not a pretty girl

a new person with each new experience

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Squatting my heart

There have been so many terms thrown in my direction around a type of behaviour that I embrace as normative. Some of the terms come from hatred and most likely jealousy such as; slut, swinger, sex addict and so on. Others have come from a more positive informed position such as; polyamerous, and ethical slut. I always had a sense that my choices may not be accepted among the mainstream straight community. Yet I truly thought that the lefties I knew, those in the queer community and peers in the sexual education centre and sexual diversity studies would be embracing or at least understanding of the type of relationship I call poly.

To me poly is many things, it is the deconstruction of the fairly tale myth that there is one and only one person for you in this world and they will come along as your knight in shiny armour to rescue you. It is the deconstruction of the capitalist construction of monogamous marriage. It is the deconstruction of the religious rules that still have play huge roles of social morality. It is the realization that not one person can fulfil everyone of your needs, desires and interests. It removes the pressure that you have to be everything to one person. It is the acknowledgement that most marriages end in divorce that adultery occurs all the time. It is the thinking that it will hurt the person you love much less if you are open and honesty about sexual and love interest oppose to them finding out that you are keeping secrets from them. It is the feeling that we are capable of loving many different people at the same time. It is the knowledge that love is not jealousy that love is not ownership and that love is not controlling.

Throughout the last four year or so of embracing these type of relationships with a honest heart and no longer hiding with guilt and embracing the jealousy and shame I experienced some of the most rewarding and wonderful relationships, met some of the most open and wonderful people and learned more about myself my boundaries and my desires.

At the same time of this entire self discovery and I also experienced some of the most extreme hatred. It was no longer in vogue to express your hatred towards someone based on their sexual orientation especially if you ran in the circle of people I mentioned earlier. But for some reason the fear and anger that people felt around the bases of there mono relationships being challenged was more then they could keep inside. For many this was manifested in ways that I was question, poked and prodded like an alien that has landed in their backyard. I was on display and was asked questions about the nature of my relationships that would never be asked of anyone in a mono relationship whether the person was queer or straight. It really seemed like these lefties supposed sex positive people were engaging in behaviour and language that was sexist and controlling of women’s sexuality.

After years and years of feeling basically alone in this way of thinking and living except for the support my partners and I gave each other, I finally found myself at a meeting called Ethical Lovers. These group of people who met once a month consisted of groups of people dating, couples, singles, gay men, lesbians, tool dykes, s/m queers, gender queers, straight men and women, tyranny boies and grrls young and older people all different abilities, races and basically after just one group meeting it consisted of people who I felt more at home with then anywhere else.

At these meeting we gave each other a space to openly discuss general issues of poly life, specific problems that we encounter, shared theories, methods and stories of how we made it work or not work. My confidence in being poly exploded, I started to facilitate meetings and start discussions. I started to talk more openly with both friends and aquatances about being poly in ways that no longer left people wondering if I was cheating on my girlfriend and although didn’t have a talk with my family about it yet, I know that I will come out to them as poly one day when I have a poly sustainable relationship that I want to share with them. I know they must already be wondering but they like everything else they just shake their heads and accept my ‘quirkiness’.

When I moved from Toronto to Dublin I was left with no group to discuss these things with but as I started to explain to my new boyfriend what it was all about he said yeah I met some one who felt the same way before in Europe, she called it “squatting your heart” and she even had a symbol for it, it was the squatting symbol but instead of a circle the lightening bolt arrow goes through a heart. This new term is a bit more punk, a bit more fun and even comes with its own symbol!! So has I explore new types of relationships here in Dublin I to will explore new types of language, so squatting my heart it is :)

Postive Space

When I first walked on this campus it was fresher’s week, I had been in the country for less then a week and was listening to Heaven to Betsy scream in my ears for comfort in this new strange place. The first years were running around with there AIB bags of goodies and the grass by the lake was littered with students drinking cans enjoying there last few days of freedom before the drudgery hits home. The few things that stood out beyond everything else were the sexist posters that had a overwhelming central presence on the campus, and then the fresher event that I had the ‘pleasure’ to witness. I praised my choice of feminist fury music to remind myself that I’m not the only one who feeling angry at the behaviour that I just witnessed. I pushed my way through the crowds at the back of the student centre to see the most disturbing display of alcohol and sexism I had seen in a while. There were three girls lying on the ground with three guys’ stratald over them. This event was being cheered and giggled at as the facilitators screamed go. The guys quickly mouthed huge amounts of beer and the girls eagerly waited as the guys in a provocative manner spurted the beer into there mouths. This continued until one pair had finished a full can of beer. In this disturbing game the women had little control over their bodies and consumption of alcohol. There was no way anyone would say stop, this is the intro to the next three year of their lives.

I was left with a sense of rage, the event, the posters all stank of sexism and heterosexist. Corins anger fuelled my own and I was determined to take things into my own hands. Working on my own and with SSAS we started to fight the sexism that was blatant during that week and following months at UCD. But I was still left with an erky feeling that these posters and these events facilitated more then just blatant sexism and sexual harassment, I really felt it left LGBTQ students completely invisible. One could question why anyone would want to get involved with the mayhem but most defiantly one would wonder hoe any LGBTQ student would feel safe and comfortable being out and getting involved on campus.

There is a lack of visibility of sexual and gender diversity on campus and feeling of discrimination and marginalization. Outside designated safe spaces many LGBQT students felt unsure how out they could be. Even within supposed safe spaces certain decisions of sexual and gender diversity was not being discussed leaving way to many students feeling that this campus is not a place that welcomes or embraces them.

I felt it is the responsibility of the college and the staff and students to help facilitate an environment that would allow the students to feel safe and positive about who they are. In the upcoming rainbow week there will be a launch of the positive space campaign that will combat soon of these feelings of invisibility, silence and discrimination.

The positive space campaign is an initiative that uses the display of stickers to promote visibility and spark discussion of sexual and gender diversity by individuals and groups within the campus community. The positive space campaign is intended to help create a campus that is free of discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender

so there you have it, I figured it is going in a zine it mise well be here too . . .

I got interviewed by the student paper today on the protest in shannon, I'm so wary of their interviews since I know they are anti union. Before the protest they wrote an article how we were spending 4000 on buses to shannon when in reality the union funded a bus that cost under 400 euros. Now that we spent less then they thought we were they are trying to critise us for having such low numbers at the protest. uggg I hope I came out ok. Last time they quoted me for the pro-choice motion I came out ok, but they took it out of context and wrote an article that was compleately opposite of what ready and I were going for.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

happy days

Something has changed for me over here, suddenly out of no where I have relaxed, become more myselfand am generally happy. The first two months were trilling, then there was the freak out home sick moments that followed. Then there was the developing of relationships and hating my job. And now there is me. It only took four months but I have been laughing and joking adn generally feeling comfortable with people on the union, ready's flat mates, the LGB, class mates and randomers. I am back to my happy flirty self. I have been having good days after good days but I think the realization these good days were related to a general sence of satisfaction came last night.

ready's father was in town to visit a mate in the hospital, he asked me to meet him at the pub. I phoned him after executive and me said to meet him in an hour and a half at this pub near a gaff of mates of ours. Snce it was only 15 mins away I didn't knwo at first where I should go. This guy who lives at the gaff near the bar was heading home so I went there with him. When we got to his place I still have an hour to kill so I went and chilled in his gaff with these guys from the union. Even a week or so ago if ready would have suggested that I would have shyed away from randomly hanging out at there house without an invite. But it was all cool, they even made me veggie sasuages, beans, toast and mushrooms.

These guys can be a bit intense for me at times, they ar eall union lefty types. The five of them include the president, the deputy president, the accomidation and employment officer, the development officer and a mate of there's who is dating a flat mate a ready's and who is in local politics. Politics is discussed all the time. Some of the discussions I get involved it but many are jus tover my head. But here is the key point, althought at times I have no clue I don't feel intimidated - i just realize this is there thing what they get off on.

So I went to the pub with these guys and met up iwth ready his father and two of his flat mates. Things like that can be extreamly akward-since there was a group of us in this informal setting it was cool. There were moments that silence stricked the group, but that is to be expected. To break the silence his dad started to tell this joke, damn it with his country accent I didnt' get all of it. There was a tension in the air as he told this long joke. What if it wasn't funny, do we laugh anyways. and in my case what if you don't follow it ahhhhh!!! luckily I got the general idea and was able to laugh at the end, what a relief.

I heard a few cute stories about ready. like when his dad asked him to plow the land in his teens he would try to read a book at the same time. Which in his fathers eyes was horrible the plow wasn't in a straight line ;) It was so perfect of a story since of course he would be reading some political book about class struggle or anarchism rather then working. especially in anxy teen years.

the other night I was smoking a joint with a bunch of guys after a night at the student bar. ready went on a rant about the hierachy of publications. Him and this guy chief are working on a student union publication, but they were having a hard time getting people to write for it. His rant basically said that peopel are willing to write posts on indymedia for example that basically read like articles but are intimidated by having something published. There is a hierachy with publications that shies people away. but there is no difference about a rant on indymedia or one in this publication especially since it was DIY.

I had been hessitant to write something for the publication and for this other zine that he is working on. But the next day when I got a email from Marikes collective asking me to write something I decided to give it a try. I realized that I post here all the time and sometimes my rants too can be read as articles. So I sat doen and wrote two pieces, one on the postive space campaign and the second on squating my heart (poly). The squating my heart one I sent off to marike and to ready's zine. And the positive space one I sent to ready for the publication.

That is such a huge step for me, for those who know me well know how anal I am about having people read my work. When I first started my blog I said one of the reason was to get more comfortable with sharing my writing and I suppose it worked!!!

bin bread

It has been awhile since I posted so I thought I would share a story from last week. Last Monday ready and I headed into town so I could get a few movies for my essay on the possibilty of a lesbian gaze. On our way back to the bus stop, we passed Marks and Spensers. Now ready had told me before how at the end of the day they through out perfectly good food into the bin cuz its shelving date is come up. The food is kept in their seal containers and then put in seperate bags, so nothing is touching the bins themselves. He headed into the alley to see what they had. To our delight there was a full bag of this herb french bread. The type of bread you need to heat up in the oven. We grabbed a three of those and then there wasthis fnacy cheese. NO I didn't take them to eat, but they came it this great containers that you could put tea or suger in.

The only problem with our great find was that M&S put ink allover the package of the bread in hopes that no one would take it. So our hands were died blue for a little while but what can you do! My flat mate looked down on us but made the best point ever to reinforce why this was not only a wonderful idea but the right thing to do. He said that M&S says that they give all the food that is on its last few days of shelf life to homeless shelters. But no the huge company lies again. There is not reason to let good food go to waste. yummmm it was so good to!! bin bread you got to love it!