My subject line here is taken from one of the very best keynotes I’ve ever heard in my life, back in August of 2001 at the North American Conference on Bisexuality, Gender, and Sexual Diversity in Vancouver, B.C. The first keynote was given by Kate Bornstein, and it was also extremely awesome; the last one was given by (though he had a slightly different name back then) Dr. Ibrahim Farajajé, who I had known from an e-mail list we were both on back then. In the middle part of his address, he had an entire litany of statements about different types of bodies that matter–i.e. all of them!–and it started with “Bodies matter,” followed by “black bodies matter, white bodies matter, disabled bodies matter, temporarily-able-bodied bodies matter, fat bodies matter, thin bodies matter, old bodies matter, young bodies matter,” etc., throughout a very thorough list that encompassed many types of bodies that have, historically, been treated as if they don’t matter. It was powerful, inspiring, and exciting stuff, and he is a fantastic speaker and a very dynamic personality, and I enjoyed the hell out of it!
However, I write this today to simply note something that occurred today which, amongst the many worthy and fascinating subjects raised, had as one possible theme that “bodies matter,” and specifically human bodies meeting in real space and having conversations, interactions, and food.
This is in relation to the very awesome, fascinating, and wise-beyond-his-years-to-the-point-that-he-gives-me-hope-for-the-future Aine Llewellyn, who likewise wrote a bit about today (and his trip to this area of the world in general over the last few days) here. Being that he was here in the state, I wanted to meet him in person, because I’ve enjoyed his work on Patheos and on his other blogs, and we’ve had some good conversations over e-mail besides that.
Today, we had about ten hours of conversation, a lovely meal, various beverages, and browsing in a few shops around Seattle. Unfortunately, two things that are constant about Seattle did not fail today, and were slight issues at various points–those two things being A) rain and B) bad traffic, but I do take full personal responsibility for “A” because of this yesterday, which worked! We got rain in Seattle, and up in the islands as well, at last, after more than a month! But, it was not heavy rain, so even being out in it was not too bad in between going to various places on foot.
Likewise, about a thousand ideas on polytheism, on the general state of modern paganism, on the role and bane of unrecognized privilege and its knock-on effects, and a million other subjects ranging from practical theology and transformative personal work (and not making the mistake of confusing the latter for spiritual work, even though they intersect and overlap…but the latter is not the purpose of spiritual work), to gender identities and their various discontents and disconnects, to popular culture (e.g. Harry Potter), to books, to underwear (because, yes, this is me we’re talking about here!)…and of course, a great deal about our respective gods and the process of creating this in relation to Antinous and the Dierne and what is ultimately process theology and queer theology got in there, too.
In short: what better way to spend a day with someone one has never met in physical space before?
I am, however, exhausted, as well as deeply grateful to Aine for being here and being as awesome, generous, forbearing, and insightful as he is, and for the presence of other wonderful people, too (i.e. Michael Sebastian Lvx), and to the gods–especially Antinous and the Dierne–for doing there work with us and through us which lead to us hanging out together at all!
Because, bodies matter…and, when bodies that matter get together in real spaces (which also matter), then cool things happen, and even matter itself can potentially change from what results…