Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Our America's Take on Polyamory

Here's 6 reasons why I just plain like this spot:

  1. These are real people, not at all like the glamorized people on other (so-called) reality shows. (I'm looking at you Showtime.) I can actually see how these people could be anyone I know.
  2. These individuals are vulnerable, and they are comfortable being so. They don't come off as overly confident and emotionally impenatrable. They recognize the vulnerable position their relationship structure places them in. They know they can be hurt, but the message that comes across is that what they gain vis-a-vis polyamory is worth the risk.
  3. They talk about how opening an existing relationship deepens the relationship. And I think this deepening extends to all relationships a person can have. Not just of the romantic/sexual variety.
  4. They make it clear that they're not finished growing. Personal growth is emphasized as an ongoing process for a polyamorous framework. Additionally, their current relationship structure isn't set in stone. They are open to, though not necessarily actively searching for, new partners. As a group and as individuals, they are a living growing, changing organism. Perfect.
  5. They have a blog of their own where you can follow their story! athiest, polyamorous, skeptics
  6. They are playing Settlers of Catan! YES WE CATAN!
For once, television got it right.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Only Unicorns Need Apply

A bisexual female, sought as the third wheel to a male/female couple; or, a rare, MYTHICAL beast with magical qualities, sought to bestow eternal life.

Today, I have a few angry words to say about unicorns. Not to the unicorns, but the hunters. There is nothing wrong with the idea of unicorns, and if you are one, more power to you. Seems you have the pick of the lot. 

A relentless search for the perfect, ideal lover who meets not one, but two individual's grocery lists of requirements. Is this how we treat people? Is this how you would want to be viewed as a potential lover?

Anyone with even a little experience in relationships will tell you that ordering partners from a menu just doesn't work. Purple and Green (both female) meet at a party and hit it off. Love at first sight? Maybe. Green meets Purple's husband, Brown. Green is just the kind of unicorn they've been looking for. But by the end of the night, Brown just can't get past Green's laugh. It's pitchy and goes on way too long. Purple's in love. Now what? Is Green out the door? So long?

Successful relationships (friendship, romantic, sexual or otherwise) take the person who is in front of them, with all their idiosyncrasies and warts. If this person has potential as a romantic or sexual partner: Bonus! Prerequisites: (1) Am I attracted to this person? (2) Can our current circumstances match up in a way to make this relationship possible?

I am sick to death of poly discussion boards and groups being used as The Great Unicorn Hunt. While I am certainly in favor of any form of a loving relationship that brings fulfillment and satisfaction to all participants, I am against searching out specific kinds of partners or situations.

Poly is not about being edgy or sexually fashionable. It is about being open to different kinds of relationships with whomever is in your life. Deep connection can happen with anyone and any kind of relationship. Searching for a specific type of person (unicorn, centaur or other?) for a specific type of relationship ... well, that feels juvenile. If you can't be happy right now, with the people in your life right now, you won't find yourself any happier should you finally capture that mythical creature.

That's not to say that there's anything wrong with "getting out there" and meeting new people with the hope of finding someone special. However, by limiting the "someone specials" to unicorns, you could be missing out on a different kind of totally mind-blowing relationship.

It's like being a tall woman. Countless times I've had tall women friends tell me they would never consider dating a man who was shorter than them. Too self-conscious, maybe? I laugh and count the handful of men I would have never even attempted to date, including my husband. How silly, and  sad.

I say, give up the unicorn hunt and start looking at the beautiful, interesting people around you. You might just surprise yourself.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Why I Am (and am not) an Athiest

After a childhood of Sunday school and feeling dissatisfied with "reality" as it had been taught to me, all it took was Richard Dawkins's The God Delusion to see the world in a whole new light.

At first it was freeing, euphoric even. The world wasn't confined to the Christian apologetic arguments that didn't really prove anything anyway! More importantly, I wasn't confined to the predetermined life some all-powerful being had prescribed for me. My desires weren't sin. They were human nature, and I had every right to explore them without guilt or shame (within the ethical confines of do-no-harm of course).

But after a few years of this existential playground, I began to feel empty. In the atheist world, reason (not emotion)  is the name of the game. Everything bows to logic. There is no room for emotive human beings. We are atoms, interacting with other atoms. Emotions are irrational.

Again, I started to feel restricted. A large piece of who I am was missing from this worldview. After all, reason is not the only thing humans are capable of. Even the best of us cow to our nonsensical feelings every now and then.

While some may be able to thrive in the emotional desert that is atheism, I could not. Yet again, I wanted more. An encompassing worldview needed to include a place to emote. Maybe even to express spirituality. Does the absence of a fantasy deity remove the human capacity for (need for?) spirituality?

I like to explain my experience of spirituality as a sort of super-emotion. It exists in the realm of emotions/feelings, but it's more than just a feeling. It's also a knowing. And this knowing connects me, the individual, to Me, a tiny particle of a vast universe. Or, as Ken Wilber would call it: the Witness (Kosmic Consiousness, 2003).

As humans, it's not enough to see ourselves as rational individuals connected to our surroundings only so often as we physically bump into them. We feel we need more, because we are more. We are spiritual, despite the lack of a deity. To really be human, to understand our Buddha nature, we have to acknowledge that both sides of ourselves, the rational and the emotional, compliment and don't compete with each other.

So, yes, I am an atheist  I don't believe in the Sunday school Father in Heaven of my up-bringing. But I don't stop there. I am more than that. More than just an atheist.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Laughing at Yourself: On Criticizing the Oscars

All this criticizing of Seth MacFarlane at the Oscars is really getting to me:
I am sick to death of the idea that “it’s just comedy” somehow gives you a free pass when you’re saying things that are racist and sexist. Link to article.
And I am sick to death of people who are so offended by offensiveness. There's a reason the entertainment industry has created an entire industry around offensive humor: because (sometimes) it's funny. See Seth's Top 10 offensive Oscar jokes here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not defending Seth MacFarlane, and I'm certainly no fan of his. I have watched the occasional Family Guy, and I roll my eyes more often than I snicker. But here is what truly irritates me about these critics of this year's Oscars:

1. You knew it was coming and you watched it anyway. It doesn't take a genius to figure out that with McFarlane hosting, the show was going to include off-color humor. You could have easily saved yourself the anxiety, taken a Benadryl, and read a list of the winners the next morning.

2. His jokes weren't that offensive. Consider the topics he didn't cover: Charlize Theron's cheating husband/Kristen Stewart, Honey Boo Boo (oh, thank god), Osama bin Laden, mental illness, Halle Berry's legal battles, Lindsay Lohan ... Also, offensiveness has to do with context. It's a lot different hearing sexist or racist jokes on television than when your boss is tossing them around the break room. Much different.

3. And most of them weren't that funny either. Anti-MacFarlane fans can revel in the facs that most of his "offensive" remarks only garnered groans anyway. There's nothing worse than making jokes on stage when nobody's laughing.

4. Celebrities have tough skin. You didn't make it to the Oscars without overcoming the critics. And you're wearing clothes I wouldn't be able to afford after a lifetime of working! A night of slights at American Royalty is just what the public needs to bring the country's superheroes back down to Earth.

5. It's funny because it's true. If you aren't comfortable with who you are -- Hollywood Jews who only hire other Jews, a domestically violent couple, or showing off your boobs on the big screen --  then change it. That's the beauty of Hollywood and America: you can change your image/self. As Ben Affleck proved with Best Film, Argo.

5. You can only be offended if you can't laugh at yourself. Come on, this is basic 4th grade playground psychology. They can't be laughing at you if they're laughing with you. And YOU are the only person who has control over your own laughter. Go home and have a good cry afterwards, if you must. But ultimately, consider: if you can't laugh at who you are, then CHANGE YOURSELF!

This last point irritates me more than anything else. People like to point the finger at someone who has offended them, when really it's a chance to look within. Why am I offended by humor that was meant to entertain? Am I really comfortable with who I am regardless of what others say about me?

A quote from Silver Linings Playbook sums it up nicely (in more ways than one -- go Jennifer Lawrence!):
There will always be a part of me that is dirty and sloppy, but I like that, just like all the other parts of myself ... Can you say the same for yourself, fucker?
Can you?