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The vast tapestry of human needs by Ileandra Young

Hi friends!
Isn’t it weird to be coming together like this again? It feels like an age and more since I felt able to sit comfortably in a public place, and simply hang out. I might have forgotten what it was like at all. The very idea that I might be surrounded by people is so foreign after the last couple of years, that I’m pretty sure my internal social clock is still set for December 2019.

But it’s not. It’s May 2022 and the world continues to roll on, whether we’re ready for it or not. It has certainly left me behind to a degree. A few (um, many?) extra pounds, a strange reluctance to leave my home and a hole in my social life that was once filled by exciting outings, cosy afternoons spent chattering over pub dinners, and late nights clustered around a table covered with inch-wide squared paper, miniature figures and dozens upon dozens of polyhedral dice (yes, I’m a tabletop roleplaying nerd, what can I say?). And if I’m feeling that, then I know I’m not the only one. I know I’m not the only one nervous and simultaneously eager about the world slowly opening again.

I want to take it slow. I want to be cautious. But I also want—no, need—to remind myself of why I do this in the first place. Why it is so very important to be public and visible and open and proud. Sure, it’s fun, of course it is, but one of the reasons I find these events so much fun is because I was lacking them in my youth. While I’d never claim to be entirely knowledgeable of who I am (I still have a lot to learn, after all!), I know a lot more about myself now, than I did back then. Not only that, but I have come to love and accept what I know of myself. And that is in no small part through meeting people at events like these. Learning that I’m not alone. Discovering that my thoughts and feelings are normal. Understanding that what life previously presented as ‘normal’ was but a single thread in a vast tapestry of human needs, loves, desires and experiences.

On the surface, we may simply be preparing for a book festival. But for me, I am preparing to be the adult I desperately needed as a teenager. I’m readying myself to be open, informative, accepting and available to all the Little-Illys out there who, without events like these over the past two years, have felt alone, trapped, misunderstood or unwanted. Those who have been unable to connect with others who share their experiences. Those who… kinda want a cool, bad-ass vampire story.

In times when health, politics, time and distance do all that they can to force us apart, it is more important than ever to come together, when and however we can. The past two years have tried us all and it’s not over yet. But if one ‘just a book festival’ can give us a respite and a reason to smile for a weekend, then I’ll be there with bells on.
Looking forward to seeing you, friends.

Ileandra Young will be at the Queer the Shelves LGBTQ Book Festival in Nottingham. Come along!

book events, Ileandra Young, lesbian writers, lgbtq, literary festival, nottingham, queer the shelves, waterstones