queering eldering30 Jul 2018
so i told myself i wasn’t going to write blog posts until i finished with my book edit. well the book edit is taking longer than i had hoped (largely due to my own inconsistency of editing) so i think i will occasionally drop a thought here and there just so i don’t lose them.
this thought is about definitions of eldering.
a couple weeks ago, i went on a walk in the arboretum with seth k and we were talking about eldering as a concept. i was telling him about pádraig ó tuama saying in an email that he was interested in the idea of queering the notion of eldering. and i’ve been sitting with that question for months.
(sidenote: pádraig also used “eldering” as a verb and that was pretty mind-blowing, too).
well, on our walk, i mentioned to seth that one way i’ve been thinking about queering eldering is that it could be much more fluid. the thought came because i’ve experienced in my queerness that boundaries between roles people have can be fluid. friends who become lovers, work partners who become lovers and then fade from being lovers but still manage functioning work relationships, lovers who become business partners, teachers in one arena who are completely comfortable becoming students in others, and more. there are just all these examples i have of blurring boundaries.
so what i think could/should be possible in eldering roles is for people to ask and choose when to play elder. for example, if i’m in community with a group of people who i consider my peers, all of the following could be possible:
- me approaching [person] and asking them to elder me for a particular conversation or time period,
- [person] approaching me and asking me to elder them for a particular moment or time period,
- me saying to one or more people “right now, i’m stepping out of my elder role in this community so that i can _____ (focus on my own growth, rest, get eldered, whatever)
i’m sure there are other possibilities here, but those are just the ones i’ve thought of so far. the point is that “elder” as a static term may or may not be the most helpful in all situations.
two other thoughts:
- i like seth’s definition of elder: “one who is most trusted.”
- dangit… i lost my other thought while typing out that first one…fuck lol.
words / writing / post-processing
393w / 16min / 5min