How we move along the exclusivity spectrum

How we move along the exclusivity spectrum

Has your experience of relationship exclusivity (monogamy and non-monogamy, but also types of exclusivity within either monogamous or non-monogamous relationships) shifted multiple times?

Would you like to talk about it?

I’m putting together the beginning of a narrative project on this topic, and will be scheduling one group conversation and up to 5 individual conversations between now and November 15.

Depending on how these conversations go and whether there is interest, I will be organizing a six-week narrative practice group where we can explore and re-story our experiences of changing relationship structures. This group will be scheduled for the new year.

My goal is to better understand how people experience fluidity in relationship structure preference over time. I think that within polyamorous spaces there is often the idea that there is an ideal (and linear) trajectory from monogamy to a specific form of polyamory.

I’m interested in talking about this, especially since I think for folks who have a different trajectory (such as returning to exclusivity, or having relationship structure preference expand and then contract, or preferring exclusivity in one area of a relationship even if there is non-exclusivity in another), there can be feelings of shame or failure attached to this.

If this sounds interesting to you, let me know! Email me at sostarselfcare @ gmail, and watch this space for the group conversation information.

Editing to add: The group conversation has been scheduled for November 7 from 11-12:30 mountain time, and will be hosted on Zoom. Contact me for registration info!

Creating a justice-informed DBT resource: Call for participants

Creating a justice-informed DBT resource: Call for participants

The BPD Superpowers group has set our sights on an important new project, and we’re launching it in May for BPD Awareness Month!

We want to create an accessible DBT resource that is informed by our deeply held values of disability justice rather than ableism, decolonization rather than colonialism, collective action rather than individualism, and neurodiversity rather than pathology.

We recognize that DBT has been an incredibly helpful framework and set of skills for so many folks, many of whom identify with borderline personality disorder (and many who don’t!). We also recognize that many of the existing resources and many of the established ways of teaching the skills are ableist, individualist, and expensive, which means it has often been most accessible to white folks with financial privilege. In this project, we hope to honour what is valuable about this set of skills, and stand against what has been harmful.

Does this sound like a project you would like to be involved in?

Have you had experience with DBT resources, either through group or individual therapy, or self-directed using books or other resources?

We would love to hear from you!

Please note: Although this project is going ahead, the scheduled community conversations are going to be postponed. Individual conversations can still be arranged, and community conversations will be rescheduled.

We will be hosting two facilitated community conversations, through Zoom, in May.

Register to attend below:

Register for May 15, 1-2:30 pm Mountain time.

Register for May 18, 5-6:30 pm Mountain time.

If neither of these times work for you and you would like to be involved, email Tiffany to set up an individual conversation.


If you do not have lived experience with accessing DBT resources, but you do want to be involved in our BPD Awareness Month events, you can join us for a webinar on the topic of Distress Tolerance: Stories, Skills, and Strategies for Hard Times on May 22 from 1-2:30 pm Mountain time. Register for the zoom link, or read more about the webinar here.


Find more from the BPD Superpowers group

Zine: A Warrior Princess call for contributions

Zine: A Warrior Princess call for contributions

Image is a person sitting on a couch, watching tv. On the tv is a stick figure with the quote, “That’s what friends do, they stand by each other when there’s trouble. – Gabrielle.” Beside the tv is the name of the project, Zine: A Warrior Princess. The quote is from the show Xena: Warrior Princess, spoken by the character Gabrielle.

IMPORTANT NOTE! The deadline for submissions has been extended until there are enough to create the zine – hopefully end of July, 2020. The submissions that have come in so far are absolutely gorgeous. Be part of this project! Submissions so far include writing about Final Fantasy, Groot, and the musical episode of Buffy, Once More With Feeling. So good!

I’m ready to start working on my next zine project!

This one has the potential to be a little lighter, a little more playful. 

This zine is about how pop culture is getting us through this time.

What is this zine about?

It’s about the lessons we’ve learned from our favourite tv shows, movies, comics, and books. It’s about how pop culture can invite us into an alternate world, and how these worlds have been safe and comforting spaces for us for many years.

It’s about the archetypes in the Princess Bride allowing us to see ourselves in a playful and generous light.

It’s about Buffy surviving a new apocalypse every season, and what hope that might offer for us as we face this particular apocalypse.

It’s about Steven Universe and She-Ra and Aang and Korra and Kipo and The Magicians and Elle Woods and Kamala Khan and Miles Morales and America Chavez and Kimberly Kane and Starbuck and Furiosa and Marge Gunderson and Elastica and Zoe Washburne and Veronica Mars and Minerva McGonagall and River Song and The Doctor and Jane Eyre and Phryne Fisher and Jo March and Alexander Hamilton (and Eliiiiiiiiiiiiiza) and Fem Shep and so many others, and it’s about how these characters, and the worlds they inhabit, the worlds they invite us into, make it more possible for us to get through the pandemic.

It’s also about pop culture personalities and how we navigate our relationships with celebrity (of whatever magnitude) in ways that make it more possible to get through the pandemic.

Prompts to get you started

What shows/books/comics/characters/etc are getting you through?

How?

Are you re-engaging with old favourites or discovering new ones?

What are the gifts of these pop culture offerings? What skills have they taught you? What values have they nurtured in you? What hopes have they sparked? What comfort have they offered?

Where did you discover them? Does appreciation of these characters or worlds or creators connect you to a community?

Do you share these shows, books, characters with others?

What have they made possible in your life?

What have they made possible in your pandemic life?

I think this will be a fun project and I’m really excited about it!

When and how to submit

I’ll be accepting submissions until the end of June, and hoping to share the zine by the end of July.

Send submissions by email.

Art, poetry, fiction, and essays welcome!

Succulent zine call for contributions

Succulent zine call for contributions

Call for contributors!

After writing an update to my patreon supporters yesterday, wondering whether we could do some kind of small collective document or zine, I decided that, yes, I do want to do a little zine about how we are handling covid19.

I haven’t made a zine in a little while, and this is a pretty big issue that has lots of us worried and in our feelings. In my experience, writing and co-creating something can help us alchemize those big and overwhelming feelings into something that feels possible, into paths forward.

I love the comic about how we are basically houseplants with complicated feelings, and it got me thinking about how isolation means we need to be succulents, able to survive and thrive in conditions of scarcity and intensity, and how fear also turns out lives into deserts, and how precarity does the same.

So I thought we could use that metaphor, and make a little zine about what gets us through, and how we get each other through.

What are our skills of survival?

What are our strategies of mutual aid and collective action and care?

How are we keeping ourselves going, and what can we teach each other?

Many of us are in communities with generations-long histories of succulent lives in deserts of ableism, transantagonism, queerphobia, colonialism, white supremacy. Oppressed and targeted communities know the way forward.

If you’d like to write something about how you’re feeling about the news, the health guidelines, the government response, your own experiences of isolation as a result of disability or illness that were not accommodated and how this has given you insider insight into what gets you through… let me know!

I won’t be hosting an in-person narrative conversation about this (because social distancing is what we’re supposed to do!) but I was thinking that maybe we could host an online narrative chat about it, and turn that into part of this collective document.

Let me know if you would be interested in that, too.

Send your submissions to sostarselfcare@gmail.com. Please send your submissions by April 10, 2020.

Despite the hostile ground: collective project

Despite the hostile ground: collective project

This new project, which will become a zine or a collective document of some sort, is inspired by a community member who wanted to create a “map” of all the women and non-binary folks who have managed to live a life they want despite not having family support, and despite dealing with the fear and uncertainty that can come with acute illness and chronic pain.

This project reflects our collaborative desire to make this “map” possible – to bring together stories that will show some of the many ways forward through the compounded hardships of unsupportive family and what we might call “body problems” – illness and pain, but also the problems that can be invited into someone’s life by having a body that is deemed unacceptable in our ableist, fatphobic, transantagonistic, white supremacist culture.

We are looking at these factors together because there is often an expectation of family support in many of our cultures. When we fall on hard times, we are often advised turn to family. When we get sick, family is often expected to be there for us. Although we recognize that family is not always there, there’s still this dominant narrative that they will be, or at least that they should be. And when they aren’t, it can leave us feeling isolated, vulnerable, questioning our own value and our place in the world. Experiences of rejection, dismissal, or an absence of support can stay with us for a long time.

We are looking for stories from trans and cis women, non-binary folks, intersex folks, and trans men who have experienced an unsupportive family of origin paired with body problems, and who have continued to live a badass life despite these compounding factors.

(Although cis men also experience these compounding factors, and their experiences are valid and worth listening to, in this project we are also interested in the particular ways in which misogyny and sexism, which are experienced by anyone who is not a cis man, intersect with these experiences. If you are a cis man and want to share your story of experiencing these compounding hardships of unsupportive family and body problems, please reach out to me – I am happy to create a supplementary zine, or a section within this project! But the initial project is focused on non-men because this is an important part of the original context.)

These stories will be collected and turned into a small zine or collective document, and we hope that this resource will offer some hope for folks in this position, including the community member who inspired this project!

When we then also experience body problems, particularly body problems that impact our ability to find employment, to engage in cherished hobbies or activities, or to access social spaces and support, the lack of family support can become even more difficult to deal with. This is particularly true in contexts where the social support net is being eroded – where welfare, assisted living, disability pensions, income support, housing support, and other supports are difficult to access or not adequate to support our lives.

And yet, we know that people get through these hardships.

We know that there are disabled folks with no family support who are living rich and precious lives.

We know that there are so many people who have experienced these hardships and gone on to be successful on their own terms.

We want to collect those stories.

We want to pull those threads of hope together, and weave a safety net of stories for people who don’t yet see the way through to a life that feels possible.


You are welcome to write whatever feels right for you, and we welcome poetry, essays, art, creative non-fiction, or whatever format works for you. The length of the piece can be flexible, but ideally not more than 750-ish words.

If you would like help with the writing, get in touch with me and we can arrange an interview and I can help write up your story.

We hope to make this project available in early 2020, so please send in your contributions by mid-December.

If you would like some prompts to guide your writing, consider:

  • What does your culture tell you about how families should treat each other?
  • What had you hoped to receive in terms of support from your family?
  • What do you think that families should offer to each other?
  • What does this say about what you value in family relationships? (Care, support, being there for each other, etc.)
  • How did you learn to value this, and how have you held onto this value despite hard times?
  • Is there anyone in your life, past or present, who knows that you value this kind of supportive relationship?
  • Have you been able to find this kind of support in other relationships?
  • What have you held onto as you get through the times of feeling unsupported by family?
  • How have you navigated the body problems that have been present in your life?
  • Is there anyone in your life who has supported you in getting through these body problems?
  • What do you cherish about your life now?
  • What has made it possible for you to get to a life that you want to live?
  • Is there anything that you would want other people who are dealing with unsupportive families and body problems to know?
I didn’t think it would be like this: a zine about politics

I didn’t think it would be like this: a zine about politics

The other day I responded to a post about politics and said:

I feel like the last couple years have really pushed me away from the faith I had in electoral politics, and there are times when I feel so much grief for losing that thread of hope. Most of the time I am thankful, because letting go of that opens up space to do other things and to imagine other ways of making change, but sometimes it does feel like a loss, and it is a feeling of grief.

Hmm.

Maybe there needs to be a little collective narrative projects for newly disillusioned folks to talk about this grief, which really doesn’t have a lot of space for expression.

Well, here is that little collective narrative project!

Over the next few weeks (until November 8), I’ll be collecting stories about our feelings about politics in 2019.

Submit your piece of poetry, art, or non-fiction by emailing me at sostarselfcare@gmail.com. Submissions will ideally not be more than 1000 words, but, as with all of these projects, I’m flexible.

If you are struggling with how to express your feelings or what to write, there are a few options. You can get in touch with me and we can have a chat that will hopefully help you clarify what you want to express, or you can use the following narrative questions to guide your writing:

  • When you think about the current state of electoral politics, what are the feelings that are evoked?
  • Are these feelings the same, similar, or not at all similar to feelings that you used to have about electoral politics?
  • If your feelings have changed, do you remember a specific experience or story that contributed to this change?
  • What do you miss about your earlier feelings, if there has been a change?
  • Do you have a sense of grief or disillusionment?
  • What are you grieving?
  • What feels like it is lost or more distant?
  • Do you have a sense of what you wish or hope that electoral politics could be like?
  • What does this hope say about what you value?
  • Where does this hope come from – are there particular political histories or thinkers who have inspired and nurtured this hope?
  • What do you hold onto when difficult feelings about politics arise for you? What, or who, keeps you going?
  • What are the actions that you are taking in your life that align with your hopes and values?
  • Have you ever had a moment of realizing the elected officials or the institutions of power were not responding in alignment with your values, and taking some kind of action? This action may be as small as reaching out to an LGBTQIA2+ friend when legislation threatens our safety, or it may be something like reading the 291 Calls to Justice in the MMIWG Final Report, or getting involved in community organizing and protests. People are never passive recipients of harm and trauma, and I would like to include stories of response in this zine!

My hope is that, regardless of the outcome of the Canadian federal election that is happening today, this zine will bring together stories of how we are continuing to do work in our communities, how we are continuing to hold onto our values despite our feelings of disillusionment and grief over the state of politics. I hope that it will bring our voices together, and give us a sense of how we can move forward together, organizing together, supporting each other, doing the work of responding to the problems in our lives regardless of the politicians who hold so much power (and the corporations who hold even more).

I’m looking forward to your contribution!

(Although this zine is inspired by the Canadian federal election, contributions are welcome from anyone. These feelings about politics span so many spaces.)