What Kind of "Relationship Suitcase Packer" Are You?

This series is titled “Electrons, Suitcases, and Mixing Boards: New Tools To Get The Relationships You Want.” It’s co-written by Aida Manduley and Anna Stern. This is part 1 of 4.


The Power of Language

Humans are deeply complex creatures. We don’t generally relish being reduced to less than the sum of our parts. Yet the language we have to describe our relationships is full of assumptions and limitations.

We deserve better.

In definitions and labels, we can find community and solidarity, but we can also find arguments and division. We can access resources and care, but we can also be kept out of spaces we need and denied these things. We can name our pain and find pathways to heal it, but we can also swim in a sea that is simultaneously too vast and too small to accurately describe our feelings.

Wherever we go, individual and systemic assumptions about who and what we are shape us. When, how, and whether we get to state the terms that define us—or have terms imposed on us—continually shapes our experience.  The less our identities overlap with society’s assumptions and expectations, the more we probably feel this tension. And we don’t just feel it as individuals —many communities have been stripped of the power to name themselves. Reclaiming this power can be an act of defiance, courage, and survival.

We wrote this series of articles in hopes of providing language and frameworks for people to better craft and negotiate their relationships. Our goal isn’t to offer new words for particular relationship structures, but instead help people figure out the CONTENT of their relationships—the pieces that make them up. This may include things like emotional intimacy, physical touch, sharing hobbies, financial entanglement, and more.

Click here to read the full article on Aida’s website.

Anna Stern