An Apology


A while ago I wrote a blog post about me having a female body. Having talked to many trans* people and being soundly corrected, I need to modify that to ‘body of a cis woman’. I could also ID it as a agender body, as it belongs to me, who IDs as agender.

There’s also a relevant article in today’s BBC Magazine about a cis woman who was born without a portion of her genitalia  – just because her body doesn’t have some of what a lot of people would call ‘normal’ female parts, doesn’t mean she’s any less a woman or female if that’s how she identifies.

I’ve been getting more and more educated by people in my social sphere, and those outside it, even though I know it’s not actually their responsibility to do so, and I do appreciate it. Maybe eventually I’ll get the hang of navigating gender, sex, privilege and everything else life throws at me. I can hope.

But, short version: Sorry for screwing up my terminology and insulting people.

Could we start again please…


This song (from Jesus Christ Superstar) has been going round my head for several weeks now. I’m aware I’ve not posted anything recently, but I’ve been having a few ups and downs with S which have resulted in a sort-of split as he’s not in any state to have a full relationship with me at the moment. So, a lot of my time has been spent curled up in bed being a little upset.

What I will say however, is that I’m so grateful to be poly. Even while I’m grieving for what S and I had – and hope to have again – M has been very supportive, even letting me eat ice cream out the tub to help me feel better. If I had to deal with this on my own, without any close friends or other partners, I think that I’d be coping a lot worse than I actually am. L has also been supportive, to both me and S (sometimes my associations feel rather incestuous!) and I’m so grateful for the help. While it sounds selfish, the fact that if I lose one person I love – and don’t get me wrong, I still deeply love and miss S – I have others, I’m not alone.

I know for a lot of people, close friends would be that support, but having someone you love and who loves you back supporting you, somehow helps more – I still feel I’m able to be loved, able to have a relationship, just because one relationship isn’t in good shape at the moment doesn’t doom me to the life of a spinster. It’s an incredibly helpful feeling for me.

Poly by its very nature opens you up to more possible heartbreak and pain, there’s more than one person who can cut you like a knife and pull your still beating heart from your chest. I’m not going to lie and say that if S hadn’t agreed to some form of commitment still between us (it’s complicated) then I wouldn’t be wrapped up in my duvet with chocolate and sad songs – a break-up is a break-up whether it’s with your core partner or one of your other loves. So, yes, I’m feeling down and depressed and missing him terribly and I’ve had one night of crying myself to sleep recently.

However poly also means you have closer support than many friends could give you, by people who know you intimately and love you. I’d have been even more devastated if I hadn’t had people I could lean on and ask for help from, and who could show me that I’m not unwanted, unloved, and all those other feelings that swirl up during a split. Maybe, for now, S can’t cope with having a full relationship with me, although that may hopefully change in the future, but M still wants me as a partner and I still have L looking after me when needed.

The only problem is, I’ve found someone (O) who looks very interesting, and I’m struggling to not rebound onto him while mourning my relationship with S. Hopefully I won’t, being poly doesn’t mean rebounding can’t happen. We’ll see how that goes, but I’m being cautious. No one can replace S in my heart and I don’t want anyone to. I may be capable of loving multiple people, but each indiviual deserves to be loved for themselves, not to squash into holes left by other people even while they may fulfil some of the roles that those people did in my life.

I’m seeing S in 5 weeks at least for an event we go to (and I share his tent!) so I’m looking forward to that at least. Plus I’m still supporting S and being friends, and I’ll be there if he needs me.

Maybe we can start again. :)

Review: A Life Less Monogamous

A Life Less Monogamous Book Cover A Life Less Monogamous
Cooper S. Beckett

We all come to a point in our lives where we finally ask the ever-looming question, “Is this all there is?” And most of us coast along afterwards, just accepting that the answer to that question is probably, “Yes, this is it.” Sometimes, though, we’re lucky. Sometimes we run into the right people at the right time.

Ryan and Jennifer are at that point in their marriage, asking that question. Luckily, tonight at a friend’s holiday party, they’re about to run into those very right people at exactly the right time. Bruce and Paige have successfully crossed the Rubicon into the realm of “what else there is.” They’ve discovered delights and a way of living that Ryan and Jennifer have only ever dreamed about.

Their secret? Bruce and Paige are swingers. And very soon now, thanks to a chance meeting and a new friendship, Ryan and Jennifer will close their eyes, clasp hands, and jump into the deep end of life, exploring the untold wonders of sexuality. Hedonistic pleasures that they can’t even fathom yet, threesomes and sex parties and a deep connection with friends and with each other. The swinging lifestyle.

Today is the day they proclaim: “There is more.” Today is the day they change their lives. 

I picked up this book on ebook a short while after it came out. I was new to the blogging world, starting again on Twitter, and relatively new to the polyamorous lifestyle and it’s hard to find popular fiction books that cover unusual relationship styles, so I thought I’d give it a go.

The book as a whole I’d class as ‘thoughtful brain candy’; it’s the type of book you snuggle up with in a comfy place when you’re looking for something easy to read, fun, and with a bit of material to think about and ponder. It’s written in a very easy to read prose in simple English (as opposed to Austen and Tolkein’s flowery and sometimes hard going prose) and I will admit that I was worried when I started it that it would be too bland and simplistic for me to enjoy.

However. Enjoy it I did.

Ryan and Jennifer are easily likeable characters that I think most people can relate to, or know someone who is similar. They’re the average man and women with an average life in an average vanilla world who are having their average normal marital issues. However, unlike many people, their life changes when they meet Bruce and Paige who are, much to their friend’s quiet tutting dismay, swingers.

Ryan and Jennifer quickly enter the lifestyle and I can relate to their rush of interest and the whole newness and possibilities when discovering there’s other options out there than monogamy. Cooper does a good job of showing the ‘frenzy’ that often occurs and I found I was equally enthused by the characters’ own enthusiasm.

I was equally hurt by the first road bump the couple face – and it reminded me why I’m polyamorous rather than a swinger – I need attachment and love in my relationships rather than being able to just enjoy the physical side. The second road bump at the party had me putting the book down for a few days because I didn’t want it all to go wrong for them and I could see it coming. With me currently giving one of my partners some space, and a friend I love dearly currently smitten with someone new  – leading me to feel (with no right to be) jealous – I could easily empathise with the hurt that they faced.

I’ve never been to a swinging party but the general etiquette is used in other fringe areas, so it wasn’t hugely surprising that the fantasy eroded into reality and also that they made the mistakes they did. I will say that the description of the party in the later stages struck me as bacchaneal and primal and probably not something I would, personally, enjoy going to. When you’ve only had sex in private with a limited number of people, the atmosphere described would be pretty scary.

The (somewhat unsurprising) ending felt a bit rushed, with several months combined into a few pages. However I can appreciate that months of inaction and everyday living would be incredibly tedious for both writer and reader, and I can’t suggest any way to make it more interesting and less hurried towards the conclusion. It is, however, a satisfying ending, although I felt that both Ryan and Jennifer would suit polyamory better than swinging, and a nice solution would be a poly quad with Bruce and Paige with occasional swinging on the side. It felt like they were looking for the emotional connection and feelings far more than the swinging group were. I’m looking forward to any sequel that explores this more fully.

One of the successes this book has is in its simple language and sparse description – it’s easy to imagine Paige and Bruce as people that the reader finds attractive, while still retaining some characteristics of their own, such as Bruce’s moustache and wine knowledge. The protagonists are also given personality – Jennifer’s lesbian interests, Ryan’s insecurity – while still being vague enough to be readily familiar and identifiable with. It is also easy to see familiarity in Noah and Barbara, and Sam and Patti. Cooper doesn’t go into reams of description, instead sketching the characters in both personality and looks and letting our imagination fill in the rest, especially in the sex scenes when too much description can sometimes overwhelm.

In conclusion, I’d say this was a very good first novel (Cooper has also published a collection of ‘personal essays, stories, erotica, and prescriptive “how-tos”’ about swinging – My Life on the Swingset) and a fun and easy read which makes you really feel for the characters and their situations, while educating the reader on the swinging lifestyle. It’s not a lifestyle I’m inspired to take up, but I’m glad to have a more realistic image of it after reading this book. A Life Less Monogamous successfully reminds us that there are probably more ‘normal ‘ and ‘average’ people into different relationship styles than we would immediately think in a humorous and interesting way.

You can pick the book up at in several formats, including audiobook as voiced by the author and Kat Stark (@westcoastkat)

Who am I? (Or: Labels and me)


24601… Apart from being one of my favourite musicals, Les Miserables is all about how someone’s identity can be changed by what they call themselves and how people label themselves and others – Javert’s entire world is turned upside down by the realisation that Valjean is more than just a thief and more than just a number, while Fantine being labelled a whore ruins her life. This resonates with me – it interests me how much people’s identity can be linked to a label or a role that they’ve taken on.

Personally I don’t really have my identity tied up in the many ‘normal’ labels you could apply to me – I’m a mother, but that’s only a tiny part of who I am. While I love B and G, if you took away the ‘mother’ part, I’m still me – I still find it odd saying I have children. If you take away the wife label I’m still me, even the biologically female label isn’t a huge part of who I am – while I enjoy having a female body, I’d be equally happy with male parts – my personal identity isn’t wrapped up in my physical form.

However – I’ve known someone who’s self-identity is so wrapped up in being gay, that they point it out at every available opportunity, including every character I met of theirs in roleplaying games; it became tedious very quickly. I’ve known people who’s identity is ‘mother’ or ‘father’ to the extent that all other aspects of their personal identity are swallowed up by tiny humans. I find it hard to understand how one aspect of someone can overwhelm every other aspect quite so completely.

So, why is it so important for humans to label everything and to point that out quite so hard to others?

I understand in some cases it’s to highlight discrimination – i.e. labelling trans and cis people in order to point out that a trans woman may have problems that a cis woman doesn’t, although I look forward to a day when a woman is a woman regardless of any accident of physical form. However, for someone to base their entire being round that label and it to be a primary part of who they are sometimes seems a bit extreme.

Being agender myself (hey, a label) I find it very hard to understand how someone feels they’re female or male (more labels) to the point it’s dismorphia. I know it does happen, and that trans people do need to be comfortable in their bodies, but I will admit I struggle with how someone can feel and identify as a particular gender to such an extent as I’m just, well, me, I don’t feel either way inclined. I also don’t understand how being gay, black or British can be such a huge part of people’s identities that they need to shout it to the world, but I suspect that may in part be privilege (although I am bi) and part be me just not caring, having no oppressed or interesting history that I care about and not being patriotic to the point of obsession. I will admit that this may be a flaw of mine, being very neutral on things like cultural identity.

Labeling a group of people by a common characteristic (ie 25 year old guys who like beer and football as ‘louts’) also ignores the fact that everyone is individual and has different opinions, feelings and personalities. While there is a herd mentality amongst a crowd of like-minded individuals, it doesn’t mean that they should be defined by the labels ‘beer drinker’ and ‘football fan’, and society shouldn’t give those labels negative connotations because of the actions of a few.

Also, labels can pigeon hole people – I’m female but that doesn’t mean I like make-up, I have a degree but that doesn’t mean I’m earning a certain amount, and I like musicals, that doesn’t mean I can sing them. So by labelling ourselves, are we limiting our interactions and our social circles to the point you may miss someone entirely because their labels don’t match up with yours? I’d have never thought I’d be friends with J – she’s a talented dress designer with drawers of makeup who likes dressing up in fashionable things and socialising. So not my type of person. But you know what? Looking beyond those labels has found both of us a friend we wouldn’t have taken a second look at in the street.

Labels can mean you make mistakes – a colleague asked a coloured lady for their passport today and as they were handed it asked if the lady had a visa, only to look at the document and realise she was British. The label ‘coloured’ can also imply ‘foreign’ which is a huge mistake to make in our multicultural country.

Having said that, I have a few identities that are labels that I accept, although I try not to define myself by them. My twitter profile currently reads:

Polyamorous, hetroflexible, agender, female bodied, egalitarian, human, blogger, writer, larper, photographer, bed hogger

Even then, I don’t think many of them are an essential part of who I am. They are things that I am, they are important things, but I don’t live my life needing to point out these things to people in order to validate my own identity and generally people don’t need to know any of my own internal labels, and I don’t need to be labelled to be me. Interestingly I resonate much more with my chosen internet label of Xarra than my birth name – it allows me to be me online far more than would probably be acceptable in real life to family. Although I have no plans to change my official name to it, it is sometimes tempting.

Labels are a creation of society, and to a large extent I think they’re a bad thing, especially when you get to girl stuff vs boy stuff debates or judging someone based on their religious identity. However, labels are essential to find others like ourselves, and promote groupings around common interests. We can’t help but label everyone who reads books a ‘reader’, who knits a ‘knitter’, who practises law a ‘lawyer’. Society wouldn’t work without some way of identifying interests and roles to some extent. While looking outside the label box is good, there’s no point turning up to a lecture on growing potatoes if you’re interested in taking photographs (unless you want to take photos of growing potatoes, maybe?) So some labels are good, but only to the extent of providing information, basing your whole personality around being a waitress or a tv viewer would be a bit odd in my view, so why do it around more societal labels?

As an interesting side note we’ve always called B ‘little man’ and when G was born we made a conscious decision to use ‘little lady’ rather than ‘little girl’ as girl equated to boy rather than man. I do, however, need to get out of the habit of cooing ‘my little girly girly girl’ at her – I don’t do that with B. We’re trying to bring them up without the boy/girl bias – helped by the fact neither me or M like the colour pink – and how we label them externally will affect their own self image internally, regardless of the fact that may not be the healthiest option for them.

So some labels are good, some bad, and some reclaimed by the people who they were aimed at offending (‘gay’ being one of those). There’s also the UnSlut Project working to reclaim the word ‘slut’ and put it equivalent to the male ‘stud’ and no longer an insult; in current society a man who sleeps with many women is generally labelled positively while a woman gets shamed and insulted.

At the end of the day, I think labels should be there to inform and educate not dictate, and identify not limit people. I am who I am, I am me, I am unique, but I am more than the labels both society and I give myself, as is everyone, and this should be celebrated.

Abandonment Issues


Prompted by @possiblyamory on Twitter:

I’m not as important to my terror of abandonment?

I’m not entirely sure what they meant, but it made me think about my own insecurities around being alone.

You’d think being poly would mean that you’ve always got someone, even if you break up with one person, you’ve probably still got another one or more to spend time with and love. But it doesn’t work like that. Each of my relationships is a seperate discreet thing. I love M and I love S – those loves don’t impinge on each other and I love them each for who they are.

I had a talk with S last night after weekend plans went spectacularly wrong (although with hindsight LARPing in a muddy field in the midst of Storm Katie would have probably been more of a disaster) and I managed to say entirely the wrong things. And I was scared of losing him. Not of losing one person I was dating, but of losing S himself. It didn’t matter that M was across the hallway, and that he was there for me, and I’d still have him, I was terrified I’d lose S.

I have a distinct fear of people leaving me, probably because I have so few close friends – I get twitchy if L ignores me for too long, or people don’t respond to my messages – and because each relationship is just that, a relationship. Poly for me doesn’t mean I just have a bigger pool of love to swim in, it means I have two or more different pools with different temperatures and amenities and the loss of one is heartbreaking even though I still have the other, different, ones.

I don’t think I could do solo poly where there’s no ‘core’ or ‘base’ partner as M is to me – I will admit that having that marriage and commitment there is reassuring – but I am equally committed to S, just in a different way that doesn’t involve legalities and certificates. I wonder if that need for a ‘core’ partner is down to my insecurities and fear of being abandoned and left with no one. It’s an interesting theory, although I wouldn’t say I have ‘core’ friends although my best ones are very close to me and it’s taken a long time and a lot of trust to be as close to some of them as I am. I’d be devastated if I lost one, let alone all of them.

I have actually gone through losing my closest friend when my best friend for many years made the decision that he (most of my close friends are male) couldn’t cope with both my mental breakdown over a bad patch with M and his own problems and for want of a better phrase ‘split up’ with me although there was never anything in that sense between us at all. Looking back, while it tore me apart back then (we’re talking 8 or so years ago now), it was the best thing for him at the time and I don’t blame him for doing so. It has made me wary of losing other friends if I lean on them too much though, but as of yet I haven’t, thankfully.

In some ways I wonder if I prefer poly because it gives me multiple ‘options’ and ‘fallbacks’ if one relationship fails – although I know I’m secondary with S and being primary is not a possibility. If I’m totally honest, I think that’s probably part of the reason, along with just fancying and loving multiple people. I do wonder if someone did an investigation if poly people were more insecure in some ways, even though you have to be very secure in order to open up your relationship without jealousy. It’s an interesting thought, and not an entirely flattering one, but I do really love my partners for themselves primarily and not as a back up plan; although I can’t speak for my subconscious.

Following last night’s chat, I’ve not lost S, thank any listening deities, but he does want some space (and not just from me, which I’m grateful he pointed out as that would have set off other insecurities about what’s wrong with me) and this is going to be one of the hardest things I’ve done. My insecurities want me to poke him, check he’s still there, check he still has feelings for me, check he still wants me, ask when he’ll be back to what passes for normal. And I can’t. I can’t swim in that pool while its ‘under refurbishment’ and I, and others, can just watch it for now, and maybe sneakily dip our toes in when it’s quiet.

Yes, there’s other pools, some deep, some shallow, but they’re not the same, just as good, but different. As long as I have the hope that I can dive back in eventually, I think I can cope. I hope so. I just wish I wasn’t so scared that I might not be able to.

Rugby and masculinity


I came across this article on the BBC about banning contact and tackling in rugby and this quote from Jonny Cross (a PE teacher in Cheshire) stood out as very sexist and problematic:

“They enjoy the contact element. There is a ‘boy factor’ – it’s partly about developing masculinity. They would be more likely to be bored by touch rugby.”

So, rugby is not only a boy’s sport which obviously is played by boys (please tell that to the England woman’s team), anyone who plays it develops this positive quality called masculinity.

I’d like to hear Mr Cross’s definition of masculinity; I know many people who identify as male who wouldn’t count playing rugby as something that would increase their male-ness. Also the implication that being male involves a high impact sport reminiscent of fighting and that the sport develops this idea of what a male ‘should’ be is frustrating and rather irritating.

The idea of ‘masculinity’ and ‘femininity’ are problematic in today’s culture and society – just because something is associated with women it shouldn’t be cornered off as feminine and not welcoming to males and visa versa. I don’t believe that anything should be seen as a masculinising or feminising sport, or indeed act; although things can be more done by women or more done by men, shouldn’t mean they are exclusive to those binary genders.

While I can understand what Mr. Cross is saying, I don’t think that it is the right message to be sending to children – it’s the equivalent of saying that ballet is a feminising sport and shouldn’t be done by women and that’s generally accepted as an incorrect message as per Billy Elliot.

End rant!

Being out the closet – almost…


Hi, I’m Xarra, and I’m poly… Ok, so that’s not how I introduce myself to people generally, but I decided when I moved to a new job a year ago that I was fed up of calling S ‘a friend’ at work and that he deserved to be acknowledged as a partner.

So, I stuck a picture of him on my desk with some of B and M, and started saying I was visiting my partner or he was visiting us when asked what I was up to at the weekend. Ok, so I prefaced it with ‘This might seem a bit odd, but…’ the first few times but, you know what? The world didn’t collapse, it didn’t even shudder, it just got an ‘Oh, right, so how do you deal with two guys?’ or ‘Lucky you!’ and then not mentioned at all.

Although one amusing story comes from when I was on the bus home and a student started trying to chat me up. When he asked for my number I replied ‘Sorry, I already have a husband. And a boyfriend.’ I will admit he disappeared quite quickly, although it may have just been that I was married!

Other than that, it’s been generally positive. After reassuring the midwife that we did know who G’s father was, and the other midwife that polyamory isn’t illegal, it’s polygamy that is, and similar. Although I did get a referral to social services containing the fact I had another partner and it meant that a strange man might be in the house. So, just because I’m married to M, he’s not a strange man, but because S is my partner and doesn’t live with us, he gets labelled as strange. Right.

However, and this is the big one, my family and inlaws currently aren’t aware of mine and M’s poly status. I suspect they’ll find out about the time B and G can mention S and J in conversation, but we have some time until that. And B and G are one of the reasons I don’t want to tell them – I’m the black sheep of the family anyway as it stands, I don’t want to give anyone more reason to think we’re weird or not suitable to be parents. Plus I kind of don’t want to be disowned or ostracised or be pressured into leaving S, or not be friends with L – something I won’t do.

I’d love to be out to everyone, especially as I’ve not really had anyone be really critical about it. Generally once I’ve explained how it works for us and that we’re happy then they’re OK with it. Or now I can point them at this blog which also explains it and saves my voice. I suspect at some point I’ll get a negative reaction, but I’m surprised how much I haven’t. 

So, for now I’m kind of three quarters out and still a quarter in my nice comfy closet, and that’s where I’m planning on staying, assuming I don’t screw up my Facebook filters and post poly stuff on my general feed which includes family. But I thought it would be positive to show that creeping at least partly out the wardrobe doesn’t have to go badly wrong, and I now don’t feel like S is a dirty little secret to my friends and colleagues, yay for open minded job and friends!

I’ve still not figured out how +1 invitations work with two partners though…

p.s. I know it’s harder with employment laws in the US to risk it, I’m lucky I’m in the UK as being fired for my personal life would be discrimination so won’t happen. One day I hope everyone has that kind of protection and can be open and free to love who they love.

I am not a feminist.


I’ll start with a Wikipedia quote on Feminism (and yes, I’m aware Wikipedia is not a suitable academic source, but this isn’t an academic blog!):

Feminism is a range of political movements, ideologies and social movements that share a common goal: to define, establish, and achieve equal political, economic, cultural, personal, and social rights for women.[1][2] This includes seeking to establish equal opportunities for women in education and employment. A feminist advocates or supports the rights and equality of women.[3]

My problem with this is it’s all about female rights and ensuring female equality. While I’m all for this – after all, I’m biologically and phenotypically female – I don’t believe that anyone deserves to be promoted above anyone else. Just because you were born a person with an XX genotype doesn’t make you particularly special or wonderful; I really don’t understand people that go on about the sacredness of womanhood, a universal sisterhood and how being female should be celebrated and is glorious. It’s just a sex or gender. Yes, it affects some things, but I believe it only skews the preferences – it doesn’t mean that some things are inherently female or male.

Yes, women can have children (and some men if we include trans men) and unless they’re a snake, shark, turkey or similar who have been proven to have virgin births, they need a man to produce sperm. And just to be fair, a man can’t have offspring without a woman as he needs her eggs. It also happens to be that out of the two options evolution had to carry the babies, women drew the short straw – unless you’re a seahorse.

The London Feminist Network defines patriarchy as:

Patriarchy is the term used to describe the society in which we live today, characterised by current and historic unequal power relations between women and men whereby women are systematically disadvantaged and oppressed. This takes place across almost every sphere of life but is particularly noticeable in women’s under-representation in key state institutions, in decision-making positions and in employment and industry. Male violence against women is also a key feature of patriarchy. Women in minority groups face multiple oppressions in this society, as race, class and sexuality intersect with sexism for example.

However, while I can accept that we currently live in a situation where men can get better pay, better jobs and are generally seen as more advantaged (although I’ve luckily never really had to face that discrimination which I accept may make me a bit biased – my career area is very well policed on that), it’s not just women who are oppressed – what about the fact we’re in a society which is mononormative, generally straight and, at least in the UK, primarily white? The definition about mentions that some women face multiple oppressions due to sexuality, race, etc, but then so do some men.

A colleague of mine explained that she believes that feminism has come to mean the support for everyone to be equal and have equal rights, and especially intersectional feminism. She feels that the word ‘feminism’ has more history and belief behind it and therefore is a stronger word and more powerful than if we use another term. My problem with that is that it’s like calling a supermarket Pizza Hut; yes, it sells pizza as well as loads of other things too, but the name means that people will only expect it to sell pizza.

Feminism will always have the implication that it supports women over everything else – and in a situation with a white cis-woman and a black gay man, why should the woman get any advantage and support via feminism over the more socially disadvantaged man?

So, what do I call myself? I prefer the term egalitarian. Definition from

Affirming, promoting, or characterized by belief in equal political, economic, social, and civil rights for all people.

Firstly, it’s a lot clearer and simpler than the word feminism – it doesn’t need the clarifications or extra bits stuck onto the definition above. Secondly, it’s for all people, not just less than half the global population (allowing for queer, agender, etc), which sits much more comfortably with me. Feminism also doesn’t inherently support equality for a gay man and a trans man and a straight man, because they’re all male, so not under that banner, while egalitarianism supports equality for everyone.

I believe that everyone should be given equal opportunities and equal voice in everything, allowing for experience, skill and other things that aren’t tied to one particular gender. I don’t believe that anyone should be given advantages that mean that they’re better than anyone else; I’m not keen on quotas of women in a company for example because the best people when you look at every applicant objectively, ignoring race, sex, orientation may be in the so called privileged group of people. Ideally, looking at everyone objectively would usually bring up a mix of candidates.

Yes, I will admit that this only works if the equality is in place since birth since the bias towards a male dominated mononormative straight world is put in place early on as well as the awful gender preferences for dolls over cars and cooking over chemistry. This does mean that a white boy will likely get a better education, have more opportunities, and learn more skills than a coloured boy, however, I’m a bit of an idealist and I’ll try to ignore that bias as much as possible and look at the potential.

I strongly believe that everyone should be given the ability and power to all be able to be at the same level. I don’t believe in giving artificial help to compensate for something unless it has been caused by society’s patriarchal and sexual norms, and even then I think it’s important to remember that just because someone is gay, black, female, or blue with green spots it doesn’t automatically mean they’re better at something than a white straight male once the societal bias has been normalised.

So, yes, I support equal rights for everyone, not just women, and I don’t feel the label feminism goes far enough towards this. Regarding it having power, history and meaning, I think that that is a negative as well as a positive – too many (usually female) people use the term who are utterly against men and want women to be seen as the superior gender when they’re not, and too many people relate it to battling just for female equality, nothing else.

To labour an analogy – I’ve decided to shop at the egalitarian supermarket where all people are equal rather than the feminist takeaway, which will only serve women. How about you?

And just because I learnt some habits from University:

[1] Hawkesworth, M.E. (2006). Globalization and Feminist Activism. Rowman & Littlefield. pp. 25–27. ISBN 9780742537835.

[2] Beasley, Chris. (1999). What is Feminism?. New York: Sage. pp. 3–11. ISBN 9780761963356.

[3] Hooks, Bell (2000). Feminism Is for Everybody: Passionate politics. Cambridge, Mass.: South End Press. ISBN 0-89608-629-1.

Permission to love


I’ve been in 2 serious relationships and a few minor ones, all of which have been mono except this last one which has become poly. I don’t think I could go back to mono now, because poly feels so much more natural and, crucially, means I’m not having to suppress my feelings for other people.

The monogamous norm is that you find one person who you fit perfectly together with, who completes you, who you’d die for and them for you. Except it doesn’t always work that way. One person being the perfect complement to another is not that easy to find – M fits me very well, we have a lot in common, and I love him, but he doesn’t have everything in common with me, we have some different opinions on things and so on. 

The mononormative (is that a word?) line is that you and your One True Love fit perfectly together, complementing each other, while still being interesting. But that is pretty much impossible – and loving someone doesn’t guarantee they complement everything, indeed with everyone I love there’s quirks and traits that I find really annoying! So with every relationship there’s almost guaranteed to still be things missing. Which is why poly works so well for me – S fills in those gaps that M misses and visa versa and together they pretty much fulfil me. 

As a mono relationship you’re allowed to have friends who you do things with that your partner doesn’t get on with, oh, except for anything that could possibly be described as romantic or involving sex. While you’re allowed to love your friends as friends, mononormative society doesn’t allow you to love them in the same way as your One True Love. Even as a secondary, knowing that S’s fiancée is his One True Love by mononormative standards, I feel that a romantic relationship with S is far more fitting than just friends.

So, poly gives me permission to love other people in a poly relationship set up, which is great as I’m not having to make friends (which I find hard enough to do anyway) and then have to suppress a particular set of actions and feelings that are only ‘allowed’ for your One True Love if I fall for them or want to develop our friendship into something more. Suppressing feelings is never a good thing – and it seems ridiculous that you’d need to suppress and hide positive emotions like love. 

Since I became poly (or maybe just realised I was) I’ve also been able to admit my feelings for my best friend. While they’re not reciprocated for various reasons, it is incrediably freeing to be able to acknowledge that I love him and would do pretty much anything for him – the same as my partners – even if it’s just one way. Luckily I know I’m important to him and one of his closest friends, so I can live with the minor heartache because he’s still in my life. It feels like I’ve been able to stop separating people into friends, and romantic loves – I love all of them in slightly different ways, but there’s no needing to move from one category into another – they’re all loved and can move freely between them if they  and I wish.

By granting myself permission to love, I no longer stress and worry about who I love more or whether I’m allowed to feel certain ways towards different people. I’m allowed to love anyone and everyone I wish. It may not be returned, it may not even be welcome, but my feelings are no longer affected by other people’s (although my actions may be!) and because I’m no longer denying myself some emotions I finally feel settled in myself.

Trust issues

This is a bit of a ramble on my feelings rather than any literary perfect essay!

A few days ago J and M had a crisis in their relationship after M lied to J about having not been looking for other people while they were getting serious. He blames it on being half asleep and not thinking clearly when he posted stuff and that he hadn’t intended on doing anything other than purely talking if anyone had contacted him. I’m inclined to give him the benefit of the doubt given his sleep cycle and looking after the children, but I do think it was very stupid of him, especially now he’s admitted he loves J very much.

The situation promptly brought back to me some of the heartache and anxiety I had 8 years ago when someone messed up my trust in him.

While M admitted he screwed up badly with J, he’s never admitted to doing anything wrong between us – he’s said it would be a lot easier if he could confess to it – even though all the evidence points to him. Although I will point out my main issues stem from being able to make a logical explanation that allows for all stated aspects to be true rather than the actual actions and situations.

But I’ve worked through it, I still have moments of trust issues, not helped by my anxiety, but I’m now able to go past his PC without wanting to snoop, or look over his shoulder to see what he’s doing. But I can trust him again because nothing remotely like that incident has ever happened again. This doesn’t mean our relationship is the same as it was – it can’t be – but it is once again relatively strong and secure.

I hate the fact that M and J are having problems, and that mine and his may influence J’s opinion. I wish I could drop the anxiety that all stems from that one day and one problem and I’m now on medication for. I hope that J can come to trust M again as they make a fantastic couple and have utterly fallen for each other via online and phone.

In a way, poly and making more friends has made it easier as I have more people to spread my trust between, so suffering a blow to one person’s trust isn’t as emotionally devastating as if it’s the whole centre of your universe failing. Oh, it’s still devastating and still hurts more than anything, but there’s others there to lean on, to ask for support, who I can still trust entirely, being a safety rope until I can build up trust in whatever’s hurt me. 

I had an issue recently with L where he ignored me for a few days despite knowing my reaction to being ignored and that broke my trust in him somewhat; but M was supportive, as was J and S, so I didn’t spiral into a total mess while I was mentally and emotionally resolving it and talking to L once he realised that ignoring me was hurting me badly.

I doubt I’ll ever know what happened with mine and M’s Mess (which is what I call it) and our relationship hasn’t been the same, particularly as M insists it wasn’t him and therefore he shouldn’t have to build up trust, which stalled the process – with J he is very very aware that he’ll need to rebuild trust with her and hope she forgives him.

I honestly think my anxiety stems from my brain chemistry going out of whack at that point and never returning to something resembling normal – thankfully I’ve found tablets that will normalise my mental health. I’ll never know if something else would have had the same effect, but I do try not to blame anyone for causing it, just a perfect storm of circumstances.

Poly makes life difficult, more people who can break your trust and hurt you, but also more people to support you and love you and work things through with you. Poly also means I’m less upset over the possible cheating implications of our Mess because, if it was him and he admitted it, as long as it was open and honest then it would have been fine (note that there’s no proof he actually cheated, its circumstantial and was only online) – I wouldn’t have minded it, it was more the situation not making logical sense that I had issues about.

I’ve sorted out my trust issues with L and S that occurred (although nowhere near as bad) and I hope M and J can sort their differences out. I do trust M again, even if I’m slightly wary in places, and he was devastated at messing up with J. Another bonus of poly – someone there to agree you screwed up, but offer advice and support while you try and fix things.

So, yes, I have trust issues (doesn’t help that I had a rather bullied childhood and there’s still trust issues arising from that!) and they affect me, my anxiety, and my life. But I try to trust those I love, support them as they support me, and hope that everything will work out.