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Tres Corazones Después Año

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A lot of people feel grouchy about Valentine’s Day and I get it, I really do. I have not always been happy about love, nor have I always had good relationships. Plus, in a capitalist, oppressive, heteronormative culture, holidays like Valentine’s Day can feel like just another obnoxious reason people are trying to get you to buy things…

However, I am seriously into love, celebration, and giving.

For a winter holiday present (or, I suppose you could say. a Christmas gift) in 2013, I made both Matt and Marco a zine, The 3 of Us. For Valentine’s Day, or The Infamous Love Day, I also handmade them a little surprise…

Last year, just before The Infamous Love Day, two of my partners, Matt and Marco had just moved into an apartment together, becoming more than metamours, now they were housemates. I was so thrilled that these two dudes loved me and were confidant and close enough not to be bothered by the expectations that society puts on them. To not view each other as competition, to not be worried that people will think they’re gay, but to think highly of each other and value each other as friends on a deep level, so much so that they decided to become housemates. To celebrate The Infamous Love Day, I wanted to delight in the the space they were sharing and make them both feel special and appreciated. So, I made a lot of little paper hearts. On sparkly construction paper,  writing on each one some quality that I loved about one of them and I hid them all over their new space!

lotsofheart mattmarcohearts

A year later, I find myself sharing that same space with them. To me, this was a really big deal. I have only had two experiences living with partners and neither were very good. One was when I was 19, the other when I was 26, and it was an incredibly abusive and unhealthy situation with Andy Johnson. I found myself staying with the family I nannied for as a safety caution while waiting until Andy moved out of the house I lived in. So, a commitment I have had to myself since then was that I would NOT live with another partner again unless I was moving in with more than one partner. I felt this way partially because a big component of that ex’s abuse was his jealousy. The first time he assaulted me, he was blackout drunk and he had come to where I was on a date to confront me. Because he agreed to have an ethically non monogamous relationship with me and I am super into openness/honesty,   he knew exactly where I was. After making a scene in the bar, he followed me outside,  pushing me against a wall to yell at me about the mistakes I was making. From there, during the relationship, his jealousy only got worse and more hateful and more destructive. Being in a relationship like that can really eat away at your trust with yourself, so I felt like making the commitment that I wouldn’t move in with another partner unless it was multiple partners was important for two reasons. The first reason being that, ultimately, I want to live in a poly-family type of household, so why make a big commitment like moving in with anyone unless they share that value? Secondly, I don’t want to be with anyone violently jealous again, and making the commitment to move in with me and another partner of mine (hopefully) would mean that the potential partners I would be moving in with would not be violent (much less violently jealous). If one of them turned out to be, at least I would have a closer witness this time (though a few people got to witness Andy’s violent abuse despite not living with us).  The thing about having been with an abusive partner is that there remains with you a doubt in your own judgement. Even when a relationship seems great, I still feel worried in the back of my mind that everything will fall apart at any moment.

While we’ve had our own hurdles to clear the last year, I really feel like my home is with Matt and Marco. We find ourselves gardening together, building a couch together, planning our futures, working on an autobio poly comic, working on an empowerment app, and more. I feel this space and that my relationship with the two of them is really constructive. This mix I’ve made for them is an attempt at capturing our feelings and journey over the last year as a story that is told as a mix… <3

Tres Corazones Después Año: A Love Day Mix for Matt and Marco – https://db.tt/3GtjD8iX  (it’s one mp3 file, because I seriously mixed it y’all)

1. I Feel It In My Heart – Talking Heads
2. Rebel Girl – Bikini Kill
3. Joan Of Arc – Arcade Fire
4. Love Is Dangerous – French Horn Rebellion
5. Sweaty (Shazam Remix) – Muscles
6. Mommy Complex – Peaches
7. I Can Change – LCD Soundsystem
8. Myth – Beach House
9. Good Intent – Kimbra
10. Forever – HAIM
11. The Reason The Night Is Long – Rainer Maria
12. Step Up – Hercules
13. Little Shadow – Yeah Yeah Yeahs
14. Running Up That Hill – Kate Bush
15. This Too Shall Pass – OK Go
16. You’ll Find A Way – Santigold
17. Vaporize – Broken Bells
18. I Don’t Know What The Weather Will Be – Laura Mvula
19. The Good Thing – Talking Heads

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What Do You Feel?

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Dear friends! Most of you know that Marco, Matt, and I have been working on making a poly bio comic that we’ll update weekly. It’s a pretty big, multifaceted project, we will all contribute to the scripts and story ideas (well, our lives are the story ideas), Marco and I will also sometimes draw it, but Matt will be the main artist. We even plan on taking submissions for comics having to do with non monogamy to feature guest artists. The website for it is also going to be a place where we talk about our lives and our other projects.

ANYWAYS, we are torn between two names, so we’d like to ask all of you lovelies to give us your two cents….

If it helps, these are the two songs of inspiration for us…

Written by lovemotionstory

January 28, 2014 at 9:08 pm

Turning 30, Living My Dreams!

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For a couple years, I have been planning and brainstorming as to how I can support queer students in the after school program that I work for, waiting until I felt more secure of my position and my relationship with the director, before I straight up asked to facilitate a queer support group. I was thinking of facilitating something like a Gay Straight Alliance, but more spectrum inclusive, but then I learned the after school program had lost their Black Student Union teacher and therefore BSU, leaving a greater need within the after school program for support of marginalized students facing various kinds of discrimination and challenges. The idea I’ve come up with is a club called Youth Empowerment and Solidarity, or YES!

My plan for YES! is to do activities centered on strengthening student bonds and relationships,  talk about constructive communication (especially non violent communication), talk about conflict resolution with peers and authority figures,  discuss key vocabulary that will turn students on to verbalizing their struggles (ageism, homophobia, empowerment, solidarity, autonomy, consent, oppression, marginalization, racism, sexism, etc.), talk about media messages and the importance of dismantling them, talk about the importance of caring for yourself (physical and emotional) and how to care about others, have guests whose experiences will add to the conversations we’ll be having in class (different community leaders and activists), talk to the students about local youth resources (Multnomah County Youth Commission, SMYRC, Portland Youth Summit, Youth Empowered Action, Rock ‘N’ Roll Camp for Girls, etc.), read/discuss parts of Stay Solid!, and address/talk about whatever else the students want or need to talk about. This is the poster I made for YES! to promote it within the school…

yesposter

Since I was a preteen/teen living in poverty with an abusive and neglectful parent, struggling to get out of that environment and better my life, it’s been a dream of mine to become a teacher and to have a positive impact on youth, but also to advocate for youth rights. I vowed I would grow up to be an adult that made a difference in the lives of young people. Back then, I thought I would become a biology teacher and just be present for my students. Over the years, I have switched gears a bit. I began to loath the structure of the public education system (as I watched it fail many of my peers and realized its oppressive and inherent flaws) and I fell away from wanting to study biology to become an educator, deciding to pursue my own creativity through comics and zines and wanting to teach kids those skills and more around independent publishing, seeking involvement and belonging in those communities… Which was a struggle, especially coming into the comics “community” in Portland in my early twenties, as the community was riddled with oppressive, power-hungry dudes that were incredibly misogynist (that special brand of nerdy misogyny with a lot of gate-keeping). But, I started doing indie comics workshops for kids and broadened to teaching general zine workshops for kids. As I had quickly become disillusioned by the comics community, I turned more towards zines, becoming a PZS organizer because that community felt safer, being facilitated by more women and having a Safer Spaces Policy (safer, but certainly not without it’s own problems and crappy people, as I also learned over the years). Along the way, I made a lot of friends, zines, anthologies, and memories. Becoming well known as a zinester by volunteering in that community on so many levels and working with youth int hose communties lead me to be invited into schools to teach.  Working with kids to make zines felt so right. Zines encourage literacy in a very engaging way and making their own media is very empowering to young folks. It also opens a dialog with youth as to how mainstream media fails them. Now, my path as a zine educator has helped me fulfill my goal of working with and empowering youth not only with teaching zines, but with other interests, like debate, games class, and social justice activism (my new group, YES!). After I do a couple terms of YES! where I currently teach, I’m hoping to bring it into other schools.

In case you don’t know, I am about to turn 30 this month, so I have been doing a lot of reflecting as to where I am at and feeling really happy with my life and excited for everything in front of me (hence this post). I find myself accomplishing quite a few of some of my oldest goals and feeling like my heart and mind are going to explode.

Especially my heart. This year, for my annual Friendsgiving, I was hosting in my shared home with two amazing life partners. I have been living with my partners Matt and Marco since May and it’s been a very transformative experience. There have been bumps (mainly Marco and myself have wrestled with some baggage from past bad relationships and our childhoods clashing a little bit), as with any relationship transition into deeper intimacy (the deeper intimacy brings out deeper demons), but I have honestly been amazed with Matt, Marco, and myself. We garden together, we’re building a couch together,  we laugh together, we cry together, we’re planning comics together, we celebrate together, we chill out together. We also have separate spaces and times, we schedule date nights and alone nights, balancing our desires to be together with time for ourselves. They each have there own rooms that they share with me, but I’m also working on having  my own (I’m lagging because I also have the smallest room and I just need to get rid of a lot of stuff before it’s a functional space). When I kicked an abusive partner out of my house a few years ago, I vowed to myself that I wouldn’t live with anyone again unless it was multiple partners, thinking that, if more than one partner wanted to cohabitate with me, we’d probably all be having pretty awesome relationships and they would probably be awesome people whose goals in life were compatible with mine. Both Matt and Marco are incredibly sweet, supportive, accountable, and motivated people. I find myself continually inspired by them both and feeling thankful for them both.

I have wanted to have deeper loves in my life for a long time, trying to have healthy relationships and practicing non monogamy (bent more towards polyamory) over the years with a lot of trial and error, but I finally feel I am sharing my life in meaningful way with not just one amazing partner, but two. We have shared space, shared goals, shared projects. It all has me feeling incredibly fulfilled and happy, my home is feeling like one of the safest and most wonderful places… It really feels like a home and Matt and Marco are my family. All with room for more.

So, with all this, I am going into my thirties. Considering where I’ve been and where I’m at, I think this may be the most amazing decade of my life. It took a lot of work to get here, but it’s all been incredibly worthwhile.

Written by lovemotionstory

December 12, 2013 at 11:49 am

Chosen family meets biological family.

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This past weekend, Matt’s mom came to visit.

Primarily, she wanted to visit to come to Matt’s book signing for the work he did on the Plants vs. Zombie comic. For us, it was a chance to humanize ourselves and our life to a woman who is very against who we are and the life we’re living, all while having little to no understanding of us or many things about our lives.

Matt’s mom’s visit was so many things all at once. Pleasant, awkward, fun, stressful, relieving, revealing, and more. I realized that, in a lot of ways, she’s like my own mother, but without the violent abuse and alcoholism and with more of the racism, homophobia, and sexual shaming. She was very polite to Marco and I, saving her fretful, phobic meanderings about our relationship for when her and Matt were alone. But she also said she appreciated that Marco and I were nice to her. Having recently gone through a divorce which involved a large amount of disempowerment and deceit, she is in a tender and vulnerable place. She has a lot of trust issues, which is really understandable. We recognized that and, though a lot of her fears are irrational and due to a lack of experience outside her own circumstances, a lot of what we’re going through is a culture clash. So, we tried to just have fun and hang out with her, to try to give her some experience with us that would be positive. Also, because I love Matt so much, I want to show his mother that, despite our differences, I want to be there for her and to care for her. We went out to eat at some of our favorite restaurants, we made dinner in, we made terrariums, we took her to Multnomah Falls, we traveled to the Newport Aquarium, we showed her our progress on pizza couch, I babysat the neighbor’s kiddo and brought him over while Matt was making dinner, we got her to watch Janelle Monae videos, we sang to her at karaoke, and we had a lot of conversations with her about our lives and our beliefs (and even about how we may want to have kids). The whole time, we we’re battling off colds (mine really hit me Monday, when we went to the aquarium), so I was bummed out that I felt I wasn’t more in top form, more articulate and energetic, but we made do. It’s so intense to feel a longing to include someone who thinks so little of you, but it’s also something I’m quite used to in life. I’m thankful she was at least polite and thankful she felt we were kind. We’re united in our love for Matt, which, I believe, will carry us far.

Written by lovemotionstory

November 13, 2013 at 12:57 pm

Teachers are so important.

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I just wanted to share this beautiful story I read, linked to by my friend and former PZS organizer, Doug… http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2013/05/a_portland_teachers_gift_chang.html#incart_river

As someone who had neglectful parents and felt lost in the world growing up and moving around a lot, a had a few amazing teachers that helped motivate and support me to get through it. I had three different science teachers that were women I bonded with (and even built a wetland with at one high school to filter the campus water, this is why I originally wanted to study biology), as well as some great English and Spanish teachers (again, all women) that kept me in love with the language which also got me into comics and zines. They gave me something I didn’t have at home: positive, female role-models who cared about me in healthy and empowering ways. Women who encouraged my intellect and also helped me get help to get out of my bad home environment.

I believe that is why I am so passionate about teaching and community organizing now. It’s a damn shame we don’t pay our teachers more. It’s also a damn shame that we don’t all work to take care and support each other more. To see when someone is vulnerable and empower them, those are very lasting and radical actions in a divisive and painful world.

Written by lovemotionstory

May 19, 2013 at 1:01 pm

This feminist believes people can just be better than that…

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So, recently, my partner Matt’s mom sent him these books….

I jokingly tweeted that Matt and Marco say, “We surrender!” (originally Marco’s joke), and posted this photo. However, it turns out Matt’s mom is reading my blog and internet stuff. And, more recently, Matt got this gem in the mail… tencommandmentsofdating

I am pretty sure Matt, Marco and I have already read aloud to each other more of this book than his mom read before sending it. Just in case, let me reassure you, Matt’s mom, you raised a much better son than what this book would like us to believe…

allmenareconnivinganddeceptive

All men are not conniving and deceptive. Especially not Matt. He is one of the most wonderful, honest and sweet people I know. I love him.

Though he might lick the lint out of Buddha’s belly button to impress a girl, I don’t know.

But, seriously, I don’t think he’d become a Buddhist just to impress a girl. I think Matt is a more defined and self-actualized person than that. I know Matt’s mom is having a hard time understanding polyamory and sexual freedom, but I do appreciate that she loves her son and is reaching out to him.

It can be hard to see people taking a different path than yourself or that deviates from your beliefs, but just because it’s different, doesn’t mean it’s invalid. Just because we have more than one  committed relationship in our lives or that we’re open to, doesn’t mean our love for one another is not deep and meaningful. And, nonconformity can really be a saving grace, especially when popular books in Christian mainstream would encourage you to uphold and conform to certain types of relationships because,  based on your gender, you must be a conniving liar trying to get into any girl’s pants.

Further, I would like to put it out there that, for me, feminism is about understanding that traditional gender roles can hurt men who aren’t interested in those roles, as well as women and especially any other gender expression. Gender binary is harmful, and narrow gender constructs like what the Ten Commandments of Dating try to convince people about each other based on gender are HORRIBLE. Do we really want to tell men that they’re all conniving liars? And, if the authors of the Ten Commandments of Dating are wrong about you’re son, what else are those authors dramatically negative or completely wrong about?

I leave y’all with a few links on those ideas…

http://thefbomb.org/2010/05/how-feminism-helps-everyone-not-just-the-women/ http://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/five-ways-feminism-helps-men/ http://feminspire.com/feminism-its-good-for-men-too/

Written by lovemotionstory

April 16, 2013 at 3:07 pm

The most beautiful of rocky paths, meaningful to experience, difficult to navigate.

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The last few weeks this song keeps playing in my head! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=12zPU-8bsTE

I keep thinking about going to see Gossip live with friends, and holding hands with two partners during this song and feeling like I was home.

Life is very wonderful, I feel so sentimental all the time, as everything keeps settling into place. I really like getting older. All the ideas I have been working toward seem to finally be a bigger reality in my life. I feel empowered and loved by friends, bosses, lovers, and community. Now, I really just need to catch up on more of my projects. If only.

Actually, quite frankly, I have been catching up and doing better because I have two strong relationships of people who are understand what I do and why and helping. Just the other day, Matt sat with me for a little while before I went to teach debate, helping me look up and write down facts about fast food and NPLAN’s “Healthy Food Zones” around schools for the debate my class wanted to have about fast food and whether or not fast food should be allowed near schools. He seemed to actually care and like it. Which is fucking awesome. He is such a sincere, giving, and caring person. I really love him.

Now, while a lot of things are so dreamy in parts of my life, there is an area that has become more complicated and taking downward turns.

It is so challenging, sometimes, this loving of more than one person at once, with dedication and commitment. Especially when you work hard to build community among your lovers because you are committed to it… Community around these relationships is so important to me, because, for me, it fosters commitment, growth, and constructiveness. I feel it also empowers each of us, building a deep network of trust and support.

Someone came along who just doesn’t seem to get it, however, but I fell for them anyways. And I might not have quite realized this is what was happening until my heart and the hearts of my other lovers have already made so much room for the this person that I fell for, I don’t think I really realized that he didn’t quite get it, maybe because this someone has always seemed to really want to get it.

And we are all hurting  because this person, this person that has been having trouble getting what my relationship and polyamorous community goals are and this person has fallen for someone else who also doesn’t seem to get it. There are big checking in and communicating gaps. There is is a lack of empathy and effort for truly growing a close relationship between all of us, and only some of it may be due to both of this person and their new lover’s school schedule demands.

I have a lot of effort and empathy coming in from my other lovers to try and help me have perspective and constructive actions, a lot of them advocating for this someone, myself, our relationship, and even this other person. Meanwhile, I hear from this someone that their lover, this other person, like’s playing “Devil’s Advocate” when talking to this person about our relationship. Their remarks seem cold and unsympathetic. The opposite of what my support network, my other lovers, do when I confide in them regarding this person and this other person.  I have come to feel there is a lack of commitment and support. This really hurts me, in partnership with their lack of warmth and reaching out. I am trying really hard not to take it personally. I recognize this other person is new to all of this and has an intense school schedule, but I fear this other person won’t ever be that way and I am not about to demand it, that doesn’t seem constructive. And I don’t want to demand anything, I want to be with people who want to have relationships they way that I want to have relationships and are committed to only pursuing other people who want to have relationships in a similar, compatible way. I have communicated, but I won’t demand. Instead, I wait and see if things sort themselves out with some more time… With a general feeling of preparing myself to walk away.

I perceive that my reaching out, explaining what is bothering me and what I need, etc. hasn’t really seem to be making many dents in these issues. I fear there are fundamental incompatibilities and I am ready to let go, but I did make commitments to this someone and I see effort on their part and even on the part of this other person. Or, at least, I have in my mind, as I tend to be terribly loyal and dedicated. It hurts not to feel that returned in a way I relate to. So, my plan is mostly just to take the space I need for now so that it is less painful, to listen to Kimbra’s “Settle Down” (which seems to somehow capture the feeling I have about the situation well), and to wait. To wait, hoping it will all pass somehow. Waiting and trying to get the pieces in place or to at least be patient enough for the pieces to fall into place, in the spirit of love and commitment…

And this is why I have tried to become so careful in relationships, because (through much trial and error) I have clear ideas and philosophies regarding what I want in my polyamorous relationships. Once I have a committed relationship, I attempt to take everything else carefully and slowly. I get so terribly involved and I can be very sensitive because I desire closeness and community among my lovers and their lovers.

So, yeah. Kimbra….

Written by lovemotionstory

November 30, 2012 at 5:46 pm