I was lucky enough to speak with Martha Lane-Fox at the TEDx Open University event in November 2019.
We spoke about parenting and about relationships. She commented on how different the relationship landscape was now, both for her extended family and young children, and how positive this was. I agreed. I added that we still have brains and bodies that don’t always feel safe in these new spaces and with some of these ideas (well, I wasn’t quite as articulate as that but this is what I would’ve said!).
For all of the important and vital talk about fluidity, change and the different ways in which we can relate to each other, as well as the clearer ways in which we now understand how we experience our feelings, the relationship patterns we’ve learnt and inherited are not instantly rewritten.
The moment I came across non-monogamy and polyamory as concepts they made absolute and total sense to me intellectually but it’s taken a long time for the sense of them to be taken into and understood by my emotional self. My body is very much still learning what my brain figured out years ago. This is because the grooves that those early experiences carve into our synapses, the patterns and behaviours they shape and create take time to shift and alter.
The inevitably messy work of reinventing and reshaping relationships is taking place around us but also within us.
It has been five years since I cam across the concepts of polyamory and non-monogamy and I’m still unlearning old behaviours and having to work hard to adapt my responses. Feelings are complex and, just because we know intellectually that we can be open or fluid, doesn’t mean that the process of becoming so is effortless.
In my TEDx talk, I discuss the ‘difficult, but joy-giving, work of acknowledging that all living and loving involves change’. Anything worth doing is both hard and rewarding. The work of being present to all things is just that: work. It brings joy, moments of pure bright incredible JOY, but it also brings sadness, pain and anger. And that’s okay.
The wider we can push the edges of our ability to feel, the more alive we are, the more human we are.
Kindness and curiosity are the watchwords for myself as well as the community and website I run, Alethya, in 2020. And that kindness and curiosity has to start with, and for, yourself.
Come along to NEXUS, our social, in February to find out more!