We’ve Come A Long Way

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Last week I read this article about a male teenager who received a love letter from another male in his school. The recipient of the letter acted perfectly, he stated that he was straight and still wanted to be friends. Basically, he acted the same way he would if a female he wasn’t interested in gave him the letter. Thanks to Dan Savage and the many positive gay friends I’ve had in my life during the last decade or so I recognize how to behave in this type of situation. In fact, I had something similar to me happen not that long ago and I occasional find myself in gay bars where I get hit on occasionally. I think it is important for an ally to know how to handle these situations appropriately.

Unfortunately, if I had been in high school and received a love letter from a man my response would not be the same as it would have been today. I certainly wouldn’t have responded with anger or violence but I would have been disgusted to a degree that would have been impossible to hide. The closest thing to this that happened to me was a peer, who was openly gay, asked if I thought gay marriage should be legalized. I visibly shuddered and told him “no, marriage is between a man and a woman”, but like most conservatives of my age I had no reason or logic to back up that argument beyond Biblical references.

I can’t remember anything in my Christian upbringing that particularly focused on homosexuality but somewhere along the line I picked up that it was a special kind of sin, despite the constant “hate the sin, love the sinner” that was preached from the pulpit. Maybe it was the focus it received when I rarely (if ever) heard mention of thieves, liars, murderers, rapists, or other “sinners” mentioned on stage. I don’t know really… trying to reflect on the causation of prejudices is complex and it is impossible to be objective when looking at ones own life.

I am happy to say that things are getting better though. As my views have changed so have many other people. The youth of today are not willing to fight the culture war over gay marriage and sexual preferences and acts are becoming the private decisions of individuals as they should be. I find many phrases within the sex positive world to be clumsy and overwhelming (I still don’t know what “queer” means or even if an objective definition exists), and I look forward to the day when we abandon them completely and just accept that if two or more people love each other that is great, regardless of the identity we place on them. Some day, soon I hope, love will be love and we won’t need categories to identify what genitalia is present in each party.

Lifestyle Change

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I’m out of excuses and I’m high on motivation. It is time to actually make some changes to become healthier (inside and out) and accomplish the things I want to accomplish. For the last couple of days I have been resetting and planning out my schedule a little more so that I won’t drift into procrastination. As part of that I am hoping that making this public will help me stay accountable.

Physical

I will be working out multiple times a week after work alternating between yoga and weights. I’ll also be putting cardio into my routines either through morning bike rides to work or running at the gym after work. Some friends are also talking about doing P90X as well. I stuck with P90X before my first burn and it worked really well for me. In addition I need to start eating better. I’ve decided to cut out all drinks except for water and black coffee during the week and am trying very hard to get back into a plant based diet. Cooking meals for the week is tough but I think I can make it happen.

Mental

In addition to my yoga routine, which includes Restorative and Hatha Flow + Qigong, I am adding meditation to my daily routine. I’m still trying to work out a time of day that I can stick with this consistently, it looks like in the morning upon waking is the best time.Sleep is also a big issue, I want 7-8 hours a night and that means in bed by 10 when possible and up at 6ish. I also want to do more reading and writing, reading has been easy but writing has not. Blog updates have been pretty steady but real writing has been difficult. I think I need to really block off time in my schedule for this on the weekends or something.

Financial

I want to spend my time going to festivals, Burning Man, camping, and other events with friends. That means saving cash and not wasting it on meals, Starbucks, or out at bars very often. Cooking for myself is a main way to save some cash but I really just need to be able to say no when tempted. It isn’t easy but if I keep focused on the other events I want to do I can pull it off.

Sex and Love

Continue with giving and receiving.

Focus

So, what are the things I want to prepare for and do this year? Burning Man of course… but I’d also like to go to Lucidity as well. I’d like to be on the way to running a marathon. Saving money for my next adventure is also a goal, I’m not sure what that adventure is yet but I have a couple ideas including hiking the Pacific Crest, travelling around Australia, and a trip to Patagonia. My education is also something that I want to focus on which means getting my GRE scores up, finding some programs, and getting some applications out there. For a while I’ve been focusing on the LA area but that may change depending on how my job pans out in the next few months.

“Adulthood”

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I’m 31 years old, unmarried, no kids, and live in a warehouse condo thing with four other humans, three dogs, and a cat. Many people would say that I am not an adult yet. They would say that my trips to bars, music festival, and general spontaneous life that borders on nomadic proves I am still a teenager trapped in an adult body. I think these people are full of crap.

As this recent article plays fun with, most of “adulthood” has little to do with the person and much to do with appearances. Somehow adulthood has become defined as how effective we are at putting up a mask or subduing our life until it fits a social mold. What made a person an adult has changed significantly over the last several thousands of years and it is ridiculous to assume that it won’t change again. With more people delaying child-bearing, exploring non-traditional relationships, and relatively easy access to adventures and travel I would think the trend would continue where traditional signals of “adulthood” are not present in adults.

Regardless of the signals I put out there that don’t measure up to what previous generations call “adulthood”, I am a responsible adult. I pay my bills, I take care of myself and my community, and I am not a drain on anyone. To me, adulthood is means being independent and free to make your own decisions without harming others. It has little to do with age and nothing to do with the decisions you make as long as you don’t expect others to take care of you.

I am an adult and I refuse to let that title force me into a 3-bedroom house in the suburbs with a white picket fence, manicured lawn, wine collection, books that exist for show, a closet full of uncomfortable clothes, and a perverse view that adventures are for teenagers and retirement.

PS: It was pointed out by a respected friend of mine that this could be construed as a criticism of people who do have homes, lawns, kids, or whatever. I have no criticism of their life at all, they have chosen what makes them happiest and that is freaking awesome. I just would prefer not to be judged when my decisions do not mirror theirs. I love my friends regardless of their adulthood perception just like I (as a polyamorist) love my monogamous friends. I enjoy understanding how they tick, debating the pros and cons of different lifestyles, and having a diverse group of people in my life.

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Poly Facebook

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A recent news article on Facebook has me thinking about it’s value for me at this time and how it is effecting my poly life. The news article argued that many people are less happy because they are often bombarded with an endless news feed of other people on vacations, in love, partying, celebrating, and basically having a good time. It isn’t that other people are really having more fun but it seems that way when you have hundreds (or thousands of friends). With 1900 “friends” every day is bound to be awesome for many of them and this distorts our perceptions of our own life, we start to compare it to every person combined and not just one person. Comparison is always dangerous but this feels like a particularly harmful version.

So, how does this relate to my polyamorous relationships? First, basic information is necessary. I have two partners; one local and one long distance. One is on Facebook and the other is not. I am also open and honest with both of them about everything but communication varies for each because communication between two individuals will always vary. Even with open communication though tension can arise in the relationship when photos and statuses often appear that one partner is not part of. These updates are not an accurate representation of the love or quality of any relationship but they do put into stark light the differences that exist.

Now I have to decide what I want my Facebook presence to really be. I am torn, for the longest time my FB presence was almost purely liberty-based. My posts were news articles and updates about the fight for freedom, peace, and equality. It had very little to do with me as a person, but all that is changing now that I have left DC and am much more focused on my personal development and happiness. With that shift comes a focus on my relationships, and the tension social networking creates. I don’t really know what I’m going to do, giving up Facebook seems very difficult given it is my prime news source, the way I connect with friends, keep in touch with family, and really just feel a part of a community of lovely people who I don’t see as often as I’d like. I don’t think I will do anything as drastic as cancel my account but I think I will start to take a tighter control over what is posted by me and what others are allowed to post on my behalf.

Yoga

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After 8 months of travel, settling in, being broke, being busy, and procrastinating I went back to yoga last night. Man, I have really missed it. As an INTJ it is always really nerve-wracking to start anything new in a class based setting. I like to slowly observe and process things first and that is rarely possible for a yoga class. I did make the decision to start with the Restorative class at this studio and I think that was the right choice.

The class was mostly breathe work and slow, long, deep positions. In the 75 minutes we only did 4-5 positions but they were long, this provided a great opportunity for a meditative atmosphere and plenty of time to get comfortable in a new surrounding. The instructor, Denise, was incredible. She was patient and attentive to the fairly large class and made time for each student. Even in LA it is tough to find a studio that is affordable, has classes at a time and place that I can get to, and provides a comfortable environment with instructors that I connect with. The Yoga Place fulfilled all my needs (and having a Groupon didn’t hurt either).

There were many first time students present who were incredibly friendly. In fact, it took me by surprise when several people initiated conversations with me. I’m always a bit shy in these situations and it is a struggle to converse sometimes. I think it will go more smoothly in the future when I am not as overwhelmed by a new studio, new people, new instructor, and new class format. I think my yoga mat may have made people think that I was more experienced than I was, I have a beautiful mat from Devi Yoga that was absolutely amazing. If you are looking for a new mat I recommend you check out their beautiful selection.

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My awesome mat 🙂

Tattoos and Love



I have two tattoos, one on my forearm that is very visible and one on my leg that is not nearly as visible unless I’m in shorts. I love them both and I don’t regret getting either of them, in fact, I plan on getting several more. I find people with tattoos very interesting and tend to find tattooed women very attractive. there is something about someone who feel such passion for someone, some thing, or some idea that they are willing to commit a piece of their body canvas permanently to it that I find incredible. These are the people who are capable of living in a way that I want to and I hope to surround myself with them.

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That being said, I have found that I am a rarity because my family has never had a negative thing to say about my tattoos. They are incredibly conservative and deeply religious but have never viewed me with anything but love. I have had several friends recently tell me that their family would disown them or shun them or react negatively to them if they get tattoos, a concept I just don’t understand.

In my limited experience this reaction to tattoos tends to come from religious people, the same group who claims unconditional love. To me, if you react negatively to your child getting tattoos (or really any life choice) it boils down to one of two things. The first, that you think that decision will harm them in the short or long term. This is a justified concern and should not result in shunning or lack of love. It should instead encourage you to hold a rational conversation with your child about why you have those concerns. When I started to plan my first tattoo a dear friend of mine talked with me about it and she expressed her concern that this would harm my future potential employment. That turned out to be an unnecessary concern but she treated me like an adult friend and we talked it out.

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The second potential reason is much more harmful. It is that someone doesn’t actually love the individual, but instead loves the person they want them or expect them to be. When you have a vision for how a person will turn out and they take a different road it can cause serious stress which leads to an adverse reaction towards that person. The shunning, disowning, or just anger towards someone who gets a tattoo comes out of your disconnect between how you view a person and who they really are. If you continue to love the idea of someone or their potential instead of the amazing, beautiful, happy, passionate person they become that will only cause further strife and a fractured relationship.

Love should be based on the person, not ideals or “potential”. Each of us should be free to make our own decisions and life choices, and for a parent to react negatively to a child who acts in a way that harms nobody isn’t unconditional love, it is love very much conditioned on conforming to the parents utopian ideal and this ideal is both dangerous to pursue and impossible to reach. To condition your love on someone conforming what you want is to blackmail them into giving up their liberty, individuality, and creativity, which are three things all parents should encourage.

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UNDIE RUN!!!!

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If there are three things that I like in this world it is love, not wearing clothes, and helping others. For once, all of them are coming together in one glorious event, the Cupid’s Undie Run on February 9th in Los Angeles (it’s actually happening all over the place but LA is where I will be participating). I think it is best for us to come together and help those in need instead of relying on the state, plus, it feels awesome to help (and run the streets in your underwear).

My personal goal right now is to raise $250 for the Children’s Tumor Foundation but I’d love to raise even more! So, if you have a few dollars to give towards this event I’d love your support. I will also be allowing the largest donor to pick my outfit for the run. And of course, there will be many, many pictures posted after the event.