Those who like me have been fated not to love according to the rules end up by overvaluing the question of love. – Pier Paolo Pasolini
One day, as one does, I started reading historical queer love letters. I like the idea that generations later some concepts, feelings, and sentiments hold true. There’s a particular quote by Paolo Pasolini that stuck with me, and it was something along the lines of “queer people are damned to value love more than any normal person”. I now have two interpretations of this.
The first one is about the significance of queer relationships. I thought about how I felt a self-imposed duty to be in a relationship with a woman. I recognize this as a huge irony given society isn’t the biggest fan of same-gender relationships but still. In my mind, if I was going to be a rebellious disappointment, then I might as well be a rebellious disappointment to the best of my capability. To me (then) the best way to do that was to not only be but be with the type of person that would garner the most disapproval. Being single, and I mean single single, felt like a concession.
As I saw it then, equality was almost about mirroring heterosexual relations as a sort of “yes! I’m normal like you”. Liberation and love were synonymous in my mind. I rationalised that if I could feel love and be in love in the same (or at least the similar) way that society recognized and uplifted then it was one step closer to not being ‘wrong’ or a ‘sin’ or insert literally any queer descriptor. And that if I was still going to be *insert queer descriptor* then I was going to be the best, most upsetting, most insubordinate queer descriptor that there was.
I outgrew that school of thought pretty quickly sha. The inconsistency and contradiction in wanting to mirror what is ‘normal’ and also wanting to be as far removed from what is ‘normal’ wasn’t sustainable. Which brings me to my next interpretation of Paolo.
It is not queer love itself that is significant but rather love as it occurs in queer people. Now, Love doesn’t need a hype man. Every day the list of things it hasn’t been compared to diminishes. Hurricanes, forest fires, the greatest force in the universe bla bla bla. All of which is to say nearly nobody is a stranger to the phenomenon of love. However, I do think that queer people value love and interact with it uniquely. Maybe it’s because – somewhere in between the middle ground that is being alive but being told that your being alive is a misunderstanding, a miscalculation, and a mistake, love feels like the only thing grounding you to a concrete and tolerable reality. Maybe it’s because it’s a primal instinct, one that we were not guaranteed we would ever feel the way our straight counterparts do. Maybe it’s simply because it wasn’t meant for us. The idea that queer people can love – romantically, communally, internally – is a radical notion, and not just to bigots.
The idea that there could be anything sensational about my love isn’t an idea I welcomed in a day. In fact, when I did finally come to terms with it, it was with apprehension and fear. It was with the knowledge that I was holding something huge. Something that had to be hidden and tucked away very precisely if I didn’t want to make a spectacle of myself everywhere I went. I know love is always compared to magnanimous things but the first bouts of queer love I ever felt were frail. Or at least precarious. It didn’t feel like holding a hurricane in my heart – it felt like holding smoke, and that any moment without my consent it could vanish. You would think that love becoming more concrete for me would make me forget how to jealously guard it, but I find that the opposite is the case.
Love is indescribably, incorrigibly, and infinitely more precious to me. It is the most important thing that I hold and has become the most important thing that I have. Maybe it’s the thrill of awarding myself something the world said was not for me. Maybe it makes life more tolerable and whimsical. Maybe I revel in the fact that I beat the odds and I’m out here adoring myself, my queerness, and my community. I’m not gonna lie, those things definitely add to it, but at the end of the day, I don’t want to tie my liberation to those who’d prefer that I didn’t have it. I don’t necessarily want to be defiant, stubborn, and feel malignant pleasure.
I want to be happy, grateful, over-the-goddamn-moon that I have it. The greatest force in the universe is all for me.