Posts Tagged ‘stone butch’

Flannel Files is a blog that I read regularly.  In a post concerning her own personal metamorphosis she asks these questions…

“”What about you?  Are you a moody butch or in a relationship with one?  Are you still a work in progress or is your transformation complete?”

I certainly have been told that I am moody at times in my life.  And I know this is true, because I take medications to keep my mood on an even keel; keep my depression at bay and to keep me happy enough to continually participate in life.  Although my more somber moods tend to be less frequent nowadays, still I do have them.

 Butches seem to get a bad rap for mood swings.  Not saying we don’t have them or deserve a rap on the noggin occasionally, but when a Femme has moods we blame it on PMS conveniently, and when a Butch gets a bit growly it’ s like “wtf is wrong with you?”  Personally, I live alone so it is not so much of an issue for me, but I do feel for my Butch brothers, ya’ll got it rough.

Ah, and our transformation.  Yes, we can call it that, just don’t call it transition please.  People are confused enough about us Butch figures.  We come off rough and tough and then we get accused of wanting to “transition” to be male.  No, that’s not the case with most of us. We are completely confused enough transforming to being just plain old Butch.  It’s a lifetime fight; a lifetime transformation and a lifetime of learning to accept who we are and convince others to do the same.  

I went from this gawky short kid who was trying to survive high school, and did by the skin of my teeth) into a slow transformation over the decades to the Butch that I am today.  I’ve talked and written about several of the “episodes” that I’ve experienced along this journey; from the funny to the mundane.  Even again today I had another ‘dressing room dilemma’ at Walmart.  I wasn’t even binding, yet the lady directs me right into the guys dressing room.  I shrugged my shoulders, grabbed the jeans I was trying on and headed in.  She never saw me past my haircut evidently.  Not saying the rest of me was any less Butch, but I wasn’t trying to ‘pass’ by any means.  

I am not sure any of us as human beings ever are finished with our transformations in life.  Every day that I wake up is a new challenge.  Every day is a new learning experience or chance to learn if I open my eyes and see it.  As I have gotten older, past that 45 mark I feel like I have definitely gotten more rooted in my ways; I’ve become a creature of beloved habit.

Now not all habits are bad.  I have a habit of getting up every morning and slugging back 3 cups of the darkest roast, strongest coffee I can get, before I can even speak.  The bad part is the couple of cigarettes that I inhale with the coffee.  I also have a habit of wearing a white t-shirt under just about everything I wear – even my polo shirts.  It’s just something I do, maybe from watching my father don a white t-shirt for years when I was young.  Maybe just because I love the feel of the cotton against my skin.  Some habits just stick with us over our lifetimes.  Some come and go and if we are lucky don’t return ever.  

My transformation from soft Butch to more Stone Butch came after my LTR of 14 years ended.  It was then that I realized that I had been untrue to myself for a very long time.  That I had been trying to be someone who I wasn’t.  I tried to be softer for the woman I was with, not for myself.  At heart I am Butch to the core.  I live and breath a rough kind of deep masculinity only confined to a female body.  It’s a masculinity that I was born with, that genetically I have always had – or so I feel personally.  I have never known a day in this life that I did not feel Butch.  And as I have said before, Butch to me is my gender. 

Today I identify as a Butch.  While some call me a Stone Butch, I never quite know if I can put that word with Butch or not.  While I am a Butch lesbian I know that I have capacity for deep feelings and a softer side.  I can be compassionate and caring even though maybe I don’t look the part.  I understand my masculinity in a feminine way.  I don’t take things for granted like a guy would, possibly because I feel that I have more to lose.  And I don’t want to ever be considered misogynistic. I treat people with the same respect with which I wish to be treated.

I thank Flannel Files for the inspirational writing prompt!  While I didn’t relate to the butterfly “metamorphosis” type of transformation, I think it was more like going from puppy-hood to being a big dog!   What do you think?

Comment received from Lipstick Lady

“I’m a feminine (lipstick) lesbian, and I honestly don’t understand the whole femme/butch dynamic. I’m not attracted to men, and I’m not attracted to women who look like men, either. But that’s just me (and a couple of my friends in the community as well). My gay male friends don’t understand this, either, and I honestly can’t explain it to them. I always refer them to someone else when they ask.” (unedited)

Dear Readers, If you are Butch / Femme you have probably heard some version of this comment before.  I know that I have heard it enough around the web on occasion, but this time I want to try to see if I can help understand here. As a Butch lesbian when I hear comments like this one it kind of gets uncomfortably ignored.  Most of the time the uncomfortable topics often just make us Butches squirm and chew our nails, remaining silent in response.  Or we throw out the quick and irritated one liner.  I want to do neither of those things here this time.  Thus, the following blog is written with the very best of intentions to truly help LL understand the Butch lesbian identity a little bit, and maybe understand Butch-Femme dynamics in some small way at the same time.  All of this is strictly from my perspective of course.  This may not be exactly the same for every Butch out there, but I think there is some basic common ground where you will nod and get what I am trying to explain.  It’s a tough question, just how DO you explain a relationship and lifestyle to someone who honestly doesn’t understand yet would like to?  Let’s see how I do here…

Dear Lipstick Lady,

Well, none of us understand everything!  Don’t sweat it if you don’t, you don’t.  It’s cool.  And it really doesn’t matter as long as you are happy with whatever type you like to date. But, I would like to try to help you glean a little understanding, since we are both part of the same umbrella community of lesbians.  Just look around the community and you can see that there are as many kinds of lesbian “types” – or ways to define oneself – as there are donuts at Crispy Creme!

The Butch-Femme dynamic is just one way that lesbians have paired up as couples in our community.  It is also the one that has been around since basically the beginning of time, and in many ways used to be kind of the “standard” for old time lesbian relationships.  Sadly it’s also quite often more misunderstood than other less contrasting pairings of women.  And thus B-F couples are often criticized and heckled with the lame old things such as accusations that we, as B-F women in a relationship are trying to somehow mimic the heterosexual dynamic of male and female.  Some people see us in the light that one of us must be the “guy” and one is obviously the “girl” – something I tend to believe that you probably do see when you observe a B-F couple yourself. Hell, it gets joked about that way all the time.  We even joke with each other in fun about it.  And there is a part of the B-F community itself,  that identifies as Old Fashioned Old School (OFOS) Butch-Femme, who do more closely follow the patterns of heterosexual relationship models.  But not all B-F couples think of themselves in this manner, probably the majority really don’t follow most of the OFOS scenario. To each her own, because everyone has their own unique styles of being Butch or Femme and each their own ways of interacting with one another.  There are tons of ways to embody the B-F relationship, each has it’s own personality in my opinion.  

I think the biggest piece of Butch and Femme attraction to one another is the contrast, enjoying the “equal yet opposite” kind of idea.  We like that our partners provide us with different ways of being a woman, one more delicate embodying the more feminine essence of womanhood, and one more rough and tough, tomboyish, embodying the more masculine, yet still a woman.  There is a sensuality to the Butch lesbian that is attractive to many Femme lesbians; a way of bringing a bolder energy, that is generally more dominant yet also being vulnerable, but only really allowing her Femme partner access to that vulnerability behind the bedroom doors.  The Femme lesbian hold the keys to all things feminine between the couple usually, and only she can unlock that Pandora’s box of femininity that lies behind that rough Butch exterior.   She desires the Butch’s tree bark exterior knowing full well that there is a soft, smooth muscled woman’s body beneath that only she has the privilege of access.  The Butch loves all of those feminine ways of the Femme; ways that she herself cannot be.  Butch – Femme relationships are often called “The Dance” for it is a give and take of opposite desire in many ways; a way that one compliments the other.  This is very difficult to “explain”, I hope you will pardon my awkward – but genuine I assure you – attempt here!

Now, I don’t understand many relationship dichotomies either, but I always try to respect the choices of people as individuals deserving equal treatment and believe that we all should have a voice in our world. It’s a pretty well known thing that most of us who identify with the B-F lifestyle/dynamic don’t “get” it when two Femmes or two Butches date one another, but it’s cool with me if that is what makes them happy! Personally I do not date other Butch women, as I prefer the flair of the Femme type as a lover and partner in my life.  That’s just ME and my personal taste – just like you probably have a particular “look” or “style” you like in the women you choose to date or partner with in life.

It’s hard to explain to someone who has probably never had that kind of experience themselves. Kind of like you trying to make me understand how it “feels” in your body and brain to be feminine, (as you self-describe in your comment) or how feminine you feel in high heels, or why you apply make-up…I would NEVER “get” it! LOL (I know I have some of my readers dying laughing at me with that vision!) We don’t have to completely “understand” different dynamics, genres, types or kinds of lesbians and/or lesbian relationships, but I hope we can all respect our differences and still understand that we are all lesbians – despite of what “type” of woman each of us love – or how she might define herself – we all love women!

I wanted to directly address one part of your comment that bothered me a tad, but please do not take this as me giving you shit but I just wanted to clarify this a bit — I do not look like a man. I look like a Butch lesbian, which is what I really AM - a lesbian who is Butch. I don’t believe that you meant any harm by using that comment about “women who look like men”, but it’s a common misconception that we as Butches somehow “desire” to look like men, or even that we want to BE men, we do not. We are woman who also love woman, lesbians.  And if I wanted to be a man that would make me FTM (female to male transguy). And while do have FTM friends who I can relate to much of the time, and who I respect tremendously for their courage and authenticity in their own lives,  I am not FTM myself and I don’t want to be seen as the “man” in any relationship.  Now I get that I present in a very Butch way, having a really androgenous appearance and mannerisms, but I assure you I am all lesbian!  :)

Yes, I’m a woman just like you with the same parts, but because it’s just me and the way I am; the way I carry myself, my parts aren’t perhaps as hmmm….for lack of a better word “accentuated”  as yours, being you are more feminine. I like sports bras instead of Victoria’s Secret ones; and I love my jeans as you perhaps love your beautiful dresses. My work boots are so comfortable, as I am sure your pretty heels – even though they make your feet hurt sometimes (and we Butches LOVE to see on your feet), are just as pretty in your opinion. And it’s all cool!! Just because we wear different clothing styles, or we walk different, and our hair is probably radically different lengths, etc… doesn’t make either one of us more or less woman or lesbian than the other.

I didn’t “ask” to be born Butch, any more than I “asked” to be born lesbian! It’s just the personality and body type I was born with I’m afraid. Took me many years to recognize myself without shame. I was never “girl” enough even as a child, often told I looked like a boy, acted like a boy and would make a “cute boy”…I just wanted to be ME, and just be liked for who I am. Hell, like most other Butches I “tried” to be more girly as a teenager for a while and it felt like I was dressing up for Halloween, or in some kind of school play! I felt like an imposter. It was not me. Just like maybe flannel shirts and work boots aren’t really your style? (I don’t know you personally, but as a self-described Feminine Lipstick lebian I am guessing you are quite comfortable and right at home in “pretty” things like dreses, high heels and make up. If I am wrong please forgive me, but that’s my personal “bias” about how a Lipstick lesbian may be comfortable in presenting to the world.)

As a kind of thrown in side note here, historically, in many ways, B-F’s were the sort of “pioneers” of today’s more modern and diverse lesbian culture. The history of the Butch-Femme culture is quite fascinating. I encourage you to perhaps do some reading – there are quite a few really great books by authors like Ivan E. Coyote, S. Bear Bergman and others that would probably help you understand it a bit better than I could ever do here.  Ivan is my favorite lesbian author and is just incredible.  She reads many of her works aloud on Youtube usually filmed when she does public appearances.  Not meaning that you have to “participate” in any kind of way, but I believe that for each of us to understand and support others in their own preferences is a good thing for our community, and having some kind of understanding of those who are different from us is always a good thing for everyone concerned.

I would like to say Thank You for commenting, and for inspiring me to actually think about this and give you my own personal feedback. I have heard similar statements of course during my life, but I have never actually taken the initiative to really give a personal reply. I enjoyed the thought process writing to you, of having to think about how I could help you understand – and maybe even give you some insight into the things this brings up for a Butch lesbian when brought into conversation. It’s not that it brings up negative feelings or opinions, but that it’s like trying to explain why you are attracted to women to say a very straight woman and have her really understand what you are trying to convey. It’s the old “why did the chicken cross the road” sort of question, we all have varying answers based upon so tremendously many things! So, yeah this was fun and thought provoking to write. I hope that you will actually write me back and let me know what you think now; did this help you to understand maybe even a little bit better? Or did I totally miss the mark and just confuse you?

I also would like to extend the invitation to my fellow Butch and Femme identified readers here, for you to give me your best shot at helping Lipstick Lady understand the Butch-Femme dynamic. I would particularly love to hear from a Femme on this for her, so she has a Femme’s idea to compare with mine as a Butch.  You have all read my response and this drawn out attempt to help her understand, what did you think about what I said? Comments? Additions? Rebuttals?

Odd thought to end….I wonder how a real writer who identifies also as Butch, such as the famous Ivan E Coyote, would approach this? And in what way could she help LL understand better? LOL…Yeah I guess I just put Ivan on a pedestal, calling her a “real” writer.  Although I am sure some of you are also in that catagory as published writers, too. I am more referring to Ivan’s skilled knack at writing stories about her tomboy past, Butch identity, and her struggles to be true to herself…she shares so much in her stories, often things that resonate with me in my own experiences growing up Butch. Just a thought…perhaps I shall drop her an email and ask – LOL like she’d answer me!

2013 comes to a close at midnight tonight, bringing in 2014! Yay!!!  I have been mulling over the last year, wishing I could have done some things differently, but accepting that things go as they go, and it’s ME who should be my own catalyst for change.  I have changed considerably in 2013, grown exponentially in my own opinion.  Learned some good lessons, and taken lots of notes!  I’ve written quite frequently, but over the last few months I have not shared much of my writings publically here or elsewhere…I needed to just be with my own thoughts for a while.  Perhaps I shall post some of them in January 2014 if I feel compelled.

A historic year for LGBT rights, 2013 brought us to a total of 17 states and the District of Columbia recognizing same-sex-marriage legally.  Our military now provides partner benefits to those legally married; we struck down DOMA and had many public figures publically come out.  Yes, it was a very historic year, perhaps the most so since the Stonewall Riots of 1968. I am proud to have seen this year’s progress, but continue to wish for absolute equality for all people everywhere.  Perhaps a fable kind of wish, but still….

Personally 2013 was a better year all around for me than 2012.  Some very sad moments, like the passing of my family’s matriarch, Aunt Sissy in April 2013 and watching my parents cope with the loss of one of their beloved Chihuahuas so near to Christmas time and a few others, did occur this year, but overall it was a good year – and one I shall remember.  My health has been fairly stable, I got a sweet part time job at Home Depot that I really love and I have the love of my awesome family and friends to celebrate.

I am welcoming in 2014 with the very best of intentions and aspirations!  I will write more, I will read more, and I will continue to smile and be grateful for all that I am blessed with in this life.  Every day is a new voyage forward, and I am the captain of this ship! Image

This topic was brought up on a video vlog by Whitney of Butch Talk on Youtube. I thought it was a great subject, and one that we do not discuss much, but which needs discussing.  Butches and body image, yes, we all have our own thoughts about our bodies.  Often I hear my trans friends discussing “dysphoria” or the discontentment they have with their bodies, body parts and how they deal with those thoughts.  Seldom do I hear this discussed in the Butch community, although I know as a Butch that we also suffer with dysphoric thoughts about our own bodies.  Sure, everyone probably does in some way, maybe they don’t like their teeth, or eyes, or nose, or weight…we’ve all got something that we can isolate on our bodies and say “hey, I wish that was different.”  

As a Butch lesbian I definitely experience body dysphoria quite often.  I will go out on a limb here and say that I believe that many Butches think about their bodies with some discontentment and discomfort, but we tend to talk less about it out of our own discomfort surrounding being masucline and perhaps being mis-labeled as transgendered.

When a Butch suggests that she would like to have no breasts, or smaller breasts, we often hear the old addage “oh, so you want to be a man.” or the question “Are you trans?” comes up.  And this opens up a whole new line of explanation that no, we don’t want to be a man, but we don’t care for our own breasts and would like to change that part of our body if it’s possible.  We just don’t care for the more female aspects of our Butch bodies, breasts seem to be singled out quite often in my experience.

Personally I present to the world as a very masculine female. I enjoy a certain degree of an androgenous look, just because of how I am built to begin with.  Let me be clear though, while I would quickly change my body if I could,  I still do not wish to be a man.  Nor I do not wish to have a male body.  It’s just that I do not care for my own breasts as they are on me, and would be much more comfortable and far less self-conscious and less dysphoric with much smaller breasts, a flatter chest that isn’t the focal point of the middle of my body.  I don’t necessarily want to be “male chested” or to have a completely flat chest, but I would love to be able to have a reduction from my 36C’s to as small as I can go.  

I have been known to bind my chest, to use the underworks binders which I have purchased online at the recommendation of other Butch friends who have the same dislike for their chests.  Binders are very tight, they do the job quite nicely, but they also come with a certain degree of discomfort, make it hard to breath sometimes and have been known to do damage to one’s rib cage and constrict one’s diaphram dangerously.  I have gone to wearing good quality Nike sports bras, they make ones that are specifically for compression even. They’re much more comfortable, and while not flattening me to the point that the binder does, they do the job quite nicely.  I’m fine with having some breasts, just not the larger ones I was unfortunate to inherit with my genetics!  

I also wish I were taller. I’m a short, fairly squarely built kind of Butch.  I envy those with some good height.  I would love to be about 5′ 7″ instead of 5′ 3″ish.  …another piece of my own personal  body dysphoria.  

The chances of me doing anything about changing my body are slim to none.  The breast reduction surgery, unless it’s covered at some point by insurance down the road, is just too expensive for me to justify.  I am fine with just dealing with what I’ve been given, and feeling blessed that I am healthy and happy in life.  Yeah, they may be a pain in the brain, but it’s more important to me that I am healthy overall and there are just so many other things that I have to worry about that are just more important to me on a personal level than getting too wrapped up in my body dysphroia.  I will continue to focus on those things that I do like about myself, and focus on just trying to look good sporting the stalky little body I was given to work with through life.  It’s not sooo bad…I can deal with it.  

Now I do know that some people who get body dysphoria really bad cannot deal with it such as I have chosen to do.  I realize that my dysphoria is probably mild compared to the suffering that some go through with their bodies. I feel for them, I wish it were easier and less of a fiasco to have body corrections done.  Perhaps that day will come, with constant medical advancements things are changing every day. We just have to continue to believe and have hope for ourselves and others.  

In the meantime, I will live life to the best of my ability.  Be who I am, just as I am.  I’ll keep trying to look into the mirror and remind myself that I am a good Butch with a good heart and that counts more in the long run.  Image

MainelyButch & Nola

Welcome to 2013!

A Smooth Stone...  Excellent insight on the Stone Butch persona.  I enjoy this blogger’s writing very much!

The smoldering fire, white hot, rages

In my gut, my heart, my loins

I crave to take you there

Completely, unashamedly

To places only you dream

Of

On days that end in Y

Your why is never questioned

You obey, you submit, you come

To me, willingly, softly, fiercely

Rage

In my mind, in my fingertips

Playing across your moist skin

Weaving through your thick hair

Finding places to seek and hide

Lust

For things unspoken yet necessary

To bring us to that precipice

That edge of abandonment

Sweat and heat of deepest desire

Sex

Passionate, biting and searing

Courses though my expanded veins

Rhythm beating in my heart, in my heat

Ravaging; ripping through your love

Silence

As my hand finds its way

To cover your scream, hold you down

Not yet my needy lover, for only

When I say you can will you

Come.

To me in the midnights hours

With visions of torment, satisfaction, release

Sighs of relief and exhaustion

Red-hot fire is streaming through my body

Spent.