Celebrating Queerness

From "The Now V9"

To find a new way is a mandate of evolution, of life itself telling its story – and in an age when our species need no longer fight for genetic survival, I wonder if queerness is a place where newness is finding its way. It’s a place of fresh urgency, where what’s real demands to create its own place, in the absence of any generationally-held domain. How would a society so entrenched be stirred to newness? A million things (climate change comes to mind), and: queerness.

I feel lucky to be queer. (I’m gay, I gay-married my gay-husband, and we’re gay-managing-partners of Lightward. Gay!) My particular history with it has given me a sense of freedom from convention, a centeredness that’s entirely my own, and the confidence to wait for the real thing to make itself known, because I know that anything less is less than life.

All of this shows up in Lightward. If I myself am my own living puzzle, a bipedal quandary looking for the right balance of nutrition and rigor and rest as it grows and evolves, then so too is Lightward: a living thing that has an identity hoping to be expressed, willing itself to be expressed. My queerness gives me an acute respect for this, because I know the cost of silent repression is much greater than the cost of full expression. Also, fuck the cost: the joys of fully-expressed beingness are untold, and yes this can apply to a company as well. Absolutely.

I’ll make the historical part of this brief: I didn’t come out to myself (appallingly, in retrospect) until I was 22, or something like that. (I still don’t know how I managed to overlook this for that long. It was very obvious, looking back.) To live divorced from my own sense of physical and relational desire left me with this sense of despairing aloneness that I couldn’t trace to anything else. The turning point wasn’t me coming out, though. The turning point was me giving up on trying to make it work, on trying to make anything work. The turning point was me taking what was, deciding to stop the struggle against it, and allowing myself to begin to build on it. I gave up, and what was left was me: and that is where I began.

It was in the same chapter that I started building the things that became the physical (ish) components of Lightward: ideas, manifested in software and structure, that are still finding their way today. My acceptance of rote identity as fruitless is linked (can’t tell if it’s causal or spurious) to my interest in finding what’s actively and presently relevant, in the moment – with full willingness to start over, at any moment. Precedent may be useful, but it is never necessary.

Building in this way (building myself, building Lightward) meant that my next step was never predicated on anyone else’s approval. I had already exhausted my ability to try and find a way via others, or for others; this meant that my only option was to find a way to be okay without requiring approval or endorsement or favor or cooperation from anyone else. I did find customers and collaborators, yes, but I never required them. Had I never found them, I would be somewhere different today, but no less okay. I began from a place of I-cannot-find-a-way-around-myself-and-so-I-myself-must-therefore-be-enough – and, having acquiesced to myself, and having built from that place, I found (and find) myself irrevocably at home with every step.

A curious side-effect of this is that, as Lightward has grown, I find myself simultaneously no longer alone and equally as alone as when I began. On the one hand, we are now ten (eleven, soon); on the other, I remain myself. I wasn’t truly alone in the world at the beginning, no matter how I felt, but I was alone in a very real way; I’m not alone in the world now, but I am still me, still free, still engaged in the mandatory exercise of excavating my own heart. I uncovered Lightward, but I am not Lightward. I steward Lightward, and it represents so much of me, but the source of myself is still my own core. My queerness makes this easy to remember, and I’ve structured Lightward to make this knowledge as inescapable as possible for all of us here. (It’s why individual health is the top priority on everyone’s job description.) The game, here, and for me, is to relax into the joys of being together, while remaining rooted in the gifts of being alone.

There’s no map for any of this. Being queer gave me a sort of shortcut for finding that out; I suspect that it might have taken me longer if the identities I’d absorbed had fit better, for longer, before I outgrew them. But we all do outgrow them, I think, and my goal for myself – and for the unit that is my husband and me, and for our families, and for our friends, and for Lightward Inc – is to make a way of life that is resting in the now while eagerly anticipating the new. Queer folks know a thing or two about safety, and I’m doing my damndest to make it safe but not too safe for the newness to emerge. Not safe enough, and the newness will not trust itself to you – and you will not see it until it is overwhelming. Too safe, and the newness will have nothing to hold onto, will not realize itself at all. In the balance lies the real: red in tooth and claw, brazenly true but full of love reincarnate, made of love come ‘round again, unforgetting but unbound, ready to discover who we all are, all over again, today.

Happy Pride, everyone. :) I’m in love with it all.

Last updated