Friday, July 4, 2008

Here's to the Freedom to Have Our Cake and Eat It, Too!

It's the 4th of July, and I've been thinking about freedom and independence from a variety of perspectives. One of them is that of someone who believes in the freedom to love more than one. It's a point of view that begins with an independent spirit, even in the face of much public condemnation.

Over the last month or so ever since Jenny Block's book came out, I've been doing a fair amount of responding to negative comments to her columns on open relationships on the Huffington Post and Tango websites. As is very commonly heard and read online wherever controversy over polyamory exists, her critics often accuse her of wanting to have her cake and eat it, too. This accusation is always made in a tone of snide consternation.

I am bemused when this happens. I understand that polyamory makes a lot of people uncomfortable, and why. Yet this one particular comment stands out to me every time it is made.

What I want to say in response, but feel it unwise to, is, "And your point is?" Sarcasm is a bad means of effective communication and usually makes things worse. But really, my point is, what's wrong with that?

Another accusation along the same lines is "You just want to have it both ways." Both these assertions are made in irritation, if not outright anger, and seem to come from a place that says, "The rest of us are playing by the rules. We'd like it that way, too, but it's wrong."

What's wrong with people sharing love and intimacy and building intentional families that provide love, support and other resources for both children and adults that would not otherwise be unavailable? The truth for more and more polyamorists every day is, nothing, nothing at all. As long as no one is discriminating against us and targeting us with words of hate - and if they are, that's a wrong for which they bear responsibility - we just want to be left to live our lives in a way that works better for us.

We polyamorists refuse to believe we can't have it both ways. We believe and know just the opposite is true. We are indeed HAVING OUR CAKE AND EATING IT, TOO. We are gleefully, joyfully having it both ways with no regrets. We invite all with the courage and vision to examine their societally programmed beliefs to do so. Maybe they'll decide monogamy is right for them regardless, and that's OK. Others are welcome to join us in exploring other valid and ethical ways of living a life of abundant joy and love.


Cat said...

Like you, Anita, I have heard this comment many times. My response has been, "No. I don't want to have my cake and eat it too. But sometimes I want two pieces of cake...or a piece of cake and a piece of pie."

Anita Wagner said...

Good one - I like it!

Wife said...

I always wondered what the point of having a cake was if not to eat it.