Liminality: Being Between

It's Bisexual Visibility Day today, which means that all around the world people are celebrating, acknowledging, affirming and visibily being bisexual. I think it's amazing! Mount Royal University hosted a Beyond Binaries webinar from GLBTKC and NASPA (you can read my tweets about it on the @bi_yyc timeline, and the #beyondbinaries tag). Myself and another Possibilities volunteer were at the event, handing out brochures on asexuality and bisexuality and answering questions.

I also had brochures for Writing in the Margins, because tonight I'm hosting a Smutty Story Circle Bisexual Visibility Day Special Event.

My whole day is about celebrating bisexual visibility!

This, though, is not the blog post I meant to write about Bisexual Visibility Day. (And it won't be posted where I had meant to post it.)

I wanted to write about “Liminality, Permeability, Fluidity: The Possibilities in Calgary's Bisexual Community.” (That's the title I've got written down in my to-do app.) I wanted to write about how our events are open to all genders and all orientations, and how much I appreciate (and the revolutionary potential I see within) the flexibility of our community. We welcome gay, lesbian and straight allies. We welcome all the genders, all the races, all the body types and abilities. That fluidity is a huge strength! That permeability – the way that our borders are open, our events are inclusive – seems, to me, to be a powerful challenge to divisive politics (like the bi/pan conflict that we have avoided) or oppressive “colourblind” practices.

Basically, it was going to be a love letter to my community.

And I was going to post it on the Possibilities WordPress site, a site that has been in development for, well, ages now. A year, almost?

But I opened up the dashboard for that site and realized that there is no way I can have it ready to launch today. There are too many blank pages still left, too much work to do to make it look smooth and professional, and taking down the incomplete pages would leave it looking patchy and incomplete.

Liminality. Being between.

So many of my identities are liminal. My genderqueer identity is “between” masculine and feminine (though, actually, this language of “between” is problematic and I would say that liminal identities create their own spaces beyond/around/overlayed on the binaries that are conceptually at either end of the spectrum). My bisexuality is “between” gay and straight (though, again, beyond/around/overlayed on).

In moments of calm and optimism, I am amazed at the potential of liminality. The betweenness. When I see the website – half-finished, liminal – I feel excited. When I look at Writing in the Margins – somewhere between an idea and a reality – I am so thrilled!

But sometimes this liminality is exhausting, because it feels incomplete. There is a sense of needing to do more. Or be more. Or something… something more. One way or the other. Give it up or complete it. Run or sleep, don't walk. Men or women. Make up your mind!

I think this exhaustion sometimes impacts the bisexual community (and other nonbinary communities) because we are constantly accused of fence-sitting, of indecision. We should be one thing or the other. Love one or the other (and forget that there is not “one” or “the other” – there is “one thing” and “many others!”)

Sometimes it is hard to see the potential within ourselves – the radical, revolutionary potential. It is hard to see how our very liminality, the thing that makes us and those around us so uncomfortable, is the thing that makes us so radical.

The 'bisexual' community is composed of a wide variety of identities. Pansexual, bisexual, queer, fluid, questioning, homoflexible, lesobflexible, heteroflexible, unlabelled… We all come together, and it is always perfectly incomplete. There is never a single definition. It is never done, nailed down, solidified. There are points of slippage, moments of indecision, permeability. That's our strength! It's exhausting – code-switching as we move through various communities, attempting to perform an identity that refuses to stay still, that defies cultural norms… it's exhausting, but it is our strength. And there are moments of calm. Moments of recognition – ah! There I am.

What does that have to do with this post?

I am between things right now. I feel between. Liminal. Caught on multiple thresholds. Everything feels uncertain, incomplete, refusing to be nailed down.

I wanted to launch the Possibilities site today, because it's so perfect! Bisexual Visibility Day coinciding with the Calgary bisexual community becoming more visible! Bam! What timing, right?

But that, like so much else, is caught in a betweenness and I cannot resolve it today – there just isn't time or energy.

So what the radical potential of bisexuality has to do with this post is just this – I am taking this other liminality and I am allowing it to not be pinned down. My degree is incomplete and I'm taking a semester off. My Writing in the Margins site will remain incomplete, the Possibilities site will wait a while longer. I will still run the workshop tonight and it will be awesome. I will keep working.

But I will allow the liminality to remain. I am finding the radical potential in this moment of betweenness, and I am choosing self-care – the choice that is not “between” completion and failure, but that is beyond/around/overlayed on. Self-care is my radical choice. Self-care is the option that my current liminality has cracked open for me.

I am writing this post because part of my self-care includes giving myself time to write, and using that time to write. But it is a different post, and it will go on a different blog. And that is okay.

There is radical, revolutionary potential in liminality.

It can shatter the binary.

It can break open new space.

And into that new space, we can pour love and acceptance and self-care. We can be flexible. We can be fluid. We can be liminal. Maybe, if we look at our lives from the right angle, we will realize that that's all we ever have been, and all we ever will be. It will always be incomplete and between/beyond/around/overlayed on the binary, on our expectations.

So, happy Bisexual Visibility Day!

I'm going home now to have a nap, and then I'm going to facilitate the Smutty Story Circle, and it is going to be lovely.

(This was originally posted on Fibro Files but I wanted it here, too, because the liminality also applies to my academic life, and because self-care within academia is proving so challenging to myself and many other academics.)

 

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