New faces, familiar faces, different platform. No energies bumping up against each other irl (in “real” life). Just energies flowing through a screen. How is it possible it can travel through time and space like this?
I learned about generational divides. How hard it is to flow outside the confining boxes society holds us in. We hold ourselves in. We hold others in. I was reminded how terrified people are of the unknown, including myself. I was reminded that I can be both loved and hated, praised, and discarded, all at once. Depending who you ask. It’s a both/and, not an either/or.
I learned I use my queerness to relate. A desperate cry to connect, to belong, to run away from oppressive ways of existing that I was born into. Running away from my whiteness, my privilege, my pain. I learned how this hurts people. I learned that we all hurt. I felt that we all hurt.
I was reminded that sometimes finding out more makes you want to connect less. And that sometimes it’s terrifying when you are the one people learned too much about. I was reminded that queerness doesn’t just have to exist in a LGBT+ identified body, but that it can mean so much more. That other ways of thinking of queerness can uplift voices we, I, apparently, have not been willing to hear. That we, I, wash out. Constantly living in binaries. We are more than this.
Why can't we see others or see ourselves. This cycle is all-encompassing.
I learned my role in eliminating or leaving out Asian voices in the conversation on race in the US. That I’ve been so focused on our black and white history that I had not even taken the time to consider the other ways I was being oppressive to folks outside that binary, many of whom I claim to love. Pain rushes through as I contemplate this. “Love is a verb,” they say. But can I do it? Can we do it? Will we? Will it suffice?
I learned that demonizing others with different political affiliations is a projection I put on them when I cannot hold my own hate. That maybe I am just more passive aggressive or silent, or buried in my expressions, but that “we’re all mad here” truly means “all.” Stitched from the same fabric but re-arranged a million different ways. Some pieces of myself I would just rather not hold. Yet, I was reminded, I must.
I learned that acceptance of and from the “forbidden other” sometimes feels like winning, but that it is not always dripping with love. I learned that competition and envy led us, me, into violent spaces. I learned that sometimes I would rather run away than face realities.
I was reminded that the closest our bridges can be built together right now are through the texting machine. I was reminded that I long for more than that. I was reminded why I love this work and also how difficult it is. How hard it is to connect across difference, and even similarities, in real life, and through a screen, but that this work helps me to get closer than I think I could ever do by myself. I was reminded that this work reveals our shadow sides but that it also provides a community of people willing to run into the fire with you and hold you in the most vulnerable or undesirable pieces of self.
I went in to learn more about the role of consultant and how I take that up. I came out with a clearer understanding of self, my role, my pain, the pain of others, and also hope. Hope for a more connective future off the screen and on. Hope for a future of fluidity, equity, joining, respect and honoring of all of the spectrums of self that I and others inhabit, and a reassurance that evening though it will not be easy, it will be worth it, and to keep fighting forward.
These are some reflections meant to capture a portion of Lauren's learning from a GRI Virtual Consultant Training in the winter of 2021.