I remember wandering through a community garden full of flowers, then sitting on a bucket. A community garden. Brushing up against mint and breathing it deep. For the first time it seemed. Or were we sitting on a little bench in the middle of the riotous greens, a place to sit and wait for the feelings to come. Someone to sit me down and listen, to help me to make sense of an increasingly complicated world, growing more and and more tiny and suffocating by the minute. Stuck in the spirals in my own brain, dealing with this different me poking his/her head out.
Suddenly, an older lesbian had invited me to her garden, to walk around, to dig in the dirt, to plant some vegetables and flowers. I still don't really know what exactly was happening to me at that time. (My memories are difficult to access and confused in the best of times, but with the added thickness of trauma, I have little sense of what happened in reality or if reality stopped existing for a while. I think a gap grew between that thing called reality and my brain.)
This woman walked me through the garden and showed me the roses (this is a rose), the peonies (this is a peony), the tulips (this is a tulip), the tiny spring buds (this is a bud). I had forgotten the sky was so large and so blue. I had forgotten the wind was blowing through the trees, that somewhere thousands of feet above the earth cumulus clouds were rearranging and rain was forming to nourish these plants.
For the first time, on that bucket in that garden, crying out of my eyes and nose and mouth, I received the gift of queer intimacy, of queer support and queer love. An elder stepped into the void in my world and the void in my sense of self and community. An elder named what was happening to me. A person gave names to my fears, my worries, my tears and my struggles. A woman helped me to recognize my own softness, my own woundedness and to help me put myself back together again. No, not back together again, she helped me to be all my pieces, beautiful and broken and solid and mushy and green, for the very first time.
This patient lesbian
called a punch a punch.
A rose a rose. A death
threat a death threat.
A blade of grass a blade
of grass. Homelessness
mulch. Abuse abuse.
Suddenly, I wasn't the insane one or at least the only insane one. Maybe we were all crazy in this fucked up world. And maybe that was okay. But for once, I wasn't the person at fault, the guilty party, the one to blame. She wouldn't let me blame myself anymore for what was happening to me.
For once, I burrowed my hands in the earth, got dirty, allowed myself to breathe again, to forgive myself, to be queer for myself and for her, most deeply, for her, for an us that I was experiencing for the first, earth-shaking time.
I wish every queer kid could have a queer mother to guide him, shelter her, lead xer through the weeds (this is a weed) and the lavender (this is lavender), through the rosemary (this is rosemary) and the irisis (this is an iris). To name the things as they are. To point out the beauty in broken things. To imagine how we might live without being fixed.
Happy Mother's Day, Linda (this is Linda).