Endings

I have sat down to blog several times, and also to do my vlogs on Youtube…but it seems that something new is happening just about every day lately.  Thus, writing or filming goes undone, and my notes pile up and pile up.  Yes, I am a prolific note taker for those who do not know, I keep notes for everything.  It’s how I navigate my days.  I start the note the night before, so I get the right things done the following day.  Often notes spill over into other notes, and sometimes lists go completely undone due to something else popping up!

This week we have seen the passing of the historic and cultural icon Storme’ DeLavaries, the “Stonewall Lesbian” and well known “LBGT community’s Rosa Parks”.  I did a previous blog about Storme’ and you may want to read that and google for more information on this fascinating person.

Then yesterday I am sitting here at my computer preparing for some morning writing and up pops the news that Maya Angelou passed away.  I was stunned to say the least.  I guess I always expected her to live forever.  Her words will live forever, undoubtedly.  So much of what she said in her poetry, her stories, her quotes, made the world a better place.  She should be proud; she led a wonderful, albeit difficult at times, life and she single handedly contributed so much to the good of the world.  I will refer to her words still, and I will remember her with the utmost of respect and fondness.

On a rather personal note…something I am not always comfortable with in my blogs, my gf and I are no longer in a relationship.  Before you jump to conclusions, let me say it was an amiable split.  We are both looking for something different, and although she is my very best friend in this world, I could not honestly be the lover that she wished for in life.  It’s hard only because we are fond of one another, and do not wish to hurt each other, but we know this is the best thing.  She has a big family in Virginia that she misses very much, and my family is all here in the local area.  Her family needs her there, as my family needs me here.  She has 2 adult daughters, 3 grandchildren and aging parents who could use her being closer and available when they need her.  I stay in Maine for that same reason – to be here if my family should ever need me.

We have been packing up all of her things.  And I have rented a truck for Sunday. We will pack on Sunday and embark on the journey back to Virginia – the short way this time – on Monday morning, bright and early.  Barring any severe traffic issues we should arrive at our destination around 7pm on Monday night – which is her eldest daughter’s birthday! Yay!  Angel will be travelling with us of course, she is Kat’s dog.  And Nola will be spending the time with my mom, her Nana, while I take care of business in Virginia.

Hopefully we have secured an apartment for her that should be ready to move into when we arrive.  I am keeping my fingers crossed that everything goes smoothly with that and we do not end up having to put her things into storage.  My ideal would be to move her right into a nice little house where she and Angel can thrive and be close to their family once again.  I’m doing my best to make sure it goes off as smoothly, and with the least amount of trauma to anyone, as possible.  I just want to see them both settled into a nice secure location that they can be happy in and that will keep me from worrying too much!

I will then head up to Richmond early on Wednesday morning and catch an 8:20am flight back to Boston then catch the C&J Limousine back to Portsmouth and pick up my truck at the bus terminal at Pease Tradeport and head to get Miss Nola.  This is where the stress will come in, she will be looking for Kat and Angel – especially Angel, of course.  I hate it when she mopes, but I am bracing myself for the “super mopey dog” phase that she will undoubtedly go through for a few days.  I will do my best to shower her with extra lovin and to take her places to get her mind off of the empty house.

So, it’s back to living alone, which is something that i actually excel at generally.  I have a bunch of home renovation projects planned and will be busy.  Hopefully I will be too busy between home projects, June’s Pride events, the hot summer weather and then fall’s fairs and festivals to get bored or lonely.  But when I do, I can reach out and call a friend, a dear, dear friend in Virginia.  Somehow she always knows what to say to me to make me snap out of my funks.  Thank God for having her in my life.

Passing of Storme’ DeLarvarie

Storme'
Storme’

The LGBTQ community has lost a legend. RIP  Storme’ DeLarverie  the legendary Drag King, “Stonewall Lesbian” as well as “The Gay Community’s Rosa Parks” Storme’ was a great historical and cultural LGBTQ icon. She passed away peacefully early Saturday morning May 24th, 2014, at age 93 in Brooklyn, NY.

All of the major LGBTQ media outlets are carrying stories about Storme’ passing.  I only wish that I had known more about Storme’ before she died, and had had the chance to meet such a lengendary hero.  Known by some as the “Gay community’s Rosa Parks” and the famous “Stonewall Lesbian”, Storme’s life was a journey unsurpassed by few.  Into her mid eighties she continued to work as a bouncer at a lesbian bar in Brooklyn, NY (Henrietta Hudson’s), known to pack heat and a switchblade she was considered a force to be reckoned with by all.

Storme’ was born of a racially diverse relationship, between a wealthy white man and his African American house servant, in New Orlean’s Lousianna on Christmas Eve 1920. (Wikipedia has this incorrectly reversed).

In the late 1930’s Storme’ joined Ringling Bros. Circus as a jumping horse rider, riding sidesaddle which she hated.  Then went on to further show business performance, including performing in a troupe as a Drag King at the Jewelbox Revue in NYC.  There she joined a crew of 25 men who dressed as Drag Queens, and Storme’, the only woman in the show, donned her prefered masculine attire, as the show’s only Drag King.

She lived at the famous Chelsea Hotel in Brooklyn until she took a fall at 85 and was moved to a long-term care facility.  Alone and forgotten by all but a few, Storme’ granted interviews to several writer’s during her time at the facility, bringing to light how lonely and abandoned our LGBTQ seniors can feel.

Google her name and you will find many stories pertaining to her life, interviews and podcasts of her during her more senior years.  I will spare you listing all of the author’s and media outlets here and leave it to you to take a few minutes of your time today and check out some of our LGBTQ history by looking into Storme’ DeLarverie’s life on this earth.

A historical legend, a cultural icon and one fantastic human being, Storme’ helped pave the way to today’s more open and more equality minded world.

Like I said, I wish I had had the privilege of knowing this fellow activist and performer.  An artist of life, she led a very interesting one herself.  It saddens me that she seems to have been sort of “left behind” and forgotten by the younger LGBTQ community.  I feel even guilty myself, what I know about Storme’ is what I ahve read and researched today.  I was shocked to learn of such a cultural icon in our midsts – that I didn’t already know about!  Loving history as I do, I am ashamed to admit that I do not know enough about my own culture’s history – something I intend to rectify starting now; starting with Storme’ DeLarvarie’s contributions to my / our history.

I could never do justice to Storme’s story here in this blog.  And to truly write about her I would have to do much research – and now it would all be posthumously, sadly. The best would have been to have asked her for an interview, and sat down with her and listened.  I am sure she had 1000 sotries, as complete journeys are made of many stories.  And her journey strikes me as one that should interest everyone in the LGBTQ community.

Butch Strength

Sudden Awareness blogged “Talking Tough” and asked this question:

Why do we value strength so much that it is one of the most frequently

cited attributes used to define our ideal selves?

 

Butches are generally seen as strong.  Rough, tough and resolutely strong.  It’s been bred into us seemingly, either from our bio-parents or from our chosen influence(s).  Ask any Femme what she likes in a Butch and she will most likely say “I like how they are strong and tough.”  I believe that it’s a Butch and masculine trait to be the strong; to be the stronger person in most relationships, particularly when that relationship is of romantic nature, but also when we are in the presence of anyone who seems to need our strength to help them.  Butches inherently like to be helpful, to solve the problem, to be the cure.

 

To me that strength has to come from a few various places inside of me.  Physically I am not that big at 5’3” and 150 lbs., but I am body-strong. Even through fighting chronic pain in my c-spine and lower back I can still push myself physically through tasks that require brute strength – and I pay for it dearly later.

 

The mental side of my strength is that I am pretty absolute in my thought process.  I have convictions that I stick to; ethics that I follow and cherish.  I love to solve problems; to challenge my mental capacity to see the issue and the solution in one vision.  I adore learning and look for every opportunity to advance my knowledge in just about any topic area.

 

The emotional side of strength is my secret weakness. Emotionally I usually feel a bit stunted in my growth.  I found, from a very young age, that showing any kind of emotion could be viewed as a weakness; a character flaw of sorts.  I rarely cry as I see crying as a true weakness in just about any form.  As a youngster I never wanted my father to see me cry for fear that he think that he had raised a “sissy baby” who would cry if she was upset or sad.  Thus I built this brick wall over my tear ducts and refused to cry.  Even when it would be appropriate to cry, if I get teary eyed I feel the shame of weakness in the tears.

 

The blogger Sudden Awareness brought this question of Butch strength up in their blog.  Also saying they were going through this rediscovery of authentic self.  I was also writing on this subject, and pondering my strengths and weaknesses in this life.  As you have heard me speak of in past blogs, I am a true believer in being one’s authentic self and it’s something that I am vigilantly aware of being in my own life.  I have been going through some changes within my own world as of late, and have been trying not to lose my authenticity in those changes in any way.

 

Life should never stay the same.  Evolution means that we continue to morph and grow each day of our lives.  Each day we can be open to learning something new, discovering or rediscovering ourselves in things that we read, see and experience in daily life.  I live by the motto that if you are not growing and changing that you may as well be dead as it’s the same thing.  I have always said that the only time you do not grow as a person is when you are cold and pushing up daisies in some field of squared off stones.

 

My own life has changed radically over the last 8 years particularly. I left a world that I had become very comfortable inside of, and ventured into a community that shuns me on a daily basis singularly on my appearance as a masculine Butch personality.  If I meet another lesbian who asks why I want to be a guy I am going to throttle her for assuming things she does not know, and for putting her ignorance into words so effortlessly.

 

Sometimes I feel like every decade of my life has been a bit of a kind of separate life; a slice of time in one life.  Each decade has had its defining moments, and it’s ups and downs, ways of being and ways not to be.  It’s with this current time that I feel that I have truly stepped into being my authentic self – lock, stock and barrel.

 

I have never felt comfortable in the LGBT community because of the separation of the Butch-Femme crowd from the rest of the lesbian social circles.  I have always found this odd in so many ways.  I’ve experienced lesbians who have been actively afraid of the Butch – Femme dichotomy to the point of feeling threatened in some weird way.  They seem to be afraid that by associating with us that they would somehow be seen as traitors to the rest of the women who proclaim lesbian as their sexual identity.  Often we are accused of re-enacting the heterosexual norm with our more decisive roles and ways of being Butch and Femme.  To me it just seems ridiculous.

 

I am Butch, always have been and always will be.  I don’t disrespect anyone for being who they are in this life, and I hate it when people try to instill their insecure values upon me.  I will continue to be my authentic Butch self, and hope every person on earth is given the freedom to be their own selves as well.  It takes strength and fortitude to walk through life being something that other people dislike or despise.  I’ve experienced both, plus being something/someone that people also hate just for who I am as a Butch.  My own security in myself is based in my strength as an individual; as someone who is proud and will not be bullied into being any other way.

 

Butches have to have strength and be resilient to deal with their own parts in the LGBT community; to survive under the trans umbrella as masculine of center on the binary scale.  Our strength is something that we are forced to have and something that keeps us safe inside of ourselves.  The strength to get up every day and know that even our own community has issues with us and our gender identity can be dismaying to most, but to a Butch it’s just another part of the challenge that keeps us towing the proverbial line.

 

Inside of the Butch-Femme dynamic Butches rely on the strength given to them by their Femme counterparts many times.  Femmes while being more delicately presenting are very strong in heart and conviction.  A Femme can be a fierce enemy or a fierce ally.  Believe me you don’t want her as an enemy!  A Femme can make me feel incredibly strong, while I also know she realizes that I can also be incredibly fragile at the same time.  My masculine presence is threatened every day, and that alone requires a kind of strength to deal with that I cannot even begin to explain.

 

 

 

Hiding Beauty

This post is great. I love the shot, and the description is excellent.

Broken Light: A Photography Collective

Photo taken by contributor Lakesh, a 36-year-old woman currently serving as a Peace Corps Volunteer. Her first experience with depression came through a relationship. It was filled with ups and downs, and both pockets of joy and memorable disappointments. The relationship has since ended but that experience has changed her perspective of mental illness. She will forever be grateful for the lessons they taught each other.

About this photo: “The photo was taken at The National Museum of Kosovo, located in Pristina. This motorcycle is one of the remaining artifacts retrieved after the Kosovo War in 1999. This shot represents the beauty that exists within all of us. It is a beauty that we sometimes choose to hide or we have forgotten that exist. Within the shadows of everyday organized chaos, we are all just hidden beauties working our best at succeeding to be our best imperfect selves.

_____

**Visit…

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Lesbian Husbandry

Excellent article by a great new blogger! Let’s welcome her to the WordPress ranks! 🙂

The Peace Pit

Why does the word “husband” equal male? I take exception to this.  My husband is a woman.  She fills the traditional role of the husband in our family.  She is the bread-winner, the handyman, the protector, and the controller of the remote. She does not want to be a man, but she does feel most comfortable doing what are traditionally male things.

I am the home-maker, the dog-mom, the doer of the laundry.  No one seems to have a problem when I am referred to as her wife, but when I refer to her as my husband, I am corrected.  People actually say to me “You mean your wife.” Not even as a question, like “You mean your wife?”  No, they are positive that I have gotten it wrong and that it is their duty to correct me.  Sometimes when this happens I refer to her as my “husbian”.  Then…

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Approval of Others….Or Truth of Self?

Would you rather live life according to the approval of others or aligned with your truths and your dreams?

Inadvertently we all start out in this world in the way of living according to the approval of others; it’s called childhood.  We are dressed to the approval of our parents – or grandparents – and fed what they figure we should be eating to quickly grow the hell up and move out of their houses!  For some futures are laid out in details; you will attend this particular college, study this certain course of study, go on to become a professional in your field or you’ll follow in your Father’s footsteps and take over the family business.  Parents’ attempts at living our dreams and wants vicariously through their offspring is epic.

There’s always those who parents throw their hands up in the air and give up on though.  These particular kids don’t want or intend to conform to Mommy  and Daddy’s wishes  – ever.  I know because I was one of those kids.  Whatever my parents wanted, somehow I wanted the exact opposite.  At least it always seemed that way.

As a teenager I became increasingly more rebellious and after graduation I joined the US Army – see I never intended to even TRY to go to college, high school had been hard enough to navigate in my sexuality, and hiding my true authentic self to the point of pain and tears.  I never really fit in, although I tried like hell to hang with the rougher crowd; the faster cars, drug fueled escapades and sneaking in through the 2nd story window early in the mornings.  I wore Levi’s with holes in the knees and ass, rock band t-shirts and heavy work boots…although I kept my hair shoulder length as a semi-attempt at disguising my Butch self, I never felt that I truly belonged anywhere.

Today, some 30-35 years later I feel that I live today more aligned to my personal truths and closer to what makes me feel like a real, valuable person, a good Butch, and though it was a long journey, and a struggle to arrive at this place I finally feel comfort in who I am, and in my body.

It has taken years, and I’ve had places along the trail where my boots became mired in the muddiness of life and times that I have fallen to my knees, weary from just trying to be myself, without being constantly judged for who I am; for what I seemingly represent to some others.

There were years that I tried to hide myself still in certain situations.  Generally they pertained to work and my professional life in the construction industry.  I entered that world at a time when very very few other women were doing what I was doing, from the actual physical labor of swimming pool construction, to design, layout and entire job coordination or general contracting.  I recall conferences where I was singly the only woman “in” the business, and the other women there were the wives of the men in the business.  There were proud moments of receiving recognition for my work – my father taught me well – or getting some kind of award.  I tried the wearing more feminine clothing route for those things and I felt like a clown, make up and all.  The discomfort and humiliation of my feeling that I had to do that would just devastate me.

For a while in my early adult years I turned to drugs and alcohol to cope with my gender and sexuality issues.  I was not alone in that quest to kill the pain that way; many of my fellow Butches and other LGBT friends fell down that hole of hell just as deep.  When I was high or drunk – or a combo of both – I was a bolder me; I wasn’t as afraid of the world, the taunts and the looks shot my way.  In the early eighties I started to lose friends, mostly trans women and drag queens, to some strange illnesses.  Then the CDC told us about HIV and AIDS and I lost more to voilence and ignorance, and suicide as a result.  In 1992 I had managed to get clean and then got sick several times that summer.  My counsellor (yes I had turned to therapy to help with my low self esteem and addictions) urged me to be tested…and yes, I tested HIV positive that final day in August 1992.

That was 22 years ago now.  I take a lot of medications to stay alive.  I take a good amount to combat the depression and anxiety disorders brought on by dealing with everything, especially this disease.  My daily battles now are more with health considerations than with gender struggles.  It was about 6 years ago that I woke up one morning and gave permission to myself to BE BUTCH in all the glory that that meant to me.  I am happy with myself, although always striving to be better; to be a better world citizen, to be a better writer, vlogger and friend.  I have the incredible love of my large extended family and a great network of friends both online and in daily life.  I could not be a luckier person in my opinion.

So my answer would be that I would always choose to live my life aligned authentically, true to my self and who I am in this world, and true to my brothers and my community.  I pursue dreams that still allude to finding happiness simply in being who I am and serving my purpose of leaving this world a better place than when I entered it….that is what I hope to accomplish.

~MainelyButch