Transparency and Trepidation

Relationship wisdom sometimes comes from unexpected places. I got this in my inbox today. Can you guess who wrote it?

We’ve always looked at trying to create a more authentic and transparent relationship with our community, and involving them in our lives to some degree. I talk about my personal life and the important people in it, and that’s because I want people to know me.

I don’t hold back my opinions for fear of being judged or alienating people, because when you hold back who you really are, it’s impossible to create any kind of authentic connection.

You might think words such as these were (electronically) penned on a relationship site, or by a coach or a therapist. Or maybe by someone on the Poly Leadership Network, in support of poly advocacy and education. But no, these words, though I think they are extremely applicable to both relationships in general, and to my own work in particular, were actually written by a fellow named Greg Habstritt, of “Simple Wealth,” a mainstream entrepreneurial coaching site/business. (No, I don’t (yet) have an affiliate relationship with Greg, though I may develop one.  I just think he’s had some smart things to say.)

In the aftermath of last week’s the National Geographic spot* (profiling my friends Dany, Lon, and Troy, collectively known as the MFM triad “The Rabbit Warren”), I’ve gone a little quiet. You see, this kind of exposure is difficult for me (even when I only have a cameo!). Many folks seem to think that it’s easy, or something I long to do, appearing on television or in large broadcast media.  I assure you, it’s the opposite. I was raised in an environment with a huge fear of being bad/wrong (which could bring physical and emotional punishment… with threats of hellfire and damnation!), and a large helping of “what would the neighbors think.”  Past media experience has told me that the neighbors think a lot of things… and most of them are wrong.  When that happens, I have a desire to hide, to go underground, and disappear from the online world. Which, of course, is the exact wrong thing for me to do, in terms of getting my message out, and sharing my experience with other poly and non-monogamous folks. As well as being the wrong thing to do in correcting those false impressions left by the sound-bite laden media. :^/

So today I’m here telling you, transparently, that transparency is a good thing. Not everyone needs to be transparent on the level that Greg Habstritt, The Rabbits, and I are currently practicing, of course.  You don’t have to confess your biggest fears to a public audience. But in polyamory, transparency amongst your partners is nearly essential, in my experience.  After all, if you can’t share the truth about yourself with your closest friends and lovers, then who can you share it with? And if you’re not sharing it with them, then I’d venture a guess that there is no one who truly knows you.  And isn’t that one of the points of living?  To know and be known, and to connect with other humans on a deep level?  I know it is for me.

Last week, my piece on Polyamory: What’s IN and What’s OUT was re-printed over at the Loving More Magazine. In it, I talk about what I consider to be the truly foundational components of polyamory: Multiple, Open, Honest, Consenting, (adult human) Relationships. Transparency–being fully open and honest about who and what you are–is right there in the foundational definition of polyamory, in my opinion. And I think it’s one of the main differences in world-view with how most of our culture practices relationships. Monogamy itself can be a beautiful thing, of course, and I’m not knocking those who have found beautiful, long-lasting and fulfilling one-on-one relationships. But the dishonesty that goes along with the unhealthy version of the “private” view of the world (which is what happens in monogamy’s shadow side, of cheating and “unspoken arrangements”), that’s what concerns me here. It’s what allows us to think that we are separate from one another, and that what one individual does doesn’t matter to another, even in close relationship.  It’s ultimately what allows corporations to fence off public parks in the name of “private property ownership,” in direct conflict with the whole idea of public parks, in my opinion.

One of my friends posted last week that she feels that polyamory (and all forms of open and honest multiple relationship) is one way that some of us in the 99% can help to address the selfishness and greed of the 1% corporate model.  As I have contemplated it since, I have found that to ring true. Polyamory isn’t “the answer” to Wall Street greed of course–there can’t possibly be a single answer to a multifaceted problem. And certainly not everyone in the Occupy movements is polyamorous! But by simply BEING polyamorous ourselves, and by transparently sharing who we are with one another, and with the world (to the degree that it’s safe for each person to do so), we help to shape a new/re-newed way of thinking that places relationship above exploitation, helps to educate others about a different way of being, and fosters transparency and honesty as a foundation of relationship.

I have found it to be true in my life that, to the greater degree that I can be open and honest about who I am and what I’m about, that I find myself happier, less stressed, and with more energy to continue my work. My work here is about sharing what I know about polyamory and other relationships, with those who are interested in trying it out. Being open and honest about myself here, as well as in my individual relationships, is a key component of that. I’ll also share that I’m concerned that in telling you that this IS my work–and that therefore part of what I’m doing here is generating income for myself–will bring judgement on my head. Telling you that is nearly as difficult for me as telling the world about my personal polyamory–and, I think, just about as important.  I’m here to share my wisdom with you, and I do hope that some of you will be inspired to hire me as a coach, and/or to buy products (when I have them!) and services from me. (You can find out more about my work in my Services tab, to the right –>.) But if you never do–if you only utilize what I place here for free–that’s OK too! It’s free for a reason.

For me, sharing the truth about my relationships and life, and sharing my hard-earned experience, is something that drives me strongly enough to write about it here, in a public blog. It’s part of my whole way of being, as a polyamorous person, to be transparent and open, and to connect with a variety of people in a variety of ways. I encourage you to be transparent as well, and to share the truth of yourself with others in your life. If you’re just starting out, please be gentle at first.  Don’t “out” others without their permission, and speak from as centered a place as you are able. Feel free to start out small, and even to stay that way.  Share the truth about how you feel with a partner, or tell someone who’s curious about what polyamory means to you. Big or small, it’s all good.

I’d love to hear from you, as well. How are you going to be transparent today? What community or relationship are you going to foster with your honesty? What’s important to you, so that others can know who you are? If telling the world would be good for you, feel free to comment here, or on my Facebook Page, Love Outside The Box.  And if you’d like to work with me one-on-one (or multiple-on-one!), drop me a line.

I’d honestly love that. 😉

~♥ Dawn

*According to Alan, “The show will re-air January 24 at 10 p.m. Eastern time, according to the National Geographic Channel’s schedule. The schedule shows no further airings through February 12.”


©2012, Dawn M. Davidson



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