By Etheric Medicina
Well, readers, it’s that time again: Spring. With the dawning of a new cycle of seasons, the Winter freeze melts away, and the sweaty musk that is Gay Vegas prepares to pollinate us with pool parties and pheromones. Open the windows, dust off those assless chaps, and put your fur coats back in the closet – along with your “discreet” winter cuddle buddy. Proceed with caution, though, for as the daylight returns and the dark corners of our homes and heads become illuminated, the need for “spring cleaning” may become all too apparent. While sliding into the fun and floral essence that embodies this time of year, it is important to clean up any unsightly scraps that become visible as the snows of winter thaw. We all want to have fertile ground for planting new gardens, don’t we?
In many traditions and spiritual lineages, Springtime (initiated in the northern hemisphere by the Spring Equinox on March 20th) is the start of a new calendar year. It represents an emergence from Winter’s cold, shadowy hibernation period; an entry into a new landscape; a rebirth into a new life. Rebirth is the theme of Spring, and the personal context of this can be vastly different from individual to individual. What are you emerging from as we enter Spring? Who are you emerging as? Will you integrate into your life whatever the last few months had to teach you? Will you take advantage of the opportunity to harmonize with the Earth and surrender to your own rebirthing process as well?
While the Winter represents death and endings of different types in many indigenous and spiritual teachings, the Spring indicates renewal, restoration, and new life. I feel that this is such an important (and even triggering) topic for our LGBTQ+ community because it can be so easy for us to become stagnated in the expression of our own identities – especially those which have been handed down to us as a result of the classic “queer archetypes” (which are really just stereotypes). Speaking from personal experience, I have felt that sometimes it can seem easier for us just to emulate the “token queer” characters we see portrayed in media and on billboards. It can also feel even easier to just act out other people’s projections, judgments, and stories of us as opposed to vulnerably standing in our truest form.
So we put on the masks, wear the costumes, and play the parts that are handed to us. We change our wardrobe, attempting to avoid having our real character diminished by others while seeking acceptance and love. Even if the result is inauthentic, these costumes eventually become our go-to outfits; the lazy-hair-day beanie, the easy pair of shoes without laces, and the sweatpants that match everything. These “go-to outfits” are akin to the mostly-naked billboard models holding bottles of alcohol on LGBTQ+-targeted advertisements, convincing us that shots and bods are our culture; the same as the TV show that portrays the one queer-identifying character as being embarrassingly dramatic, shallow as a dinner plate, and always sexually frustrated. These are the types of skins we have been handed and thus unconsciously wear as we try to prevent our skin from being cut. Whose skin are you wearing?
When we take this opportunity to reflect on our personal change of seasons (our internal process of Winter to Spring or death to rebirth) we can engage in healthy self-inquiry: Is this version of me still true to who I want to be? Is the person I’m choosing to be actually me, or am I wearing a costume that doesn’t fit properly? Am I embodying the most authentic expression of myself? Am I emulating an identity that was handed to me instead of created by me? Which layers of my identity are not reflective of my most vulnerable truths? Etc.
Doing this inner work now means clearing the fields where we will plant our flowers and gardens. It means creating a perfectly fertile foundation for each of us to lay the seeds that will grow the exact plants, fruits, vegetables, and herbs that we desire. Spring represents the time in which we are able to begin raising new crops to bring us through another year of nourishment. Spring symbolizes an end to needing to ration and minimize consumption and worrying about running out or lacking. Springtime means that abundant sustenance is well on its way, so long as we tend to our gardens in responsible and nurturing awareness.
So, look at the garden you had when we came into Winter several months ago. What were you growing? Had it been full of berries, root vegetables, delicious herbs, sweet fruits, and fragrant flowers? Or was it filled with dead bushes, empty vodka bottles, and that ex-partner you are addicted to being hurt by? As Las Vegas awakens from its slumber to get back to Sin City business, we, too, are awakening. I invite you to step into a new experience, a new identity. Start small, try a new hairstyle, switch up your weekly Sunday plans, and indulge in a creative passion you never give the time of day. The decisions that you make at the beginning of Spring are literally you deciding what’s going to be growing in your garden for the rest of the year. What do you want to harvest when the time comes?
This article was originally published in the 2023 Spring Issue of Las Vegas PRIDE Magazine, and can be read in its original format here.