The Queer Futures Collective
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Sunday sentiments/

 
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SUNDAY

SENTIMENTS/

#thoughtfeelings

 

Hubble Spies Glowing Galaxies in Massive Cluster. Credit: ESA/Hubble & NASA.

 

 

SUNDAY SENTIMENTS/// is a weekly gesture of rebellion, an offering, a disruption to the present. It is a site to develop a practice to share/exchange radically vulnerable thoughtfeelings and build communal knowledge from it. We believe in the invaluable potential of what we know that is still raw, unpolished, a draft, in the particular search of strategies to inhabit our disabled bodymindspirits with wisdom and kindness.

 

This is an invitation to open genuine conversations about what we–as disabled queer/trans people–long, need, and dream. It is an alternative reality when/where we can create radically vulnerable collaborative knowledge and foster communal intimacy through fragmented memories, flashbacks, presentiments, and ecstatic raptures . 

 

thoughtfeelings

 

Am I #Healing Yet?

If we continue to reach back into our pasts, how long until we remain stuck there?

Or what is the inbetween space of re-engaging with our traumas and not being able to move past them?

Or who will I be if this is no longer a central part of my life?

How can we engage to let go?

I want to start this with thoughtfeelings by Gloria Anzaldúa about trauma and healing from Light in the Dark/Luz en lo Oscuro: rewriting identity, spirituality, reality (2015) as a means to guide my writing process here.

But often grief is so overwhelming that you can’t move on with your life” (88)

“Our task has always been to heal the personal and group heridas of body, mind, and spirit. We must repair the damages/daños that we have perpetuated on members of our own group, that men have rendered to women and women to men, that adults have done to children, that all groups have done to other groups. I define healing as taking back the scattered energy and soul loss wrought by woundings.” (89)

Some of us choose to slow down the healing work or choose not to heal because we’ve become familiar and comfortable with our wounds. We may be afraid that our entire life will change if we heal. And it will. Fear holds us back.” (90)

“...if you’re tender with yourself, you can be tender to others. Using wounds as opening to become vulnerable and available (present) to others means staying in your body. Excessive dwelling on your wounds means leaving your body to live in your thoughts where you reenact your past hurts, a form of desconocimiento that gives energy to the past where it’s held ransom. As victim you don’t have to take responsibility for making changes. But the cost of victimhood is that nothing in your life changes, especially not your attitudes and beliefs. Instead, why not use pain as a conduit to recognizing another’s suffering, even that of the one who inflicted the pain.” (153)


So here I posit: how can we engage and acknowledge our trauma without letting it continuously consume us? And how can we be mindful of the energies we are investing in our pasts/our wounds?

But why explore this through writing?

“Writing is a process of discovery and perception that produces knowledge and conocimiento (insight). I am often driven by the impulse to write something down, by the desire and urgency to communicate, to make meaning, to make sense of things, to create myself through this knowledge-producing act. I call this impulse the ‘Coyolxauhqui imperative’: a struggle to reconstruct oneself and heal the sustos resulting from woundings, traumas, racism, and other acts of violation que hechan pedazos nuestras almas, split us, scatter our energies, and haunt us. The Coyolxauhqui imperative is the act of calling back those pieces of the self/soul that have been dispersed or lost, the act of mourning the losses that haunt us. The shadow beast and attendant desconocimientos (the ignorance we cultivate to keep ourselves from knowledge so that we can remain unaccountable) have a tenacious hold on us. Dealing with the lack of cohesiveness and stability in life, the increasing tension and conflicts, motivates me to process the struggle. The sheer mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish motivates me to ‘write out’ my/our experiences” (1-2)


We need to contend with our pasts and especially our past traumas, and writing, for me, has always been the best way for me to exhume the feelings I may not even be aware that I am feeling. This is why I started #sundaysentiments so I could always have the space to process without the expectation of perfectly coherent thoughts. Or as Audre Lorde better explains in “Poetry is not a Luxury” from Sister Outsider:

“For women, then, poetry is not a luxury. It is a vital necessity of our existence. It forms the quality of the light within which we predicate our hopes and dreams toward survival and change, first made into language, then into ideas, then into more tangible action. Poetry is the way we help give name to the nameless so it can be thought” (37)

This all pushed me again to look back on my writing, which has been the great benefit of the past two years and me putting my thoughtfeelings out on the internet so openly. That I can always return to feel the ephemera of myself from the past. I can understand what I was feeling from a different timespace perspective, and perhaps also unearth wisdom from myself from the past in ways I wouldn’t be able to perceive at that moment of writing.

Passages taken from @savthequeer instagram posts

March 17, 2018

Five years later and you're still what scares me the most.
Last night my brain kept telling me you were in my room. Was playing a scene that never happened. Or did it? I slept with the lights on.
I saw someone that looked like you today and I feel empty.
And all I can do is replay my mistakes and when I should have left you the first, second, third, fourth time. The heartache i could have spared my parents. And myself.
I remember after the first time you hit me I told your mom and she told me to leave you.
I remember the night after you told me you killed him and said that I should leave you.
I remember the first night you raped me. You said nothing.
I remember the first time you threatened to kill me.
I remember the first time you tried. And your hands on my neck. And me comforting you after.
I remember sleeping with the lights on for months.
Do you know how hard it is to try and remember someone you actually never knew?
Do you know how hard it is to forget?
How can I be scared of you if I don't even know you.
You had so many names. And ages. And life stories. So many lies.
Five years and I still have no answers. I'm trying to do good. I'm going to get my PhD and my family and I have a really good relationship.
I don't silence myself when I cry anymore.
I'm not broken.

April 7, 2018

Everytime he hit me//
All their faces blend together. The angry men. The threatened men. Their faces twisting into snarls. Throwing me against the wall, the railing, the car window, against the sidewalk.
Naming me: a dyke, a bitch, a liar, a slut.
And why do I always chase you. Try to make things better.
Too many bare feet running on cold concrete. Too many nights spent running and begging and crying and crying.
Why am I the one who is embarrassed.
Why are you so angry. Why do I keep apologizing.
I remember clearly when I gave up.
When everything felt like nothing.
When I found comfort in the nothing. In feeling empty. In making myself small.
Please don't yell.
And yet it isn't the bruises that stay with me. It is their angry faces.
Twisted into snarls.
And later their faces full of tears and my arms open and cradling their heads.
My body, soft, and holding their anger.
My voice, reassuring them that it didn't matter.
My body, hiding in the corner.
Who taught me this and why did it feel like routine?
Who taught me to feel embarrassed?
Who taught me to keep a secret?
Who taught my friends to say nothing?
Who taught him to hate me.

Jan 11, 2019

On death and its sources

I've been reflecting recently on my own relationship to existing and to death.
I mean I really am always thinking about this as my brain is consistently telling/showing me ways to die every day, but moreso on the source of these thoughtfeelings. And why it feels so different for them to be internal versus external, body versus mind.
Generally, I wouldn't want to separate out these sources, but I also have been feeling that the sources lead to different impacts.
That my brain telling me ways I should die is different than my body telling me ways I might/will. And that is very different than experiences I have still yet to unpack around what it means for another person to want to and attempt to kill you on numerous occasions. And what it means to be marked and read as someone they would want to no longer exist.
I guess I all too often want to block this out, to silence the constant fear of still being located and harmed.
And why do I feel less fear over the ways and times I have tried and wanted to end my own life, both in slow/prolonged ways and in definite ways.
Perhaps my physical health has been a means for me to reflect on my relationship to death and dying and wanting to die and others wanting me dead/actively working to make that a reality. That these various forces/sources do hold different weight and meaning.

From this, I want to focus on a few of my past/ present thoughtfeelings to guide me:

A focus on remembering, lack of memory, overwhelming and intrusive memories; a questioning of where both abusive behavior and reactionary behavior are learned; do the locus of the pain or the source of the pain influence the outcome and my feelings attached to it?

Let’s reconvene and build on this.

This past weekend I was attending a workshop/training where we were asked to reflect on the following questions:

  1. How do you react when in conflict with someone--friend, family, boss, co-worker-- (and consider how conflict looked in your family)?

  2. How do you take responsibility for your healing?

  3. How do you take responsibility for the harm you cause?

  4. How do you hold yourself accountable?


Self Reflection: Conflict January 12, 2019

“I generally try to avoid conflict, in particular fighting/yelling/physical violence due to my relation to domestic violence and sexual assault. Because of this I do find myself avoiding or pretending that the conflict doesn’t exist, which isn’t the best strategy. And I realize this avoidance was learned from my family.

I have been working towards sharing and speaking out more in tense situations or when I don’t agree, rather than silently being upset. This has been a practice in some ways of taking responsibility for my healing in that area. Also, responsibility for me means understanding what harmful behaviors I have been taught and working to undo them. To understand abuse and harm as learned behaviors and structures, not individual problems that “bad” people have.

I take responsibility for my healing by not being complacent and by not swelling in my trauma.

I realize that harm is multilayered and even in spaces where I was hurting, I have hurt my own relationships.

I hold myself accountable through deep conversations with friends that center consent and boundaries, kindness and listening.

I hold myself accountable through verbally/mentally/physically reminding myself of what I am proud of and not just my trauma. We cannot get stuck only in our pain or it will consume us and keep us hostage in the past.”

This reflection led me to a common thread of my more recent ruminations on abuse and abusive relationships.

E.g. what is the benefit of so many more people using terminology such as “abusive” “toxic” “harmful” “manipulative” to discuss their past relationships? And to describe each other? Are we oversaturated with toxicity from each other, and how much are we feeding into our own experiences of abuse and toxicity? What have we been taught about how to interact with other humans and where/how can we grow from here?

Can we stop and ask who taught us this?

Do we gain something from distancing ourselves? Do we gain something from being able to label someone else?

This is not me saying that we aren’t gaining something from having more conversations about abuse, but I am saying we need to examine our own intentions here. That it is much easier to claim our oppressions and we do gain social capital, particularly in online spaces or social justice spaces, from revisiting our traumas and from collecting new ones.

That I find myself needing to share more about my abusive relationships in order for people to understand what I mean, and if I’m being honest in order for people to validate me. That I need this validation, and perhaps that isn’t wrong or bad, but I want to sit with this truth for awhile. And then, why am I still stuck operating from the perspective that only some abuses deserve to claim the right to an “abusive relationship”? And this is something I still greatly need to unpack.

To re-turn to Anzaldúa: Excessive dwelling on your wounds means leaving your body to live in your thoughts where you reenact your past hurts, a form of desconocimiento that gives energy to the past where it’s held ransom. As victim you don’t have to take responsibility for making changes. But the cost of victimhood is that nothing in your life changes, especially not your attitudes and beliefs.

What damage are we doing to ourselves from enveloping ourselves in our past traumas? And are we hindering our own healing processes by identifying as victim survivors, by having our traumas as central to our identities? What are we afraid of?

These are hard questions to sit with because it can easily feel like someone telling us we need to move on from our traumas, to “get over it.”

However, I am writing this to remind myself that I need to grow through it. That by holding on to this pain for the better half of a decade I am harboring toxicity and harm in my bodymindspirit. And that pain, that anxiety, that fear, it is destroying me and has pushed me to destroy myself. It has fueled my eating disorder, my self harming, my drinking, and has caused so many health conditions. This trauma has been given the space to manifest and the energy to continue to exist within me.

Through reaching back into my memories so often I am re-engaging and re-energizing these painful moments of my life.

But I do think this engagement was also necessary for my own healing.

That the naming, validating, and public discussions of my traumas was vitally necessary and we should never try to erase or pretend traumas didn’t happen.

Lastly, I want to turn to songs and written work that I continuously find myself revisiting as writing and art that work through trauma.

Flowers and Rope--Destiny Frasqueri (Princess Nokia)

It won't even hurt, I'm already dead (I'm already dead)

Voices in my head, monsters under my bed

I'm alone again, I lost all my friends

Wanna play pretend? Hope this never ends

Talkin' to myself, know I crashed and burned

(I crashed and I burned)

Think they hate my guts, yeah, what I heard

Everything my fault, when will I learn?

Three days in the house, feelin' sick and disturbed

Bring me your flowers, I'll bring you my rope

Play all the records that we love the most

Bring me your flowers, I'll bring you my rope

Play all the records that we love the most

Fighting my demons, they keep tryna win

Life of a loner, I want it to end

Hurt myself and I gave it three nights

Told her I love her, I thought it'd be nice

It was my fault and I live with regret

She was a beauty and I paid my debts

Flowers and rope had appeared on her chest

Thought she was different but she's like the rest

Bring me your flowers, I'll bring you my rope

Play all the records that we love the most

Bring me your flowers, I'll bring you my rope

Play all the records that we love the most


Every Single Night-- Fiona Apple McAfee Maggart (Fiona Apple)

Every single night

I endure the flight

Of little wings of white-flamed

Butterflies in my brain

These ideas of mine

Percolate the mind

Trickle down the spine

Swarm the belly, swelling to a blaze

That's where the pain comes in

Like a second skeleton

Trying to fit beneath the skin

I can't fit the feelings in

Every single night's alight with my brain

What'd I say to her?

Why'd I say to her?

What does she think of me?

That I'm not what I ought to be

That I'm what I try not to be

It's got to be somebody else's fault

I can't get caught

If what I am is what I am, 'cause I does what I does

Then brother, get back, 'cause my breast's gonna bust open

The rib is the shell and the heart is the yolk

I just made a meal for us both to choke on

Every single night's a fight with my brain

I just want to feel everything

I just want to feel everything

I just want to feel everything

So I'm gonna try to be still now

Gonna renounce the mill a little while and

If we had a double-king-sized bed

We could move in it and I'd soon forget

That what I am is what I am 'cause I does what I does

And maybe I'd relax, let my breast just bust open

My heart's made of parts of all that surround me

And that's why the devil just can't get around me

Every single night's alright, every single night's a fight

And every single fight's alright with my brain

I just want to feel everything

I just want to feel everything

I just want to feel everything

I just want to feel everything

"The Prelude Pathétique"- First Part --Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta (Lady Gaga)

“When I look back on my life it’s not that I don’t want to see things exactly as they happened, it’s just that I prefer to remember them in an artistic way. And truthfully the lie of it all is much more honest because I invented it. Clinical psychology tells us arguably that trauma is the ultimate killer. Memories are not recycled like atoms and particles in quantum physics. They can be lost forever. It’s sort of like my past is an unfinished painting and as the artist of that painting I must fill in all the ugly holes, and make it beautiful again. It’s not that I have been dishonest; it’s just that I loathe reality

For example those nurses, they're wearing next season Calvin Klein and so am I. And the shoes custom Giuseppe Zanotti. I tipped their gauze caps to the side like Parisian berets because I think it's romantic, and I also think that mint will be very big in fashion next spring

Check out this nurse on the right; she's got a great ass. Bam

The truth is back at the clinic they only wore those funny hats to keep the blood out of their hair. And that girl on the left she ordered gummy bears and a knife a couple of hours ago, they only gave her the gummy bears. I'd wish they'd only given me the gummy bears.”

Something, something a conclusion?

These feelings I have written out, and all of their influences in theory/writing/songs etc., have been growing and leaching out for some time. They are not complete or concise, but I guess the only way I can currently explain what my brain keeps returning to (or what songs it keeps playing on repeat). I always feel like I have multiple conversations happening and overlapping in my brain all at once, and so many voices and pictures and scenes trying to speak at once.

However, with each attempt to concisely represent my thoughtfeelings I get a closer representation of my meaning. Each time I return back to previous writing, poetry, or photos I can build and change and grow.

This is just as much about the importance of writing as it is about what it means to heal.

That we are oversaturated with #selfcare and workshops on healing that maybe we have lost the feeling and love and tenderness behind it.

It is a jumbled process and not a checklist.

I do still think there is importance in healing and the use of the word healing.

Maybe here we can end with more prompts and open questions to sit with?

How do you engage with your past?

How can we mindfully touch and work through our trauma without getting stuck?

Who or what do you find yourself turning to?

SAV SCHLAUDERAFFComment