A Modern Woman on the Move

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Archive for the ‘polyamory’ Category

Trinidad: We 3 In Love & Strength

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I hardly post on here anymore, I mostly post on tumblr now, I guess, but I haven’t totally forgotten about this blog…

I suppose I should first announce that Matt, Marco, and I have launched our weekly bio comic, The Feeling Is Multiplied, and you should check it out!

Next, I wanted to share this Love Day mix I made for Matt and Marco… It’s all one file, I take pride on mixing tracks and getting a theme just right, tell me what you think!

trinidadtracklist_lores

The Feeling as an Image?

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So, we’ve worked out the name for our new project is definitely The Feeling Is Multiplied and I’ve been working on a little logo action…

Which do you prefer?

The first?

logo_thefeelingismultiplied_lores

The second?

logo3_thefeelingismultiplied_lores

Written by lovemotionstory

March 6, 2014 at 4:21 pm

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

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

On Oppression, Intersectionality, and Solidarity

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I wanted to share this comic that I saw thanks to my friend Chelsea.

 

Word! I love that this was this person’s final project, the comic highlights a common misogyny in nerd culture and it is so bravely personal. Total respect for the feminism here, this person showing their own struggle and being vulnerable, while recognizing another perspective for women in nerd culture who is also struggling even though they might conform to narrow guidelines of beauty-based-on-size.

If you relate to being left out by the rampant sexism in comics and nerd culture, if you relate to being belittled, objectified, harassed, etc. based on your gender despite thinking that nerd space should be a safe space… Well, you might also want to check out this amazing article by super intelligent nerd, Rachel Ediden. http://feminspire.com/idiot-nerd-girl-has-a-posse-taking-back-the-meme/

Speaking of super intelligent nerds, I went to the really awesome panel “Looking Past the Target Audience” at SCF this past weekend, but missed it at ECCC. It was really great to listen to the conversation with Rachel EdidinAndy KhouriFaith Erin HicksScotty IseriSfé M., and David Walker sitting on the panel. There was a lot on intersectionality, which was crucial! Intersectionality is a concept often used to describe the ways in which oppressive institutions (racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, ableism, xenophobia, classism, etc.) are INTERCONNECTED and cannot be examined separately from one another. Third Wave Feminism, especially, thrived on the concept of intersectionality in order to redefine Feminism as inclusive. The concept of intersectionality first came from legal scholar Kimberle Crenshaw in 1989 and is largely used in critical theories, especially Feminist theory, when discussing systematic oppression.

If you missed it or if you want to be having these kinds of discussions, I would recommend checking out their tumblr (thatonepanel.tumblr.com).

For me, one of the most moving moments of the panel was when Sfé was talking about how an aspect of their process for creating Kyle & Atticus was to write a gender queer character with positive support and acceptance in their life. I think it really hit home for me because a lot of the stuff Matt, Marco, and I have been dealing with Matt’s parents understanding what our polyamorous relationship means and learning that I am a queer atheist. Essentially, he’s been coming out to them and it’s been really hard. That in addition to struggles I have always had with people being unsupportive toward me. This struggle, having parents, acquaintances, lovers, and even a long-time best-friend have acted as if they are shamed by me or have been demeaning or hateful toward me for any of the various reasons people have antagonistic or problematic relationships with me. That I am a woman, that I am queer, that I am polyamorous, that I  am or do all these things that they can’t relate to, that I fall under any of the labels in their mind that they view as “bad” and then I go on to dare to have opinions, ideas, boundaries, and confidence to be myself. I am motivated to work with kids exactly because I want to try to be that influence in their life, to be the person who says, “You have a voice and it’s important.” Or, “I accept who you are and I will treat you as a person with their own autonomy and agency.” To be a supportive adult. To be an educator that empowers kids to think for themselves and to be themselves. I write about my experiences in the hopes that I can grow and that I might provide support to peers who can see themselves in me because I realize the positive impact that people have had in my life by being themselves and being open about it, as I have written about a few times on this blog. I really respected that Sfé talked about writing supportive roles in the comics on purpose, because I agree with her that creating those characters in stories feeds into the mothers and friends and parents and whoever seeing themselves in the life of a gender queer person or other underrepresented, marginalized people in our society. We really need those role models.

I also want to give huge props to the panel “The Big Picture,” where a bit of gender and intersectionality issues were discussed kind of inadvertently, with Alison Baker, Kelly Sue DeConick, Jen Vaughn, Shannon Watters, and Emi Lenox. As well as the focus of the panel, discussing how the internet has changed comics, especially independent publishing as, to my knowledge, most of the panelists had roots in indie comics and zines.

Personally, I believe that one of the biggest steps in activism is showing up, being visible.

If you have the ability and patience just to be there, that is a huge step.

Do what you can, REALIZE WHAT YOU CAN DO.

Do say hello to the creators and organizations you do want to support. Do buy zines and comics or whatever from the creators you think deserve it for whatever reason you value them. Do go to the panels that talk about issues you care about. Do say thank you (in person or online) to the panelists, we can’t hear it enough. Do blog/tweet/whatever about it. Do talk to your friends about the creations and panels you do enjoy or support. Do volunteer for an organization you think serves a valuable role in your community. Do go to an event that highlights creators and issues that you feel are important or meaningful. Do start your own event, especially if it’s an event you wish existed but doesn’t. Do make your own stories and creative work that reflects your experience, your passion, your values, your ideas. Do listen to or support the people who have different experiences than yourself.

I long lost the patience to volunteer for SCF, but I try to keep showing up to support the people who I do see promoting real conversations and ethical work I commend those who love comics and other cismale/white dominated communities. I have been able to devote myself to working on the Portland Zine Symposium as an organizer for so many years because it strives and works hard to be a safe space, an inclusive community with anti-oppressive ethics.

Also, I want to take this opportunity to promote the Women of Color Zine Symposium at PSU happening this summer, on June 8th. This is such an important event to support to me. It was started by Tonya Jones, a long-time Portland Zine Symposium attendee, powerful writer, and zine educator. The WOC Zine group that she started has self-published three issues of “Women of Color: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks.” All three issues are available for $3 from the group, Powell’s Bookstore, and In Other Words. The zines can also be checked out from the Multnomah County Library!

And, speaking of the “Women of Color: How to Live in the City of Roses and Avoid the Pricks” zine, they have a submissions call up right now for their fifth issue! The fifth issue is themed for interviews and it’s an opportunity to interview a fantastic woman of color/person of color that you know doing great work in Portland and contribute to a great project. You can read more on their websitehttp://wocpdxzines.wordpress.com/woc-zine-collective-submissions.

If there is a theme to this post, it is that, whatever your battle in coping with oppression, you are not alone.

Keep showing up and we’ll find each other at all the nerd cons and wherever.

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