A Prairie Homo Companion is a regular column that celebrates the Canadian prairies, canola fields and big skies, and the paradoxes of being a fine-ass lady prairie homo.
Header by Rory Midhani
Prairie springtime looks like a watercolour painting done by a five-year-old: the colours are muddy and run into each other. You step outside, and before you know it, you’ve got spring splashed onto your jeans by an oncoming car, spring all over the second-hand boots that looked new when you got them at Value Village. If you’re not careful on the icy sidewalks, you’ll slip, fall down, hurt your tailbone — and what a pain it will be wiping spring off your ass. Still, sometimes it’ll be so beautiful outside you’ll want to hang spring up on your fridge, Instagram it onto a wall, tweet it like a songbird – spring!
My body will get to touch exciting things like air, as opposed to the polyester lining of a winter coat; and once my body gets its first taste of spring air, it wakes up like a bear in a cave after a long, sleepy winter and realizes it wants so many things, hence spring fever.
As soon as it’s prairie springtime, I know that it won’t be long before the queers come out to play. Queer girls will take over the city, like in Edmonton right before a Tegan and Sara concert. In just a few short months, there’ll be girls everywhere representing all the best letters of the alphabet: Ls and Gs and Bs and Ts with alternative haircuts, at folk music festivals with leg hair bleached and glinting in the sun; girls guerilla gardening and long-boarding; girls who’ll no longer have to just stay inside the Internet where it’s warm and they can’t catch frostbite.
Spring means university graduation. Well-meaning people will ask me (and maybe you), what will you do now? Where d’you want to go? What are your plans for the future? Do we always have to be going somewhere – be it to heaven, to grad school, or into the arms of someone else – to be okay? As a woman, it’s important to like your own company in a world that defines you according to your relationships with other people. If more women were okay with simply being alone sometimes – without the internet or other people and with only some thoughts and some tea and maybe some spring splashed onto their jeans – it would probably start a revolution. This spring, I don’t want to worry about where I’ll be, or who I’ll be, or even whom I’ll be with when the snow melts. I like my own company.
Now that it’s spring, I won’t go from hiding my body under a heavy-duty winter coat to hiding it under heteronormativity or silly societal standards. I’m not going to apologise for my body looking tired, or my hair for getting too excited, or my prairie homo mouth for not smiling when I don’t want to smile, because first and foremost my face and my body are by me, for me, defined by me, except of course, if I slide into you because I want to.
Choosing to run into someone else is messy and wet and hopeful like spring. You’ll smile and laugh because like spring, you’re alive, which means you get to breathe and explode and paint and run. You won’t need orgasms to keep you warm, but they’re fun anyways.
This spring, as you shed all the layers of winter, it’s important to love your prairie homo skin and not feel bad about its colour, its stretch marks, or to whom or what it responds. Maybe you want bite marks on your prairie homo skin; maybe you want to soak it in honey-butter lotion. Maybe your prairie homo skin is too big to hold everything you’re feeling and you have scars – both visible and invisible. The church may say it’s sinful. Maybe former Pope Benedict doesn’t like your prairie homo body, but like winter, he has resigned just in time for Easter, and you can take a clue from Jesus and rise above. Have people tried to say your prairie homo body is something that it’s not – hit it, hurt it, used it without your permission and made you feel like it’s not yours? Remember, they’re wrong. Be proud of your prairie homo body – of all it is and all that it can do. As the sun comes out and shines down on you, let it be a reminder to wear your prairie homo skin like it’s your favourite outfit.