Years ago, several of my partners and I taught a class about kink and polyamory, for a kink group in Roanoke, Virginia.
One of the cooler things we did was a sort of visual food metaphor I call Poly Spaghetti.
Here's how you do it.
You get a bunch of people from the audience to hold different colors of rope, one at each end. So you might have, say, Fred hold Rita's orange rope, because he's her daddy. She on the other hand, is holding both that orange rope, as well as a blue one, linking her with Nancy, who is her slave. Nancy in turn has Rita's blue rope, and a green one linking her to Norbert, her lover, and another going to Dave, her baby. Dave is considering sharing a rope with Fred.
Sounds awfully confusing right? Let me help by asking some important questions:
Let's say that Nancy, from the example above, has a terrible day at work, takes a sick day, and has to then go into work over the weekend to finish a project, meaning she has to skip dinner with Fred and Rita, can't meet Norbert for coffee, and is going to need Dave to change his own diaper when he wakes up Saturday morning.
Who is affected by Nancy's actions? Who is she accountable to?
The answers are:
Everyone Nancy has emotional ties to, or plans with are affected by her actions and choices.
She's ultimately accountable to (and responsible for) herself.
Power exchange, dominance and submission, and kink can make these waters seem awfully muddy sometimes. But in the end, good healthy relationships start with good emotional health and well-being for oneself.
Which is why this morning, many years later, I have an addendum to the poly spaghetti.
I am the sauce of my own happiness.
I'll throw myself under the bus for my own poly example. I'm down at my partner Maya's house. She's very not a morning person. Neither is my wife, Missy. I made the very sensible choice of not in-person or remotely-via-technology trying to wake them up. What I did do was greet my partner Squee over Skype (who also wasn't up yet, but she actually wants me to do this), catch up my blog, and hang out with the lovely folks over in the Big Little Podcast slack.
Later, when Squee was up, we connected and affectionately noodled with one another, and it felt great. I feel wonderfully content, and emotionally self-regulated.
Man, this is some good sauce.