Relationship Diversity Podcast

The Importance of Finding a Resonant Community with Noa Elan, CEO of Bloom

February 22, 2024 Carrie Jeroslow Episode 88
Relationship Diversity Podcast
The Importance of Finding a Resonant Community with Noa Elan, CEO of Bloom
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Episode 088:
The Importance of Finding a Resonant Community with Noa Elan of Bloom

Ever feel like your relationships are coloring outside the lines of societal norms?

You're not alone.

Join me as I sit down with Noa Elan, the visionary CEO of Bloom Community, for a heart-to-heart conversation about the importance of cultivating a resonant community. 
Noa opens up about her own experiences, shedding light on what it means to truly belong and how platforms like Bloom are creating safe havens for those traversing the less-trodden paths of personal connections.

This episode isn't just about uncovering the layers of non-traditional relationships; it's a deep dive into the art of community building intertwined with business acumen.

We discuss the challenge of valuing human interactions in a system that often prioritizes profit, aiming to reshape the narrative around the true worth of connection and community.

Wrapping up, we honor the intricate dynamic of metamour relationships and the significance of Metamour Day on February 28th, a time to celebrate these connections.

Community is so important when you feel alone on your path, especially if no one around you understands or is even open to having compassionate conversations.

This could be the answer you are looking for to bring more light and brightness into your life.

Bloom Website | Download Bloom App | Get Your Metamour Cards Here | Bloom Instagram | Noa's Instagram
Use the code POLYWISE at checkout for 20% off of the Metamour Cards

About the Metamour Cards:
What are you doing for #MetamourDay2024 ? If nothing else, I hope you’re getting one of these adorable cards for your meta, because not only will you earn “coolest metamour” award, you will be helping to raise funds for non-monogamy advocacy and expanding the definition of love as part of bloomcommunityapp ‘s Reclaiming Valentine’s Day campaign!

This is Relationships Reimagined.

Join the conversation as we dive into a new paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships.
  
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Podcast Music by Zachariah Hickman

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Please note: I am not a doctor, psychiatrist, psychologist, therapist, counselor, or social worker. I am not attempting to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any physical, mental, or emotional issue, disease, or condition. The information provided in or through my podcast is not intended to be a substitute for the professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment provided by your own Medical Provider or Mental Health Provider. Always seek the advice of your own Medical Provider and/or Mental Health Provider regarding any questions or concerns you have about your specific circumstance.

Noa Elan:

I went down that career route and I had all the things on paper that society told me I should get. I was married, I had two kids, I had an MBA, I worked in a great company, I got promoted all the things that should have been like you're doing it. But then I just felt really lonely. I have hundreds of friends that are my peers but they're supposed to be my friends but they're not my friends. They can't talk to them, but any of my challenges as a new parent and I just felt really upset.

Noa Elan:

We were part of the sixth positive community that would host a sexy party, but I never had an interest in having six other people. But I was like, is there like one thing that couldn't make me feel excited? And I had to be like okay, let's see what there is. And I walked into this big party room. I was like, how do I show up? And I just slowly, slowly, kept showing up into community. That's what I discovered was really missing in my life community, a sense that I would walk into the room and people would light up and say, no, I was here, which I felt like I didn't have anywhere else, and I was like this is it, this is belonging.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Welcome to the Relationship Diversity Podcast, where we celebrate, question and explore all aspects of relationship structure diversity, from solaramary to monogamy to polyamory and everything in between, because every relationship is as unique as you are. We'll bust through societal programming to break open and dissect everything we thought we knew about relationships, to ask the challenging but transformational questions who am I and what do I really want in my relationships? I'm your guide, Kerry Jarislow, bestselling author, speaker, intuitive and coach. Join me as we reimagine all that our most intimate relationships can become. Today's episode is part of our conversation series. I'm just one voice in this relationship diversity movement and it's important to bring more unique perspectives into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Today I'll be talking with Noah Elan of Bloom about the importance of community, especially when embracing alternative identities and alternative relationship structures. I believe that having community can help bring needed support to someone going through a big lifestyle shift or stepping into an authentic expression of self, and Noah's mission with Bloom fills a void that many of us traveling less traditional paths find ourselves in. But first a little about her. Noah Elan is the CEO of Bloom Community, the alternative dating app for alternative people. Bloom is where queer, polyamorous, activist, kinky, spiritual and consent-minded members of society connect. Noah graduated with an MBA from Berkeley and was lucky to lead marketing for some of the bigger brands in the world, including Tide Square, lyft, adobe and Burning man. Despite this, she claims that her impact and identity are most attached to her work as a sex-positive community leader. In the past decade, noah has dedicated much of her free time to organizing parties, leading circles and mentoring individuals on their non-monogamous journey At Bloom Community. Noah can do this on a much larger scale. Let's get into the conversation.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Hello everyone and welcome to this episode of Relationship Diversity Podcast. I've got a fantastic guest for you Today. I've got Noah Elan here. She is the CEO of Bloom and if you don't know what Bloom is, you're going to find out all about it. I'm so excited about this because, if you've listened to any of my specifically my solo episodes, where I talk about venturing into a relationship structure that is outside of what we've been told is normal, I always talk about finding community because when you're going into areas that feel uncomfortable and new and everyone around you is doing something different, there can be nothing more helpful than connecting with others who are also in the exploration, like you are With that. I'm super excited, noah, to have you here. Welcome to the podcast, thank you so much.

Noa Elan:

Can I just group you on your podcast and how much I love it.

Noa Elan:

Oh thanks, I got connected. I feel I got connected. Maybe it's from Brett, but he shared a few podcast interviews back on the open Instagram. One of them that really stood out to me was just about owning where your relationship really is and what you want, instead of putting structures of like you need to be this way or that way. I think that's so important for the conversation that the world is having today, where polygamory and armonogamy is becoming so popular. I can expect that a lot of people will get pulled into specific relationship structures that maybe aren't correct for them. A voice like you, which celebrates diversity and actually meeting the relationship where it is, is so important.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I can't tell you how much that warms my heart because, sitting behind this microphone and really not knowing a lot of the things that I talk about really come from my own life and my own experience, specifically in my solo episodes. I love that discussion because my priorities have changed throughout my whole life when maybe a monogamous structure but even not even labeling that, but that kind of structure might work in one part of my life. Then moving to that polyamorous or even open relationship, they all have a place at a certain time in my life. I'm really glad that resonated with you. Thank you for saying that, Thank you for everything that you do, because you are such an important voice in this discussion, in this movement of relationship diversity. I'd love to start and learn, Noah, a little bit more about you, about your life and what brought you to having this passion to speak and to create community for marginalized communities.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, it's interesting. I am realizing, in the last year probably, how important it is for me to speak about it, because I've been in a monogamous relationship and I can tell my backstory but for a decade. But I've always passed as normal. I don't look what other people consider not regular. I have a small nuclear family me, a husband, two kids. I work in tech as an executive, my husband worked in tech.

Noa Elan:

We were that picture of normality and because of it I was also able to cruise under the surface. No one ever asked me about what I did on the weekend or am I going to have kids. Everyone just assumed that I was what the world thinks is normal and slowly, slowly, I felt really uncomfortable about it because there's a rebel deep inside me. What am I doing to normalize? What am I doing to bring it up to the conversation? If only people that look different speak up, then the other people were not normalizing it for the majority of the community. So I think there has been something really important for me in this moment of coming out and actually normalizing what non-monogamy and alternative relationships look like.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I really resonate with you on that. It was my whole inspiration for this podcast. Yes, it's very easy for me to completely just fly under the radar. I'm just this nuclear family living and working and I felt like I have so much privilege that I have to use it to speak out and that helped me move through a lot of the fear. So I see you in that and thank you for doing it, because there are a lot of people that are experiencing alternative lifestyles and choices in relationships and not talking about it for really legitimate reasons. So whatever we can do to normalize it in our own way, I think is amazing. Tell me about Bloom. I wouldn't understand about the history of Bloom, how you came in contact with it and how you became the CEO.

Noa Elan:

I think my story is really about finding belonging. So I went to business school in the Bay and then I went down that career route and I had all the things on paper that society told me I should get Right. I was married, I had two kids, I had an MBA, I worked in a great company, I was working at Lyft. Then I got promoted All the things that should have been like you're doing it, smooth sailing into the end. I don't know exactly what they tell you, but then I just felt really lonely.

Noa Elan:

I remember being I call it my fall of rage that I was so upset. I have hundreds of friends that are my peers but they're supposed to be my friends but they're not my friends. I can't talk to them, but any of my challenges is a new parent. I am surrounded by kids but they're not giving me the energy that I want. I don't have the relationship, connection that I want and I just felt really upset by this. It in some way, and my husband then and still now owns a festival called Soul Play and it's all about connection and embodiment and he was doing his life's work and I could see it and I got really angry by it. I was like you should stop the festival and get a job and suffer. Just like me and Evan. We can all suffer in this reality.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's what the pain body says right.

Noa Elan:

Exactly and, as I said it, I was like I don't think that that's actually true. What I want is is there a place that I can imagine that I could be as fulfilled as him and I could do work that I love? And I could feel seen by other people? And I couldn't see how. But I knew that it's possible because I saw it and I decided, okay, I'm just going to go and find it myself.

Noa Elan:

And we were part of the six positive community. They would host sexy parties, but I never really wanted to. I never had an interest Having six other people. They're like could I?

Noa Elan:

Is there like one thing that I would be excited about, like maybe sharing a really deep conversation with someone, or Dancing with someone, or just looking really good in the outfit and other people looking like what is the lowest threshold? That couldn't make me feel excited. And I knew that there was something and I had to be like okay, let's see what there is. And I walked into this big party room and I was like I'm gonna make you my people. I was like how do I show up? And I just slowly, slowly kept showing up. I set up the space and then I worked in the tea room and then I Organized the snacks and then I helped people with questions and when they came in and I just showed up into community and that's what I discovered was really missing in my life community, I sense that I would walk into the room and people would light up and say, no, I was here, which I felt like I didn't have anywhere else. I was like this is it, this is belonging.

Carrie Jeroslow:

So that was just someplace with community and you realize, wow, community is the thing that really lights me up, exactly.

Noa Elan:

So I think this was even pre bloom, but it was interesting is bloom.

Noa Elan:

This community specifically, which is called the bonobo network, this community was part of Blooms overall journey because community for people a lot of people are non monogamous and actually follow them community routes, which is events and workshops. Part of what the magic is is community in some way. So I believe that the way to find dates or the way to find other partners or find friends is through community, because then you show up and you see you find people. If I would meet you on a dating app, I would judge you based on external things or my bias towards what I think I'm looking. But if we meet at an event and then community, like oh, I saw how you showed up for this other person, or oh, you really helped me when I was really nervous, or oh, I really saw how you listened in this workshop, and we have more points of Connection and the context and the depth is so much more varied and nuanced and I think that that's what makes people actually connect and find the people that they want to then maybe date or hang out with.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I always say that I love deeper communication, connections, conversations.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's what Makes me feel alive and I feel really resonant with you. If that is where I would go, I think there are other people that want maybe that Sexual connection, that would go to play parties and that's where they really feel alive. Everyone has different ways of connecting and what I love about the little bit I've looked into bloom is it has it all for everyone, like how you connect to be finding a community like that and I remember the times when I was a mother of my kids were really young and I felt so alone. The instant I would connect with another mother and just go on a walk and have a conversation, I could feel the kind of heaviness that was around me, lift like, oh, there's someone else, that even though we're having different experiences, we're able to connect and converse and talk and Show support. That that is the thing that lifted my mood and I think that, with the community that you're talking about and that you're building is that place where people can come and feel that spark, the spark connection.

Noa Elan:

Right. So I think that the idea of bloom when it started was If we can get people around a shared meaning, like in real life Whether it's a workshop, even on zoom, or a workshop in person, or play party or a munch or a rope jam If we can get people in a room around a shared topic that they care about, then there's more chance that they'll actually connect and continue the meeting after. So we built a platform that has Organizers like you and organizers that actually have parties just post their events and then, when I opened up, I'm like, oh, what's happening today? Maybe I'll go to this Speed dating event, maybe I'll go to this rope jam, and when you go to the event you can see who's going there and then you can match with them online. So we instead I like to like date first, swipe second right, why don't you first hang out together and then, when you do, do that app part of the swiping? You have a way deeper context when you evaluate if you want to connect with someone.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Can you talk more about what bloom? Because bloom is an event and a dating app. It's got both things right. So we'll get into that in just a second, but I'd love to start, just so we have a context. How did bloom start, and when did it start and when did you come into the picture? So Luna.

Noa Elan:

Luna Ray is the founder of bloom and she believed that dating apps were just a terrible experience because you end up swiping for hours, you maybe connect with a few people, then they go to your, they send you dick pics and you actually never make people. This was during covid and she was part of the community that I spoke about, bonobo network, that we had sex parties and workshops. She was like I meet so many more people there because I share meaningful interactions with them. So she was like okay, what if we create meaningful interactions for people? And she started by creating group dates in the park. It was the end of 2021, so just as people started getting vaccinated and she would bring everyone to the park and they would have ice breaking experience. And then it should be like okay, go to the app and if you want, you can match. And then other organizer would come be like we want that as well, because the big problem for sex positive organizers is that it's impossible to actually promote your events, because if you have anything that sounds Sexual on social media, you get banned. So any of these workshops like rope workshops, contra workshops, be dating, anything that the might someone will say like it feels off. Facebook will ban you, so all these organizers don't have any way even to reach people. So there's people that want more of the world. There's organizers, but there is no one that brings them together. So she created this two-sided marketplace in some way, where people can discover events and organizers can discover people.

Noa Elan:

And how did you come into the picture? So I was still working in tech and I it's funny because I was working in tech and continuing to get promoted and promoted and being on executive teams and I worked at Adobe and Lyft and Square and all these big tech companies and I always felt like I didn't belong, like I like, am I doing anything meaningful? I'm actually driving the business and and also, do I care about driving revenue for these companies and communities Is what really kept my identity in check? Because I was like I know that even if I fail in this campaign for Adobe, I know that I'm not a failure as a person because I have 70 people that when every time I say I'm gonna host a workshop or or a book club, they're like I'm in, tell me where to send my money to, and they're like that experience of knowing that there's something, that is my work, that is my impact really kept me going. And then I was like, okay, how did I do more of that in in my life? Luna was looking for a junior marketer and I was like I don't think it's for me, but I love what you're doing. And when she saw me and my ideas and what I brought in in my business thinking she was like, oh, you should just be the next CEO. She was ready to do a lot more things in that embodiment and environmental Space. So she was like I'm ready to move to make Impact in another place, and you and your energy and my vision is exactly what she wanted in that moment.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Amazing opportunity so when you stepped into your truth and what really Lights you up. And then this opportunity.

Noa Elan:

I know you wow, it is my dream job. I like I tell if one is truly like my dream dream job, it's like everything I want to do and Everything is that I didn't feel when I was in tech, which was like I have no clue what idea to bring up to the table and how to create. I just know what needs to happen and at the moment it's just incredible.

Carrie Jeroslow:

When did you become the CEO of bloom I?

Noa Elan:

in May, so it's less than a year, and it's been incredible. It has been incredible.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Wow, so do you mind sharing what your big visions of Bloom are? When you took it over, it was event and dating app that was already set up, and I'd love to know what you did when you came in in May. And then your big visions.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, it's funny because I travel to different cities to meet members and I'm just like, let's do happy hour and I just want to hear what people have to say. And one of the things that both breaks my heart and makes me hopeful is how capitalism is just crushed people's trust in society or in corporations. Every time they come to a happy hour people are like what are you going to do about money? And you're trying to make money off of me and just this basic fear of corporations. And I'm like I get it.

Noa Elan:

The world has taught us this and it's really, really sad that we have grown to learn that companies are going to use you and maximize and first give you something for free and then change it on you and then are you addicted to it.

Noa Elan:

It really does break my heart and luckily I feel so lucky that at Bloom there is so much opportunity, there's so much abundance. We're talking about abundance. There's so much abundance for value that I just know I can share the strategy. But every time I share it with people they're like, oh, I'm on board with that and I just. That's why I feel so lucky that I get to work in a company that I can build and grow everyone in the path. But I'll just say that because I think it's really interesting how, when you build community and I'm sure I don't know if you have that in your world, but people are really against monetizing community. They're like you shouldn't make money off of this, or why are you asking for money and people, even for my organizers? I get all these emails being like tell your organizers that if they charge $10 for the Suga class instead of 20, more people will come, and I'm like you can do it for 10 if you want.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, it's an exchange. It's an exchange for me. I did a lot of healing work in my past and there was a whole growth of do I charge, do I not charge? I don't want to, I'd love to give it away. At the same time, it's an exchange and I will say that people are more invested in their own experience if they actually exchange financial Financial, that is an exchange, an energetic exchange for what they're getting. But I understand that there is a lot of wounding around capitalism and it being taken advantage of.

Noa Elan:

Right, and that's why I actually like that. I came from the business world because half of my job is to tell organizers you deserve to be paid for this. I was talking to Alan Steiner. He hosts the Poly Happy Hour in the Bay Area for the last seven or eight years and it's worked not only the six hours that he's hanging out there and entertaining people, but posting it, creating it, holding space for the community. You actually deserve to get paid.

Noa Elan:

So part of my work is to just tell people you deserve to be paid and also tell other people are you getting the value from this? Why is it okay to pay 15 bucks for a avocado toast, but it's not okay to pay 15 bucks for a rope jam? I just it blow and I think it is the wounding right, it is the wounding of your taking advantage of that, my desire for connection. But I think that there is a world where we can normalize it and actually be a lot more transparent. I tell people. Some people are like you're trying to make money off of me and I'm like, yes, I am. Actually. We are two employees and we need to get to be paid. So I either sell your data to another company or I show you advertising or you pay for it, and currently my best idea is that you will pay for it.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, and when I sit in my heart and I think about where my money is going to, I want to be conscious. I want to be giving my money to organizations that I really believe in, that I feel are bettering the world, than I would going to a big store and buying crap that's just gonna sit and collect dust in my house, but yet we'll go and we'll buy a TV at whatever big box store. But to actually really be thoughtful about where our money is going to, I want to support those organizations, like Bloom, that are doing good work in the world, that are helping people to find connection and community, that are spreading love into the world. That is my big barometer. Is this spreading love and acceptance and inclusivity and diversity, or is it dividing us to like, well, I've got a big TV and you don't, and that TV is gonna keep me disconnected from the people that I want to find community with.

Noa Elan:

It is really hard, because I look at other apps and I'm like, yeah, all you have to do is tell people to swipe more and charge the more money. But I feel so lucky that I have a different solution. So my vision is to have people be members of Bloom, so premium members. Anyone can go to an event and anyone can swipe. But if you want to go to more events with a membership, you get a discount on it, so you actually it pays off. First, if you go into one workshop that we host, you already paid back your membership. So I'm aligning my goals with my members' goals.

Noa Elan:

I was really inspired when I was 18, I met this person who opened a gym and he said if you don't come to the gym, you're not gonna pay, and which is opposite of what gyms do. Right, but he was like now I have to build my gym to make sure that people come. So how do we build habits with people? How do we have customer service? How do we build inspiration? And he built the whole gym. It's not enough to say, oh, we'll just change the business model. But he actually built the business to match the new business model and, yeah, he didn't have 70% of the people paying not coming, but he had a way higher retention, so people stayed there for multiple years and that's what I want to build. I want to build a business that I'm like. What's your end goal? Your end goal is to meet people. How can I align my business model with the fact that you want to meet more people? And that's why you'll stay and it will make sense for you financially to pay, because it actually moves you in the right direction.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I love that. To me, that is a lot more conscious way to run a business and I think that that is the future. I hope that it is the future. I will say I hope that is the future of how we do business together, because life is about exchange and transactions, but it can be a let me help you reach your goal and let me help you find the kind of connection and community that you're looking for. So walk me through the Bloom app. How does it work? And if someone was interested, they're saying like, wow, I could really use community here. I am in a small town. I don't feel like I have community. Walk them through what their experience would be.

Noa Elan:

I think I'll start by saying it touches on what you said about being a new parent, and the experience of just having coffee with someone relaxes your nervous system. So, in some way, what I'm trying to build is how do I create the most amount of touch point that will allow you to feel connected to some kind of basic level? If the chances of me helping you to find someone that you'll have a hookup or a three-way date is low, that's a pretty big expectation. It probably happens on Bloom. What if I allowed you to actually have a good conversation with someone? You might yeah, it's not gonna be the reason that you dreamt of, but you know what? You might feel happier than sitting in front of your TV and watching Netflix so continually.

Noa Elan:

What I hope to bring to the community is allowing people to do the magic of short, ephemeral, momentarily connections. Instead of this, it's all or nothing. It's my attachment or nothing, and I want more of that. So as I'm building the app, I'm trying to create more and more touch points that will allow people, even if you're in a small town, that you don't have 17 rope gems a month, five different munches for your type of BDSM connection, but you can go on that and there's group chats that people are talking about their experiences and there's online workshops. So I continually try to build more and more touch points that allow baseline level of connection and that I can tell you how it looks.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Amazing. Is it an actual app that someone downloads on their phone?

Noa Elan:

Yeah, yeah. So you download the Bloom Community app and when you come in you have three parts of the app. So one is events, the second one is profiles, like seeing other profiles, and the third one is a chat. So chat rooms, okay.

Noa Elan:

So for events, you go and you're like okay, I am interested in Six Magic, for example, or I'm interested in rope, or I'm interested in so many people in our app are all about personal growth and all about communication and restorative justice in relationships, like really like jealousy, a lot of the core, core non-monogamy skills.

Noa Elan:

So you're like I'm really interested in jealousy and you write jealousy and you can find workshops in different local spots that have workshops on the topic or online classes on this topic. We just had a class with Jessica Fern about internal family systems work on jealousy. And you, so you can see it's all live, either in person or on Zoom, and you can see the workshops and as part of the workshops, you can see who's going and you can try and connect with them, being like oh my God, it's my first time going to a rope jam. Could we like have a drink before? Or what I see people saying is like I really want to go to this party and I'm nervous. What do people wear in? The more experienced people Like this is what I'm wearing, or this is what you should expect, so there is more support for even getting you to the things that you want to do.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Yeah, education it sounds like, because it's kind of scary when you're thinking, oh, I have this interest but I have no clue what to do with it and I'm alone and I don't have anyone to ask. So it sounds like that even having that connection to ask questions, is the chat monitored so people feel safe asking those kind of questions.

Noa Elan:

Yeah. So we have chats that are both for events. Every event has a chat and either the hosts are there or community really manages it. And then we have topic chats. So if you're like, oh, I'm really into it's like new to non monogamy or ADG and polyamory there's any topic that anyone wants to bring up and these chats are so deep in the conversation about there was one about that is parenting, and people are asking about how do I deal with this challenge? How do I talk to my kids about my relationships? Or people support each other through relationship escalation. So there's so many small communities and what's really interesting is the chat. People are not the event people sometimes, and different people have different ways that they like to connect, based on the preferences and their actual family structure and our ability to allow these different ways of connection. I see small communities everywhere.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Wow, wow. I guess I didn't realize that chat aspect was a part of bloom, because definitely when people are starting out, it can be really confusing as to where to find support and community. Yes, so that educational aspect sounds really important. So if people were to sign up with bloom, it is at first like they get a level, that is a free app, that they can just sign up and make a profile or not make up. Do they need to make a profile in order to chat?

Noa Elan:

You have to make a profile and then you can decide if you want your profile to be seen as match enabled or not Right.

Noa Elan:

So you can just be there as a participant. But, yeah, you can do everything for free. But if you want to go to, and you could go to workshops and everything but if you're a pre-member, which is between 14 and 25 dollars a month, you actually get discounts to events. So we have about eight events a month that we host that we it's 30 bucks for the Jessica from workshop or 10 bucks if you're a super boomer.

Noa Elan:

And then if you go to the Bay or New York or San Diego or LA, there's probably about 15 to 25 events a month that you can get $10 or $15 off. So we work with organizers to also offer benefits to super boomers.

Carrie Jeroslow:

That's incredible. So again, you're getting something for your membership, right?

Noa Elan:

Not just the community, but yeah, and that's where the magic is. The magic for me is organizers want to offer this benefit because it allows them to offer prices, different prices, and then members want to be members because it actually makes financial sense. And then we also offer. Anyone who wants can always get. We have a no one turned away for lack of funds. And you know what? No one turned away for lack of funds Can. That framework.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I understand the idea of it, but I'd love for you to explain how it works with Bloom.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, it actually started in Oakland. We discovered by queer communities that they were like oh, we want to host events and we want to also recognize that not everyone has financial ability to pay, and so a lot of the six positive and conscious communities offer no one turned away for lack of funds. So you can always email organizers and be like, hey, I want to come, but I don't have money. And they'll be like yeah, no problem, Just come. And I see it pretty much down almost all of our organizers have that. So as we started and we're offering the super boomer, I was like yeah, it's great that you can get discounts, but some people can't even pay the $20 a month membership. So we, if you go to our website and you do boom community dot com, slash no one turned away for lack of funds. There's actually a button that you just click it and you get a free membership for yourself and then you can get the discounted tickets.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Wow, that is incredible. There's been times in my life where I've needed something like that, and then there are times in my life where I've been able to actually help fund those, and so I think that what you're doing is you're saying that if you really want community, we will figure out a way for you to be a part of this community, which is really beautiful, really beautiful.

Noa Elan:

There's so much connection available, you don't have to sit for hours and swipe on 300 pictures to get one match. There's hundreds of people out there waiting to meet your hundreds. And it's funny because now I'm going to talk in binary genders and obviously there's no binary genders. But when we look at gender, how people represent themselves in their genders, we see women go to the most amount of events, then non-binary people and then male identifying people and it's funny to see some male identifying go half of the time than women identifying. And what's interesting is when you talk to people in the dating scene, the male identifying people are usually the ones complaining like where do you find all the women? I'm ready.

Noa Elan:

I'm like they're all there hanging out. It's just fascinating to be in this world.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I think that there are a lot of excuses that come up for reasons to not put yourself out there and because it is an aspect of putting yourself out there to take the risk to show up in a way that you can connect with others and that others can connect with you. And one of the things that I was thinking was I consider myself an introvert.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I feel COVID to me was actually a really great time because I could stay in my own little world and I learned through challenging times that that was where I was able to ground and kind of tune into myself and it made me more introverted and less extroverted. So just for those introverts out there who are saying I'm introverted too and I'm really scared to go out and reach out and find community, what kind of advice or inspiration could you give those introverts out there?

Noa Elan:

Yeah, well, first I can give empathy. It is really hard, I think, to be an introvert in today's world where things are moving so fast and being an extrovert plays to so many of the societal structures right now. I do think it's really hard. I really recommend.

Noa Elan:

So there's someone called the Vibe, with Kai on Instagram, a chyrus I forgot their last name, but they talked about ADHD and now they're starting talking about being an introvert, and I love following people who are famous in some way and introverts because they think that they normalize how painful it is. This actually is a lot of pain to be out there and I think it allows just people to be like, okay, yeah, I feel seen in it. So I would say, yeah, just follow people that are out and introvert and be able to get insight on how they resource themselves. And then community is so special because I think about my friends that are introverts. If you've been a few years ago, it's like a sexy party. They're the ones doing the emotional support and they sit in the other room or they're the ones that do the snack bar. So how do you create moments that are just the right amount of exposure for you and still those show up in the way that is comfortable for you to make those connections.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I love that because I think that what you're saying is know yourself, to know how you want to connect, and I always find that I've had several jobs where I've had to interact with a lot of people. And when I have for me, when I have a job or I have a role that's very clearly defined, it's much easier for me to show up and interact with people than just I'm just in this crowd and I don't know what to say to someone standing next to me and I don't know how to go up and talk to someone. And so I love what you were saying about those.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Some introverts really find connection through being maybe a little bit more of that emotional support or working the refreshment table or whatever like that, so really understanding who you are and how you connect with people the best, and then also maybe a little bit of a push. A little bit of a push even finding like a buddy that you can maybe connect with. That can help push you a little bit, because I know that as an introvert still, if I push myself to just reach out and ask a question like that's how I have helped myself get out there. A little bit more is I go and ask people questions about themselves just in a real, authentic interest of learning more about the other person. It's a little bit easier for me to connect. It's easier for me to ask and listen and support than to talk about myself. That's my own wounding.

Noa Elan:

I don't work.

Carrie Jeroslow:

But finding these little ways to connect in the way that feels comfortable, maybe a little bit uncomfortable and really just keep showing up. And it sounds like with Bloom there are so many different ways. You can connect one on one, you can connect through a group, you can connect at a live event, an online event, and all of these ways can help to push you a little bit and expand your ability to put yourself out there.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, I think I had. There was some history and there was like some long thread that people are talking about attachment on the Normand Lago me chat and someone came out with this like massive text and they started with being like I usually just lurk here and read, but now I have some stuff to say and I was like isn't that amazing? Right, even lurking is part of participation, right? I really like what you touched on which is part of it is how do I take care of myself? What do I need to do in terms of my nervous system? Do I need to take space? Do I need a smaller container? And then the other one is what's my needs?

Noa Elan:

So sometimes they get completed and you're like I'm going to push myself really strong because I want connection, but this has been way too much for my nervous system. I think we need to let these two and be like wait, what do you need for your nervous system? What do you want for your needs and desires? And then how do we slowly, slowly get them together? About holding these two very, very different needs in buckets. And then how do we get them together, but rather separately and seeing like where do they push and push each other and where?

Carrie Jeroslow:

do. They work together and that is being in tune with ourselves. I went to this amazing get together for non-monogamous folks, which was amazing, and it was just so refreshing to be in a community where I could connect with people and just who I am. And I went with one of my partners and it was just super easy to be there together. So we had each other, but we were also engaging and at the end of that I knew, okay, I need a day totally by myself.

Carrie Jeroslow:

And I was just talking with someone about the play parties. We just did an episode on play parties and she talked about it as aftercare and a lot of people do in this community talk about it as aftercare. My aftercare is I just want to shut everything out and take a couple days to breathe and process and say what just happened. There's a high, so there's a rush of excitement and connection, but then there's the come down and then there's like what just happened? And then a recalibration of who I am now after that experience as opposed to who I was before that experience. And these are beautiful experiences that expand me and help me evolve and grow and become more in tune with, maybe, my truth or who I think I am who I am feeling in this moment, and so they're amazing experiences, these community events that are also scary but exciting. There's all the emotions that are involved in it.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, I'm MetaMorris and Misha Misha Bonaventura. She's a basic sex educator and she is the leader of a community and she's an introvert. And every time when we come out of a big weekend adventure or a party, I'm an extrovert. So I'm like, okay, what's next? Let's go to Mexico next time. Let's do this. And she's like I cannot think about it. I can't talk about anything new for about a week because I'm still overwhelmed by the experience. So she always tells me there's people that are she calls it past looker, like looking at the past, and there's people that are future lookers and people that like our future lookers. They like to make more plans. They get energy from making in the past Lookers like to reflect on the past and actually process it. And that's where some of our tension is, because I want to keep the high by talking about the next thing and it's like, no, no, I want to process what just happened and that's how I get back into my body.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, it's amazing to have that reflection, because you're learning how other people are and then maybe bringing parts of each other into each other's experience, right, yeah, and I'm so glad you brought up metamores, because I know you have something very specific for metamore day, which is February 28th.

Noa Elan:

Yeah, and so metamores is the lover of your lovers and I was just talking to my friend who's actually she's my metamore as well, but she's the expert in the metamores and she was talking about how your metamores even your partner is business partner. So if I am dating a Romy and he has a partner, a business partner, in some way, they're my metamore as well. I can't bitch about my partner without that impacting their relationship. So anyone who's in close you have a hand between you, and I think metamores are such a special relationship because they could be really difficult. They can bring up jealousy.

Noa Elan:

They can be really special because you meet another person and they're also very, very delicate. So Romy, who's my partner? He has another primary partner in my love me, or Ryan. She's incredible, but I can't really tell her about everything that hurts me so much about Romy, because I don't want to ruin their relationship. In the same way, she can't tell me like, oh my God, maybe we'll get married or whatever it is, because that will help her.

Noa Elan:

I think there's a lot of care and specialness around metamores that I really want to celebrate. So, as part of Bloom, it's Metamor Day on February 28th and we want to allow people to celebrate it. So I just came back from Oakland and we brought Metamores together to sit on a sofa and ask each other to ask you some of the most important questions, and we're going to release that. But we're also selling postcards from Metamor Day. So these like these really beautiful postcards and designs that have cute animation saying like, oh, you hate that about them too or I'm so grateful for our connection. So we have these cute cards and we're selling them, but five cards for 18 bucks and I'll give you a promo code for your community. But we're donating all the money for non monogamy advocacy, and so we're trying to bring awareness to Metamore relationships and creating more opportunities to connect but then also raise money for people who are doing amazing work on making more accepted.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I happen to be really grateful for my Metamore. I've got a wonderful Metamore who is super supportive of my relationship with my husband and I feel very grateful because I know that there are people that don't always have that kind of relationship with their Metamores and it creates more tension in the experience than there already is tension in the experience as we break down all of these really stale old beliefs about relationships that we've been fed, because that is really necessary when you start traveling this path into alternative relationships, and so the relationship with your Metamore can be a very delicate relationship. Did you guys develop Metamore Day? Is that you're just like where?

Noa Elan:

did that come?

Carrie Jeroslow:

from.

Noa Elan:

I think it's like that something coalition for new relationship. There's like the NC I'm going to have to look it up but there's like a nonprofit that did it like four years ago. I think, okay, this is what I love about my role is I can have the actual like I have some money and I have some and I have channels that reach several 10,000 people. I can use it to actually advance these topics that I care about, and I just feel so lucky to be able to use my privilege and my power to do it. So I'm curious if your kids and your Metamore have a relationship.

Carrie Jeroslow:

They do. They know each other. We live farther away than I would like, so we are about an hour and a half away, so that gets in the way of us having more of a relationship with my other partner and my Metamore and the kids. But we have hung out. We went to a Neil DeGrasse Tyson show which was really fun, and we all went out to dinner and everything. And they know all about our other partners and I just wish we all lived closer, that we could have more connection amongst us.

Noa Elan:

Do your partner know your partner's partner?

Carrie Jeroslow:

Do the.

Noa Elan:

Metamores know each other.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Uh, huh yeah.

Noa Elan:

Yeah.

Carrie Jeroslow:

My friend called them.

Noa Elan:

They're telemores.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Is that what it is?

Noa Elan:

Telemores. That's my friend Anna who's the designer of all of these cards. She has like Telemores, which is like expanded family of your Metamores, and then she has Megamores. When you start having sexual relationships with your Metamores, there's like multiple and termores. What's that? One Permanent words. Like it's like you. Your relationship has continued beyond the relationship of the main partner. So if your Metamore and your husband are no longer romantic and you still have a very strong connection to her, then you're a Permanent word.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Oh well, I know that happens actually for many people. They start to develop these really strong bonds with their Metamores and then maybe their partner breaks up with that person. But I don't want to stop my relationship with my Metamore. I really, really love that person, so it is a special relationship and I love this acknowledgement of Metamores. I think that they deserve this acknowledgement. So Metamore Day is February 28th and if you are out there listening and you want to acknowledge and send love to your Metamore, I will have the link to these postcards in the show notes so that you can order them. And even if you're hearing this at a later date, hopefully the postcards will still be available or maybe you can get them for the following year.

Noa Elan:

Yep 100%.

Carrie Jeroslow:

I'm also going to have the link to download the Bloom app right in the show notes to make it super easy for you to find your community, because I will tell you, through all the different lifetimes that I've lived in my almost 54 years, community has really been the answer to my struggles. It has been the thing that has pushed me through, that has kept me on track, that has kept my visions alive anytime, whether it is my personal life or business or parenthood. When I find community, I feel alive, I feel motivated and I feel supported. So thank you so much, noah, for the work that you're doing. Please, everyone, go and support Bloom and support Noah and the mission that she has and the bigger mission that will help normalize diverse relationships, because I have to tell y'all, this is where it is going, this is where the future of modern relationships is going, to diversity, and so I hope you'll join us.

Noa Elan:

Thank you so much for pushing this and making the world more open, more self-express, less shame inducing.

Carrie Jeroslow:

Well, it takes a village, it takes us all together to do this and I'm really grateful to be connected with you. Thanks so much for listening to the Relationship Diversity podcast. Want to learn more about relationship diversity? I've got a free guide I'd love to send you. Go to wwwrelationshipdiversitypodcastcom to get your sent right to you. If you liked what you heard, please subscribe to the podcast. You being here and participating in the conversation about relationship diversity is what helps us create a space of inclusivity and acceptance together. The more comfortable and normal it is to acknowledge the vast and varied relating we all do, the faster we'll shift to a paradigm of conscious, intentional and diverse relationships. New episodes are released every Thursday. Stay connected with me through my YouTube channel, where I'll give you even more free resources and information all about relationship diversity. I'm super excited to go deeper into YouTube because I'll be able to connect and have conversations directly with you. You'll find the link in the show notes. Stay curious. Every relationship is as unique as you are.

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Founder's Journey to CEO of Bloom
Building Community and Changing Business Model
Navigating Introversion in Community Settings
Celebrating Metamore Relationships and Community
Exploring Relationship Diversity Through Podcast