This is an intentionally meandering post. It, like my Unfolding Queer Cosmologies, my Dear Dad letters, and numerous other threads, is part of a still emergent understanding, praxis, and cosmic worldview that I cannot fully comprehend or articulate. It comes in spurts of revelation and leaves just as suddenly. And it is ultimately why I started Jason Wyman Is Queerly Complex.
So…instead of sharing something complete and finished, I invite you into the incompleteness of this post, of life, of being. Even when we think we might know something, it is only passing and temporary. For in the end, we will be dead and all that we know will become unknown.
For me, that gives me great comfort for it means I do not need to know. I can be wondered by the unknown. And maybe sharing my wanderings may lead to other wonderings.
A Start: Jason On…Ritual
I’m on Day 4 of #110DaysOfRitual, where I document via Instagram Story some ritual that I do. It’s a simple way to share the myriad ways it shows up in my life.
For me, ritual is a bit complicated. I grew up Catholic, so it’s always had a specificity to it that has been defined by the ultimate authority, The Church. The Church not only determined who was saved and unsaved, the determined all of salvation. Ritual in this context was tool of subjugation towards their defined salvation. It literally is the definition of Religious Supremacy, and numerous horrors and atrocities have been done in its name.
I also know the feeling sparked by ritual, the one that gives comfort and aids in healing. I remember the rituals of death and rebirth celebrated during the three days of Easter. Those ceremonies—the Last Supper, the Stations of the Cross, Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and the grand mass on Easter Sunday morning—always delighted me. The emotional arc mirrored so much of my own turmoil as a young closeted queer kid. In Jesus’ death and resurrection, I saw a way for myself to be born anew as a proud, out queer. And it required a sacrifice of how I saw myself, and, in turn, how others saw me. It was fucking frightening.
My death and resurrection into the anti-binary, queer artist that I am today has taken decades and is still continuing. A large part of these never-ending cycles is a questioning of self, of being open to the possibilities that who I think and thought I am may be different than who I actually be / am. And rituals aid me in this process.
This questioning of self has also aided me in confronting my own understanding of and biases towards/against ritual(s). Immediately upon coming out, I rejected most forms of ritual and ceremony for any and all seemed too close to a sublimation to authority. How could I be queer and still submit to any authority?
And here is where this particular wandering shall end….
This Morning’s Ritual: A Discovery of Possibilities
Today, my intention was to start by reading something and to see where it led. I picked up adrienne marie brown’s Emergent Strategy. I opened to page 151, and read the chapter, “Creating More Possibilities: how we move towards life.” As I was reading, my feet felt the itch to move, to discover possibilities in my own neighborhood. But….it was 4am, where to find possibility?
Here’s some of what I found…
Image description: A window looking into a stairwell, which is well lit. A silhouette of a tree is in the foreground.
Image description: A section of a mural by Sirron Norris on 20th Street and Bryant Street in San Francisco. A blue bear’s arm is reaching out of the ocean and holding a flower set against the setting sun. Underneath the arm is a large blue bear. You can only see their smiling right eye, nose, and their index finger pointing down. The mural is light by a single light from above, which casts a shadow over the top of the image.
Image description: Looking up at two lit, open windows on two different floors. The bottom window has a green sign in it that reads, “Exit.”
Image description: A staircase leading up to a small landing and two doors, which is seen through an iron gate. The porch light is red.
Image description: The front of a duplex with a lit stairwell blocked by a wrought-iron gate with a star pattern. The second floor has a balcony. My shadow can be seen on the small work door to the left of the iron gate.
Image description: A shadow of a tree cast onto the side of an apartment building. Above the garage door, which is in the center of the image, is a window that is lit with a red light. A large plant sits in the window.
Image description: A lit, open stairwell photographed from the side so the only the paneled entrance is lit up. A single iron hand rail casts a shadow on the lit wall.
Image description: Two doorways, one up a few steps with a iron gate in front of a red door and yellow entryway and the other down a few steps and right on the street. Both are lit from the side.
Image description: Looking down 20th Street towards Twin Peaks. A stairway and a window are lit on the right side. A garbage truck is breaking halfway down the street.
Eco Echo Art Show - TOMORROW / Sunday, Sept 19, 2021, 10:30am to 2:30pm PST
I will be at the Eco Echo Earth Show with a Pop-Up shop of zines, chapbooks, cards, prints, and the like TOMORROW / Sunday, September 19, 2021, from 10:30am to 2:30pm PST. The show is at Quetzal Cafe, which is at 1234 Polk Street at Sutter in San Francisco.
Image description: A digital flyer for Eco Echo Earth Show at Quetzal, 1234 Polk Street, featuring the art of Steve Piasecki, Donna Marchesano, and Andrea Fuenzalida.