Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The reality is something else

Tomorrow I leave San Francisco, and what does that mean? It means: tomorrow I leave. I already left. I'm leaving again: tomorrow.

When someone who understands you on many levels says something so deeply misunderstanding: of course this happens all the time. In this case, this person said: I could show you areas of the Mission that are still dirty and neglected. Those weren’t the exact words, in looking away from the words then I've lost them now. It was a joke, anyway -- oh, maybe seedy, was that the word, I'm not sure. Because I know you're the seedy type -- said in a knowing and friendly way, I couldn't quite find the words to say that I'm not looking for something dirty or neglected or seedy, that doesn't help me, doesn't feel soothing, doesn't help me to grow or feel inspired I'm looking for cultures of resistance. I lament their loss. The loss of my hope in those cultures. Those cultures that are always a part of the gentrifying, the smoothing over, the removal of edges. The marketing of edges. The buying and selling of edges, of culture, of marketing, of dirt and neglect and seediness even in the midst of ending the possibilities of what can sometimes exist among the dirt and neglect and seediness, a kind of interaction across worlds, into and around identities, intimacy of contact and sometimes even conflict but especially the bond of not quite fitting in, anywhere, anywhere but maybe here, here that no longer exists and that's what I miss.

It must exist; it does exist; it doesn't exist for me. I talk about my hope in the politics and potentials of queer, genderqueer, trans and gender-defiant cultures that I am part of, and that is true, this hope in the potential. The reality is something else. Something that breaks my heart, the reality that the values we inspire, conspire -- of accountability, negotiation, intimacy in the gestures of the everyday, communal care, fluidity, embodied fantasy, flamboyance, challenge and engagement -- these values so often fail to exist in the actual worlds of these cultures that I say I'm inspired by. I'm not inspired by the cultures, not really -- my actual lived experience fails to meet the potential of what I dream of, cultivate, hope to create, and that is why I had to leave San Francisco.

There are many things I like about San Francisco, and probably more things that I hate, but there is almost nothing that I love. I'm looking for the time and space and place when my dreams and my work can meet a reality that holds me. It's already tomorrow: today I'm leaving, and I'm sad. I don't know if I'm sad because I'm leaving San Francisco, or just because I'm leaving, traveling again which makes me sad, or because my sinuses are a mess. I mean I know I'm sad because my sinuses are mess, dammit I can hear it in my voice and this is before I get on the train. On a cool moist day, even.

My sinuses are mess, because they were burning incense at the last event I did, a basement theater with no windows in a ridiculous gentrification space and I kept thinking they can't really be burning incense, can they? And then the next day, I didn't feel dramatically more awful than usual so I thought maybe, maybe I'll be okay. Of course it never works that way, now I'm getting ready for the overnight train and I'm not ready, not ready to leave or travel or do anything really except rest, at least I have a feldenkrais appointment before I leave but now I don't have a ride to the train or help getting my bags there -- oh, travel, what a mess. I don't even feel calling anyone to try to get help, where am I going? What's next? Why? Okay, I better get ready.

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