Saturday, April 9, 2011

Social Experiments

For several months now my daughter (age 9) has been asking more questions about my choice to be poly in my relationship style. Particularly given the transitions in her family in the past year, that seems pretty reasonable. I try to answer her questions to the best of my ability, as fully as possible, but one of the things I haven't been able to do justice to is the idea of "community" that I value within our local poly scene. Even with the people that I don't have direct relationships with, there is a sense with many of extended family, others that are in your corner, friendship, respect, interest and participation. It's very akin to what I had with cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents growing up, except I've seen a lot more of the community folks naked. ;)

Not being geographically, philosophically, religiously, or politically in proximity to my "real" family for many years, I've grown to really value the people that are part of my poly-sphere. This is something my daughter hasn't fully connected with yet, largely because the community is a bit more adult-flavored in general, and she's not included in most of the time I spend in community events. It occurred to me that it might also be the case for other parents in the area. Further, we could extend that circle of incomprehension to the co-workers, friends and family we are out to, who know we're poly, but don't "get" the benefits we enjoy by doing geeky things like discussion groups and meet ups with other poly folks.

How to increase the connection between our spheres? That's the question I've been struggling with, and decided to do something a bit different for the upcoming discussion group I host locally. This month we're having an open forum potluck that anyone of any age, poly or not, is welcome to attend. The objective to mix and mingle. Demystify this whole "poly thing" for those who we are out to, but don't self-identify with poly, and yet remain important in our lives. We have someone facilitating a conversation with the kids, so they can formulate questions for the group, as well as a question box for adults to submit anonymously to.

At this point I have no clue how this is going to go, but I am hopeful that at least we'll be able to pull together a decent meal, enjoy some conversation, and not exclude anyone from the table. My community is important to me, and deserves to be out of the closet, not just as an amorphous concept, but as the unique individuals it's comprised of.

So, here's my blatant plug- If you're local to the Portland/Vancouver area please come. Bring others important in your life along. Approval isn't the goal. Reducing ignorance is. Information and transparency are the most valuable weapons in the struggle for acceptance for those in poly relationships. Let's share!


Amy said...

I'm intrigued by the fact that your daughter knows about your poly choices. I'm terrified by the questions I will answer when my children begin to figure it out. (Questions I will answer honestly, at their age level, because I won't lie to them.)
I stumbled on to your blog today. I'm looking forward to reading more! :)

lynelle said...

i'm looking forward to this! in our situation our 2 kids knew all along. our daughter was always fine with it. our son had some serious concerns, yet those concerns led to so many conversations about love, friendship, love styles, pdas, nre, and how there are so many ways of feeling, expressing, and showing love; no less valid than another.

whether or not they choose polyamory for themselves (and it's looking like they won't, at least for now), they seem to think it is valuable to know of options. and i believe that the conversations we had may enable them to also feel "normal" and comfortable in their own selves, and their own love styles, even if it might differ from other people, or even their chosen love(s). hoping so anyway...

polyfulcrum said...

Hi Amy, and welcome! To be sure, there are some challenges with the kiddo, but at the same point, it's wonderful to have the amazing conversations with her that living honestly creates.

Lynelle: Thank you again for all your help with the discussions with the under 18s! It was wonderful to have such expert and compassionate help.

The group went well! I think later this summer we'll try another family-friendly event, like a picnic, and see what happens.