We do not do things half-ass. The bravado and belief that comes with this territory outside the norm, means we don’t half-step. Our histories, broadly cultural, intimately familial, or gut-wrenchingly personal, have taught us that we must come correct. Our ancestors and our non-believers whisper to us like Jefferson Pinder’s Drill Instructor, if you fall, “you make a plan so that when you spring back up, you are stronger than before, or at least you try to create the illusion.”
So when, if ever, do we get to collapse? To breathe? To admit that we don’t have the answers, that we’ve run out of magic and that we are simply exhausted? The respite is in these pieces gathered by Martine and Ernesto, who understand that we, practitioners, spread across globe, need alternatives to collapse. We, like, Taisha Pagget, would like the option to “fold over” or “bellow in and out” or “bend like light” or “swim” or “stand at the brink…”. Blog Salon #3 reminds us that someone in this collective has the heart to catch us as we fall or, if collapsing is the lesson, make sure we don’t give up on our brilliance.
We are responsible and optimistically expect reciprocity. We want our audiences to accept their role in the spectrum of consumption, pain, and privilege. In our rawest moments, we press forward like Xandra Ibarra, desiring that “the audience be accountable for [our] visceral feelings of hysteria and melancholy…” As we mature, optimism makes way for realism, and we become more clear about how much fire we will give and when. More discernment than resignation, we like Nina Haft, are getting to know our boundaries, “hit[ting] the limits of [our] energy sooner now, with less room for argument.”
But what of our futures? What about these gargantuan hurricanes blowing into our carefully constructed, politically performative paths? What more than this periodic communion in digital space? We dig our feet in, dream, call upon spirit, and “join the queer militia”. In Jefferson’s work we found foresight, in Xandra’s, an understanding of endurance. With “resistance in our spines” (Taisha) we shore up our foundation and like Praba Pillar, “instantiate ethics, immediacy, and the artistic impulse to intervene.”
Our next steps forward are what we’ve been doing all along… and more. According to Jai Arun Ravine, “radical queers imagine and actively create existences outside of an either/or, success/failure algorithm… something more than just the sound of a constant, invisibilized struggle.” Keep following that path and Amara Tabor Smith’s gentle reminder that “aside from some oppressive radical sects, most religious/spiritual doctrines speak of the in between’s” is wholly reflective of WHO WE ARE. We ARE the “gray area”, we ARE “the maybes”, we ARE the “neither here nor there’s” and therefore, to circle back with that logic, we ARE irrefutably DIVINE. And when the call to collective action rises up in the form of Mona G Hawd, we are ready to answer the hard questions, “continue to fight the fights that need fighting” and “radiate successfully in ways both queered and also totally recognized by the mainstream world.”
Personally and professionally, I am invested in the idea of legacy. Legacy moves one into a sense of permanence that takes little heed of small failures or the occasional collapse. Legacy favors the longevity of the collective. I hope we can, as practitioners centered around ephemeral experiences, start to lay out what we will leave behind. What will the next generation, at-large and blood-related, absorb from our trials in cross-everything exploration? Will they feel the freedom and recognize the resources to innovate and impact whatever the hell they want? Will they continue to build on the foundations we have stretched out beneath their feet? Will we have the courage to make way for them? Once we are equipped to fight emotionally, spiritually, and physically and we engage in our daily battles, I challenge us to believe that this is not just for us, but for the next person, peer or progeny, that wants to line up next to us, and close ranks on the norm.