Dear 25 year old me….Hey kid, you are just publically coming out to the world, and you are about to take a really rough path through life. You need to steady yourself, steel yourself against the world. Some people aren’t going to like you, what you are or what you represent – not to speak of how you will eventually come to identify yourself as Butch. You’re going to enter a very hostile and sometimes difficult world when you come out soon…a world that will criticize and disappoint you, that will also delight and amaze you as well. The world is not always a cooperative or inviting place, but you are tough and you will always find your ways to roll with the punches.
Unfortunately you entered the US Army during a time before the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy, before the world evolved a bit more towards acceptance of you and other LGBT people. So you had to keep your head down in the Army, and you had to continue to live your lie, telling them you were not lesbian. But you always found it hard to hide who you are. You always will find it hard. You are a masculine looking female, and your Butch attitude, persona and mannerisms will continue to make you very much visible to most everyone except the completely blind or ignorant. Your voice will just get deeper with age, and even on the phone you will be continually called “sir” – which will never bother you, but only make you eventually learn to grin with some pride at the inference. You’ll learn to have a bladder of steel, we call it “tranny bladder” now, where you can avoid using public restrooms out of fear of either having to explain that you ARE a female bodied person, or out of threats of getting your ass kicked for not being male enough for attempting to hide in the men’s room. Learn to “jungle pee” early, and well. Perfect your technique, learn to stand to pee. Do it with pride and intent, as you will learn to walk your world entirely with much pride and intent.
As you grow up you will face many obstacles, yourself being the worst one. Put down the bottles and the drugs. They will eventually cause you even greater challenges in living your life, unforeseen challenges that the world doesn’t even know about until the mid 80’s. You will survive, you will learn to thrive, without the self-destructive substances and behavior. You are a good kid, you grow up to be a great person, a very proud Butch, and a respectful lover and friend. You were raised with old fashioned values, and you carry those into your future. You love your parents, although you will put them through holy hell before you are finished, they will always continue to love and support you and your choices when they can see you are doing the right things for yourself. They would fight the world for you, and you will learn that they are the most valuable asset you have in your life. Family is ubber important, remember that always.
You will break some hearts. Learn to do so as gently and lovingly as possible. Never talk badly about an ex-lover or an ex-friend. Everyone walks their own paths, allow them to do so. Be respectful; be responsible, and be true to yourself. But walk softly, speak softly and learn to control your temper early. You can be explosive, tone it down and your journey will be much more smooth. You will eventually learn to deal with your temper, your hurts, your issues and insecurities, but not without some therapeutic help along the way, accept it and use it to build your tool box emotionally and psychologically. Therapy will be good for you – hell it will be the best thing you do for yourself up to that point in your life – save joining the military at 18!
Remember your core values. Truth, honesty, trustworthiness, and respect for all people in your life. Giving of yourself will always me your strength, taking for yourself, not so much. Be wary of people who will be prone to use your goodness for their own advantage. Watch out for these people, they will be toxic and will be emotional and financial vampires in your life. Learn from these mistakes, but do not let them sour you on people, who are for the most part good hearted and have your best intentions in mind. Trust your gut instincts, you are a good judge of people, and that will only grow stronger with age! Trust in humanity, beware of evil.
Take care of yourself. Always make your living space your “home”, inviting and welcoming for you and friends you invite in. Always keep yourself clean and organized, this will be a quieting thing to your soul. You have the need for organization, and having things around you in order, it’s part of your personality and keeps your mind quiet when things are in line. Keep your vehicle in good shape, change your oil, keep up with maintenance and inspections. Take care of your things, and they will take care of you. But remember, material things are just things, they do not make the person, and will not “make” you. You could be happy in a cardboard box, but don’t let things get that far!
Remember that first impressions stick with people. Always look good. Always strive to keep your appearance up and put together. Your style of clothing is pretty much the stereotypical Butch attire. Jeans, jackets and boots. Always keep them looking good for yourself and the Femmes who will come into your life along the way.
Use your manners. Be a gentle-Butch. Pull out chairs for your elders and those special ladies in your life. Offer your jacket to a cold Femme on a starry night. Don’t get caught ogling, learn to use your periphial vision and nonchalance for those sneaky glances. Recognize beauty and compliment it often. Do no burp or fart in mixed company. Don’t get sloppy drunk or fall down stoned, you don’t look good that way, and forget about how you act! Yes, use your manners they will much become you. Be known for them, and be authentic.
And speaking of authentic, you need to stop letting peer pressure dictate who you try to present as to those around you. You are not Femme, or Futch, you are most definitely Stone Butch. Admit it and learn it well. Be a great Butch. Sure, you’ll go through the granola phase, the phase of hating the words lesbian or dyke, even secretly hating the word Butch because those around you choose to despise it as well. And you will go through other trials and errors in presentation. Just don’t let them define you, define yourself. Be authentically Butch; be authentically YOU.