Compersion: new age deviance

That’s right, I’m a deviant. An emotional deviant. Because I's refraction

I first discovered the word “compersion” about 10 years ago. The concept, at that time, blew my mind wide open. “Compersion is an empathetic state of happiness and joy experienced when another individual experiences happiness and joy, and the term is …used … in the context of polyamorous relationships. It is used to describe when a person experiences positive feelings when a lover is enjoying another relationship” (Wikipedia).

Then, just as quickly as my mind blew open, it occurred to me with great shock – how obsurd that this concept had never even existed in the English language prior to the 1970s! No wonder we have so much trouble cultivating this feeling!

I am working through my newest read, Jillian Deri’s “Love’s Refraction: jealousy and compersion in queer women’s polyamorous relationships” Much more academic than my last read and satisfyingly dense in terms of stretching my mind, this beautiful book supports my journey of unpacking a life, or perhaps many life times, of belief systems and cultural conditioning on the topics of love and eros.

Today’s lesson: we, as polyamorous people, are collectively re-writing the book of love! We get to co-create the world we want to see. And what we want to see is equality, honesty, and agency. What we seek is more compersion in our lives. This goes against the dominant paradigm in which jealousy is the expected and appropriate outcome for so many situations in our daily poly lives. And since we are currently the minority, this makes us emotional deviants.

So today I learned that I am a deviant, an activist, odd, a rebel, a bad ass. Because I believe that love, in all its forms, is abundant, free, pure, and good. Because I believe that joy is worth celebrating, even if I’m not the object of that joy. Because I believe in happiness and pleasure.

For someone who spent decades trying to fit in, this feels utterly satisfying. There is no other outcast I would want to be more than this.

Zadenalove. Emotional Deviant.