Dear Queer Love:
You wreck me. You fucking wreck me to my core every fucking time, and I would not have it any other way. You make it possible for me to be me and to feel the deepest of emotions while also holding my dreams close to my heart.
I woke this morning need to write to you. This week has been “too much,” and yet I find myself more deeply in relation to you, to myself, to fellow Queerdos and comrades, to this whole wide fucking cosmos. You are teaching / revealing what it means to embrace / experience the fullness of my being.
It’s been six months since my queer brother Daniel Blair suddenly passed away, and I miss his presence and being now more than ever. I cry every morning for I find Dan everywhere. Only he’s not here. What once were mere tears have become salty rivers. What once were sighs have become gales.
This morning I sat down to write to you about the fabulously beautiful gathering of Queerdos last at at our first Artist Mixer in your honor. I picked up an old notebook with a few blank pages still in it. I desired to feel the flow of ink upon a page and not just peck at a keyboard. The paper, ink, and pen feel more connected to the art and presence of love.
Before ink could flow, I needed to read the filled in pages that came before this empty space. I wailed so loudly upon reading the words written by my hand in the same ink I was now writing with that I worried I would wake my husband:
“I offer these words of Heraclitus, ‘When we are alive our souls are dead and buried in us, but when we die our souls come to life again and live.’
“I offer these words to us all and I call upon Our Lady of the Wild Flowers, who is wilder than the wind, to guide all of us gathered in remembering Dan whenever the wind blows and wherever wildflowers bloom.”
There is a reason these pages have remained blank since August, and it is you, Queer Love that is allowing ink to flow once again. Here and now, I am acutely aware of your alchemy. When I invite Queer Love to fill the spaces left empty by loss or by grief I feel the possibilities of healing, which makes healing possible. A sudden, loud burst of deep, guttural grief is not a chasm into which I fall but rather a way to both expel the emotion from my gut and raise a call to the spirit of Dan, who now lives, so that he and I can find each other. As I write to you, Queer Love, I can sense Dan so much more clearly than I have since he died. I can hear his voice say, “Jason, I’m so proud of you, of whom you are becoming. Thank-you for keeping my spirit alive. I love you.”
Tears spill as I try to capture the depths of this experience, but it is so very impossible to explain one’s spirit or being. This letter to you, Queer Love, is but a fraction of your magnificence and power. Yet, I must try, in some small way, to share the wondrousness of you, and thus maybe reveal a bit of my be-ing.
This week has been “too much,” and I am present for it all.
This grief is only one piece of my being, and while ever-present it is not overwhelming. And tears sometimes flow not because of grief but because tears are simply an expression of emotions deeply felt.
In addition to grief, I have deeply felt equanimity, rage, wonder, anxiety, joy, confusion, groundedness, annoyed, cared for. I have cried while greeting the moon, reading The Penguin Book of Homosexual Verse, and listening to speeches by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Heavy on my heart is the sustained and constant killing of Black people and poor folx and people in crisis by cops. Rage fills my body listening to Melina Abdullah share the story and humanity of Keenan Anderson, who was brutally killed by LAPD on January 3, 2023, on Hard Knock Radio with Davey D. And in the expanse of camaraderie matched with solidarity I feel an overwhelming hope of liberation not just possible but present here and now.
My past self let these feelings / sensations / moments / experiences take over all of my being causing major bouts of anxiety or despair or all-consuming rage that fueled cycles of behaviors that took me away from my being, took me away from you Queer Love. I would be unable to move from under my covers, ignoring tasks I knew reconnected me to community. Or a panic attack would trigger a terrible email I couldn’t take back. Or I found myself disembodied and wake from a stupor not knowing hours had passed.
Today as I write you I see / experience / feel that even these past moments of disconnection from self / being are but a minor blip in this fucking thing called life. And I must love these blips as much as I love you and as much as I love Dan if I want to fully love my humanity.
This week has been “too much.”
We—Tray Smith, Midori, Teddy Benjamin, John O’Reilly, and me—held an Artist Mixer last night on the theme “Queer Love Shake Us to Our Core.” There were a bit more than a dozen of us Queerdos sharing pieces of ourselves with each other in mutual are and exchange. Someone even drove over 80 miles in search of some community with whom she could share a very personal art and activism project. And when she shared what so many other would find uncomfortable—the photographic documentation of decaying skin cells caused by a medically-induced, preventable disease from ointments mixed by renowned dermatologist—she was met with open-hearted curiosity and wonder about not just her art but her being. That is, to me, one of the truest experiences of Queer Love:
This definition / experience / position of Queer Love is what I felt / what i feel in the presence of Dan He had / has a way of making any Queerdo feel like they fully, whole-heartedly, fucking belong. There was never a hint of shame when someone revealed a piece of themselves dominant society shuns. Dan just accepted them and their truth.
And s this morning as I re-read the words I wrote six months ago, which include the words of Heraclitus written almost 3000 years ago—“When we are alive our souls are dead and buried in us, but when we die, our souls come to life and live again.”—their truth shakes me to my fucking core, and I now know Dan’s soul lives. He was with us last night, and he is with me here this morning, and he will continue to live whenever or wherever we Queerdos gather, share the messy, vulnerable, tender pieces of ourselves with each other, and meet one another with wide open hearts and accept our truths, stories, and beings.
Thank you, Queer Love, for transmuting grief into something more, something cosmic. I live now humbly to be an acolyte of your truth, and I know that when I die my soul will live on as your herald.
In deepest love and gratitude,
Daniel Blair with his queer family including his husband Tomas Hemstad, Jason Wyman, and John O'Reilly
Dear Queer Love is a new column by San Francisco anti-binary writer, artist, facilitator, and mystic Jason Wyman.
In Fall 2020, Wyman and their father, Michael "Mike" James Wyman, started writing letters back and forth to each other during his final months living with mantle cell non-Hodgkins lymphoma. Mike wanted to share the letters publicly, so others could learn how a father and their child were trying to heal generational wounds. No words were left unspoken between Jason and Mike before Michael James Wyman died on December 26, 2020.
The letters, their intimacy, and Mike's death was a profoundly moving experience, one that ignited in Jason a deep love of letter writing as a way to poetically share their most intimate and vulnerable thoughts, feelings, and being. Wyman then started writing letters to Mars, Sirius, and the Moon, the latter, "Dear Moon: An Elegy," was published in the Beyond Worship: Meditations on Queer Worship, Liturgy, & Theology Edited by James Admans in November 2022.
In 2023, Wyman alongside their husband and a cadre of Queerdos are co-creating A Year of Queer Love 2023, which includes a Manifesto, a Calendar of Events, a Service Directory, and a Map of Venues. So Queer Love is constantly on their mind and in their actions.
Dear Queer Love builds upon Wyman's craft of letter writing and provides a format for Wyman to explore, surface, and express the depths, revelations, and dreams made possible by living a life of Queer Love.