Questions courtesy of bouncepogo
1. When did you first learn about the idea of polyamory and recognize it in yourself?
I was actively poly by age 13 or so, in high school. I didn’t have a name for it, but was part of a group of friends who all “dated” each other. I’d read some Heinlein by then, but I don’t think we got the idea from him. It was just the natural outgrowth of 3 girls and 10 or so guys who were more friends than anything else wanting to stop hurting each other as was inevitable when we a particular couple was “going together.” No sex (that I knew of), pretty much everything but sex. And definitely no same-sex involvement, ever.
I didn’t meet adults who were actually living anything but monogamy or serial monogamy until 1987, after my first divorce. A co-worker and his wife had an open marriage. I didn’t run across the actual word “polyamory” until the early 90s, online.
2. Have you always homeschooled, or has Katie attended any “traditional” schools?
I wanted to homeschool before I even had a child, and Wayne agreed to that before we got married. We separated before she was two, though, and he changed his mind. So she began at public school, although both of us were always very involved and did a lot of outside stuff with her from the time she was born. He died in November 1999. She finished third grade in public school but missed a lot due to health problems. We started homeschooling full-time that summer and have done so ever since.
3. I’ve been interested in attending a UU service. Give me some reasons why you think I should. (I grew up with a Catholic background.)
Why have you been interested? Honestly, UU services vary greatly from congregation to congregation. And sometimes they’ll vary wildly from one week to the next in a single congregation! So I would recommend investigating the congregations near you and trying any that are within a reasonable distance and going to each several times before you make any judgments. A friend of mine attended one service in California with her husband’s grandmother and decided it was “too weird.” She has refused to have anything to do with it since or consider visiting a local congregation.
Also, Unitarian Universalism is a very “roll-your-own” kind of faith. If you want something, you usually have to step up and get involved to make it happen. It might be a good choir, a women’s spirituality class, youth activities, or a CUUPs (pagan) group—but if members don’t make it happen consistently, it simply will not happen. We tend to have very few paid staff members in our congregations, and far more lay-led activities. People who want to simply show up and attend X or Y don’t generally like UU congregations.
I happen to enjoy the fact that our congregations are usually pretty eclectic. The congregation that I felt most part of had a very even balance of physical, mental, and spiritual activities on its calendar—Tai Chi, yoga, chess, writer’s groups, drum circles, etc. I need a spiritual community that doesn’t ask me to turn off my intellect, and Unitarian Universalism does provide that.
I do get annoyed with some of the politics. UU congregations are usually very involved in “social justice” programs—community service with a political bent. I’m all for community service, but I’m not a liberal/socialist Democrat and I don’t like some of the assumptions people make about my politics because I’m UU. I find it very important to speak up and make it clear that no, everyone in the congregation is NOT in favor of gun control or against capital punishment or capitalism or whatever the topic of the moment is.
4. When did you begin to experience rheumatoid pain, and did it take very long for it to get diagnosed as such?
I don’t officially have rheumatoid arthritis, but osteoarthritis. (Some of the lab tests I had last week make it look like I may have RA now, but I haven’t been able to talk to my doctor about them yet.) I’ve lost two inches in height due to bone deterioration, so I’m only 5′7″ now (I just learned that a few months ago). Arthritis started in 9th grade (age 13 again!) in my knees and has gotten steadily worse since then—it’s a family trait on Daddy’s side. Now there’s deterioration pretty much everywhere—hands, feet, neck, you name it, but the worst is in my hips and knees.
Fibromyalgia is really what makes the pain so bad. As one expert says, “FMS is a sensitivity-amplification syndrome.” While it isn’t supposed to be a degenerative disease (one that gets worse over time), arthritis is. So the FMS makes the pain from arthritis worse, and there is degeneration overall. Fibromyalgia was formally diagnosed by a rheumatologist in 1999 or so, but a general practice doctor had actually used that diagnosis for symptoms I had in the early 90s.
5. What is your major in school, and what do you hope to do with your degree?
I’m seeking a “Bachelor of Science in Technical and Professional Communication.” I want to be a technical writer. I’ve worked as one before and it was my favorite job, ever. I’m the only person I know of with a favorite technical writer (Woody Leonhard). The first time I saw any documentation related to computers, probably when Daddy got a TRS-80 in the late 70s, I thought, “Damn, this sucks. I could do better than this.” Daddy challenged me to do it, and I did. So after I realized that I really hated being an English major and deconstructing other people’s writing in an intellectual circle-jerk, I remembered that and decided that’s what I wanted to do.