I got quite a compliment many years ago from a member of the mailing list generated by the Polyfamilies site. Basically, the lady had never really intended to be a stay at home mom, or do the housewife thing. She found it too pedestrian and far too conformist and as a result, was having a hard time coping with some stuff she’d committed to. As she was reading the site, and reading the comments of the people on the mailing list, she came to her own little epiphany that she could be a freak and still have her life together.
It was exciting to learn that yes, the site has made a difference in someone’s life, and that people are getting the idea that you can consciously choose how you are going to live. That you can be different and not throw what you may value to the winds.
As I was talking about this to my family at the time, I found myself laughing and saying, “That’s right, I want people to be a credit to their kink!”
While I meant it as a joke, it’s actually quite true. I would love to see all the freaks, the alternative lifestylers, and those of us on the fringe going out there and being the energetic, motivated workers in the office, the most reliable contractors, the people that are known to be charitable, kindly and honest.
Of course, alternative lifestylers are no better or worse than everyone else. We’re just human, and it’s vain as hell that I would like to see us working our best to just plain be better, more creative, more organized, more generous people.
But it’s a vanity I don’t really want to get rid of.
A lot of poly people do something I think is awesome, by the way. They’re volunteers for various organizations and not just the lifestyle stuff1, but in churches, scouting, homeless shelters and other community services. If you’re poly and don’t do volunteer work, I encourage you to try out some small thing every now and then. Even little occasional stuff like being a blood donor counts for a lot2, becacuse if a lot of people do things like that, it adds up! It’s okay to pick something you find fun, too3. We don’t all have to be Mother Theresa.
This isn’t to say that I think poly people oughta be perfect to call themselves poly. (Otherwise I’d be the first to kick myself out of the “club”). But there is this nagging vanity that would love to see “polyamorous” create an image of an amazingly together, kewl hoopy frood in people’s minds.
In the interests of “being a credit to your kink”, I want to recommend some self-improvement stuff to you guys. I do not agree with every single little thing these people say (curiously enough, they’re mostly monogamous, and often quite traditional people whose faiths mean a great deal to them). But they do good work and the principles do apply to anyone’s life, no matter what one’s taste is in <snerk> rubbing carapaces. Like anything, take what’s useful to you. It won’t be everything — not even my oh so inspired writing!
- The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People. I’m an audiobook freak, so I listen to the unabridged version on my iPod. And I encourage you not to bother with the abridged version if you get it as an audiobook. Get the unabridged. If you are in any sort of organization, a family of any size included, seriously do read/listen to this. This is good stuff and focuses on valuing relationships. However, fair warning, Stephen Covey is a devout member of the LDS Church and his manner and views reflect this. It might get under your fingernails too much for you to enjoy the work. Your call. I think he’s got a lot of good points.
- Flylady. If you have organzational management issues, check this site out.
- Stumptuous This is a site that talks mostly about weight lifting for women, but she’s a women and gender studies scholar, so it’s not a the “get skinny to be a worthwhile human” type garbage. She deals with health and gender issues, too. Cool stuff. She likes to use Naughty Words when she writes, so she get the Goddess of Java’s Self-Expression Seal of Approval. I don’t think physical fitness is any particular virtue, mind, but for those who are into “A healthy mind in a healthy body” as a goal, I’ll throw it out there.
Other Useful Stuff from the Polyfamilies Yahoogroup Membership at Large:
- Illusions, by Richard Bach
- Jonathan Livingston Seagull, Richard Bach
- No Ordinary Moments, by Dan Millman
- Fitday — a nutrition/exercise tracker
- Emotional Blackmail , by Susan Forward and Donna Frazier
- Loving What Is, by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell
- Five Love Languages, by Gary Chapman
1 Which is important! (If I didn’t think so, this site wouldn’t be here, now would it?
2 Though it occurs to me that blood donation is a bad example as there are a lot of polys disqualified for that… (For those of you not too familiar with what I’m talking about, I don’t mean rampant AIDS. The Red Cross screens out men who have had sex with men, and women who have had sex with men who have had sex with men).
3 In the interests of practicing what I preach, I looked around for a volunteer opportunity and now do so at a museum. Gadgets! Toys! Wheeee!!!