Happy 7th Anniversary to the wonderful folks of our community!
We are fresh off the heels of our anniversary party last night so I am a tired bear. We decided to try combining our anniversary party with our monthly pub night social and we all agree it was a pretty spectacular combo. It definitely felt like Pub Night Plus!
There are so many people to thank. Reflecting back on the magic of 7 years of organizing, collaborating and co-creating, we celebrate the effort of hundreds of people. The making of 7 years of community is not without its ups and downs, ebbs and flows. As I looked around the room when making announcements last night, I was compelled with thoughts of all the people who were absent from the room. We’ve seen literally thousands of people come through our community. Some have passed through looking for and finding understanding and then moved along. Some have found their people and are now too saturated and stretched for community engagement; energy limitations be damned! But I can’t possibly forget the people who aren’t in the room because they don’t have access to our community, for various reasons like poverty, illness and disability, living in remote locations, just to name a few. I think about those people all the time because isolation is dangerous beast. The internet has opened up so many ways for us to connect but it can also magnify all the ways our current situations limit us. FOMO (fear of missing out) isn’t just an edgy acronym; for many it’s a very real state of existence. I think about this at every single event I host and attend. Over the past number of years, we’ve spent significant time and effort thinking of ways to increase access to our community and reach those that need us the most. If you have ideas in this area, let’s chat more!
As we move forward in 2018, we have a lot of fun and excitement planned, in addition to much needed changes. I am on the tail end of finishing up new Member Expectations that will replace our current Safer Space Guidelines. This change has been a year and a half in the making and has been the hard, collaborative work of some fine folks. Please keep an eye out in your email in the next couple of weeks/month for that announcement.
I’ve had the pleasure of leading the facilitation of our monthly discussion for just over 5 years now and it’s been one of the most rewarding things I’ve done. But there is a piece of support that is missing in our community. While the Chat and Learns are a great space to talk about topics in bigger, more meta ways, they don’t leave space to unpack the personal with the support of community. That’s why we’re excited to introduce a Polyam Peer Support event in the coming weeks. It’ll create a much-needed space for those of us that value the community feel of connection and encouragement. We have a wonderful line up of facilitators that we’ll be rotating through month to month to better balance the work needed to sustain this type of event. We’re so excited to be launching this!
Our anniversary also poignantly aligns with International Women’s Day. It would be remiss of me to not acknowledge the strong voices of women, not only from our local community and the greater polyam community, but also women in general, doing the work needed to break down the problematic systems we’re marinating in. When I ponder what International Women’s Day means to me these days, I find myself thinking about all the ways we’re othered, the ways society and government bodies sort us into binary categories. The way power is doled out and accessed. I don’t exist in a binary world and so I ponder both the depth and shallowness of the definition of woman, and what womanhood means. How it is always pinned opposite man, and manliness. But genders don’t exist in absolutes and opposites. So, on this International Women’s Day, I ask you to also ponder what womanhood means to you and how you can contribute to a more inclusive view of the unique qualities we all bring to the table. To all you fellow gender diverse humans, I see you and there can also be room for us to celebrate and be recognized today.
I could fill these pages with lists of women and femmes who have inspired me over the years but this year I promised I would learn the art of being concise (clearly, it’s a work in progress!) so I’ll include links to the work of three people I encourage you to explore.
Kim Tallbear has written on the topics of polyamory and decolonizing love at The Critical Polyamorist since 2013. I urge you to search through the various categories on the site which include Christianity & Polyamory, Colonialism & Polyamory, Critical Theory, Family & Polyamory, Indigenous People & Polyamory, Native Americans & Polyamory, Paganism & Polyamory, Professionalism & Polyamory, Race & Polyamory, and Tipi Confessions. Kim’s voice is grounded in anti-oppression work that I strongly value.
From our very own community, Alicia Bunyan-Sampson writes about dating in Toronto at Diary of a Polyamorous Black Girl. From the site: “Diary Of A Polyamorous Black Girl was created to inspire other black polyamorous woman to speak their truth and build community.” We are honoured to have Alicia join us in community engagement and we’re looking forward to building a relationship with her to create events that feature her work. Thank you, Alicia!
And lastly, the art and poetry of Ijeoma Umebinyuo will inspire and move you in ways you never dreamed. Her sometimes simple words have powerful impact and she weaves a breathtaking brilliance into her use of words as expression.
Follow the work of these three amazing women. Buy their work. Share their words. Embody the energy that learning from others can spark.
So now I ask you all, who inspires you? How has your life changed by this person? How do you honour their impact? How are you looking to show up in our community in 2018 and bring this inspiration with you? We’re so very happy to have you all!
On behalf of organizers and event hosts, both past and present, cheers to another profound year of community building, side by side!
Be excellent humans to one another,