Think About It Thursday

“This week for Think About it Thursday, I ask you to tell us what you thought you wanted to be when you grew up. Did you become what you dreamed of?”

This is a tricky question for me.  There are things you, as a child, would say you wanted to “be” when you grew up…like I wanted to be an archaeologist focusing on anthropology.  Yes, I was a brainy kid that way.  I loved to discover things about history, anything old fascinated my young brain.  Arrow heads were totems from the Gods to me!  I still have my first arrow head, found over on Manson Road in Kittery at my Aunt’s house when they were putting in a baseball diamond on her property.  It’s pretty cool and it’s still a treasure to me.  

I still love that stuff today.  I will read National Geographic magazines cover to cover.  I am deeply interested in Anthropology, or the study of human beings.  Archaeology is more the digging for the relics of old, and that is still something I love to stay up to date on as well. I never did go to college, so obviously I never became a college educated archaeologist or anthropologist.  But I think I am an amatuer at both, and I still love both fields and am interested in anything to do with them.  

The second part of that question “Did you become what you dreamed of?”  Now there is the rub in this TBT theme for me.  Yes, I became the person that I had dreamed of as a kid.  See, when I was small, and growing up, I always dreamed of loving a good woman and having a life with women romantically instead of boys or men.  I kept this a secret until I was an of-age adult to the best of my ability.  Maybe there were a few I didn’t fool, but I damned sure tried.  My self-imposed closet where I kept my secret sexuality was a place of safety, because I knew those I was growing up with would never accept or understand this part of me at that time.  It was too early in the 60’s/70’s for that kind of awareness, tolerance, and acceptance to be available to me – or really anyone!  Thus, I just had my dreams of a very different – yet kind of the same – kind of life for myself. I wanted to be in love like those straight friends and relatives of mine that I grew up around, just that I wanted it to be with someone who was female like me.  

I didn’t fully understand my sexuality as a child.  But I knew that it was definitely different, and different could not be good.  Funny how a child can comprehend when something should not be told or talked about.  Personally I kept my own secret locked away deep inside of me until I was 19 years old.  By that time I had left home, left those I knew all my life and who knew me, and was far away in the military, serving my country.  

That’s when I discovered that I was not the only “freak” who thought this way!  I met other women who desired the company and love of other women.  At first I had some serious homophobia about it.  They talked about it, they acted on it and they seemed to enjoy it, which in my well trained brain was wrong.  Like most in my era we had been brought up straight and to believe that homosexuality was wrong.  I personally never heard the “God wrong” scenario back then, but perhaps that’s because we were not overly religious in my household.  Church was something we did on holidays or when Dad got into it for a few Sundays.  I could only dream of a life of living as an out-lesbian – a word I never knew until I was about 14 years old and heard it from other kids, then looked it up in my dictionary.  I dreamed of it being normal that I would have a wife and we would live together in a little house with a picket fence and a dog. 

Today is a different era.  Today I do live as an out lesbian and without much fear.  Sure, there’s always some fear, fear that you will run into someone who hates you for just being you, because they for some reason hate LGBT people.  I think it’s more that they do not understand that LGBT people are just people with different sexual desires and practices than our straight counterparts.  Although I think most of us are doing the same basic things in the sack, just in slightly different ways! *smirk*  

I usually try to be considerate of other peoples beliefs.  I know my lifestyle doesn’t always agree with their ideals or their religious convictions.  I try to steer clear of those people and just live my life.  And I have a damned good life.  I have a loving family that accepts and supports me; that loves me as I am.  I have friends who do the same.  I keep a nice home and have a dog and I date women exclusively.  So my life IS as I dreamed it would be for the most part.  I also dreamed I would be a writer and one day write books…well, I write, but I have yet to put that book together.  One day I do hope that that part of my dream will also be a reality.  

So while I never became an archaeologist or anthropologist, I did grow up and find the dream of being true to who I am in this world.   I was lucky to learn many trades, most having to do with construction of one sort or another, thus I have a knack for building and fixing things that I am always honing.  I had military training that taught me focus, determination, and how to be a dependable, respectful person in this world.  I have a Masters Degree in street education, learning the seedier side of life during my 20’s…learning about homelessness, addiction and the challenges that people face daily in life.  I have learned about inequality in this world, seen it first hand, and have stood up to fight for equality for all people.  I’v stared death in the face and chose life.  I’ve buried friends and their dreams all because of a fierce virus that took us all by surprise in the 80’s.  By 1999 I had lost 14 friends to AIDS and was living with HIV myself.  But I chose life, I chose to live my dreams and to fight like a wildcat.  Modern medications have been my friend and have kept me alive and healthy for many years now.  I only wish they had been available earlier for my lost friends.  

So my answers to the questions of today’s Think about it Thrusday, is yes, I am living life as I dreamed it could be for the largest part.  I’m not rich or famous or some highly recognized anthropologist, but I am a good, honest, loving person who lives life every day, in the present, to it’s fullest as much as I can.  I wake up happy and warm.  I take care of business as it needs, and I tend to my relationships with other people with care and consideration.  I hope I can continue to spread the love and continue to make changes in my life and the world that are good for both!  Rock on.  

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Gay Pride and Homophobia

Next Saturday, June 21st, is the Gay Pride celebration in Portland, Maine, which is the closest large city to me and thus I will most likely head up for the day to enjoy the festivities.  Gay Pride is a funny thing, we celebrate our victories toward equality and we protest our lack of equal rights as LGBTQ citizens of the state and of the USA.

I remember my first ever Pride event was in 1993 in Washington DC. It was massive, almost a million people showed up.  Of course media at that time must have been ordered to downplay the event as they estimated about 250,000….but I was THERE and I know it was closer to 1 million or more. Today, in look-back history, even the media will tell you that a million people marched on Washington that year, in what was called The March on Washington.  I made this really cool vest to wear especially for it, out of one of my old camo uniform shirts with the sleeves removed.  On the back, using iron-on cloth I wrote “Lesbian Veteran” around a large pink triangle.  It was my first protest for equality, and my first Gay Pride event.  Although, then it was called a march, not Pride as we think of it today.  I believe that has we used the word Pride back then for that event that we would have been ridiculed to death, thus internalized homophobia exists even in the organizers of our Pride events.  I’m sure it garnered great discussion beforehand at the preparation meetings.

Today, every year, we celebrate June as National Gay History and Pride month.  My own internalized homophobia sometimes causes me to cringe a little when I think about all the freaking rainbow flags and banners flying across Facebook and around the country during Pride month.  I think to myself, must we be so blatant?  But then I am reminded that that is just me being nervous and being homophobic — even though I am a card carrying Butch lesbian and damned proud of it.  Still, for some reason, whether it’s just left over engrained stuff from being raised in the 1960’s and 70’s during a period when it was not good to be LGBTQ at all, or what, it just makes me somehow uncomfortable even if just for a minute.

PiecrustKate, blogger who writes The Peace Pit blog did a great piece on this exact topic – internalized homophobia and she explained it perfectly, and I quote:

  “Gay Pride celebrations exist because of the homophobia we face daily.  They are a chance for us to say to the world that we are just like you, there’s nothing wrong with us,  stop oppressing us, stop diminishing our value, stop bullying us, stop hating us.

……but this is what internal homophobia looks like.  It’s the disconnect between what we know in our heads and what we feel in our hearts.  It’s the deep-seated belief, nurtured by years of external homophobia, that we are less-than.  That we should hide who we are so that everything goes along smoothly.  We have been conditioned to believe that it is better for us if we don’t own our truth.  We won’t be judged, bullied, alienated if we don’t do or say anything that illuminates our differences.    It is a survival instinct.  And that, my friends, is sad. ”

 

I read that today, and it’s made the conversation in my head just that much louder.  Why are we still afraid and ashamed of who we each are as people?  What is it going to take for us to all finally feel equal and comfortable in our own skin?  I know in my head that I am normal and that I am equal to anyone else in my country, but the laws do not protect me from discrimination like they should.  I can still be denied housing, insurance, Salvation Army assistance and a raft of other rights.  My state has fought hard and won the right for everyone to marry who they choose.  I am proud of that, but still when I am introducing someone that I may be “with” I am nervous about how to do that introduction and hesitant to just say the truth; although I most often do just speak the truth and let those chips fall where they may.

Then there is internalized homophobia within our community itself that has some very negative affects on us.  I’ve faced discrimination from my lesbian peers because I present so blatantly Butch.  I’ve even heard the stupid comments about Butches just wanting to “be men” being made by other lesbians, who you think would understand what it’s like to be disrespected and judged by others.  I’ve been told it’s wrong for me to enjoy my masculinity the way that I do because that is me “worshipping patriarchy” and that is wrong.  I am sure that every faction of the LGBTQ spectrum has some kind of stereotype that they are ridiculed about or judged by, even by other members of our own community and that folks, is just fucking sad.

Generations from now, when you and I are nothing but dust in the wind and fertilizer for daisies, the world will have changed and being LGBTQ will no longer be any different than being straight. Color will not longer matter, as the world’s melting pot will continue to co-mingle the genetic pool until everyone is a little of everything.  Those future people will look back on the history books, see The March on Washington, The Stonewall Riots, and everything in between, before and after those events and they will wonder why all the fuss.  They will one day know better; one day respect will be mutual hopefully, and differences will be celebrated and not pointed out to hurt in negative ways.

I won’t be here to see that time in the world, but hopefully future generations of my family will be, and they will have a connection to history in me and others in the family, who fought the establishment, and who fought against inequality and against homophobia and transphobia.  They will read the verdicts of the highest courts of the land from their history books and they will perhaps laugh at how stupid some of the simplest fights have been along the way.  I hope that day comes, and when it does we will all truly be free.

with the dogs
with the dogs

And I’ll enthusiastically push up another daisy in celebration, as my spirit soars above the clouds.

Gay Hide?

This is EXCELLENTLY written.

The Peace Pit

With June being Pride month, Facebook is filling up with rainbow-themed pictures (my own profile included) and the news is full of stories about transgendered actresses and marriage equality.    I love this.  I love Pride month and Pride celebrations, I love that we LGBTQ people are making such great strides in our fight for acceptance and equality. (I could wax poetic here about the need for people to vote on us, but that’s another blog.)

Gay Pride celebrations exist because of the homophobia we face daily.  They are a chance for us to say to the world that we are just like you, there’s nothing wrong with us,  stop oppressing us, stop diminishing our value, stop bullying us, stop hating us.

I personally don’t understand the fear that ‘gay’ inspires in people, but that does not mean that I haven’t internalized it.  Every time I think about it before kiss…

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Fire & Want

Fire & Want

Journal Entry | about 1 year ago

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.

Haunted Still by Her

Ahhh, today was a very good day! I was up at the crack of dawn, the birds just starting to stir and chirp, and the sky just beginning to become light, sun not yet above the ocean to my east.  Yes, it was 4:20 am and I was up and at it for the day.  I had fallen asleep at 10pm last night after a full day of working on the house.  I’ve been alone all week and damn it feels freaking great.  I’ve been working on reclaiming my Butch Bachelor Cave here in Maine.  Not that I didn’t care for it before, I just needed to change everything I touched to make it mine again.  Some weird Butch thing I suppose.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about the last several years…the wild times, the good times, and the bad times, and the changes in the world and the changes in ME.  There are several prominent moments that stick hard in my head and make me still ask myself WHY I did those certain things – or why I didn’t do specific other things.  I shake my head, and just admit I made mistakes, big and small, but I’m still kickin and smiling once again.  

I keep some things very very private.  I do it so as not to hurt someone any further than I already did.  But my brain works that situation over almost daily and it aggravates the crap out of me that I cannot reach out; reach back and do something differently.  They say no failure is fatal, that you admit them and correct them….I just wish I knew how to do that.  There is just this one single relationship failure that I caused a few years ago that I wish I could have the chance now to at least apologize for, for behavior that was NOT really me, and not what I wanted to really happen. Perhaps one day I will have that chance, just an exchange; a short conversation to ease my heart; to know that she doesn’t feel as I still do today.

I’m very grateful for the life i have today, and I’m relatively happy.  I enjoy my own home and my freedom to be myself tremendously.  I am thankful for the progression of the country towards more equality and justice.  I am hopeful for a bright and loving future for the world and for me as an individual.  I will continue to strive forward to make my world, the world, a better place for myself and everyone else in any way that I am able to do so.

I’m seriously enjoying the renewed bachelorhood that I have once again found.  (Much to some people’s dismay I am sure.) but being single once again is the best thing for me right now.  I need to really clear some things out of my past that keep me from giving of myself to anyone else – except one.  She knows who she is and she knows how to reach me I am sure.  And all she has to do is want to reach and I will most certainly leap at her outstretched hand in return.  Until I can either die – or in some miraculous way get over my desire for her – then I will continue to fly solo and reach for the stars in Azure skies.

Hell, in the last 6 years I have tried on three relationships for short periods of time.  I could not find a way to truly give myself over to any one of them, and they all deserved a love that I just could not give.  I tried, I did, but when the heart is truly elsewhere; is taken already, then you can’t be true in the moment to someone else.  It’s a total mental mind fuck

Those of you who read my blogs and have known me for a while may know my history and tell me to go after what it is that I am waiting for, but realize that that is not my choice; I cannot do that.  It’s been made clear to me that despite promises of never losing touch no matter what, it’s in her court to lob a ball at me if she ever wants to talk to me or contact me.  I’m not hard to find, hell my profile on Facebook is public, friend me and you get my phone number.  Plus, she knows how to find me I am positive of that.  Does she want to?  I don’t know her current situation.  Perhaps she’s found security and comfort in someone else; those are hard things to give up for love sometimes.  Especially when someone screws up the way I did, saying the wrong things at the wrong time for the wrong reasons  I just know that it holds me back from moving past her and on to another fulfilling relationship, perhaps it always will.  

Bachelorhood isn’t so bad!  And if I can’t have that real love again, then I would rather remain single anyways.  At least that way I will not be lying to anyone else.  My heart knows where it belongs.  And I can wait an eternity, even into the next life if necessary, for the return of the heart that belongs close to my own.     ~MainelyButch

Every Day

Once upon a time, far far away

I fell in love with you once

And still I feel it every day.

Though I don’t wanna admit it

Or bug you now or again

I just hope that you remember

What we were like back then.

I never stopped those feelings

Although I told you otherwise

Not to your face my dear

but through my wicked verbal lies.

It’s a few years later it’s now

And I still wonder about you

Often considering how

I could ever feel a love so true.

And walk away….from you.

Loss

Write about a loss: something (or someone) that was part of your life, and isn’t any more.

Loss…yes losing things, people and time.  It’s a thread that runs consistently through my life.  I’ve gotten used to it, perhaps too used to it at this point. It just seems normal to me now.  I lose things daily; my keys, the tools I am working with, and lots of time.  Time is something you can’t find again, once lost it is really seriously GONE.

Over my half century of life on this planet I have experienced several major life losses.  As a child my first loss that comes to mind was moving from one school to a new school, from one state where I started school, made friends, had a life outside of school on the dirt baseball diamond on Hidley Road, ran like a banshee through the orchards, built enormous tree forts with rope swing escapes and kissed my first girl, back to my home state of Maine and it all happened very very quickly for my young brain to adapt to easily.  Not until years later, in my 20’s did I understand why we moved so quickly, packing and being picked up by my Aunt and Uncle seemingly in the middle of the night to be transported back to my Nana’s house in southern Maine.

My second huge loss was that of my Nana.  I was 10 and a few months, in the 3rd grade and we had recently made that drastic move back to Maine.  I was sleeping and heard my 8 months pregnant mother crying and screaming downstairs in our house, then the car screeching it’s tires out of our drive way. I was afraid something was wrong with her or the baby.  My uncle told me to go back to bed that everything would be ok and they just had to go somewhere fast.  I crawled back into bed, Nana came in and sat on my bed and began rubbing my back like she always did to put me to sleep. She told me things would be just fine, that my Mom was fine and the baby was going to be fine, too.  She hummed and rubbed my back until I fell asleep. That was the last time I ever saw her.  See, the screams from my mother were caused by a phone call from my Aunt telling her that her mother, my Nana, had just died at her home across town.  Evidently her spirit had to come to me that night to comfort and console me, and perhaps to just see me one more time, and to let me know that things would be fine.  I have felt the repercussions of the loss of that great woman, my Nana, through my whole life, and I still miss her today.

In high school there were a couple of losses that changed my life; tweaked it just a little.  As a freshmen I was trying out for the basket ball team.  I had practiced and I was pretty good little guard and could shoot too.  The coach didn’t care for me much, and chose another player over me – one who couldn’t even dribble the ball correctly!  That served to sour me on school team sports.  I decided if I didn’t fit with the jock or athletic crowd that I must find a way to fit in with the cool or troubled crowd.  And I did a great job at that!  Then my “cool” crowd suffered the loss of one of it’s own when my friend Jimmy was killed one night after partying across town…he was hit by a tractor trailer on the interstate.  Did he commit suicide? Or was it an accident due to disorientation?  Who knows, but seeing his lifeless body in that casket, the way they had put him “back together” was horrifying to my 16 year old brain.

During my teen years I experienced a loss of freedom, as I stayed in the closet very deep about my sexuality.  I knew I was attracted to girls and I knew that would be a problem with everyone in my life – from parents to school chums.  The cool crowd would never accept me if I came out as gay, so I hid it; buried the feelings very deep. I participated in a lot of illicit drug use to cover the pain and to reassure my “cool” status with my chosen crowd of friends.  I never drank alcohol though, it just never appealed to me much and I disliked the taste and loss of control kind of feeling it gave me.  So, I stuffed my frustrated feelings for other girls, my sexuality and my real personality so far down that no one knew.  I even moved in with my boyfriend for a short time after high school, which is when I lost my innocence.  I became a victim of domestic violence and saw a new side of life.

By this time I was used to loss and used to hiding my true self from the world.  I joined the military, where I found my people.  I found that many of the women in the Army during the early 1980’s were lesbian or bisexual.  I was able to come out, with some minor coaxing and a hilarious scene with throwing my roomies bed out the window after a fit of internalized homophobia of my own.  So just before I lost my “cover” I lost my mind for a minute there.  Was this real?  Could it be possible that there were others that felt like I did and could live like normal people – whatever “normal” is to anyone?  I could and I did.  And while living during off duty time openly, I managed to keep it under wraps during uniform time and serve out my obligated term in the service, and then some.

During the 80’s we all lost sexual freedom with the appearance and discovery of the AIDS virus, HIV.  I lost my mind for a while there in the mid-to-late 80’s and became heavily involved in IV drug use, mostly cocaine and some heroin addiction just for good measure.  After a bout in rehab, I entered some intense one-on-one counselling with a female counselor, a fellow lesbian, and someone I could open up to and relate to finally.  She taught me to use the tools in my internal tool box to cope with life without drugs.  She urged me to be tested for HIV…I was postiive.  So I lost again.  I lost the game of russian roulette in a way, as I would have to live out my life with HIV infection due to a one time share of a needle.  Of all the luck.

By the time I turned 32 I had discovered I was infected with HIV and I had been clean from the illicit drug use for about 3 years.  Then I met a woman, fell in love at first sight and spent the next 13+ years with her, building our dream home and creating our nirvana so to speak.  There were losses for us, friends dying of AIDS related illnesses in the late 80’s and early 90’s, losses of beloved pets we had had for years, the loss of my favorite Aunt to breast cancer; the losses of friends over petty disagreements, and the such.  But we remained strong together for many years and I loved her dearly, and she me.  In the end I lost that relationship over my own stupidity and a major mid-life crisis at 45.  My medications were messed up, my brain was messed up because of that, and I messed up royally.  In hind-sight this could be the biggest loss of my life to date in many ways.  I miss her still today, but know that she is happy and has moved on from the hurt and sad ending of our relationship.  Me? I’m not so sure…I may still hold a torch or two for her, probably always will to some degree.

The next loss I caused myself.  I fell madly, passionately in love with a wonderful woman and with callous words broke her heart and destroyed her trust in me.  I was running scared, I didn’t know what else to do, and I didn’t feel “good enough” at the time for the caliber of woman that she was, so I ran.  That was perhaps the stupidest loss of my life.  I wish every day still that I could turn back time and erase that one phone call of stupidity and misspoken words.  My heart will forever be entrapped by her, and that’s okay with me, it’s made me stronger inside and taught me patience and virtue.  One day perhaps she’ll allow me back in; allow me to explain and allow miracles to happen.  That is the one serious loss that I regret the most.

Yes, life is made up of gains and losses, in essence.  We gain things, and we lose things throughout our lives.  We live through these things, live through the losses and learn from the experiences. The last 7 years since I left that long term relationship I have suffered minor set backs, some losses but have gained much insight into my true self and who I really am in this world.  I am a composition of all of my experiences, my gains, my losses, and everything in between; everything that went on and led to each and every moment is part of the make up of who I am today.  And I thank my lucky stars for all of it, for without my personal experiences I would not be who I was meant to be, or do what I am meant to do in this life.  Life is about what you make of it, not what happens to you.  Loss is just part of the process of becoming your authentic self.