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  • Writer's pictureVictoria

S.1 EP. 2: Pride


Wayward Wonderland


Welcome back :) I want to start by sharing and responding to a beautiful submission to the WW google form. Elliana offered such wonderful insight:


Love, Duh was read in a feverish kind of understanding - like a little shock through my frontal lobe when someone writes something you've been feeling for all your life but not really understanding how to articulate. Something that's always been there, so the second someone points it out, it almost feels like you've had your house broken into, and rearranged so suddenly all your pots and pans are laid out for perfect access. 


I LOVE YOU!


First of all - 'The hardest thing about falling in love with a woman is letting her fall in love with me because of its confirmation of my queerness.' - first of all, fuck you for that line because I'm going to have to chew on that for the next three months every time I find myself drunk in a pub bathroom. 


Send me a voice memo of your chewing when you’re in those bathrooms. I bet I’d benefit from what you have to say.


The stuff about your Dad - the stuff about conditionality - it reached right into my ribcage. Not to immediately make this about me, but most of my life, the love I have relied on has been incredibly conditional. I think because love is much easier if it is conditional - at least then you feel as though you have control over it. There's something you can do to make someone love you more. Of course, the moment love turns conditional, you've sort of lost its meaning, and it's not really the real thing. Whatever the real thing is. The unconditionality you talk about - the toll that it can take upon you, especially as a queer person - the way that you are setting out how to love - I think it is beautiful. 


I think what I'm trying to say is - I can understand how you can love through anger, because I have been so angry for most of my life because I have not been loved the way I have loved my father. What I'm trying to say is something like that Sharon Olds poem where she calls herself an ill-fated second daughter, supposed to have been the second son. I loved him always, always in spite of myself. 


I guess you are entirely right. I, too, have loved through anger…but I am unsure whether what I felt toward loved ones and what I saw in my father and brother’s aggression was truly anger. I am known as carrying generations of anger; “anger that isn’t mine,” in Aja Monet’s words. And while there is love in that anger it is not the same kind of anger I feel toward people I love when they disappoint me. Thoughts?


Is the poem you reference titled As If My Mother? I am not familiar with Olds’ work but I tried to find the poem you are talking about…this is what I found:





This January, I wrote an essay. I thought it was an essay about me, but really it was an essay about him…It has taken more than I thought that it would to start picking up his calls. I don't know what I'm saying about this - because I don't really know how I even feel about it yet, but I felt that I needed to tell you, because somehow I felt like you needed to know. Like you placed this divine index in my palm, and this is the only way I can respond. I think your column is wonderful - I can't wait for episode two. I've attached the essay and the letter, just in case.


I wanted to hear it! So thank you for sharing, it moved me and continues to move me. 


Here are some excerpts I loved from Elliana’s essay which you can find here


"I’m booked in for a spiritual healing session and I’m only really going for my mother’s sake. I have the best intentions of writing a hilariously dry and intelligent little story about it, but I am so horrifically late that she has already left. I end up sobbing in her waiting room. Crying in public has always been my only real party trick. I’m not trying to go on a spiritual journey, I just want to feel some kind of recognition within my body. I’ve been trying to pretend I don’t have one my whole life. I need to stop going to yoga classes and imaging my pelvis being pressed in from both sides until it snaps into two pieces."


"How many times have I been called across the room to hug you like a puppet with cut strings? How many times have I torn myself away from who I am to make you forgive me? How many times have I run to a cab, plane, bus, train, to get away from this feeling? I’ve been so sure what I was running from. I knew exactly who I was because I knew who you were and how you shaped me. Now we’re both blurry outliers, too far away to tell if your hand is holding mine."


"What I really want to say is: leaving will always be the second-best thing you can do. The first is to kill me. You cannot take, sir, anything that I will more willingly part withal - except my life, except my life, except my life."


Thank you for writing, Elliana.


If you feel inspired by her or yourself or nothing in particular, share here: WW SUBMISSION FORM

I have also created a collaborative pinterest board for us Alices of this wayward wonderland. I love pinterest boards so I thought this would be a silly fun addition to our world. Join/view here: WW PINTERST BOARD

I plan to make more for some other characters we'll encounter so stay tuned if it's your kind of thing.


This week on Wayward Wonderland I reflect on the past five years (not including 2020 for obvious reasons) of pride parades in NYC. I look forward to that last weekend of June every year and I hope these vignettes will help you understand why. It is a time of self-exposition whether one wants it or not, regretless partying, love, mind expansion, dirt, and exploration. While reading this I ask you to put aside and forgive the capitalist nonsense that comes with pride and just focus on the feelings. Enjoy.


2018

A girl in hot pink pants and a colorful crochet top gets dropped off at her best friend’s house in the West Village. On the walk toward Stonewall, she is inexplicably overwhelmed by the ocean of rainbows and never-ending harmonies. On her tippy toes, searching through rows of sweaty people, she catches glimpses of a parade: dykes on bikes, drag queens and their courts, children in tutus. 


In search of a better viewing point she finds herself on a packed sidewalk, pressed between scaffolding poles and a thick, green signpost. Following the seasoned youths around her, she climbs. Now, she sees the entire pride river, each performer guiding a band of queerness and each float distinct in their experience. She discovers a new feeling.




2019

Rather than in the crowd – her brother and cousin somewhere on the east side – she chooses to stay back with her two, sitting on the stoop. She chooses to watch, wearing significantly less color and happiness. The parade is merely the background noise to a summer day. Feelings are no longer new nor are they evidence of life.


2021

A month into an adult summer, a rainbow flag is tucked into gingham shorts – out in a nonverbal way. My hair is blonde and my boobs spill from a hot pink top. Glitter adorns my cheeks, eyes, and décolletage. Fuck the parade, I was deep in the jungle gym; washington square park. I’m off social media and I have a tattoo. I am with my best friends, Black and queer as they are, and we, disgusting as we are, dance in the nasty park fountain. Each inhale is pure joy, each exhale is a long, long hug. A photographer takes a photo of us. It is in black and white yet the vibrance of our smiles wreak havoc on the dreary image. The fountain shines, our bodies tangle; you can hear the laughter and feel the slime beneath our feet.



We roam. At dusk we awake from a drunken nap in central park and my eyes naturally rest on recognizable faces farther down the lawn. I recognize their recognition of me… I wonder what they make of my queer resting. Best friend and I take the subway back downtown, glowing with mess and sweat, to meet other friends at some bar or club. We dance, we dance, we dance.


2022

A lesbian with an unsettling pit in her stomach that promises this parade will not live up to last year’s. Again in the park, this time not in the jungle gym. No fountain dancing. Just days later, she is outed to and by her own family, minutes after coming out. Funny how that works.




2023

A lesbian in love. The dyke march, for the first time – swimming in the fountain on this sacred day instead of the next. 




Waking up in the house of my love, eating her home-cooked breakfast, doing her makeup and tying her colorful crochet top tight around her body, I discover a new feeling. Meeting friends of friends of friends in all villages and downs of towns. Back to the jungle – I am always in the jungle – lay me to rest here. The sun washes me queer and kisses kiss me clean. Oh, blessed day!


Dancing, and dancing, and dancing, and dancing. He, my best friend, yes, he knows a place – take us there! Dancing and dancing and dancing.


Sex–


She   discovers    a new    feeling.




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