outside of the polyamorous community – and even some people within our community - that poly is 'all about the sex'. The first page I came to when looking for a good definition of the word described polyamory as 'the practice of having multiple sexual relationships'. I personally would argue that the focus of polyamory, for myself and most of the folks that I know, is much more about the loving than about the sexual aspect of the relationship. Also while I do not in any way define myself as asexual, I have had (and still have) some incredibly satisfying romantic relationships that did not involve sex.
So I want to make it clear that yes, asexual people CAN have romantic relationships, which can also be poly relationships (although they don't have to be) – there is a lovely long 'manifesto' about asexuality and poly here by a blogger I just found when I was looking for references for this essay: https://transpolyasexual.wordpress.com/2014/01/30/my-ace-poly-manifesto/ - and polyamorous people can have romantic relationships that do not include sex. That too is another type of relationship that I firmly believe would not have been available to me if I had been monogamous, thanks to ideas about 'emotional infidelity'. As a sexual person, I could well have have had to choose between the deeper emotional connection on the one hand and a partner I could sleep with on the other. I am incredibly grateful that, thanks to poly, I do not have to make that choice.

I am clearly not the only poly person with a sexual orientation to appreciate the non-sexual opportunities my nonmonogamous relationship model allows me, as this post by The Ferrett shows too. http://www.theferrett.com/ferrettworks/2015/01/a-nice-thing-about-polyamory/

And last but most assuredly not least, there is another, more familial form of love I have found through poly: the love that I feel for my metamours, or my partners' partners. We may not have sexual chemistry (although the complexity of my network within the UK has before now resulted in the invention of the term 'lolomylo' or 'lover's lover who is also my lover'), but we invariably have more in common than just our mutual partner. We may not always agree on everything, but at the end of the day we are connected, by the community we are a part of, by ideology and by our love for our partners. Some of my metamours are also close friends, many of them are activists and, for me at least, being a part of my relationship network very often feels like being a member of a league of superheroes.

Much like this, in fact:



What About You?



In conclusion, being ethically non-monogamous has offered me and those close to me opportunities to build many different kinds of relationships and to tailor those relationships to suit our lives, our needs and our selves. Has poly opened up new kinds of love to you? If so, in what ways? Are there any kinds of love that I missed?

With love (of various sorts!),

Maxine.




[Edit 2015/03/06: Minor changes. Fixed a couple of typos and added in a couple of extra hyperlinks. Made headings more obvious.]
emanix: (emanix)
Subtitle: Seriously, please don't buy me gifts.
---

Dear Peoples,

This year (as I have for the past several years) I am declaring my house a Christmas Free Zone. I am excusing myself from participating in a pointless cultural habit.

Some of it is ideological: I am neither a Christian, a Pagan, nor a Capitalist, and while I think it's nice knowing that Isaac Newton was born on the 25th of December, I think he would appreciate the sentiment of my doing nothing at all to celebrate this fact, because he simply isn't around to see it.

Some of it is more practical: After almost a decade of short-term living situations and an entire year of living out of backpack, the idea of acquiring more Stuff gives me an almost-physical pain. I can't help imagining carrying the extra weight of this new item, whatever it is, or doing the calculation in my head, working out which thing in my already full to capacity backpack I will have to give away, destroy, or otherwise leave behind in order to accommodate this new uninvited guest, however small.

Yes, I have a house right now, but my intention is to sell up and go back to being nomadic in the future. Every gift I receive now will have to be either carried or disposed of in the intervening time, and it hurts my heart to receive beautiful things knowing I can't keep them.

I'm not a complete grinch. I don't want to spoil anyone else's fun. I just question how much 'fun' is really involved in the rituals of compulsory gift-giving, emotional blackmail and gluttony that go alongside a traditional celebration of... what? The birth of a prophet who preached poverty, self-immolation and charitable giving? The turning of the seasons?
Why not, then, spare a thought instead for folks who are less well off? Perhaps those who are out in the cold. Rather than indulging in ridiculously high calorie foods, making oneself miserable, or at best uncomfortable, with overindulgence, why not give the whole damn lot to a food bank? Why not the gifts too? Instead of buying yet another gift set of pre-wrapped toiletries, probably destined barely to be glanced over before being placed on a high shelf and left to gather dust, why not say to your friend, family member, colleague, 'Today I made the world a slightly better place'. Why not give to charity instead, or volunteer your time?
Don't get me wrong, I'm not against ever giving gifts. I love gift-giving. I just feel that gifts can happen the other 364 days of the year, for better reasons than 'a historical figure was born over 2000 years ago and probably nowhere near this time of year, so now I have to give you these socks that you didn't ask for...'. I have no objection to giving things to folks, especially if they're useful, wanted, well thought out. If they'll make life genuinely *better* rather than just fulfilling some sort of ritual expectation. I'll probably even be buying gifts for a few people this December, they just won't be christmas gifts.

If you're the sort of person who might have the urge to buy me a gift, I urge you please to reconsider. I have no need of more 'stuff' in my life – in fact, I need less. I have more than enough food, more than enough clothes, a warm place to live. The only thing I'm short on is time. I would rather hear that you had donated to charity on my behalf, or spent some time making the world a better place in some way. Some random act of kindness, or at the very least the carbon-neutral, pollution-free and mostly harmless act that is doing nothing at all.

There will be no christmas cards sent from my house, this year. There will be no tinsel, no baubles, and no tree. There will be no massive christmas dinner, or stressful family visits. Life, in fact, will carry on pretty much as usual, except perhaps a little quieter. Since I first went 'on strike' from christmas, several years ago now, midwinter has become a peaceful contemplative time for me to catch up with myself, my reading, and all of the bits and bobs that have built up through the year. I'll be sorting out my tax return, figuring out what I might be donating to charity on top of the steady stream of possessions I've been giving away over the last few months, and thinking about how I can contribute to the lives of friends and family through the rest of the year. I might get some DIY done.

Whatever I end up doing, I'm rather looking forward to the blissful peace of watching the hustle and bustle of the 'festive season' from a safe distance, and not being involved in any of it.

I guess you could say that this is the gift I'm giving myself.

Love and peace to everyone,

Maxine.

x
emanix: (emanix)
"Editor's Note": I wrote the original article in 2008, for a website that no longer exists, and it's been gathering dust in my archive ever since. I thought it was about time it came out for an airing. There may be a few grammatical errors as I had to run a find and replace on the genders, having pleasingly met lots of female and gender variant Techie types since I wrote the first version. Hope folks enjoy it!

----
Why I Love Techies
by GeekGroupie (a.k.a. Maxine Green)



An enthusiastic rant about just what it is I love so much about (shiver) practical folks.

Now really, would you trust someone who didn't know which end of a screwdriver was which to push *your* buttons?


I have to confess, I have a soft spot for geeks in general. Geeks are, in their many quiet ways, passionate people, and that's a thing that has always appealed to me, but a particular love has always been the Techie.


::-o0o-::


What is a Techie?


The Techie is a guru of technology. A specialist. They are the sort of person other people go to when they have a technical problem, a source of expertise. The Techie, male, female or otherwise, may be an engineer, a programmer, a top-level mechanic, a space-ship builder, maybe even a chef - it's the personality traits that make the difference. They are passionate about what they do, they do things right, and they get things done.


Techies are confident in their field, they tend to be well aware of their own competencies - a trait that happily extends to other aspects of their lives. A good techie is innovative and pragmatic - they will use the tools they has at hand to get the job done, and if they aren't the ones designed to do the job they will improvise. They are generally single-minded, focused and willing to experiment. If the Techie doesn't know how to do a thing, they will learn how rather than leave it to someone else.


::-o0o-::


So what exactly is it that I love? Every one of those traits has a use in the bedroom, I promise you. The human body is a complicated device - would you entrust it to someone who wasn't capable of learning how to use any others? A Techie won't just assume they're doing everything right, they will look and listen for feedback, and most likely ask if they're not getting it. If the task at hand happens to be, say, 'provide partner with orgasm' believe me, they won't rest until the task is complete. A Techie is not afraid to use tools to get the job done - I confess, a Techie guy introduced me to my first vibrator, and I haven't looked back.


As partners, Techies have their faults - it can take a bit of effort sometimes to get their attention when they're more interested in pushing buttons on their latest project than on ''you'' but on the other hand, my engineer loves have fulfilled more of my fantasies than anyone else - To a true Techie there is no such thing as 'can't'. I've seen techie folks take up soldering irons, spanners, welding torches and saws to make play equipment and looked on in awe at the results - and these weren't botch-jobs, No, a good Techie is always a perfectionist. They're not going to do anything by halves. Some of the best nights of my life have been spent in the hands of the folks who spend their days bending over their electronic loves.


So who do I look to when I want a good time? Do I go for the playboy? The Charmer? The pretty people? Do I go after money, or looks, or a silver tongue? Hell no! I'm off to find the folks behind the scenes who are busy making things work, screwdriver in hand.


Hey sexy Techie, got a tool for me?
emanix: (emanix)
(From my personal manifesto)

Live cheaply. Keep the regular costs as low as possible, and save the rest for investments. Invest in things that add to your life. Good shoes for comfort, a good coat for warmth, a camera for memories. Prioritise. Resist ostentation unless it brings joy to people who aren't you.

When you have all you actually need, invest in story. Never forget that narrative has value. Give your lunch to a homeless person. Run naked in the rain. Change the world for the better. Tell a story with your life, and make it a good one.

----

- Written ‎12 ‎January ‎2013. I think when I wrote it originally I considered it unfinished, but having found it on my laptop again today, I think that it stands perfectly well as it is so I'm posting it.
emanix: (emanix)
This afternoon I came in to a conversation on facebook inspired by this article: 6 fascinating people who own almost nothing. The conversation wandered into how a lot of the folks who claim to be embracing minimalism and the 'no possessions' lifestyle (and who often seem quite smug and self-satisfied about it) do, in fact, rather carelessly rely on the use of other people's housing possessions to support their lifestyle... something that works in small numbers, of course, but isn't sustainable over a whole population, clearly. There was also plenty of discussion about the lessons these minimalist folk have to teach us. So naturally this conversation got me thinking back over how I have been living my life over the last few months.

I try to be very conscious of when I am and am not relying on other people's kindness. I have been very lucky since I started being nomadic and living out of my backpack, back in March. A lot of people have very kindly offered me their hospitality and even keys to their houses, so despite working out my initial numbers based on staying in hostels and short lets and things, I've been able to save a lot through the generosity of my friends and lovers - and spend it on taking them out for nice dinners instead, or in one particular case, supporting their indiegogo campaign! When I am staying with people I try to give back in practical ways too, such as washing dishes or making meals, making sure the fridge is stocked, doing minor repairs, offering to baby-sit, helping with the bills if bills need paying, that sort of thing. If at some point I forget that there's a give and take there, though, and start getting entitled about it or assuming anyone other than (possibly) the government owes me a place to stay, or pretending I've done it all by myself, do please shoot me!

On the other hand, I think there are ways in which the nomadic lifestyle could be much more sustainable for a lot of people, which perhaps would emerge naturally if enough folks were doing it: there are already plenty of hostels offering dorm spaces and similar for backpackers (even while I was relatively settled in zone 3, I did occasionally ponder moving nearer in to the centre of the city and only paying rent as and when I needed to, given that the daily rate for a hostel in central London was about equivalent to my rent+bills and also included breakfast- but of course there were at the time other intangibles such as stability, and choice over one's housemates to consider, plus storage for the 'stuff' that I was lugging around from house to house with me). I do wonder how the current offering would flourish, change and compete if that market was to grow significantly. Extending it even further, what would the world be like if we were all guaranteed stable housing as and when we needed it, for as long as we needed it, ('at-will accommodation', if you like) and nobody owned property at all?

Speaking of property, one thing that backpacking really does for you as an individual is that it will make you think very hard about every single thing you buy or choose to carry around with you. When every new item you acquire means than something else has to be thrown or given away, buying 'stuff' begins to take on a different light. As an inveterate 'pack-rat', that's been a real eye opener for me, and particularly for folks who tend to horde 'stuff', I'd recommend trying it, even just for a short while.

I hadn't really intended to be nomadic for quite as long as I now have been. My initial intention was to put most of my stuff in storage just for a little while, go travelling to see friends and family for maybe two or three months and then settle down again, but as all of the work I do is non-location-dependent and I am under no particular pressure to stay in one place, the charms of the 'footloose and fancy free' lifestyle have rather drawn me in. When I do pass through London I have found myself rather naturally reducing my possessions in storage by roughly one crate each time I visit, when I look at things and realise I haven't missed them even for a moment. And the less stuff I have in storage, the less inclined I am to settle down and be weighed down by it. It has been a fascinating process.

I do find that I am shocked more than ever, when I walk by shops selling ornaments and suchlike, by the sheer uselessness of so much of what's out there. Tea, however, turns out to be really important to me (nobody who's met me should be surprised by this, yet somehow I was!) and I now make sure I have a small supply in my backpack to be certain that I have it wherever I happen to be, and usually a travel mug tucked in my belt, as well. Books are important to me too, but I have finally given in and gone the kindle route, because there is only so much paper one person can carry.


There is definitely a sense of freedom in knowing that everything you need for your every day life will fit into a backpack or a suitcase. Knowing that one has the option to take off at any moment means one is never at the mercy of a bad landlord or bad relationship, you can do crazy things like leave the country on a moment's notice, because you know you have everything you need with you, or fly south for the winter, which certainly has a tinge of luxury (though living abroad is mostly cheaper than the UK, in fact). In my case, at this particular time, it has also meant that I could up sticks and move to Manchester to spend time looking after my terminally ill grandfather as his health has been deteriorating over the last few months, and stay for as long as I'm needed. It's hard to put a price on that sort of freedom.

It's not for everybody, though: I know that if I was even slightly less physically able than I am right now, I wouldn't be able to handle carrying both my backpack and the 'mobile studio' I built to take around with me in a suitcase. I am dreading the next time my knee gives out and I have to use crutches, as public transport will be a whole different experience. I could be faced with the stark choice of settling down in one place or giving up my art (or being dependent on other people to move my case for me, which... well, let's say it's a last resort!). There are all sorts of reasons one might need to be static, or have more equipment than a person can reasonably carry. And of course if the work I did was location-dependent, there might not be any point to my minimalism. I'm not trying to pretend that the life I live now is easy to arrange, or even possible for everybody.

There have been hard times too. Finding time and space to myself has not been entirely easy. There have been times when my choice has been between offending my hosts or sharing space, and occasionally even beds with people (and pets) I would not normally choose to. Getting ill and needing several days of hardcore rest whilst visiting in a house without a dedicated guest room was... tricky. And if one has kindly been invited in as a guest, turning down that invitation, or backing out of a stay that one had already committed to, and saying to someone "Actually, I'd prefer to go and stay in a B&B or a hotel for a bit so I can get some space to myself", can seem impolitic, and difficult (or expensive) to arrange at the last minute when something hasn't gone to plan.
Not knowing what city one is going to be in next month can get a little exhausting, too, where long range planning is concerned, but the hardest thing I have had to deal with yet has been accessing medical care whilst on the move; something I have found incredibly difficult even as a relatively well off British citizen in stable employment. The NHS as a whole is not at all set up for patients who migrate, even between just two addresses, let alone many. Walk-in and access centres are not well advertised, and often websites are out of date (we turned up at one that was advertised online to find it had closed more than a year ago), and the ones that still exist are often poorly signposted and in obscure places. I find myself struggling to use the exact same sort of facilities I would have to visit if I was sleeping rough on the street, and wondering how (or if) anyone who is homeless through circumstances not of their own choosing actually manages to see a doctor, other than through visits to A&E. As I am dependent on a regular supply of thyroxine tablets to actually keep me alive, and also having had a chest infection for most of the last month on top of this, that's been pretty stressful.

But still, I do feel incredibly privileged and lucky to be able to live and work the way that I currently do. I hope I come across as neither smug nor self satisfied, but I do think there are some very valid lessons to take away from all this stuff... or from the lack of stuff. :)
emanix: (emanix)
I don't post much personal stuff these days. I've been finding, whilst I'm ever so happy to be out, as an activist, as a kinkster, as a visible poly person, that I want to live my private life... well, privately. But since writing my last post I've been feeling the need to post a personal update.

I've spent most of the last nine months out in the countryside, bouncing around alone in a big empty house with a barely functioning phone and minimal internet. I was tired of humanity, tired of the city, tired of sharing space with folks who mostly took and forgot to give back, tired of broken promises and thoughtless behaviour. So I left. I moved out to the Edge of Everywhere, into my 'hermitage' and I hid away. And, of course, I learned some new things about myself.

I learned how terrifying it is to be on your own, two hours drive or more away from everyone you know, and to be suddenly taken ill with a fever. To call up the only folks you can rely on and say "Ring me in the morning. If I don't pick up, call an ambulance." knowing that was the best they'd be able to do.

I learned a few things about my own resourcefulness, my own ability to cope when things suck. I learned a few things about my need for human contact, but also my never previously suspected need to be able sometimes to switch that off and just be.

Most of all, though, I learned a lot about who the folks are I really care about, and who really care about me. The people I feel the need to reach out to when I'm out on a limb, and even more, the folks who stuck with me, who made sure they kept in touch, even when I was out of sight and far away. I learned about the lines of love that stay open when we are far apart, when communications are hard, and the ones that shut down as soon as you're not visible.

I learned about being an Outdoor Cat.

Now I'm moving on again, after nine months. Just long enough to have had the baby. The hermitage was always temporary. It could have been longer, it could have been less. I don't feel quite ready to leave, but perhaps I never would have done, who knows? And where I'm moving to is... nowhere, everywhere, into thin air.

I have a place lined up to go to, it's not ready yet. May not be for a few months (given the folks involved, maybe even longer). In the meantime, I'm embracing the freedom of movement. I will be living out of my backpack, with a suitcase on the side full of art materials to enable me to keep painting, keep creating. I'm free from paying rent or bills, so that gives me a little more money for travel and accommodation should I find the need to pay for places, but I am starting to suspect I won't be struggling. I am trusting that there will be places open to me.

As if in answer to that trust, when I started telling my friends and loved ones about my plan, vistas of possibility opened up. I found myself welling up with tears as one after another members of my chosen family, friends and lovers, even ex partners I'm still close to, began offering me places to stay not just for a day or two but for weeks or months, as long as I liked, and not just rooms but also keys to their houses to come and go as I please, to be trusted, one of the family. To install the cat flap. I am indescribably grateful for that. Awed by the love and joy in those connections and wanting to celebrate that. To announce to the world that I love these people. Be good to these people. They've been, are currently being so good to me.

So I'm moving on... as I jokingly said to a friend of mine who asked me 'where to?' the other day, I'm moving on to the internet. My email address is the same as ever, as is my mobile number. I have a couple of partners willing to accept packages for me, depending on where I'll be in the world. I'm still just as easy to get hold of, just perhaps a little harder to pin down in one place. I'm already pretty much booked up for the next couple of months, in terms of places to be. In fact I'm starting to wonder if I'll ever find time to move into my new place at all. I shall play it by ear, as with everything else in my life at the moment.

I'll see you on the internet!

With love and joy,

M.

xx
emanix: (restricted area)

I am not a brat.

I tend to keep my submissive streak rather quiet. Partly because it's very very rare that it comes out. I have gone most of thirty years and only been submissive for a few days of that, at most. Partly because I see the lack of respect towards submissives in certain parts of the kink scene and perhaps a bit selfishly, to avoid having to spend hours explaining myself or challenging prejudice, I have sometimes taken the easy route to avoiding that. Not by lying, but certainly by omitting to mention my switchy side when in public. I have also hidden my masochistic aspect on occasion, despite that being much larger, because it frustrates me when people automatically assume that masochist equals submissive, and submissive equals masochist (I've written about it in my livejournal before: http://emanix.livejournal.com/24585.html ). I work hard though, nowadays, to break down that false assumption and free other kinky folk from unsatisfying and confusing relationships. Most often, when I play these days, it's something along the lines of 'Masochist Dom' (“Spank me! No, harder! Mmm, that's good. More. Good boy!”)

But I do have a submissive side. There is a part of me that very occasionally wants someone else to be in charge, someone telling me what to do, or what is going to be done to me. It's small, but it runs deep, and comes out only when I'm with people I feel very very safe around, whom I respect emotionally and intellectually, and most often when I'm feeling pressured by the outside world and looking for a safe space to go to, where someone I trust is willing to take on the responsibility of making decisions for me, just for a while. And I am not a brat.

A brat is someone who misbehaves deliberately in order to be punished. An awful lot of masochists are brats, through nature or through training. The outside world teaches us that physical punishment is a response to bad behaviour. A child does something hurtful to themselves or others, and is given a smack as a swift way to create an aversion to that behaviour. Many countries in the world still use corporal punishment to control adults. More importantly, it is normal not to reward bad behaviour, for obvious reasons. If someone hurts you, or takes something of yours, you don't give them a lollipop. It is obvious to most people that giving someone a reward for undesired behaviour is going to result in more of that same behaviour. For a masochist, which I'm going to define here as 'someone who enjoys pain', a spanking is pretty much the same as that lollipop. If you give someone what they enjoy, every time they do something that's annoying or upsetting, you are setting them up to want to do those annoying or upsetting things more often. Even if they don't really want to do those things otherwise. Even if those things are actually bad for them. If you are habitually rewarding a person for bad behaviour, they will keep doing it because they want the reward. Curiously enough, outside the world of kink, this is known as a 'perverse incentive' (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perverse_incentive). I've known certain masochists who were trained into behaving horribly, being genuinely rude and hurtful to people who weren't consenting to be a part of their scene, because it meant they would be 'in trouble' and get the punishment they really wanted.

I am a masochist, and sometimes I'm submissive, and I am not a brat.

It's still not an easy concept to explain in the abstract, so I'll work through an example:
A few years ago, I moved from a three bedroom house into a single room, and since I had way too much stuff in a very small space, I was struggling to keep it tidy. My primary partner at the time told me he planned to spank me every time he visited and saw that my room was messy. He thought he was being wonderfully helpful – and it would have made perfect sense, in the rest of the world. But for me, that was a stressful and hurtful position to be in, because spanking was something I enjoyed and wanted, this meant I had to choose between two situations I didn't want. If I had a tidy room, it would mean no lovely spankings, but if I left my room messy then I'd get spankings but I'd also have a room I hated to live in. Whatever I did, I lost. Eventually I burst into tears and begged him to please spank me when my room was tidy, or it would never be tidy again.

Don't get me wrong, 'bratting' works really well for some people. At times, it can be a really useful way to negotiate consent without dropping out of role in a scene. When I'm in charge I might threaten to spank someone if they poke their tongue out at me, and then I know, if they poke out their tongue it's a sign they want to get spanked. For some people it's a fun game to play, to see how much you can 'get away with' before you get punished. But (and a few people might find this rather surprising) my subbie side is not a bad girl. Submissive bunny desperately wants to please and hates the idea of doing something upsetting or wrong deliberately. If I've really done something wrong, a mere expression of disappointment is enough to devastate. Punishment of any sort is rather redundant, and physical violence when someone is genuinely angry at me just feels like abuse. I really, really don't want something I love (i.e. pain) associated with negativity and anger.

So how do you punish a masochist?

Well, for one thing, speaking for a moment from the dominant's perspective instead, and an occasional student of psychology, I would question the idea of 'punishment' at all. If you're genuinely in D/s for the purpose of behaviour modification, then there's a lot of research out there talking about how positive or negative reinforcement (i.e. rewarding good behaviour by offering something nice, or by taking away an adverse condition - "you will have to put up with this thing you don't like until you behave yourself properly") is more effective than punishment for long term change. If you're just doing it out of sadism, as an excuse to inflict some torture, then why not be more straightforward about it? “I want to see you suffer. Be a good girl and take it for me.” is, at least to me, hotter and more honest than “You're a bad girl, you need to be punished!” If that's not the way you're kinked, though, and you really, really want to punish, for correction, or just to be evil, then you have to consider what constitutes a reward or a punishment for the individual. Everyone has their own 'thing'. Some people love marmite, and would be really happy to be rewarded with a slice of marmite on toast. Other folks hate the stuff, and would see it as the worst punishment in the world. Same goes for pain, isolation, being enclosed, being paid attention to, being ignored, being humiliated... I could go on and on. For every person who likes something, there is someone who dislikes it. For every fetish there is a phobia. Yes, it requires communication, it requires paying attention. It might even lead to the terrifying possibility of intimacy. For me? Quite honestly, the thought of receiving a pedicure makes me squirm in discomfort. Try inflicting that on me if I'm not in a particularly agreeable headspace and the results will *not* be good.

But if you hate my essay, you're welcome to spank me for it. I'll just enjoy it

emanix: (Default)

I have come across this poem online a couple of times, attributed to a Veronica Shoffstall. However it appears that it's also a translation of an original work in Spanish, possibly by Jorge Luis Borges.

Either way, it is beautiful, and expresses a lot of how I feel about relationships, and about polyamory, and deserves to be known.

After a While

After a while you learn
The subtle difference between
Holding a hand and chaining a soul
And you learn that love doesn't mean leaning
And company doesn't always mean security.

And you begin to learn
That kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes ahead
With the grace of a woman*
Not the grief of a child*

And you learn
To build all your roads on today
Because tomorrow's ground is
Too uncertain for plans
And futures have a way
Of falling down in mid flight

After a while you learn
That even sunshine burns if you get too much
So you plant your own garden
And decorate your own soul
Instead of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers

And you learn
That you really can endure
That you are really strong
And you really do have worth
And you learn and you learn
And with every day, you learn.




Click for the original language )

.

*I notice these two lines aren't present in the Spanish version. They are awfully pretty, though, and fit well into the model of the poem, so I've left them where I found them. Being a language nerd, I also fixed the last line of the translation: the version I found said 'with every goodbye you learn', whereas the spanish just says 'with every day', which I think is far more optimistic!
  
NB: I'm not keen on infringing copyright, so I'll happily take this post down or correct the attribution if I'm contacted by someone who can demonstrate ownership, but in this case it seems the ownership is fuzzy, and the likely original author is no longer alive to benefit from his work. There appears to be a longer version in Spanish here: http://elprincipito.blogia.com/2005/101102-jorge-luis-borges-aprendiendo.php
emanix: (Default)
.

Emanix (noun, fem.): 1. one who emanates. An originator and creator of things. 2. One who puts out.
(The latter not 100% accurate, at least, not to just anybody, but I couldn't resist the pun!)

Polyamorist (n): one whose life is characterised by a set of complex overlapping calendars and scheduling conflicts and, to a lesser extent, multiple loving relationships. (from [livejournal.com profile] bminstrel link)

The latter seems particularly apt for me (apart from a general feeling that the word 'polyamorist' makes something that I feel is an innate part of my identity sound like a career choice - I prefer 'polyamorous person'). Back from a week in Thailand which I left for straight after helping out with Polyday, now recovering from jetlag and looking in despair at a to-do list that stretches on into infinity. Posts will happen though. When I can fit them in between my other scheduling conflicts, that is!

In the meantime, how would you define the meaning of your name or username, if it was up to you?
emanix: (Default)
I was walking down the road this afternoon and this idea just popped into my head. Wouldn't it be interesting to take one of the most traditional statements of faith in the christian church (which, being the faith that was vaguely foisted on me as a child, is the main religion that I push against, culturally-speaking) kick out the rubbish, and write what I really believe?

For those who aren't aware of it, this is the Nicene Creed

So here, with somewhat tortured language because of trying to fit it vaguely into the same pattern, is my set of beliefs about the world.


The Emanixine Creed:
(probably a first draft)

I believe in a reality external to myself, some of which is observable with my own senses, some of which is not.

I believe in myself as a conscious being, as a person, and in other conscious beings, other people. I believe that continued existence and pleasure in that existence is a good thing, and a valid goal to strive for. I believe that every conscious being has a right to that goal, and any others that do not conflict with my goal to exist in comfort.

I believe that there will be no judgement after life, but if we are to strive collectively to apply the right to exist in comfort to every conscious being, we must judge within ourselves and within our communities, and hold ourselves to the highest standards we are capable of. I believe that the highest glory is in the sharing of happiness and increasing of knowledge, as well as the peaceful coexistence of every conscious being.

I believe in empirical science, not as a fixed body of knowledge, but as a process through which to understand the world, and the external reality in which I exist.

I believe in the universe as the giver of life, which proceeds from the laws of physics as we know them. I acknowledge that my understanding of the world is incomplete, and hope for forgiveness of any misunderstandings. I look for the continuation of this life, and the world to come.



If you were to write a creed for yourself, how would yours read?
emanix: (pink hair)
I've not been doing much out of the house lately, having been struggling with the thyroid disease thing - just so tired, all of the time. E and I went away for a couple of weeks just the two of us to recharge batteries, and it did help, but I'm still waiting to feel like myself properly again, and waiting to get my dosage of artificial hormone sorted out, since apparently they started me far too low.
At any rate, I've been doing better, and actually went out over the weekend. I'm not sure I'm going to do it again in a hurry!

Saturday was the bi coffee meet, actually full of nice people, but as I ended up spending more than half my time there explaining and re-explaining my worldview (mainly the bits about poly) it felt like a lot of effort, so I probably won't be going back until I'm bouncy again. I made an entrance though, turning up in full evening dress, which went down rather well!

Why the evening dress? Saturday evening was a trip even further out of my usual bubble, to Cavus's company ball. Boy did I feel old when I realised that we've known each other since 1996, and we *stopped* dating most of a decade ago. It was nice to see him, but I'm more glad than ever that I live in my world and not his. I had an almost panic attack halfway through the evening when I realised I was in amongst a couple of thousand people, none of whom I could be myself around, and I've become so used to not having to censor my speech or my actions that I find it desperately uncomfortable to put myself there again.

Sunday was lovely though, went to see the Wallace Collection with Haydon and Eunice, and Ed caught up with us part way through the day. The restaurant there is expensive, but the food is awesome. I'm hoping to go back at some point for a proper afternoon tea, but it seemed a bit much after having breakfast and lunch there! Oh, and breakfast was proper traditional English style soft boiled eggs (done perfectly!) with toast 'soldiers', and a pot of gorgeous breakfast tea - my favourite thing!

Back in the bubble, the House of Joy is still a place of lovely, and I'm the luckiest girl in the world. I shall rest in its warm and fuzzy embrace until I have the energy to bounce out again.
emanix: (Default)
So I've been overdoing it a bit lately with the socialising. Having barely caught my breath from Polyday and aftermath I was a bit silly over the weekend of [livejournal.com profile] werenerd's party, and did far too much despite having the lurgy. Then I took the chance on travelling to Italy with my love plus close poly family as we'd planned for an extra birthday treat, in the hope that sitting in 'hot ponds' (volcanic spa pools) on the island of Ischia would help me recuperate. It did, but travelling back again set me back by about the same amount, so in health terms I guess it wasn't worth it. Ischia is beautiful, though, and the volcanic spa thing is wonderful, so I'm glad I went.

The party itself was wonderful - [livejournal.com profile] weegoddess wrote a lovely account on her journal, including the couple of miracles that got her there. Masses of fun, affection and cuddles were had by everyone, especially the birthday boy, and several of us as a result decided to start a 'cult'. Check out the Order of the Wand - a virtual temple dedicated to the pleasures of the Hitachi Magic Wand. Join us!

Apparently today is 'Coming out day'. Like a lot of people on my friends list, I had many comings out - the first one to my friends, and brother, about being bi when I was roughly 14, the most recent actually to my parents a couple of weeks ago, having decided I was only going to tell them about being bi, poly, kinky etc. when it was 'relevant' - and up til I was running Polyday none of it really was, though I think they had a fair idea about most of it already on an unofficial basis. I'd never gone out of my way to hide it, it just hadn't been an active enough part of my life to be worth telling them about (sadly).
To their credit, my parents took it really well, especially considering my dad's previous history of crass/homophobic comments, and have now met all of my partners (including my 'half girlfriend' which I hadn't planned on, but she happened along at the right moment). Not that I needed it, but apparently they actually approve.

I officially came out as a geek in 2007, though I don't think anyone was surprised.

Also today I found my first couple of grey hairs. Since the hair on my head is dyed pink, of course the first place they show up is my pubes. I'm 27, do I now need to come out as an old fogey already?

I'm taking it easy at home for a few days now, with the hope of finally beating the bugs (and if I'm up to it, catching up on work), so won't be out socialising much. Next big party, Halloween - I damn well hope I'm on top form by then!

M.
emanix: (Default)
This morning's pillow talk was about female archetypes in fairy tales and animated movies (particularly Disney - *spit*), and how much I loathe the passive 'princess' character type that girls are given to aspire to.

Not actually what I'm wanting to talk about, but it felt like an appropriate way to start the day.

A year and a day is a rather fairytale time period - it sounds so romantic, doesn't it?

Today marks a year and a day since I last saw the psychopath (and those of you who know me well will know I don't use the term lightly). Perhaps not a day to celebrate, but a day to be marked.

I was in London for a year and a day before I left for Canada with the biggest mistake of my life. There are some aspects of it I absolutely don't regret.

I am glad that I ignored the advice of well-meaning but patronising people who told me that I shouldn't try snowboarding with my knee problem. I am still happy that I finally found a sport I can really get to grips with, and a way for me to actually move fast.

I don't regret the time I spent coming up with the concept and original sketches for my graphic novel project, or in many ways the awful emotional situation I was in, isolated from any support network, that allowed me to escape into it for weeks at a time, and produce work more prolifically than any other period of my life.

I don't even regret how I acted in relationship to him - I was over-generous, somewhat naive, and turned the other cheek far too many times, but I would rather be that forever than make myself something I hate. The cracks didn't begin to show until well after I was locked into a caretaking position, and I refuse to be the sort of person to leave someone homeless, jobless and clearly mentally ill, however much of a bastard they are.

I somewhat regret not taking him to court over the several thousand pounds he owed me, and I most certainly regret not pressing charges over the violence, especially once the police were actually called in, which might perhaps have held him back from doing the same to someone else (sadly, I became aware only after the event of his history of violent and threatening behaviour - when I believed I was the first, I could imagine I might also be the last. If only.). 
On the other hand I have spent my time getting over and away from that, and putting myself in a better position, rather than engaging with the British legal system in what I still feel would have been a painful and ultimately pointless quest.

I am glad to have spent my time strengthening my links within the various communities around London so that I have a better support network, and I will be in a better position should our paths ever cross again.

It depresses me somewhat that I still feel I will spend the rest of my life moving away from him, but on the other hand I rejoice in how far I have come. Just as I wear my physical scars proudly, as trophies of my experiences, I accept the changes wrought in my personality too, by bad events just as much as good, and I realise that if it wasn't for the psychopath I wouldn't have had the motivation to move into activism, and to make the world a better place in what way I can for other people. That doesn't make his existence any less of a blight on humanity, however.

Tonight I go out with friends, and observe the crowd of wonderful people that surround me, and thank whatever powers might be for the life I have now, the fact that I still have it, and how amazingly good it is, one year and a day on, and carry on creating my own 'happily ever after'.
emanix: (Default)
To fully understand where I am now, one has to look back to roughly the end of 2006. It was December, and I'd just broken up with the partner I'd been living with abroad. Not badly, really - we're still friends, but I wasn't going to able to carry on living there. So I visited London for a week to see if I might want to live there.
While I was in London, I happened to visit Coffee Cake and Kink, and met two people who I was very strongly drawn to. [profile] lord_don, who has since become my 'adoptive, if slightly incestuous little brother' , and [livejournal.com profile] skibbley who has since become a good, if geographically distant friend, and more than friend.

I moved to London, and had a vaguely stressful 2007, which isn't worth mentioning except for at the start of September 07 I got a note on a social networking site from [livejournal.com profile] werenerd inviting me to Polyday that year, which I failed to read until more than twelve months afterwards.

The first three-quarters of 2008 was even more horrible than the year before, but I don't need to go into that either, apart from to say that my ex-partner Alex was wonderful in looking after me right when I most needed it, and immensely patient with me, and eventually over Christmas I gave in and decided it was worth trying again as partners.

The latter part of 2008 also included me managing to attend my first Polyday, and then a week or two after the event logging into a particular site for the first time in 18 months to discover [livejournal.com profile] werenerd's note inviting me to LAST YEAR'S event. Sheer amusement prompted me to reply, which grew into a conversation after we realised we had mutual friends.
Chance, and [livejournal.com profile] skibbley led me within the same week to a 'Critical Sexology' seminar, at which I met [livejournal.com profile] snork_maiden, and also another very cool lady, [livejournal.com profile] werenerd's... well she's currently his other partner.

Fast forward a few months, to the start of April, and that's when all this stuff comes in. So Erich ([livejournal.com profile] werenerd) and I are now working together, and a whole lot else besides. Despite my initial nervousness about getting into any new relationships, particularly with a business partner*, we also seem to be... well, madly in love about describes it at the moment. He also introduced me to a whole crowd of polyamorous people, mostly on the activist-y end of the scene (- and thank heavens, I finally have a support network of poly people for the first time in my life!) and to [livejournal.com profile] misterfallen, who snuck in under the radar, *just* as I announced that I had "too many people in my life already".

Not quite three months on, I'm faced with more scary changes.

Well aware that I'm still in the full flush of 'NRE' with all but one of my two and two-half relationships, I'm finding myself looking for a new house, at the same time that [livejournal.com profile] werenerd is looking to build a 'happy poly shared house of joy' that just happens to include [livejournal.com profile] misterfallen, and a couple of other people. It's a shared house, but it's still going to contain at least one, probably two of my new partners - I'd be crazy to move in and not expect drama. Yet it's exactly what I've wanted pretty much my entire life. I've always loved group living, always wanted a big house full of people, want to live with people I know, and preferably love, and my presence provides the critical mass for the house to exist.
Despite all the apparent craziness, I'm relatively sure that it's the right thing to do. E and I have life (and world domination) plans that match amazingly well. We had been talking about creating our little poly-kinky-friendly commune already - it was part of both of our longer term plans, even before we met. Do you run away from what you want, just because it arrives at an odd time?

I'm committed to trying it, drama or no. The scariest bit is that we're spending the majority of the time we need to be house-hunting in separate countries. Out of roughly five weeks to the end of July, he's out of the country for three of them, and I'm away for one of the other two. It's going to be... interesting.

It's getting late, so to finish up for the night, I'm currently counting:
Two jobs
Two and two 'half' relationships, plus a couple of occasional sweeties.
Four houses that I have keys to (including my parents)
A huge list of projects to work on, including one city-wide, and one national level event.
One big upcoming house-move.

I'll explain the jobs and projects bit of that list later, but it's getting late now.

Wish us luck?

* I don't think any business partner has had their references checked *quite* so thoroughly, including speaking to interrogating both ex and current girlfriends.
emanix: (Default)
Hi all, very quick post to say I changed my account name on here to get in line with my various other accounts for 'personal' stuff. (Twitter, IC, OkCupid etc.) - livejournal redirects all my linkies anyway, but thought I'd better post something in case people are confused!

So... was godesita
now emanix

enjoy!

x

(I'd have done this a while ago, and saved some confusion, but apparently 'emanix' was a deleted account, and I had to wait for it to get purged from the database.)

Butterfly

May. 1st, 2009 05:49 am
emanix: (Default)
Roughly three years ago now, I began an anonymous online journal*, intending to write about my experiences entering into polyamory as a lifestyle (having known I wasn't happy with monogamy for a long time before that, but being derailed by partners, attitudes and random events that meant I was 'accidentally monogamous' for a long time). It didn't turn out to be quite what I intended.
What I actually recorded was three years of living as a poly person in a community of non-poly people. Monogamites, as I tend to think of them. Three years of being in the closet, and accepting that my innate identity was something to be shut away, hidden and brought out only in private, whispered about in dark corners and conducted furtively.
Three years of internalised shame and embarrassment, and paranoia, culminating in one abusive relationship to end all of them, which I only really woke up from when I had to get the police involved.
Very recently though, I turned a corner. Partly thanks to finally coming into contact with some members of the poly-activist community in London, where I am based, and gaining a support network for coming out in, and partly thanks to this post http://tacit.livejournal.com/207965.html - which crystallised some of the arguments I had actually made way back in early 2006, when I was debating whether or not to make my blog public and write as myself, and let myself get talked out of openness by well-meaning people, and partners who claimed to love me, but weren't accepting enough of my lifestyle to fight for my right to have it and be open about it.

Now... 

You know what? I am proud of what and who I am. I've thought long and hard about my life choices, and about what parts of my personality are mere preferences, and what parts are innate *me*, and ever since I can remember I have put a lot of work into being a good person, and an ethical person, and developing the right kind of communication skills, and patience to be who I want to be, (and lord knows that last one was hardest of all) all without feeling the need to be told what to do by a 'higher authority', be that teacher, religious leader, ephemeral spirits or whatever, and without feeling that I have to follow the herd either. I have applied principles of critical thinking to my own lifestyle and attitudes and come up with a set of personal codes that I believe is both ethical *and* rational. My opinion is valued amongst people I care about and respect, and there are things I want to say. Not as an anonymous 'masked crusader', but as me.

I am, amongst many other things, bisexual, polyamorous, a BDSM switch, a radical agnostic, ambidextrous, an artist with a scientific mind, a geek, a fighter, a drinker of huge amounts of tea, and a person who is deeply upset at the horrible things people do to each other on a daily basis and wants to fight it with big piles of love and joy.
I am proud of the fact that, barring abusive psycho-guy, I am still on good terms with all of my ex-partners. I am proud that even whilst I was in recovery from that relationship, people I hold dear still felt they could come to me for help and advice. I am proud that despite all temptation, I refuse to allow one, or even a series of painful relationships to sour my view of all people (I am wary, yes, but I refuse to treat people with the suspicion that was aimed at me).

Another thing I am is angry. Not so much at the partners who asked me to hide who I was, but at the fact that they felt they needed to, and the society that taught my lovers (and me) that it was the right way to be, however much we all ended up hurting because of it. Through allowing people to talk me out of a large chunk of my self-esteem, through allowing myself to be closeted by others, I feel I contributed ultimately to my own abuse.

In some ways, I am lucky. I have a large number of friends amongst whom I have always been 'out' about everything I am (To some I 'came out' as a geek long after I came out about everything else). My brother knows pretty much everything, and my mother, whilst not officially In The Know, has talked with me about the fact that I was 'seriously' dating two guys who knew about each other, and seen the toys in my room, and watched me letch over women, without anything more than a smile and a raised eyebrow (and in one case, perhaps a hint of envy).  I grew up with some open minded and intelligent friends - the geek crowd - and felt free to be whoever I wanted to be in the schoolyard, even if it wasn't the most popular person in the school. Also, as an artist, the chances of my losing my job over my sexuality or sexual preferences is really quite low - the odd client, perhaps, but certainly not my career as a whole. So I've felt comfortable with being out about everything I am amongst my friends for many years, but not online. After all - people might connect posts on poly or BDSM or bisexuality with my work, and that, social conditioning told me, would be BAD.

Bad Schmad, I feel these days that my arguments have more weight coming from a 'real' person rather than a possibly imaginary anonymous blogger, and I have learned a lot over my lifetime of being polyamorous in a world of monogamites that I think could be very useful to people in the situation I escaped from. Also I want to connect with people who are like me on a real-world basis, not behind a screen.

I'm coming out of my chrysalis, and I intend to *fly*.


* If at some point, I receive agreement from everyone mentioned in my anonymous journal that they are okay with it, I will add a link here, but I promised someone I was deeply in love with at the time that, even as a nickname, I wouldn't 'out' him, and I don't intend to knowingly break that even now.
emanix: (Default)
Well hi there,

I bet you all thought I was never coming back... to be honest, so did I - but what the heck! I'm logged in so I might as well post something while I'm putting off sorting out some financial paperwork (uck).

I want these http://www.castles-carey.co.uk/products.htm - all of them - linked together with giant hamster tubes so I can run and climb and wriggle around with glee in an arboreally lifted paradise.

I also want (in no particular order) a regular income, freedom, love, world peace, ten times more energy, my life savings back (long story), time to paint, and for the world in general to just go away and leave me alone for a bit so I can catch up with myself.

Since I last posted I have lived in Gloucestershire, Cyprus, London, Canada and London again, and visited a couple of other countries besides, become utterly jaded with relationships, particularly with men, and spent about six months supporting two people on the income of one starving artist - which I'm rather proud of, even though the particular other person screwed me up and over and I'm now stuck with a day job again until I can build some safety net back up.

Also for the few of you that don't know I'm now producing a webcomic - 'Jim and Tonic, or the Adventures of Jim the Chaosbunny' - which lives at www.chaosbunny.com - there are plans afoot for books and t-shirts as and when I get chance to put something together.

I'm probably going to get myself another login for livejournal and post a bit more regularly - I'll let you all know what my new page is when (and if) I do though!

M.

xxx

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