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-   -   Community (http://www.polyamory.com/forum/showthread.php?t=2236)

MonoVCPHG 02-28-2010 06:32 AM

Community
 
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the idea of “community”. I have found it to be an area of dissatisfaction for me personally and I finally got the root of this issue after long discussions with Redpepper. I was feeling frustrated that it seemed as though the poly community was over conducted, over structured, over theorized and overly concerned with becoming a community. I found it uninspiring that a community made up of the most individualistic people I have ever known seemed to have fallen into a trap of conformity and some pretence for inclusion. It also seemed to be becoming overly compartmentalized. Why was there a need to always associate social activities among like-minded people around the one primary thing they shared in common? Do we not have other areas of common interest? I never experienced the need to hyphenate every activity with “Mono” before so why do I have to start every event with the word “Poly” now?

I came to the realization that in my eyes, the community itself was the driving force behind friendships and not the friendships establishing the community.

The community seemed to be offering the chance for enrolment over the intent to provide information and guidance. This seems to isolate those that simply have found themselves in a position of having a non-traditional relationship but only wanting answers and help, not community or to join a visible and public group.

I see the people I consider friends as those that make up my community, some online, some in person. The community is not the place where my friendships originate; my friendships are the place where my community will.

I enjoy the people in "my community" far more than I enjoy the idea of community itself. They are all interesting, individualistic and valued for the diverse opinions and approaches they have. I am fortunate to have each in my life as they have taught me more about the world and myself then they realize.

redpepper 02-28-2010 06:58 AM

Wow, this has really come together for you... I agree, I think that community needs to well up out of like minded people that have similar values rather than are just poly and that's it. Poly is such a vast identity and is so debated right now as it hits mainstream more and more. I am finding that I have shifted from needing to have a community that understands that aspect of my life to needing a community that accepts me for who I am even though we have differences. I need this in order to accept them also. I think it is so important to gather people around you that you know love you. The rest are worthy of exploring, but for me, not worth investing in until I know that we hold some similar values.

Some of my nearest and dearest friends have a similar quality about them one is that they are confident and self assured enough to follow their own path while staying curious about mine... they think I am crazy for my differences but love me regardless. They don't get all serious and confrontational when we talk, they are not competitive and comparing, they just love me and embrace all that I am. Some are poly, some are not. Some don't even know I'm poly. It doesn't even seem to matter that they know everything about me, as I am confident that they would love me anyway and stick with me regardless. This to me is my community.

Breathesgirl 02-28-2010 12:04 PM

Community......a bit of chosen family in a world where family should mean a lot more than it does to a lot of us.

My chosen family is a very small and select group hand picked by me for their values and traits. People I love unconditionally, who love me unconditionally as well.

To me community is a lot bigger than chosen family. Community is like your church, a place where you go to do activities with a bunch of people who have something in common but you don't necessarily know each other or even like each other very much.

Chosen family though, well chosen family is a few select people with whom you share similar thoughts, values, traits. You are there for each other through everything. Chosen family is people we have chosen to share our lives with and we really and truly like or love each other, not people who happen to share some of the same genes but don't really like each other.

Chosen family is what it sounds like you are talking about Mono, at least to me.

GroundedSpirit 02-28-2010 03:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by MonoVCPHG (Post 23090)
Lately I have been thinking a lot about the idea of “community”.

Hey Mon,

I think I feel where you are coming from here and have expressed somewhat similar concerns somewhere else.

Sociology is a funny thing. Hell, humans are funny things !

"Communities" by nature have the characteristic of taking on personalities of their own. No place here to go into my theories surrounding both the physics and psychology of that. Sufficient to acknowledge their existence.

But what you have picked up is at least partially why I/we don't particularly 'identify' with a 'poly' community except as an acknowledgment that we do share those certain small pieces with others. But it's certainly not some major, foundational part of a self definition.

Because one of the natures of 'communities' are their tendency to develop or attract all of the dynamics of other human systems including power play, conflict, subdivision etc. And at least for me, I think we all get along much better without these elements.

So we're "in" and "out" at the same time. Much like I suspect you feel.

GS

NeonKaos 02-28-2010 04:02 PM

I feel the same way, Mono. Just because I am attracted to men and women, I have never looked to be "in" a "gay" or "TGBLQ" "community". I'd rather hang with cat-people and if someone there happens to be gay or bi (or CF*) then great, we can identify or connect about that, but it's the cat-things that I actually find "community". I am now connecting with certain individuals in the roller-derby "community" and finding out some of them are poly, gay, CF, or whatever, but I certainly wouldn't look to the "poly community" or "CF community" first, hoping there are cat-people and derby-people within it. I simply don't think that sexual or relationship/lifestyle preferences are enough in and of themselves to find the common ground to establish true friendships.

*CF = child-free

GroundedSpirit 02-28-2010 04:08 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by YGirl (Post 23098)
I'd rather hang with cat-people and if someone there happens to be gay or bi (or CF*) then great, we can identify or connect about that, but it's the cat-things that I actually find "community".

"Cat-People" here !!!
C'mon over ! :)

GS

Ariakas 02-28-2010 06:41 PM

I can definitely relate...or at least understand. I think to date my biggest challenge with creating a community around the term poly has been the other differences. Most...at least around here, are pagan/hippie/very left wing...I find it difficult to relate on any level BUT poly. Which to me feels incomplete. Poly is a small subset of my personal makeup. I find myself at odds with the "community" simply because my personality structure is the opposite of most involved.

Quote:

I simply don't think that sexual or relationship/lifestyle preferences are enough in and of themselves to find the common ground to establish true friendships.
100% agree. Thats exactly how I feel. I find most people (i am open to most people I meet and or know) are willing to accept I can love multiple people, but if my political/religious/sports stance is not similar, on a social level we just don't get along, which obviously means we can't go much further as a community.

redpepper 02-28-2010 08:32 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Breathesgirl (Post 23094)
Community......a bit of chosen family in a world where family should mean a lot more than it does to a lot of us.

My chosen family is a very small and select group hand picked by me for their values and traits. People I love unconditionally, who love me unconditionally as well.

To me community is a lot bigger than chosen family. Community is like your church, a place where you go to do activities with a bunch of people who have something in common but you don't necessarily know each other or even like each other very much.

Chosen family though, well chosen family is a few select people with whom you share similar thoughts, values, traits. You are there for each other through everything. Chosen family is people we have chosen to share our lives with and we really and truly like or love each other, not people who happen to share some of the same genes but don't really like each other.

Chosen family is what it sounds like you are talking about Mono, at least to me.

I like this Breathegirl. I think that you hit the nail on the head for me. My community is made up of like minded people in one way only, and really I wonder about that even these days. I am searching for even more like minded people in my community now as I have found who I have invested in doesn't fit as much as I feel comfortable. who knows, perhaps I will find more chosen family :)

thank you for this. :)

GroundedSpirit 02-28-2010 09:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Ariakas (Post 23106)
100% agree. Thats exactly how I feel. I find most people (i am open to most people I meet and or know) are willing to accept I can love multiple people, but if my political/religious/sports stance is not similar, on a social level we just don't get along, which obviously means we can't go much further as a community.

Don't want to splinter here but........(if it does we can start new)

See - now this is the kind of thing that concerns & scares me !
Nothing personal toward you Ariakas - but in general.

Some people I've seen phrase it simply....
"Why can't we all just get along ?"

I seem to see a lot of this in the world in general. All this tight grouping. Little desire and appreciation for real diversity and seeking ways to use that to make a quantum leap if you will.

Maybe I'm a dreamer - but not the only one....

GS

redpepper 03-01-2010 12:32 AM

I don't think that means separateness GS, just realizing differences and what our limits are. We can all hang out and appreciate one another without being long lost friends. Just on the grounds that we are able to encompass more than one lover in our lives and partners also. It's kind of a weird thing to meet about really.

I love that when I get together with my community there is tons of differences and stories of poly for them. Stories in every way really. I have never known such a diverse group :) When we had our last poly meeting I sat and looked at them all and marveled at the fact we can all get together on this one thing and then go off and have our lives in between meetings.

Quite remarkable and I feel very fortunate.:)


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