Jessica, a young woman around thirty, started a blog two years ago, calling it Polyamory on Purpose. The blog addresses many life problems encountered by poly families, including such matters as living arrangements, safer sex, pregnancy, raising children and legal matters. She is working on a book series covering each of these issues in depth; the first book release, addressing pregnancy issues, was celebrated during the conference.
I attended her workshop on Purposeful Polyamory Friday afternoon. It was immediately obvious that she was distraught and unable to maintain the flow of her presentation. People began walking out of the room. They should not have.
Jessica abandoned her presentation and asked the remaining attendees for permission to tell a story. The few of us remaining gave her a resounding show of support with an affirmative response. She began by saying that her two relationships lacked purpose and within a brief time, first one partner, then the other left her. She blamed herself for the lack of purpose, and while not defined, I took purpose to mean direction and focus. Instead, her relationships drifted like leaves in the wind, and absent purpose, they were lost.
As if this was not bad enough, her dumbass parents sued for custody of her three children, which was awarded to them by a dumbass judge. There is still hope as she has another custody hearing next month, hopefully in front of a judge who understands his or her job absent moralistic judgment and infringement. I pray her children are returned to her.
Jessica fought through her emotional anguish and completed her story. This required courage, as her instinct could easily have been to run out of the room. The story was gut-wrenching to tell and gut-wrenching to hear. Yet, her story is important and deserves telling. It speaks to an intolerant society where only a cultural normative family (as in a family consisting of one man, one woman and 2.5 children) is relevant. Families outside of this cultural norm are at risk of losing jobs and even custody of their children. Sadly, Jessica is only one example of this tragedy.
Upon returning home, I sent an email to Jessica, thanking her for her courage and inspiration. Nothing drives home a point like a real life example, and her story was a reminder to always work hard on relationships and to take nothing for granted. Purposeful couple-hood is hard enough; purposeful polyamory is much harder.