emanix: (Default)
(Cross-posted from Polytical.org - original article here)

When I first moved to London at the start of 2007 I was lucky enough that I *had* heard of polyamory. I even defined myself as polyamorous, thanks to a chance encounter with a copy of The Ethical Slut in an Ottawa bookshop. What I had no idea about was where to find other people like myself. It seems like poly people were a rare life form who only existed on the internet or in the USA.

Then, when I heard about Polyday thanks to another chance meeting, I can honestly say it was the beginning of a new chapter of my life. I discovered that not only were there other poly people in the UK, but there was a thriving community, and events I could go to, to meet people like myself. I felt like I had finally come home.

I volunteered to help run Polyday in 2009 because I think community is important. After years of feeling like a fish out of water, the poly community in london and around the UK provided a much-needed safe space where I could finally be myself amongst a bunch of awesome people, and since I’ve been organising the event I’ve had similar feedback from a lot of other folks. Not to mention some beautiful emails to say thanks for introducing people to new loved ones. Polyday is notoriously a high point in the year for new relationships in the poly community as well - though we emphasise that it is *not* a dating event, being surrounded by so many lovely non-monogamous folks a few are bound to hit it off!

There's always something for everyone, from complete beginners to seasoned ‘polyamorists’ and activists, from vanilla to kinky, and whether you're into men, women or everything in between. Plus there will be a some fun sessions and evening entertainment thrown in for good measure.
If you’ve heard of polyamory but are unsure how to put it into practice or where to find out more, polyday is a great place to start.
If you’ve been poly for years and think you have it down, consider coming to our more advanced sessions and sharing your experience with other ‘experts’, joining in the 'poly crafting' workshop, helping out with the running of the day, or perhaps even volunteering to run a workshop - there are still a couple of slots free as I write this.

Whether you’re new to poly or not, this is *your* community event. Even if you feel like you've nothing to learn there is space to chat, share stories and connect with people you may not have met before, or haven't seen since the last Polyday. Come on home.

This year’s Polyday will be on the 27th of August, in central London at Dragon hall (near Holborn). Doors open at 11:30 a.m. and workshops start from noon, with nice long breaks between sessions for coffee and chat, and a dinner break to take advantage of the huge number of excellent local eateries before evening ents until 11pm. Online booking is already open, and there are more details on the website (which will continue to be updated as the event gets closer) at www.polyday.org.uk

You can see Bobbu's round-up of his experiences as a Polyday volunteer here: http://polytical.org/2011/01/a-summary-of-polyday/

I’ll look forward to seeing you all there!

emanix: (Default)
Last call for smiling faces on the desk, plus 'tea-minion' for Polyday
(this Saturday!)

Hi all,

It's a fantastic opportunity to meet people, get to know who's who,
and help out the nervous newbies who need pointing in the right
direction (to workshops).

I have a handful of lovely friendly people signed up already, but the
more the merrier - it means everyone gets to see more workshops!

Also I am looking for a replacement for my adorable tea-minion, who
has just let me know she'll be on crutches on the day, so has been
moved to the desk as well. This role involves short bursts of high
energy, manning the tea urn, dispensing tea, coffee and possible hot
chocolate and biscuits, in the gaps between sessions (we'll be
providing disposable cups, so no washing up!)

If you're interested in either or both of these, please email me
directly (theofficialmaxine+polyday@gmail.com) and let me know what you'd like to do, and which workshops
you're most keen to attend (or be on time for, in the case of tea
person) workshop schedule is here:
http://www.studio63.org.uk/polyday/plan.html

Smiles,
________
Maxine.
emanix: (Default)
Please also view this entry:Last call for smiling faces on the desk, plus 'tea-minion' for Polyday (this Saturday!) if you're interested in helping out at the last minute!


(Actually most of it went up a few days ago, but was just waiting for a very few finishing touches)

Polyday: 1.30pm onwards, Saturday 26th of September at Dragon Hall

We're pleased to announce that the schedule for Polyday is finally up at http://www.studio63.org.uk/polyday/plan.html with what I'm sure is the usual warning about being subject to last-minute alterations due to pestilence, war, famine, swine-flu* etc.

There are still some cabaret tickets available too, and more details on the site here: http://www.studio63.org.uk/polyday/cabaret.html . We have the whole building, so if you're attending Polyday but not the Cabaret, the other workshop rooms will be available to you as continuing discussion and social space.

Start time for Polyday itself is 1.30pm (please don't arrive before this, as the venue is booked to other people earlier in the day, but there is a fab selection of restaurants, cafes and pubs in the very local area to hang out in, if you do happen to arrive early)

After that, the day is yours. Enjoy!

I hope to see many of you on Saturday.


Maxine.

x

* I've been informed that a not insubstantial segment of the poly population has in fact gone down with this evil during the past couple of days, so have fingers firmly crossed that we'll still have a few left by Saturday!
emanix: (Default)
Damn, no wetspots after all. Now looking for alternative cabaret act/s for Polyday - suggestions welcomed!

I'll post about BiCon in the morning - still enjoying the afterglow!
emanix: (Default)
[Error: unknown template qotd]I noticed this question when I logged in this morning, which inspired a brief digression.

It wasn't actually in a bar, but a coffee shop, but I have bought a drink for a stranger. It was my Australian friend's birthday, and she had asked that, rather than presents, her many long-distance friends performed a 'random act of kindness' and reported it back to her.
A particularly lovely idea, I think, and one that I intend to copy when I have chance.

My random act of kindness was to buy a drink for someone, so I trotted down to the local music cafe and asked the staff who out of their regulars would most appreciate being bought a coffee - which turned out to be a sweet but starving musician named Colin. We didn't get to be firm friends, or anything like that, but it certainly cheered up his day, and the same for everyone in the coffee shop.

I've since engaged in a few other acts of guerilla niceness, and I'd recommend it to anyone. It doesn't take much to brighten someone's day, but it made the world seem a better place for everyone there, and that's a lovely thing.


--
My most recent random act of kindness, of course, was volunteering to organise Polyday - I believe its existence makes the world a better place, at least for people like me.

Rather brilliantly, we have successfully recruited the Wet Spots (Look for them on YouTube if you don't know who they are) for the Polyday cabaret - details will be up on the website (www.polyday.org.uk) as soon as they're definite. I'm just waiting to be entirely certain that their flights are booked before I go promoting it everywhere. It should be awesome!

emanix: (tea)
On my way to bed, just checked email, will explain later. Things are awesome!
emanix: (Default)
On Tuesday evening last week, [livejournal.com profile] werenerd got back from a couple of weeks out of the country. Since I'd been useless with lurgy for most of that time, as well, our to-do list was looking a bit daunting.

Wednesday morning we ran all around south London looking at houses to share with our little gang of lovely people. Amazingly, we found a house.

Thursday we did the same for Polyday venues (the culmination of some excellent research - thanks, lovely venues minion!) - We also found a venue.

Friday we dealt with the paperwork - which included some Torchwood-esque uses of technology* and an insane last-minute dash across the entire width of London to retrieve my passport (of course in that 'safe place' that just happens to be the least convenient one possible) and to get a digital copy to the agents, whilst the boys dashed in the opposite direction to make sure the rest of the contracts got signed, and to the right place.

Friday evening we made it, breathless to Alex's house, where we hosted [livejournal.com profile] misterfallen's birthday party (which was lovely) - we even managed to find suitable cake!

Saturday morning I packed a week's worth of clothes, sent my rainbow bikini off to Pride attached to one of my other housemates-to-be (I figured if I couldn't go, at least my gayest item of clothing would) and then headed to the airport to fly to Ireland.

That's a hell of a lot to pack into just under four days - I didn't actually think it was all possible and was expecting to have to cancel my holiday.

I feel thanks are in order, in fact:
To Erich - thanks for being amazingly low stress under pressure.
To Lex for being a brilliant party host, and for being amazingly patient with our plans being up in the air til the last minute.
To Ben - just for being a cute birthday boy, and for wanting to live with us

Right now, I'm conveniently stranded at the edge of nowhere, in Ireland, with no phone signal and only a broadband connection to keep me entertained. Time to rest, recuperate, and polish up my world domination plans - after all, if that's what we can achieve in four days of working together, imagine what we can do in a year!


*Okay, maybe not quite so advanced, but the time pressure was the same! Honestly, I  wish a camera had been rolling to catch me executing an Indiana Jones grab to pick up a pen drive with the necessary software, before powering across town using my mobile as a walkie talkie...  I have never set up a scanner nor repaired a wireless network so fast in my life before, nor answered a mobile call with the words 'uploading now!'. I'm sure at least *someone* would have been proud of me.
emanix: (Default)
Last night, I'm up at silly o clock in the morning, trying to draw, but distracted, and I come across mention of a woman online with a tattoo on her arm. It reads 'strap-on' and pictures a naked woman straddling a tool, and I find myself thinking 'that's a bit tasteless, what if she regrets it when she gets older?'

Then I realised there were a lot of things wrong with that thought.
First, who appointed *me* queen of taste? I'm an artist, yes. That gives me a perspective, not the whole rule book.
Second, what has it got to do with me what she wants to do with her body?
Third, what kind of hypocrite am I, forgetting I have my own tasteless tattoos (just because they're in latin doesn't make them any less tacky, does it? Maybe a little?).
Fourth, what's this obsession with people changing their minds?
I realised a whole lot of that response was about my having internalised attitudes straight out of the western media. Good old family values type journalism in which y'know, everybody could maybe have a future as a politician, or a respected public figure, and you wouldn't want to jeopardise that with a silly tattoo now, would you?
Worse still, I realised that if it was a man, I probably wouldn't have had the thought at all - but society tells us that women in particular are prone to changing their minds.

I've been thinking a lot about life choices lately. Decisions are often a hard thing for me. It's not that I lack confidence in the choices I make, on the contrary, when I actually do make a decision, it sticks. It's just that I rarely feel strongly enough about anything for me to want to make the choice. Often, the decisions I've made were based on what gave me the most options farther down the line. I realise I'm always, always thinking 'but what if  I change my mind?' There comes a point though, when choices have to be made. One can't remain in the bud forever.

I recently volunteered to run an event called Polyday (http://www.polyday.org.uk) - a day of workshops, entertainment and social meeting point for Polyamorous people from across the UK. I thought long and hard about the decision before I made it - not so much because of the work involved, or about taking on the responsibility, but about making the declaration "I am poly" to the world. It would be rather ridiculous after all, to run a national level event and have any thoughts about remaining in the closet. And closets, like overstuffed suitcases at the end of a holiday, are notoriously hard to go back into. I considered the possible repercussions all the way into the future, and found that I cared far less about any possible negatives to myself, than about the sad image of a future where events like this didn't exist.

But it wasn't really until last night that I realised there's been a part of me still waiting to decide what I'm going to be 'when I grow up', and always thinking about the 'what-ifs', without ever really focusing on the what I AM.

I'm probably never going to have a career in politics. If at any point I do though, it would be against who I am to try to hide behind a screen of assumed 'virtue'. I have accepted myself, and have no dirty secrets, they're simply a part of who I am. Sex-positive, perpetually curious and wanting to explore everything the world has to offer. I have a past, which of course has made me who I am today, and I'll wear the marks, and the scars, with pride.
I realise now I'm thinking about it that I'd rather have some people running the country with a little colour, some character, some history than the dull grey figures we have today, as career politicians. The idea that the people running the country ought to be pristine married-when-virgins, never modified their bodies, not even an unusual hair colour, never experimented with anything out of the straight and narrow, never had any *fun*... it's crazy. No wonder it's hard to live up to the standard, and all the political parties seem to be the same.

So back to Ms. Strap-on, I want to make her a little apology - sorry about my patronising response earlier. Congratulations on having the courage of your convictions. If you should happen to run for some sort of public office in my area (and your views aren't totally off the wall crazy), then you just got my vote.

July 2015

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