Erin O'daniel is a writer, artist and gender expansive womxn living in Duluth, Minnesota

Why Not? Lots of Intimacy

I’m currently exploring the capacity of my heart in terms of intimacy. When I speak of intimacy, I mean caring, sharing, flirting, touching, loving, learning, playing. Intimacy is defined as a close personal relationship, a quiet and private atmosphere, a detailed knowledge resulting from close or long association or study, a private and personal utterance of action, a sexual act. Other words for intimacy are familiarity, closeness, understanding, relationship, confidence.

Queering relationship means incorporating the above into my most intimate moments. With my dog, with my created and bio families, my friends and my lovers. I muse on loving multiple people during a dark time of year. Just over a month out from winter solstice, I feel my dark and queer sides more acutely. Interesting to watch them play with very heteronormative, mental concepts of relationship. These parts of me wants to shake all that old, bull shit sediment up and queer the hell out of those spaces in my head, heart and body.

Watching my mind with a different flavor of awareness after attending a transgender justice teach-in this week, I keep asking the question “Why not?” when those voices in my head say “You can’t do that!!” Instead of “fuck you!” or acquiescing, with “Why not?” I create less resistance. I notice and then move one. Feel what I want to feel instead of shame, blame, avoidance of the attraction; shift to desire, wanting, yearning for multiple others, sex, pleasure, delight.

Beyond sexPositivity, queering space for me is about holding my privilege as a white gender expansive able-bodied queer womxn and exploring intimacy and intersections of my identities inside and out. This dark side of me pushes more than my light. I don’t use the light and dark adjectives in a dualistic manner. Right now, life in November in northern Minnesota is all about being intimate with light and dark.

I’m not only watching the external landscape change as winter descends upon us, I’m also watching my inner geography shift too. Part of this is what I intimately desire and how I feel those desires. I’m watching parts of my mind try to assert over and over again that I’m doing it wrong, wanting to much, going to hurt people.

It’s a powerful act to let those thoughts go, touch lightly on them like a feather on the lip of a glass, and then move on. Feeling the closeness is profound. Amazing. Satisfying. Orgasmic.

Rereading the definition of intimacy, I sit here conscious of the attraction I feel to several people right now. How the flavors of intimacy are so varied with each one. Why would I not want to explore all of this goodness coming my way right now?

Flirting on the dance floor, sitting drinking tea together in my office, cuddling on a couch, dancing in and out of different gallery spaces at an art show hoping to see her again and again, fucking for hours in a hotel bed early morning. There is no more light or dark in any of these acts. My mental concepts have just assigned different meaning. I queer these relationships with light and dark.

I love this darker part of me that wants and wants and wants, loves the fullness and emptiness in deep and desiring. Darkness feels more concentrated than light, holds me tighter, is intimacy at its most intense. I see into myself and others in whole new ways. I’m asked to explore parts of my humanity in completely different ways than in lighter, warmer times.

Darkness asks me to do things in new ways. I think of winter holidays celebrated during darker times of the year- costume and food and light are infused in every one. We inherently are brought together with other beings. Are kept in confined spaces for longer stretches of time, sitting close to others.

In these spaces, Why not? kiss her, ask her more personal questions, rub her leg, move closer on the dance floor. Intimacy in northern Minnesota- winter!? Holds infinite possibilities for “closer relationships”, “more detailed knowledge.”

“Fuck you” pushes away, “Why not?” asked genuinely, pulls us closer, is an open ended question. Is queerness.

Asking, “Why not express intimacy with multiple people?” or more accurately “How can I not be intimate with more than one person?” My dark wisdom shines a light on how capable my body, mind and heart are. How much I desire and get clear about with who.  Asking “why not?” feels like a chance to confidently expose vulnerable, delighted parts of myself that are so much more than one dimensional.

With “Why not?” I get to know her even better. I get to know myself in the context of in the moment and long-lasting, delicious attraction. I fit more goodness into my life, along side another lover and other gurlfriends.

I like opening myself up and sensing the intimacy in a room. Without trying to make anything happen, closeness creates magic. I’m in a place in my life where sharing who I am is both a radical and ordinary act. One I want to practice over and over again with different people, in multi dimensional, relaxing ways that queer all spaces I’m in. Yes, I want to queer all space I take up, create, admire, make my own.

“Why not?” is the queerest question I know. It is damn sexy and fucking bad ass. Like the darkest parts of me and the year.