Elijah Kinne reflects on the exhaustion and emotional dichotomies of Pride Month, emphasising the need to balance celebration and rest, and draws a parallel to the biblical story of Mary and Martha to highlight the importance of holding space for both action and presence in our lives.

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Good morning everyone! Well, it’s morning for me anyway. I’m currently sitting at my kitchen table at 7.30am, trying to lure my final braincell out of hiding to write this thought for the week. 

I won’t lie to you, this month has been very taxing. Its Pride month which means every corporation and business in London feels the urge to mark the month with a party, and as usual, hires a drag queen. I’m not complaining, well maybe a little bit, but this often means that I am doing 1, 2 or 3 gigs a day, on top of my day jobs. If I get any busier, I’m legally changing my name to Lucy Winkett. 

So, back to the kitchen table, I’m sitting here…. And I’m so tired. It’s an exhaustion rather than anything else, a good tired but a tired nevertheless. And if your anything like me, I’m not good at asking myself what I need in order to survive, let alone thrive (Survive, Thrive = me thinking I’m a poet now).

I’ve run out of coffee. Quickly going to go make another cup… 

Ok, Back again. 

Unfortunately, I had run out of normal coffee so I had to make decaf instant. And that, my friends, is about as much use as a fart on a windy day. 

Anyway, I was stirring the coffee looking out of my window and I was thinking how this year has FLOWN by so far. Not sure if you agree but I feel like I blinked at Christmas and now it’s Pride. What is happening! I feel like I’m in one of those really camp Hollywood classics where the heroin is in a runaway car with no breaks and a dislodged steering wheel in my hands as I scream dramatically (to camera, obviously) as we careen over the cliff edge. 

A very camp way to go I must say.

I’m not sure why, but I keep thinking about the story of Mary and Martha in Luke’s gospel.

The two women, who were sisters, open their home to Jesus as he travels with his disciples. As Martha hurries to ensure the preparations, Mary simply sits at the feet of Jesus and listens. I’m not here to dig out the old tropes of who was better and which role was more holy: to serve, or be present, but realising, in ourselves that we must hold both. There is space for both and with it, the flood of emotion that it carries.

This season of our lives can be stressful. Summer is here, holidays, work, celebrations, Pride, late nights, early mornings, lots to do, all of it bound up into the collective exhaustion we all feel in the aftermath of Covid. 

This leaves me feeling pulled apart in so many different directions. Perhaps you’re with me. 

I want to celebrate Pride. But I also want to rest. I want to feel the joy of being Queer and alive, but my heart returns to those who live in fear of persecution for who they are. I want to forgive all of those people who hate us, but I also want justice. And on the dichotomy goes…

I’m not sure where you are when your reading this, or how your morning is, or how you feel. Perhaps like me you are always in the limbo land of tension. Feeling like you’re forever in the “in-between” spaces of life. 

I met this lovely girl yesterday. She was a stunning American Muslim woman, 22 years old and studying Agriculture and Music. (If I ever need a field sung too, I know who to call.) We got chatting in the produce section of Aldi. She commented on my long silver nails as we both reached for the same tomato. It would have been a fabulous start to a romantic comedy film if it weren’t for the fact I’m gay and she’s a lesbian. 

We chatted for about 10 minutes and it came out that she felt she would never be able to reconcile being Queer and Muslim. 

“My family just won’t acknowledge that part of me, but it’s OK, I’m very familiar with living in that tension,” she said. 

You don’t need to be Queer to experience a life that is fraught with yearning and longing for peace, but exists in the reality of what we cannot mend. 

The irony is, that the month of Pride, lives smack dab in the “in-between” spaces. It celebrates and it remembers. It gives us courage to face ourselves, and it helps to break us down. It heals us and it gives us the courage to rage. It reminds us of who we are whilst comforting us in the knowledge that we cannot make others accept us. And It gently, slowly, asks us to rest in our Queerness. 

I’ve almost finished this next cup of coffee. (Decaf, uugg) and I’m about to go shave my face and put on pounds of makeup. I still don’t know how to feel. I’m still tired and I’m still somewhere between celebration and rest, joy and anger.

What are you in-between?

I’m reminded of this from Ecclesiastes:

“There is a time to cry

and a time to laugh.

There is a time to be sad

and a time to dance.

There is a time to throw away stones

and a time to gather them.

There is a time to hug

and a time not to hug.

There is a time to look for something

and a time to stop looking for it.

There is a time to keep things

and a time to throw things away.

There is a time to tear apart

and a time to sew together.

There is a time to be silent

and a time to speak.”