a lesson for our everyday
In case you’re new here or a reminder could help, this newsletter began as an exploration of figuring shit out, one day at a time.
Portals are often depicted as physical spaces - think large swirling vortexes or iron doorways that transport us to other dimensions. But lately, I’ve been thinking beyond physical space and imagining portals as moments. Specifically, moments when opposing yet connected states meet to bring us somewhere new.
Some of us might be more familiar with extreme, or even escapist, pathways to another place or another state. I’m currently prepping for my next few ketamine therapy sessions. Dr. Azam often describes intramuscular ketamine injections as a “blast-off” experience straight into your subconscious (in contrast to the more steady experience a person might get from the slower drip of intravenous therapy). If you’ve seen Midnight Gospel IM ketamine injections kinda feel like Clancy’s multiverse simulator.
While there is a time and place for those fantastical swirling portals or catapulting into altered states, lately I’ve been more interested in where portals might exist in our everyday.
Things helping me figure shit out:
🌀 You don’t need psychedelics to find transformative portals. I often return to Audre Lorde’s foundational essay Uses of the Erotic. There’s a point in her writing where Lorde notes particulars of the every day, “writing a good poem and moving into sunlight against the body of a woman I love,” as portals to our own life force, “the erotic,” our own power. She reminds us that when “in touch with the erotic, I become less willing to accept powerlessness, or those other supplied states of being which are not native to me, such as resignation, despair, self-effacement, depression, self-denial.”
Side note: someone once told me there are two kinds of Los Angeles queers: equinox queers and Audre Lorde queers. There’s no real question about which category I fall into.
🌀 For example, in 2019 I went to upstate New York for Activation Residency. While I was there I was blessed to share a room with Tricia Hersey, the radical, Black, feminist founder of The Nap Ministry. Tricia tells us, “a portal opens when you rest.” Her work to normalize rest, relaxation, and rejuvenation for Black folks and people of color is directly linked to Lorde’s call to cultivate our relationship with everyday portals to access our own life force.
🌀 I also think of portals as moments where we are presented with the opportunity to recognize our own thresholds for change. At the time, I didn’t understand why but I cried through her explanation of rest as resistance. Her portal, that invitation to connect to a place where I felt well, changed my life. When I got back to LA I was able to finally ask for the real help I needed for my CPTSD.
🌀 A benefit of psychedelic-assisted therapy is that after that “blast-off” experience is over you have access to new neural pathways that can make you more receptive to new perspectives and possibilities. So as I prep for my next few sessions, I am reminding myself that the trip is not the portal, but it is our ability to recognize, create, and cultivate relationships with the transformative moments in our everyday lives that will transport and transform us.
I’m currently building the syllabus and curriculum to teach my next undergraduate course: Future Tripping. I’m excited to lead students in studying the connection between futurism, science fiction, design, and social justice movements. Together we will look at how past moments from social justice movements are often overlooked as examples of speculative world-building, and identify tools and strategies to reclaim futurism from the white cis-hetero western cannon.
If any of the above makes you excited - please comment below with any readings, clips, art, or culture pieces that you think I should share with my students.
Also, I’ve been working through my thoughts on portals now for a little while. In my piece Shway Shway I played with collapsing timelines, collaging family geographies, and highlighting the sensorial aspects of everyday moments.
📚 Required Text for all you Audre Lorde Queers
📺 Suggested Watching for when you actually need a psychedelic portal
🛍 A Place to Shop for all your beach reads
📑 A Thing about Activation
🏳️🌈 Apply to This to build queer histories - CLOSES 5/8 !
Just for LA
Saturday, 5/20 - save the date join me for a free beach yoga class with Level Ground !
We will meet at Tower 5 at 11:00 am. Please bring a yoga mat/towel/blanket, water, and anything else you need to be comfortable! We welcome all levels as this class will be beginner friendly. Suggested donations/tips for Bianca are greatly appreciated :) venmo @levelground-co
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