I remember reading the big voices of the polyamorous community, such as they were, around 2009, when I first got into this subculture, after finding out friends of mine were polyamorous. It came as a great shock to me at the time — because I’d experienced non-monogamy as a young person, but it was mostly a part of the party culture that came with being a working musician.
And what my friends were doing looked completely different. In fact, these were the most uptight friends I had. Compared to the rest of folks I knew, these were, in fact, the prudes. And they were polyamorous.
It occurred to me then that I might not know as much as I thought I did about these things. So I stayed curious. Did research. And after a while, I did go on to date one of those friends myself (although we didn’t ultimately last).
I’m surprised it’s 2022, and not only am I still part of the community, but I am myself a bigger voice in it. I often find myself wondering how the heck that happened. Because when I was new to it, there was an idea that polyamorists never got insecure, that they thought differently, and that they were somehow better and more enlightened than the rest of us chickens.
I knew very deeply, very profoundly, that I was not that. I frankly entered polyamorous relationships trying to have an open mind about it — but simultaneously convinced that they wouldn’t work for me. Because I didn’t seem to have much in common with those who practiced. They were way too cool for me — had a level of non-attachment that was not achievable for me. Had reached some place of security that wasn’t possible.
As it would turn out, none of this was true. For starters, those people were nothing like that in person (I’d go on to meet many of them as the years wound on, first as a fan and then as a colleague, doing my own speaking and teaching). Their in-person presences were quite a bit different than what they taught as. The personas were aspirational, intended to inspire. Idealist versus reflective.
And I was able to become a more secure person just fine, with some work. Furthermore, a good life — polyamorous, monogamous, ambiamorous, or anything else — doesn’t require perfect emotional security or non-attachment. There are, in fact, as many ways to a good life as there are people (and likely more).
Polyamorous People Are Just People… And That’s a Very Good Thing
I was talking on the Poly Land private Discord server the other day about how odd even niche fame can be. How people put you up on a pedestal since they haven’t met you.
“I’m just a person,” I said. “I’m literally just a person.”
A few readers tried to argue with me and point out my positive qualities, which was kind of them, if a bit embarrassing/uncomfortable for me (as much as I like to hear nice things about myself, I have a hard time sometimes feeling like I deserve them).
But then another broke in telling me that the fact that I’m just a very normal person is what really got her into my stuff. It’s what inspired her about my teaching. Because I wasn’t telling everyone I was special and that what I was doing was unusual or even especially difficult — but I was just a normal person navigating all of this, and well.
Which told her that she didn’t have to be special to do it.
And when she said that, I knew exactly what she meant. It’s what was missing when I was new to all this. And it’s why I thought I absolutely wouldn’t be successful at it once upon a time.
Anyway, the reality is that polyamorous people are just people… and that’s a very good thing.