Queerness and me
Queerness. It’s a word that I hid from for over 30 years, and yet, as I type it, I find myself feeling a deep comfort. I have long known that the space between myself and “typical” society is far greater than the purported six degrees of separation. I have at times considered that gulf to be one of existential orders of magnitude. The concept of “alone in a crowded room” is not alien to me. Nothing much is alien to me, except perhaps (at times) myself.
Being Autistic is a core part of my sense of Self. I understand myself through the lense of Autisticness, I embody my neurology unapologetically. Of course, there is far more to my experience than being Autistic. I am also Schizophrenic. Some might pity me, offering me sympathy for my mental illness. Illness is a word that does not sit right with me.
Schizophrenic, yes. Unwell? If I was unwell, should it not be quantifiable? A value that can be measured by a body that lacks the homeostasis that allows it to function properly.
No, I am neurodivergent. That doesn’t mean I don’t suffer, but I believe we must externalise suffering into the environment. Suffering does not arise in the Self, it is a function of inhabiting a space that was not meant for you.
So where does queerness fit into this?
I have come to understand that there are boundaries between the typical and atypical bodiment of the self. These boundaries are man made structures. Social conventions waiting to be transcended. Much like the way I transcend the convention of neurotypicality, delving into divergent neurology, I find myself openly subverting all expectations placed upon myself.
Queerness, to me, is not about who I love. Who I feel attraction to is such a small part of my queerness. In my universe, queerness is the subversion of a reality that has been imposed upon me. If experiencing psychosis has taught me anything, it’s that reality is not a fixed point. While being Autistic has taught me that society’s truths about what is and isn’t “normal” are closer to the machinations of a propaganda machine than anything objectively true.
I am Queer because I do not belong in normative society. My neurology has made it impossible to assimilate. My queerness manifests from the urgency of an existence that requires me to carve out and defend a space to exist in. The boundary I push is the need be contained. I permit myself to take up space. I permit myself to experience my reality.
In many ways, My queerness or perhaps, my neuroqueerness, has allowed me to bookmark a place in my own story, one in which I can let go of the self-hatred for my bodymind’s tenuous relationship with reality.
It is okay to feel what I feel. It is okay to think what I think. I am no more defined by the intrusive nature of my traumatised thoughts, than I am by the colour of my hair. They are a small part of a wider human structure. It’s okay for me to admit that my sense of Self is constructed from interactions with others. We all build ourselves from the words uttered about us and to us.
Queerness doesn’t feel strange to me. It’s a liberation from the chains of normative violence. It’s freedom to think and feel without the moral judgements imposed by society through me. It is freedom from policing my own existence. It is existential liberation.
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