What follows below is a public letter written to the entire COLAGE community, wrap these words around you when you forget where you're going. Dare I say it is a Queerspawn manifesto of sorts? Not for me to decide on my own, but nevertheless, read on and you shall be rewarded...
My dear friends,
Let me start this missive by saying that when I think of you all, the full range of adjectives English affords fails me. Brilliant, articulate, compassionate, dynamic, bold, extraordinary, kind, canny, driven, and damn unbelievable only barely scratch the surface. Your personalities leave me infinately inspired, your love and compassion overwhelm my heart, and your dance moves rock my world. I don't think I've ever met a group of people with a human awesomeness rate of %100: every single one you is amazing, amazing, amazing.
I want to tell you all how grateful I am to have you in my life. COLAGE is, no doubt, the most loving and extraordinary community I have ever been privelaged to be a part of, and spending this weekend with you was a gift that I cherish deeply. You enrich me mind, body, and soul; that is a winning combination I doubt most people can claim of their worldly connections. We have all had to travel our own paths, often independantly, struggling to survive periods of incredible distress and succeeding in moments of equally incredible self-affirmation. For myself, I accomplished much of that process alone (as I think many of us did) only to discover later, through all of you, that I was never really alone at all. Coming to the realization that I need a community like ours is a difficult one for me - I have always wished to remain independent, not wanting to be beholden to anyone or anything for my strength, my passion, and my personal growth.
Coming home from Dallas I realized more clearly than ever before that I not only need COLAGE, but that I want to need COLAGE. I feel as though to need the community that we have all forged (even in brief but powerful encounters) is to somehow reaffirm the very families that we came from, to say that we not only represent or speak for queer families but that apart from our parents we have also forged a human family that may in fact be more complex, diverse, and enriching to the world than any institutionalized family form alone could be. I don't think I fully understood the idea of producing alliances across difference until I found myself falling headlong into this amazing, and wonderful, and powerful thing called COLAGE. Whether it scares me or not to say it, to voice that commitment, I have to acknowledge that I need this family.
We live in a political moment that puts into question the very notion of "home," that parades home as something to be won on a television show or a deceptively innocent idea tacked onto the maddeningly single-minded mission of American democracy - as national boundaries are questioned, as imperial politics continue to make "home"
synonymous with a self-centered American experience, as the world contracts and presses us to rethink our sense of belonging, all of you have shown me what it means to be at home in the world. That, more than anything, allows me to see the possiblities for social, cultural, and political change that spread out in countless directions before us. I can't tell you how exciting that is, but I doubt you need me to
- it is an excitement that I think is palpable for all of us.
I apologize for the length and intensity of this message but I am so rarely afforded the time to write at length that I wanted to give this weekend the respect it deserves (and all of you the kudos you deserve). Thank you for always making me think, for pushing me forward, and for simply being you!
Call, write, visit ... whatever you must.
With great love, respect, and admiration, Ramzi Fawaz