Isn’t It Queer: Deconstruction to Construction

Banner{Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}

{Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}

Today I’m wet. With optimism, you perv, calm down. This time it’s because of a big-gooey-re-constructionist-wet-dream. I have decided to re-write all of the scripts in my life, and by scripts I mean ideas or constructs of what a person’s role in your life should be, or a way in which “one should handle” a life event. I am doing this with the intention of custom building my community. Why shouldn’t I build my own ideals for who I should surround myself with, what I should spend my time doing, and what my life will look like? Who else here is done with the painfully tepid bullshit of radio-love-song-advice? Yeah, I thought so. In communities of deconstructionist activism- where we dismantle definitions in order to live vibrantly in gender and race non-conformity, it’s important to remember that after deconstruction comes construction, lest we live in the sparkly gay ashes of our accomplishment. We have to fill in the gaps left by our own deconstruction. To build our lives in a way that supports us–whether we are people of color, trans/non-binary, LGBTQ, or non-monogamous–defining love, connection, support, acceptance and relationships for ourselves is the key to building healthy communities.

{Image Credit: {Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}
{Image Credit: {Image Credit: http://getfleck.com/s/Hfa1FCgAIgAKnknT}

I was lucky enough to grow up with a mother who told me (privilege acknowledged) that the love songs on the radio were bullshit. There is no man at the end of the tunnel who will complete you, and dressing in a schoolgirl skirt and doing a choreographed dance does not make you more loveable (thank you Brittney for teaching us all such valuable lessons in dating). My mother and my abundance of sarcasm aside, her lesson incited a constant search for meaning and substance in relationships. It also provoked me asking inflammatory questions of my monogamous partners on a consistent basis. Why do we insist on exclusively dating each other and what purpose does that serve? What are you are providing me in this relationship and what are you getting from this? Why do some lovers insist friends are more important than partners (yes friends, I’m referring to the sacred laws of “bro’s before ho’s” and other such misogynist gems) and others claim partners always take priority over friends? The more I asked these questions, the more I began to deconstruct the idea that love (intimate) relationships needed to be the only source of love, support, and inspiration in a person’s life. Once demolished, I was stuck in love limbo….so what should love look like?

{Image Credit: http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2007/04/barbie-confessions.html }
{Image Credit: http://mom-101.blogspot.com/2007/04/barbie-confessions.html }

 

Too often, our politics of deconstruction leave us in the existential funk of “what now?”. After institutions are questioned and constructs are debunked, it is not always clear what steps to take in order to build healthy community for ourselves. I always encourage the people in my life to set limits about what they don’t want (i.e. flakey lovers or shit talking friends) but more importantly, to ALWAYS state what they are looking for. Essentially, what my particularly preachy revelation has brought me to, is the idea that we need to put into the universe (or our okcupid profile, or conversations with parents, or our search for friends) what it is we are actually looking for.

 

I am so unbelievably lucky I can hardly contain my wetness (emotionally). In re-writing my scripts, I opened myself to a new definition of friendship and I fell in love with my best friends. We are non-sexual but 100% romantic. They are the people who support me by listening (which is huge for me, given my ongoing emotional battle with feeling invisible), I trust them to be true to their word, to follow through.  They are the people who inspire me, hold me accountable, house me when I am in a hard place, and love me for the person I am (in all my beautiful chaos).

 

These attributes and forms of support are generally what people look for in lovers, and by all means, look for that in lovers! But when it really comes down to it, when you are only open to the script of your lover being your sole predominant support system, you shut down the possibility for a gorgeous romantic endeavor with your friends. And Goddamn it! You can be in love with your friends when you let them be your partners in life! That saccharine, buy them flowers, talk to them on the phone like you didn’t see them yesterday, text them loving sweet nothings when you are away on a trip, crystallized love that brings you such immense, overwhelming joy; that can come from a non-sexual partner.

{Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_giles/9206946009/in/photostream/}
{Image Credit: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ben_giles/9206946009/in/photostream/}

Redefine friend! Redefine lover! Better yet, build your friendships and romances how you want them to look, give them titles to suit their roles, rather than relying on outdated titles embedded with limitation. Maybe I want my platonic life partner to be the person I live with, love and create life plans with and I want my lovers to be allies from all over. Maybe I want to participate in my lover’s domestic family but I want to travel the world on an annual basis and owning a home isn’t practical. Make your life and community look like your wildest dream, and your most satisfying one. We have the potential as a community to create homes and relationships bereft of outdated constructs of love and friendship, so that it can actually start meeting our needs. It all starts with asking, “what do I want?”, “what do I need?” and “how do I make it happen?”

{Image Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/418482990346057725/}
{Image Credit: http://pinterest.com/pin/418482990346057725/}

 

I’m not saying that everyone should abandon monogamy, shave their heads and attend sex parties, although my inner teenage boy thinks it would be dope as hell. I’m instead suggesting that to become more happy, fulfilled individuals we need to start examining more closely the way we love and who we surround ourselves with. Each of us non-monogamous-defining snowflakes is different, our relationships and social networks can and should reflect that. But there I go again, should-ing all over the place. Tell me what you think, what would your custom life look like? In what ways have you reconstructed your life and how is it working for you?

-To your personal revolts and riots and especially to your learning,

Cory

 

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Cory is a poet and novelist in the Los Angeles area. They have worked in mental health, education, social justice and fashion blogging and aims to lead by example through bravely living an examined lifestyle.

“The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” -Audre Lorde

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There are photographs in this post that were borrowed lovingly from the internet and do not belong to us. All are linked and credited to the best of our abilities in hopes of attracting more traffic to the photographers and websites who have blessed us with this imagery. The inclusion of a photograph here should not be interpreted as an assertion of the subject’s or artist’s identity or beliefs. If there is a photo included here that belongs to you and you want it removed, please email compassionaterevolt@gmail.com and it will be removed promptly, no questions asked.

 

 

 

 

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MHM Ep11: Clear Requests

Morning REVOLUTIONARIES!

Today on the Mental Health Mash-Up we want to talk about clear requests– why they’re so challenging, how we can all be a little bit better at them and why they’re so important to our mental health.

MHMBannerClear requests are difficult for everyone but they can be especially difficult for queer folks. Is this because we’re some different awkward convoluted breed of communicators?

No.

It’s because a lot of us have had experiences of our requests not being appreciated, honored and, often, down right ignored and disrespected. In fact sometimes the opposite gets validated. Sometimes we ask clearly and get punished while at other times we find some alternative way of getting our needs met– and they are. We don’t think we’re making too large of a projection to say this doesn’t feel very good when it happens. It doesn’t give us evidence that all the hard work that goes into being clear with our requests is worth it… but it is!

When we can’t voice clearly what we want/need to the world around us this becomes a loop back to us. Soon we’re not asking ourselves what we want/need. Soon we’re not even sure how to ask ourselves what we want/need.

Is there a behavior or way of interacting that isn’t functioning well in your life? Take a few moments to really sink into it– not just the negative reactions/responses/outcomes but also the positive ones. Take your time. You might need to spend a few breaths on it, take a break and come back to it. Still unsure? Maybe check in where you feel it in your body when you think about it. Maybe think about the folks that it seems to happen with (if it’s a behavior that happens with others.) Take a moment to think about what else you need in life or from those people.

This can be a long process. After all, how old are you right now? That’s that many years that your clear requests could have been getting denied and your alternative ways of asking could have been getting answered. Be compassionate with yourself but know that learning how to listen, dialogue and affirm yourself is a worthy practice.

In COM|PASSionate REVOLUTION,

Skye + Traci 

As always you can reach us at…

compassionaterevolt@gmail.com

www.compassionaterevolt.com

www.compassionaterevolt.wordpress.com

COM|PASSionate REVOLT FB

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Skye is a youth worker, educator, activist and white transmasculine human. Traci is a therapist, yoga teacher, educator and queer vegan femme-inist of color. They reside, practice, navigate, process, survive and flourish in the Southern California area.