What are Zinnia's hobbies?

As a reminder, I’m celebrating 1,000 posts by taking a break from polyamory related questions and taking questions about literally anything else. Submit your non-polyam questions here! You can blacklist the tag “1kcelebration” if you don’t want non-polyamory-related posts on your dash.

What are some hobbies you have? If you have a job, what’s your job?

I write professionally - but not really the fun kind of writing; I write how-to guides and documentation for a tech company. I also work part time at my church, and I am a therapeutic foster parent, which is both “not a job” and totally a job, in the sense that it takes way more than 40 hours a week and uses all my professional and organizational skills. (Foster parents do receive money, but it is not a “salary” for the work that we do, it is intended to cover the costs of meeting the child’s needs.)

As for hobbies, I’ve already talked about playing Pokemon Go and enjoying forum roleplaying and tabletop gaming. In that vein, I also like board games, and I’m huge into Keyforge lately. I also like “solo roleplaying” which is just a silly way of saying “fiction writing” - the writing I do for fun lately is mostly high-fantasy adventures with worlds and characters I’ve created. And I’m just a big internet nerd, so I spend a lot of time goofing around with my friends on tumblr, discord, slack, and other forums I’m part of.

I like crafting, and the main things I do are beadwork and resin pouring. I started learning resin pouring to make Keyforge pieces but also make jewelry. I do alcohol ink techniques as well as “inclusions” - like glitter, stones, dried flowers, etc. It’s an interesting hobby because there’s lots of trial and error and you have to wait 24 hours to see how something came out, so it’s been a serious learning curve for me and it’s made me much less of an anxious perfectionist, which is nice.

I spend at least 3 hours a day driving because being a foster parent means lots of shuttling to and from appointments and other things, so I’m a huge podcast aficionado. Some of my favorites are Reply All, The Nod, Dear Prudence (and other advice podcasts, for “industry research”), RedHanded, Lovett Or Leave It, and Pod Save America.

I also read a lot, though I don’t have much time to read “fun” fiction lately and mostly read books that inform my work at my church or as a foster parent, so books about trauma, community building, youth work, parenting, etc. The last fiction book I read was Where The Crawdads Sing which was amazing and I can’t recommend it enough.

I love to cook and once a week I host a bunch of my friends for dinner. Coming up with weekly variations on large-scale meals, meeting everyone’s dietary needs, and keeping it under my budget is a challenge, but one I really enjoy! I also have 2 pet lizards, and taking care of them is a hobby, I suppose. I like to create healthy, varied meals for them, and to set up their “enrichment tub” with things to explore, climb on, and find to eat.

Perhaps the most “unusual” hobby I have is American Girl Doll collecting and restoring! I loved American Girl as a kid, and realized as an adult I could finally indulge in that! AG dolls are very expensive brand-new, though, so I usually buy damaged ones for a much lower price, and learned how to fix up their limbs, hair, eyes, and vinyl skin. While I grew up with the AG books and love the characters, I always make my dolls into custom OCs (original characters) and write bios and stories for them. Then I take photos of them in various outfits and poses. Because my daily life involves addressing a lot of trauma and challenges, it’s nice to have an escape that’s pure innocence and fun.

Technically, writing this blog is also a hobby! I would love to be able to make it a source of income, and I do have a patreon, but for now it’s just a hobby.

Is it okay that people often de-prioritize non sexual or romantic relationships in favor of sexual or romantic ones?

As a reminder, I’m celebrating 1,000 posts by taking a break from polyamory related questions and taking questions about literally anything else. Submit your non-polyam questions here! You can blacklist the tag “1kcelebration” if you don’t want non-polyamory-related posts on your dash.

I'm curious about your opinion on people putting less effort into their friendships when they are in a relationship than they do when they aren't in one. Do you feel like it's just a thing that people do that we should accept or do you think we should be maintaining effort in our friendships no matter our relationship status? Are there circumstances where it seems ok to you and other circumstances where it doesn't?

(This was sent as a “question not about polyamory,” but it touches on a major cornerstone of my relationship anarchist philosophy, so it ended up being partly on-topic, which makes it off-topic for this week. Oh well!)

I do not think this is appropriate under any circumstances! This is why I’m a strong believer in relationship anarchy. Our culture has a lot of arbitrary and prescribed ‘boxes’ for relationships, which make no sense and are not healthy for people. I believe we would live much healthier lives if we lived in communities where all roles and all relationships are honored and recognized.

It is so odd to me that we are expected to think that “wanting to live with someone,” “wanting to be sexually intimate with someone,” “wanting to share large-scale life projects like making a home and raising children with someone,” and “feeling emotionally connected and intimate with someone” and “sharing hobbies and fun interests with someone” are all supposed to collapse into the same feeling, which we’re only supposed to have for one person! And that we’re supposed to prioritize this magical, all-encompassing relationship over all other ones! Our society is set up to privilege and prioritize romantic relationships - everything from adoption and child custody to health insurance to renting and buying property.

It’s nonsense. And it’s dangerous - the “nuclear family” model keeps people isolated, puts vulnerable people at a higher risk for abuse, and it isn’t how humans evolved to live. Conflating sexual interest with romantic interest with lifelong commitment creates patterns of misplaced loyalty, where people will protect a sexual-romantic relationship at all costs, even their own happiness, safety, or other relationships. It also does a disservice to deeply intimate relationships that are not sexual or romantic in nature. Making large scale life changes or commitments for a romantic partner? Totally normal. Doing the same for a close friend or sibling? Very confusing to people.

It also makes it harder for people to be healthy and intentional and self-aware about friendships. What if one is abusive? We don’t have language or support resources for abuse that isn’t in the context of a sexual-romantic relationship. What about when one ends or needs to end? We have language around “breakups,” but we don’t have healthy tools for talking about or grieving the loss of a different type of relationship.

Imagine a world where we were free to let relationships be what they want and need to be, without forcing them into unnecessary patterns. What if the person we like to have sex with isn’t the best person for us to raise kids with, so we co-parent with someone else? What if we feel a strong sense of commitment and love for someone, but don’t want a romantic relationship with them - but we can honor and recognize our deep love regardless? How wonderful would that be!

Does Zinnia like Pokèmon?

As a reminder, I’m celebrating 1,000 posts by taking a break from polyamory related questions and taking questions about literally anything else. Submit your non-polyam questions here! You can blacklist the tag “1kcelebration” if you don’t want non-polyamory-related posts on your dash.

Do you like Pokémon? Do you have a favorite Pokémon?

I do like Pokemon! I was in elementary school when it got big, and a kid in my class gave me a Diglett card. I started collecting the cards and had a huge collection, all in a binder with the sleeve holders and everything. It might still be somewhere at my parents’ house. I never played the card game - I didn’t have anyone to play it with - and I never played any of the video games, either, because I didn’t have a Gameboy or anything. But I watched the anime and loved the characters. We also had the Pokemon board game, which I remember being super fun - it had all these little disks for the different Pokemon that set into the board.

My brother liked Pokemon too, and it was something we really bonded over. I had a poster in my room with the original 150 Pokemon, and my brother and I had them completely memorized - name, number, and evolutions. It drove my mom nuts that we were “using space in our brains” that could have memorized the states and capitals, or something. I remember my dad taking us to see the Pokemon Movie when it came out in theatres, and getting the holographic Mew card, and just how big of a deal it all was.

My favorite Pokemon was always Squirtle, because he is just so super cute. I sometimes get called “fake” or “basic” because my favorite is a starter, but I never knew he was a starter; my only exposure to Pokemon was the cards and the tv show. I just love his perfect little face. I had a toy vinyl Squirtle that was so devastatingly cute, and my brother and I frequently fought over it. I don’t know where that went, but I have a bunch of cute Squirtle stuff today. Squirtle is still my favorite even though there are a zillion more Pokemon. I also liked Ponyta/Rapidash, Vuplix/Ninetales, and Dratini/Dragonair. I also had a pet hamster named Zapdos. Of the newer expansions, I like Pichu, Slakoth, Sentret/Furret, all the babies, Swinub, Buizel, Shellos, and Turtwig. So, basically, the cute ones.

These days I am super into Pokemon Go (level 39 and counting, Pokedex at 438). I still have never played any of the other games or the card game.