There are spaces that we create in the queer community that we call safe spaces and there are spaces that we create within ourselves that protects our thoughts, the way we perceive things, ideas, the way we interact, etc. The fact that certain spaces are called “safe” does not necessarily deem them safe and it’s safer to examine these spaces to determine if they positively impact your holistic wellness and healing. In the midst of searching for safety, do you also take the time to reflect on the happiness that is within you and that surrounds you?
The notion that “healing comes from within” also depends on what you feed the inner self; your surroundings and the people you allow yourself to interact with on a daily basis. As a queer being; living in a heteronormative patriarchal world is a challenge and you need to redefine and challenge what might be deemed as normal by society. This normal might not align with what you see and think, and ‘normal’ might be a word in our vocabulary we would need to redefine with the history of oppression and discrimination that it brings to our existence.
What settings and spaces allow you to be happy? What is love? These questions are difficult to find answers to and they evolve as one grows and unlearns what is not of value to oneself. You might never find answers but you might find them as you continue to explore and consciously critique your life experiences. We are all different and it’s time we learn how to embrace, accept and celebrate diversity.
‘Queer’ embodies ‘different’ and is a threat to patriarchy. Therefore, it will always create discomfort or sometimes challenge power structures that are exercising their authority as a weapon of oppression. Sometimes we subconsciously feed into the heteronormativity and the expectations that communities place on queer women and that leads these women feeling pressured to fit in.
I surround myself with like-minded people and form sisterhood as sisterhood is power. I am conscious of spaces that are created to eliminate and disempower my lived reality; I evolve, learn, relearn and unlearn and I share and foster joy with beings that I come across with on my journey. I asked different Namibian queer women; what happiness and love means to them as queer woman? As well as share a picture of themselves where they felt happy, loved, content or at peace.
“Love and happiness for me as a queer woman is feminism. It’s my safe place. A place I feel loved and accepted. Where I can learn, relearn and unlearn. It gives me joy to see young women witness their own potential and growth.
Taking care of my body and my spirit gives me happiness as a queer woman. I do that through getting rest, exercising and thinking kind thoughts.”
“Love and happiness as a queer woman is way beyond the societies version as these two are often disregarded and misinterpreted when it comes to queer versions but being loved as a queer woman requires the need to be loved beyond reasonable doubt and being painfully loved in your queerness and being loved with the absence of fear. So the call to be loved for who you are rather than what you are applies extremely to us as queer women and these attributes not only apply to life partners but family as well because they are at the forefront of either thriving or deteriorating mental health. Happiness on the other hand has broader branches as this encompasses a perfect mental health that’s inclusive of love, gender affirmation, good economic and social standing, or simply just being utterly happy with your inner and outer self.”
“Love to me means resilience, choosing who I want to be to be with and sticking to that person regardless of the exterior definitely requires a lot from me so love means resilience. Happiness is a reminder of my essence, remembering that there is beauty in my life and a celebration of that beauty. Happiness to me is remembering the child within me and entertaining it, I am forever a child.”
“Love and happiness for me as a queer women is a safe space that’s what love ultimately mean to me. Having someone I can rely on, someone that makes me think happy thoughts and having a reciprocal relationship where there is a continuous energy of growth and creating safe spaces. Loving yourself is the number one key though so you know what type of love you want from people.”
“Present moment awareness. That is love and happiness to me, simply”