A Modern Woman on the Move

in hot pursuit of the great green light…

Posts Tagged ‘relationships

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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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

Supporting Women You Know…. Reciprocation and Integrity in Subcultures and Radical Communities, Where’s It At?

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Personally, I feel that the most feminist thing you can do is be a supportive and accepting friend to other women in your life. To defend the women in your life when they’re being torn down by others, to work not to tear down other women, to help other women you know. Even the loud women your other friends are “intimidated” by. I know people think I’m such a strong and independent person and whatever, but this applies to a few people in my life (right now and all the time) and it breaks my heart. I’m sick of being treated like an alien by people who will also call me when they’re freaking out and unhappy. Many people say that reciprocation and respect is important to them, yet seem unable to see where they’re exploitative of certain people in their lives. If you’re more interested in talking to one or all three male people I’m dating than me, it’s time to more closely examine your internalized sexism and get over the fact that I am a woman and I have opinions, ethics, and confidence to speak my mind. Yes, all at the same time. I know it’s hard to believe and it’s really weird, but get over it.

Meeting people in a lot of subcultures and radical communities, I still often approach them as potential new friends who I should try to have solidarity with. This means extending myself to others. It means being honest. It means trying to meet them where they are at. That’s something I believe in, I feel it would be unethical to approach people that I share communities any other way… Yet I am consistently disappointed that most people don’t behave that way, even though many  think they do. I recognize that expectation often breeds disappointment, so, while I acknowledge that meeting people where they’re at means that there are people I will want to support that won’t be able to reciprocate that support, I must confess that I am still very weary and I am still learning how to balance having love for myself with loving others in my communities.

Shouldn’t I expect that women seeking to empower themselves and be anti-oppressive would be a bit more responsible towards their female friends and their relationships? Shouldn’t I expect that dudes who attend panels on ending rape culture wouldn’t spend a couple hours complaining about how I have such a strong personality to one of my partners? Shouldn’t I expect that a sex and consent educator in a sex positive community wouldn’t push the boundaries of a non sober person they’re hanging out with at their house while their asleep? Shouldn’t I expect that other queer radicals who complain about feeling isolated would think about how little they reach out to the same person they’re complaining to about feeling lonely and isolated to?  You know, maybe reach out when they don’t have something to complain about, just for fun or because they know I’m going through a hard time? Shouldn’t I expect the people I am supporting to be equally willing to meet me wherever I am at?

The thing is that those people might not think of me as worth their time outside of what I might be able to do for them (listen to their problems, advocate for them on their behalf as mediator, give them a ride, etc). It breaks my heart, but I also don’t want to be closed off to others because I recognize that everyone has to start somewhere in learning how to really build genuine relationships of reciprocation. I also theorize that those people don’t realize what they have to offer in personal relationships. I find that, because I often take on leadership roles in projects or communities, people imagine I have all the answers or that I have magical, self-esteem powers. I think some people don’t reciprocate because they don’t imagine themselves as having anything to offer me. I also imagine that some of this may come from the fact that some people view me as inherently different from them because I am a little bit different from them, so we couldn’t possibly be closer friends, though they are using me as a confidant because their friends are unable to help them in ways they imagine I can help them in whatever moments they’re seeking me out. I think stepping down from some community roles this past summer will help change this a bit for me moving forward, but I hate that I have to pull back in order not to feel like I am overwhelmed by being there for people, simply because they are unable to reciprocate, due to lack of maturity, courage, or knowledge to see how draining and selfish they can be in their personal relationships.

Unsolicited advice? You think you’re an activist, you think you’re a feminist? Start in your own life, deconstruct your biases and oppressive dynamics. Stop struggling to have white male approval above everyone else. Be there for the people you turn to and rely on even when it’s not convenient or when it’s painful and forces you to have hard conversations. Do you feel down on yourself, do you feel disempowered, do you feel unheard? Look around at who is close to you. Do they tear down women they perceive as weird or powerful? Are they willing to listen to women? I will be the first to say I haven’t always practiced behaving like this and it’s something I still find myself needing work on, it’s been a long journey, but it’s something I work really hard towards. I have found that trying to have supportive relationships with other women, even when I don’t imagine that I totally relate to them, has been one of the most transformative experiences in my life for loving myself. I hope that loving the women and other people around me is a journey I never find myself ending…

And I hope to have more people in my life who are willing to respect me as a human, not a stereotype or just another resource for them to use as they learn more about the world and how to empower themselves.

Even though I am complaining, I want to acknowledge that I do have a few really awesome friends, like Katy and Becky and my partners Marco and Matt, who do actually do this. I want you to know how thankful for you that I am. You make me feel so less lonely in this world and you all remind me that there are folks who appreciate the energy I put into my relationships and who will return it… Or tell people trashin’ on me that they’re wrong or they just don’t get what’s up. I would feel much more alone and hopeless and drained without y’all.

Written by lovemotionstory

September 8, 2013 at 3:17 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

Some of Those, “What Was I Thinking?” Moments Today

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The weirdest thing about the video thing I made to help promote that event thing, was editing it months later and seeing an ex, once adored and celebrated by me, sitting there staring at his phone and completely disengaged from the totally cool community thing happening all around him. Foreshadowing, folks.

He wasn’t the worst, not by a long shot. I have a lot of fond memories from the beginning of our relationship, before he stopped trying and before he let his negative demons run rampant. I actually even feel bad for the dude. I cried and agonized over limiting my time with him at the end of our relationship, when he was simultaneously saying I was crowding him and then complaining that I was too busy working on PZS.

But, gosh, was he such a draaaaaaaaaaag. Like, weeks and weeks before that. And completely inconsistent in his ethics (as in, bothered when people were racist, but often unsympathetic and even blaming toward me for being bothered when dudes were being sexist or harassing me). And unreliable for collaboration. But I kept thinking I just needed to be there for him. I am sure there is something to be said for not immediately jumping ship when he started to show negative behaviors, for trying to talk to him about them and be patient, and there were times he was there for me, but I definitely might have waited a little too long to retreat.

I am way thankful for my current partners. Engaged, sincere, willing to be challenged by life, giving, mature, and cavity-inducingly sweet. I so love Matt and Marco.

To my friends who were skeptical of me dating a comedian back then? Well, you were right.

Written by lovemotionstory

January 28, 2013 at 10:40 pm

Give Love

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Feeling terribly squishy and like sharing one key idea that has been spinning in my brain the last couple of weeks, as I have had a steady flow of loving partners and friends in my life just being amazing the last few months…

Give love, accept only love.

It is amazing what happens in life when you give love freely. If you give more love, more love comes your way. Give kindness and you will find more kindness. Give laughter and you won’t be able to stop giggling and smiling with your loves. Loving people exist. Don’t be tricked by the media and popular ideas of relationships in society. Love does not need to be hard. Love does not need to be dramatic.

There are people in the world who will hear you having a problem and offer their honest support without strings attached and with true honesty… Or they will offer their accountability, if your problem involved them or something they had done, in a responsible way without being defensive or combative. There are people in the world who will love you and accept your love without becoming proprietary or controlling. There are people in this world who will hear your needs if you’re brave enough to just ask! They may not be able to meet them, but you only have a chance to get what you want if you’re honest about it.

You don’t have to accept people into your life who habitually lie. You don’t have to accept people into your life who cross your boundaries. You don’t have to accept people into your life who seek to control you. You don’t have to accept people into your life who are apathetic. Tell them good luck and move on because there are loving people in the world who give their compassion and support freely if you would only not settle for less. If you would only wait for yourself and another loving person to find one another. Reject those that seek to control or hurt you because they are marginalized and hurt, so it is all they know and all they have to give.

And to not accept those who would hurt you? Fuck, let me tell you straight up, it is so empowering. You don’t need anything less than love and, when you decide and follow through on that idea, you are loving yourself. You are affirming to yourself that you truly deserve nothing less than love.

Find love and wrap yourself in it, it becomes exponential. Accept only love and you will find plenty of it and any problems that come your way outside of your close, loved one won’t be as painful because you will have the love of those close to you to cushion any blows that you experience from the rest of the world.

Yes, I know that I may be dismissed writing things like thus as a total hippie… But really, what’s more punk rock and radical than love and happiness outside the dramatic, painful shit that we’ve been taught by mainstream society? Forget abuse, forget control, forget feeling proprietary, forget love-hoarding, forget shaming, forget manipulation, forget dishonesty! Save your fighting for a cause you believe in, it has no place in your loving relationships.

Accept love, give love… Then love can be infinite.

Polyamoury symbol as drawn by Patrick Kelly
(thanks again, man, this is way better
than the other ones floating around on the internet)

Written by lovemotionstory

August 2, 2011 at 2:01 pm

What I am making time for…

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We only have the time we’re willing to make.

I haven’t been to Jazzkat’s Coffee Bar in ages, because I don’t live or work near there. So, I made sure make the time to go there today and it’s still as awesome as ever. I love you Whitney Baskins! Plus, do all my vegan friends know that a new vegan tattoo joint has opened up around the corner? When I got to Jazzkat’s today, Whitney walked me around the corner to introduce me to the new vegan tattoo shop owners of Ritual Art Tattoo and Body Piecing, which happens to be a queer-owned vegan tattoo place, no less. There is another empty space next to Whitney’s for rent, so I was joking to her that we needed to get another vegan shop there to create a second vegan mini-mall. Maybe FoodFight needs a second location? There are already a couple grocery stores in the neighborhood though. Since Whitney’s place has coffee and sandwiches, I wouldn’t want to see something that competed with her.Maybe another Herbivore? Hm..

Anyways, I have been working harder to re-socialize myself, making time and spending time with friends I have neglected the last year and half. I had coffee with Noah last week and it was the first time I had seen him in forever. It felt so good to sit and talk, it also seemed that we had some mirroring experiences since the last time we’d really hung hung out. I also had an affirming get together with a guy I dated off and on for a year before the big-bad-ex, in which he apologized for not being a better friend while he had starting dating someone else. I had gone into meeting him expecting to still be mad but hoping to make amends, so I was pleasantly surprised when we talked and I felt he was sincerely reaching out to me. I tried explained to him that I could understand where he was coming from because I had neglected a lot of my friends while I was doing a big, unhealthy thing for over a year, so it would be pretty hypocritical not to try to offer a bit of forgiveness and understanding for his attempt at reconnection… But I would also like to be friends with him anyways, which is why it hurt to feel like it didn’t matter to him before. So, yeah, all kinds of resolutions happening, all kinds of reconnecting, all kinds of new connections.

There are some new connections happening too, which are interesting. I am dating a boy who actually is enthusiastically poly and already has a relationship going with another lady long before me, which is actually a new position for me. I am usually the lady that’s already with the guy, navigating the new ladies in the guy’s life. And often the guys haven’t been good at being honest and open with their other goings on and the ladies haven’t been very friendly to the relationship that already existed. So, in a weird way, I feel I am getting to be the kind of woman I would have liked to see in my life and I am really loving the opportunity. The other lady came to Trek in the Park with us, then her and I had coffee last week, then we all had coffee yesterday. There are some obstacles for us, mainly that she has a couple of guy friends in her life that I had bad interactions with a few years ago (I am not a fan of them and, as a result, they are not a fan of me) and that poly is still very new to her. If there has ever been one universal motivator for me, it’s been to succeed in spite of other people’s negativity or bad shit in the past. There is also the idea that polyamorous relationships are different for each set of people trying to have them, so even if the boy and his lady weren’t at all new to this, we’d still have a lot to navigate and sort out between us and I have been just blown away with the level of communication and open-heartedness from both of them.

In other news, the ocean-themed submissions deadline for Stumptown Underground is just around the corner (July 23rd) and I hope you all make time to submit to it. The submissions for the summer-themed issue were low enough and we’ve been so behind on things within SU, that is looks like we’re may combine the summer and ocean issues.

I completed the PZS 3rd Annual 24hr Zine Challenge this past weekend, but I kind of hate what I made. So, unless you sponsored me for the challenge, donating $10 or more to the Portland Zine Symposium, you probably won’t ever see this zine. I have more thoughts about the 24hr Zine Challenge for another post soo

Also, we’re doing the bike-in movie night again for PZS this year, this time with Whiffies new mobile, yellow beast. We had an open vote on the movie this year, which has finished and Triplets of Belleville was chosen! The bike-in movie night is happening on July 29th, you should all probably come.

In slighted related music listening linkage, here is a kind of dorky song I am have been liking…