Posted in Uncategorized, Verbose Redactions

Yuletide

Normally my family, my mate and any partners we have as we are polyamorous, our close friends, and I celebrate the Yule season together in various ways throughout the month of December.

Our inner circle consists mostly of people who follow spiritual paths associated with Paganism or some eclectic mix of various religions.

Generally, our yule season consists of feasting, drinking, and rituals. This year we have bypassed the ritual as my blood family is visiting and they do not celebrate holidays ( They are Jehovah’s Witnesses).

My husband and I have been very low key in our acknowledgment this year of the holiday. Where there are normally well-dressed altars and cakes there are empty spaces. This year our home is not filled with laughter and the ambiance of the great mother’s presence.

This year’s Yule is different and it’s an interesting experience to note.

Blessed Be

xox,
shalyse

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Posted in Verbose Redactions

An open letter to the LGBTQA community from an asexual

You see me with my husband, you charge me as hetero. You saw me with my partner, you assumed I was gay. You saw me with both of them you say I was bisexual and for a while, I would have agreed except I wasn’t sexual. But I was romantic, right? So I was bisexual because that is all that can exist.

That was until my partner told me that I should look into something and wrote down the word “Asexual”.

“Wait you mean that sex doesn’t have to be part of relationships?”

“So I’m not broken because I never felt that way about people?”

“God’s I could have saved myself so much crap”

“You can have relationships with people even though you don’t love them like that!”

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Posted in Verbose Redactions

Emotional Literacy is Important. Seriously Learn it.

A transfer from let’s talk about poly which is now one of my deleted sites.

General disclaimer: I’m not a psychologist. I just like studying self-knowledge and becoming self-aware. While I am going to school for this stuff, I’m not an expert.

What is emotional literacy anyways?

To summarize the key points of emotional literacy, it is a form of self-awareness that allows us to communicate and take responsibility for our emotions and feel secure doing so.

I like Claude Steiner’s (1997) breakdown of the parts of emotional literacy.

  1. Knowing your feelings.
  2. Having a sense of empathy.
  3. Learning to manage your emotions.
  4. Repairing emotional problems.
  5. Putting it all together or emotional interactivity.

Because I appreciate the structure of this breakdown this post will follow its example for this discussion.

Knowing your feelings means you understand that there is an entire language to describe the sense of experience or relation to the chemical reactions from a stimulus that is usually but not always outside of yourself.  Our language for emotions is very diverse. There is an entire spectrum of emotions and the lack of knowledge of these emotions unintentionally forces us to be dishonest with ourselves. What most of us fail to realize is that this spectrum is umbrella-ed to further explain the root emotion we are feeling, but there are degrees that we don’t necessarily understand and thus incorrectly express or communicate our emotions.

Below are two charts I absolutely adore in the context of relationships and emotional literacy.

The first is the feelings wheel which shows you the many emotions you can experience that are rooted in six base emotions.

feelings-wheel

The second chart is one that helps to give you a view that our emotions have various intensities which produce similar, yet different emotional responses.

feelings-chart-3

I feel like the charts are great visual aids in assisting with Emotions 101 of developing your emotional intelligence.

For example, according to the feelings wheel jealousy is actually in selfishness which is an extension just being mad about something. Do you realize how differently many people would handle their jealousy if they understood that their jealousy is a valid yet negative emotion that stems from their anger over a situation? And we also know that there are fear and sadness involved from further discussion and study of this, but finding your roots of your reactions is profoundly useful when relating to other.s

There are many other types of emotion breakdowns including the Plutchik model, so study up.

Plutchikfig6

Having a sense of empathy in relationships, in general, is a useful tool. Or at least being able to acknowledge and communicate your lack of empathy is. When your partner is upset if you lack empathy you may not be able to understand what they are feeling or communicate effectively with them.

We should also be aware that there are factors that impact empathy levels like mental health and experience, as well as different types of empathy. Like I don’t really experience emotional empathy and I experience limited compassionate empathy. That make my relationships super hard and requires far more emotional processing to make sure that I am understanding what my partners are communicating to me. It is exhausting. I’m more of a cognitive empathetic person. This is partially to do with my mental disorders which is why I have to do so much work on mindfulness and self-awareness in relationships. I am aware of how badly I can ruin someone, just from the fact that I only have certain empathetic responses.

Learning to manage your emotions is hell in a hand basket y’all. Well, at least it is for me. I have baggage, but my baggage is in the form of PTSD from abuse and assault and just general mental health disorder related issues. See, knowing your feelings is only part of the battle because once you know what is up, you have to figure out how to not project your feelings onto another person. Your emotions are your own reaction to a stimulus and sometimes we end up projecting because in reality we were not wronged, we just were not fond of what was said or done personally.

Now, this isn’t a blanket claim, however, that all emotions are not impacted by others. People can literally wrong you or hurt you. Managing your emotions comes in part from being able to separate whether or not what you think actually happened, happened and to communicate your consent to the situation.

There are five ways that you can manage your emotions that I do recommend experimenting with either by yourself or with your therapist.

  1. Choosing the situations in which you put yourself. This one I personally do myself. I have Generalized Anxiety Disorder and some days the world scares me so much that I can not leave my house aside from work. I will cancel plans if I have to. I will tell friends and partners I can’t go certain places because I am not sure what the emotional response I will have to the environment will be. Some people who don’t get it assume that I just let my fear overtake me, but in reality, I am managing situation that could go bad and make everyone unhappy, uncomfortable, or endangered. I go out, I have fun, I live, on my terms because I know what I can handle.
  2. Changing your perception or expectations of the situation. I personally still struggle with the ability to adjust my expectations when things start going wrong in some situations. This is greatly rooted in your ability to adjust to change or go with the flow. I personally can only do so much of that at a time.
  3. Change your focus. I also have OCD. I literally have to force myself to find a new focus so I don’t obsess and spiral into an overemotional ball of panic. My SO also has a tendency to hyper focus and that exacerbates his anxiety response to the point of physical illness that has resulted in a tendency to try to avoid dealing with anything that he feels will trigger that — so heavy emotions in a relationship where he feels he has caused anger or disappointment. I use these as an example to understand why the focus may need to be shifted. It is not to avoid the situation, but to allow you time to get your initial response under control so that you may address it.
  4. This, in the end, allows you to change your thoughts about the situations which 7411272_originvolve our ability to be mindful of the situation and move forward from that
  5. so that your responses will be adapted. Adjusting the first four help to manage things highly associated with anxiety-like symptoms or anger or even your sadness response. Yea, this reads easy, but it takes a lot of time, effort and support to change these.

Above I mentioned that I have baggage. Baggage in this discussion is a reference to unresolved emotional issues and trauma that affect your interaction in and outside the relationship. Part of becoming emotionally literate is being able to identify your baggage so that you can begin to deconstruct it. One thing that people often forget is that this is an incredibly uncomfortable experience and that is normal for this kind of self-discovery and rewiring.

E.B Resources: X X X X X

Once you have learned how to do these things you will be engaging in emotional interactivity for yourself and it will greatly help you in your relationships, to communicate, to relate, and to respect your partner(s) reactions and deal with them. It is also really helpful in identifying when your partner is projecting or just not able to communicate a problem to you. It improves your ability to read a situation

In polyamory, this can be our greatest help or hinderance.  You have to be able to see where your partner is coming from no matter where you are on your journey and learn how to healthily compromise. You have to be able to negotiate your boundaries and discuss protocols for handling situations in healthier ways. All of this is unique to the individuals involved.

I notice that a lot of times in subcultures that emphasize DIY and designer relationships we forget that any self-help that is available is a template. You have to change it up and make it unique to you. This is why people often advise others to visit therapist whether alone or in a group to find ways to address issues unique to their situation.

I’m urging everyone to start working on their emotional literacy to help improve their quality of life and quality of interaction. It can only benefit you in the end and improve your journey of self-authenticity and awareness.

Resource list:

http://hprc-online.org/family-relationships/families/managing-emotions

http://ong.ohio.gov/frg/FRGresources/emotional_intellegence_13-18.pdf

https://www.cognitivehealing.com/depression/learn-how-to-identify-and-express-your-feelings/

http://eqi.org/elit.htm

http://www.6seconds.org/2013/03/07/enhance-emotional-literacy/

http://isites.harvard.edu/fs/docs/icb.topic522933.files/Rose%20Wongsarnpigoon%20Portfolio.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/basics/emotional-intelligence
https://www.cnvc.org/sites/default/files/feelings_inventory_0.pdf

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/great-kids-great-parents/201703/dealing-feelings

http://ed-psych.utah.edu/school-psych/_documents/grants/autism-training-grant/3-degrees-emotions.pdf

Posted in Verbose Redactions

Black, Poly, Intersectional Feminism.

A transfer from let’s talk about poly which is now one of my deleted sites.

Discussing polyamory as rooted in womanism, not your typical whitewashed privilege.

By: XXXX

This is a write-up I did for the Black & Polygroup that I assist in moderating in. This is a summation of my belief in why I believe Black, polyamorous spaces are needed (really POC need spaces to discuss things in general) and a summation of the group’s stance on the “Polyamory is Feminist at its foundation.” statement.
Polyamory is based on some pretty feminist ideas:
  • Sexual self-determination (which women often lack pre-suffrage).
  • Redefining and redesigning your love life rather than sticking to societies proscribed rules.
  • Establishing that women have a choice ( mostly by disrupting gender roles).
  • Providing an equitable way to achieve your goals.
  • Reducing the likeliness of force possession and control by addressing the fact that people are not objects and focusing on relationship negotiations.
  • And in theory, women should have equal footing to communicate their wants and needs, without feeling guilty or shamed for exploring them.
Let’s be real, our relationship style does have its roots in feminism, but for us ( read: black people and POC in general) it’s not this mainstream thing created to be palatable. You see feminism is a spectrum of socio-political movements and ideologies that have a base goal to establish equal rights for all genders in the political, economic, and social spheres, by focusing on the minority group who did not have equal rights. That seems relatively harmless right. Mainstream feminism, however, has been tainted by the historical focus on white middle to upper-class women and thus ignoring the intersection between all women’s issue. In short, it is blinded by white privilege.
Luckily for us, we have had some amazing strides made to address intersectionality, especially for black women.
Thank the activist for Intersectionality. It is, in essence, the idea that equality can be reached by creating equity to erase the boundaries that separate us. But where did this idea stem from?
Partially (well a lot from) womanism and black feminism.
Womanism(1960s)
— is a social theory that centers on the racial and gender oppression of black woman and other women in marginalized groups. Unlike white feminism, it makes sure to focus on the fact that women have been oppressed and POC have been further oppressed because race-based issues are not a separate category with no overlap. XX X X XX
Black Feminism (the 1960s)
–Is incredibly similar by positing that sexism, socio-economic oppression, gender identity, and race issues are irrevocably connected.
The difference, well to me there isn’t much of a difference, except that womanism is not about fostering interracial cooperation. Some people take this to mean that black women think themselves superior in negative ways towards white women. No, not necessarily. The fact is that womanism addresses that the black experience is different in western countries, and for white people, interracial cooperation has been historically contexted around POC assimilating to their “white” culture and leaving our culture behind. X
For black people, polyamory is about ( or at least it should be about) building and uplifting our brothers and sisters. It is addressing the fact that our communities have and to an extent today experience our humanity and rights being stripped away. If you have not had a chance to view it watch “13th” Directed by Ava DuVernay. This gives a great view of how slavery never really ended, just was reframed. But back to my point, we have had to recreate and define terms, find our own humanity, self-respect, and create things for ourselves.
The mainstream polyamorous movement has done a lot, but again it is erasing POC in a flurry of peace and love and the new modern family. Take for instance that the Article “Polyamory is for Rich, Pretty People by Vivienne Chen. In non-intersectional focused spaces this is met by the idea that she is complaining, when the reality is that her discussion is addressing the lack of intersectionality in mainstream groups by ignoring that there are some pretty bad risk for deviating publically from societal norms for the poor, non-cis, non-straight folks or just people who don’t fit the non-polyamorous person’s assumptions of poly.
A major contributor to this whitewashing is that people forget that non-monogamy has always been something that has been practiced in many cultures. Polyamory is a modern adaptation post the stress of hetero-monogamy. We forget that if we look back on the history of civilization and before the modern construct of marriage, people did work together and practice communal love.

I assert that by the POC polyamorous community saying that, yes polyamory is based on feminism, but not white-washed feminism. We are forcing ourselves and the surrounding cultures outside of our plural relationship doors to address that this is not just a relationship style. This is our socio-political stand that as POC we aren’t defined by other people and you do not get to sweep history under the rug and pretend that racism and classism don’t exist. For many of us, the reality is that until President Trump was elected, people had a tendency to push the idea that this is the twenty-first century, so these socio-political discussions weren’t a problem, but that was simply because it was not their experience. For black POC and POC in general, reframing your polyamory to be centered around intersectionality, womanism, or black feminism will force you and those around you to see that we have something different, yet similar we are fighting for.

I date not exclusively interracially. I do not date people who are colorblind because of the way many people try to apply the term. We don’t need a homologous world, we just need to be accepting that there is no dominant culture. Yes, my partners’ politics matter to me, because politics are more than personal opinions. They are opinions that become our laws and that affects our lives.
If you can’t understand or try to understand and learn that a POC experience is different in western culture, can you truly build a community with them? I know it’s a hard pill to swallow, but the way the women’s suffrage movement was framed was that it was not a movement for us. Racism crept in and we were pushed aside. To me, this doesn’t say that we shouldn’t ever work with white people, but it does say to me that we must be careful to not let our experiences and our politics be pushed down for the sake of the movement. We must be critical of what people are saying when they push that polyamory is feminist in nature. Is feminism that solely addresses white equality, or is it being critical to address that all people deserve equality and it takes equity and time to actively deconstruct our country’s foundation.
To conclude I want to make one thing increasingly clear. What I am saying is to critique the hell out of feminism. Don’t just accept its feminist and that it must be right or always addressing equity. Polyamory foundationally seeks to build people up individually and socially. How can you do that without addressing and breaking the oppressive social ideologies that exist and fight against equality? And for this reason, I believe that for POC Polyamory can only be feminist for Black communities and other POC if it is intersectional in nature.

The Black & Poly stance.

In Black & Poly one of the primary things we want everyone to remember is that while we are not a Black ONLY space, We are a Black CENTERED space. We are about building up Black people. If you are not about that, this is not the space for you.Our experience is different. Racial oppression gives us a different view of authority, of fighting to reach our potential, of defining words and concepts that weren’t even meant for us. This space is one pebble that sends out a ripple effect of addressing how to break down the systemic oppression in westernized countries and how to give POC the equity we need to truly explore being equal.
Posted in Verbose Redactions

Happy Birthday to Me

Today, beautiful people and econuts, is my twenty-fourth birthday.

Yay?

In honor of the day I was born into a world that often seems so cruel and devoid of humanity I am reflecting on my personal goals, professional ambitions, and all the choices I’ve made that have lead me to who I am today.

I am embracing my growth and my mistakes. I am analyzing how much I have changed and why those changes occurred.

I know that for certain,one of the best decisions I have made was to move away from home and give my family and I some distance. As bad as that may sound, for me it was a much-needed requirement.

I needed to find myself. I needed a chance to understand why the beliefs I had were so different and deemed wrong by my parent’s world. Was it morally wrong and corrupt of simply a different way of viewing the world?

One of the major things I have learned in my personal reflections and musings is that at my core I have not changed. I’m still the same sweet and good little girl. I’ve just grown up some and figured out how to express myself rather than be a model of what other’s expected.

Honestly, I’m still learning that, but I feel a lot better about where I am with my expression of self.

 

I grew up as a Jehovah’s Witness and while I don’t feel my experience was extremely oppressive because my parents at least believe in allowing me to live my life as long as I don’t force it on them, in some ways it was still limiting in the terms of experience.

By the time I finished college, I realized that:

  • I was an activist that believed heavily in the idea that ALL men and women are truly created equal and deserve their basic human rights because basic rights are not a violation of someone else’s.
  • That the earth is alive and we have much to be thankful for. We have a symbiotic relationship with this planet and we take for granted that our mistreated and callousness towards the environment affects us all.
  • I believe that there is a basic societal order of Dominant individuals, submissive individuals, people who present both, and people who present neither. No one is necessary on top of the other, but agreements of interactions are quite crucial. I feel that we have ignored that.
  • I don’t believe that any social construction of how people work is binary.
  • I don’t believe people are inherently monogamous, but that people have become used to it. Our social and family structures do not support the idea of monogamy to me.
  • I don’t believe that men are head of households. I believe it should be equal or that the person most capable should lead.
  • I believe in the old religions’ ( plural) interpretation of the world as being healthier than modern religion.
  • I believe that religion is harmful, but that spirituality is something everyone should embrace.
  • I do not believe that non-human animals are lesser beings.
  • I realized that the political systems everywhere are essentially fucked.
  • I realized that I was queer as all get out.
  • I realized that I was still a confused child, and from then on out I considered myself a half adult like human.

That is not everything I had figured out over 4 years of community involvement, social experimentation, and professional development, but that is the gist.

Now after about 2 more years of self-reflection, getting married, having one of my significant others die, being introduced to a family cultural that I don’t understand ( the things that apparently come with marriage), and a quarter-life crisis, I think I am starting to really get down to where I am headed.

Ok I know what you are thinking. Quater-life crisis. Yeah, but it is a thing and for me it was actually triggered by a guy. *giggles* What a cliché. UGH.

You see one of the major parts of my life was when my husband and I reconnected and then it changed so many of plans. I never wanted to be married, have kids, keep house, or really deal with family.

I wanted to be and international business liaison. I wanted to travel, be freelance, and have my dates ( guys or gals) for all the places I traveled. I just wanted fun.

And honestly without my hubs that is still the life I want, but he is in my life, so plans change. I want a stable job, with minimal travel. I want to be able to take care of my family. Like with the kids and all ( but in like 5 – 10 years).

Hell, I’ve even manipulated my goals to help make this work.

In the last year, I’ve begun my journey to taking Design and Scheme from portfolio turned blog, to a website and business. I also established other goals that I will not divulge as they are only relevant to the parties involved, but I am super excited to get all of this going. It is my hope that by this time next year the beginning steps will be completed and we will be on the way to phase 2. I’m super excited!

Oops! I said that.

I took some time off. I was a housewife this year to facilitate my husband’s growth, our move, and to give myself time to figure out the next direction for my plans. I wasn’t as productive as my original 5-year plan I created in 2014 had me being, but I am happy that I actually used that time for D&S. It made me so sure that this is what I want and that I am grateful for all the people that have helped me.

I’m so ready for this next year of activism and professional/ personal development.

 

So peace out babes.

This blogging pagan, asexual , polyamorous, activist and lover of all the pretties is off to do accomplish more this year.

xox,
Shalyse