This is the first part in what will be a several-part series on my personal shift from monogamy to polyamory. I'm writing, because it would have helped me to read about this kind of shift a few years ago, when my journey towards multiple Partners started.... Hopefully you will get some good stuff out of this too, gentle reader.
Sometimes great gems come from technology. Yesterday was such a time. I tweeted the following: My phone autocorrected 'functionally poly' to 'fictionally poly'... Big difference.
This started a little back and forth between me and my friend, @riggerjay, wherein he suggested that there isn't that big a difference. Three years ago I would have agreed. Today? not so much.
In an effort to keep a modicum of privacy for P and also for the other folks with whom we've interacted, I'm going to keep individuals other than P out of this and write more about my experience. I hope this not only makes sense to you, gentle reader, but that it also helps to keep the scope of these posts reasonable.
Then:When I first started to date P, he had a major concern about our success (or potential lack thereof), based on the fact that he identifies as poly, and I had been monogamous my entire life. It being a very reasonable concern, I took a step or twelve back and assessed my mono-identity. My investigation was based on the concept of Core Pillars, that Midori brings forward in at least one of her classes: Erotic Humiliation (which, by the way, she is teaching at the Fetish Flea this weekend).
As I understand Midori's take on Core Pillars, and please know that this is my interpretation of her words, a person's psyche/identity/ego is much like a house on stilts. There are stilts (pillars) that you can fuck around with - even take away, and the house will stand. Fuck with a core pillar, however, and you threaten the entire structure.... in other words, if you take away someone's core pillar, they might be in psychological risk.
I'm aware of several core pillars of my own:
- Sharing what I know - this currently manifests most strongly in my teaching
- Integrity - as in... honoring my codes of ethics
- My Intelligence - I believe I'm intelligent - if you call me stupid and mean it or behave in a way that communicates to me you think I'm incapable, it's challenging for me to continue to hear what you're saying
- Being Cherished (in contrast to being humiliated)
- Function - over form, that is. I don't date or befriend based on what a person looks like or their orientation, I befriend based on the 'who' of someone - how they are
- and more...
One of my prevailing beliefs is that ego itself isn't fixed or even 'real', that it's a story we make up about ourselves. The story of "I" - I am female. I am submissive. I am competent. I am honest. Stories "I" tell my self about myself. You have stories, too, by the way. In case you thought you were exempt from such things ;-)
Since paradigm shifts have always a real turn-on for me, I figured I'd check out the Monogamy story. After some sincere soul-searching, I got to the core of the narrative for me that monogamy = security.
Well, these are hardly synonyms, are they? Monogamy means having one Partner. To me, security meant (and means) having the experience of being in a safe, solid, and caring context. Yes - I held (and hold) the belief of being responsible for my own feelings, but in the context of a relationship - as in, being in process with one or more people, I saw (and see) security as something that is co-created.
Security as a co-creative process most certainly does NOT require monogamy. In fact, I had had several monogamous Relationships in which I felt anything BUT secure.
I went back to P with this awareness, and we added play to an existing 3-year friendship. In time, P and I became Partners in the highest senses of the term: romantic partners, producing partners, D/s partners, day-to-day-partners... Clearly we were able to bridge the mono/poly gap. Since 2009, when P and I broadened our context, I've built lines with a few other people, some of whom I have friendships which include play, one of whom I have a Relationship which is undefined, etc...
I have a core pillar of security. When I work in Relationships - I'm working towards feeling secure. That's the truth for me. For now.
It literally makes me laugh when I'm touted as some expert on polyamory. I'm clearly still a newb in the context. What I do seem to have is a solid base, which has breath and depth, in communication, negotiation, and self-realization, and in this I'm hardly unique. There are many of us who work to wake up, understand each other and ensure that the needs of those we love are met and cultivated.
One of the most consistent experiences I've had over the last couplea-few years goes something like this:
- Something happens around Relationship/s
- I have an emotional response to the event
- The emotional response is something I know very well
- I am unable to continue an old narrative, because I'm in a new context
- This creates cognitive dissonance, through which I am consensually forced to re-write my own story... to find a new path.. to create new meaning
Stay tuned for Part II