Douglas Spencer (dougs) wrote,
Douglas Spencer
dougs

Five Words Meme

Here's the plan:
Reply to this meme by yelling "Words!" and I will give you five words/phrases that remind me of you. Then post them in your LJ and explain what they mean to you.

The purple_peril gave me "Freemasonry, words, rope, polyamory, being there for me".

Freemasonry
I got into Freemasonry in April 1994, which means I've been a Freemason for just over fifteen years. Besides the Lodge meetings, there are other events -- days out, festivals, Ladies Nights -- and in between all these fun and games we somehow manage to raise over £5,000,000 to pass on via the Grand Charity in grants for other non-Masonic charities, in addition to a similar sum sent to local charities directly from Lodges and Provinces. The Lodge meetings are a little like amateur-dramatic morality plays, except that the person playing the central character hasn't had sight of the script. As the book says: "What is Freemasonry?" -- "A peculiar system of morality, veiled in allegory and illustrated by symbols." In this way we impress on each new candidate for Freemasonry the principles on which the order is founded: brotherly love, relief, and truth.
Keep an eye out to see if a Lodge local to you is having a "White Table" meeting -- a meeting open to non-Masons, at which you can have a look around a Masonic temple and find out a little more.

Or visit the website of the United Grand Lodge of England.


Words
Words are my key technique for making sense of the world. I've got the sort of memory which works best with words: if I need to remember something -- a set of directions, a recipe, a shopping list -- then I capture it in words and it's much more likely to stick. Some people fix things visually into a sort of virtual mental landscape in order to remember them, but that never worked for me. Words are the thing.
Words are my key technique for handling the world. If I have to demonstrate, I do it with words. If I have to persuade, I do it with words. If I have to fight, I do it with words. I can achieve more with words than I ever could with dexterity, with powerpoint, or with fists.
Finally, and crucially, words are my key technique for dealing with myself. I was once described as "fabulously introspective", around the time when I was dealing with a bad bout of depression by wrapping my mindstate into something I could make sense of, something I could handle, something I could demonstrate/persuade/fight... wrapping it in words. For me, it's the only technique that ever really works.

Two hundred words, and I haven't even started on poetry yet. Maybe in another post.


Rope
Cheaper than leather, more comfortable than metal... and easier to work with and more adjustable than either. I really like working in rope. It's extremely versatile, it's relatively quick, and (assuming that you're working with a person and not, for example, a boat) it's so deliciously personal.
It's also very portable, quite easily available, and at a price that means you're not going to break your heart if you have to cut it rather than untying it.

Also, you can do things with rope even when you don't have any.


Polyamory
Polyamory is bad and wrong. No-one should put a Greek prefix with a Latin suffix.
Ah. Oh.
[I'm assuming readers know what this is: new readers might like to start here, and continue here and here. Be aware that everyone's different and no individual's experience is a complete guide to how it might be for someone else.]
Long long time ago, I grew up in a family where same-sex relationships ... ummm ... well, they weren't deprecated. My mother's boss, a local church organist, school staff, school friends... nothing like that was strange, or sinister, or "other". Which I now understand wasn't perhaps the majority position in the 1970s. And it was in this environment that I stumbled upon, and devoured, the works of Robert A Heinlein, featuring other relationship models that were non-mainstream, but treated as unremarkable.
My first partner wasn't with me exclusively, but I didn't find it odd and didn't mind. Later I had (separately) a second partner, and it's hard to believe that I was the only person they had an interest in, although it didn't last long enough for me to find out. Here's the thing: I think I just don't get the whole jealousy thing, and it really didn't occur to me that some people really did. And then, in due time, I came to be with my third partner, Anne, and I was with her for over ten years.
Four or five years into my relationship with Anne, someone else started coming to conventions. And I looked, and I nudged Anne, and pointed, and said something like "mmm, that looks nice" -- and it became very evident indeed that some people knew exactly how to do jealousy, and it was really very baffling to me. It still is.
A while after Anne died, I took up with Susan, and that was very long distance, and very intermittent, and there were other gaps in the relationship... so we appointed a third party who helped us both out somewhat, and it worked out okay.
After Susan died, and after something brief with someone else, I took up with Julia. That's obviously working very nicely, but it was evident that the aforementioned third party wasn't able to fit in with the new arrangement and things are much better with just the two of us.

So I suppose I identify as a potentially-poly person very happily in a mono relationship.

Being there for me
See, there's a half-dozen other people out there who have said something very similar, and it's another of the very many things I find completely baffling. People talk to me about stuff, and if it's something I know about (depression, bereavement, joint pain) then I do the "me too" thing. And other than that, it's just the "being there" bit, which really isn't rocket science -- and listening when someone's got something they need to talk about seems to me just to be normal human behaviour.

Go me. Or something.
Tags: about me
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