Obsessively queer?

7 01 2010

This is an ongoing conversation between the three of us over a period of time, which is why it is somewhat rambling and disjointed. But we felt it raised some interesting issues and differing viewpoints that may open up more debate as a post…so any interesting comments are welcome, as always.

The conversation started as a debate around this:

http://alphafemme.wordpress.com/2009/10/29/a-femme-without-a-butch/

>> I say we are compulsive and obsessive about our queerness. By obsessive I mean we – all of us who identify as gay/lesbian/queer…we obsess about ourselves… our lives, the politics, our partners, the breakups, the freedoms we lack, the fight for rights, the sex, the books, the movies, our friends…it goes on and on. This is also tied into the way we define our entire lives and selves by the fact we are queer. We end up not having much in life that’s not connected to our sexual preferences in some way and I suspect that’s weird too.

I think it’s all too disconnected from the world we actually live in, whether we like it or not and that troubles me even in my own life. I want to feel I’m part of the whole world or at least know what’s going on in all of the liberal world. And that includes the politics, the music, the literature, the art, the sports, the news, the science and technology, the environment and human nature in general. All of it.

And this attitude of all encompassing general interest in the world around us is what we risk when we find true love and get ‘married’. One gets driven (or willingly leaps) into that isolated space of queerness when one is actually partnered. I always see this in my own life… when I am single I am more involved and interested in more general issues and life around me, including the things of the male world. The male world is a huge one – in fact whether we like it or not, it is the world and it drives the space we live in too after all, wherever we are.

But at the same time, I support our difference too.

>> I don’t know if this is necessarily a bad thing. I think it happens constantly with small marginalised communities that face huge stresses and pressures such as ours. But at the same time, it is good to have a foot in the world external to our community. And I am not sure why you feel you wouldn’t be part of the whole wide world if you were obsessing about the queer world? Wouldn’t you still be listening to different kinds of music or watching diverse films?

>> Oh but we don’t listen to different kinds of music or watch diverse films. Not really. We just seem to give up on the larger media/art/literature world. (Or maybe we were not that interested in the first place.) Haven’t you noticed our fixation with the L-Word, Sarah Waters, KD, Melissa, Heather and Ellen and on and on?

I believe it’s only the fact that there isn’t a greater volume of lesbian themed movies, lesbian authors and lesbian music available that keeps us from confining ourselves totally to those categories for life. Really, we are practically fundamentalists when it comes to accepting anything that’s not within our safe zone. We become very selective about what we can bear to see and hear, which means we continuously reinforce what we already believe, while shutting off so much valuable information about so much else that’s going on. (I know there are exceptions. I am speaking of a general trend.)

But I also feel it is so hard to debate these things or even critique our community, as it is one that is struggling on so many fronts – being queer, being poor, being third world disadvantaged, being less privileged even in the circles we move around in, being women in such a horribly chauvinistic society, being discriminated against and put down as a matter of course…all the social and class issues we face. There is so much to battle against.

It is very hard, because we are not like a group of liberated dykes in the first world having an intellectual discussion about the finer points of the rights we already have. It is so much more basic and painful than that.

>> But we should continue to debate these things. We are not here representing the LGBT world. We are just three independent, very different women. Whatever we write is part of and representative of the gay community because we are writing it. We are not outside of it, in the same way that Shakespeare was not outside his social group when he wrote his plays. He was still a part of that era and his work reflects the ideologies at the time, and in the same way, our writing is not outside of our world, our community or society. Whether in support of or against, it is still affected by our involvement with the time and place we exist in.





What is love?

29 12 2009

Three of us pondered an ancient question.

1.

We talk about love so much, I don’t even know if there is anything much left worth saying about love. I mean, what is love anyway? A feeling? A chemical reaction? A moment? Someone meant to happen to you? Who knows?

One thing I’ve seen over the years is that there are very few ways we love. In between those few ways, there will be many shades. But really, there isn’t that much difference about the way we love whether we are male, female, lesbian or just plain straight.

Some hurt because they love and others cause hurt for love. You may want to keep her with you because you love and I may want to walk away because I love. In the end, what do you call love anyway?

Is it when you hurt so much that you feel you are in a bottomless pit and everything is dark around you? Is it when you look around and only see the gap the other person has left? Or is it being able to share the pain and chaos of everything around you? And feel secure and cherished? Or are they both love?

How do you love?

2.

Some people love by letting go. Like the old saying: “If you love someone, set them free. If they come back to you they’re yours, if they don’t it was never meant to be.”

I think that means – if someone wants to be with you they will. If they don’t they won’t! Not much we can do!

I used to love obsessively – write her name in my blood and carve it on my skin. But I was 13 then. I have not loved like that since. But that first love is the only one in which you are irrational and possessed. Every other love is more pondered upon; you are slower in letting go and slower in giving yourself. Indeed, I believe that in any true love one should not give oneself completely. You have to keep some part of yourself for yourself. It maintains your own self-respect and also that of the other person in your life. You are yourself first and only then one part of couple. If you are not strong, not self-respecting, then the couple will not be any of those things either.

3.

I think love is the hidden and very convoluted reason for everything everyone does in their life – whoever they are. Even the murderer’s motives might track back to love – the need for or the lack of it. We don’t often realize this – how deep it goes and how the need for love governs the strongest of us. I don’t even think we really understand how much of our actions and thoughts are caused by chemical reactions, environment, history and the ways in which our brains work. That may be why we mistake so many other feelings, reactions and situations for true love and end up in co-dependent, infantile, unsatisfying or downright abusive relationships.

I think love and loving, like other skills, must be learned – often or maybe always through pain. But the process must be pursued and till one can love like an adult – with strength of mind, responsibility and courage, one is not really loving anyone but oneself.

But I also believe that once we achieve that level of understanding of our own minds and hearts, all kinds of magic will happen.

And that’s the point.