Another thing to distrust is the tendency to relate the question of homosexuality to the problem of “Who am I?” and “What is the secret of my desire?” Perhaps it would be better to ask oneself, “‘What relations, through homosexuality, can be established, invented, multiplied, and modulated?” The problem is not to discover in oneself the truth of one’s sex, but, rather, to use one’s sexuality henceforth to arrive at a multiplicity of relationships. And, no doubt, that’s the real reason why homosexuality is not a form of desire but something desirable. Therefore, we have to work at becoming homosexuals and not be obstinate in recognizing that we are. The development toward which the problem of homosexuality tends is the one of friendship.
- Michel Foucault, Friendship as a Way of Life
”I am not ‘half Japanese’ and ‘half Lithuanian Jewish.” When I’m singing a Japanese folk song, I don’t sing with half my voice, but with my whole voice. When I’m taping together my grandparents’ Jewish marriage contract, worn by time but still resilient, it’s not half of my heart that is moved, but my whole heart. I am complete, and I embody layers of identities that belong together. I am made of layers, not fractions.
- Yumi Thoma
I actually attack the concept of happiness. The idea that - I don’t mind people being happy - but the idea that everything we do is part of the pursuit of happiness seems to me a really dangerous idea and has led to a contemporary disease in Western society, which is fear of sadness. It’s a really odd thing that we’re now seeing people saying “write down 3 things that made you happy today before you go to sleep”, and “cheer up” and “happiness is our birthright” and so on. We’re kind of teaching our kids that happiness is the default position - it’s rubbish. Wholeness is what we ought to be striving for and part of that is sadness, disappointment, frustration, failure; all of those things which make us who we are. Happiness and victory and fulfillment are nice little things that also happen to us, but they don’t teach us much. Everyone says we grow through pain and then as soon as they experience pain they say “Quick! Move on! Cheer up!” I’d like just for a year to have a moratorium on the word “happiness” and to replace it with the word “wholeness”. Ask yourself “is this contributing to my wholeness?” and if you’re having a bad day, it is.
- Hugh Mackay
When I get confused about love, or other things in the world, thinking about Spinozian definitions often helps me because of their clarity. Spinoza defines love as the increase of our joy, that is, the increase of our power to act and think, with the recognition of an external cause. You can see why Spinoza says self-love is a nonsense term, since it involves no external cause. Love is thus necessarily collective and expansive in the sense that it increases our power and hence our joy. Here’s one way of thinking about the transformative character of love: we always lose ourselves in love, but we lose ourselves in love in the way that has a duration, and is not simply rupture. To use a limited metaphor, if you think about love as muscles, they require a kind of training and increase with use. Love as a social muscle has to involve a kind of askesis, a kind of training in order to increase its power, but this has to be done in cooperation with many.
When I first started working on citizenship, older people would say to me, ‘How can you even take the state seriously? The state is a monster of imperialism.’ And I said, ‘I’m on the side of people’s survival, and if people’s optimism is attached to things like the state, I want to know what the state stands in for.’ If we start seeing our objects of ambition and desire as stand-ins, as things that organize our attachment to life, we have a totally different understanding and a kind of generosity toward those objects. That’s why I started working on citizenship in the first place, not because I loved it, but because I saw that people saw it as a state where they could imagine being collective, and being willing to be collective in ways that were also inconvenient for them. So when LGBTQ people want what lots of people want — which is a relief from their loneliness and a social world that would be welcoming and not shaming — I can’t disrespect their objects, I just have to say, ‘is that all there is?’ For me, it’s never about shaming people’s objects, it’s always about creating better and better objects. It’s always about creating better worlds, making it possible for us to think in more and different kinds of ways about how we relationally can move through life.
- Lauren Berlant. (via residuetheory)
We have to consciously study how to be tender with each other until it becomes a habit.
- Audre Lorde
"Maybe you just have to live for the small things, like being called pretty or someone picking up the pen you dropped or laughing so hard that your stomach hurts. Maybe that’s all that really matters at the end of the day." -Tianna Kavanagh
For me, queer means radiant darkness, radical love, and a million and one ways to resist and decolonize. Queer is imbued with deep spirituality and sweetness.
- Edward Ndopu
Love doesn’t just sit there like a stone; it has to be made, like bread, remade all the time, made new.
- Ursula K. Le Guin, The Lathe of Heaven