Archive | Polyamory RSS for this section

No bosses, No sunroofs

Outside of Eugene, Oregon and the intentional communities movement, pretty much everyone has a boss.  There are some acceptable bosses, but overwhelmingly people are, i observe, dissatisfied with their bosses.  The miracle of the income sharing communities, is that we are largely able to run our cottage industries without the oppressive or disagreeable part of the boss role.  At Twin Oaks we have managers, who have labor and money budgeting responsibilities, but they very rarely tell someone that they need to do something.  They often request people do things, but this is not what bosses do, they tell people.  At Acorn we have even ditched the title of manager all together, and things run just fine thank you.

bosses be like

When Occupy sparked, there was much conversation at Twin Oaks as to what Occupy Twin Oaks would look like.  What would be our demand for a more fair and just society in the already fairly idyllic world of the commune?  As we got further into this investigation, we realized again who wonderfully fortunate we were.  “Seconds at 6:15″ was one rallying cry that dinner seconds should be available earlier rather than the current 6:30 PM time.   If this is what we are demanding, then things must be pretty peachie.

There are of course trade offs.  To not have crime, we have to give up living in the city,   To share cars together we have to give up access to the sunroofs in our cars.

sunroof

Don’t even think about it

This might sound odd at first, or perhaps even unfair.  But when we get a new vehicle which has a sunroof in it, one of the first things we do is disable the sunroof.  We do this because if we don’t some member will leave the sunroof open and the interior of the vehicle will get soaked.  So the least responsible of us dictate the self protective behaviors we embrace that strip us of personal freedoms.

This irks me until i remember that i am one of the people most likely to leave a sunroof open.

 

 

 

 

Can Polyamory Help Destroy Rape Culture? [re-post]

Comrade Tikva has penned a great piece for Elephant Journal [Which posted my review of the Movie Wanderlust]  If you want to see this article on EJ , with it’s links (and odd image) it’s here.  She also does a brilliant comic on polyamory.

Objectification is at the center of rape culture

Objectification is at the center of rape culture

 

Many romances begin with wordless flirtation, stolen kisses and vague communication.
In a culture where disinterest is often interpreted as shyness or “playing hard to get,” men are encouraged to think women need to be skillfully interpreted and convinced, instead of taken at their word. Even the clearest “no” is still up for debate.

I’ve had men tell me I was “asking for it” by making eye contact with them on the street instead of averting my gaze. And when they discovered that my polite smile was not a request for sex, they reacted in outrage as if I was purposefully leading them on.

A stranger misinterpreting our smile as an open invitation to our body sounds ludicrous, but watching any romantic comedy will show us how our culture views consent.

no more rape culture

How many times does the woman turn the main character down before he grabs and kisses her—and doesn’t she secretly want it all along, perhaps without even knowing it herself, until he figures out how to prove that they are meant to be?

It may be entertaining to watch awkward fumbling and forceful passion on the screen, but this kind of indirect communication seeps out into our actual romantic encounters far too often and can be very dangerous.

When men identify with that main character who wins the girl in the end, they feel cheated when their own efforts aren’t achieving the same results. They can sometimes decide to take it forcefully if the woman isn’t catching on quick enough, because “no” just means she hasn’t been convinced yet that this is what she really wants.

Most women have encountered men who feel entitled to have access to their bodies. Just look at the recent gruesome events involving Elliot Rodger and the resulting stories on Twitter with the hashtag “#YesAllWomen.”

Clearly there are a lot of men out there who think they deserve the girl, regardless of what she has to say about it.

In polyamorous relationships, unclear communication will have us drowning in a sea of interpersonal drama much more quickly than it would in a conventional, monogamous relationship.

One reason for this is that monogamy is the expected norm, so if we’re monogamous, it’s pretty easy to coast through the beginning of our relationship without putting any effort into communicating our intentions or expectations.

If we say nothing at all about what we want, it is assumed that our eventual goal is a monogamous until-death-do-us-part with someone. Polyamorous relationships are more complex and less understood, so therefore require explanation right from the beginning and skillful communication throughout.

Poly folks will often discuss their specific intentions with people they are attracted to and even sit down with everyone’s other partners and discuss it with them as well, way before the first date is even considered. It is very likely that a first kiss won’t come with a silent assumption of consent, but after it has been discussed with everyone involved instead.

Clear communication is a must for long-term poly relationships, so this is a skill that gets exercised often.

But what does this have to do with rape culture? Rape culture is fed on silence and assumptions. By insisting on communicating clearly every step of the way about any intention of sex or romance, we kill those old ideas of romance being about silent flirtation and stolen kisses.

We make consent sexy.

yes means yes

We might think that clear communication is overkill, boring and that it will stifle the romance—but the opposite is true. When people are open and vulnerable in relationship to each other, expressing the full extent of their desires and (most importantly) wanting to hear and understand the desires of their partners, there is absolutely nothing sexier than that.

I used to think that stolen kisses were sexy, but now I see them as a sign of emotional immaturity and dissociation. I would much rather my partners be obviously interested in what I want than trying to see what they can get out of me.

When can kisses be "stolen"?

When can kisses be “stolen”?

I would much rather be telling them what I want than waiting for them to guess.

Margaret Atwood’s quote, “Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them.” illustrates why it is more important that men take on the task of communicating clearly and receiving consent, but it is incredibly empowering to take on the task as a woman as well.

girls kissing

We don’t need to be in a polyamorous relationship to get our clear communication groove on, obviously. But if we’re in a polyamorous relationship we need to communicate impeccably, just to keep up with what’s going on.

Making clear communication and consent sexy is a huge part of what’s needed to feed the revolution of consent culture. So whether we are monogamous, polyamorous, monogam-ish, or poly-curious, we need to push ourselves to communicate more openly with everyone and see how it affects our romantic life.

Author and Muse (R to L)

Author and Muse (R to L)

 

Aliens- The Truth- The New Activism Frontier

I believe in Aliens.

There I said it.

As you may know, I am pretty open about a wide-variety of things, including, but certainly not limited to my polyglamorous relationships, my obsession with twerking, and my desire for some radical heteronormativity in my life. (while of course still maintaining my polyglamorus status.)

I must come out of the space ship, although I hold some reservations about coming out of the space ship. I feel like I will be judged negatively and that the anti-nuclear activists and the communities movement will shun me, that I will have gone too “woo woo” or maybe people will think I’ve simply gone of my rocker. Perhaps if this was just a small part of me people would understand.

images

But, its not.

I think spreading the truth about Space Aliens and their involvement on earth is some of the most important activism we can do. I want to be the Chelsea Manning of Extra Terrestrials. The information NEEDS to be out there and people NEED to know that aliens are among us.

You may be thinking “wow paxus has finally snapped.” As if I haven’t already, excuse me.

The rest of you are thinking ” gee, I wonder why he thinks this.”

And a small number of you, the true truthers, are thinking “yes I believe too, please go on.”

I will gladly tell you the story of how I first became aware that Aliens are real AND living on planet Earth. I am especially excited because this is not one of the stories that I tell on loop at every event ever.

When I was in the Czech, protesting nukes, I met a women named Eleanora. Eleanora was, well, odd to say the least. Her diet is one example, she specifically like invertebrates. She always said in her weird, practically indistinguishable accent “It es so much easeiar to eat dah invertabras, you do not eben ned to peek meat off das bones! You jest squeese it out.” Of course I found it to be ridiculously adorable and we spent many nights together, discussing the protein humans are missing and how nukes may destroy the planet, you know, typical radical type stuff. Another odd thing, she introduced me to twerking, before twerking was a thing, she shared a great love for it.

One night we had plans to spend time together in one of the downtown areas of the czech, she called me and told me that she could not come out that night, she didn’t feel very well. She sounded like she had been crying and I asked her if maybe I could just come over instead. After some conversation she agreed.

When I got there she complained about feeling “allown on dis planet.” and feeling like “All the odders like me have jest given oop and become followers.” At first I thought this was just your typical activist breakdown. You know “The worlds gone mad! Nobody cares!”

But, I became fascinated about how often she used the terms “on dis planet!” and finally it escalated into her practically yelling “And dere destroying the galoxy for the rest of us!”

All the emotion faded from her face, realizing she had said a bit too much. I could see it in her face and me desiring transparency asked her to please explain herself. She took a deep breath and told me that she was a Extra Terrestrial from a somewhat nearby Solar System and that she was hear to try and stop humans from poisoning the universe. She said that her species is somewhat related to hers, but that they had blue hair and some other traits.

Suddenly it all made sense, why Eleanora was constantly buying brown hair dye, while being upset about using such nasty chemicals, and why we never played with her genitals. I didn’t complain because I rather enjoyed all the fellatio I was receiving.

How "in over my head" I felt about Eleanora after she first told me the truth.

How “in over my head” I felt about Eleanora after she first told me the truth.

This led to years and years of Eleanora introducing me to her underground ET politcal groups and explaining to me the various species of aliens, some being related to humans, some being shape shifters. Cats are aliens that take advantage of humans parental instincts.

Remember when I hitchhiked on boats?

Well the whole reason was so that I could get far enough out to sea so that I could get picked up by a spacecraft to and go visit Eleanoras family on the celebration of some religion from their planet.

Inflatable_aliens_at_Anonymous_protest

I have more information, but I have been to space and back multiple times since then.

This information needs to be out.

I know this is a lot to spring on all of you, but I swear it is all true. Its as true as my love for twerking.

Transparency is my favorite thing and this is no different.

Adieu.

Perhaps more than one person should try to do

Paxus’s Plans

Spring 2014

I am an Oaker again.  I thought it would be a good time to check in and tell the community what I am doing and planning and hoping for.

Short version:

My work scene at Twin Oaks is largely unchanged.  I do some homeschooling and an occasional Unicorns shift.  I drive the tofu truck and do L Bus.  I continue in a reduced way to Hx marketing.  I do recruiting work mostly with visitors and paid college speaking gigs thru TOAST.  Outside Work is mostly self managing, but I put occasional time into it.  I work on the Communities Conference and do a bit of movement support, mostly around the local nuclear power plant.

At Acorn I do some room assigning work, shadow manage the picking room and paid outside workers (including Oakers) we have during the busy season (which is ending around now).  I also do recruiting work for Acorn and the FEC.  I blog pretty regularly and am working on the seed businesses on going fight against Monsanto.  I facilitate community meeting and do mediations.

With GPaul principally and some other communards (mostly at Acorn so far) I am working on the Point A project which is attempting to start new income sharing communities in DC and NYC at least.  For the last few months I have been spending about a week a month in east Coast cities promoting this project and organizing events.

I am also applying to be a planner at Twin Oaks again.  I will put out a separate paper about this shortly.  [The existing planners decided not to advance my candidacy for planner after 7 members said they had concerns about me as a planner again.]

For many people this will be plenty of information about me and you can be done with this mailbox letter.  And for others, there is greater curiosity and interest in the details.  For the curious, read on.

 

Detailed version:

Things I am doing at Twin Oaks:

Heroes and Superheroes: These are two homeschooling fantasy role playing games.  Heroes in on Wednesdays and is Kaya, Willow, Evan and Rowan (with Jonah and Gwen dropping in if they are on the farm).  Superheroes is on Mondays and is Sami, Izzie and Zadek.  The format of the game is the players are on adventures where they are regularly rolling dice to determine outcomes.  When they roll low, unfortunate outcomes occur, if they roll a 1 on a 20 sided die, very unfortunate and occasionally lethal things happen.  They can get another role if they can answer a question correctly.  So the game is a cross between Dungeons and Dragons and Trivial Pursuits – except the questions are mostly significa and at different levels for different players.  If you are interested in working on good multiple choice or short answer questions for these games, please talk with me.

Unicorns: I do the Monday Unicorns shift with Kristen every other week, but with the amount I am gone it ends up averaging every 3 weeks.

Unicorns group shot

Potomac Tofu Delivery: i drive our fine tofu to Potomac Whole Foods in western MD every other Monday.  Importantly, I am starting to back haul stuff for both Acorn and Twin Oaks so we can shift away from UNFI.

Friday L Bus:  I combine the Acorn and Twin Oaks Friday Louisa Bus/Tripper runs on most Fridays.  This occasionally means I do not make it back from the trip until past noon and thus things are not delivered at ZK early in lunch.  It also means about a third of the time I drive Acorn vehicles instead of Twin Oaks vehicles for the town trip.  I am building a relationship with the Louisa Resource Center, which is among other things the local food bank.  Last time I picked up 200 rolls of toilet paper, 8 large cases of acorn squash, 10 crates of nectarines (which were a bit marginal) and 10 of the foldable plastic crates.  All for free.   I will be coordinating with Carly to make sure I don’t bring in too much of the wrong stuff.

Hammocks Marketing:  Hawina and I are doing a somewhat low key hammocks marketing effort.  I am calling some of our regular wholesale customers and maintaining minimal contact with our sales reps.  I visit our largest east coast customers before the trade show that we dont go to anymore.  We are working on several “special projects” together, we have a new hanging chair stand that we displaying at fairs and online and drop shipping from the manufacturer.  We might be bundled with this new innovative hammock stand, with an initial order of 500 silkspun rope hammocks.  I continue to be the principal contact with Dave from Buyers Choice who has been a very big and headachy customer in the past.  We tried some retail strategies last year which were not super effective.  We will probably try something else new for retail this year.  If you are interested in helping with hammocks sales, please contact Hawina or myself.

paxus sleeping on cushion swing

Product testing is the key to our success

 

Recruitment:  Valerie and I co-manage recruiting and outreach.  Separately, Valerie handles all visitor correspondence.  Recruitment during times of high population shifts it’s focus from seeking new members for Twin Oaks specifically to recruiting for the movement in general.  Recent recruiting activities include our trip to the North American Student Cooperative Organization where we facilitated several workshops.  And TOAST gigs at McDonogh prep school, Goucher (where ex-member Raj teaches, he is Mala’s brother) and the conservative mostly Christian East Carolina University.  [TOAST is the Twin Oaks Academic Speaking Tour where we are paid, typically $200 per day, to present about the communities at schools.]

Outside Work:  This area largely runs itself, and while I am technically the manager, most of the Outside Work areas need no assistance or oversight from me.  Though i do hope to craft some new policy around OW in the coming year.

Communities Conference:    We have started work on the communities conference, specifically I worked with Sky on recruiting donors for the IndieGoGo crowd sourcing campaign for the kitchen upgrade.  I will again be calling communities and encouraging them to come and working on content with Sky and Valerie as we develop the program for the event.

Work with Willow:  The entire Star family (Hawina, Willow, Sky and myself) do a Tuesday K2.  Willow and I are doing a weekly Tupelo Surf.

tpp-protest-sitting-with-noses

Movement Support:  I continue to work on blocking the third reactor at North Anna.  I might go to the Dominion Resources shareholders meeting again this year and chat again with the President Tom Ferral about how poor an investment this is.  [I did not go this year to the shareholders meeting.]  I do some organizing work (in Richmond and DC) around Dominions fleecing taxpayers and ratepayers for this ill conceived project.

Contrary to recent beliefs, I do not do EC Runs.

Transparency Groups:  I am in closed group at Twin Oaks and an open group at Acorn.  This practice is both engaging and important to me.  We just completed a fingerbook on it, contact me if you want one.  If you want to try this stuff i can connect you to the Acorn group.  There are no labor credits involved in any of these transparency groups.


zippers-on-back-body-art

Plannership:  I have signed the card for being a planner again.  I will be writing an O&I paper about this assuming i dont get tremendous negative input.  My hope is to balance the current strong group of planners.  I am especially interested in room issues, the 134 W Old Mountain Road property, tabulating and presenting long term survey results (which I failed to do in my last plannership), new residence planning and sustainability infrastructure.  I am aware that I am often away, and will only be able to do this job part time, but all three other planners are almost always on the farm, so if feels like we are well covered.  [i was not selected.]

Things I am doing at Acorn:

Room Assigning:  Rejoice and I share room assigning responsibilities at Acorn.  I do not have a bedroom at Acorn, even when I am a member.  [i now do have a room, which i got from Falcon.]

Extraordinary Worker Management:  The seed business hires locals (mostly folks from communities Little Flower and Twin Oaks and some ex-members) to help pick, pack and ship seeds during the busy season.  The busy season is now over and almost all of these people have been let go til at least December.

Shadow Picking Room Manager:  Acorn does not have managers (and actually this works surprisingly well) instead people take responsibility for different areas and are in dynamic negotiations with the rest of the seed business worker owners.  I train seed pickers, report and update out of stock items to Ken, work with Irena on configuring shelves and picking room layout.  And frankly I was much busier with this last winter during busy season than this one, in part because so many people stepped up to help with picking it was quite easy to keep under control and current.  This will likely be one of my larger jobs when I toggle back to membership at Acorn in December.

Recruiting and Outreach:  At Acorn I also do tours, answer questions for people interested in the community and write about the community for alternative and mainstream medias.  I also talk about Acorn at schools and at the Point A workshops we are organizing.  I am working on a visitor fingerbook for Acorn, similar to the “Not Utopia Yet” one I originally wrote for Twin Oaks.

Seed Robot Operator: This is an an aspiration and i have yet to be trained.

SESE Social Media/Blog:   There is a newly formed social media group at Acorn which is working to try to promote the seed business online thru this vehicle.  i am one of the members of this group.  Part of this is working with others on blogs for the SESE website which are relevant for gardeners who purchase our seeds.

Delivery Boy:  Seeds in both directions, Milk, workers, surplus dumpster and food bank food, tofu repacks, party shuttle – you name it i am moving people and stuff between these two communes (with stops at Sapling as needed).

Monsanto Opposition Campaigning:  SESE continues to pursue lawsuits and a public education campaign against Monsanto’s use of GMOs.  I have only done a small amount of this work so far, mostly through our alliance with OSGATA, which is an organic seed growers trade association that has brought multiple lawsuits against the chemical giant, which despite their army of lawyers has had some positive effects already.  If you are interested in working against GMOs, feel encouraged to contact me.

monstanto poinons food

Things I am doing for the Point A Project

With 4 income sharing communities now in Louisa County and only one secular one in all of NYC, it seems like it is time for us to export this model to urban areas.  Several folks from Acorn (including Amy, Belladonna, Otter, Dragon, Aster (formerly Jared), Port (formerly John ex TO viz) and GPaul) are working on this project.

There is significant interest at the Keep in Washington DC, where Feonix, Marshall, Steve, John and Aries (ex TO viz) all live.  There are about 20 people involved in this group which is looking for places which might be able to house more people than the 8 at the Keep.  There are also discussion about the entire range of community issues from pets to income sharing to children.  I would be surprised if this group moved into a larger community house in 2014.  And there is a lot of interest and I think the chances are pretty high that we will start another FEC community in the DC metro area in the next few years.

NYC is harder.  Gentrification issues and real estate developers make any type of housing solution vexing in this town.  We have a group which is interested in the Point A project, but we are much further from living together and to date we have been focusing on doing events (presentations and workshops) about the communities movement and sharing systems to find out who are allies are in the city.  Unlike DC where we are supporting a specific group which is looking to build a single community, in NYC we are doing something which is more like movement building and have already been significant support to other communities which are forming or looking for new members.

I am hoping to continue to do work in this area and hope that the FEC will continue to support it with hours (as they did for the mini-communities conference we had in in March).

96% match

It is a common internet business model.  You offer a free service which is largely useful, but has less functionality than the version which your “premium” customers pay for.  On the music service Pandora you can pay to vanish the ads.  Many free online games have the capacity to buy better tools or weapons or more stylish apparel for your avatar.

OK Cupid uses this model.  You can not, for example, sort for people who polyamorous without paying the service.  Last month I finally caved and gave them $20 for a month subscription so I could filter the way I wanted to.  Smart move.  [My clever friend Mike Ewall thinks that you don't to pay for this.  So you should certainly try without.]

OKC keyboard

When my distance range was set wide enough I found out that I had nearly 99% matches with all the residents of Tupelo North (ex-communards who defected to Northhampton) Angie, Ethan and Clementine.   No surprise here, they are people I already had strong affinity with and connections to.

There were also now high match polyamorous people I had never met or seen online before, including Gypsy.  [Before my friends working on cultural appropriation get upset about my use of this pseudonym, she has Romani blood, speaks Romanian (while not quite Romani language, but related), born in the region and has legitimate claim to this heritage, though she does not take it.]  She left central Europe when she was 8 and has a charming euromutt English accent.

Gypsy's are the second largest minority in Romania

Gypsy’s are the second largest minority in Romania

I read her profile, looked at many of the hundreds of questions we had both answered on OKC.  We flirted online, then moved to email, text messages and phone.  On the way up to this last weekends Point A meeting we got together for a couple hours in the DC suburbs waiting for the rush hour traffic to clear.

She self identifies as a steamroller.  Her unsticking her car

Some friends call her a bulldozer. Here she is unsticking her car

I can’t remember the last time I went on “a date” in most senses of this term.  But neither of us had trouble finding things to talk about.   She is a fierce atheist, polyglot (conversant in 5 languages),  home schooling mom and CEO of her own manufacturing company.  Her former occupations are as diverse as molecular biologist, classicist and stripper.  I arrived worried she would be intimidatingly smart.  But these fears quickly vanished, smart certainly but hardly intimidating – warm, quirky, open.   It was a lovely experience, with someone I never would have found without this service.   I’m rethinking my critique of OKC.

There will certainly be another date.  Stay tuned.

 

 

 

Donut Poisoning

Willow had been talking about dumpster diving with Feonix for a couple of days leading up to the Tarrytown NY craft fair and he was excited.  There was this slightly odd moment of role reversal in which I had blacked out and sometime after midnight Willow woke me and said “Are you ready to go dumpster diving now?”  And while some part of my exhausted body wanted to decline, instead I was propelled by my desire to be a yes for my son. We jumped in the van and headed to White Plains where a Dunkin Donuts of known riches was to be found.

We pull in realize that we have neglected flashlights and Feonix uses her phones app to light the way.  And we have donuts.  The world is a better place and Willow is pleased.  Later we would get a flashlight app for my phone, but even with the light the Trader Joes dumpster was being staffed way late in the night (actually crazy early in the morning) and the Whole Foods compacter revealed nothing that could be salvaged.  As my son snuck from the security cameras in the parking lot I wondered about this aspect of his home schooling.

It is one of my favorite annual rituals, Feonix and Willow and Corb and Hawina and I doing the Tarrytown fair.  In part because Feonix always has the new cool thing or three for us to experience.  This time it was Bee and PuppyCat.  Which has an inspired scene where Bee is in a temp agency and the cruel recruiter turns away from her to take a phone call.  When he turns back his bowl of sweets is emptied and Bee says “You took too long.  Now your Candy’s gone. That’s what happened. Kapow.” and she disappears thru the door.

Bee does not wait

Bee does not wait

This was one of our regular chants as we took the long drive down the New Jersey Turnpike after the fair.  I took a five hour energy drink, Feonix was running her normal night owl energy and Willow was doing the sugar rush connected with low level donut poisoning.  We all sang loudly and (at least myself) off key to Mackelmore’s Can’t Hold US on the radio at absurd o’clock somewhere outside Philly.

We arrive at the Keep late, but Willow and I are the last to go to bed.  It may well qualify me again for the cover of Negligent Parenting Magazine, but I would not have it another way.

Willow recovering from donut poisoning @ absurd o'clock at the Keep

Willow recovering from donut poisoning at the Keep

[Willow has approved this post]

 

 

Two Speaking gigs – University of Baltimore and MIT

i quite like public speaking, especially when it is on topics i am passionate about.  I have two gigs coming up and i wanted to brag about them here.

Cuddle2-page-001

My charming and talented lover Bryonna at UB is organizing this first event.  My part of the presentation is just before the “cuddle in” part and while i will certainly talk about the basics of consent and why it is important, my real agenda is to use transparency tools and milling activities to build trust among these somewhat daring participants.

An earlier event is the workshop GPaul and i are doing at MIT on how intentional community and sharing technologies are the solution to Climate Disruption.

Workshop Poster-page-001

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 1,718 other followers