After a long period of lockdown and isolation, I started to reflect on 2020 and how my perceptions of time have changed throughout the months. With that, came the feeling of detachment of society and, especially, from the LGBT+ community. Even though I consistently tried to find ways to reconnect, I found myself on a constant battle to adapt and to find belongingness. It resonates with the experience of so many of my LGBT+ siblings growing up. I guess this is one of the reasons why I drew my attention to what I like to call ‘queer temporalities’, the way in which we experience and spend time that is very different from heterosexuals.
Thinking about the time we count and the time we feel, I understand that we, as queer, have a particular experience of time; and being aware of this helps us to find peace as an LGBT+ person. The idea that queer communities have a different sense of time is widely explored in academia (see Engel Antke), but it encompasses the comparison of the time we can count on the clock, the time passed, versus the time of our feelings, the time of experience.
Coloured by our past experinces
The premise is that temporalities are not linear. They are the conjunction of different things that happen to us and affect our emotions and relationships with ourselves.
I’ll start talking about the time we measure: the time of the mortals, it is the physical time, that we count on the clock and that we cannot escape from. This one is fixed and unchangeable, equally and democratically applied to everyone. This particular time is linear, predictable and countable. And I am not very much interested in this one.
On the other hand, there is the time we feel. The time of gods is the time of our experiences, of instants. I like to think of this as the time that is constantly happening, felt in its temporalities and overlapping with the different parts of our existence.
The moments of our experiences hold the fluidity that can also describe gender and sexuality. It refuses to be determined by a tick-box approach.
In the queer community, the time we feel is particularly unique and relates with the framework of our identities. It represents the strength of queer identities and our relationships with time, gender and sexuality. Moreover, it enables us to drive change. Being queer is also a disruptive behaviour that fights hetero-normativite.
Living in our present
I also like to think that our relationship with society’s expectations of our bodies, language and sexuality is something that makes us unique in comparison to those who abide to social norms. The time of our experiences, in this sense, is the reason why our lives are particular and ever-changing. Eventful.
The reason why my reflections on lockdown and queer temporalities are based on these concepts is that it can lead us to new forms of self-love. Once we understand how unique our experiences are we can make peace with our past and embrace our queerness in a more powerful manner. Knowing that I am the product of my experiences reminds me that I, and everyone else, is a work in progress.
Once we dig deep into our feelings and understand who we are, and most importantly, why we are, we feel more comfortable in embracing our singularities – and our queerness, as a result. The transgression of societal limits become our norm and we add a nonchalant attitude to those who do not understand our identities. More importantly, we live our present with the clarity of our past experiences.
Self Love becomes the norm
Our relationship with queer temporalities are what shape us and what transforms us. In this sense, our memories and the reminiscences of our queer temporalities will lead us to the understanding of who we intrinsically are. The reasons why we behave in certain ways and the beauty and the trauma we carry from our past will enable us to embrace our whole selves.
The next step, therefore, is to remember that our experiences of time are not only unique, but also special. Living on the time of gods is a reminder that we hold power. I hope that in 2021 we can all continue to work on ourselves to understand that we can value the time perceived in the instants: where the past is abandoned and the future is yet to happen. We will then live in the present, with the future inaugurated in each moment and each experience. And understanding that it opens up in multiple ways, possibilities become infinite – and self-love becomes the norm.
Written by Gus Bussman
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