[Jason's] Unfolding Queer Cosmology, The Fourth Post

in which I find love in relation to my self in relation to others

Note: This is the fourth post in a new series I am now titling [Jason’s] Unfolding Queer Cosmology. The name has changed to better reflect the specificity of the Queer Cosmology. It is [mine]. [I] references that it also is not mine alone.

A Grounding (a new edit)
This is a work-in-progress (just like me, just like us).
We are not complete. We are neither a beginning nor an end. We exist only now.
…what is unfolding shall always unfold what is unfolding shall always unfold…

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I always believed myself to be good at tests even though they gave me anxiety. I would finish feeling confident and turn it in standing tall. When the test results came back, I would always be a bit surprised that I didn’t do as well as expected. Then, I’d notice all the careless mistakes I made. I knew the answer. I just always got ahead of myself. My hand moved slower than my brain.

Testing in the United States is everywhere. There were academic proficiency tests I had to take every year throughout elementary school, junior high, and high school. The one in seventh grade, though, was different. It determined whether you were gifted, normal, or special, which set your course for all of high school. I was extra nervous taking it; I so badly wanted to be gifted.

A week later I got the test results. I was normal and disappointed, so I went to ask my teacher about taking the test over or if there was any way I could still take the gifted and talented class. She looked at me and laughed.

“You had one chance, and that’s it. You just aren’t smart enough. We almost put you in special ed. Go back to your seat,” she said.

I hated her because she made me believe I wasn’t smart and couldn’t learn. And now I see how incredibly ableist she was.

I wonder how many she harmed with her hate.

****

I wrote for the school paper when I was a Sophomore. I didn’t want to write about the latest gossip or about the administration or sports. I wanted to write about my classmates. I pitched a story about telling the stories of our peers in special education.

The editors didn’t think it was all that newsworthy. But I was unrelenting. They finally agreed to it so I would shut up. The meeting moved on to who was covering Homecoming and who was taking whom.

I first met with the special education teacher before writing my story. I wanted to make sure my peers would be ok with me writing a story, and she invited me to ask them directly. I visited their class a few times over the week, and we just hung out and “talked” and talked. I began to question why my peers were tucked away in a separate classroom that no one else visited.

I wrote my article, and I asked my question: Why doesn’t anyone else go visit our peers?

****

Service is a central part of my growing up. There was the service of Catholic Mass and all of the Sacraments. There was also the service of learning, which you did so you’d be a good person and go to heaven. I did a lot of service because I wanted to be a good Catholic.

Service is what brought me to volunteer in middle school at a nursing home for severely developmentally disabled folx and the elderly. It was a brick institution, the kind in all of the horror movies. I never saw it as a horror show, though. It was a place full of stories, beautiful and moving and sad and joyous stories. You just needed to listen.

During Christmas, Santa visited their home. The sheer joy in everyone’s spirits still puts a giant smile on my face when I remember it, and I can feel the cold air in the cafeteria-auditorium-gymnasium that made me keep on my oversized, reversible, down coat. I wheeled two of my friends to pose for photos.

It was a moment of bliss captured on two Polaroids: no one else mattered; this is who we were.

This is who I am.

Image description: A cut out old, fading Polaroid. On the left is Santa. On the right is a femme elder sitting in a wheelchair with a big fake fur coat on smiling. In the middle is me wearing a blue and red down jacket and holding a Polaroid of another photo of me and Santa and a femme elder.

****

Time and space expand through emotion, and I am crying as I write this on the morning of October 21, 2020, at 5:59am. These tears sparked by remembrances are not ones of sadness. They are tears of love, of looking back not on others but on self in relation to others. I am simultaneously sitting at my wooden kitchen table typing while crying, posing for pictures in a cold cafeteria-auditorium-gymnasium, chatting with my peers in a classroom labeled “special education”, and being told I am not smart.

Each of these selves is present now, not in some distant past. They are in the blood coursing through me and in the bones that have grown for over 45 years. If I cannot look at these selves that I have been, that I am, and not love them, how can I love those to whom I am in relation? If I cannot love those to whom I am in relation, do the stories I share create harm like the words spoken to me in seventh grade?

I’m still crying; I’m finding how to love.

****

He is asleep still. I wake way too early and spend hours every morning reading, writing, making art, scrolling social media. I hear his snoring, and the cats meowing trying to wake him. It is enough to bring me back to this wooden kitchen table.

We have pet names for each other. He’s my beautiful. I’m his hot stuff.

I’m smiling now. I, unconditionally, have love and am loved in the here and now, in this home, at this table, as I type.

This love right now—this big expansive love that includes all of my selves and my husband and all of those to whom I am in relation—is a love that will remain possible for it will always be in the here and now no matter when or where I be.

Image description: A photo of John, my husband, and me standing on a hill on Miwok / Graton Rancheria land, which is currently known as Marin, with the Golden Gate Bridge and the city of San Francisco behind us taken as wildfires grew exponentially across northern California in August 2020.

Image description: An drawing of [Jason’s] Unfolding Queer Cosmology. In the center is a large circle with the word NOW in the center in carnation pink. The background of the circle is yellow with a white spiral filling the entire circle, which is outlined in black. To the left of NOW and still in the large circle is another circle with a lighter yellow background with white spirals and a black border with the words “ALL THAT CAME BEFORE” in it. To the right of the NOW and still in the large circle is another circle with a lighter yellow background with white spirals and a black border with the words “ALL THAT IS POSSIBLE” in it. The word LOVE in sea foam green connects ALL THAT CAME BEFORE and ALL THAT IS POSSIBLE in two arches, one above NOW and one below NOW. There is a thin light sea foam green squiggly line that connects NOW, LOVE, ALL THAT CAME BEFORE, and ALL THAT IS POSSIBLE and extends in multiple directions outside the circle, which end in an arrow.

****

…what is unfolding shall always unfold what is unfolding shall always unfold…

More to come.