Poly Pocket: Solo Poly, Non-duality & Non-heirarchial Dating | Autostraddle

Introducing the second introduction to Poly Pocket, another collection about polyamory! Whenever there areno versions for how you should move through the entire world, its more challenging to move through the globe. There’s really no one right way to complete ethical non-monogamy, as there’s no any right way to do moral monogamy, with no way is much better or even worse than nearly any other, merely better or worse for the people included. Poly Pocket will anyway the methods queer men and women would polyamory: just what it seems like, exactly how we consider this, how it works (or does not), the way it feels, since when you do not have versions you have to make your own. Poly Pocket is opening with more than one post because i really like obtaining meta; after today, choose this series 2 times four weeks.

Zaynab Shahar is actually a queer, black, Muslim (Sufi), excess fat, femme, cis woman living in Chicago. The woman is an educational the@logian and first 12 months doctoral college student on Chicago Theological Seminary, an activist and a creative copywriter. She procedures solo poly.

This meeting is gently modified and condensed.

Carolyn: When did you start to explore polyamory?


We realized about polyamory as an adolescent. We clearly recall watching the first model of

The Moral Whore

at girls & kids very first whenever I was 16 yrs . old. It wasn’t until age 20/21 that I began discovering polyamory for myself personally as a feasible option, reading publications and trying to comprehend it much better. Afterwards I started determining as polyamorous.

The first occasion we began to exercise it actually was my personal elderly season in school. I happened to be having an informal union with another black femme that I happened to be launched to through shared buddies. Both of us had been in a place of not attempting to end up being monogamous, not willing to place brands on what we had been undertaking, and having those conversations by what it could imply for all of us become sexually and/or romantically effective along with other men and women and just how we’d browse safer sex and jealousy.

Carolyn: in which performed those talks lead?


It led to you being able to plan those actions at various times. Approved, it did not usually get well, but we made the effort whenever envy arose to admit it and function with it.

Currently Im alone poly. Personally this implies I don’t have a major spouse nor have always been I matchmaking making use of the goal of placing individuals on a hierarchy of primary/secondary/etc. I am matchmaking numerous individuals have relationships and find out in which it is and not really consider having hierarchy at this time.

“whenever I expect the near future, my interactions play a role however they are neither the sole thing on my horizon range nor the biggest.”

Carolyn: What lured one to a non-heirarchical strategy, in order to solo poly?


I noticed how often within poly society, specially since it really is mainstreaming, hierarchical poly seems like completing the slot machines in a march madness group. I’m it generates a pressure getting a primary and second and complete the rows down-the-line to enable it to be regarded as “legitimate” into the vision of a monogamous principal culture. But there is perhaps not a lot of importance put on in fact getting present in a relationship and creating the abilities needed for that it is healthy. As an example, I’m at this time casually internet dating a person that is truly intent on hierarchal poly but from my personal point of view doesn’t have a working definition of just what it methods to have a healthy/unhealthy connection, and I also’ve seen the bad interactions play out in different ways. At the same time, this person is continually inquiring myself, “whenever can we be ‘official’?” plus in my personal mind the main focus shouldn’t be on rendering it formal before doing that persistence, it ought to be on starting to do this perseverance undergoing observing each other and as part of determining whether you should end up being official in virtually any sense of the phrase.

Today as for unicamente poly, I think that fell into my lap because of the condition of my life. I’m the full time graduate pupil, and that’s very demanding. I’m in addition a full-time coordinator for Third Coast Queer Muslims as well as other various queer trust and liberation focused jobs. With respect to goals I believed the need to prioritize myself personally and my wellbeing over wanting to say “this is certainly my primary, this might be my secondary,” etc. It gives me personally the liberty to accept that at this point with time “deciding all the way down” really isn’t back at my agenda in the way it will be for others. When I expect tomorrow, my personal connections may play a role but are neither the sole thing back at my horizon range nor the greatest. I however see myself as having an academic career, getting a thriving activist plus artist, and achieving people around myself just who support that while finding out how demanding that can be.

Carolyn: You talked about to me before that your poly is actually seriously grounded on anti-oppression praxis. What’s the theory behind that for you personally? So what does it appear to be in practice?


A large number of things discussing polyamory available fail to truly just take oppression seriously as something which influences the opportunity to have several relationships. So when we state my personal poly is actually rooted in anti-oppression praxis, I’m stating i do want to be mindful of the way internet dating someone else might visit forms of oppression on me personally or the way I’m capable of that to some other individual.

As an example, among the many people I’m casually dating is actually younger than myself. I try to continuously know about just how age is actually a type of energy that may be wielded oppressively. You will find seniors just who date more youthful folx for epically predatory reasons, specially to manipulate and manage all of them, bridegroom all of them to the ideal submissive lover. And when I think of my poly getting grounded on anti-oppression praxis I think of just how Thich Nhat Hanh really claims that part of understanding and eradicating oppression is acknowledging the possibility everybody has becoming oppressive.

May possibly not reveal exactly in the same manner over the same axis of energy, but becoming an individual who experiences oppression doesn’t exempt me from understanding how those activities arrive within my behavior and learning to alter that. Thus yeah, I would like to awake each morning and believe I’m not one of those seniors whom dates more youthful folx to be manipulative. In purchase to achieve that I actually need certainly to understand how that manipulation can display up and continuously check me, think on my actions, and stay accountable for what exactly we state and do.

Carolyn: think about definitely a struggle? How about it excites you?


It’s difficult because I live in a personal justice world, and that I come across so many folx whom genuinely believe that just because they browse the correct things and say the best issues that they determine what anti-oppressive interactions resemble and as a consequence do not have to do any work. I have dated people, largely male black colored ladies and females of color, who thought just because we had been both women there was clearly no significance of them to check their femmephobia, internalized misogyny or patriarchy at door. I’ve ended relationships because those lovers were not willing to perform some work essential to make me feel secure as a black femme around the relationship. So it is some loneliness involved in locating those who understand that in case the anti-oppression praxis is for the streets however into the sheets, chances are you’re not necessarily about that existence.

What is exciting in my experience is the brand new amounts of queer intellectual and/or praxis creation being done to combat these specific things. There was no

The Revolution Begins yourself


Discovering Great Consent

once I was at emotionally abusive and poisonous connections as a teen. The one and only thing available to me personally ended up being the entire “mums the phrase” because people don’t desire the “dirty washing” of interpersonal assault to tarnish attempts for relationship equality. We addressed becoming psychologically abused, becoming stalked, getting gaslit alone. Therefore I’m thrilled to find out that men and women are frustrated enough to air the dirty washing very loudly that individuals can not help but notice it. And I like to be the cause in besides airing the filthy laundry but obtaining the talks about healthier non-monogamous/polyamorous interactions, specifically from a queer black feminist lens.

Carolyn: embracing those healthier connections: what-for you is key to carrying out that actually work and achieving those discussions within interactions?


The main element for my situation has talks about concrete meanings and praxis. As a scholastic, I don’t believe every person who is checking out my personal writing recognizes all of the things I’m saying. Subsequently claiming the phrase “consent” or “healthy union” indicates drastically various things to several men and women. Therefore it means in fact sitting yourself down and locating an operating concept of permission that works for both people, and understanding that it will develop while we grow and our requirements modification. It means becoming prepared to discuss methods with one another locate provided vocabulary very mutual and individual requirements tends to be satisfied.

Like I am not above having folks read whole books if that is what must be done. We sent my personal younger lover a hyperlink to

Learning Good Consent

. I consistently inform people who find themselves not used to poly to read Franklin Veaux’s

Over Two

. And
the critical polyamorist
is regarded as my personal favorite blogs without doubt.

“Not bending into change is like looking at your own house even though it’s unstoppable.”

Carolyn: Within your relationships, how can you negotiate conflict? How can you negotiate change?


Conflict is an activity typically handled through discussion. Change for me is something i need to lean into because I’m not good with it. So when things change rapidly I don’t always answer really, and so I’m trying to get much better at conference it where really.

It is hard. Yet not tilting into change is like looking at home whilst it’s unstoppable. Looking at it burning doesn’t put out the flame. The work of putting from fire is not just to end it, but i believe element of its acknowledging exactly what used to be no longer is in the manner you’re accustomed.

Carolyn: which is these types of the best way to place it! What are the strategies within/around your own relationships that you’d choose to go over? Many people get actually excited about ical, like.


I do believe text messages are my electronic logistic as we say. I but to accept calendars, and I also think is because of having long-term discomfort and absolutely nothing for me actually getting occur stone. I am able to create ideas ahead of time, however if I’m having a flare up after that all bets tend to be off. Consequently, I enjoy carving out time to me, thus I’m reluctant to say “Tuesday is actually lover number 1’s time” or some shit like this ’cause I don’t know the way I’m going to believe Tuesday.

Carolyn: How might polyamory purpose within your understanding of your self?


I am not sure this does indeed. I’m not one particular individuals who believes poly could be the ultimate phrase of queerness or radicalism. I’m poly as the looked at becoming monogamous sets us to sleep.

“The collective narrative around Muslims in society is we are monotheistic and dualistic. But I’m not, and therefore is often reflected in how I exude my trust and my polyamory training at the same time.”

I shall say, i actually do consider becoming poly is a huge phrase of my personal trust. I’m a Sufi dervish, I am much believer in non-duality, basically having a lot more a both/and viewpoint passages either/or viewpoint on God and theology. Which means you’ll never ever catch me personally stating “There’s singular Jesus.” I’m a bit more of “There’s God, and then there is Buddha, Spirit, the Orishas, some goddesses many other activities I’ve yet to encounter, and they’re all similarly meaningful in broadening our very own view of the world therefore the globe we live in.” We recognize that’s a rather non-traditional view for a Muslim to put on, specially considering that the collective narrative around Muslims in culture would be that we are monotheistic and dualistic. But I am not, and therefore tends to be reflected in how I exhibit my personal belief and my personal polyamory rehearse aswell.

So the method we find it, becoming polyamorous has reached instances many honest phrase to be a believer in non-duality the@logies available to choose from. It means “i will date you, therefore, and perhaps actually you and there is no contradiction personally” in the same way I can see the Qu’ran, zen koans or books on witchcraft and discover meaning throughout of these because they are, from customs and localities they emerge from.

Carolyn: You mentioned above that academia, activism and artwork are usually the greatest components of your life beingshown to people there. In terms of interactions, what exactly do you prefer your future to check like? Exactly what sight could you be working towards or dreaming about?


In my best world, my personal futuristic poly utopia, I want to have an off-the-grid metropolitan farm that supports the intervals of my life in which I want to live solo but accommodate associates who want to accept myself, whether forever or the time of the relationship. I’d love to have live-in associates down the road, because I want to increase young ones in a radically environmentally friendly poly homestead.

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