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E63: Grief, Boundaries & Relationships with Kat Lopez

June 13th 2022

CW Grief, Death, Loss

On this episode, Marcia and Marybeth meet with Kat, a queer polyamorous Xicanx femme and chronically ill survivor. They discuss all things boundaries, communication, gr... More

This is disabled girls who lift we are reclaiming what's rightfully ours. One podcast at a time. It's mary Beth Chloe and Marcia bringing you the thoughts and unpopular topics to get you out of that. A bliss comfort zone. Mhm. Mhm Alrighty then, let's party. It's time to do the dance. Hello! Welcome everyone to disabled girls who lift another episode we've got for you. This is Marsha, She's sitting on Seminole tribe land in florida. I'm wearing a plain gray t shirt, my beautiful brown black skin um some headphones. I'm in front of a colorful wall and my throat is dry from some flaky empanadas, but I'm still gonna talk. So we're out here mary Beth you're up like those Popeyes biscuits that we encourage you not to eat right before an episode like you're coughing in between right in front of the famous wall to that.

Everybody loves rare Youtube. I know My name is Mary Beth Y'all sitting in northern California on ohlone land. She, her wearing a teal sweatshirt doggy in the background sitting in my living room. You don't see it now, but I've got 90 candles in a backyard that we hand made for our wedding. Um that's why I keep trying to hide it with the microphone. So it smells really good in here. Uh super excited to welcome princess a kata Ak kat Lopez and Tucson Arizona. They're sitting on Tejano O'Odham and Pascua Yaqui land uh please, I hope I got that right, but there are queer polyamorous Chikane, Chikane, X fem who is a chronically ill survivor also has a dog herself, wheezy who we met briefly and I love a lot about what you said in your bio just saying that collaboration is key to the success of any relationship and shared space community organization that works because I think we live by a lot of that at disabled girls.

I live a lot, I live by a lot of that as a pollock were found myself. And just the way that you um incorporate that into everything else and everything that you love to talk about which is death, grief conflict abused, abolition. Just I'm excited to kind of talk more with you. So welcome cat. Thank you. Welcome cancer the podcast. So if you would let everyone know, what are we doing your name, your pronouns and your uh cat pronouns. They she and I am a curly haired medium tan skin person with some beautiful gold hoop earrings, a nice mustard yellow dress and some beautiful red extensions on my nails nails. I am currently in my bedroom because this is where all the magic happens truly and by magic.

I mean rest I don't want to I want a girl rest. Exactly. I also have a sparkly stuff on my eyes. So that's fine. Is that a good description? I think I think so, yeah, I mean there's so many things to talk about right, but I would love to know what this doula and grief support and death support. Like like who are they? Why? Where'd that come from? What are you doing? Because we only know so many kinds of doulas. I only know like postpartum doula, most people only know birthing doulas. Yeah, yeah, I mean that's where it all started for me. Um I've been a doula for about time, what is time? It's been like maybe five years at this point. Um and it started out as a birth and postpartum Doula also doing some abortion support in that And it was around 2020 I guess is when everything shit just hit the fan for all of us.

But for me in particular, um I, the very beginnings of COVID-19, like the pandemic and like all the shutdowns and stuff, I lost my co parent um to cancer and it was literally like the same week where I was told like in the city that we had to like shut down and so I was navigating that trying as a chronically ill person, you know, I was like, okay, how am I going to celebrate the life of this person who raised me who loved me, who's a piece of me while also considering like all my other family members, I had um a cousin who was doing chemo and you know, we, we had really long conversations about like how do we, how do we honor our grief, but also respect our, our bodies, you know, as people who are compromised and um so we decided not to have a funeral and it was really, really rough.

I think that was kind of like the beginning of, of a lot of other really intense things unfolding and um yeah, I was just navigating covid and the grief and I wasn't really navigating the grief, I was avoiding it um because it was, it was too hard to recognize that I couldn't actually like celebrate this human in the ways that felt culturally appropriate to me and my family. And Then later on that year in November, I had to put my 17 year old dog down who I've had since he was three months old. So this is like my buddy, my best friend. Um and it was something like I knew we all know it's gonna come right. And so because I had just lost my co parent in March and it was like november and I was like, I don't want to do it, but I don't know what happened, but I basically was like, this is, this is my opportunity to, to do over my grief.

I now can decide how I'm going to navigate and tackle this in a way that feels good for me. And so I did like a whole ritual with my dog sounds very silly, but I took him out on his last walk, we went and got like a cappuccino. I wrote, I wrote a eulogy essentially in my journal and I read it to him as I held him. I mean I did so many things. Um, he actually, somebody came into our home and um euthanized him and in his bed he was asleep. He had his toy. Like it was such a beautiful. I know isn't that mm hmm. And you know, I held him as it was happening and he was surrounded by love and fresh air and it was a very beautiful experience. And that was kind of like my, my awakening I guess. And I realized like I want to create this for other people, whether that's for their pets, for their loved one or for themselves.

I want people to, to honor, you know, to memorialize themselves before, you know, the actual act of physical death and and to help people figure out how to navigate a grief that is often, you know, ridiculed. It's often pushed aside. Like I was just, you know, I felt like I had to experience something completely different and I wanted to share that. And so then I got into the whole death doula grief support work, wow, that's pretty amazing, Thank you for sharing that. I think that's what I was looking for. Uh and then I just found like a weird therapist and she just wanted to like hug me and I was like, don't touch me. Um so I think that would have been great. I could have used the Zula if I knew that existed. Yeah. Yeah. I think most people don't, I think because we're in such a death and grief avoidance society, like we don't want to talk about it ever.

Um, and if we do talk about it, it's very temporary. Like we're like, let's just get it out of the way and then remove ourselves completely from it. Um, I think that's what that is what causes the lack of awareness and education and resources because there's just this sense of urgency to get over things that really like life transforming, you know, really fundamental things that make you who you are. I believe personally like in grief and, and it's a universal thing, right? Like we experienced grief not just through physical death, but like in internal deaths, you know, like as we cycle through things, um, there's just so much that we have to process and we're not really allowed, especially as folks of color, like we're not allowed. We have to keep going or even getting a new disability and new chronic illness. That's a lot of grief and loss too. Oh, 100%. But everybody just wants you to be like moving on so you can have some old, they overcame blah blah blah great.

They're strong resilient. I'm in pain. I'm tired. Like everyone always tries. Yeah, everyone always tries to find like the happiness like what you're doing fine, right? You're my favorite is you look fine. You know, it looks like you're doing great and I'm like, just because I'm cute doesn't mean I'm not in pain. It's a Venn diagram. Okay, did you like a flow shark? I'll help you out. You like an infographic dumbest of all time. Um but not yeah, the urgency of getting over things that I relate to that hard because when I lost my mom, I literally would turn my phone off because everybody I've never spoken to my whole life was like, Always Call one. Texting nothing of it was helpful whatsoever.

And then maybe a month to crickets, nothing. So my first question to you would be if you are that person rushing to talk to someone who lost someone like what, what should you be doing like with yourself before you even go there? Because there were a lot of people that I was like, I need to tell you some things about the way you're approaching this, this is fucking weird. Yeah. Um I think one of the things that I like to tell folks who are, who are in the support role of the grieving person is have you taken a moment to think about your relationship to death? Uh and more often than not, they say no, And I say, well, OK, I invite you to take at least 30 minutes of your life to sit down and think about it and write it down and start to think like if I was in this position, what would I want? And more often than not we want tangible things. We want consistency to not just like past the first month or whatever, like um we want people to just meet us where we are and not tell us how we should or shouldn't be feeling.

Um So yeah, I think just like really taking time to sit with, like what feels good for you, what would you want? What don't you want to hear? Because there's a lot of you don't want to hear right? Like for me personally, I'm like, I don't want to hear the at least you had this, you know, it's like at least you have X amount of time with this person. It's like that's not relevant to my pain, you know? Yeah, or you know, they're in a better place. I'm like, you know, everything happens for a reason, okay, I'm sad right now for a reason. Exactly. Yeah. Like what does that mean? Like, like I think more often than not, it's just people are projecting their discomfort onto others and they don't know how to how to name, I'm uncomfortable right now, you know? And I think I try to encourage people to just be direct and honest and and be like, you can tell someone, I don't know how to support you, but I'm all ears, like I'm here to listen.

Um I'm here to read how I can support you feel free to like write it in a letter, writing an email, write it, you know, on a sticky note, Like offering different ways to create communication with each other. Um and no urgency. I always say, please remove the urgency from the space. Like what has happened is is a really big deal. And so like let's move at the pace that the person is wanting to move, like remove your urgency from it, remove your perceptions, your projections, your feelings from it. And remember that as a support person, you're just there to witness, you're there to hold, you're there to care and you allow that person to tell you how to do that because that looks different for everybody in in different situations. Yeah, No, that's perfect advice. I think a lot of projection for sure. Mhm The biggest thing that people don't realize is that everyone has their own unique personal choice of how to grieve too.

And even if they were to ask themselves some of those questions, they think that what they need is what that person needs. They need more social support. They need more family and friends in their lives right now. But if we are pushing you away, please read that message. Yes. I definitely had a lot of over bang overkill. Like even even my father in law would literally call me multiple times a day. I'm like, what do you want me to say to you, first of all, we don't talk on the phone. This is already weird. Why are you calling me? Like, what do you want? Just like, you know, you're not like nobody's you're not bringing me food, you're not like washing my dishes for me. You know, you're like doing anything and he would literally call my my husband upset like, oh I don't know what her problem is. I'm trying to help her. I don't know what to do. So then maybe going to actually ask me that. I don't know why is that such a difficult thought process. But Is that times 30 people because they have a big family?

Yeah. I mean it's that sense of like entitlement in some ways where like I I know what's best. So I'm going to put it on this person. I mean, and more often than not that's like in most crisis situations like we feel that we have to like come in and save the day Where it's like no story for that one. No, there's no savior Ism here right? Like that. Save your ism is not support. That's not, that's not it. Honey mary Beth has a story. Oh God, that one makes me still to this day. I think a little break and then the cousin or something. Yeah. So I mean along with death and grief comes like death and grief of a relationship or even a temporary end to a relationship too is like when people think they know what's right for you, they form this, you know, women's emotional support group that you have to go to and you have to meet all these strangers that you are not comfortable with go to some foreign island and just sit in your feelings together.

But that's not what I personally want. So sometimes family who think they know what's best for you. We'll push that on you and we'll get upset that you don't receive that well you got to give yourself that power to say no when you're not comfortable and you've got to give yourself the space. Like I I had to break some ties for a year because of that. And then that's fine. So I love to hearing that you kind of had your personal do over with their dog and I'm sure you um there were some restrictions right? People couldn't gather also during that time it wasn't just the choice to not hold the funeral. You also gathers family. Most of those people were closed. It wasn't even that 10 people funeral. Yeah. I think it was just closed. Right? No, it was completely closed and we couldn't do anything. So it was like she was just buried. I mean that was none of us had an opportunity and I mean some of us have gone since restrictions have it like you know because even with flying so we decided to to take her back to Mexico and like bury her there.

And so like we couldn't even, we couldn't even go visit until like a year later this did happen in Mexico. Uh you know folks, the majority of my family, I come from a big gas family. Like my my co parent is also my grandmother, you know and she had 15 Children. So there's a lot, a lot of kids, most of them were in Mexico. So it was like, you know they could visit but there's like five of us like 55 of her Children and then all of us like the grandkids and everybody you know who have, you know have yet to go. Like I still haven't gone and it's been two years. Um So yeah, it was a very interesting time to navigate, which I'm sure is not my story is not unique during that time there was a lot of death and dying and grief happening and and still to this day right? Like let's acknowledge that and how there still is this like push to not talk about it. Yeah, just tuck it under the rug, keep it moving.

Yeah. This is not even happening like why even just preparing for these things right? You just want to pretend everything is fine and not have a will and and even if we don't like the way the systems are right, But they are the systems and if you die and you leave somebody to take care of your ship like it's not gonna be a good look for them, right? But you don't want to talk about it, nobody wants to talk about it because it's not if we die, it's when, you know, it's inevitable, like we all will physically die. And it's like that saying that sentence really makes people uncomfortable. It's hard, it's hard for people to be like, oh you're right like this and that's why I like that the conversations about it and the preparation and like How do you want this to happen for you? What is your ideal situation? Um you know, how do you want people to show up for your loved ones after you pass?

Like, even those like questions are so crucial in my opinion because like after my dog passed away in 2021, my mother in law unexpectedly passed away in June or July and July And then three months later my cousin passed away. So I was like just, it was continuous losing like physically losing people that I had really like strong connections with my family, you know? Um but at that time, because of the do over with like my dog and just like all of the things that I was learning through in community with other death doulas and death workers, um I was able to approach it in a very different way, you know? And now it's, it's, it feels really good to be able to support those who also lost, you know, like my husband supporting him through the loss of his mother, my sister in law, supporting my aunt and my cousins, widow and his two small Children.

Like it just made it it made it like super easy for me to show up and be like, let's talk about this. Like I know everybody else is telling you you're gonna be fine, you have two kids right? Where it's like you're you're telling this this parent who has a five year old and a three year old that she has to be strong for her kids, but she just lost her her lifeline, she lost her income, she lost everything. So it's like, can we just honor that? Can we just take a moment to honor it? And I think that that's really hard because nobody wants to feel the discomfort of knowing that this is going to be really hard. There's gonna be a lot of struggle ahead, you know? So nuts though, because at the same time we can do hard things and when the hard things are done, people love to write a story about it, but like nothing in between come back to me when you have a nice inspirational story. Not you know, I don't want to see. We only want to highlight the joys.

Yes. Yeah. We don't have room for the ugly stuff, right? The ugly stuff. The sadness, the anger, the complete loss of hope. We don't want that. We want to see you right? Do do your trauma stuff over here and then when you're done and you've learned all those lessons, like, let's go ahead and extract from you and maybe we'll learn something, which is so it's so messed up, that's not how it works, but sometimes it happens with others as well, like, especially I don't know if you live in the same household or share the same small family. Mhm. It's okay to grieve together in your own ways. Yeah, communal grief. That's a I love that I'm always trying to like encourage people to two grieving community and to be open and and you know, just just do it. You feel something as you're in community, just crying, just do it, you know?

And when people ask like, what's happening, are you okay? You know, let them know that you're not okay? Like what is I think a lot of times that people pleasing comes in and that like, scared of judgment and shame comes in, you know, because we don't want people to really see that because there's the other piece of like, vulnerability and safety, right? Like, it's like, do I feel safe enough to be my full self in this moment, um because then there's all these other moving pieces that can happen if you do show up and in despair, you know that I think that's a good lead into questions of boundaries also, how do you decide when you're I mean because like sure you don't want to rush it? Sure you want to honor the space that you're in. But what about situations where you do, just have to like put on a mask and go, you know, you just have to go to work or you just have to so used to take them to school, you know, like one of my jobs, I quit.

One of my jobs because the boss told everyone my mom died and I don't want to talk about it, I quit, I quit after that. I was like, I'm not talking about this with anybody. Yeah. What an invasion? That's really not okay. Um yeah, in regards to boundaries and how do we, how do we show up in our grief? Like that's a really, that's hard, that's a really good question and I love that you asked me that because I think it all comes back for me, it all comes back to the preparation of care. It comes back to um before we are in these moments of crisis because that's what I believe happens more often than not when we're we're experiencing a physical loss, you know, a family member, a loved one, um it is a crisis and so talking to each other beforehand about like how can I support you in a crisis. So if someone does have Children, like if I'm in a crisis, I would really love it if you gave me tangible care through childcare, through bringing me, you know, a hot meal twice a week, through all these things because and also naming the fact that like the leave that we get when we experience a loss is not enough, right?

You know, here's to you get it, get it, and then it's like, okay, now you have to pretend like nothing happened, or now you have to deal with the fact that people are going to ask you a bunch of these questions or be like, oh, I'm so sorry for your loss and then that's it, you know, and not really offer anything outside of that. That's why it's important to have your own conversations with your community and the people that you trust and saying like, now I have to put on a show and this is going to be really hard. So maybe can I um can I call you once a week and do a little debrief of what my experiences have been at work. Um can you take the kids for the weekend so that I can like spend time with myself and like cry what has happened, Like Cry release all of the things that have happened this week. Um you know, there's just so many different ways that we can show up for people in these situations, because it is I always really like to say that grieving, we have to acknowledge that it is, it's a privilege to grieve in the ways that feel good for us.

It's not, it's not tangible for for many folks to grieve in at the pace that we want in the ways that we want and honestly it's very not tangible to have the kind of support that we want to and so I think by just naming that it's already like a ship show and just starting there being like it's not great. So how do we make it better? How do we create and reimagine how we show up for each other during these times? I think that that last part is also it's making me think of a couple of our other podcast guests that had some catastrophic thing happened to them. Either they were disabled or not. Maybe they were already chronically ill but there was like a big event, you know, and then, oh now they're more sick or now they were fine Before now they're paralyzed and then they have to like, you know, they leave the hospital and go back out into the world or you know, return to their friend group or try to go back to the gym. I think a lot of that applies to that also.

Yeah. Like you were mentioning there's, there's grief and everything. It's not just like a physical death. It's like the relationships shifting, uh, the loss of the things that we thought we were going to be able to do, but no longer can do. There's just so much, there's so much grief all the time. Yeah. Yeah. You're, you're navigating life in a different way and and adapting the same way that anyone else would like back to work or leaving your job or adapting a workout because you do it the same way anymore. How can I do another way that still is healing? And so that's that's just very powerful to kind of acknowledge what, I don't know what makes you happy and thrive in that situation. Even if it's different for your mother or your sister. Right? So what happens if somebody can't figure out what works for them, they just know what doesn't they copy what everybody else does and can't figure it out?

How do you figure it out? Mm Yeah. Like have someone to help you, You know, don't do the stuff that you hate, right? But it's so easy for us to say that, right? Like it's easy for us to be like, well don't do it. But it's like, what are the other options? What does this person really have that is accessible to them? Like that's that's a whole thing. You know, it's it's not it's not as easy as saying, like just don't do it, you know? And and that needs to be acknowledged. Like I think that's for me it's it's really, really important to always bring that into every conversation when I'm collaborating with people and being like, you know, because sometimes people really think things are easy and I'm like maybe for you, but we're not I not somebody else, like have you taken the time to actually think if this is truly accessible to someone? Like Yeah, yeah, yeah.

And so many of our podcast guests that have, um, like communities of their own, um, so like Maria that has row, let's, or actually, which would be our last episode who has are a warrior fitness. Like they don't name it as grief, right? They don't name it as that. But if you think about the things that they're saying, they're like, well when this happened to me and I was sick, I felt alone and I didn't know what to do. Mhm. But it sounds like grief. Yeah. Well when you name something as grief, there's so much that's implied. Yeah. You know, it's very different nuts because that's what people, that's what calls people to those communities because that's the feeling that they have. And although they can't, nobody's identifying what the feeling is. They're like, oh, I feel that way too. Let's get together now. I feel better. This is amazing. Mhm Yeah. Yeah. Grief is usually what happens in the absence of care. You know, so, okay, say that again.

I think we're gonna need to put the transcripts and print them out and just scan it for things we can put on shirts. Yes. Yeah. That's what initiates it. That's what creates the feelings of despair is like we don't have care in our lives, it is not implemented. It's not practice, it is not ingrained in us and therefore we feel those feelings of despair of loneliness of like you know what now, what's, you know what's the point? Like those questions start to happen because we're not being cared for in the ways that were so worthy of right regardless of who you are, where you come from, all that stuff like every person, every human, every living being is worthy of care. So I think that's why I love the whole, you know grief support bit because that's my, that's my goal is to be like your grieving right now.

Now let me let me let me work with you to take care of you. Not let me come in here and swoop in and save the day, but like do you trust me enough, Do you want to trust me? Do you want to build this vulnerability with me so that we can create care for you in the ways that feel good and then eventually you can live with this grief and feel good about it, you know, live with the grief, not get over it, not move on, not overcome it, live with it and create a completely different. You're reframing it right? Like you're reframing the grief grief is something that we all experience and I think that because we don't name it is that we try to name it as something else. We're like, oh I feel sad, I feel alone, I feel angry where it's like, oh you're grieving and then people are like, no, not just like, but but you are wearing a mask, but you know that there's something wrong.

It's all good. But it's cool to, to recognize, you know, both as an outsider or and the person experiencing it that it's going to take some work. Like we're not saying that this is easier that you're going to get over it after your two week bereavement, it's going to take a lifetime of work and loving yourself and loving the life little bits of your life to recognize that you deserve that care. Mhm Yeah. The deserving piece, right? That's a big piece where especially when we already feel like burdens in this world, when you're disabled, you're chronically ill. You are a marginalized person. Like you belong to many marginalized groups. Like you don't, you don't often feel like you're worthy of that care. The care that you want, the care that you need, right? Because we're told that we're just an inconvenience.

It's too much, right? And I'm like, I'm in my vocabulary, there's no such thing as too much. You're just enough. You know what I mean? Like give me all the things I want that list of how to take care of you and I gladly give that list to the folks in my life where I'm like, this is exactly what I need, how I need it. Like and here's my Venmo account. Sometimes people don't talk about the financial hardships of the great, there's no shame there. It's like if you want to support me here, it is cash app Paypal, take them all do it, then let's go, I'll start a new account just so you can truly, it's like, which one, which one do you want? Pick one, anyone. Um, but yeah, it's really, it's hard, you know, it's hard to be like, I, I am deserving of the care that I want, right? Because like saying, of course we're all deserving of the care that we need.

But even then some people don't believe that. But to say that you want care a certain way is like more, you might not be surrounded by people that are receptive to that. You might not necessarily have the space to choose depending on. Sorry, you muted Marcia's start over is embarrassing. I don't know what I said, it's over now, but all I can tell you is that because of my grief, I also changed lots of my relationships definitely. Let's talk about that in regards to boundaries, right? Like whenever we're experiencing deep grief or in the grief fields, um, how the relationships change. Huh? So many relationships and they shift and so many begin. Uh, and I think for me, when I was processing all of this for myself, is when I really started focusing on boundaries and being like, it's time, it's time to place these boundaries.

It's time to even think about what it means to me, how I've historically have viewed boundaries before and how I want to shift that. Um you know, because for me boundaries, I'm a recovering people pleaser. So I was like, boundaries, what get happy? Yeah, I'm like, what? Um but then I started to realize like, because there were so many people not showing up for me in times that I needed, you know, in times where I wasn't even physically capable of saying that I needed it because I was so distraught that I was like, it's time to think about what I'm deserving of, and then from there, I'm going to implement those boundaries of I do not associate with people who cannot talk about these things if you want to be in my inner circle, you have to be able to talk about crisis, you have to be able to offer some type of support in crisis, like, and that's a hard boundary and that boundary is created so that I can take care of myself, and so that you can learn how to take care of me, and, you know, it's been really great.

I will say that I have, I've had the the privilege I would say to to place them to place boundaries because not everyone has that um that privilege, because many of us are in situations where we're like, you know, if I place this boundary at work, I won't have a job, so it's like, you know, I'm very grateful to have had that and to still have it really on that and there's so many people will be like, oh we can't just cut people off like that and you can't do this, you can't do that. But again, half the things that people are saying projection like a white can't I? Like why do I need to have this quote unquote friend and all we can talk about is brunch and nail polish. But like if I want to talk about some ship that hits the fans, crickets, like why do I have to like why? For what? Yeah, cut it. Yeah. No that's, I mean unless that friends giving me like paying for my, my brunch and paying for my nails, I don't really know.

I like what's happening? Like what's the reciprocity here? That's the thing. It's like I that's the number one thing. Like if I start to feel like there isn't reciprocation, that's where my boundary flag is like it's time, it's time put the boundary down, see what happens. And more often than not it really does show you okay. This actually isn't worth my time and my energy and it's time to shift. It's time to detach. Um but once again, because I have that the opportunity to write like I have the care network and the support to detach. That's true. I think before we start another thread of convo will take that little mini break. So anyone has to physically go anywhere you can physically go otherwise will pop back into anyway. So we're back. So we're back. Let's talk about death, dying grief conflict.

Can I say something about, I don't mind talking about death, but you know what does bother me? Random? It's nothing to do with anything. I just don't like headlines And they say somebody's name and they're like dead at 99. Like, I don't know why, but that bothers me so much. Hmm Why do they phrase it like that? Nobody likes talking about death and dying, but they can write things like it's like such a salacious headline. Like damn, that's a person. It's kind of like, it's kind of like inspiration porn for disabled folks, right? What's going to get us the most clicks and views? Oh my God, Betty white dyed before turning 100 my gosh. Like yeah, like they'll put dead at like, like you can't be like wonderful Betty what transitions or you know, whatever dead at 90 nine. Yeah. Yeah. I think it's so hypocritical. Well in some ways it's dehumanizing. It doesn't create space to acknowledge the human behind the age, Behind the experience, right?

And I think that that's why so many folks avoid talking about death because it is a very like, you know, we don't know how to talk about it? Don't talk about? I mean that's conflict, right? But okay? But so have you, have you all experienced this? I don't know if you've been in circles where the whites are talking about in contour and then you're in a circle where the blacks or the browns or whatever other asian folks or other marginal communities are talking about it and it's like two different conversations. 100 percent. Did you experience that? I've seen a lot of like white mothers who are like, oh I listened to this all the time, but I wish it was in english, everything else in disease. In english. Yeah. So that that is a great that's a great level of conflict right there and I wish it could be all solved with one conversations and a couple of songs. But definitely no, none of these peak immigrant culture is pretend your conflicts and traumas did not exist.

Mhm. Yeah. Conflict avoidant accountability, avoidant like avoidant of it all great. That's why I love conflicts, that's why I love it. I love it. Say it again. It really is kind of like a king for me at this point. I'm just like, oh, you having trouble? Let's talk about it, you know? Yeah. You mad. Oh yeah, you're distraught and you kind of don't like me right now, let's talk about. Yeah, I messed up, hold me accountable, let's sit down on the couch and have some coffee. Yeah. Right. No. Yeah, I absolutely adore conflict because it is the great gateway to understanding it's healthy for the most part, right? If no one's getting harmed or whatever, like it's a normal part of life, everything can be beautiful. Mhm. All the time and that's why I think it's super cool to just like I don't know, I think it's a good segue from talking about presenting boundaries in your relationships, friendships, family, into how you can utilize those tools to either build more quality in those relationships or friendships, Like a really big thing that I use in everything not just intimate relationships is um love languages, right?

And I feel like love languages can also be um presented in grief in celebration, whatever it is that you're experiencing in life in knowing what that person needs from you, what what that person needs from you at that moment or in life in general and what you're good at giving and if you're not good at giving what they need, maybe you need to kind of shift, right? If you if that person is a strong friend or relationship in your life, like for for instance, quality time, if quality time is not at the top of my list, but it is my best friends or my partners, um we gotta find some some way to meet in the middle, right? And that can come in times of grief or in times of bettering those relationships or communication, but if you have that already in set, when things are good then when things are not always good, you already know what you already have framework, like that's the difference.

You know, I'm just going to be shouting at each other, you're gonna be like All right. Yeah. But sometimes people don't know that. Like if we don't prioritize our love languages in our friendships, we're not going to know what that person needs from us when a crisis arises, right? Like, they were just going to shower them with gifts even though that's not on the top of their list. Like why are you just giving me flowers and whatever? Chocolate? Like, that's good. That's not what I need right now. I need you to be here and spend time with me because quality time is important. No, that's so true. I think I have a great example of that would be probably every time it's my husband's birthday, he's he always says everybody his family is like we already talked about my father and what do you want for your birthday? What do you want to do for your birthday? What do you want to do this? And this is Pete Covid? Um We don't want to go anywhere. Right. Mhm. P Covid. So me and my brother literally just like, all right, what do you want to get him? What sort of food? Alright, let's get that. And then we just sat at home and just waited for him to tell us what do you feel like doing?

Mhm. Because that's what that's all he likes, is that somebody is available to him. That was it. And that's hard sometimes as a people pleaser, right as an extroverted introvert is like you want to give what you think they will enjoy, but I want to make them happy and I want to do like just literally just sat on the couch minding my damn business. Okay, got you some coffee. It's that sense of urgency, you know, like when we in all relationships more often than not, the goal is intimacy. It's to build intimacy is to create connection and we've only learned how to create connection through that sense of urgency, through trying to read people's minds and think like, oh they're gonna like this or you know, this is how I show love and they'll receive it and they are the only person who can meet my needs and and that's why I'm polyamorous, you know, I would, but seriously, as a polyamorous person, like getting comfortable with the idea that like I'm married as well.

So my spouse is not going to meet every single need, even if he knows my love languages, he knows I love physical touch, he knows I love words of affirmations, but my God, is it hard to get him to tell him I'm I look cute today, you know, because I'm I love, I love to be worshiped, I love to be told multiple times a day how fabulous I am so right there. Your curls popping, Okay, the nails, gorgeous. Alright, the little glitter, it's doing it for me. Alright, continue. Yeah. And I love to receive that and he is just not, he's not, he, he doesn't feel comfortable doing that all the time, right? He does that occasionally, you know, it's not his thing and just getting comfy with the fact that like, okay, that's fine. That need is not going to be met in this relationship, but just because he holds the title spouse doesn't mean that he's failing, it doesn't mean that he's not doing the what he's supposed to do. Like I don't believe in that.

I don't prescribe to that being like, there's no such thing to be all things. Even even even in your platonic relationships, right. Same ship. Your BFF does not have to be Yeah, everything. Either you or your parents aren't gonna show up a certain way. You know, your father in laws, you know, like everybody is going to show up differently and that's okay. But I think um tackling that urgency and understanding that we can pause and actually start communicating to build intimacy is great and that's what polyamory has taught me. It's taught me that I don't need to try to figure out how to show up. Like I can actually just ask, I can actually check in because things change, right? Like how I want to be treated is not going to be the same every month. Shoot, It's not the same every hour. So like, you know, having this, this practice of checking in with each other and being like, okay, what, what is missing?

How are you feeling? Are you feeling good with our communication? Are you feeling good with how we show affection? Are you feeling good with the support? Like it's a lot of work. It's a lot of work, but once you start practicing, like you kind of get it down and at this point I've been polyamorous for nine years. So it's like to me it's like a breeze. I'm just like, alright, this is how I normally show up in all relationships because it's not just I don't apply polyamory just to my romantic or sexual relationships. I apply it to my platonic relationships as well. Um and it's just how I, you know how I do relationships, how I show up and it's interesting. I've I've really enjoyed, it sounds good to me. Yeah, sounds good to me and it's so important for it for that open communication but also also in the sense of, you know, when we were talking about grief and whatever, it's knowing who you can trust in those stages where you need different things and that honesty, if you don't have it, Oh my gosh, I feel like that has to be the forefront of any relationship or friendship.

Yeah. And there's nothing wrong with that? And it's it sucks though because when other people don't have that or can't see that and their relationships are different. you know, they can't really conceptualize the why it's different, but instead want to make you feel weird to say ship to you about it. That's the part that sucks for me. Just like honey, you could be living like this to join us. Yeah. Dark side. What are you doing? My friends talk about that all the time, excited. And it's just, it's just because there's so much confusion in society, right? This isn't the norm, especially being in a married couple relationship. Like cis gendered relationships aren't the norm to a lot of people, but we're all fluid in so many different ways. Why can't you just accept that this is how we live? Yeah, I don't get that action and I'm not even polly and we're not even like, you know, it's like straight cis man queer cis woman like pretty standard on paper, but still there's ship that we do that's normal for us and people are just like, wow, it's like that that's so weird.

But yeah, these are the same people that are like, oh the old ball and train and oh you can't tell my wife about this and she's like, you don't have to live like this? Yeah. But it's also it's still that urgency ship though if you think about it because somebody was like, well I'm 30 I need a husband. This one will do you know I'm supposed to have, I'm supposed to have a BFF for brunch, so I'm gonna keep this friend even though she treats me like sh it like it's just like things that you have to check out. Yeah, there's a lot of settling urgency creates that we settle because we there is always that internal sense of urgency. So we're like okay well this is this is what has to happen because otherwise like, I don't know, I'm a failure, otherwise I'm gonna be unhappy, otherwise I'm gonna die alone. You know like there's just so many fears that fester because urgency is like well you better hurry, let's go. And my life's got to look just like the movies, right?

Or the way that my parents said that it needs to look or the way that my friends are living their life. You know, we have to mirror each other and it's like no you don't have to do any of that. Follow your joy, do whatever. People just live wild miserable lives because they're afraid of being miserable. It's just like, do you not see what you're doing? Yeah. There's always pushback on on authentic joy and pleasure because it's so rare, right? Like a lot of people don't see that. So they're just like what are you doing? Why are you doing that? You know how could you hurting me? You can't be doing it if I don't know how to do it, then you can't. Yeah. It's like actually no one said you couldn't do it. Maybe you're just a little fearful of trying and that's okay. Let's name it. Let's name it honey. It's hard like um But back to specifically the poly thing I am curious to know it's with your relationships and you show up as yourself and all that good stuff.

How does that conversation go with people that are not interested in that? Do you get pushback from family or um I don't know anybody older folks or anything like that. Um You know, I don't know how my family feels about it because they have no idea. I've never like outwardly said I'm polyamorous but that's another thing in the movies, you have to have an outing moment, right? I never came out as like queer eye never came out as like anything like you know those, it's just not relevant in my family at least like every family dynamic is different. And you know, I would hope that we try to foster like loving, caring, direct communication type of relationships. But that's just not the one that I have with my blood family. My chosen family of course is very different. But the only family member that really knows about me and my relationship style is my niece who's 19 and she's so wonderful shoutout Cassidy.

Um She's so great because when I was going through a breakup Um in 2020 right around the time that I put down. Yeah. And other and that I had to friendship breakup the same week of that romantic break. Yeah. Some wild ash. It but anyways during that romantic breakup um That's when I you know told my niece that I was polyamorous and of course at this time I'm married and I still am, you know and um she was she was so chill about it, she was like oh yeah that makes sense and great, you know? Um And she was so sweet and she helped me through my feelings and you know this was I love her but more often than not, I don't really like I don't really talk to folks who aren't you know, either non monogamous or who aren't open to these types of like relationship styles? I've definitely have talked to older folks like the boomers about it.

Um I believe my father in law knows I'm polyamorous, but he hasn't really brought it up or anything. Um But I get a lot of questions about jealousy. I get a lot of questions about, you know, why like are your needs not being met? Um like weird stuff like that and I'm like what what do you want to know? Like what are you really trying to say? Um Yeah, there's a lot of like curiosity around that. Like what what is the point? What's the purpose? Why do you do it? Like there's there's a lot of curiosity, nothing has ever really been disrespectful. It's just like you know just very outward question. But I mean that goes back to the boundaries earlier, right? Like you've probably already alright, this person is not for that conversation, so you already set yourself up for success there. But if somebody did not have those boundaries and it's like everyone has to be everything and I have to have a coming out story with my blood family, then that's gonna be even though it's going to be full of despair and horror.

Yeah. Yeah. A lot of labor. Yeah. Why do it? Yeah. The same thing for folks that have to explain their disability to able bodied folks all of the time. And if you don't want to do it at work because it's going to exhaust you and add to that pain, you don't need to do it, that's fine. Or you can do it when you feel like they they're deserving of that. It is a lifelong process. Just like coming out as queer not everybody needs to know, but you can, you know, once you've built that trust with me, then we can talk about my relationships, You can talk about my Yeah. Yeah. Not everyone is worth your time and your energy and that's like a very vulnerable, beautiful piece of you. You know, and not everyone is worth that and we have to be able to like practice discernment with is this is this a safer space safer relationship for me to talk about these things, you know, to be my full self um or not, right?

I think that's kind of the either or thing that people are stuck with is like if I am disabled and everyone needs to know, you know, especially for folks with traumatic things like spinal cord injuries. Like if I'm in a wheelchair to tell everybody the story of my accident or you know, if I'm polly, then you know, I'm proud to be queer and poly, I gotta tell everybody. But that's not really what being yourself means. Being yourself means you can talk about yourself or not, right? Like you're still yourself. Yeah. Honoring honoring your desires to be vulnerable and to be open and to share what you want to share when you want to share it. You know, that's important. That makes a little sense to me for sure. I think a lot of people probably eat to hear some of those things. Yeah. Works, you know, same thing is like, what works for me doesn't have to work for you and I kind of want to go back to that topic of jealousy because that's going to be the biggest thing.

I mean that's always the biggest thing that that's always the first question. Especially you're in a, you know, happy married relationship, right? I forget the word. It starts with a P. But it's this idea O. C. Persian. There you go. I don't know because it was in the episode of you, Oh my God show the only reason I know the word. It's the idea that you get love from seeing that your love receives love from somebody else and that's okay and they don't have to feel the same way your friends or your father and mother in laws don't have to feel the same way right? Conversion. Yeah. That's a that's a fun word isn't it? I think if you experience comme Persian a lot of times people think it negates jealousy where it's like that's not the case at all. Um I experience feelings of jealousy often like people because you know it's been a while and that is always the question of like do you feel jealousy?

And I'm just like I am human. Yes I am going to feel jealous. Um But you know because I also talk a lot about feeling happy too to see my partners, you know engaging in in other loving relationships. Um Yeah I think it's really hard to to get comfortable with the fact that you can just be a full human in polyamory. There's a lot of perfectionism especially now that it's become a lot more mainstream. It seems like and I'm just like that's not the polyamory that I practice dude. Especially when you see it in those movies in those series, I'm like okay you B. D. S. M. In there. We enjoy that. It's like not every polyamorous person is like having sex parties or like contracts for for her group sex. Like that's not a thing you know always it can be but it definitely looks different for every relationship you know and every individual so yeah, for sure.

I will say though I forgot her name but that actress is like my favorite right now um the one that was the mom influencer. Oh yeah, I just finished watching search party. She's in that too. She's the best. And what was the name of the show again? You okay? Yeah, it was because it was the most recent season. Yeah, no, I did. I just I forgot the name. Oh yeah, they talked about it. Yeah. You know when you see probably on tv it's just like swinger sex party. Yeah, couples unless you yeah, unless you see that um they have an MTV show and I forgot what it's called but it was like I am this and it's like some random thing like I am afraid of cotton balls. They followed someone who's afraid of cotton balls for an hour and they had one that was on polly. Okay. It was that weird that yeah, I like I am afraid I am polyamorous, it's like free line.

It interesting. Okay. But yeah, it definitely is not on that level. I don't think anymore. I think now it's like it's you know everyone wants to try it, everyone wants to do it, everyone wants to claim it you know which is fine like feel free to to dive right in and, and you know, see what works best for you. But I think once again, we'll go back to that urgency piece. Um, in my experience, a lot of folks who are new to polyamory, they really just want to get to it right. They want to get to that conversion. They don't want to feel jealousy. They want that contracted sex party, You know, where it's like, hey, have you taken a moment to really think about how this is going to nourish you? Like, what is your intention behind wanting to have multiple, intimate loving relationships, Whether that's romantic, sexual or platonic? Like, what, what's really going on here? Like what is what's driving, what's the driving force of your connection building?

You know, your questions that need to be answered before you take your pants off. That's for sure. Yeah, anything I mean for me for sure, but once again, like, that's how I choose to practice, right? Like I choose to be a little bit more intentional with who I engage with and how, um, and other folks just, you know, I think for me it's important to be intentional because I've, I've also been on the other side and just been like, sure, let's go for it and it doesn't turn out really, It kind of becomes, uh yeah, there's a lot of, a lot of hurt and a lot of harm that can happen because we're talking about a whole other person with a heart. You know, like with, you know, their their own individual processing and feeling this relationship in their own way. And it's like when we start to do things from ego, that's the thing.

It's like a lot of times people use polyamory as an excuse to, you know, really feed their ego. And it's like, I don't I don't vibe with that. Mhm. Yeah, I'm with it. I mean, all the same questions you should ask before doing that kind of stuff is in an ideal world. All the same question you asked before you pick the first person, right? But nobody does. Yeah. Because what you said was important, Everybody has a heart. And it can get dangerous when you add this label to someone who's not equipped for it. Say someone who has issues with commitment to begin with. Someone who has issues with honesty. Someone who couldn't, who cheated on their wives or multiple partners for a very long time. And they just slap a label and it's like, wait, wait, wait, no. That is not the center of how I mean, at least how you know, like you said, how you work, how my relationships are, is like, no, we need to center honesty in this because you're you know that you're never gonna change.

I think what they said was you do not need polyamory. You need a therapist. Let's get down to the core of why you need to feed into your ego. No, it's true for Release in that in that toxic way where you're hurting 10 other people. It's very true. I know a lot of sad stories of the person hurt on the other end of, you know, people that say they're in open relationships, quote unquote and then they're actually married and you know, they're hiding the other person. What kind of is that? What's open told me I was the girlfriend and then I wasn't, it wasn't open for me like Yeah, I know people that have been that hurt person. I've been that person where someone told me that they are practicing like open relationship or whatever and it's like, just kidding.

Yeah. There partner didn't know. Yeah, I'm just like, we don't, there's a reason we don't take pictures together or post them or tag our locations right? What the heck? Yeah. I mean it has to be consensual, like people have to be aware in order to really like practice it and to label it. And that's that's always my fear of people just being like, okay, I'm polyamorous now or I'm non monogamous now or whatever. Um I'm just like, does everyone know everyone know of this change in this party because if not then that's not what it is. That's cheating using some words and it's really a power dynamic. Like, but how do people forget that consensual word before non monogamy. Like that blows my mind. Yeah. I think it's for me, it really just does go back to ego and like wanting to feed all your desires and just coming from a place of like you're already not used to caring.

You know, that's not your, your practice. That's not your daily practice of caring for love languages. No love. Right? I mean love for you. You want to feed all those desires. But yeah, in terms of others, like there's, there's no care practice. That's rough. It's easy to hide behind um labels and ideologies, you know, instead of holding yourself accountable and being like I'm actually not the greatest person. I could do better. That is so hard for a lot of people to see a hard pill to swallow it is, but just going back to understanding that you're human, It's like none of us is perfect. We shouldn't strive for that either. Like we're all always evolving and shifting and cycles.

You know, life is cycles and it's okay to make mistakes. What's not okay is to not recognize them and do better. Yeah, I'm with you. Mm wow. Well considering all of the loss and just scandal and whatever a foot you told us of your past couple of years are, are you in a better season. Thank you for asking. No, I'm great. I feel, Yeah, I think not to say that like you have to experience all these horrendous things to come out better on the other side, right? Because that's not always true. But in my reality, it is true. Like I, I'm happy that I shed. I like to see it as a shedding. It was another, it was another cycle of life. It was a death that needed to happen. Many deaths, internal deaths that needed to happen in order for me to like really begin to embrace and rebirth myself.

Um, yeah, I'm a lot happier. Very happy. So, thank you. Thank you for asking. Nice sharing everything. I'm happy to hear it. Yeah. Thank y'all for sharing and giggling with me. This is a lovely conversation to have and definitely lots of things that people should be having more conversations about. Um, but if anyone wants to look up this kind of stuff, are you online doing things? What's, what's your thing? Yeah, I am online. Uh, mostly I'm on instagram. You know, my handle is at Princesa underscore kata and I can spell that out. P R I N Ce S A underscore K A T A and then I have a website that people can look at if they want to get to know more about. Like the things that I offer. Um, and that's just kat Lopez dot com. Simple.

Easy. And how can we find your podcast. What was that? Yeah, my podcast. It's on Spotify and it's called Babes with boundaries and I co host with a friend of mind. Um, we're both queer polyamorous fams and yeah, we are both very pro sex kink and yeah, we talked about some juicy stuff, so check it out. Love to hear it. Okay, disabled girls out. Thanks for listening to disabled girls who left. We appreciate all of your support and everyone who's taken the time to show us some love. Don't forget to subscribe, rate already. Review of our channel. We're on Apple podcasts, Spotify Player, FM, google podcasts and more. You can also find us on instagram at disabled girls who left.

E63: Grief, Boundaries & Relationships with Kat Lopez
E63: Grief, Boundaries & Relationships with Kat Lopez
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