Love + Relationships Personal Stories

Unveiling The Kaleidoscope Of Queer Desire: A Journey Within

It was the month of September, and processions for Ganpati Visarjan were all over the city. We were kissing on my rooftop terrace when suddenly fireworks from a procession nearby lit up the sky, as if it was a kiss from destiny, a blessing from Bappa himself. We chuckled shyly, to acknowledge; what felt like a scene from a cheesy rom-com.

The sun painted the sky orange for us as a pleasant breeze caressed our bare necks, the way she was caressing my hair. Her adept hands, tussled my hair as if she was trying to give me a signature hairstyle. “I love your hair, it’s so fluffy” she said as she bent down to change the Spotify track. “Strawberries and cigarettes always taste like you” but her lips tasted better than anything I had ever savoured. For years, I had imagined what it would be like to kiss her, the girl who had been a muse for countless poems. Four years of waiting, fantasizing, and longing had led me to this rooftop terrace. And yet, no daydream had prepared me for the intensity of that moment. My mind was a storm, ablaze with emotion. I had written numerous poems on her, as if I knew, poetry is what we will become. And poetry is what we were, in that moment. I will not attempt to explain what I felt, for no words could do justice to the tornado of emotions I felt. It was the month of September, and processions for Ganpati Visarjan were all over the city. We were kissing on my rooftop terrace when suddenly fireworks from a procession nearby lit up the sky, as if it was a kiss from destiny, a blessing from Bappa himself. We chuckled shyly, to acknowledge; what felt like a scene from a cheesy rom-com.

Navigating Desire Amid the Echoes of Heartbreak

As I sit down to pen this article about queer desire, I recall the numerous drafts that preceded this one. None of them felt true to heart and how could they? I had wrapped my queer desires in muslin, trying to wring out the desire to feel again, what I felt that evening, on my rooftop terrace The girl I kissed on the terrace was long gone, and I thought it would be sensible for my desires to depart with her. What ensued, was the most intense heartbreak I have experienced yet, and I wished to never come face to face with that pain again. To make sense of the heartbreak (or to run away from it), I turned to my platonic relationships. My best friend became my companion, a pillar of support in the face of heartbreak’s turmoil. Both of us shared queerness as part of our identity, yet our queer circle remained small—until we ventured into our first queer event together.

Unapologetically Free: Discovering Queer Events

The very first queer event we attended was Gaysi’s Prom Night, an experience so euphoric, my brain exploded with queer joy. To be in a room full of queer folks, liberated me in ways I never knew. Bedazzling satin dresses, glittered cheekbones, studded leather belts and cowboy boots whispered stories of resilience. As I looked around, it was clear—we were free to be ourselves, to explore, and to be explored. I had stepped into a sanctuary where my identity could flourish unapologetically. Since that revelatory night, I’ve become a frequent visitor to queer events. Each gathering is a tapestry woven with threads of acceptance and joy. They’ve gifted me new friendships, bonds with kindred spirits who understand the intricacies of queer existence. Navigating the labyrinth of heartbreak, these connections proved to be an elixir, enriching my relationship with myself and my understanding of queer desires.

The more queer events I attended, the more queer friends I made, the more comfortable I felt exploring my own desires. These events became my queer safe space, they became a playground where I could learn and practice freedom and expression. My queer friends showed me what desire looked like from their perspective. I was water and my queer friends were vessels I’d pour myself into. I’d take the shape of these vessels, absorbing and empathizing with their narratives, only to realise that our experiences overlapped in some way or the other, and so did our desires. While emulating their perspectives, I realised that my queer friendships acted like a mirror, they made me introspect, explore and express myself in ways I had not explored before.

Queer Desire: A Kaleidoscope of Emotions

My queer friendships invited me into the world of queer desire, where connections are fluid, where the heart writes stories free from constraints. I walked down this realm where love knew no boundaries, where the bonds between individuals transcended conventional definitions. I learned that queer desire and identity often share symbiotic relationships, influencing and enriching each other. My journey to understanding my desires paralleled my exploration of my sexual orientation and gender identity. Embracing my desires, whether they aligned with societal norms or not, was a profound act of self-discovery and self-acceptance. Within this realm, I discovered a spectrum broader than I had ever imagined. This spectrum encompassed not just romantic and sexual attractions, but also the profound bonds of platonic love and the depths of emotional connections. Queer desire showed me that it has the capacity to weave together romantic entanglements, passionate connections, nurturing friendships, and even the unbreakable threads of chosen families. This multifaceted nature of queer desire not only validated my diverse experiences but also shattered the misconception that desire is a one-size-fits-all experience.

A Return to the Heart’s Desires

A dozen queer events, a 100 queer friends, and a million moments of queer euphoria later, I felt that my expedition on queer desire had come to an end. That is until, I started writing this article and found myself failing terribly. My drafts sounded like they were written by an AI – plentiful with knowledge but devoid of emotion, devoid of desire. I was approaching the topic of queer desire as an observer, guarding my heart from the pain of reliving moments like that rooftop kiss. It was as if I had hidden my own desires beneath layers of analysis and observation. I discovered and explored the multiple layers of queer desire as a whole, but I forgot, that beneath those layers were my own desires, the desires of a heartbroken queer. I reconnected with those buried desires when I stumbled upon a clip from the movie “Bottoms” last night.

Embracing All Facets of Queer Desire

In the clip, you see two queer cuties professing their love for each other (in the center of a completely packed football stadium!) culminating in a heartfelt, passionate kiss. Watching this clip, I felt a hint, a residue of what I felt on the rooftop terrace. I realized that I had been distancing myself from my own desires, protecting myself from pain. All this time, I was exploring queer desire as an observer, to shield myself from the pain I never wished to feel again. In all this exploration, I had forgotten to embrace the desires that defined me—the desires that coursed through my veins, the desires that belonged uniquely to me. All this time, I believed deep, emotionally enriching platonic connections could cement my broken heart. That I could repress and replace my romantic desires as a queer, with queer friendships. But on my journey of writing this article, I learned that queer desire is multi-dimensional and varies for each queer person; that exploring queer desire means embracing all the facets of your own desires as a queer person.

Rediscovering and Renewing

When I wrote the first paragraph of this article, I relived it all and quite frankly, I got a little teary-eyed. Writing the first paragraph, was essential to embracing my queer romantic desires, to remind myself that deep down, I desired to feel the queer joy of having a wholesome, cheesy rom-com like queer romance. My journey of understanding my desires as a queer person has led me to realise that every queer has unique multifaceted desires and running away from any aspect of our desires is futile. What makes us human, is our desires, and what makes us queer, is our queer desires. I think that is the beauty of queer desire, it is a landscape both vast and intricate, and it encompasses so much on macro and micro levels of our existence. And as I don my queer binoculars again, my journey of exploring this beautiful facet of being queer definitely does not seem to be ending anytime soon, and quite frankly, might last a lifetime.

And after writing multiple drafts over the past few days, I finally conclude this article, to usher in a new chapter of understanding and embracing queer desire. The journey continues, as does my anticipation of the next queer event, where I’ll be surrounded by kindred spirits, each with their own unique story of desire.

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Kashish Sharma (she/they) is a Physics grad, who writes, sings, and writes the songs she sings. She is the author of "Haiku from the Heart" and has recieved the "Reader-Leader" award at Katha Utsav for her short stories. When she is not nerding out on string theory or strumming her guitar at unholy hours, she can be found having an existential crisis at your local beach.
Kashish Sharma

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