You’ve got to wonder, at a certain point, how many times can I fall in love? You have to start asking where your limit is—whether or not you’ve already hit and now you’re just doing something foolish by even trying.
I got a new job again and a raise again and I’m interviewing for the graduate program I want and I’m happier than this is making me sound—this is making me sound ungrateful and I am, increasingly, profoundly grateful. I am one of those people who made it out. Out of what?
And you know it’s only trauma that makes me think that I’m about to get kicked hard. It’s only refusing to believe that I can have good things that makes me act this way, that makes me petulant and exhausting. Everything comes down to defense and you lose sight of what you’ve been protecting and you reach for that inside place that was full, that had your precious things in it.
You reach. I guess that’s what I’m saying. You just reach.
"I will have an undergraduate class, let’s say a young white male student, politically-correct, who will say: ‘I am only a bourgeois white male, I can’t speak.’ …I say to them: ‘Why not develop a certain degree of rage against the history that has written such an abject script for you that you are silenced?’ Then you begin to investigate what it is that silences you, rather than take this very determinist position - since my skin colour is this, since my sex is this, I cannot speak… From this position, then, I say you will of course not speak in the same way about the Third World material, but if you make it your task not only to learn what is going on there through language, through specific programmes of study, but also at the same time through a historical critique of your position as the investigating person, then you will have earned the right to criticize, you be heard. When you take the position of not doing your homework - ‘I will not criticize because of my accident of birth, the historical accident’ - that is the much more pernicious position."
I. This morning I was on my way to do a Big Important Thing™ and I was thinking about the way the clothes make the man and how bone structure makes the man and how I said to my therapist, I think of beauty and desirability as fundamentally linked to a kind of power that requires constant navigation because if you go too far then you lose control. And he said, You mean that people will rape you. And I said Yes because what else was there really to say?
II. This morning I was on my way to do a Big Important Thing™ and I was thinking about the way the clothes make the man and so I took this photo to remember that it was important to be vulnerable because vulnerability is the key to tenderness and I said, I only want to use all of the terrible things that have happened to me to make the world a better place and he said Yes but do you ever get to feel them if you’re always busy using them and I said Feeling things doesn’t change them, which struck me as both true but not true and to Ryder I say, You don’t have to be anywhere for your whole life. And soon as I say it I think about all the places I’ve carried with me from city to city, state to state, and how when I was talking to M last night about how his parents disowned him (maybe) again and he didn’t know how to process it I told him that Maybe it’s just time to let it go. To let them be disappointments and move on. Then I tried to imagine moving on. I couldn’t, of course.
III. There’s a lot of sky, you know? And when I was walking with M.S. the other day and thinking about how I wasn’t in love with him but really cared for him and what a relief both of those things were I remembered the sky and I remembered how much of it there is and then I felt small and manageable and he was tall and also manageable and it was ok.
IV. We spent a lot of time with sunsets this summer. It wasn’t maudlin, it’s just that time got away from us. But now it’s fall again and we’re switching to whiskey from gin and the sun goes down earlier and the moon was still up when I woke up the other morning and my back hurts and my knee hurts and C got a diagnosis about a malformed kneecap and so I don’t complain about my knees anymore.
V. In a book I read If death wants me, it must search for me.
"There is no language in itself, nor are there any linguistic universals, only a throng of dialects, patois, viperslangs, and specialized languages. There is no ideal speaker-listener, any more than there is a homogeneous linguistic community. Language is, in Weinreich’s words, “an essentially heterogeneous reality.” There is no mother tongue, only a power takeover by a dominant language within political multiplicity. Language stabilizes around a parish, a bishopric, a capital. It forms a bulb. It evolves by subterranean stems and flows, along river valleys or train tracks; it spreads like a patch of oil."
HAVING YOUR HEART BROKEN WILL ALWAYS BE A SURPRISE
I am fascinated by the spectacle of my own life lining up with familiar scripts; the melodrama of social determination still holds me rapt. This investment in identity is, I realize, a wounded attachment. But if an attachment isn’t wounded, what the point of having it?
—Heather Love, Queers ______ This
I’ve been thinking lately about the things that have embedded themselves in me or, to some degree, the things I’ve embedded in myself. Or I’ve been thinking about the way when I bike down Mass Ave. I feel all these swarming fragments around me where I met someone or where someone said something to me and I race past the bar where R and I had our last real conversation while C sipped shitty whiskey and pretended not to be watching the end of something.
Or I’ve been thinking about all the things that stopped before they started and how miraculous it is to suddenly find yourself in a place that could only be called abortive. I’ve been thinking about all the things that didn’t start and how much I spend my time nursing the ghosts of futures that didn’t happen and how the other day at the party I said, To begin to think critically about what you desire but also to perform a historiography of why you might desire it could be the first step towards a different sort of freedom. But I was drunk and so the next thing I said was stupid. And I like to think that somewhere inside all of the idiot shit I’ve done at parties is why Essex Hemphill said, Don’t let it be loneliness that kills us.
What I wanted, back when I knew how to want, was a house and a dog and the sort of life that gets older—that goes on. Increasingly I feel like an unclosed paranthesis. The enclosure reaches on and on and on until it becomes a sort of conversation with myself to see how much I can desire simultaneously. How many diametrically opposed things can I want with equal fervor? How can I become catastrophically public at the same time that I wrap all of my private spaces up so tight that there’s no hope for shared space?
You know, I know too many people who walk with their heels. You know those people whose steps you can feel as soon as they come into the house. It’s always something that I’ve hated and J used to walk around the house like that and show up in the kitchen with his idiot grin and ask me if there was any coffee left and I’d have lost my train of thought 10 minutes ago listening to him slam around upstairs and play with the dog (the same dog he would abandon for 5 days to go on a heroin bender in my stolen car while I was gone and my mother was in the hospital) and so I’d have made a fresh pot anyway.
Is there really any hope for shared space?
When I think about identity I think about these fantastically private corridors and who could wander down them but me? Who else was there, really, in the end? With PTSD I live this life that recurs, that returns to its false beginning hourly, looks for a new way out, fails, begins again. João Biehl says, in a perhaps unrelated way, Repeated returning, one begins to grasp what happens in the meantime—
Which I thought of at the party, and again while I was kissing J.T. the next night, and again while I laid on the dock a few days before the party, but didn’t remember until I’d thought of it while I was biking over the river two days after kissing J.T.—
I’ve been stitching one moment into the next for so long. Thinking about predetermination and whatifs—letting ghosts build up along the seams. Trying to figure out what happened in the meantime.