About this Polyamory Thing: Part 1

poly-by-shizojen-deviantart

Symbol by Shizo Jen (deviantart.com)

The idea of having the freedom to openly love more than one person, without all the hiding, lying, and risky behavior attached to “cheating”, appeals to more people than you know. Yet, regardless of our assumption that we are a free and evolving society, having “many loves”—openly and honestly—is still very much a taboo.

Well, maybe that’s changing. With popular TV shows playing around with the topic of polyamory and mainstream media outlets releasing article after article about swinging this, and open marriage that, it seems the lovestyle has gained some general acceptance.

But do people really know what it is? There still seems to be an awful lot of people out there who confuse polyamory with cheating, open relationships with swinging, polygamy with polyandry, and who assume polyamory is always only (or primarily) about sex.

Since the topic is piquing curiosity, and since it is one which elicits visceral reactions, from disgust to shock and awe- in other words, since the discussion is getting really good- I figured I’d jump in with my two cents. First, I got some definitions that might help the uninitiated establish a fundamental understanding. The first one is “Taboo”

Taboo: (adj) proscribed by society as improper or unacceptable; prohibited; forbidden; banned; can also describe something that is separated/set apart as sacred; forbidden for general use; sacrosanct. (from dictionary.com)

(Notice how the seemingly opposite “unacceptable” and “sacrosanct” are included in the definition of the same word? That’s not a mistake or an oxymoron.)

This is the information age, folks, where knowledge is more accessible than it has ever been. So, if you’re curious, enjoy, ask questions, do your own research, and jump into the discussion yourself. But please, make yourself look good and try to know what you’re talking about first. I’m learning everyday, and it’s fascinating!


RELATIONSHIP GOALS? #Compersion

I am so excited to be a part of Enchant TV’s fundraising campaign for Compersion, Season 2! Join in with your support.

1-keena-and-josh

“The Enchant TV Indiegogo Crowdfunding Campaign is raising funds to complete another dynamic season of the provocative drama, Compersion. Compersion follows one couple’s journey from monogamy to polyamory, and takes an intimate look on how we see and value romantic partnerships. With an already successful Season 1, this inclusive-diverse production helmed by writer, director, and producer Jackie Stone is seeking funds to make another dynamic Season. Check out the first season of Compersion for free on YouTube at the link below.” -The Enchant TV

If you haven’t seen it, you just need to get with it. Like, comment, share, support the arts and evolving thought and all that jazz and throw a little dough their way so they can get Season 2 poppin! (There is a quite voracious and ever-expanding group of folks who are chomping at the bit for the next season, btw. Don’t let us down—some of us bite.)

Check out the series here:  (YouTube)  bit.ly/TheEnchantTV

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Because of YOU, I am pathetic. The Blame Game

Ever heard this song by Kelly Clarkson?

I’m well acquainted with it.  Very recently, I had a part-time job in a furniture store where the soundtrack included this heartfelt number.  And every time that sad, pathetic piano music started up, I wanted to run into the manager’s office and kick the stereo.  Many… many times.

See, the chorus of the song never sat right with me

“Because of you I never stray too far from the sidewalk.

Because of you I learned to play on the safe side so I don’t get hurt

Because of you, I am afraid.”

That’s it?

Some no good man did something that left her hurt and afraid.  (That’s happened to every woman on the planet, right?)  And, at least for the duration of this song, she was simply hurt and afraid and whining.  No resolution.  No power.  Just pathetic and blaming him, whoever he was, for her damage.

Whenever I think of this song, I’m reminded of all those pathetic quotes and memes that people are constantly sharing on Facebook about how many “haters” they have, hatershow they’re “cutting people off” who no longer serve them,

don't like

(Neither do we)

or how they’ve been hurt a million times and are still standing.

been hurtNo one ever posts a quote or a meme saying:

To whomever I have hurt, misused, lied to, “hated on”, cursed out, or

misunderstood in a time of struggle,

I’m sorry.

or

I’ve been a hater.

I’m hating on some people right now.

I’d like to do some of the things I see others doing but don’t know how

and that pisses me off.

And make no mistake, we’ve all done something to hurt someone.  But no, everybody’s a victim.  Everybody’s damaged goods.  And too many people want to stay that way.  They’d rather keep pointing outward instead of looking within.  It’s the blame game that keeps us hurting and attracting more of the very things that hurt us, because we focus on pain as if pain is a noble pursuit, as if being a martyr is preferable to having no one to blame.

Here’s the thing:  once I sat down and watched the video, I had a much better understanding of what Ms. Clarkson was trying to accomplish with this, actually beautiful, song.  The story depicted in it is very similar to my own.  It’s almost identical to the background story for Jane Luck, the decidedly unlucky heroine in my new novel Pretty Little Mess:  A Jane Luck Adventure.   The self-awareness laid out in the lyrics (whether she actually experienced this or simply is a conduit of expression for those who have) is a necessary part of the healing process.  We have to understand the source of a problem in order to solve it.

But I think that’s where the blaming has to stop.  Because once you peel back a few layers from the person you’re blaming, you’ll find that the pain they “caused” you could be traced to some pain that they blame someone else for.  And on and on ad infinitum.  And much of your pain may be stemming from your own interpretation of what was done, or your own assumptions about that person’s intentions–which could all be wrong.

The blows we inflict on each other can certainly be overwhelming.  I guess the key is to not wallow in the pain, however difficult the journey to a better place may be.

And the next time you think some “haters” are out to get you, consider this:  people like MLK had haters, Malcolm X had haters, Jesus, Joan of Arc, Malala Yousafzai had haters.  Maybe you just have delusions of grandeur. Everybody’s not a martyr, and everybody doesn’t need to be.

you are surrounded by humans 

yes, you are one of those humans

and we are all learning

Economic Exodus – the answer to inequality

Black-owned banks get rush of new depositors. Citizens Trust Bank Cynthia N. Day, President and CEO, and the Inaugural Next Generation Advisory Board (Photo: PRNewsFoto/Citizens Trust Bank) USA Today – Click photo for article.

I’on know what you been seein’, but in the days following the murder of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas 5, I’ve witnessed an exodus. My Facebook newsfeed has been full of optimism and self-determination in the form of advertising. That’s right—advertising. My friends, colleagues, and acquaintances have been buzzing about The Solution to the lasting problems that we have been forced to face in the past week. That solution is personal sovereignty through increased support of black-owned businesses.

Yep, personal sovereignty- that little phrase that sometimes gets the side-eye due to the fact that it often accompanies some calloused proclamation that the poor should simply pick themselves up by their bootstraps and do better (assuming they have boots). It’s used to taunt the systemically disadvantaged. It has often been used to create the perception that poor people—who often need a hand up despite working themselves into oblivion—are not taking control of their lives.

But when your cries for equality fall on deaf ears, when you get tired of attempting to reason with those who cannot reason, when you realize that you never should have wasted so much time begging others to view you as human—you understand that personal sovereignty is the only answer. You begin to understand that you have your own resources and that the things that you can produce are just as good or better than all the things you once pleaded for from someone else.

Economic autonomy allows for community stability and wealth-building. Period. When your dollar circulates through your community 5, 10, 20 times before leaving it, that’s 5, 10, 20 additional people who have benefited from that one dollar (Analogy courtesy of Dr. Boyce Watkins). Over time, that translates into more income for local businesses, more jobs, increased investment opportunities, higher property values, better education opportunities, less debt, less crime—the friggin list goes on and on!

For those of you who are a little unfamiliar, this is a conversation that has been going on in the black community for decades. Why IS our hair care industry dominated by Koreans? Why ARE there so many fast food restaurants and liquor stores in a half-mile radius in economically depressed areas? Why HAVE so many of the neighborhoods that we loved been developed while the original inhabitants have been displaced? It is because we ALLOWED the economies of these communities to be dominated by those who take those dollars to other communities after locking up for the night.

Community loyalty. They know a lil’ sum about that in Little Italy, Chinatown, Little Ukraine, Le Petit Senegal, and other ethnic enclaves around the country. That’s called common sense, responsibility, pride in heritage, taking care of home, minding your damn business. Awesomely, minding your own business leaves you less vulnerable to economic meltdowns, job insecurity, and the unfortunate discrimination that still plagues this nation.

I saw a great meme today (courtesy of WEBUYBLACK, a directory of black-owned product providers) which said: NO JUSTICE…. NO MONEY. And it appears that these sentiments will not be short-lived, because as of yesterday the black-owned Citizens Trust Bank in Atlanta had 8000 new account signups. So, if you’re still mourning Rosewood or Black Wall Street and wonder why they were never rebuilt, may I remind you that it is a new age? Black Wall Street has gone digital.

The best thing about this exodus is that (while some “fasting” in the form of economic restraint may be in order) we don’t need a Moses to spend 40 days on a mountain to figure out our next move. We don’t need anybody to part the seas. We don’t have to beg and plead for any Pharaoh to let us go. All we have to do is take our cash and walk the hell out.

 

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Okay, ENOUGH fear.

A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

Who’s the fearful one here? “A demonstrator protesting the shooting death of Alton Sterling is detained by law enforcement near the headquarters of the Baton Rouge Police Department in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, U.S. July 9, 2016. REUTERS/Jonathan Bachman TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY. Click photo for Huff Post Article.”

 

“I’m afraid.”

“I can’t keep calm.”

“I fear for my black son.”

“I fear for my black daughter.”

“I don’t know if my husband will make it home safe.”

“I don’t know if I will make it home safe.”

“The world has gone crazy!”

“I feel hopeless.”

These are some of the sentiments that I’ve observed all week since the murders of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, and the Dallas 5. And I’m sick of it. I am sick of fear. All of it. Fear is what got us here, people!

Now, hold on, don’t misunderstand me. I have a great deal of compassion for those who feel this way. You are me, and I know your trials, because I experience them too. We’re in this together.

I have my own black son, daughter, husband, brother, mother, father, cousins, friends, nieces and nephews, in-laws, and my own black self that I cover in prayer daily with hopes that we will live to be our best, free from unwarranted, systemic harassment. I can’t tell you how many times in the last 72 hours I’ve stared at my 5-year-old daughter and had to shake off the thought of seeing her stunned in the back seat of our car after witnessing some vigilante cop lose his natural mind. Heaven forbid it.

I watch the man that I vowed to care for through the rest of my life come home every day, and I’m relieved that he didn’t encounter some crazed, poorly trained, afraid-of-his-own-shadow, Barney-Fife-acting police officer on his way from work.

But this season has me feeling empowered. Yes, empowered. Why? Because this is nothing new. According to 1 Corinthians 10:13, “No Temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man.” Oppression is ancient. Oppression is the rebar in our nation’s very foundation. We know these killings have been happening for centuries. But, we beat this before (the previous phase of it at least), and we can beat it again.

There is no reason for you to feel powerless unless you have chosen not to do your part. If you plan on twittling your thumbs, biting your nails, and simply watching from the stands while the winds of change blow around you, then yes, I guess you have a reason to fear. If you have no knowledge of your own power and the power of the creator within you, then yes, I can see why you are overwhelmed with fear. If you still don’t know that the Gods of our ancestors were themselves warriors, I get your fear. If you have forgotten that there really is no “they” and you’re currently blaming the mirror for reflecting this flawed world back to you, then I can see why you’re afraid.

See freedom comes in phases, and it’s cyclical, because unfortunately, humans get lazy. These trying times that ebb and flow through the eons are like labor pains, each one potentially getting us one step closer to birthing something better.

I respect your mourning, and I know that it is necessary. It is also necessary that you choose not to be paralyzed by your fear. Understand that the hopes, dreams, talents, strength, vitality, intelligence, and tenacity of all the dead are with us. In this sense, they never left us. Be quickened in the remembrance of them. And let the memory of them be your fuel as you move ahead in pursuit of freedom.

You are a powerful creation, and what you submit to in fear will only expand. So instead, let each one that has been snatched from us empower you to continue doing what you should have been doing long before and what you should continue doing long after this phase is over: develop your character, develop your community, and grow in love. Do that by any means necessary.

And if you still feel afraid, do it anyway.

 

 

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Polyamory – Could YOU make the proposition?

…”It means you’re my husband… but … I can have a boyfriend”…

WHAT THE $%*!?

As sophisticated a presentation of open marriage as Enchant TV has provided so far, I still found myself squirming when Keena made that statement in the first episode of Compersion.

It was perfect– an elegant packaging of a very complicated idea. Yet it felt sooooo uncomfortable. Why? Because, for all the thoughtfulness and maturity which typically saturates any serious discussion of open relating, that statement seemed dangerously oversimplified too. It seemed to play directly to the very fears and negative ideas that non-poly people tend to have about the idea. It made Keena seem like a simple, selfish, ungrateful, greedy bitch having a midlife crisis who wanted to “have her cake and eat it too”–at least, that’s what I was afraid others would think.

I was hoping that people (even those still on the fence about poly… or those balking from twenty yards behind the other side of said fence) would delay their criticisms just long enough to recognize the depth of conflict that Keena was experiencing. I don’t think such a conflict would exist if Keena and Joshua did not share a truly genuine love already. Yet she still needed more.

This is how I try to explain the concept to people who don’t get it: As a human being, you need food and you need water. Someone could feed you the highest quality, most delectable steak as often as you wanted or needed protein, iron, or vitamin B12, but you would still die without water. Your body needs a variety of substances to survive.

For people who benefit from open relationships, non-exclusivity meets a genuine need for variety and community–not just a desire to “have their cake and eat it too”.

But then again, what the hell is the point of having a cake if you can’t eat it too?!

cake

 

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Mo’nique and Sidney’s Open Relationship – How it goes down

monique and sidneyYou may have heard some rumors about which celebrity couples are/were supposedly in open relationships- Will and Jada, Brad and Angelina, Mo’nique and Sidney, Ossie and Ruby. Well, Mo’nique and Sidney have set the story on them straight.

If you’re late (like I was) and you still haven’t heard, to answer your question, yes they are. Huuuuuney, they talked all kinds of real shit in that January 11th episode of their podcast on Play.it. This was the first show in what is becoming a collection of (in my opinion) very intriguing topics.

Here are a just of the few points addressed in their explanation of how their open marriage works:

  • The public’s rumors and concerns about Mo’nique’s “self-esteem”: Mo’nique says that it was easy for some to accept that certain celebrity couples might have open marriages because, the public thinks they’re “beautiful people”. But when it came to her and Sidney, they were thinking there’s no way this “fat, black woman” could be with a man like that without something else going on. The public assumed that she was willing to do any old thing to keep her man. Little did they know that the open marriage was her idea…
  • E.G.O. = Expectations Gone Overboard: Mo’nique candidly admits that, in the beginning, she was selfish. Her attitude was, “I’m the one making the money. I can do whatever I want.”  If she entertained other men, they would politely say “Hello” to Sidney in passing his room on the way to the hers. She could do her thing, but wasn’t so interested in letting him do his thing. Then Sidney was like, “Hol’ up now. An open relationship means we can BOTH see other people”.  Mo’nique became more fully aware of the principle of *reciprocity* and realized that she needed to allow her partner the same freedom that she desired and enjoyed.
  • “When you love a person, the last thing you wanna do is control them” says Sidney Hicks. He says he believes in allowing a woman to be who she is.
  • Addressing the Relationship Police: “What happens when someone catches feelings?” a listener asks. Sidney says that the dynamics of the relationship are such that another party would be well aware of the fact that their home base is the first priority. [And I’ll add my humble opinion here: I would imagine that in some cases, catching feelings would be exactly the point. If you believe that love is infinite, you seek to enjoy the fullness that life has to offer, you’re letting go of the expectation of *ownership* in love, and you are truly committed to the community that you have constructed, your partners would overcome any fear of being left behind. The extra love would enhance the overall dynamic–as in that strip club example that Mo’nique so humorously speaks of.]
  • “But Gaaaawd Said!”: Sidney politely agrees to disagree with those who have a particular view of marriage based on religious ideals. He asserts that, yes, they consider marriage to be sacred. They consider it so sacred that they believe marriage should compel people to be open and fully honest with one another about their desires.

Okay, okay. I won’t give away everything. I hope you’ll make your way over to their podcast, scroll on down to the January 11th episode entitled “Our Open Relationship” and see all that they have to say…even if you’re doing it in secret like I KNOW some of you will. As you open yourself to the possibility of expanding your honesty and perspective, maybe you won’t have to hide anymore…

As their tagline says, “A mind is like a parachute. It’s no good unless it’s open.”

Do you agree?

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Ask your doctor about COMPERSION.

Did you see tonight’s episode of Compersion on Enchant TV on YouTube?

What the hell are you waiting for?!

Watch COMPERSION!

New episodes every other Wednesday! 5pm PST, 8pm EST

Sneak Peak: Compersion, a seductive drama on Enchant TV

COMPERSION

What is compersion? My understanding is that it is the opposite of jealousy. It is gaining a sense of happiness through witnessing another person’s happiness, particularly a lover’s…even if that happiness doesn’t directly involve you.

Advocates of open relating often cite compersion as one of the fundamental elements necessary to make such relationships work. In open relationships, sure there is jealousy. Yes, there are fears. But those who choose to enhance their relationships in this manner don’t see jealousy and fear as the end of the road. They seek to grow beyond them.

Those who have been truly successful at open relating understand something that many of us still have not fully grasped: that love is not limited, and that true love intends to set the beloved free to live a full, limitless life.

Have you heard about compersion? According to one HuffPost article, it is a principle that can be aptly applied in monogamous as well as polyamorous relationships. So even if open relating is not your thing, opening up to an idea that will allow you to more effectively align your thinking with your partner’s needs could be a big help. Don’t ya think?

I hope I haven’t completely scared you off with talk of open relating and the idea that you may want to at least consider releasing the death grip on that fear of being alone. Why not check out the first couple of episodes of “Compersion”, a new web series from Enchant TV on YouTube. I’ve been glued to the first two episodes so far, and I think they’re doing a great job of exploring this topic with a great deal of maturity and taste. I love how it juxtaposes the ordinariness of a typical couple’s life with the events surrounding their very extraordinary decision to open their marriage.

Stay tuned to Evolutions, and we can chop it up over the topic of compersion and this thoughtful new series. What do you think? Is compersion for you? In what areas of your life do you think it would be best applied?

Love is a Hormone Martini

I hate to break it to you, but, more than you may realize,  your feelings and actions are being dictated by a brilliantly-designed machine. That machine produces and responds to stimuli at amazing rates and may sometimes even seem to trap you in a never-ending cycle of biological cause and effect.  That machine is your brain, and here’s why it makes breaking up so hard to do.

Love is a drug. That’s right. They said Love is a drug, and they are correct. Love is physically and mentally addictive. It literally triggers the same addiction centers and produces some of the same responses in the brain as heroin. So that’s why the breakup feels like withdrawal–because it is. Chemicals are at the center of it all. Isn’t the mind-body connection amazing?

GOIN INDIE! My first self-published novel

It’s been a whirlwind six months since the initial release of my debut novel (Pretty Little Mess: A Jane Luck Adventure) in eBook format. Since then I’ve added about 10 new chapters, several new supporting characters, developed the story for added depth and realism, and prepared to release the new edition in eBook and Print formats. The decision to produce a second edition so quickly seemed strange to me at first, but became a no-brainer when I considered the rewards:   1. a better story upon which to build The Jane Luck Adventures series;   2. better relationships with readers;  3. more control with the decision to go independent.

Not to mention the fact that the new editions are being released under MY NEW IMPRINT: OmniMind Media!!!!  How exciting is that?

I’ve gone Indie, ya’ll, and it’s definitely been an adventure. It’s a lot more work, but I’m now much more knowledgeable and in control of my own destiny as an author. That way seems to work best for me, at least for now,  and I’m looking forward to great things. Hang with me and find out what’s coming next.

Live long and evolve!

#MeetJaneLuck