(a slightly longer version of this got posted on my livejournal — katasutra.livejournal.com)
Thank you, Kathleen — thanks to your love and your consistent spirit and to the ways you have affected my life, without my even knowing it.
Yesterday was Kathleen Bolton’s memorial service, and one of the things I’d like to spend some time writing about community — community in all its bigness and struggle and frustration & magnificence. There’s been a community sustaining me here in the bay area since I moved here, though I’ve felt on the outside. There’s a community of family & the dearest of friends forged over the past two decades (and then some, I suppose, with respct to the blood family, huh?) that I’m only just now, maybe, allowing to filter into the hardened-est, most vulnerable edges of my heart. The community that showed up here in SF for the Body Heat show just about tore my heart out, it was so gorgeous and celebratory — and then the communities we got to touch into as we crossed the country: San Diego, Minneapolis, Columbia, Columbus, Easthampton, Boston, Providence, Philly, D.C., Atlanta — even those we didn’t meet directly (Milwaukee, Asheville and the folks listening to Diana Cage’s radio show there in the morning’s wee hours) — the love and support was deep and present and nearly unquestioned.
And ok, sure — sometimes, for survivor girl over here, it’s hard to trust, to believe in, that kind of presence of spirit and appreciation, that unadulterated love, that faith & yes there was trust — the kind that offers food and home to strangers, the kind that shows up to listen and offers cheers, the kind that welcomed us at each and every stop (truly).
And so it was clear to me, after I learned during the tour about Kathleen’s terribly untimely death, that I needed to be present at her memorial ceremony — I never got the chance to meet her, but she was, as it turns out, part of the community I’ve been sustained by here in the Bay Area: one of the queer women’s communities, one of the femme-butch communities, one of the s/m-kink communities — and she was friend to many of the folks I know and care about, and I am aware now of just how much I missed at not having the chance to ever meet her in person.
Kathleen lived absolutely within love and presence and faith, it certainly sounds to me — and while I know that folks can be lauded after death as their many faults are conveniently ignored, the large turnout at her memorial service yesterday as well as the conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues spell out for me that Kathleen was, in fact, a good good good hearted woman, someone who’s example I’d like to have had the opportunity to emulate directly, but who nonetheless has inspired me to be more present in exactly the life I want to be living, and present in creating the kind of communities and societies can sustain us all.
So here’s my one first big hug to all of y’all — let’s catch up soon, ok? I miss you…