Categories
Polyamory

Polya and Polyam Are The New Poly Terms

Every once in a while, topics will circle back around in Polyamorous groups. Usually when there’s an influx of new people, either to the area or to ethical non-monogamy (ENM). Recently, one of these topics was about the terms we use. For those of us identifying as polyamorous, should we use poly, polya, or polyam when we want to shorten it? On this blog, I try to stick with polyamorous, just to avoid any confusion. But I’m not perfect and some shortened versions slip through.

It can be surprising to see the debate that crops up over a few letters. But debate they do. And sometimes it gets heated.

Poly vs. Polya or Polyam

So what is the debate exactly? Well, it seems to have started with a post on tumblr from someone in the community suggesting that the use of “poly” was muddying the waters for those identifying as of Polynesian descent. Someone else, after hearing about this, wrote their own thoughts on it and shared a suggestion they had come across: out of respect for the Polynesian community, polyamorous folx should try to update our language to say polya or polyam instead.

Simple enough, right? Lines were quickly drawn though. On one side were those of us who think we should listen when BIPOC speak up and tell us how to be better allies. On other side are multiple reasons for not adjusting the language used. They range from cries of white saviorism to shouts of how “Polynesian” itself was no longer accurate.

Where I stand

If you weren’t sure, I fall into camp #1. BIPOC voices should be heard on all things that affect them and their cultures. And the world should respect what they have to say. Doesn’t matter if it’s one person or a whole community. If they ask us to stop using certain language because it hurts them in any way, then we all need to adjust.

I truly strive to see the good in humanity all around. I enjoy my rose-colored glasses, thank you. So it’s a little disheartening when I see polyamorous circles debate something like this. We are a marginalized community. We face many unflattering stereotypes. Many of us often have to hide that part of our lives from family and coworkers. We should be willing to embrace the words of other marginalized groups, and be better at changing our language when we learn it hurts others.

But we are all human and have vastly different life experiences that lead us to form the beliefs we do. In any community, there will be many different viewpoints. That is what makes it beautiful.

Sound off!

What do you think of changing language to reflect the wishes of marginalized communities? Will you be adjusting yours to reflect what BIPOC voices are saying?

Categories
Family

How Cross Country Friends Became A Happy Poly Family

The year is at its end. And the new one is here. It’s a been a weird, roller coaster of a year. And this last week of it has led to a lot of reflection on how we got here. Lovey and I will be celebrating (God willing) our 16th year together. We will also (God willing) be moving our not so little poly family into a much larger home, where we can all be under the same roof. These are dreams we have had for our entire relationship, though they did look a little more monogamous at the beginning.

A long distance friendship

Lovey and I met 22 years ago through a mutual friend. He was a Senior in High School and I was a lowly Sophomore. And there was an entire country between us. Or three quarters of one, anyway. We were friends, exchanging long distance phone calls and the occasional email. It was one of the first real friendships I had had with a guy.

Over the years, we managed to “meet” one time during our friendship. And it sent my young innocent heart all a flutter. I was sunk from that day on, hopelessly pining away after the older guy that lived oh so very far away. So could you blame me if I secretly hoped whatever relationship he entered during our friendship would sour and fall apart?

Relationships came and went, for both of us. Phone calls and emails were a little more sporadic as time went on as well. We were young adults, coming into our own, and we lived on opposite sides of the country practically. But when we did connect, it was as if the time elapsed was only minutes instead of weeks or months.

A blessing in disguise

And then, finally, the catalyst that started what would be us. An accident put him out of commission for a bit. And so we talked almost daily while he healed. It seems weird to thank God for an accident like his, but I did. And I still do. It slowed him down enough to reevaluate his path and where he wanted to go. Luckily it lead him to me.

Somewhere in those multiple phone calls and emails following the accident, our friendship shifted. A relationship began to grow. And before we knew it, we were sharing I Love Yous and falling asleep talking to each other at night. Several oversized phone bills later and he took the next big step in our budding romance. He jumped on a plane and moved to my town. To my house, specifically.

It was intense. And wonderful. And scary. And the best several months of my short life to that point.

A happy poly family

Before our new relationship had celebrated an anniversary, we were pregnant and engaged. On our second anniversary, we said I Do. Anniversary #3 (or #1 the reboot, depending on how you count) saw us pregnant again. Four years into our relationship we were a happy little family of four.

We’ve had several more anniversaries since. And a lot of ups, and some pretty dark downs. But we are still here, still together, 22 years after those first awkward phone calls. I could never have imagined our life would look the way it does now. Three kids. Five cats. A boyfriend for me. A partner for him. And a dog. Just one happy poly family with some big plans for the future.