I love who I am becoming, who I am, who I always was.
How to be more loving & how to keep going.
After months of getting up in the darkness, walking to the station in the freezing cold and the wind, the relief I feel seeing the sun rise earlier is huge. When I’m lucky enough to catch the sky looking perfect in pastel hues in the quiet of the mornings, before the world has fully woken up, I feel so full of this sense of hope and possibility I hardly know what to do with myself! It helps me to imagine I’m carrying it for some of you who maybe don’t have the strength today and are just getting by. That’s okay, because I know on other days you’ll carry it for me too. There really is so much to still learn and understand and experience and discover. I do know this much: I have a curious mind, a big heart and a lot of ideas. I feel pretty good about that.
‘There’s no ceiling to the amount of love that you can put out into the world’ I try to repeat this to myself as often as possible. Love can, and should, generative. It is easy, and understandable, to feel overwhelmed, and full of despair about all of the sadness, violence and vitriol in this world. It can be overwhelming, especially when many things are beyond our control - and whilst I can acknowledge that feeling overwhelmed by the horrors of this world is a privilege, it doesn’t make reckoning with it easier. Feeling helpless is understandable, but it is important to find ways of cultivating hope, despite despite despite. Hope allows us to sustain, to show up, to keep going. It helps me to think about love as a practice, love as a verb, love as action. I think about boundless care and community and tenderness and serenity and joy. It is around you, if you look out for it.
Feelings aren’t problems to be solved, so I sit with them instead. (Remind me this ten times a day, please). I try to think about how to show care to someone when I don’t have to. I think about how I could be more loving to those closest to me, what that might look like. It might not be obvious but it will be worth it. Perhaps it will make them feel better or seen or heard or held or understood. Why wouldn’t you if that is a possibility?
I consider how I might be more gentle with myself. It’s really wild how much it helps to ask: What if I was just randomly so nice to myself for no reason? And then doing it. 12/10, would recommend. There is so much I want to do and stories I want to tell and dreams I want to realize but when I feel paralyzed by the distance between where I am and where I want to be it’s usually because I’m fixating on time as a heterosexual construct. This is something I learned about from J Wortham’s magical, life affirming essay for the NY Times mag:
“The queer theorist José Esteban Muñoz defined “straight time” as a mind-set obsessed with productivity and reproduction. “There is no future but the here and now of our everyday life,” he lamented in “Cruising Utopia.” Straight time is not limited to straight people. Rather, it reflects a society that tries to herd all people toward notions of productivity organized around traditional work and family structures, shaming those who opt out with higher costs of living and lower cultural worth. Straight time doesn’t value falling asleep in the sun, the floaty euphoria of bobbing in the water near strangers long enough to catch eyes and strike up a conversation.
Queer time is a sensate way of life, the kind treasured by people who perhaps understand with crackling urgency how circumstances can change in a moment, and the importance of pleasures that even in small doses can sustain you for weeks, months, years after the moment has passed.”
James Baldwin was so right (about most things) but in relation to the above, when he said “You think your pain and your heartbreak are unprecedented in the history of the world, but then you read. It was books that taught me that the things that tormented me most were the very things that connected me with all the people who were alive, who had ever been alive.” To feel is to be connected to something far bigger than you. To read or connect with art is often to be less alone in that feeling. I am always grateful for writers and artists, their dedication to translating feeling into something tangible. It is, in part, why I write. To pay it forward, to attempt to make meaning out of my struggles and my emotions, to create something that may heal others like so many other writers have healed me before, and continue to.
Being alive and healing and discovering/creating yourself is so vulnerable and embarrassing and frightening. It is okay to feel it all (better, even, to feel it all) - so long as you do not let it stop you from taking action, from doing what you want or what you were meant to do. Bring it all with you and watch yourself transform.
I love who I am becoming, who I am and who I always was.
I laugh every day and am trying to be myself regardless of what anyone thinks (not as easy as it sounds!). I have good intentions and a big, open heart but I can also be grumpy and tired and jaded and wrong (occasionally) and …. yep, human! I am making a conscious effort to speak truthfully even and perhaps especially when it’s scary. I am trying really trying to be brave and bold and present and to channel it into my life and my work. And whilst I carry all of that around I find (and create!) meaning in the quotidian and the mundane. I am grounding myself with routine and by tending to my garden of ideas and projects and dreams. They can’t be rushed. They are on queer time. They need time, patience, care and importantly, faith they will bloom when the time is right.
Many of you will have been moved, as I was, seeing Victoria Monet accept her award for Best New Artist at the Grammys. She is by no means a new artist, and there is a lot to be said around that framing, but I’ll save that for another day. What moved me was her explaining that she has been pursuing this for 15 years. That for many years the work she did was not seen, she was growing underground - like a plant, soaking up nutrients and water. Her win is a culmination of dedication, consistency, drive and passion that didn’t let up. Her speech was a sermon on focusing on the work, not the outcome, and trusting the timing of your life.
If you feel so inclined, please share this newsletter with friends or excerpts on social media. I’m @adavetoremember on insta! You can also reply to this email if you want to chat, or comment below. Back in a week or two with my February roundup! All my love, David x